Tag Archive: may queen


According to Patricia Monaghan, Creiddylad is associated with a Goddess I worked with last year, Cordelia. “Creiddylad, Welsh Goddess of Flowers and Love, is celebrated at this time. (Her name is pronounced cree-THIL-ahd) She is the eternal May Queen, always seeking peace and stability. She remains eternally constant in the face of all change. She is the promise of love, golden glowing moon-flowing love, enduring through all hardship and despair. Creiddylad also shows us the necessity of self-love. Only by truly loving ourselves can we love another.” ~ Judith Shaw

judith Shaw photo

May Day/Beltane (Calan Mai to the ancient Celts) is almost here and our hearts turn to thoughts of love, flowers and the bounty of our Mother Earth. Both Beltane and Halloween/Samhain (Calan Gaeaf) were liminal or threshold days, considered to be outside of normal time. These sacred, mystic days were more important than the solstices in the Celtic world view.

Creiddylad painting by Judith Shaw

Creiddylad, Welsh Goddess of Flowers and Love, is celebrated at this time. (Her name is pronounced cree-THIL-ahd)  She is the eternal May Queen, always seeking peace and stability.  She remains eternally constant in the face of all change.  She is the promise of love, golden glowing moon-flowing love, enduring through all hardship and despair.  Creiddylad also shows us the necessity of self-love. Only by truly loving ourselves can we love another.

Creiddylad is mentioned only briefly in The Mabinogion but her symbolism reveals that she is surely an ancient and…

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Maid Marian

“Autumn Deity” by ~cutieloli

“Maid Marian’s themes are fertility, youthfulness, abundance, energy, beauty and instinct. Her symbols are late-blossoming flowers and forest plants.  A predominant figure in the Robin Hood tales, Maid Marian is most certainly a remnant of the ancient youthful Goddess, who blossoms with late summer’s abundance, inspires fertility, re-awakens our instincts, and exudes energy just when our resources seem all but gone.

The Horn Dance dates back to Norman times as a remnant of an ancient fertility and hunting festival. Today it remains as a re-enactment of Robin Hood stories, complete with hobby horse and deer horn dancing for Maid Marian’s fertility, rock candy for life’s sweetness, and a little brandy to keep things warm!

Should you want physical fertility, you can dance with a broom instead. Eat a bit of candy and drink brandy (brandy-flavored candy is also an option) to encourage sweet love and passion to flow in your life!

To draw Maid Marian’s presence to any effort today, bring late-blossoming flowers into your home, office, or any place you visit. If you get organic ones, nibble on a rose. Digest the Goddess’s beauty within so it will manifest without.

Finally, wear shades of forest green, the traditional colour for Robin Hood’s clan, so you can figuratively accept a spot beside Maid Marian as an ally who fights against injustice and stands firm for good causes.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

 

“Maid Marion” by William Clarke Wontner

According to Wikipedia, “The earliest medieval Robin Hood stories gave him no female companion. Maid Marian was originally a character in May Games festivities (held during May and early June, most commonly around Whitsun) and is sometimes associated with the Queen or Lady of May of May Day. Indeed, Marian remained associated with such celebrations long after the fashion of Robin Hood had faded again.  She became associated with Robin Hood in this context, as Robin Hood became a central figure in May Day, associated as he was with the forest and archery. Both Robin and Marian were certainly associated with May Day festivities in England (as was Friar Tuck); these were originally two distinct types of performance — Alexander Barclay, writing in c.1500, refers to ‘some merry fytte of Maid Marian or else of Robin Hood’ — but the characters were brought together.

The Marian of the May Games is likely derived from the French tradition of a shepherdess named Marion and her shepherd lover Robin (not Robin Hood). The best known example of this tradition is Adam de la Halle‘s Le Jeu de Robin et Marion, circa 1283.

Marian did not immediately gain the unquestioned role as Robin’s love; in ‘Robin Hood’s Birth, Breeding, Valor, and Marriage‘, his sweetheart is ‘Clorinda the Queen of the Shepherdesses’.  Clorinda survives in some later stories as an alias of Marian.

In narrative terms, Maid Marian was first attached to Robin Hood in the late sixteenth century as Robin was gentrified and given a virginal maid to pine after. Her biography and character have been highly variable over the centuries.  Marian’s role was not entirely virginal in the early days; in 1592, Thomas Nashe described the Marian of the later May Games as being played by a male actor named Martin, and there are hints in the play of Robin Hood and the Friar that the female character in these plays had become a lewd parody. Robin was originally called Ryder.

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Maid Marian in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991).

