Friday, August 29, 2014

Pagan Blog Project – week 35 – R#1 – Rhiannon

Pagan Blog Project – week 35 – R#1 – Rhiannon

 Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night and wouldn't you love to love her?
Takes to the sky like a bird in flight and who will be her lover?

Out of the many names my Mom had for me before I was born, Rhiannon is one I’ll always love.  I don’t know why she didn’t chose to name me Rhiannon, and sometimes I wonder who I’d be today if that had been the name she had finally decided on.  

All your life you've never seen woman, taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you heaven? Will you ever win?

Of course, my Mom hadn’t been thinking about the Welsh goddess Rhiannon, she had been thinking about the Stevie Nicks song.  Stevie Nicks has often said that she wasn’t thinking of the Goddess when writing her timeless and beloved song.  It seems that despite the circumstances, the Goddess shines through whenever her name is invoked. 

She is like a cat in the dark and then she is the darkness.
She rules her life like a fine skylark and when the sky is starless.

According to the Wikipedia entry, Stevie was inspired to write her song after reading a novel called Triad: A Novel of the Supernatural by Mary Leader.  The novel is about “an old Welsh witch”, but Stevie and others have been amazed over the years over how accurately the song can be described to the Goddess, too.

Taken by the sky
Dreams unwind

Rhiannon is one of the Goddesses featured in the The Goddess Tarot Deck by Kris Waldherr.  In her deck, Rhiannon is VII: Movement.  This corresponds to the Chariot and to the astrological sign of Cancer.  The booklet describes Rhiannon as a British horse goddess who appears to her follows while riding “an unearthly white horse.”  White horses and other creatures appear often in the mythology of the British Isles, usually connected to a Goddess, Fairy, Queen, or mythical hero.  White animals definitely have an otherworldly association, and in this deck, Rhiannon symbolizes the endless and magical motion of the Cosmos.  Time turns without ceasing, turns and turns again. 

Dreams unwind
 Love's a state of mind 

Whether Queen, witch or Goddess, Rhiannon features heavily in the Mabinogi, a collection of works collected from medieval Welsh manuscripts that tell pre-Christian stories of the British Isles.  Among other stories in the collection the Mabinogi tells the story of a woman who flirts with a handsome hero, despite the fact that she is already betrothed to another.  Her story takes a tragic turn when her child goes missing and she is framed for his murder.  Her love stands by her side, but she must undergo a harsh penance for the crime of her missing child.  After many heroic adventures and quests, the family is happily reunited.

Dreams unwind
 Love's a state of mind

I have never actively worked with Rhiannon, but over the years I’ve come to appreciate her and her story.  It demonstrates to us the steadfastness of love, of hope and trust, and the power of family.  Rhiannon is a beautiful woman who is in authority of her own sexuality and her own destiny, and even when her life falls apart all around her, she does what she needs to do to defend herself and to honor truth. 

All your life you've never seen woman taken by the wind. 
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?  Will you ever win?

Do you work with Rhiannon?  Have your read the Mabinogi or Triad: A Novel of the Supernatural?  What is your favorite Stevie Nicks song?  What do you think… is she really a witch?  Please feel free to leave your comments below!  

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