Saturday, June 7, 2008


Arianrhod is the Celtic Moon-Mother Goddess who was known throughout the land for her stunning beauty.
She was the daughter of the Mother Goddess Don and her consort Beli.
She is ruler of Caer Sidi, a magical realm in the north. She was worshiped as priestess of the moon. The benevolent silver sky-lady came down from her pale white chariot in the heavens to watch more closely over the tides she ruled. Her Festival is on 2nd December, she is also honoured at the Full Moon.

A star and moon Goddess, Arianrhod was also called the Silver Wheel because the dead were carried on her Oar Wheel to Emania (the Moon-land or land of death), which belonged to her as a deity of reincarnation and karma. Her consort Nwyvre 'Sky, Space, Firmament' has survived in name only. Caer Arianrhod is the circumpolar stars, to which souls withdraw between incarnations, thus she is identified as a Goddess of reincarnation. The Mother aspect of the Triple Goddess in Wales, her palace was Caer Arianrhod (Aurora Borealis), or the secret center of each initiate's spiritual being.

And here is her story....

Arianrhod is the daughter of the Welsh Goddess Don and the sister of Gwydion. Gwydion was counselor to King Math who could only remain alive if his feet lay in the lap of a virgin at all times except when he led his armies into battle. During one such battle the virgin who had held King Math's feet was raped, and so there was need for a replacement. Gwydion recommended his sister, Arianrhod. King Math put her virginity to the test by asking her to step over his magic wand. As she stepped over the wand she gave birth to a boy child with yellow hair. The child cried loudly, and Arianrhod, humiliated, ran for the door, dropping yet another small object on the ground in the process. Before anyone could catch a glance at the object, Gwydion wrapped it and hid it inside a chest. King Math then performed rites for the yellow haired boy child, naming him Dylan. Dylan immediately ran for the sea and received the sea's nature and was never seen again.
A time later Gwydion presented Arianrhod with the object that he had hidden in the chest - a second boy child. Arianrhod was outraged at the "evidence" of her humiliation at the hands of King Math and rejected the child.
She laid on him three curses:
He shall have no name except one she gives him.
He shall bear no arms except ones she gives him.
He shall have no wife of the race that is now on the earth.
Gwydion was outraged by these curses and worked to break them. He disguised himself and the boy child as shoemakers and traveled to Caer Arianrhod. When Arianrhod went to have shoes fitted, the boy child threw a stone at a bird and deftly hit it. Arianrhod commented on the child's skillful hand. At that Gwydion revealed himself and the child and stated that she had just named him - Llew Llaw Gyffes, the Shining Skillful Hand. This threw Arianrhod into a firey rage and she stormed back to Caer Arianrhod swearing that the boy would never bear arms or have a human wife.
Again Gwydion tricked Arianrhod into breaking her own curse. He disguised himself and Llew as travelers and sought refuge in Caer Arianrhod. While they were there Gwydion caused an illusion showing a powerful armada of ships advancing on Caer Arianrhod. Making ready for battle Arianrhod threw open her armory and armed her retainers. Gwydion suggested to Arianrhod that she give arms to him and Llew (still in disguise) and they would fight at the defense of the castle. She readily agreed and thereby, unwittingly, granted arms to her son, breaking the second curse. Gwydion then revealed themselves to Arianrhod and told her that she may as well take the arms back from her son, as there really was no battle to be fought.
Enraged at being tricked a second time, Arianrhod took comfort in her third curse - that Llew would have no human wife. Gwydion, upset at the cruelty Arianrhod was showing her son, vowed to break this curse also. Gwydion went to King Math and explained Llew's plight. Combining their magic they created a woman made of flowers, Blodeuwedd, to be wife to Llew, and broke Arianrhod's third curse.
Humiliated by King Math, thwarted by her son, forsaken by her brother, Arianrhod retreated to her castle Caer Arianrhod. Here she later drowned when the sea reclaimed the land.

