Arianhod Celtic Star Moon Goddess by Maxine Miller
Arianrhod (ah-ree-AHN-rhohd), Arian meaning 'silver', and Rhod meaning 'wheel' or 'disc'. Celtic Moon-Mother Goddess. Called the Silver Wheel that Descends into the Sea. Daughter of the Mother Goddess Danu 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 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), the Castle of the ever-turning Silver Wheel, which is also known as the Wheel of the Stars.
The moon is the archetypal female symbol, representing the Mother Goddess connecting womb, death, rebirth, creation. (Albion, the old name of Britain, meant 'White Moon'). The Celts “know well the way of seas and stars”, and counted time not by days, but by nights, and made their calendars, such as the famous Coligny Calendar, not by the sun, but by the moon. Ancient astrologers took their observations from the position of the moon and its progress in relation to the stars – the starry wheel of Arianrhod.
In the Celtic Pantheon the Goddess has three major aspects: the maiden, the mother and the crone. These three represent the three stages in life of a woman. Blodeuwedd is the flower maiden, Arianrhod represents the mother and The Morrigan at last is the crone. These three aspects of the Celtic goddess may have different names in different regions and regional legends. For example, Morrigan also takes the mother role at times.
Things sacred to Arianrhod are the owl, wolf and the birch tree. Arianrhod is said to be able to shape shift into a large Owl, and through the great Owl-eyes, sees even into the darkness of the human subconscious and soul. The Owl symbolizes death and renewal, wisdom, moon magic, and initiations. The birch tree is the tree of new beginnings. To the Celts, the wolf was associated with the power of the moon.
The story of how Arianrhod was deceived is recounted in the fourth branch of the Welsh collection of stories, known as The Mabinogion, dating back in their oral form to the 4th century BC. The Mabinogion was not set in written form until the early medieval period. It is the story of the ancient, tribal gods and goddesses who through time morphed into mortal queens and kings. This story gives a clear picture of the disempowerment of the Goddess (and thus women) as patriarchal society replaced the ancient Goddess worshipping societies.
The ages had turned; new fashions entered the realm and the idea of chaste virginity entered human consciousness. Arianrhod became enamored of the glamour of this fashion, yet with no intention or desire of practicing said idea.
Arianrhod’s uncle, the magician King Math, was under a strange taboo which required him to keep his feet in the lap of a virgin whenever he was not actively engaged in battle. Gwydion, with intent of his own, suggested Arianrhod for this role. Thus Gwydion, who was Math’s successor and student in the magical arts, set out for Caer Sidi to present the offer to Arianrhod.
During his stay with Arianrhod, Gwydion had a different suggestion for her; he proposed marriage. The true heir to the house of Danu could only come through the female line and Gwydion wanted his seed to father that heir. But Arianrhod valued her position as an independent woman without need to be tied to a man. Perhaps she longed for the excitement of court; perhaps she wished to obtain some of Math’s magical powers herself.
Arianrhod journeyed with Gwydion to the castle of King Math. The king demanded proof of Her virginity. She had to step across a magical rod, which caused Her to birth twin boys. The first, who Math named Dylan, fled to the sea and swam away.
The second boy or perhaps the afterbirth, unnoticed by all present, was scooped up by Gwydion, birthed by magic and raised in a magic forest.
Gwydion, as Math’s apprentice, must have known of the powers of this rod and thus through guile and trickery forced Arianrhod to conceive his child.
When Arianrhod learned of this betrayal, she laid three curses on the boy. She denied the child a name or the right to bear arms – the right of Welsh mothers, which gives a clear indication of the ancient power of women. But Gwydion tricked Arianrhod into granting them. The third curse – “the boy shall have no wife of the race that is now on the earth,” Gwydion broke by creating a woman of flowers, Blodeuwedd, to be his son’s wife.
Humiliated, defeated, and betrayed, Arianrhod spent the rest of her days at Caer Arianrhod.
The Holly King and the Oak King, two twin gods seen as one complete entity. Each of the twin gods rule for half of a year, fights for the favor of the Goddess, and dies. But the defeated twin is not truly dead, he merely withdraws for six months, to Caer Arianrhod.
When Arianrhod speaks to you delve into your own soul; seek the knowledge of past lives; release the past; allow rebirth and renewal to occur. Be aware of the moon and the magic of her flowing changes. Open your heart to the infinite possibilities of the stars. Be in the open mind of the initiate who seeks truth of self and of others.