Real Name: Arianrhod
Occupation: Queen of Anglesy, goddess of fertility, magic and the arts, patron goddess of virgins
Legal Status: Citizen of Otherworld
Identity: The general populace of Earth is unaware of the existence of Arianrhod except as a mythological deity.
Other Aliases: Aranrod (alternate spelling), Becuma (Celtic name), Bechuille (Irish names), Goddess of the Silver Wheel
Place of Birth:
somewhere along the Danube River in Gaul (modern France)
somewhere along the Danube River in Gaul (modern France)
Marital Status: Separated
Known Relatives: Elathan (father, alias Beli), Danu (mother, alias Don), The Dagda, Llyr, Amaethon (brothers), Gwydion (brother/estranged husband), Penardun (sister), Morrigan (sister-in-law), Dylan, Lugh II (sons), Nwyvre (daughter), Oenghus, Oghma, Bodb, Mider, Diancecht, Manannan (nephews), Badb, Brigid, Epona, Eriu, Banbha, Fodhla (nieces),
Group Affiliations: The Tuatha de Danaan
Base of Operations: Avalon, formerly Caer Arianrhod on Anglesy Island (now part of modern Wales)
First Appearance: Thor #398 (behind the scenes)
History: Arianrhod is a member of an other-dimensional realm of beings known as the Tuatha de Danaan, a race of beings who were worshipped as gods by the Ancient Celts and Gaels of Western Europe. The Danaans were descendants of the Fomore who they exiled from Eire in a series of wars. Arianrhod was taken to be the wife of Gwydion from among the Danaans. She gave birth to his daughter, Nwyvre, but she concealed the births of his two sons for several years.
In one account, Arianrhod was the foster mother of the children of her fellow Danaans, but she was embarrassed into exile for seducing the son of Manannan, the sea-god. She retreated to the Isle of Anglesy near modern Wales where she lived surrounded by female attendants. Although she was one of three important virgin-goddesses to the Celts and Gaels, she actually lived a wanton life seducing and calling upon mermen and sea-gods for companionship.
Arianrhod was eventually invited back among the Danaans by her husband, Gwydion, and her brother, Amaethon (known in Welsh tradition as Gilfaethwy) if she would consent a period of servitude by fulfilling the role of foot-holder in the court of Math fab Mathonwy of Gwynedd, a position vacated by Goewin, taken as a bride by Amaethon. Since the position could only be filled by a virgin, Arianrhod had to attest to her virginity by stepping over a broom which Gwydion substituted as a wand. However, as she performed this test, Gwydion had a vision of his two sons and sought to locate them. (According to myths, Arianrhod dropped both boys as she was stepping over the wands. This incident may have been the inspiration for the superstition of virgins becoming pregnant by stepping over brooms.)
Both of Gwydion's sons had been exiled from Anglesy after their births. The first born son, Dylan, had become a god of the sea and eventually became father of Niamh, the Lady of the Lake, who forged the sword known as Excalibur. Gwydion later found his second son concealed in a chest. Embarrassed by the boy, Arianrhod cursed the youth, refused him a name until she was willing to give him one, something she was unwilling to do. Gwydion found a way around her anger by disguising him and his son and returning to Arianrhod for a blessing. She named him Llew Llaw Gyffes (later condensed to Lugh after Lugh, the champion of the Tuatha de Danaan.). Arianrhod eventually recognized them both, and she created another curse that the boy should never bear arms until she willed it. Gwydion again found a way to circumvent her will by faking an attack on her castle that Arianrhod would out of fear give her son a sword to defend her. She cursed her son a final time by refusing him a mortal wife, but Gwydion again used subterfuge to enchant a wife for Llew Llaw Gyffes by mystically imbuing Blodeuwedd, the daughter of Math fab Mathonwy, with godhood from the flowers of oak, broom and meadowsweet to be his wife. (Later myths later claimed that Blodeuwedd was actually conjured from these items.) Blodeuwedd, however, proved unfaithful and exposed the weaknesses of Llew Llaw Gyffes to his enemies.