The poem is taken from the book "Ceridwen's Cauldron" by Gwdihw.
Lady Arianrhod
Arianrhod, Lady Fair
Fly over your caer, in the air
Served by the moth and the wren
The bat, bee and hidden men
Mother of Dylan, you did reign
You did not give his twin a name.
Your brother Gwydion sold you shoes
Your curse he made you quickly lose.
With a sling you saw your son
Lleu Llaw Gyffes, the fair one.
Arianrhod, Queen of the night
Refused arms for Lleu to fight.
When Math made ships out of mist
Lleu found a spear within his fist,
Her final curse forbade a bride
He found a flower maid by his side.
Gronw speared Lleu in the bowel,
Blodeuwedd changed from bride to owl
Arianrhod watched, high above
Giving Lleu both grief and love.
Binding him by silver thread
Thinking that he lay there dead.
Transformations took place
Feather grew from Lleu's face.
Gwydion changed him back to man
Healing him as magic can.
Arianrhod, Lady of the Wheel,
Reincarnator, help us heal.

Celtic Mythology

Adventure, heroism, romance, and magic are a few of the elements that make Celtic mythology one of the most entrancing mythologies of Europe. Once a powerful people who dominated much of Europe, the Celts were reduced to a few small groups after the Roman invasions. However, their mythology survived, thanks largely to the efforts of medieval Irish and Welsh monks who wrote down the stories.

The Celts were a group of people who began to spread throughout Europe in the 1000s B.C. At the peak of their power, they inhabited an area extending from the British Isles in the west to what is now Turkey in the east. They conquered northern Italy and Macedonia, plundering both Rome and Delphi in the process. They had a reputation as fierce and courageous warriors and were viewed with respect by the Romans.
Celtic expansion reached its limit around 225 B.C., when the Celts suffered the first in a series of defeats by the armies of the Roman empire. Gradually, the Romans subdued the Celts, and by A.D. 84, most of Britain was under Roman rule. At the same time, Germanic peoples conquered the Celts living in central Europe.
Just a few areas, notably Ireland and northern Britain, managed to remain free and to continue and pass on the Celtic traditions. Six groups of Celts have survived to modern times: the peoples of Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany.
The ancient Celts were neither a race nor a nation. They were a varied people bound together by language, customs, and religion rather than by any centralized government. They lived off the land, farming and raising stock. No towns existed apart from impressive hill forts. However, by about 100 B.C., large groups of Celts had begun to gather at certain settlements to trade with one another.
Celtic society had a clearly defined structure. Highest in rank was the king, who ruled a particular tribe, or group of people. Each tribe was divided into three classes: the noble knights and warriors, the Druids (religious leaders), and the farmers and commoners. The Druids, who came from noble families, were respected and influential figures. They served not only as priests but also as judges, teachers, and advisers. In addition, it was widely believed that the Druids had magical powers.

The ancient Celts had a vibrant mythology made up of hundreds of tales. They did not, however, record their myths in writing but passed them on orally. Our knowledge of the gods, heroes, and villains of Celtic mythology comes from other sources—mainly Roman. Yet the Romans sometimes referred to Celtic gods by Roman names, so their accounts were not always reliable. Moreover, because the Romans and Celts were battlefield enemies, Roman descriptions of Celtic beliefs were often unfavorable.

Major Gods. The Celts worshiped a variety of gods who appeared in their tales. Most were all-powerful local deities rather than gods with specialized roles. Each tribe had its own god, who protected and provided for the welfare of that tribe. Some of them had similar characteristics. For example, Dagda, the god of life and death in Ireland—known as the good god—resembled Esus, the "master" god of Gaul.
Some deities had more clearly defined roles. Among these were Lug, or Lugus, a sun god associated with arts and skills, war and healing, and the horned god Cernunnos, who was god of animals and fertility. The Celts also had a large number of important female deities. These included Morrigan, the "Great Queen"—actually three war goddesses, Morrigan, Badb, and Nemain, who appeared as ravens during battle. Another important deity was Brigit, goddess of learning, healing, and metalworking. Epona, the horse goddess, was associated with fertility, water, and death.

Major Themes. Magic, magicians, and the supernatural played a significant role in Celtic mythology. A common theme was the magic cauldron. The cauldron of plenty was never empty and supplied great quantities of food. The cauldron of rebirth brought slain warriors to life again. Myrddin, a magician in the Welsh tales, later became Merlin in the Arthurian legends.

Other important themes in the myths were voyages to mysterious and dangerous lands and larger-than-life heroes. The heroes experienced all kinds of adventures and often had to perform impossible tasks before marrying their loved one. Love, romance, and mischief also figured prominently. The gods played tricks on humans and on one another. Animals changed shape at will.