Celticsprite’s Blog


"The Moon Goddess Triad" by Eliseo Mauas Pinto
December 26, 2011, 9:21 pm
Filed under: Celtic Moon Goddess, Celtic Poems
This one is called “The Believer”, the first work on a series of photomanipulations featuring my Canadian friend and icon muse Sierras on praise of the Celtic Moon Goddess.

“I pray to you Goddess of light
Reach me with your shiny eyes
You that reign each starry night
Show me fertile paths of new days
You that count the sea waves 
Nurture the divine seed on me”

(c) Eliseo Mauas Pinto 

 

Model Source of Inspiration: – Photo by Kind of Blue in Green Photography,July 2010.Piercieng and Pendant: Personal Stock 
Tatoos: Personal Stock 

This one is called “The Acolyte”, the second work on a series of photomanipulations featuring my Canadian friend and icon muse Sierras on praise of the Celtic Moon Goddess. 
“I walk along with the moon of my ancients 
I constantly pray for your healing devotion 
Blessed be the days for having their nights 
Blessed be the nights for bearing your light
Keep on nurturing thy divine seeds on me”

(c) Eliseo Mauas Pinto 

Model Source of Inspiration – Photo by Kind of Blue in Green Photography,July 2010. 
Moon Goddess Tiara: Personal Stock 
Tatoo: Personal Stock
 

This one is called “The Priestess”, the third and final work of a triad on a series of photomanipulations featuring my Canadian friend and icon muse Sierras on praise of the Celtic Moon Goddess.

“Greetings to you our kindred Goddess,
you who flow the changes of women’s bodies
you who are the keeper of women’s mysteries,
mistress of the tides and the shifting night 
Goddess of the Moon, 
of the many names and many lands.
Call upon us and we shall come to you,
For you bring us your full shining face
and you bathe us in your love and light.”
(c) Eliseo Mauas Pinto
 

Model Source of Inspiration: – Photo by Kind of Blue in Green Photography, July 2010.
Tiara ,Feather and Goddess Pendant: Personal Assorted Stock
Moon :http://justiej.deviantart.com/
Starry Night and Snow Storm Texture : http://glamourousacid-stock.deviantart.com/ 

These Photomanipulations were specially developed for deviantArt with Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended(c) 2011 

Peace and light☼Feel free to find similar posts onGoddess Art



The Rhiannon’s Celebrations: Epona’s Day & The Mari Lwyd
December 19, 2011, 5:57 pm
Filed under: Celtic Moon Goddess, Celtic Symbolism
 As I commented on a previous post, Rhiannon is probably a reflex of the Celtic Great Queen goddess Rigantona and may also be associated with the horse goddess Epona. 
Some also associate her to the Irish “Macha” and the Gaulish “Epona“, the “Great Mare” derived from the inferred proto-Celtic *ekwos ‘horse’;  I guess it is because of her horse association as  depicted on the Welsh Mabinogion, which does not present Rhiannon as anything other than human, descibed riding a white horse, and afterwards condemned to carry visitors on her back for being suspected to murder her own son.
Rhiannon thus bears the stamp of two important Gaulish cults: that of the “Horse Goddess” Epona on one hand; and Matrona, the “Great Mother”, on the other. Rigantona ‘Great Queen’, as Rhiannon would have been known in Romano-British times, is best considered a local variant of this composite figure.
According to Phyllis Pray Bober, (reviewing Réne Magnen, Epona, Déesse Gauloise des Chevaux, Protectrice des Cavaliers in American Journal of Archaeology) , unusually for a Celtic deity, most of whom were associated with specific localities, the worship of Epona, “the sole Celtic divinity ultimately worshipped in Rome itself,” was widespread in the Roman Empire between the first and third centuries CE. 
 A relief of Epona, flanked by two pairs of horses, from Roman Macedonia
18th December is the day on which the celebration was held by Romans.  It was the day when all the cloven-footed beasts – horses, donkeys, cattle, oxen – were rested and not made to work.
The celebrated questions herself on this subject on her personal blog :
“What is the reason for Epona’s incorporation into the Roman calendar?  And why is it remembered so near the Solstice? Well, the early Romans celebrated midwinter with rites to Ops and Consus, the Sabine deities of the underworldly earth whom they saw as resonant with Rhea and Saturn. Consus was associated with horses and, by extension, by those beasts that ploughed the fields.  The Gaulish goddess Epona became incorporated into Roman religion  because of the Roman army whose cavalry was made up of levies of men from Gaul, the Low Countries and Germany: the influence of riders and grooms who depended upon their horses brought Epona into association with the midwinter rituals.

