Celtic Coinage. Northwestern Gaul. The Redones. Gold Stater (8.04 g, 20 mm). 2nd century B.C. jpg

The name Rigantona means ‘Great Queen’ or ‘Divine Queen’ in Brythonic. By a recognised development of letters and syllables from Brythonic to Welsh it becomes Rhiannon in the medieval Welsh tales about her. The stem ‘rhian-‘ corresponds to ‘rigan’ or ‘rigain’ in Old Irish and also to Latin ‘regin-a’. The suffix ‘-ona’ signifies divinity. Celtic and Italic share a common branch on the Indo-European language tree, separate from Germanic. So it is hardly surprising that words in Brythonic can have correspondences in Latin even without the Roman occupation of Brythonic territory. Rigantona’s mythology must have entered the domain of oral folklore, or of written tales in lost manuscripts before emerging in the medieval Welsh stories contained in the manuscripts bound up and preserved in libraries as The Red book of Hergest and The White Book of Rhydderch, both of which contain complete versions of these tales, together with fragments found elsewhere in, e.g., the Peniarth Manuscripts.

So we might now address her either formally as Rigantona or more familiarly as Rhiannon as this is her current name. Because the stories about her connect her closely with horses, she has been seen to be a mythic expression of the goddess also known as Epona (‘divine horse’) whose surviving iconography from the Ancient World is more widespread and represents her in human form, usually in association with horses. Other posts on this blog outline her attributes in more detail, especially this one.

Many of us who include her in our devotions today recognise her as the same goddess but with different attributes. So in setting up a place for the offering of dedications to her I have separated the dedicatory threads so that dedicants can choose which thread they best prefer to use. If you would like to make such a dedication, you can do so on the Shrine page of the site rigantona.net which also contains discussion and other information about the Horse Goddess in her different manifestations.