Deity of the Day for August 20th – Rhiannon, Horse Goddess of Wales

Deity of the Day

Rhiannon

Horse Goddess of Wales

In Welsh mythology, Rhiannon is a horse goddess depicted in the Mabinogion. She is similar in many aspects to the Gaulish Epona, and later evolved into a goddess of sovereignty who protected the king from treachery.

Rhiannon was married to Pwyll, the Lord of Dyfed. When Pwyll first saw her, she appeared as a golden goddess upon a magnificent white horse. Rhiannon managed to outrun Pwyll for three days, and then allowed him to catch up, at which point she told him she’d be happy to marry him, because it would keep her from marrying Gwawl, who had tricked her into an engagement. Rhiannon and Pwyll conspired together to fool Gwawl in return, and thus Pwyll won her as his bride. Most of the conspiring was likely Rhiannon’s, as Pwyll didn’t appear to be the cleverest of men. In the Mabinogion, Rhiannon says of her husband, “Never was there a man who made feebler use of his wits.” After Pwyll’s death, Rhiannon married Manawyden.

The goddess’ name, Rhiannon, derives from a Proto-Celtic root which means “great queen,” and by taking a man as her spouse, she grants him sovereignty as king of the land.

In addition, Rhiannon possesses a set of magical birds, who can soothe the living into a deep slumber, or wake the dead from their eternal sleep.

Her story features prominently in the Fleetwood Mac hit Rhiannon, although songwriter Stevie Nicks says she didn’t know it at the time. Later, Nicks said she “was struck by the story’s emotional resonance with that of her song: the goddess, or possibly witch, given her ability with spells, was impossible to catch by horse and was also closely identified with birds — especially significant since the song claims she “takes to the sky like a bird in flight,” “rules her life like a fine skylark,” and is ultimately “taken by the wind.”

Primarily, though, Rhiannon is associated with the horse, which appears prominently in much of Welsh and Irish mythology. Many parts of the Celtic world — Gaul in particular — used horses in warfare, and so it is no surprise that these animals turn up in the myths and legends or Ireland and Wales. Scholars have learned that horse racing was a popular sport, especially at fairs and gatherings, and for centuries Ireland has been known as the center of horse breeding and training.

Judith Shaw, at Feminism and Religion, says, “Rhiannon, reminding us of our own divinity, helps us to identify with our sovereign wholeness. She enables us to cast out the role of victim from our lives forever. Her presence calls us to practice patience and forgiveness. She lights our way to the ability to transcend injustice and maintain compassion for our accusers.”

Symbols and items that are sacred to Rhiannon in modern Pagan practice include horses and horseshoes, the moon, birds, and the wind itself.

An Iowa Pagan named Callista says, “I raise horses, and have worked with them since I was a child. I first encountered Rhiannon when I was a teenager, and I keep an altar to her near my stables. It’s got horsey things on it, like a horseshoe, a horse figurine, and even braids from the manes of horses I’ve lost over the years. I make an offering to her before horse shows, and I invoke her when one of my mares is about to give birth. She seems to like offerings of sweetgrass and hay, milk, and even music – I sometimes sit by my altar and play my guitar, just singing a prayer to her, and the results are always good. I know she’s watching over me and my horses.”

 

Author

A Little Humor for Your Day – Circle Etiquette (varied sources)

Circle Etiquette (varied sources)

