For today’s post I would like to take a look at the way Rhiannon can be seen as connected to the legendary tale of Lady Godiva! The Goddess Rhiannon had a story that began with her riding a beautiful white horse at a slow and steady pace across a magical border between the land of Dyved (a human kingdom) and the mystical land of the Otherworld. Similarly, Lady Godiva’s famous tale was of her riding her horse naked through Coventry, the land which was ruled by her husband!
Rhiannon and her association with horses is famous and quite iconic. It also connects her to the Gaulish horse Goddess Epona, and her name is seen as connecting her to Rigatona. There have even been some who would like to connect her to the water Goddess Coventina, and that to me shows a connection to the land of Coventry, where Lady Godiva had her famous ride! Both Rhiannon and Godiva had stories that were connected to the medieval period.
Godiva, if she really lived, had her famous ride in the eleventh century, and the story of Rhiannon was likely first officially written down around that time! I have to wonder if Godiva was real, and had read the story of Rhiannon, and was inspired by the tale of this horse riding faery woman. Could she have then decided that riding a horse was the perfect way to make a statement. This naked ride surely caused a stir in her contemporaries. She became known as an ultimate rebel woman who was willing to do what she needed in order to get what she felt was right to happen.
I have seen images of Rhiannon that honestly look like they could be of Lady Godiva, and that is part of what inspired this blog post today! Their stories are both about using your personal sovereignty to gain change. Rhiannon went through many a terrible time, and she held her head high in dignity. Godiva is still inspiring to people today, and certainly people would still pay homage to her when they are taking a stand. Rhiannon has a story that similarly inspires many a modern woman to take charge of her personal power, and to hold her head high in times of trouble! Both, therefore serve as an inspiration to people throughout history. I hope you have enjoyed this short comparison between Rhiannon and Godiva. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is the image that inspired the post. It is Rhiannon looking very Godiva. I found the image on Etsy.com.
- The Mabinogion translated by Sioned Davies