Epona ushers us into the deep gifts of midwinter and invites us to rest, to cease from our shapeshifting and realize that we are not super-beings but souls whose bodies need the grace of refreshment and the garlanding of festival.  In midwinter’s rest lies the deep wisdom, the seeds of our renewal whereby the new year can be fruitful.”
The Mari Lwyd

A south Welsh folk ritual call Mari Lwyd (Grey Mare) is still undertaken in December – an apparent survival of the veneration of  goddess Rhiannon. The pantomime horse is thought to be a related survival.

The Mari Lwyd (Grey Mare or “Gray Mary” in English), also Y Fari Lwyd,  is a Welsh midwinter tradition, possibly to celebrate New Year , although it formerly took place over a period stretching from Christmas to late January. It is a form of visiting wassail, a luck-bringing ritual in which a the participants accompany a person disguised as a horse from house to house (including pubs) and sing at each door in the hope of gaining admittance and being rewarded with food and drink.
https://i1.wp.com/www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/Xmas/calendar/countries/wales/mare.jpgThe Mari Lwyd consists of a mare’s skull (sometimes made of wood, or when the custom is followed by children, cardboard) fixed to the end of a wooden pole; a white sheet is fastened to the back of the skull, concealing the pole and the person carrying the Mari. Two black cloth ears may be sewn onto the cloth.
 
Coloured ribbons are usually fixed to the skull and small bells attached to the reins (if any) by which the Mari is led.
Mr Vernon Rees, a freeman of Llantrisant, remembers that his father, Tom John Rees, was in charge of the Llantrisant Mari. The Llantrisant head was not a real skull but was made of wood, bandaged right down to the snout to make it look like a genuine horse’s head. Mr Rees remembers the Mari being kept in the cupboard under the stairs and knows it was still around in 1937, when the family moved house. Tom John Rees was a miner at Ynysmaerdy Colliery, just north of Llantrisant, and died of pneumoconiosis in 1945, when he was only 45 years old. Mr Rees does not know whether his mother gave the Mari Lwyd away or what became of it.
The Mari party (five or six men or boys) often had coloured ribbons and rosettes attached to their clothes, and sometimes wore a broad sash around the waist.
There was usually a “Leader”, smartly dressed, who carried a staff or stick, or a whip, and sometimes other stock characters, such as the Merryman, who played music, and Punch and Judy (both played by men) with blackened faces; often brightly dressed, Punch carried a long metal poker and Judy had a besom broom.
The custom used to begin at dusk and often lasted late into the night. Now it may start earlier in the day (as at Llangynwyd, where it begins at 2pm on New Year’s Day).
During the ceremony, the skull is carried through the streets of the village by the party; they stand in front of every house to sing traditional songs. The singing sometimes consists of a rhyme contest (pwnco or pwngco) between the Mari party and the inhabitants of the house, who challenge each other with improvised verses (traditionally exchanged through the closed door); the contest could last for some time, until one side gave up.
The tradition started fading through the first half of the twentieth century and had pretty much become extinct during the Second World War. Nowadays, some folk associations in Llantrisant, Llangynwyd, Cowbridge and elsewhere are trying to revive it. Llantrisant’s Mari Lwyd custom was revived nearly two and half decades ago by members of the Llantrisant Folk Club, very much in the style in which it was being performed when it originally died out, probably at the start of the Second World War.
Related Sources:
Mabon and Guardians of Celtic Britain (Inner Traditions) By Caitlín Matthews
Wikipedia’s Article:Mari Lwyd 
http://www.folkwales.org.uk


Rhiannon: Her conception as "Goddess Of The Dead"
November 7, 2011, 4:31 pm
Filed under: Celtic Moon Goddess, Celtic Symbolism

As I already commented on a previouspost, it is acknowledged that the Mabinogion is the mostvaluable written source where the character of Rhiannon appears.

