The Goddess Path  Issue #035

Rhiannon : The Goddess and her Lesson

December, 2005

This Issue: Table of Contents

1. Rhiannon: A Goddess for the New Year
2. Open Your Eyes, Minds, and Hearts
3. Yule History and Traditions
4. Goddess Goodies
 

Rhiannon's Lesson

Rhiannon, Celtic goddess of the moon and inspiration, and subject of the Fleetwood Mac (Stevie Nicks) recording that carries her name. She was the enchanting fairy princess who rode so swiftly that no horseman could catch her, loved and chose to marry a mortal king of Wales. 

But she was an outsider in his kingdom and slow to find acceptance there. When she did not quickly produce an heir to the throne, there was plenty of grumbling that the King would have done better to marry someone of 'his own kind'.

Eventually Rhiannon gave birth to a son, but her joy was quickly dashed when she wrongfully accused of murdering the infant. She bore her humiliating punishment with a grace and dignity that eventually melted the hearts of her adopted countrymen.

The myths of the goddess Rhiannon urge us to celebrate diversity, to see beyond the differences that divide us, to find

Read the myths of the Goddess Rhiannon


And, dear readers, do I ever have a find for you! If you're interested in having a truly delightful and inspiring experience, you will thoroughly enjoy the delightful storytelling of Katy Cawkwell. I listened to it in the car to and from work and the time just flew by.

Katy is a master storyteller who has performed Rhiannon and other traditional tales in theaters, concert halls, festivals, arts centers (and even pubs,  from the Barbican Pit Theatre to a burial chamber on Anglesey!

Her version of the myths of Rhiannon is based on the 14th century text of The Mabinogion. The second disc of the set takes up Rhiannon's story just where we leave off at the website. The story is truly entrancing, and her 'telling' is masterful indeed!

       
Visit Katy's website and learn more about her and the recording at:
http://www.katycawkwell.co.uk

A subscriber who received the "A Woman's Circle of Friends" (our Thanksgiving greeting) sent me a response, a message that was akin to Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story".   What she wrote was eloquent, moving and powerful and it deserves our contemplation. It asks us to...

Open Our Eyes, Minds, and Our Hearts

All my life, I've heard about the wonderful friendships women have. I'm a woman. But I'm probably not your friend. Let me tell you who I am...

I am the woman you will tell your troubles to in the line at the store...the one who will listen and empathize. But then you will smile, and maybe say thanks, but never ask my name.

I am the one who will walk out of the school with you and two other moms after a project in our children's classroom, and will hear you invite the other moms over for lunch, but will not be included.

I am the one who will hear all about the great scrapbook retreat you and another woman went to, and how you can't wait to do it again. But you will never ask me if I would like to join you.

I am the one you will tell all about your big, crazy Thanksgiving family dinners, and maybe you'll even ask to borrow a recipe or a baking pan, but even though I have no family within a thousand miles, you will not invite my child and me to join you because after all, we're not family.

I am the one with the book you need to borrow, the name of the doctor or Realtor you want to find, the one with information on the new restaurant, places to go on your vacation, or the website to help with your child's project. I am the one who can pick up your child when you're running late, pitch in when another mom didn't show for the gift
wrapping table at the school holiday market, or hold your hand when the doctor's news is scary.

I am the one who will ask you over to lunch, only to have you cancel...twice. I am the outsider, the not-from-around-here, the stranger in your midst. I am educated, well dressed, well mannered, and literate. I am a woman, a mom, a neighbor  But I do not go to your church. I do not celebrate the same holidays you do. I was not born
here. I did not grow up here. I am a woman with no friends. You tell me of the wonders of women's friendships. But you never see my tears. Do you even see me?

                             -Lynn, a subscriber to The Goddess Path
 


Yule History and Traditions

In Scotland, the last night of the year is Wish Night, a holiday when wishes made for the coming year are at their most powerful. The Winter Solstice is the time for visions. Rhiannon, rides through the dreams of her people by night, transporting them to the place between the worlds where they can create their own visions, giving them a gift of what they need most, helping them to make real their dreams.

The Winter Solstice is a magical season . . . one that marks the journey from this year to the next, journeys of the spirit from one world to the next, and the magic of birth, death, and rebirth. Throughout the world gods and goddesses of light were being born during the Winter Solstice.

The longest night of the year (December 21 in the Northern hemisphere, is followed by the start of the solar year and was accompanied by festivals of light to mark the rebirth of the Sun. In Northern Europe, the year's longest night is called "Mother Night" for it was in darkness the goddess Frigga labored to bring the Light to birth once more. The Young Sun, Baldur, who controlled the sun and rain and brings fruitfulness to the fields, was born. Her blessing is invoked for all birthing women, and a white candle that last burned on the solstice is kept as a charm to provide a safe delivery.

You can read more about Frigga, Baldur, and the legend of mistletoe.

Numerous Christmas traditions, even the timing of Christmas,  derive from the earlier pagan celebrations. Yule, celebrating the birth or rebirth of a god of light, made use of fire, both in candles and the burning of a Yule log.

The Christmas tree has its origins in the practice of bringing a live tree into the home so the wood spirits would have a place to keep warm during the cold winter months. Bells were hung in the limbs so you could tell when an appreciative spirit was present. Food and treats were hung on the branches for the spirits to eat and a five-pointed star, the pentagram, symbol of the five elements, was placed atop the tree.

Click here for more about the folklore of the Winter Solstice.


Goddess Goodies

Here's the part where we try to sell you something...but only if you're interested, so just skip over this if you're not. Not only do your purchases provide the support that's needed to keep the website up and growing, but they allow you to celebrate the Goddess in your life and to share the Goddess with your friends.

Note: They say timing is everything! For almost a year now, we've been telling you that prices will be going up eventually and now it's about to happen. So if you've been just 'thinking about' taking the Goddess Quiz (or the Greek Gods version for men), this is the time to act on the urge by buying a Gift Certificate that you can use for yourself or send to a friend. The programmer advises that the revised "Goddess Shop" is nearing completion. 

And prices for the Goddess Glass Art (pendants and pocket goddesses) will also be increasing soon, as Colin Heaney, the artist, advised of a price increase when we placed our most recent order.

So use this link to shop if you're so inclined:
Goddess Goodies


'Tis the Season

. . . when people of widely varied religions and belief systems throughout the world celebrate the birth of light with thoughts and dreams of the year to come. We wish you a holiday season that brings the awakening to new dreams and the release of old regrets.

Bright Blessings,

Sharon, Liz, and Sarah
The Goddess Path
 To Goddess Gift