Arianrhod greatly despised Gwydion for deceiving her. With the position of foot holder still vacant, she shared her wrath with Math fab Mathonwy by carrying out punishment on Gwydion for deceiving the two of them by transforming him into a number of animals for three years. For each year, Gwydion lived as a different animal, but for each form, he fathered a son with the characteristics of those shapes, those sons possibly becoming the deities known as Cernunnos the stag-god, Moccus the boar-god and Bleiddwn, the wolf-god.
Arianrhod defended Eire when the sorceress Carmen, possibly a Fomore goddess, arrived with her three sons and cast a blight that affected the island. With a retinue of gods with her, Arianrhod followed Carmen to her homeland and defeated her there that she would never return. In the Third Century AD, Arianrhod appeared to King Conn Cetchathlach of Ireland as Bechuille, the name his Celtic ancestors had granted her. Her motivations for her visit remain undetermined, but she entranced Conn to exile his son Art from Tara. During the exile, no crops grew and the cows stopped producing milk. To break the curse over Tara, Conn's adviser asked him to find a youth of noble birth to sacrifice and break the curse, but Art returned from exile bringing Delbchaem, one of the Tuatha de Danaans, to cancel the curse on her own. Becuma departed Tara afterward, possibly having succeeded in bringing Delbchaem to Tara which might have been her original intention, but this is uncertain.
In recent years, Arianrhod was among the Tuatha de Danaan rallied by Llyr, the sea-god, to help defend Asgard, home of the Norse gods, from the armies of Seth, the Egyptian god of evil. For centuries before, the Danaans and the Asgardians had been at odds since the Vikings and Saxons once invaded Ireland in Britain, but Llyr owed Thor, the Norse god of thunder, a debt by coming to the defense of a Danaan family attacked by a griffin dispatched by Seth. Arianrhod came to the defense of Asgard and fought alongside the Asgardians and the Ennead (Egyptian Gods).
Arianrhod no longer presides on Earth, having mystically
teleported her castle, grounds and inhabitants to a part of Otherworld, the
cosmology of worlds including the realms of the Tuatha de Danaan.
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 425 lbs.
Strength Level: Arianrhod possesses superhuman strength enabling her to lift (press) 25 tons under optimal conditions.
Known Superhuman Powers: Arianrhod possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Tuatha de Danaan or Celtic gods. Like all of the Danaans, she is exceptionally long-lived, but she is not immortal like the Olympian gods: she has aged at an exceptionally slow rate since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any conventional means. She is immune to all Earthly diseases and is resistant to conventional injury. If she were somehow wounded, her godly life force would enable her to recover with superhuman speed. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of her bodily molecules to cause her a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for a god of significant power, such as the Dagda, Gwydion or Llyr or for a number of Celtic gods of equal power working together to revive her. Arianrhod also possesses superhuman strength and her Danaan metabolism provides her with far greater than human endurance in all physical activities. (Danaan flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the superhuman strength and weight of the Celtic gods.)
Arianrhod also has the ability to tap into and manipulate mystical energies for a variety of effects. She is considered the most powerful of the children of Don (Danu) with the possible exception of the Dagda who may be her equal. Arianrhod can command and wield a vast array of energies enabling her to create shields, send mystical beams of concussive energies, summon and create objects from her thoughts, control the weather and formations of the Earth and cast curses and spells to follow her bidding. She can alter her form and stature to attain a gigantic state at will or to transform other people into other shapes for assigned periods of time, such as she did to Gwydion. Arianrhod can also bestow power or mortal mystics and magicians who know how to call upon her. She has no clairvoyant gifts, thus making her prone to mystical deception.
Arianrhod has superhuman stamina and endurance enabling her to cast and conjure excessive spells for long periods of time. Physically superior to humans, she is not prone to physical activity.
Abilities: Arianrhod is a very cunning and deceptive
goddess capable of using her feminine wiles to get her desires. Her skills in
armed combat are below par, preferring instead to use other warriors to carry
out her bidding.
Comments: Arianrhod has yet to appear by name in Marvel or DC Comics.
Last updated: 09/24/08
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