Rhiannon

Rhiannon is a Welsh goddess of horses and the otherworld who is associated with both the moon and sun. She rides a white mare and is accompanied by three magical birds known as 'Adar Rhiannon.' It is believed that their song can awaken the dead and lull the living to sleep for seven years. Some scholars believe that Rhiannon is the Welsh manifestation of the Gaulish horse goddess Epona and she is linked with fertility, regeneration, feminine strength and enchantment.

'Rhiannon' from The Mabinogion by Alan Lee
 
Rhiannon features in The Mabinogion, a book of Welsh mythology. In one tale she is pursued by the prince Pwyll who follows her on his horse. No matter how fast Pwyll rides, he is not able to catch up with her. Eventually he asks her to stop and she does, also agreeing to marry him. When their newborn son Pryderi is abducted after his birth, Rhiannon is accused of killing him and forced to endure a humiliating punishment. In a later story she and her son are trapped in an enchanted castle. After her husband Pwyll dies, she marries Manawydan. Rhiannon is an otherworldly woman who chooses to live in this world, despite the challenges it presents her. After

Adar Rhiannon' by Tammy Wampler

Unrelated to her mythology, when many people think of Rhiannon, they also think of the famous song by Fleetwood Mac. Stevie Nicks wrote this song after reading a book inspired by the character Rhiannon. At the time she had no knowledge of the mythology, but later realised that her song indeed captured the spirit of this otherworldly woman. Their live performances of this song began to take on an almost mystical energy, as you can see in the video below.

 

Some more artwork featuring Rhiannon:

'Rhiannon Riding in Arberth' - from The Mabinogion, Lady Charlotte Guest translation, 1877.

'Rhiannon' from The Goddess Tarot - Kris Waldherr.

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