We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Silver Wheel

I have just finished reading a wonderful book called “The Silver Wheel” by Marguerite Elsbeth & Kenneth Johnson. This book explores the story of the Celtic Goddess Rhiannon, as written in “The Mabinogion." The authors attempt to relate her story to the trials and tribulations of women today. The following is a rather condensed version of Rhiannon’s amazing story.  

Rhiannon was the Celtic Goddess of song, white horses and death. Her name means, "Great Queen" and she is often depicted as a beautiful blonde-haired Goddess riding a swift, white horse. She is also considered a Triple Goddess – maiden, mother and crone. She was the wife of Pwyll, Prince of the Land of Dyved and the mother to their only son, Pryderi. She was wrongly accused of murdering her son and then later found innocent after he was returned to Dyved by his foster guardians. The child had actually been kidnapped by a man named Gwawl. Gwawl was the man whom Rhiannon’s father had promised her to before she had met Pwyll and a man whom she did not love. She and Pwyll had tricked Gwawl into releasing her from her fate of becoming his wife. Gwawl took his revenge by taking her child and framing her - making the kidnapping look like a murder.

After Pwyll had died years later, Rhiannon married Pryderi’s brother-in-law, Manawydan whom she was promised to by Pwyll upon his death. Together they ruled the Land of Dyved. Until one day, Rhiannon, her husband and Pryderi’s wife, Cigfa suddenly discovered that they were all alone in the land – everything else was gone! They roamed the land trying to find out what had happened. The next day, while hunting, Pryderi and Manawydan’s dogs chased a wild boar into a castle. When the dogs did not come back out, Pryderi went into the castle after them. When he did not come out, Rhiannon insisted upon going into the castle after him. As she entered the doorway, she found Pryderi’s hands frozen to a golden bowl which was attached to a fountain made of marble stone – his feet stuck to the slab of marble upon which he stood. Rhiannon then took hold of the bowl which enslaved him and she too became frozen to it. Neither one were able to speak. As night fell, the castle vanished!


Years after, while planting three seeds, Manawydan discovered that the first two seeds had been destroyed by a huge mouse. He decided to catch the mouse and place a noose around its neck to hang it. While attempting to hang the mouse, a Bishop approached him and began begging him not to kill it! Manawydan refused to let the mouse go until finally the Bishop explained to him that the mouse was actually his pregnant wife who had an enchantment placed upon her and that he was the one who cast the enchantment over Dyved to avenge his friend Gwawl, whom Rhiannon had dishonored so many years ago.

Manawydan insisted he would not let the creature go unless the Bishop freed his beloved wife Rhiannon and her son, Pryderi, and also promised to never harm him, his wife or her son ever again! The Bishop agreed and Rhiannon and her son were returned to Dyved where they finally lived happily ever after.

And oh yes, in case anyone was wondering, Stevie Nicks' beautiful song, "Rhiannon" was indeed written about this very inspirational Goddess! 

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