|Old World God
Rhya, the Mother-goddess, is the goddess of the fertility of the earth, the harvest, love, fertility and summer. [4a]
She is the consort of Taal but neither is monogamous, both having children with other gods. She blesses lovers with romantic intimacy but is directly opposed to the Dark Prince Slaanesh's compulsion and domination. [4a]
Rhya is the personification of the Mother-goddess of the Old Faith, but her husband Taal has taken over most of the aspects of Rhya as a deity of the earth and the natural world.
Rhya is depicted as the personification of mother earth - a lovely, motherly woman, her hair a tangle of flowers and branches. She is shown as a tall, gracious woman, often heavily pregnant and may wear a crown of barley and wheat and accompanied by handmaidens, spirits of nature and minor goddesses who serve her. [4a] She is also depicted as a doe. [5a]
One known aspect of the goddess is Haleth, Goddess of Hunting [1a][3a] who is worshipped by hunters in the northern Empire, who ask her to bless their weapons and guide their hunts. Portrayed as an athletic woman with a bow. [3a]
Rhya is the Earth Mother, the goddess of all that grows and lives, midwife of animals, and the goddess of gentle winds, springtime rain, crop plants, and the gentler aspects of nature. She represents the fertility and bounty of the earth and mothers everywhere. In more urban areas some of these aspects are credited to Shallya, the goddess of Healing and Mercy.
It is Rhya to whom the people of the Old World pray to for fair winds, moderate rains, healthy plants and animals. Wife of Taal, god of Nature and Wild Places, Rhya is seen as the more merciful and gentle of the pair, and is often asked to intercede with her husband to calm his rages.
The ancient stone tablets recovered in the Kölsa hills in Talabecland and later translated by Teclis confirmed that the tribes who sought refuge in the reik basin worshipped the Mother, a fertility goddess of creation. [2a]
In modern times, Rhya does not have her own cult or temples, at least in her Old World aspect. Much of her worship has been incorporated with the Cult of Taal. Some temples worship the married couple.
Rhya shares most of Taal's main festive days: the summer and winter solstices and the autumn equinox.
History and Legends
When the world was created it was barren of life and cold underfoot but the Lord of the Sun gave the beautiful maiden Rhya the gift of warmth and light. As she walked on the ground, the soil gave forth grasses, flowers, trees and fruit and as she sang, creatures climbed from the soil. Finally when men and women came forth, she promised that both they and the soil would be fruitful but only if they showed her due respect. [4a]
Rhya and Taal fell in love when the world was still young and were joined beneath the bowers of a great oak tree. Many children came forth from their union including Manann and countless spirits of forest, meadow, and valley but it is said that the first born of the Menogoth tribe were children of Rhya who had lain with a mortal man. [4a]
During a time of famine Rhya sent her handmaidens Rigga and Vidagg to the women bringing sheaves of wheat and docile aurochs, whispering secrets of taming the wild but they kept their voices low so that King Taal would not hear them and grow angry. [4a]
Notes & sources
- 1: Salzenmund (book)
- 1a: Outside the Walls, pg. 89
- 2: Tome of Salvation
- 3: Archives of the Empire Vol III
- 3a: Minor Gods, Folk Worship & Hedgecraft, pg. 50
- 4: Archives of the Empire Vol III
- 4a: Chapter V: Cult of Rhya, pg. 65-68
- 5: WFRP Rulebook (2nd Edition)
- 5a: p. 179
- Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd edition, p. 174
- Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, 1986, 1989, 1995, p. 205
- The Enemy Within, 1986, 1995, p. 21