In the famous Errol Flynn film, she is a ward of the court, an orphaned noblewoman under the protection of King Richard. In the Kevin Costner epic Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, she is a maternal cousin to the sovereign, while in the BBC TV Show adaption of 2006, she is the daughter of the former Sheriff and was betrothed to Robin prior to his leaving for the Holy LandElsa Watson‘s and Theresa Tomlinson‘s novels, which are told from Marian’s point of view, portray Marian as a highborn Norman girl escaping entrapment in an arranged marriage. With the aid of her nurse, she runs away to Sherwood Forest, where she becomes acquainted with Robin Hood and his men.

In an Elizabethan play, Anthony Munday made her a pseudonym of Matilda Fitzwalter, the historical daughter of Robert Fitzwalter, who had to flee England because of an attempt to assassinate King John. This was legendarily attributed to King John’s attempts to seduce Matilda. The ballad of Robin Hood and Maid Marian which dates at least to the 17th century presents a more active Marion who disguises herself as a page and (unrecognised) holds her own against Robin himself in a sword fight.

Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).

In the Victorian era she reverted to her previous role as the dainty maid. This highborn woman appears in many movies, under various characters: in 1938’s The Adventures of Robin Hood, she is a courageous and loyal woman (played by Olivia de Havilland). Although always ladylike, her initial antagonism to Robin springs not from aristocratic disdain but out of an aversion to robbery; however, in The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952), she, despite being a lady-in-waiting to Eleanor of Aquitaine during the Crusades, is in reality a mischievous tomboy capable of fleeing boldly to the countryside disguised as a boy. With the rise of modern feminism in the 20th century, the character has often been depicted as an adventurer again, sometimes as a crack archer herself. In modern times, a common ending for Robin Hood stories became that he married Maid Marian and left the woods for a civilised, aristocratic life.” [1]

Cate Blanchett as Lady Marian in Robin Hood (2010).

Click here to read a well written review of Lady Marian’s character (played by  Cate Blanchett) in Sir Ridley Scott’s new Robin Hood.

Nancy Sherer writes: “Robert Graves identifies Maid Marian as the sea Goddess Marian, a virgin dressed in a blue robe, wearing a string of pearls. Occasionally referred to as Merrymaid, but more commonly known as Mermaid, She was worshipped by merriners, (now spelled mariners) who would sacrifice to her. ‘Mer’ meaning sea, is the origin of the epithet Merry England, –Rose in the Sea.

“Queen Guinevere’s Maying” by John Collier

Like the Goddess, Maid Marian is surrounded with Merry men. Little John, Will Scarlet, Friar Tuck, Robin Hood, and others form a band of thirteen. Morris Men, who perform a stylized folk dance are commonly believed to have been imported from the near east, Moors who danced a Moorish dance. However, a more ancient spelling indicates that these may have been Mari’s men. Mari, the Mother Goddess, fruitful, and compassionate, is usually portrayed holding an apple from the Tree of Life. She turns the Wheel of heaven, and is the mother of the Archer of Love.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Sherer, Nancy. Salmonriver.com, “May Day Origins…“.

Wikipedia, “Maid Marian“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Beltane.org, “The May Queen“.

Bradley, Amanda. Altright-Archieve.net, “A Woman for All Seasons: Lady Marian and the Aryan Female.

Emery, Clayton. Claytonemery.com, “Floating Bread and Quicksilver: A Robin & Marian Mystery“.

Emery, Clayton. Claytonemery.com, “Flyting, Fighting: A Robin & Marian Mystery“.

Jenkins, Chris. Whitedragon.org.uk, “Lady Godda – Goddess Mercia“.

NicEilidh, Hester. Hesternic.tripod.com, “The Legend of Robin Hood: An exploration of the Pagan themes within this enduring myth“.

Sirenschool.blogspot.com, “Bringing in the May“.

Wigington, Patti. About.com: Paganism/Wiccan, The Legend of the May Queen and the Queen of Winter“.

Wright, Allen W. Boldoutlaw.com, “Robin Hood and Maid Marian, No. 150“.

Goddess Lada

“Goddess Lada” by Lady-Ghost

“Lada’s themes are spring, protection, overcoming, kinship, energy, and joy.  Her symbols are birch and bells.  Lada bursts forth from Her winter hiding place today in full Slavic costume and dances with joy, grateful for spring’s arrival. As Lada moves, Her skirts sweep away sickness and usher in the earth’s blossoming beauty. She bears a birch tree and flowers to honor the earth’s fertility and to begin planting anew.

