To truly know Rhiannon, we must excavate the layers of her myth, decode the meaning of her symbols, and seek to restore the significance of her very name. Although she has a mythology around her, and has many modern-day devotees, nowhere in ancient lore has she been identified as a Goddess. We have no known cult centers or devotional altars dedicated to Rhiannon. How then do we approach this revered Lady? How can we best know her as Goddess? We need but call to her, and ask for what we need. Be it her bag of plenty, the soul-healing song of her birds, or the empowerment of the sovereignty she holds, when you call to Rhiannon, the Divine Queen of the Britons, know that she will stop… and know that she will answer your call.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Review of Pagan Portals: Rhiannon: Divine Queen of the Celtic Britons, by Jhenah Telyndru
Reviewed by Segomâros Widugeni
A new entry in Moon Books’ excellent Pagan Portals series, Jhenah Telyndru’s "Rhiannon: Divine Queen of the Celtic Britons" presents us with an introduction to this enigmatic Goddess that is at once poetic and scholarly. Ms. Telyndru is well equipped to take on this challenge. The founder and leader of the Sisterhood of Avalon, with a Master’s in Celtic Studies from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, she is steeped in medieval Celtic literature, ancient archaeology, and Welsh culture – all of which enable her to read early sources with special clarity, and then relate those sources to the modern spiritual and cultural concerns of her readers.
The book is organized in the typical Pagan Portals format, which helps make it easily accessible to a wide variety of audiences. There are eight chapters, and introduction and a conclusion. The chapters lay out Rhiannon’s history, sources, myths, the ancient British and Gaulish antecedents that prove Her to have been a Goddess, though She is never called such in the literary sources, the various aspects of Her character that delimit Her individual personality, methods of seeking Her within, methods of building a relationship with Her, a message from Her for humanity, and a conclusion that sums everything up. There is also a short appendix on Welsh pronunciations, and a nice bibliography, to assist with further studies.
The introduction presents us with a very poetic description of a ritual to Rhiannon held recently at the Gorsedd Arberth. This presents a wonderful entré to the journey to seek Rhiannon. Chapter 1 presents us the history of the Celtic Britons, their Christianization, and evolution into the modern Welsh people. The process of writing down of ancient traditions is first introduced and here we learn first that Rhiannon is referred to as a Goddess nowhere in the medieval literature in which She first appears, nor are there any archaeological traces of Her worship under Her best known name. Telyndru, however, is able to explain these apparent disparities in the evidence with reference to the process of Christianization of native tradition, and the adoption of Pagan deities into a newly Christianized literary form.
Chapter 2 gives us more depth on the specific sources for Rhiannon’s myths and stories, the Four Branches of the Mabinogi, as well as the assorted native tales in which Rhiannon appears. This canon is explored in more depth in Chapter 3. Here, we see the stories in which Rhiannon figures retold and discussed, with attention to themes, characters, and the Welsh setting. Chapter 4 goes back further, to explore the ancient British and Gaulish Goddesses who can be demonstrated through studies of linguistics and iconography to stand behind Rhiannon. Telyndru masters this difficult and obscure material with skill, and is able to convincingly demonstrate that, despite the absence of the title of Goddess in the medieval literature, Rhiannon is indeed a Goddess of the Pagan Britons who has undergone a process of literary metamorphosis in a Christianized culture. Now, pre-Christian Gaulish culture and religion are my fields of expertise, and even so, I learned a couple things from this chapter. Such is the power of Telyndru’s scholarship and writing.
Chapter 5 presents the various aspects of Rhiannon’s personality as described in the manuscripts, as well as Her primary relationships, to sketch a convincing portrait of Her personality and sphere of influence as a divinity. In this chapter, the tone begins to shift from the scholarly to the practical, and much of the material is of immediate use to the worshiper seeking Rhiannon out. Chapter 6 shows us how to seek Rhiannon within ourselves, and gives us some idea of the lessons She teaches. The tone here is almost wholly practical and mystical, aimed at those seeking the presence of Rhiannon in their lives. Chapter 7 is even more this way, presenting us with practical advice on building a relationship with Rhiannon through shrines, altars, offerings, journey work, as well as beautiful, poetic chants, prayers, and invocations. Chapter 8 gives us a message from Rhiannon Herself, obtained by trance-vision, and of great profundity. Finally, Chapter 9 sums up and concludes Rhiannon: Divine Queen of the Celtic Britons.
