Gwydion the Man
Gwydion went through emotional, spiritual, physical and mental changes as he matured into an adult. An entire sequence of events was completed before Gwydion had a feeling of who he was. He had great potential in his youth, but it took the conditions of hardship and joy for him to grow and become a Great Wizard. It took years of experience to acquire the wisdom needed. His destiny unfolded at its own pace. As an adult he had a more complete understanding that what you do to self, you do to the all.
Though Gwydion's past mistakes and achievements he learned to be one of a kind. The Great Wizard Gwydion, rendered his unique gifts and talents by service and sharing. Gwydion saved one of Arianrhod's sons from his fate.
Unknown to Arianrhod, she had become pregnant when Gilfaethwy assaulted her. Arianrhod was asked to step over Math's magical wand to prove her virginity. The moment her foot touched the ground on the other side she bore two sons. The first Son was quickly named Dylan, leaped into the water, swam like a fish, and then disappeared. He avoided his mother's wrath and became a Sea God.
Arianrhod had become bitter by the crime done to her. She decided to take revenge. When her second son was born she refused to claim him. Gwydion saw that the child needed care and guidance and became his father figure. The Great Wizards, Gwydion and Math, surrounded the boy with protective chants and charms to assist in a strong, healthy existence. Arianrhod was the only person who had the power to name her son. Gwydion approached his sister in a mannerly fashion with the boy at his side. When Arianrhod saw the boy she was reminded of the horrible ordeal done to her by his rightful father. Furious, she told them that, "No name shall the boy obtain from me. Not now or ever." Gwydion and the boy left Arianrhod's castle by the sea.
Gwydion knew there was no compromise to be had so he created an illusion to his liking.
Gwydion and the boy, disguised as shoemakers, with the finest shoes made of Spanish leather, sailed a tiny boat into the port of Arianrhod's castle. The shoemaker tied the boat to the wharf. He declined to leave his ship and announced that customers had to come to them. The word spread quickly that the shoes the two had were fit for the Queen in command.
When Arianrhod arrived, Gwydion gave the boy a signal. On cue, the fair-haired boy quicker than his mother's eye could follow, shot a bird with a stone from a slingshot off the mast. Arianrhod was amazed by what she saw. She cried out at the boy,"O, well shot, Fair-hair Skilled Hand," which translated to Lleu Llaw. Just as she finished her sentence, the small vessel and its passengers disappeared. Arianrhod had been successfully tricked into naming the boy.
Years passed and Lleu Llaw, became a skilled archer and swordsman. He grew into the image of a fine person. Gwydion saw that the time had come to arm the young man. Lleu Llaw needed to take his place amongst the other men. To do this, Lleu Llaw needed to bear arms and only his mother had the authority to allow this.
Gwydion and Lleu Llaw, entered Arianrhod's castle by the sea dressed as Bards. The two were welcomed. They spent the night entertaining the Queen and her people. When the two finished, the Queen offered them a place to rest.
The next morning was the first of April. Gwydion, the Great Wizard, became known as "The Father of April's Fool," for on this day he conjured an illusion of a large army to trick Arianrhod into giving Lleu Llaw arms.
The sun rose above the water's edge lighting the world, Arianrhod, looking out her bed chamber window, saw the fleet of ships ready to attack her castle and lands. Bards were known to have mystical powers. She quickly ran to the two to plead for their magic making.
Gwydion, disguised still, told his sister the two had not brought weapons to defend. Arianrhod commanded her handmaidens to prepare Gwydion for war while she, herself, armed Lleu Llaw. Arianrhod had weapons brought from her personal strong rooms. She armed Lleu Llaw with strapping on his belt, a scabbard, his helmet, and a shield to hold in his hand. When finished she returned to the window. She saw the army of ships had disappeared and all that remained was a calm sea. Surprised, she quickly turned. Gwydion and Lleu Llaw were fully armed in their true forms. Arianrhod became enraged when she realized that she, herself, had given weapons fit for a man, to her son. Coldly she cursed Lleu Llaw. She swore her final oath. She said," You will never know the true love of a woman. There will be no bride to share your life with." Arianrhod swore Lleu Llaw's life would be one of solitude. She then stormed out of the room.