Rhiannon features inboth the first and third branches of the Mabinogi, the tales of:

(a tale that revolves around his friendshipwith the ruler of the nether-realm, his finding and gaining Rhiannon as a wife,the birth, loss and re-discovery of his son) &
(a tale that recounts how Pryderi ,-who survived the war inIreland-, offers his own realm to Manawyddan and gifts him his mother, Rhiannon to be Manawyddan’s wife). 

Rhiannon: Goddess Of The Dead”
According to J A MacCullogh, in his book”The Religion of the Ancient Celts”  the story of Rhiannon iseven more complicated, since the Mabinogion was not originally written down,but was memorised and retold countless times, before it was first translated byLady Charlotte Guest of Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil, in the 19th century, andmoreover it is well accepted that ancient Celts never wrote downtheir history or mythology, so much of what we think we know is told throughoral recountings. 
Though there is little that is mythological here, itis evident that Pwyll as a mortal assumes the qualities of a God by marrying Goddess Rhiannon, whose early importance,like that of other Celtic Goddesses, appears from her name, a corruption ofRigantona, “Great Queen.”
Rhiannon was originally the daughter ofHefydd Hen (aka Heveidd Henn , Hefaidd Hen), “the Ancient”, himself aWelsh God or hero though no recorded story explains his mythical function, andwas probably a very old Goddess. 

As shown on Pwyll Pendefig Dyfed Pryderi was her son,  and two candidates are given for the role of his father: “Pwyll” and”Manawyddan”.  
MacCullogh suggests that Manawyddan andRhiannon were aspects of older gods and parents of Pryderi, the dying andreborn god.  (A theme which occurs in many religions.)  Manawyddanbecomes Pryderi’s foster father, in some versions of the story, and later,Pryderi gives Rhiannon to Manawyddan in marriage. 
As in Irish myth, we discover here thetheme of a mortal helping a deity in the Other World while assisting Arawn, kingof the Annwn (the Welsh Otherworld or Underworld), and while doing so meets Rhiannon whoalso retains the Goddess Epona on her character, and appearing unto Pwyllriding a white mare from a magic hillock. The recurrent motif of the “FairyBride”.
Thus it is considered that her divinequalities as Rigantona “The Great Queen” were diminished in order to marry a mortal man. Her rise and fall andchange into death Goddess in either case, it illustrates the dangers thatbefall Goddesses when they take up with mortal men. 

Being connected to Mórrígan the Goddess of War whose name resembles hers (Mórrígan has some of itslinguistic roots) especially because Rhiannon is associated with birds, in hercase three magical birds who fly always around her shoulders, singing sosweetly that the dead awaken and living fall into trance. 

Related Sources:
http://ancientworlds.net/ 
“The Religion of the Ancient Celtsby J. A. MacCulloch (1911)

“The encyclopedia of Celtic mythology and folklore”  by Patricia Monaghan (2004)



Rhiannon: Her Conception As"Horse Goddess" and "Sea Goddess"
November 4, 2011, 1:46 pm
Filed under: Celtic Moon Goddess, Celtic Symbolism
As I already commented on a previous post, it is acknowledged that the Mabinogion is the most valuable written source where the character of Rhiannon appears.

Rhiannon features in both the first and third branches of the Mabinogi, the tales of:

(a tale that revolves around his friendship with the ruler of the nether-realm, his finding and gaining Rhiannon as a wife, the birth, loss and re-discovery of his son) &
(a tale that recounts how Pryderi ,-who survived the war in Ireland-, offers his own realm to Manawyddan and gifts him his mother, Rhiannon to be Manawyddan’s wife). 

Rhiannon: The Horse Goddess” 


Let’s recall that when Rhiannon gave birth to her son, Pryderi, at the Winter Solstice, he disappears while in the care of six of Rhiannon’s ladies-in-waiting , and the servants panicked. They schemed and decided to put puppy blood on Rhiannon’s face as she was sleeping, and scattered puppy bones all around her.

Rhiannon is forced to do penance for her supposed crime, since everyone believed Rhiannon had eaten her baby.

As punishment, she humbly stood at the castle gates with a horse’s collar around her neck.

So the story of how Pryderi vanished mysteriously and was then reborn from the womb of a horse illustrates that belief.  Although the myth of Rhiannon appears to be a straightforward story, in which a Goddess is falsely accused of murdering her child and suffers unjust penance imposed on her by humankind, it is the history of the cult of Rhiannon.  In which she is venerated as a great queen and mother; her cult is corrupted and she is degraded to her most basic form, the horse; and then her cult is revived as her son is reborn, but she changes into the Goddess of the underworld through her association with the sea god’s son Manawydan fab Llyr.

The Celts did absorb some of the older faith into their own, taking basic deities and complicating them with myths.  There was a tradition whereby the King had to reaffirm his place by first mating with a sacred white mare and then cooking and eating her flesh and bathing in the water that was left after the horse’s bones were boiled. 
The mare was the symbol of the Goddess and the King had to become Her consort in order to rule.  The Mother GOddess was the conduit through which the souls of the dead could pass into the Summerlands and be reborn again.

Rhiannon: The Sea Goddess”
The only relation specificially mentioned between Pwyll and Manawydan is that Pryderi gave his mother Rhiannon in marriage to Manawydan after thedeath of Pwyll, Pryderi’s father and Rhiannon’s first husband. Manannan mac Lir’Manannan, Son of Lir’, was an Irish sea-god (OI leir, ler, ‘sea, ocean’)and eponymous hero-god of the Manxmen, whose island was named after him. He also is directly related to the Welsh sea-god Manawydan fab Llyr. Like many of the primal IE ocean gods, Manannan was older than the Danann sky gods, yet was considered one of them.
Though Manawyddan is involved in almost all the events of the Mabinogi of Branwen ferch Ll±r he is there as an observer. His only real role is to be one of the seven survivors of the Brythonic invasion of Ireland to return to Britain with Brân’s head. His story really starts in the next tale, the Mabinogi of Manawyddan fab Llŷr.

After the events of the Mabinogi of Branwen ferch Llŷr, Manawyddan is the only man left without a realm and Pryderi (who also survived the war in Ireland) offers his own realm to Manawyddan and gifts him his mother, Rhiannon to be Manawyddan’s wife.

Related Sources:
“The Religion of the Ancient Celtsby J. A. MacCulloch (1911)
“The encyclopedia of Celtic mythology and folklore”  by Patricia Monaghan (2004)


Symbolism of Rhiannon on the Mabinogion
September 23, 2011, 4:38 pm
Filed under: Celtic Moon Goddess, Celtic Symbolism

The Mabinogion

It is acknowledged that the
Mabinogion is the most valuable written source where the character of Rhiannon appears.

Mabinogion(măbĭnō`gēən), is the title given to a collection of medieval Welsh stories. Scholars differ as to the meaning of the word mabinogion: some think it to be the plural of the Welsh word mabinogi, which means “youthful career”; others think it derives from the Welsh word mabinog, meaning “aspirant to bardic honor.”

The stories in the Mabinogion are found in two manuscripts, the White Book of Rhydderch (c.1300–1325) comprising the The Four Branches of the Mabinogi: Culhwch and Olwen; The Dream of Macsen Wledig; Lludd and Llefelys; Peredur; Owain (also known as The Lady of the Fountain); and Geraint and Enid; and the Red Book of Hergest (c.1375–1425) which most notably, contains the tale of the Dream of Rhonabwy.