  • Never summon Anything you can’t banish.
  • Never put asafoetida on the rocks in the sweat lodge.
  • Do not attempt to walk more than 10 paces while wearing all of your ritual jewelry, dream bags and crystals at the same time.
  • When proposing to initiate someone, do not mention the Great Rite, leer, and say, “Hey, your trad or mine?”
  • Never laugh at someone who is skyclad. They can see you, too.
  • Never, *ever* set the Witch on fire.
  • Looking at nifty pictures is not a valid path to mastering the ancient grimoires. Please read thoroughly and carefully from beginning to end so that your madness and gibberings will at least make some sense.
  • A good grasp of ritual and ritual techniques are essential! In the event of a random impaling, or other accidental death amongst the participants, (see next rule) a quick thinker can improvise to ensure successful completion of the Rite. Make them another sacrifice, Demons really love those those.
  • Watch where you wave the sharp pointy items.
  • Avoid walking through disembodied spirits.
  • Carry an all-purpose translator’s dictionary in case the ritual leader begins talking in some strange and unknown language.
  • Avoid joining your life force to anything with glowing red eyes.
  • If asked to sign a contract or pact and you are experiencing doubts or reservations, sign your neighbor’s name. Malevolent entities rarely ask for photo ID.
  • Blood IS thicker than water. Soak ritual garments an extra 30-45 minutes.
  • While drunken weaving may be mistaken for ecstatic dancing, slurring the names of Deities is generally considered bad form.
  • If the ritual leader should ask for a volunteer, resist the urge to raise your hand! While it is true that volunteering will most likely gain you stature and prestige amongst the group, thereby allowing you to advance quickly through the ranks, it is equally likely to get you strapped to a table and eaten alive by a drooling demonic horde.

Original Authors Unknown

Astronomy Picture of the Day – Gamma-rays and Comet Dust

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2016 August 20

Gamma-rays and Comet Dust
Image Credit & Copyright: Daniel López (El Cielo de Canarias)

Explanation: Gamma-rays and dust from periodic Comet Swift-Tuttle plowed through planet Earth’s atmosphere on the night of August 11/12. Impacting at about 60 kilometers per second the grains of comet dust produced this year’s remarkably active Perseid meteor shower. This composite wide-angle image of aligned shower meteors covers a 4.5 hour period on that Perseid night. In it the flashing meteor streaks can be traced back to the shower’s origin on the sky. Alongside the Milky Way in the constellation Perseus, the radiant marks the direction along the perodic comet’s orbit. Traveling at the speed of light, cosmic gamma-rays impacting Earth’s atmosphere generated showers too, showers of high energy particles. Just as the meteor streaks point back to their origin, the even briefer flashes of light from the particles can be used to reconstruct the direction of the particle shower, to point back to the origin on the sky of the incoming gamma-ray. Unlike the meteors, the incredibly fast particle shower flashes can’t be followed by eye. But both can be followed by the high speed cameras on the multi-mirrored dishes in the foreground. Of course, the dishes are MAGIC (Major Atmospheric Gamma Imaging Cherenkov) telescopes, an Earth-based gamma-ray observatory on the Canary Island of La Palma.

Earth Sky News for August 20: See the daytime moon

See the daytime moon

 

Your Daily Influences for August 20th

Your Daily Influences
August 20, 2016

 

The Magician
This card represents the force of your will, the mastery of skills and your creative talents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gebo
Gebo represents the coming of gifts and favors. While each are usually positive events, they often carry obligations with them. Gebo often represents strong bonds such as deep friendships and marriage.

 

 

 

Taurus The Bull
This aspect of your life will be strongly influenced by a person who is patient, reliable, warmhearted, loving, persistent, determined, placid and security loving. This is a person you respect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Daily Influences represent events and challenges the current day will present for you. They may represent opportunities you should be ready to seize. Or they may forewarn you of problems you may be able to avoid or lessen. Generally it is best to use them as tips to help you manage your day and nothing more.

Your Charm for August 20th is The Dorje

Your Charm for Today

Today’s Meaning:
You are at a physical peak–particularly from a sexual perspective. Enjoy the next few weeks, for they can be remarkable if you let them.

General Description:
In India and Tibet the Dorje or Thunderbolt of Jupiter, is a favourite and greatly valued talisman. It is worn to protect against magic, all spiritual evils and to bring abundance, fruitfulness, and riches. The Dorje is shaped much like a dumb bell with pointed ends, and is the symbol of power and indestructibility. It is supposed to overcome the Buddhist gods Ahi and Vrittra, the serpents, which the Buddhists believe swallow up the waters and cause drought, starvation and death; compelling the serpents to disgorge the waters, and to pour down the fertilizing showers.