Sechseläuten, a traditional Swiss spring holiday, is overflowing with Lada’s vibrancy and begins with the demolition of a snowman, symbolic of winter’s complete overthrow. If you don’t live in a region where there’s snow, take out an ice cube and put a flowering seed atop it. Let is melt, then plant the seed with ‘winter’s’ water to welcome Lada back to the earth.

Bells ring throughout this day in Switzerland to proclaim spring and ring out any remaining winter maladies and shadows. Adapt this by taking a handheld bell (you can get small ones at craft stores) and ringing it in every room of the house, intoning Lada’s revitalizing energy. Or, just ring your doorbell, open the door, and bring in some flowers as a way of offering Lada’s spirit hospitality.

Finally, wear something with a floral print today or enjoy a glass of birch beer. Better still, make a birch beer float so the ice cream (snow) melts amid Lada’s warmth, bringing that transformative power into you as you sip.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Lada is the Slavic Goddess of spring, love, and beauty. She was worshipped throughout Russia, Poland, and other areas of Eastern Europe. She is usually depicted as a young woman with long blonde hair. She carries wild roses, and is also known as the ‘Lady of the Flowers’. As Goddess of spring, Lada is associated with love and fertility in both humans and animals. She is said to return from the underworld every year at the Vernal Equinox, bringing the spring with Her.” [1]

“The Slavic Goddess of love and beauty, who appears as Freya, Isis, or Aphrodite with other peoples. She is, of course, linked to the planetary power of Venus who is, besides love and beauty, associated with fertility. Lada is represented as a girl with long golden hair sometimes with a wreath of ears of grain braided into Her hair, which symbolizes Her function of fertility deity thus making Her an aspect of Mother of Wet Land. A symbol of Sun, a mark of lifegiving power was sometimes on her breasts. As a fertility Goddess, Lada has Her annual cycles, which can be shown by the belief that She resides in the dwelling place of the dead until the vernal equinox comes. This world of the dead is called Irij, and here, besides Lada, dwells Veles, the horned god of cattle. [Does this story ring a bell?  A connection between Persephone/Kore in Greek mythology or Oniata in the Americas?]

At the moment when Lada is supposed to come out into the world and bring spring, Gerovit opens the door of Irij letting the fertility Goddess bless the earth. At the end of summer, Lada returns to Irij (there is a similar myth in German mythology in which Freya spends a part of the year underground among the elves, whereas Greek Persefona dwells in Hades during the winter period). Although Her reign begins on the 21st of March, Lada is primarily the Goddess of summer. She follows Vesna, the Slavic spring Goddess. However, both of these Goddesses are associated with fertility so sometimes it can sometimes be difficult to separate their functions. As we can see, Lada’s reign begins in spring, the proof of which is ladenjanother name for April, given after this Goddess. Apart from the Sun, Lada is also associated with rain and hot summer nights, the ideal time for paying respect to the love Goddess.

Lada’s animals are a cock, a deer, an ant and an eagle, whereas Her plants are a cherry, a dandelion, a linden and a peony. Besides Venus, Lada is connected with the constilation of Taurus, which Aleksandar Asov wrote about in The Slavic Astrology. Here, we can once again Her function of fertility Goddess, whose reign begins in spring, mix with the function of the Goddess Vesna. A myth says that Lada is married to Svarog who is only with Her help able to create the world. According to another one, She is a companion of Jarilo, thus associated with Aphrodite, whose lover is Ares. Rituals performed in Lada’s honor are most often linked with contracting marriages, or choosing a spouse. One of the known rites is ladarice, also performed under the name of kraljice in Serbia. Vuk Karadžić described the basic characteristics of this ritual. On Holy Trinity Day, a group of about ten young girls gathers, one of them is dressed like a queen, another one like a king, and another one like a color-bearer. The queen is sitting on a chair, while the other girls are dancing around Her, and the king and the color-bearer are dancing on their own. In this way the queens go from house to house looking for girls of marriageable age. Jumping over the fire is another characteristic of rituals performed in Lada’s honor. This custom existed in all parts of Europe and its purpose was to ensure fertility as well as to protect people and cattle from evil forces.” [2]  This very similar to the customs of Beltane; celebrating the May Queen and jumping the balefire for purification purposes and to ensure fertility.

“Lady Galadriel” by Josephine Wall

“Lada’s name means peace, union, and harmony.  Lada creates harmony within the household and in marriages;  She blesses unions of love with peace and goodwill.  In Russia, when a couple is happily married it is said that they ‘live in Lada.’  Rituals performed in Her honor are most often linked with contracting marriages and and choosing a spouse.” [3] 

 

 

Sources:

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Lada“.

Kakaševski, Vesna (translated by Jelena Salipurović). Starisloveni.com, “Lada“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Lada“.

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