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Rhiannon by Laura Zollar

If you read the old mythologies of the Great Goddess Rhiannon, you will know a little of the mystery of She who some also call Epona. She who rides between the worlds and holds the gateway of life, death and rebirth. You will also know that She was known to have three magical birds. These had the power to stop war and violence, bring healing sleep and sing the dead to life.

And this of course is so; these old symbolic tales hold much of what is true about the Goddess of Love. For Her presence does re-awaken the heart that was dead to love, and heal with calming balm the wounds of lack and loss.

But what is little known today, is that Rhiannon had many birds, not just the three, and that all carried the gold of Her Love in different ways, as magic into the world for all to receive, and do so still, even today.

Let me tell you the story of how this came to be.

A very long time ago, at the beginning of the greening, after the time of ice had receded, when Rhiannon walked the hills and valleys of Her sacred lands, flowers opened their star filled eyes to see Her passing by, reaching toward He radiance with their heady perfume. As She walked, birds circled Her shining hair and horses followed in Her footstep.

No one who felt or saw Her was immune to the intense ecstasy of Her presence.

The people of the lands that honoured Her, placed offerings of prayers, flowers, music and sweet smelling herbs for Her, celebrating Her transforming radiance, asking for Her powers to sooth pain, bring sweet release, dispel violence, heal and open the heart to love. Their lands were good and sweet, and attracted further tribes to live and share in Her bountiful blessings.

One day, when the sky was a particularly fine, clear spring blue, Rhiannon climbed to the top of a tall hill and raised Her arms above to touch the winds. As she wove the airstreams like ribbons between Her long, slender fingers, She paining the sky red with Her song, and drew the birds towards Her.

“The people of these lands need my help and blessings, the sacred medicine of my love, which is an elixir from beyond the veils of time.

Who amongst you, my beloved feathered ones, would be the harbingers of my presence, bringers of my golden love, available to all, and carry my gifts through the sky, to all the far reaches of my lands?”

Down swooped a great number of birds, the air became so filled with feathers and song from many beaks, that it was hard to tell the birds apart. Rhiannon laughed amongst the fluttered caress of wings and song, and Her love, like liquid gold, streamed from Her being.

Offering Her gift for each to choose how they would wish to carry this treasure. Gold sprang into the eye of the Buzzard, as clear vision, in the wings of the Swift, as pure joy, in the returning of Swallow, as the knowing of belonging, in the mind of the Raven, as wisdom, in the flight of the Crow, as spirit journey, and the heart of the Dove, as peace.

In the tips of feathers and the strength of claws, in beak and body somewhere they choose themselves, all birds received the magic of Her golden love that settled and set into their being from that moment, for all of time to come. With a great grace of joy, they lifted into the air around Her and vowed to bring Her medicine and message of Love to all people.

But by Her feet there remained a male blackbird that with keen eye looked up in adoration. Rhiannon smiled and asked this little one, what it would choose of Her gift of gold. ‘I but wish to sing my love for you and to tell the world of this in all I sing’ the blackbird answered, at which Rhiannon lifted him and kissed his throat.

“Sweet bird, I hear your wish and feel your devotion, and so my gift to you is this: You will sing my most beautiful song of love and entrance all who hear it. You must sing in my season of Beltane and not the whole year round, but keep this love song in your heart to warm you through the winter months.

For it is the absence of this song of love that will remind people to appreciate it, and search for it within themselves. It is the times of stillness that makes the song sound so much sweeter for those who long to hear it.

Sing to start and end the day, sing of love and life, open the ears and hearts of all with beauty. Be my presence in sound and sing the balm of love into the hearts of people”.

Then into its throat She dropped a pure drop of Her liquid essence, and instantly the blackbirds song burst from it’s rapturous heart. So fierce his love flowed from him, so bright his song, spilling over from his throat, that before Her golden gift had time to set, it melted out onto his beak and settled there as well.

Rhiannon laughed at the ecstatic song of love and the beauty of the golden beak from where it sprang, and danced. Her medicine of love ringing through the evening woods and out towards the sunset, as She danced and raised the fragrance of the earth, followed by her blackbird’s joyous song, awakening a love making in all who saw or heard Her.

And so, if you would like to know Her sweet embrace, or seek the healing balm to ease your heart and body, if you long to enter the mysteries of love, and journey into mystical realms or deep into your own sacred presence, all you need to do is hear and truly listen to, the song of love that all blackbirds carry for Rhiannon, and that they share with the world in spring.