The Divine by Design

Lately, I’ve been working with five of the Welsh Goddesses: Rhiannon, Ceridwen, Branwen, Blodeuwedd, and Arianrhod. One of my primary goals while working with them has been to create a doll for each of them. So far, I’ve got two of them finished. They’re similar in design, because I want to have some continuity between all of them.

The first completed doll is the Horse Goddess Rhiannon. As you can see, she is clothed in gleaming gold, just as she is in her tale. I’ve given her a sun face. This is for two reasons: (1) among other things, Rhiannon is also a Sun Goddess, and (2) she’s the daughter of Heueyd Hen (Eueyd uab Dôn), who is the Welsh equivalent of the Irish Ogma Grianainech (Sun-Faced or Shining, Radiant Countenance). Atop her golden hair, she wears a bejeweled crown and starry-spangled white bridal veil. We often forget that Rhiannon was a bride, but actually, her getting married is the impetus for her entire story. In her left hand, she holds a horseshoe, prongs pointing downward to pour forth good luck on whatever she does. In her right hand, she holds a sheaf of oats and sunflowers. Around her neck is a garland of roses, just like a winning horse would wear; and in the center of her chest is a red, bejeweled heart, symbolic of the love she shows to everyone. Around her waist is a chatelaine with four gold keys that spell out LOVE, and also with her three blackbirds. Finally, she wears a silver spiral triskelion.
The Goddess Rhiannon.
My Rhiannon Doll.
The second completed doll is the Creatrix Goddess Ceridwen. She is clothed in sparkling black to represent the Nothingness as it was before she birthed the Cosmos and its song of awen from her Great Cauldron. As you can see, I’ve given her a dual face. This is the equinoctial balance between day (and the Conscious) and night (and the Unconscious), and thus symbolic of her children Creirwy (Sacred Egg) and Morfrân (Sea Crow), respectively. Atop her long black hair with its single white streak, Ceridwen wears a witch’s hat, representing the fact that she’s called a sorceress or a witch. In her left hand, she holds a small cauldron, from which awen pours forth in the form of triple sunbeams (gold) and triple moonbeams (purple). In her right hand, she holds a sheaf of grains and flowers. Around her neck is tied her witch’s cape; and in the center of her chest is a lavender, bejeweled heart, symbolic of the mother’s love she shows to her children. Around her waist is a chatelaine with a sow (with which she’s often associated), a shock of wheat (representing her son Taliesin), and the animals she shapeshifts into in her tale: a hen, an otter, and a greyhound. There will be a hawk charm (the fourth animal), as well, but it hadn’t yet arrived when I took this photo. Finally, she wears a silver spiral.
My Ceridwen Doll.
My Ceridwen Doll.

I’ve been having a great deal of fun crafting my dolls, along with designing an altar for each, as well. Creating a devotional project like this is always a wonderful means of getting to know the Divine and to work closely with them.

APs Rhianwen Bendigaid

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