The first four tales, which are called collectively The Four Branches of the Mabinogi, are divided into Pwyll, Branwen, Manawydan, and Math; their connecting link, now obscured by many accretions, is the story of Prince Gwri or, as he is later called, Pryderi, who is the child of Pwyll Pendefig Dyfed and Rhiannon.

Rhiannon features in both the first and third branches of the Mabinogi, the tales of:

(a tale that revolves around his friendship with the ruler of the nether-realm, his finding and gaining Rhiannon as a wife, the birth, loss and re-discovery of his son) &

(a tale that recounts how Pryderi ,-who survived the war in Ireland-, offers his own realm to Manawyddan and gifts him his mother, Rhiannon to be Manawyddan’s wife).


The Character

As commented on a previous post, Rhiannon is probably a reflex of the Celtic Great Queen goddess Rigantona and may also be associated with the horse goddess Epona.

In some versions of the legend, Rhiannon was the Celtic goddess who later became Vivienne, best known as the Lady of the Lake. She was the Celtic goddess who gave Arthur the sword Excalibur, empowering him to become King in the legends of Camelot.

As a Celtic Moon Goddess she is reputed to be extremely beautiful and have a tremendous singing prowess. She was born at the first Moonrise. She is generally pictured as being dressed in gold and riding a milk white horse, with birds around her head who are reputed to be able to sing the living to sleep and raise the dead with their song. Wiccans usually celebrate her feast day on July 4, but she is also celebrated at Beltane.

Her First Branch Story in Brief

Upon ascending the magical mound of Gorsedd Aberth, the Demetian king Pwyll witnesses the arrival of Rhiannon. Pwyll immediately fell in love, and when Rhiannon rode by, he followed her, but he could never bridge the distance between them, no matter how fast or long he rode.

Pwyll sends his best horsemen after her, but she always remains ahead of them, though her horse never does more than amble.

After three days, he finally calls out to her, and Rhiannon tells him she has come seeking him because she would rather marry him than Gwawl ap Clud, who was one of her “own kind”, much to the distress of her family, smiling to let him know all he had to do is ask for her.

A year after their meeting, Pwyll accidentally and foolishly promises Rhiannon to Gwawl, before managing to win her back through outwitting, bloodying and dishonouring his rival, with the magical use of a sack that could never be filled up.

A couple of years later, Rhiannon gave birth to a son, Pryderi, at the Winter Solstice.

However, on the night of his birth, he disappears while in the care of six of Rhiannon’s ladies-in-waiting , and the servants panicked.

They schemed and decided to put puppy blood on Rhiannon’s face as she was sleeping, and scattered puppy bones all around her.

Rhiannon is forced to do penance for her supposed crime, since everyone believed Rhiannon had eaten her baby.

As punishment, she humbly stood at the castle gates with a horse’s collar around her neck. She was obliged to offer to carry anyone who came to the gates inside to their destination. She never complained over the long seven years she was humiliated this way.

One day, her son came to the gate, and mother and son immediately recognized each other, and Rhiannon’s good name was restored. The boy is eventually reunited with Pwyll and Rhiannon and is renamed Pryderi, meaning “loss”. Some time later, Pwyll dies peacefully and Pryderi ascends to the throne, marrying Cigfa and amalgamating the seven cantrefs of Morgannwg to his kingdom.


Symbolism of Rhiannon on the Mabinogion

This shows how incredibly forgiving and truly regal she was. She knows hardship, and comforts us with understanding when we call on her.

The story of the Celtic goddess Rhiannon reminds us of the healing power of humor, tears, and forgiveness.

The goddess Rhiannon is a goddess of movement and change who remains steadfast, comforting us in times of crisis and of loss.

She is a goddess of love, even sexual love, giving her associations also with Venus, and her transformative powers are strongest when used for love of others or self. She is thought of as an example of true love and beauty, and it is said one can only completely know Rhiannon when they truly love themselves. She also shows us, through love and intent, that transformation is really possible. She represents the constant ebb and flow of life and how we are ALWAYS able to create change.

