Sharing a Cerridwen-inspired Yule with your Children

Sharing a Cerridwen-inspired Yule with your Children

Since beginning to walk the priestess path with Cerridwen, the time of Yule has been a very different experience for me. I have, for a long time, followed an earth-orientated path, but I have found that acknowledging this at midwinter has become a more significant and deliberate act as a Priestess of Cerridwen. There is the sense of drawing in and taking time in the stillness of this time of year, to connect with the trees and plants on Cerridwen’s Wheel. However, the most noticeable way that Yule has changed for me is my emphasis on Cerridwen-focussed winter activities with my daughter. As the first in my recent family line (at least, as far as I know!) to follow this path, I have felt a responsibility to bring the magic of midwinter to my daughter in my own way. My Cerridwen priestess path has developed hand-in-hand with my journey of motherhood and I am aware that I am learning as I go with this, adding new midwinter traditions each year, and experimenting with what works for us.

Cerridwen's Cauldron and childrenLast year and this year, in the time between Samhain and the Winter Solstice, I have set aside evenings to make some ‘magic spells’ with my daughter. She loves when I get my cauldron out and place it on the rug. I am always surprised by how easily she understands and adapts to the idea of casting a circle. I set out some herbs and she gets to make a Cerridwen winter brew. We add different plants for different things – rose petals for happiness, lavender for calm and peace, Gorse blossom for sunshine in the dark half of the year… whatever comes to mind at the time – and we create a little spell for the festive season to see us through until spring, saying our intentions into the cauldron as we stir. This year, I have the addition of some Russian Caravan tea, to give the scent of smokiness and peat fire, when it is too wet and windy to light a real fire outside and we need to improvise on the living room floor!


I have also tried to bring an awareness of the season of Cerridwen of Air into our family traditions. We take homemade treats out into the woods and leave them for the birds. My daughter loves to make up stories so we have also made that more of an occasion, with ‘storytelling by candlelight’ to recreate the bardic nights of old (although, I don’t think they had marshmallows back then!). For our ancestors, this would have been the time of year when the darkness would have brought everyone together around the light and warmth of the fire, so I try to make sure we have at least a little time to experience our home by candlelight without electric light – this is always the most magical and exciting experience for a child and shouldn’t just be reserved for power cuts!

By far the most important thing I have learned about Cerridwen at midwinter is the importance of co-creation, support and sisterhood. My Cerridwen sisters who are also mothers have given me fresh inspiration in their own traditions with their children. I have not been afraid to ask what others do with their own families. There is nothing wrong with admitting that we are learning (or relearning and remembering the things that our ancestors would have done naturally at midwinter). 

Last year, I was especially grateful for a sister’s kindness, sending my daughter and I the gift of a book from the ‘Yule Witch’, packed with seasonal ideas, resources, recipes and nature poems. I fell back on that book more times than I can mention! This sister has walked the path longer and therefore knows the big step it can be to take a more Goddess-centric view of this time of year. It can be quite daunting to break with years of established religious traditions but we are stepping out into the new dawn of a crisp December morning with Cerridwen by our side. It is so refreshing when priestesses can support each other and give each other the confidence to open up to the transforming inspiration and potential that can come from a midwinter with Cerridwen.


Elan Clark, Priestess of Cerridwen

West Lothian, Scotland

Elan Clark - Priestess of Cerridwen

Instagram: @elan_and_the_hare

Elan is a scholar, writer and editor in the field of Celtic Studies. She has a PhD in Gaelic poetry and teaches university classes in Celtic culture and literature.

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