2 Mar 2011

RHIANNON, HORSE GODDESS OF WALES.

Searching the 'www'. for inspiration (as you do) I was playing around with various calender sites when I came across this ..........


The Pagan Festival of the Lesser Mysteries of  Rhiannon*
- From sundown 3rd March to dawn 6th March.

In Welsh mythology, Rhiannon (derived from Celtic roots and meaning 'great queen') is a horse goddess depicted in the MABINOGION, a collection of myths collated from medieval Welsh manuscripts which draw on pre-Christian Celtic mythology, international folklore and early medieval traditions.

Rhiannon first appeared riding on a magnificent white horse which though it never changed pace always remained in front of Pywll, her soon-to-be husband.

Barren until the eventual birth of a son named Pryderi (meaning worry) Rhiannon was then accused of devouring her child though he in fact just been 'misplaced' by her ladies-in-waiting who in order to avoid blame smeared blood on their mistress who was sleeping.

Believing that his wife had indeed eaten their son, Pwyll imposed a penance on Rhiannon which, for seven years, saw her sitting by the city gates every day, telling her story to all who passed, and offering, as a horse, to carry them to the court of Arberth.

Why though a goddess?

Though the Mabinogion did not present Rhiannon as anything more than human it is said she owned a set of mystical birds who had the power to soothe the living OR wake the dead. Rhiannon may well have begun her story as mortal but later evolved into the goddess who it is believed protected the king from treachery and is linked to the earth, fertility, and birds as well as, of course, horses. She finds antecedents in the British goddess Rigatona and the continental Celtic goddess EPONA who is also strongly connected with horses and birds.

* Not to be mistaken with the Feast Of Rhiannon which takes place on the 2nd of December.
For listings of other celebrations/festivals click HERE.

6 comments:

Nina said...

Nice! I never heard of Rhiannon before, so thanx for posting this. very interesting.

StarTraci said...

I am part Welsh and I am thrilled to learn a little about my heritage but man, this story is harsh. Poor lady has to serve penance for a crime she didn't commit but worse yet, one that she was framed for by her "friends". Ouch! I'm glad that my friends both on-line and IRL are of a better caliberm goddess or no!

Happy Festival, my friend.
:-)
Traci

Suko said...

Very interesting post on a new-to-me Goddess!

Thank you for explaining the highlighting procedure. I need to try it for myself.

GMR said...

Interesting post. First time I've heard of any of that...learn something new every day! Have a great weekend!

Suzanne Jones said...

I love the Welsh myths - we were taught them at school.

XX

Jenners said...

It makes me wonder if this influenced the Fleetwood Mac song?