Three unconnected quotations on whiteness at this ‘white’ time of year:

“In some cases the colour may have symbolic significance, for example the ‘pale white horse’ of Rhiannon. White is often linked with supernatural in the Four Branches (compare the white boar in the Third Branch, and the white dogs of the King of the Otherworld in the First), while ‘fairies riding white horses’ is an international motif. The colour of Rhiannon’s horse may, therefore, have been an indication to a medieval audience of her Otherworld status.”

Sioned Davies The Horse in Celtic Culture


She 's mounted on her milk-white steed,
She 's ta'en true Thomas up behind;
And aye, whene'er her bridle rang,
The steed gaed swifter than the wind.

O they rade on, and farther on,
The steed gaed swifter than the wind;
Until they reach'd a desert wide,
And living land was left behind.

from 'The Ballad of Thomas the Rhymer' (anon)


“So the green Earth is first no colour and then green.
Spirits who walk, who know
All is untouchable, and, knowing this, touch so,
Who know the music by which white is seen,
See the worlds colours in flashes come and go.
The marguerite’s petal is white, is wet with rain,
Is white, then loses white, and then is white again
Not from time’s course, but from the living spring,
Miraculous whiteness, a petal, a wing,
Like light, like lightning, soft thunder, white as jet,
Ageing on ageless breaths. The ages are not yet.”

Vernon Watkins from ‘Music of Colours’

1 comment:

Lorna Smithers said...

When I think of whiteness in winter, I think of Gwyn as Winter King, and the 'Gorwynion' Llywarch Hen. 'Bright are the ash-tops; tall and white will they be.'