This deity is known from the Maginogi of Math fab Mathonwy and the Welsh Triads.
She is a moon goddess and protector of the dead that await re-incarnation, she is also Goddess of the Wheel of the Year/cycle of life, fertility and a figure of great female power. Sometimes also depicted weaving which links her to magic and spell weaving.
Her name means ‘silver wheel circle’. It has been suggested that this also refers to a spiders silvery web.
She resides on the isle of Caer Arianrhod which lies in the Corona Borealis where dead souls go to await. She and her attendants preside over their fate. This connection to the Corona Borealis also makes her a star Goddess.
Her father was the God Beli and her mother the Goddess Don. Her Uncle was math, he was compelled to keep his feet on the lap of a virgin whenever he was not fighting in battles. After his first ‘lady’ ‘ahem’…became no longer a virgin, he asked Arianrhod to take her place. To prove she was a virgin she had to step over a magic rod, as she did so twin boys dropped from her. It has been suggested the birth was a result of an affair with her brother Gwydion. Math named the first child Dylan, the second named Lleu, was taken away by Arianrhod’s brother and raised in a magical forest.
Arianrhod was not best pleased with events so she laid three curses on the boy Lleu saying that he should not no name except the one she gave him. That he should bear no arms except the ones she gave him, that he should have no wife of the race that was then on the earth.
Through a lot of trickery and some fancy magic Gwydion deceived Arianrhod into breaking the first two curses herself. Then Math and Gwydion created Blodeuwedd, a woman made of flowers she was to be Lleu’s bride. Blodeuwedd betrayed Lleu which resulted in his death but his spirit hung on to a tree and was resurrected the next day.
Humiliated, Arianrhod returned to live out her days in the castle Caer Arianrhod, it was here that she later drowned when the sea reclaimed the land.
Arianrhod is the mother aspect of the Goddess. She has the ability to shape shift into an Owl, it is through these owl eyes that she sees everything, even into the soul. Owl symbolises death and renewal, wisdom, moon magic and initiations. The owl also stands for comfort, healing and solace.
Call upon Arianrhod to help with feminine power, spirit contact, sex and fertility magic and past life knowledge, she can also be called upon to bless handfastings.
Correspondences – wheels, silver, full moon, blood, geode stones, moonstones, owls.
top image by Jessica Galbreth
second image by Michelle Maiden