Stories and mythology

Pagans make great use of stories and myths, particularly from sources such as the Welsh Mabinogion, or classical Rome and Greece, but also from the heritage of the whole world. A myth in this context is a significant story, often ancient, which deals with ultimate issues in life such as how the universe arose and why things are as they are. Such stories explore deep feelings and express important truths. Whether the story ‘really happened’ is not important and indeed asking such a question is missing the point. Some Pagan stories or motifs turn out not to be ancient myths but taken from nineteenth or twentieth century literature, such as Leland’s Aradia or Robert Graves The White Goddess or even novels. This is not seen as a problem, and some younger Pagans are happy to draw upon images and storylines from film, television, and digital media.

One popular story for Druids is the tale of Ceridwen’s cauldron from the Mabinogion. This explains how the Bard Taliesen gained poetic inspiration and magical powers by ingesting three drops from a potion brewed by Ceridwen meant for her own son. Symbolically the cauldron stands for the source of all poetic and artistic inspiration (awen) which often seems to come from somewhere outside of ourselves and/or deep inside us. The cauldron is also a symbol of the womb and thus of birth and new life. Druids and other Pagans seek to be open to this fount of creativity.

Ancient Druids left no written texts but Hellenics and followers of Religio-Romano might draw upon classical Greek or Roman authors and Kemetics can draw on archaeological research material for their myths.

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