The Goddess of Sovereignty

A free 7 part online course with Dr Gwilym Morus-Baird.

We often rely on other people’s ideas of what a myth means, but how many modern authors and content creators explain why they say the things they do about this god or that goddess, this myth or that symbol?

We tend to take many things for granted when it comes to Celtic myth, but . . .

. . . why is Rhiannon a horse goddess? What is her connection to Epona exactly? What is the history of their relationship? What does the Irish story of Macha have to do with it? What other myths do we need to understand to have as complete a picture as possible?

To really understand figures like Rhiannon, Epona, Macha and many others, we really need to try and answer these questions. More importantly, you need to understand the primary sources for their mythology for yourself.

This free course helps you do that:

  1. A Vision of the Goddess: In this first lecture we take a look at the 9th century story Baile in Scáil, where Conn, the High King of Ireland, travels to the otherworld to meet the Sovereignty.
  2. The Goddess Transformed: In some tales the Sovereignty of Ireland transforms from the Cailleach-like hag into a beautiful maiden. This transformation appears to play a central role in the goddess’ myth, but what does it symbolise?
  3. Goddess of the Well: Holy wells and springs are an ancient feature of the Celtic landscape, and play a part not only in Christian pilgrimage but also in the more ancient beliefs of Ireland and Wales. In this lecture we look at the myth of the sacred well and consider why the goddess cares for it.
  4. Rhiannon: Goddess or Mortal?: Perhaps one of the most famous examples of the Sovereignty Goddess is Rhiannon from The Four Branches of the Mabinogi. But her story isn’t simply that of a goddess; it also reveals the very mortal aspects of this ancient archetype. The lived experience of women appears to be part of this core myth.
  5. Ancient Celtic Queens: Cartimandua and Boudica are two of the most famous Celtic queens mentioned by classical authors. They were both strong leaders of 1st century Britain, whose spiritual power appears to have been drawn from the Sovereignty Goddess’ of their native tradition.
  6. Epona’s Children: Epona was one of the most popular goddess’ of Celtic Europe, and perhaps the best example of a horse goddess from the Roman period. Scholars have long seen her as a precursor to figures such as Rhiannon from Wales and Macha from Ireland; but why exactly? Why are these characters her spiritual children?
  7. The Ancient Horse Goddess: Before Rhiannon, Macha and even Epona, there was Madhavi from the Vedic tradition of Northern India. As one of the oldest examples of a horse goddess and sovereignty goddess from the Indo-European tradition, Madhavi can tell us great deal about the evolution of this most ancient archetype, the Goddess of Sovereignty.

When you sign up, please confirm your subscription so that you can receive the emails that will guide you through the course. You will receive one email every 2 days introducing you to each chapter. You can always go back and review chapters whenever you want, but this pace of learning will help you get the most out of the course.