Branwen, A Goddess for Troubled Times

It’s now been almost three weeks since the fateful election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States. It’s still so hard to believe that the forces of hate have won out over those of love.  I still get sick to my stomach as with each passing day the worst seems to be coming true.

Though I know deep in my heart that ultimately this dark and hateful energy will fall, I also know that much pain and suffering will have to occur first. I search for ways to handle my fears and ways to continue advocating for a world in balance, a world where peace and justice is available to all. The heart finds solace where the heart will – while editing the stories in my Celtic Goddess series soon to Branwen, Celtic Goddess of Love and Beauty, painting by Judith Shawbecome a deck of Celtic Goddess Oracle cards, I reread my telling of Branwen’s story, who seems to be an appropriate Goddess for this time.

Branwen, Celtic Goddess of Love and Beauty, speaks to me about the power of love to unite and the patience needed to endure suffering while holding onto the light.

Branwen was the sister of Bran the Blessed, king of all the Island of the Mighty. In the ways of the Old Tribes of the British Isles she was also the mother of the next king. She was the center from which all life emerged and thus possessed a vision which saw the whole, the greater scheme of things.

Her story is long. You can read the details on my post on the Feminism and Religion blog. But in essence She fell in love with and agreed to marry the Irish King, Matholuch, who had made the sea voyage to seek her hand. At first life in her new home in Ireland was happy. The Irish loved Her and She soon gave birth to a son.

But once word of an atrocity committed by one of Her brothers against the Irish got out the people turned against her. King Math, at the urging of his people, put her aside. She was made to work in the kitchen where she was routinely mistreated. With the help of her friend, the starling, she got word to Bran of Her plight. Bran raised an army and off they went to Her rescue.

Branwen urged a peaceful resolution and Her release was negotiated. The face-price for peace was that Branwen’s son, Gwern would become the Irish High King. But the same brother with hate in his heart destroyed this peace. During a celebration of Gwern’s kingship, he threw Gwern into the fire and killed him. War broke out, a war of extreme destruction in which ultimately both sides were destroyed.

Branwen’s story is truly one of sorrow which speaks to many of us today who are in deep sorrow by the recent election results and fear over what these results will mean. Branwen sought to unite two lands by love. We must do the same. With this love she was able to forgive and continue seeking peace for all. We must do the same. She sought this peace not only for the people but also for the land. We must do the same.

Branwen, Great Goddess of Love, died not by violence but of a broken heart at the destruction surrounding her.  Her great love for humanity, Her patience in the face of difficulties, and Her ability to forgive are abilities we can seek to live up to in the difficult days ahead.

Branwen’s wisdom is one of love and peace.  She gives us the wisdom to restore our vision of wholeness, our vision of a world where connections are recognized and diversity celebrated.  Branwen shows us the way to empathy and to the courage to persevere during times of danger and fear.

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