Few areas of Western Europe are as rich in ancient remains as the British Isles. In fact, it is difficult to explore its beautiful landscape without tripping over historical remains from one era or another.
Sadly, most of the sacred sites that once dotted of this beautiful land have long since lost their intrinsic magick, leaving behind the stoney remains of a once vital sacred mystery that few of today’s scholars can comprehend.
Whilst the ancient mystical heritage has long since withdrawn from the land of the British Isles, there remains a few isolated pockets where the ancient magick still obstinately remains.
One of the last areas of the British Isles where the ancient Celtic tradition can still be found is in North Wales. This is a wild and rugged area, with the mystical Isle of Anglesey beating at its heart, that still resonates to an ancient spiritual power.
For those who are in tune with its ancient traditions, this is where you can still sense the influence of the gods and goddesses of old. It is also a place where the very names of its hamlets and communities hold a sense of a language that can, if interpreted by a sympathetic mind, reveal an ancient magickal tradition that might yet be brought back to life throughout the British Isles and beyond.
It is against this background of natural harmony and spiritual power that Kristoffer Hughes, Chief of the Anglesey Druid Order, seeks to reveal a new understanding of the Welsh Celtic tradition.
From the Cauldron Born focuses upon the story of Welsh temptress Cerridwen, her ugly son Morfan and her beautiful daughter Creirwy—a somewhat dysfunctional family who were said to live near Bala Lake in North Wales.
As Kristoffer Hughes states, the poetic legend of Ceridwen, along with its associated characters and off-shoot tales, reveals the rich, inner traditions of Celtic magick along with the psycho-spiritual or initiatory process that underpins this ancient tale.
This powerfully allegorical theme, which the author believes can not only be found at the center of Celtic mythology but is one that also references a spiritual force that pervades the World, can be unwoven within the psyche of anyone who is open to engaging with these Welsh tales and their mystical insights.
As the book unwinds this epic tale, it references the work of some of the greatest exponents of archetypal mythology—names such as Joseph Campbell and Carl Gustav Jung.
It also references important Pagan themes and places the veneration of the Goddess above that of the masculine Christian force which drove the magical energy of Druidism from the land in the first place.
From the Cauldron Born is not just a dry, academic reference to somewhat archaic Welsh legend, poetry and myth. It is a way of helping you evolve the transformational process within yourself as the author includes magical help, advice and exercises at the end of each chapter.
The book closes with an extensive glossary, which can add greatly to your understanding of the Welsh people and places, a guide to pronouncing the Welsh language, a bibliography of references and sources and a full index of the book’s content.
The survival of the Celtic and Druidic teachings used to be maintained by the Bards. Thus, the traditions were passed on not through rote learning from written texts or manuscripts but via music, song and community storytelling.
Having met and chatted with Kristoffer Hughes in 2014, following a remarkably honest and totally engaging lecture that he gave on the subject of Pagans and Death, I am sure that this accomplished orator would love to continue this oral tradition himself when presenting his insights into Celtic mythology.
Despite the limitations of the printed word, Hughes does a masterful job of breathing the magick of the Celtic tradition through the pages of this book.
His style of writing and clear passion for the subject raises this book far above that of a workshop manual and is the sort of publication that engages its reader so forcibly and so deeply that the book simply becomes alive in your hands.
(My only caveat is that it is so packed with information and spiritual insight, it could perhaps have benefited from a more reader-friendly and reference-friendly structure but this is a minor gripe given that it contains a references and index.)
From the Cauldron Born/em> is as rich as the landscape that gave birth to its core legends. It offers clear and valuable insight into one of our few remaining truly authentic magickal traditions. It is time for the magick to return to repair our damaged landscape and this is a book that offers a way back.