Updated: Dec 23, 2020
¨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
All your life you've never seen A woman taken by the wind Would you stay if she promised you heaven? Will you ever win?¨
From Skye Alexander's ¨Your Goddess Year¨
Dates for Inviting Her: November 20-26
The sun is now in Sagittarius, the sign astrologers associate with horses and the half-horse/half-man centaur that is the sign's symbol. Sagittarius is also the sign of travel, both physical and spiritual, so this week we honor the Welsh goddess Rhiannon, a horsewoman of extraordinary skill and speed. She's also a shaman who journeys between the worlds of the living and the dead.
This beautiful, red-haired goddess hails from a place known as Annwfn (the Otherworld), where Celtic mythology tells us the deities live, or perhaps from the land of the fey, or fairies. Welsh stories written down in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, known as The Mabinogion, describe this goddess as a fairy woman, daughter of the fairy king and the queen of Gwent. Her job was to ride her horse across the sky every day and guide the sun's path from dawn to dusk.
Like all goddesses, feyfolk, and shamans, Rhiannon was a shape-shifter and possessed the ability to travel to many realms of existence. One day while riding her white horse across the wild Welsh terrain she slipped into the physical world where she caught the eye of a mortal-and not just an ordinary guy but Pwyll, the king of Dyfed in southwestern Wales. He tried to catch her, but the swift goddess eluded him until he begged her to marry him and she acquiesced.
Folklore tells us Rhiannon not only loved horses, but that she was also accompanied by birds wherever she went. Her magical birds' songs had the power to heal people and to bring the dead back to life. Rhiannon's marriage quickly went downhill. She bore a son to King Pwyll, but mysteriously the child vanished, perhaps kidnapped by one of Rhiannon's earlier and jealous suitors or someone else who wished her harm. When servants framed Rhiannon for killing the baby, Pwyll punished his wife by forcing her to sit outside the city's gate and confess to one and all a crime she didn't commit. She even carried folks who had business with Pwyll on her back, like a horse. Finally, after seven years, the missing boy was discovered in a neighboring stable, where he displayed his mother's equine facility. Rhiannon's unfair ordeal ended, and she was reinstated as queen of Dyfed.
Stories about Rhiannon suggest she was an intelligent, confident, freedom-loving deity. Nonetheless, she accepted the unfair punishment her husband laid on her and bore the subsequent cruel humiliation with forbearance and dignity.When you feel unjustly judged or burdened, when you're at your wits end and just want to give up, Rhiannon can help you reach into your deepest regions and draw upon the inner reserves of courage, patience, and perseverance you possess to carry on. By stoically sitting with a challenge, instead of running away, you can summon the power to face and overcome it.
Take a walk in a park, nature preserve, or wild place. Turn off your phone and silence all other distractions. Attune yourself to the sounds of the birds, animals, and the natural world around you. Let them help you establish a bond with all of nature, dispelling fears that arise from a mis-guided sense of isolation and insignificance.
How To Invite Her
This meditation lets you experience the healing nature of birdsong. Spending time in the natural world, communing with wildlife, can ease stress and provide strength and stability. You'll need:
Wild birdseeds (Birds need extra nutrition during cold weather). Find out what birds live in your area at this time of the year and buy what's appropriate, perhaps a mix that contains dried fruit and nuts. (Cardinals like sunflower seeds.)
1. If you live in a rural or suburban area, spend time outdoors listening to the birds in your neighborhood. Or, go to a park.
2. Scatter birdseed on the ground.
3. Turn off your phone so you won't be distracted. Allow your mind to grow quiet.
4. Contemplate a problem you're facing, one in which you feel disrespected, misunderstood, or unfairly treated. Ask Rhiannon to speak to you and offer guidance.
5. Listen to the birdsong around you. What do you intuit the birds are saying? Can you hear Rhiannon\'s voice among them, sharing her wisdom with you?
6. Pay attention to insights that arise in your mind now. This is the goddess's way of advising and encouraging you as you grapple with your challenge.
7. Feel a sense of peace descending around you as Rhiannon infuses you with her strength and the birds heal you with their music. If you happen to find a feather on the ground, keep it as a token of the goddess's love.
8. Repeat this meditation each day of this week, if possible. Thank the goddess for accompanying you and bolstering your courage.