Today was very cold and windy here in Minnesota, so much so there was some snow. Lucky for us it melted when it hit the ground, because the ground is still warm. We have been known to have Halloween storms in these parts, and I've been known to stay in till it blows over and not help with the shoveling. So it's as good a time as any to talk about the Queen of Annwyn, because her husband the King is known to take his hounds and ride the skies on nights like tonight, to gather the souls of the dead (or not so dead) to bring back to his realm. It' s known as the Wild Hunt, and one day I hope to do a painting of that scene, but not just yet.
The Queen of Annwyn sits with her red-eared hound in her realm, with small goblins lurking about, and a Raven nearby. The skull was fun to paint as I recall, and I loved painting the misty background and gnarly tree limbs. Prints are available of various sizes, as well as the framed version above. But more about Annwyn or Annwn or Annwfn fro the Encyclopedia Mythica:
There are various entry points into Annwn, namely Lundy Island and Glastonbury Tor. There is a legend of an itenerant Welsh saint named Collen entering Gwyn's palace within the Tor in order to banish him by sprinkling holy water around.
Contained within the alleged Book of Taleisin is "The Spoils of Annwn," an obscure, inauthentic Welsh poem dating from perhaps the tenth century. It is the tale of a raid on the part of Arthur and his knights through the underworld, questing for a magical, talismanic cauldron in the custody of nine maidens. Only seven survive this perilous expedition. Due to the pagan substance of the poem, it has been claimed to be a foreshadowing of later Grail Quests.The number nine relates to real groups of nine priestesses in pre-Christian, Celtic society. Geoffrey of Monmouth tells of a sisterhood of nine led by Morgan le Fay in his poetic Vita Merlini. The coven was located on the Isle of Apples, or Avalon, another otherworld sometimes identified with Annwn.