At once practical and poetic, mystical and scholarly, Jhenah Telyndru’s Rhiannon: Divine Queen of the Celtic Britons teaches us much about a popular yet ill-understood deity, who we think we know, but don’t really. In consequence, I recommend it highly. ~ Segomâros Widugeni
Sophisticated and elegant, steeped in scholarship and passionately written, Telyndru's offering to Rhiannon will take you on a journey deep into the heart of mystery, sovereignty and connection. Within these pages you will discover the tools necessary to develop a lasting and meaningful relationship with Rhiannon. To connect to the Divine Queen we must ask her to stop and notice us, Telyndru offers you a guiding hand to understand this process and move into relationship with the Goddess. What you hold in your hands is priceless, for this is a gift of inspiration. ~ Kristoffer Hughes, Head of the Anglesey Druid Order
Rhiannon: Divine Queen of the Celtic Britons" is the perfect introduction to a Welsh Goddess who can be elusive and ephemeral as well as profound and present. In this slim introduction Jhenah Telyndru has combined solid academic information, myth, spiritual devotion and practical suggestions that anyone could incorporate into their own lives. The end result is a book that invites the reader to delve deep into the history of Welsh mythology and create a profound connection to this powerful Goddess. A must read for anyone interested in either Rhiannon or Welsh deities more generally. ~ Morgan Daimler, best-selling author of "The Morrigan" and "Fairies: A Guide to the Celtic Fair Folk
As both literary character and goddess, Rhiannon is hard to get to know. But Jhenah Telyndru's book brings her to life. Here you find the historical and literary sources studied with logical clarity and precision, as well as a gentle and loving present-day devotional interpretation. This book is not only an informative text: it is also a work of art. ~ Brendan Myers, Ph.D., author of Reclaiming Civilization: A Case for Optimism for the Future of Humanity
Jhenah Telyndru's "Rhiannon: Divine Queen of the Celtic Britons" is a real treasure-trove of lore and wisdom regarding this beloved Welsh goddess. The first half of this book gives us a brilliant scholarly introduction to Her, while the second half offers insights into developing an immediate and first-hand relationship with this Sovereign deity. By combining the academic with the experiential this work really stands out in today's modern goddess literature. Another superb offering by Jhenah Telyndru. ~ Joanna van der Hoeven, best-selling author of The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid
With a clear voice for storytelling and a deft hand at complex and multidisciplinary research, Jhenah Telyndru's love and devotion to her goddess shines through with every page. This book is satisfyingly academic while being deeply moving and practical for anyone looking to build or deepen into a relationship with this goddess. I highly recommend this book for new seekers and experienced practitioners alike. ~ River Devora, priest and founder of the Strong Roots and Wide Branches Polytheist Learning Community
A new entry in Moon Books’ excellent Pagan Portals series, Jhenah Telyndru’s "Rhiannon: Divine Queen of the Celtic Britons" presents us with an introduction to this enigmatic Goddess that is both lyrical and academic. Ms. Telyndru is well equipped to take on this challenge. The founder and leader of the Sisterhood of Avalon, with a Master’s in Celtic Studies from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, she is steeped in medieval Celtic literature, ancient archaeology, and Welsh culture – all of which enable her to read early sources with special clarity, and then relate those sources to the modern spiritual and cultural concerns of her readers. At once practical and poetic, mystical and scholarly, Jhenah Telyndru’s "Rhiannon: Divine Queen of the Celtic Britons" teaches us much about a popular yet ill-understood deity, who we think we know, but don’t really. In consequence, I recommend it highly. ~ Segomâros Widugeni, formerly Aedh Rua, author of Celtic Flame
So much more than brilliant, precise scholarship, Rhiannon: Divine Queen of the Celtic Britons is an exquisite melding of history, mythology and lore. Jhenah Telyndru entices a depth of historical insight out of rich range of resources to place it at your doorstep in an engaging, evocative manner and she takes dynamic relationship with Rhiannon out of ritual confines to place it actively in the nuances of everyday life. This important work is a linguistic archeological treasure; an invitation to hone awareness of how we know what we know; and an inspired guide for spiritual practice. Jhenah follows the trail of historical breadcrumbs to give us a feast, complete with ancient tales, poetry and song. Every morsel is a delight to savour. ~ Tiffany Lazic, author of The Great Work: Self-Knowledge and Healing Through the Wheel of the Year
Rhiannon: Divine Queen of the Celtic Britons" is an excellent introduction to Rhiannon and Her world. Jhenah's warm, engaging style illuminates a mysterious Lady like a medieval manuscript, weaving history and mythology together like the worlds Rhiannon traverses: effortlessly and with grace. A well-researched and powerful aid to those who seek to know Her, at any level of engagement. ~ Rev. Tamara L. Siuda, Founder of the House of Netjer, author of The Ancient Egyptian Daybook and The Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook