A war god worshiped in Gaul. In Roman times, he was equated with Mars.
He was invoked at Saint-Andéol-en-Quint and Rochefort-Samson (Drôme), and at Saint-Michel-de-Valbonne. The name “Rudianos” means red, reflecting the warlike nature of the god. At Saint-Michel-de-Valbonne there was also found a prehistoric image of a mounted war-god, dating to the 6th Century BC, who could perhaps be Rudianos himself. The menhir-shaped stone depicts a roughly incised figure of a horseman, with an enormous head, riding down five severed heads. The iconography is evocative of the head-hunting exploits of the Celts, who hung the heads of their battle victims from their saddles, according to classical writers.
Rhiannon was the lunar Welsh Goddess of fertility and rebirth, transformation, wisdom, and magic. Goddess of ethereal beauty, she was born with the first moon rise. Muse of poets, source of artistic inspiration, she was worshiped outside amidst the trees at woodland alters and underneath the Moonlight.
Rhiannon was a Celtic goddess of horses and birds. As a white mare spirit, she rides between the worlds. Journeying with Dormarth, the gatekeeper dog who guards death’s door, and the magical moon hare, she passes through the gateway into the hollow hills of initiation. Her birds of inspiration give solace to the lonely.
As a goddess of fertility, Rhiannon gave birth to a son, Pryderi, at Yule – the winter solstice being a significant reminder that the ultimate product of death is rebirth. Her son was abducted one night while she slept, and as punishment she was tied to the town gates and forced to bear visitors on her back as though she were a horse. Her dignified strength and perseverance during this time serve to remind us what all women are, and will continue to be.
In her death goddess aspect, she is symbolized by an unearthly white mare and three birds that sang so sweetly they could raise the dead. According to folklore, she later become Vivien, the Lady of the Lake in Arthurian myth, honored for granting the wishes of those who could ask for what they wanted, and scorning those who could not, or would not, ask for what they wanted. This aspect is also a possible source for the Grail Question of Arthurian legend.
Rhiannon carried the souls of the once-living on her white mare to the Underworld, which, according to Celtic legend, is where the soul exists in a similar way to that in our world. They did not see a difference between the spiritual world and the material world, the natural or the super-natural. After a “life cycle” in the Underworld, the souls die and are reborn into this world again, perpetuating the cycle of birth and death, renewal and destruction.
At the next full moon, honor Rhiannon by lighting four candles (one each of red, green, gold and silver) and make your wish known to her. With the joyful energy that renewal brings, have a little fun invoking Rhiannon with the Anglo-Celtic nursery rhyme:
Ride a cockhorse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse,
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She shall have music wherever she goes.
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