Rhiannon is also known as a Goddess of Doubt, in that she helps us to work out the doubt we have in our lives, and helps us listen to our instincts. She encourages us to seek answers to our questions and not to blindly trust.

Though depicted with a human form Rhiannon she may euhemerize an earlier goddess ofCeltic Polytheism.

Similar euhemerisms of pre-Christian deities can be found in other medieval Celtic literature, when Christian scribes and redactors may have felt uncomfortable writing about the powers of pagan gods. In the Táin Bó Cúailnge, for example, Macha and Morrígan appear as larger-than-life figures, but are never described as goddesses, very similar to the presentation of Rhiannon in the Mabinogion.

Proinsias Mac Cana states:
“[Rhiannon] reincarnates the goddess of sovereignty who, in taking to her a spouse, thereby ordained him legitimate king of the territory which she personified”.

According to Miranda Jane Green, “Rhiannon conforms to two archetypes of myth … a gracious, bountiful queen-goddess; and as the ‘wronged wife’, falsely accused of eating charlotte”.

Related Sources:



Celtic Moon Goddess Rhiannon: Symbols and Sacred Objects
September 23, 2011, 3:27 pm
Filed under: Celtic Jewellery, Celtic Moon Goddess, Celtic Symbolism

As I have commented on a previous post, Rhiannon is associated to a “Goddess of fertility”, and also to the moon, night, and death. Her name means ‘Night Queen’. She is associated with horses and has otherworldly birds in her posession. Along with Arianrhod, bears the symbolism of Celtic Moon Goddess with “Fertility” as a common quality and power.

Some also associate her to the Irish “Macha” and the Gaulish “Epona“, the “Horse Goddess”; but I guess it is because of it’s relation with the horse as depicted on the welsh Mabinogion, which does not present Rhiannon as anything other than human.

She is probably a reflex of the Celtic Great Queen goddess Rigantona.

Rhiannon thus bears the stamp of two important Gaulish cults: that of the “Horse Goddess” Epona on one hand; and Matrona, the “Great Mother”, on the other. Rigantona ‘Great Queen’, as Rhiannon would have been known in Romano-British times, is best considered a local variant of this composite figure.

Goddess symbols, individualized for each goddess, were incorporated into the worship of the ancient goddesses, were often worn as jewelry, and also used in the household decor as talismans to seek the goddesses special gifts, blessings, or protection. A large number of goddess symbols have survived in statuary and other works of art.

Many of the goddess symbols come from the legends surrounding a specific goddess and were “characters” in her story. Other goddess symbols were derived from the rituals used in the ancient rites of worship of these pagan goddesses.

Rhiannon is often represented by symbols associated with her astonishing “other-worldliness”.

General
Moon, horses, horseshoe, songbirds,
gates, the wind, and the Number 7.

Animals

Horse, badger, frog, dogs (especially puppies),
canaries and other songbirds, hummingbirds, and dragons.

Plants
Narcissus and daffodils, leeks, pansies, forsythia,
cedar and pine trees, bayberry, sage, and rosemary

Perfumes/Scents
Sandalwood, neroli, bergamot, lavender,
narcissus, and geranium.

Gems and Metals
Gold, silver, cat’s eye, moonstone,
crystal quartz, ruby, red garnet, bloodstone, turquoise, and amethyst.

Colours
Dark green, maroon, gold, silver,
rich brown, white, black, charcoal grey, and ruby red.

Related Sources:



Facebook Page : "Love of Rhiannon – Celtic Moon Goddess"
September 13, 2011, 12:06 am
Filed under: Celtic Moon Goddess, Memorable Data

Full Moon Blessings to all bloggers!
As promised
“Love of Rhi
annon”
was OFFICIALY Launched today…

Also
“Celtic Moon Charm”

a Special Facebook Application
has been developed as p
art of this new Page
related to the Celtic Moon Goddess


Thanks to all who had join us and keep up the sacred fire always!
Bliss and blessings of light ☼

Dedicated to Rhiannon, in all Her many manifestations. For those who love this beautiful goddess and welcome Her into their lives.