I sometimes have a hard time deciding where to publish things like this. So I’m posting it to Daven’s Journal as well as to my private Livejournal, simply because it is important to each.
Rhiannon of the Birds, Goddess, mother of Pryderi, beloved and wife of both Pwyll (Chancellor of Anwynn) and Manawydan (god of the sea). Mother figure, Queen and associated with Horses (and in some studies, linked to Epona). Former Goddess and denizen of the Bright World, where she was betrothed to a god she didn’t like, whose brother took revenge on her later, destroying Dyfed, Pwyll’s kingdom.
- I have seen no references connecting her to birds, other than a passing mention in the Mabinogion, and specifically the story of Branwen by the head of Bran the Blessed who is trying to make sure his comrades are healed in mind, body and soul. He mentions that the Birds have a song that will allow rest and peace.
- Her connection to horses is somewhat more provable. The first mention is when Pwyll is chasing her and trying to speak to Her. She never moves her horse out of a trot, yet it keeps going faster than the fastest horse that Pwyll can mount, and he only catches up to Her when he asks Her to stop.
- Her next connection to horses occurs when She has a child and it vanishes. Her son, later to be known as Pryderi, is found by a farmer on the same night as a foal is born in his barn. The foal is stolen and the baby is left in its place.
- Because the nursemaids who were to be watching the child fell asleep and allowed the child to be stolen, they killed a puppy and smeared Rhiannon with its blood and laid the bones nearby. They accused Her of eating Her son so they would not get in trouble. Because of this, Rhiannon was sentenced by the Druids to serve as a “horse” for visitors to the castle. She was to tell them the story of her sentence if they hadn’t heard it, and then give them a ride to the great hall from the gates on Her back, if they choose to take it. She had to offer the ride however.
- This sentence lasted for 7 years until her son was restored to Her and Pwyll.
Those are the stories that are out there and in the Mabinogion. They are what is. I, however, extracted some additional information from it.
- Other sources have noted that she is a Goddess of Sovereignty, meaning that She was the living embodiment of the Land, and marriage to her was a marriage to the Land and thus to the rulership of a place. I managed to come to this conclusion without others telling me. This is evidenced by her being a ruler in her former world, marrying Pwyll and allowing him to be a great ruler. Then there is Manawydan, arguably the High King of all of the Land, marrying her without much thought and being, once again, a king.
- I also think she is a goddess of Love. She loved Pwyll enough that She sacrificed all that She was, all that She could have had for the slight chance to love another and have him love her. She went through the tortures of Hel simply because she loved her man. And he, inexplicably, loved Her in return since he did not “put her away” and marry another when she had trouble bearing an heir. Pwyll loved Rhiannon so much that he took the risk of totally alienating some of his people. Those who took Rhiannon up on her offer of a ride were treated as less than nothing for the insult they gave his beloved wife. Manawydan fell in love with Her off Her son’s description of Her beauty. Those who loved Her loved Her completely and totally.
- I believe that it is not a stretch to say that She is also the Goddess of Strife and Perseverance. Basically keeping your chin up and continuing on despite all obstacles placed in your path. As evidenced by Her seven year sentence to carry people on her back, keeping a crime that She was innocent of alive and fresh in everyone’s minds, including Her own. She was not allowed to forget, get closure or to move on. So She suffered and kept going, despite that suffering. She was one that may not have been cheerful, She never quit nor did She let it get to Her.
- I have noticed a change in my own life since I began my relationship with Her. She has demanded that I become myself, that I do the absolute best I can to become the best person I can, to have personal sovereignty. She has demanded that I continue to move forward, no matter how abused I am, and through perseverance, I succeed and gain allies. Which is interesting since I have been going with Direct for the last 7 years and suffering quite a bit. And I have been married to my wife for the last 15 years and it feels like I have been with her for a week or two, and I can’t imagine life without her.
So that’s it. Huge revelations.