Saturday, December 02, 2006

Sceptre Of Selection

This shabbat marks the observance of Celtic Gwyl o Rhiannon.

Rhiannon is the Lady of the Lake who gave legendary King Arthur of Camelot the mystical sword Excalibur (Caledfwlch in Welsh, meaning "hard lightning"). Interestingly, this discovery on my part follows Wednesday morning's dream where I am the woman emerging from the lake. Consequently, my dream suggests that I have integrated this "goddess" archetype psychospiritually with consciousness. In other words, it has emerged from the water of the concealed world and become revealed. This is an example of אתהפכא חשוכא לנהורא in action.

In Celtic mythology, the Lady of the Lake is She who gives (as described above) and receives back for safekeeping Caledfwlch:

As Arthur lay dying, he tells a reluctant Sir Bedivere (Sir Griflet in some versions) to return the sword to the lake by throwing it into the water. Bedivere thinks the sword too precious to throw away, so twice only pretends to do so. Each time, Arthur asks him to describe what he saw. When Bedevere tells him the sword simply vanished underwater, Arthur scolds him harshly. Finally, Bedivere throws Excalibur into the lake. Before the sword strikes the water's surface, the hand reaches up to grasp it and pull it under. Arthur leaves on a death barge with the three queens to Avalon, where as his legend says, he will one day return to save Britain from a threat.

From this we can see that Caledfwlch is interwoven with the Celtic messianic ideal. Among the sword's mystical abilities, is the ability to "select" the "destined" King. It is the Divine Scepter of selection. Caledfwlch, the scepter of Divine Truth which selects and the sceptre of Kings, represents spiritual evolution.

In Jewish kabbalah, both of these functions - selection and evolution - are characteristic of the letter zayin. Zayin epitomizes the Woman of Valor. Like the Lady of the Lake whose gift bestows enhanced survival skills, zayin "sustains" and provides sustenance for living. Her Divine Hand opens to extend the sceptre of benevolence and to select species for "leaps" of development and evolution.

As zayin also corresponds to the Shabbat Queen, feminine nevuah and the matriarchal archetype Sarah, so too do Caledfwlch and Rhiannon connect with these concepts. As previously written, Rhiannon has a correspondence with Tzipporah as well. Significantly - zayin, Sarah, Caledfwlch, Rhiannon and Tzipporah - all have mythic roles where a critical "selection" determines the outcome of history.

zayin, the letter of shabbat, pertains to natural selection of species
Sarah selects Yitzchak to receive the covenantal blessing
Caledfwlch (the sceptre of Rhiannon) selects the King of destiny
Tziporrah/Rhiannon selects the redeemer

It is fitting therefore, that this year 5767, Gwyl o Rhiannon observance begins on Shabbat.

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