Gwydion went to see Math for he needed his powers to remove the curse. Math felt Lleu Llaw's loneliness and agreed to help. The two Great Wizards created a woman from the four elements, earth, air, fire and water, and laced them together with the magical energies of the universe. Gwydion and Math named her Blodeuwed, Fairie Queen, and Giver of Life.
When Lleu Llaw met the woman there was an instant attraction. Blodeuwed and Lleu Llaw wed. Math gave the lands called Ardudwy in Southern Gwynedd with a fortress at MOR Castle. The couple lived well, but Lleu Llaw had to leave on many missions for the King for long periods of time.
While Lleu Llaw journeyed to the court of Math, from the castle Blodeuwed watched a group of hunters seeking wild game. At nightfall the men were at her gate. Goronwy, Lord of Penllyn, the leader, asked for a night's shelter.
Blodeuwed had feelings for him at first sight so she agreed. Later in the evening she took him as her lover.
Goronwy was not an honorable man. He was selfish. He wanted the rich lands of Ardudwy and would use Blodeuwed to get what he wanted. Goronwy told Blodeuwed that for them to be together she needed to find the secret that would break the protective shield that surrounded her husband from death.
When Lleu Llaw returned home he saw his wife had changed. He confronted her. Blodeuwed told him she feared his death. Lleu Llaw tried to calm his wife, but she became hysterical at the thought of being left alone. Blodeuwed had been told by Goronwy that no ordinary death could take place. She knew she needed to persist for further information. Out of love, Lleu Llaw told his wife how to break the safeguards placed on him by Gwydion.
Lleu Llaw told Blodeuwed in order to kill him one foot must be placed on the rim of a cauldron which sat beside the stream for travelers to bathe, and the other foot on the back of a goat. At the moment when his feet were in place, a spear created on Holy Nights and dipped in poison was shot into his heel, he would lose his mortal life.
Blodeuwed laughed with delight. Lleu Llaw thought it was because he had set her mind at ease. Little did he know that the next morning his wife had sent a messenger to Goronwy's fortress at Penllyn.
For a year and a day Goronwy set out Lleu Llaw's death and a day later, Blodeuwed convinced her husband to show her how difficult the task would be to kill him. Lleu Llaw wanted to please his wife so he did as she asked. At the moment he had his feet in place Goronwy shot a poisoned spear and hit Lleu Llaw in the ankle. Lleu Llaw changed his human form into a mighty wounded gold eagle, then vanished. Goronwy and Blodeuwed ran into the woods. Blodeuwed believed she would be with her new lover forever.
Blodeuwed begged Goronwy to stay with her, however, he abandoned her to fend for herself among the wild animals.
Math told Gwydion of the attempt on Lleu Llaw's life. Gwydion went in search of his son.
Weeks passed before Gwydion received a lead. He followed a fat, wild boar to an eagle shivering high up in the branches, dripping flesh and blood. Gwydion charmed the eagle from the tree. He touched his wand to the bird's brow, his son, magically appeared. Lleu Llaw told him of his wife's deceit. Gwydion found Blodeuwed on the highest mountain peak. He raised his hand and said, " You shall be a bird who is hated by all other birds. Never will your face enjoy the light of day." He waved his wand, turning her into a owl.
Goronwy's punishment was to stand where Lleu Llaw had and Lleu Llaw would stand and cast the spear. Goronwy asked his kinsmen for one to take his place. None stood up for him. At the River Gynvael, Lleu Llaw shot the poisoned spear at his enemy. Goronwy, in fear of his life, grabbbed a stone which lay by the river bank. The arrow pierced through the stone and knocked him to the ground. His back broken, he died.
The Stone of Goronwy still lays where the punishment took place.
© 2008 Angie Skelhorn