Arianrhod (Aranrhod, Arianrod) is the Welsh goddess of fertility, rebirth, cosmic time and fate. Her name means ‘silver wheel’, therefore she is associated with the moon, the cosmos, and the wheel of time. She is often seen as a mother goddess, similar to the Irish goddess Danu.
She is the daughter of the Welsh goddess Dôn (some thought to be the same as Danu) and the god Beli Mawr, ‘The Shining One’. She had brothers Gwydion and Gilfaethwy, sisters Gwenna, Maelen and Elen, and her uncle was the Welsh god of enchantment, Math ap Mathonwy.
The Mabinogion described how she had two sons by magical means after serving her uncle Math while retaining her virgin status. Dylan, child of the sea, and Lleu Llaw Gyffes, the hero of light, who was raised by Arianrhod’s brother Gwydion.
Arianrhod’s realm is Caer Sidi, located on a large revolving island in the far north. Caer Sidi is also another name for Annwn, the Welsh Otherworld or Land of the Dead. Here, it is thought that dead souls wait for the goddess and her female attendants to decide their fate before being reincarnated. Arianrhod’s castle, Caer Arianrhod, is said to be the constellation Corona Borealis. The spinning island ties in with Arianrhod’s association with the wheel and spiral movement.
© The New Pagan (2014)