Winter is the time to go inward for healing, rejuvenation, and rebirth as the Celtic Wheel of the Year turns to its northernmost point. Still, the solstice itself celebrates the return of light. Arianrhod, as goddess of the moon, sea and stars, the sun is reborn each year and takes us back to the womb and our seasonal resting place in her Castle of Initiation of the North.
Like the eight branches of yoga that grow from the rooted tree trunk, the Celtic Wheel of the Year, also known as the wheel of life, has eight seasonal spokes that originate from a central axis or well of sovereignty. Often represented by the iconography of the triple goddess, each turn of the wheel guides us through the seasons, their energies and symbolism.
If this movement is measured in annual or daily time cycles; by the internal rhythms of our relationship with known and unknown forces; or with the four winds of the galactic superposition; Each cycle builds on the first, encouraging us to grow in our sense of embodied spirit. We are holograms of the divine and its elemental origins are imprinted on our cells; With intention and practice, we reach the spiritual threshold, a place of integrity with a view to autonomy and unity with the divine interior. This is what the yogis called samadhi and what the Celts embraced as the descending energy of the divine.
“Look up into the northeastern winter sky towards Corona Borealis;
There you will see the Crown of the Goddess.
Beyond this gemstone arch into the underworld is
The Castle of Initiation of the North, Caer Sidi.
Deep in a sea of brilliant lights is the Aurora Borealis;
There you will find Arianrhod,
Queen of the moon, the sea and the stars.
As his Silver Wheel spins the world in between past the point of the Solstice,
Arianrhod guides our souls to the upper world. “
In times of ascension information overload and chaos in the outer world, go inward, to your sovereign center, invoking the energies of the Goddess through the eight spokes of the Celtic Wheel of Life.
Winter solstice: myths and stories
During the Samhain season, we begin the long journey back to our origins, going back to a time before birth where we cuddle in Mother’s womb. We celebrate this return to Mother in the dead of winter, the time of greatest darkness and least light. Winter is a time for inner world magic, dreams, healing, vision, birth, death, and rebirth. It is a moment when the light is reborn.
At this point in the Solstice, or Yule, we pause for a moment, enjoying the last waning light from the Sun and the first from the expanding light. From here we move further inward, gathering patience and courage to step into the stillness for a timely respite.
Within the great womb of all earthly life, we experience sensations of security, the murmurs of those who sleep, and the scents of the damp, moldy earth, our earth bones. Darkness envelops us in this container, accompanied only by our inner vision and our desire to grow. This is the place and time when we rest, recover and heal for a time, before returning to the light, little by little, as inspiration calls us, waking us up again in Imbolc on Brighid’s day.
Si an Bhru: Newgrange, County Meath, Ireland
Along the River Boyne (Brugh na Boinne) in Ireland, the ancients built Newgrange long before the Celts came to Ireland. On the shortest day of the year, the tribes of the time celebrated the rebirth of light every winter solstice, shining on the cairn where they hibernated and dreamed, awaiting enlightenment and the return of spring.
Arianrhod: Goddess of the Winter Solstice and Queen of the Castle of Initiation
Like Sophia, Arianrhod is a mother of god. A Welsh Celtic goddess of the moon, stars and the sky, her name means “Silver Wheel” or “Silver Circle”. Arianrhod is the goddess of the year wheel, the full moon, destiny, fertility, feminine power, birth, death, and reincarnation. She is the daughter of Don, whose Irish counterpart is Danu de Tuatha De Danann. Known as a triple goddess, she has Trinitarian relationships with Blodeuwedd & Morrigu; Blodeuwedd and Cerridwen.
Some of her other identities are “white virgin goddess of birth, initiation, death and rebirth” and the “silver wheel descending into the sea”. Theirs is the “Castle of the Silver Wheel”, a revolving castle of the north, which is sometimes referred to as the great revolving island surrounded by the sea in the sky.
Astronomically speaking, Caer Arianrhod is sometimes known as the Pole Star, a unique sight and always in the northern skies of the Milky Way. It can be found at the tip of the Big Dipper, the Big Dipper. Some say that their castle is the Aurora Borealis or the Milky Way and therefore the skies revolve around their castle. Others say that Caer Arianrhod is the constellation, Corona Borealis, or its Greek counterpart Ariadne’s Crown.
She is also the mother of the Sun and Moon, the mother aspect of a goddess triad with the maiden Blodeuwedd and the witch Cerridwen, and is said to be one of the five original goddesses of the Isle of Avalon. The other four are Blodeuwedd, Cerridwen, Branwen, and Rhiannon. Arianrhod is one of many goddesses whose stories, symbology, and related summoning rituals have been lost to time. Much of what we know about her now originates from the medieval Welsh myths of “The Mabinogion.”
As the Celtic goddess of time, her Silver Wheel represents life and karma as it embodies the turning of the year on the Celtic Wheel of Life. Some of her other symbols are the cauldron, a symbol of female power; the connection that the white sow signifies with the underworld; the North Pole Star and the upper world where Caer Arianrhod reigns, which is also known as Caer Sidi. She is specifically associated with the winter season because the Sun is reborn each year at the Solstice.
Caer Sidi is known as the initiation tower of another world, a place between time, where souls reside after death before their next incarnation. In some myths, Arianrhod is said to carry a boat known as the Rowing Wheel, which transports the souls of dead warriors to Emania, or the land of the Moon, where they would then reside until they reincarnated.
“Hail Arianrhod, we call you now!
Your silver wheel of light is our pole star at night. We know you are there, as we can see your crown of stars, even from our place in earthly life.
Guide us to your castle of initiation, to the skies to float like the moon and the stars of the upper world.
Make room for us, Mother, in the blessed warmth of your cauldron, as we stop for a season to restore and heal, to learn and resurrect with you, as you reborn the Sun each year.
Hail Ariarhod, we call you now!
We walk through the fierce winds and rains of time to find the portal of your castle in the sky.
Take us on your boat, singing to us home as we listen to the sound of your oars gliding over the top of the waves.
With grace you move the boat through the gentle seas that hover in the sky, back to the Land of the Moon where you reign with strength.
Hail Ariarhod, we call you now!
Your gifts are wings to fly, and we quietly make our way through the darkness of the season, grateful as we welcome the expanding light once more.
We honor your knowledge of the upper world, the underworld, and all other worlds.
Your purpose is clear and we follow you back home, to the realms of Caer Sidi, Caer Arianrhod, the castle of initiation and rebirth.
Hail Arianrhod, we call you now!
Hail, Arianrhod! We have found our way home!
Hail, Arianrhod! We can rest now!
Hail, Arianrhod! We stand still until it is time to part the veils of winter!
Hail, Arianrhod! We are restored!
Hail, Arianrhod! We have remembered the magic of the Goddess within us! “