Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...



Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]


Views: 16,509,495


April 20th. 2014 ...

Six Rules for Safer Pagan Sex: A Guide

Safety: Let's Shift Our Focus

A Pagan Perspective on Easter

Morality and Controversy in the Craft

The Oak King's Domain (A Story)

The Star Child


April 13th. 2014 ...

Magick and Consequences: My Experience with Sigils

Being a Worrisome Witch

Don't Talk Yourself Out of Trying Something New!

What to Do When the Spell/Ritual Flops


April 6th. 2014 ...

The Elements and the Quarters

Dark Moon Scry: Aries 2014

How the Wheel of the Year Works “Down Under”

13 Keys: The Understanding of Binah


March 30th. 2014 ...

Manifesting the Dream: On Religious Organizations, Pagan Abbeys and our Order

True Meaning of Community

Thoughts on Unverified Personal Gnosis

My Beautiful Grove- A Matter Of Perspective


March 23rd. 2014 ...

Spirituality and Social Change

The First Step to Anywhere!


March 16th. 2014 ...

From Christian to Pagan (Part I)

Nature And The Celtic Tree Calendar

The Teeth in the Darkness


March 9th. 2014 ...

Healing the Witch Within

Incarcerated Witches

Discovering Wicca as a Young Child

March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright


March 2nd. 2014 ...

Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward

The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role

Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?

The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects


February 23rd. 2014 ...

Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences

Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless

The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community

What Makes Us What We Are


February 16th. 2014 ...

The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief

Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing

Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence

Alternative Medicine – What Is It?


February 9th. 2014 ...

Words of Power!

The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse

Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings


February 2nd. 2014 ...

The Magick of Jewelry and Metals

Building a Magick Mirror

The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)


January 26th. 2014 ...

Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do

The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)

13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed

Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected


January 19th. 2014 ...

Open Letter to the Goddess

A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality

Social Conventions and the Pagan World

Reclaiming Independence


January 12th. 2014 ...

Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing

One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression


January 5th. 2014 ...

Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age

Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey

2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!

Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild


December 29th. 2013 ...

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)

13 Keys: The Might of Geburah

Beyond The Season of Greed


December 22nd. 2013 ...

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)


December 15th. 2013 ...

The Hex Murder of 1928

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)

Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)

Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots


December 8th. 2013 ...

Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey

Using Your Wand in Reverse

The Cry of the Soul

Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward


December 1st. 2013 ...

The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness

A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism

Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?


November 24th. 2013 ...

The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective

The Pagan and the Papacy


November 17th. 2013 ...

Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca

For Love of the God

A Threat to Religious Liberties?


November 10th. 2013 ...

Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?


NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.












Article Specs

Article ID: 13471

VoxAcct: 268744

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 1,727

Times Read: 3,599

RSS Views: 16,409
Arianrhod - The Silver Wheel

Author: Alfred Willowhawk, DMsc, RMT, CTM, Shaman
Posted: August 2nd. 2009
Times Viewed: 3,599

Introduction:

The Mabinogion is one of the most translated bodies of Cymric, (Welsh) myth. According to Wikipedia the Mabinogion is the pre-Christian Celtic mythology, international folktale motifs, and on early medieval historical traditions. While some details may hark back to older Iron Age traditions, each of these tales is the product of a highly developed Welsh narrative tradition, both oral and written. Lady Charlotte Guest first translated them into English in the mid 19th century

Notice that they are listed as a compendium of pre-and post Christian mythology. The sections that we are most interested in are the original Four Branches. These are most definitely of pre-Christian origin.

We meet Arianrhod ( ari – an- rod) in the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogion under questionable circumstances. After Gwydyon (ge-dee-on) and Gilvaethwy (gil-vay-tin) conspired to "take" Goewin, (and were punished most effectively - read the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogion for more information) Arianrhod is brought to Math and requested to show her virgin nature by jumping over his Staff. This being done, two children came out of her. The first was Dylan, who became Lord of the Sea and the second, a small dark child, was spirited away by Gwydyon before any could see him.

