For today’s post I want to look at five of the most important Welsh Celtic goddesses. This list contains five goddesses that appear in the Mabinogion. I have mentioned all of them before, two of them I have written about more than once! Today will be a countdown of these goddesses that are central to Jhenah Telyndru’s Avalonian Tradition of Witchcraft. None of these goddesses is more important than another, and all of them are important in Welsh Celtic lore, so this is not a ranking, just an informational list. Without further ado here are the five goddesses:
~Ceridwen is the keeper of the Cauldron of Inspiration. Through the magical power of her cauldron, and transformative abilities (she could transform into birds including a hawk and a hen) she defeated Gwion when he tried to steal the wisdom of her cauldron for himself. Nine months after devouring him, she birthed a son who she called Taliesin, and he was the twice born son of Ceridwen (for he was first Gwion) and became the greatest bard Britain ever knew!
~Arianrhod is the Lady of the Silver Wheel. She was a virgin goddess of complete sovereignty within herself. She was tricked into loss of virginity and bearing two sons, one who would be born complete and return to the sea (Dylan of the Waters), and the second not yet fully formed (a child). In retaliation she chose not to name him, but was tricked into that as well, and he was called Lleu Llaw Gyffes. She placed taboos upon him, one of which is that he could not marry a human woman. So the magicians Math and Gwydion made him a wife from flowers, and she would become the goddess Bloduewedd.
~Branwen is the embodiment of Sovereignty. She is sister of Bran, as they form two parts of the whole, as the white raven and the black. Her name actually means white raven. She bestows sovereignty unto the king of Ireland. Her tale ends with her death of a broken heart!
~Rhiannon is a goddess I have written about more than once. She is a faerie queen of the Otherworld who rides a white horse, and she has birds that sing a powerful song. Her story has her marrying twice, and giving birth to a son who is taken from her and hidden away. She is persecuted because of her nurses claiming she killed her son! When he is returned, her role is restored. She is a goddess that teaches us no burden cannot be surpassed! Finally, she has an iconic Stevie Nicks song about her. Stevie actually read the name and was inspired, even before knowing the whole story of Rhiannon!
~Bloduewedd is another goddess I have written about multiple times here on White Rose of Avalon. She is the flower bride and owl of wisdom. She was created to marry Lleu Llaw Gyffes, and had a seemingly happy life until she fell in love. She knew she could not stay in an unhappy union, and plotted with her lover to kill her husband (he was difficult to kill and the plot took a year). She ended up being cursed by the magicians that made her into the form of an owl! She is oft maligned (like Guinevere, and I have a whole post about their similarities in their respective tales). In truth she is a strong goddess who can show us a way to personal power!
I hope you have enjoyed learning about these five powerful goddesses of the Mabinogion! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Spelling: There are multiple spellings of most of the names featured in this post, and I have chosen to use one spelling here to save confusion!
- Avalon Within by Jhenah Telyndru
- The Fairy Bible by Teresa Moorey
- Rhiannon: Divine Queen of the Celtic Britons by Jhenah Telyndru
- Flower Face: A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Blodeuwedd edited by Jhenah Telyndru