All your life you’ve never seen a woman taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised to you heaven?
Will you ever win?
~ Stevie Nicks, “Rhiannon”
Rhiannon, the Welsh Great Queen, has been a major force in my life since I was 21 years old, when I heard and felt Her invoked in a powerful Imbolc ritual. As I have gotten to know Her over the last two decades, I have learned a great deal about myself, my Sagittarian need for personal sovereignty, and my strong instinct for both self-preservation and self-determination. I’m always excited when I see renditions of Her and Her ethereal white mare anywhere, and Kris Waldherr’s rendition of her for The Goddess Tarot is one of my favorites.
In this deck, Rhiannon represents The Chariot, and is reconceptualized as Movement. How incredibly appropriate, given that Rhiannon’s white mare carries Her swiftly between the worlds. She moves quickly and directly towards her goals, unimpeded by anything or anyone that would stand in Her way. Moving at the speed of light, Rhiannon/Movement encourages us to set our sights on the horizon and move fearlessly.
Though the image is quite different from the way The Chariot is pictured in the Rider-Waite Tarot (and most other decks I’ve seen), Rhiannon/Movement still carries the essential energy of The Chariot.
In one of the most well-known tales about Her, Rhiannon is spotted by a mortal man as she rides through the forest on Her white mare. He is immediately captivated by Her beauty, and gives chase on his own steed. Yet the more he chases Rhiannon, the faster She goes. And the faster She goes, the more he spurs his own mount on. This chase goes on, in some accounts, for three days and three nights. Ultimately the man pulls his lathering, exhausted stallion up short and calls out, “Lady! Stop!” And Rhiannon does just that. Incredulous, he asks, “Why did you not stop?” And Rhiannon replies, “Sir, why did you not ask me?” This determination to follow her own path, and to not be waylaid, is the essence of this card. While Rhiannon does eventually stop when asked, She only does so as a result of a direct request — She does not give up her agency without a direct ask.
When Rhiannon/Movement rides into your reading, She is asking you to also channel this swiftness, this movement, this willingness to head directly towards that which is calling you. Movement can especially indicate career growth and travel, but I often interpret it as forward, positive movement towards goals of any kind. Sometimes I see it as an invitation to follow a calling, even if there are forces in the querent’s world that might try to dissuade them.
Rhiannon/Movement also reminds us that we know our path, if only we will get out of our own way. We can trust our ability to move toward the horizon, even if the journey seems daunting. She tells us that the wind is at our back, and that the Universe is supporting us as we chase our dreams and our destiny.