Arianrhod returns to Caer Arianrhod, (The seat of Understanding) and Dylan passes out of the story. The second son is secreted away and later through a series of trials becomes Llew.

Each interaction between Arianrhod and Gwydyon and her son Llew gives an interesting insight.

The first thing to look at is that she first tells Gwydyon that he will have no other name than the one she gives him, no other armor than the armor she gives him, and no earthly bride. At first this seems a real short changing of a child that did nothing wrong accept to be born. This is not the case. In Iron Age cultures it was the role of the mother as the manifestation of the Mother Goddess to name and prepare their son for the future. Each child's name was carefully chosen based upon the mother's understanding intuitively of the child. The mother also gave armor, or “that which was necessary for a child to become a man or women”.

As to the last statement, no earthly bride, that is actually a prophecy that can be seen working out in the later part of the Fourth Branch, and will not be discussed in this article.

What significance does the child's name Llew which means Sun King, (llew) also spelled Llew which actually means lion, a difference in pre and post Christian translations, have? Notice in the myth that Arianrhod is watching the disguised child and Gwydyon making shoes and the boy shooting a wren's foot, which is a skill shot.

The wren is a bird of the Goddess Rhiannon (here-ree-an-non) and the Heroine Branwen (bran-win) and represents a Light from the Otherworld, or Celtic spirit realms. It is also the Celtic King of all Birds and was seen as the symbol of wit and keen insight. Like many other birds, the Wren was considered to be the messenger between the terrestrial world and the Otherworld.

According to the legend of the Wren, when all the birds competed for supremacy, the Wren answered the challenge of the Eagle: the one bird that flies closer to the Sun will be declared King of the Birds. When the Eagle could fly no higher, the Wren, that had taken shelter within the Eagle's feathers, jumped up and flew an extra few inches higher, thus proclaiming itself King.

This is also giving us a hint for later in the Branch when Lug turns himself into an eagle.

So, we see that Llew “masters' the king of birds and later becomes one.

The second action, “armor” is granted him only after Arianrhod is again seems to be tricked into giving it to him.

While a cursory reading of this branch shows that she seems to be easily fooled. In the next part we will take a look at other information on Arianrhod who after all is the Goddess of the Silver Wheel.

According to most sources, Arianrhod and her Silver Wheel is a common motif in Celtic mythology. It represents the wheel of the year and the wheel of birth and rebirth. It is my contention that to understand the behavior of this Goddess in the Mabinogion is to examine her Goddess form. Once one has completed this one can incorporate these lessons into one's spiritual path the lesson and essence of the Silver Wheel.

Arachne and Lunar Astrology

One natural creature stands out as creator of a silver wheel: The Spider. Yes, this strange creature who is not an insect, with 8 legs and a unique ability to spin webs. Most of these webs are circular, and last for one night to trap its prey. As is nature's way, the spider traps the insects, eats them, and uses the energy to create more spiders. Another wheel of life.

In astrology, there are actually 13 signs. There are the common 12 and the Sign of Arachne or Ophiuchus which is no longer used in the zodiac. Yet prior to the 5th century, (Anonymous 379) this constellation was used. The arcane knowledge indicates that individuals who were born under this star had a proclivity to be healer or scholars.

According to Patricia Crowther in her work, Covensense, recognition of this 13th zodiac sign is one of the special practices of the Craft of the Wise.

Arianrhod - The Goddess

She is the Goddess of the Silver Wheel, and her very name in Welsh is Silver (arian) wheel (rhod) .

Therefore, we can say that she IS the Silver Wheel. Other cultures represent the Silver Wheel as the Moon in its full stage. In Welsh traditions, she is the Goddess of the Otherworld tower of Initiation, (Caer Sidi) , where each bard went to learn the great wisdom, (understanding) and where the dead go between their incarnations. She is the Goddess of childbirth, the moon, fertility, and fate. For some Welsh family traditions, she is the full moon, and her home is Caer Arianrhod, the Corona Borealis, or Northern Lights.

What exactly is the significance of death and rebirth? We know in old Path beliefs and religions that have an agricultural root, that death and rebirth are related to the agricultural cycle. Each year, the earth "dies" (winter) , and is "reborn", (spring) . Even in non-agricultural societies, new animals were born in the spring and summer months.

Therefore, she has become associated with the spider, the wheel of life, and the wheel of the year.

The Mabinogion and Silver Wheel Explained

Now let us return to the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogion. Arianrhod, a "virgin", gave birth to the twin sons, Llew, and Dylan. Dylan became the God of the Sea, and Llew, was burdened with a taboo, from Arianrhod to never have a name, armor, or wife of earthly kind. Using our understanding of the Silver Wheel, let us examine this myth.

At first, Arianrhod said she was a virgin. What exactly IS a 'virgin'?

Judeo Christian theology would have us believe that it is a woman who never had sex. However, according to dictionary.com it can also be said that a virgin is an unmarried girl or woman or saint.

What is a 'saint'? Again from the same source a saint is a person of great holiness, virtue, or benevolence. So, putting both of these together we get a new definition of a virgin.

A virgin is an unmarried female who shows great holiness, virtue and benevolence. Sounds like a good definition of a Goddess to me.

When Math used his magick and the two children appeared from Arianrhod, it shows that he impinged upon her honor. She was rightly upset, as she WAS unmarried. Math for his part, devoted Dylan to the Goddess and the God, and he, (Dylan) , became a God himself. As to the second, dark, small, son, he was spirited away and neither Math, nor Arianrhod had an opportunity to see or name him.

We do see that Arianrhod, (who had no intention of acknowledging this son) , can be associated very easily as the Goddess of Childbirth and Fertility.

Next, as she is "tricked" into giving her unacknowledged son, a name, and armor, it is not unexpected that she would be associated with fate as well. Again, let us examine the definition of the word fate.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, 'fate' is defined as the will or principle or determining cause by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as they do. Remember that the last taboo from Arianrhod was that her son Llew would have no earthly bride.

Math and Gwydion made him a wife out of flowers. This wife purportedly betrays her husband (a later article) , which leads to an entire series of events resulting in the symbolic death and rebirth of her son. Therefore, we see that Arianrhod is related to death and rebirth as well.

Lastly, we need to examine how she comes to be the Goddess of Bards, or true knowledge. For this we only need to objectively examine the entire story. She grants this knowledge to her son with each of her actions as discussed above. She gives him a name, and armor, and indirectly, all participants learn a valuable lesson in the later events. Truly, Llew ends up without an earthly wife, while becoming a true warrior of spirit.

Therefore, it is fitting that Arianrhod the Silver Wheel, is the Goddess of death, rebirth, childbirth, and bardic knowledge.





Footnotes:
The Mabinogion
Covensense, Patricia Crowther
Anoymous 379
Ophiuchus [the '13th sign']


Copyright: Alfred Willowhawk, all universal rights reserved including reprinting. Please seek Author permission or give appropriate credit to the author. Reprinted here by author.



ABOUT...

Alfred Willowhawk, DMsc, RMT, CTM, Shaman


Location: West Plains, Missouri

Website: http://www.spiritualcoachwillowhawk.com

Author's Profile: To learn more about Alfred Willowhawk, DMsc, RMT, CTM, Shaman - Click HERE




Other Articles: Alfred Willowhawk, DMsc, RMT, CTM, Shaman has posted 16 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE




Email Alfred Willowhawk, DMsc, RMT, CTM, Shaman... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)

To send a private message to Alfred Willowhawk, DMsc, RMT, CTM, Shaman ...



Pagan Essays
1996-2014





Pagan Web
8,000 Links





Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.





Pagan/Witch
80,000 Profiles














Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops



Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World




Search Articles
1996-2014










 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide


NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).