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Troubadours of Albion Witchcraft Community

What's New?

Take a look at our new Craft Items page, which gives you access to all sorts of bespoke goodies, from hallmarked jewellery to flower arrangements, all made by us to your design.

We've started adding stories from the Mabinogion - first one, Lleu Llaw Gyffes has been added, but there are more on the way.

Look out, too, for the Troubadours of Albion Witches Brouhaha, an activism group set up to help uphold our values.  Join up here.

The Witches Brouhaha section on the website has been moved to the Elements' pages, under Fire.

Then again, if your tastes don't run to the cutting edge of politics, try our 'blog pages.  Still fiery enough to burn fluffies, but they won't singe your seat!

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The Tale of Lleu Llaw Gyffes and Blodeuwedd

Blodeuwedd owlThe story of Lleu Llaw Gyffes and his flower bride is one of the most famous tales from the Mabinogion.  It goes something like this:

The Goddess Arianrhod of the Silver Wheel had two sons.  To the first she was fair and gentle - a good mother, in fact.  The second son, however, was visited with cruelty.  Arianrhod laid three curses upon him: that she would not name him, that he had no right to bear arms and, thirdly, that he should marry no mortal woman.  The boy's uncles, the majickians Gwydion and Math, were not happy about this, and set out to put the matter to rights.  

For the first, they contrived that a bird should fly about the boy's crib, and immediately he caught it.  Arianrhod exclaimed "what a swift hand he has"; thus was he named Lleu Llaw Gyffes, meaning "of the skilful hand".

When Lleu Llaw Gyffes grew, there were ships approaching with evil intent.  Mindful of the second curse, the majickians contrived to disguise Lleu Llaw Gyffes, who was duly given arms to help fend off the invaders.  He acquitted himself with aplomb, and thus earned the right to bear arms, despite his mother's wishes.

For the third curse, Math and Gwydion created a woman out of flowers, whom they called Blodeuwedd.  This woman and Lleu Llaw Gyffes soon fell in love, and were married, living happily - for a time.  But then Blodeuwedd grew bored, being left for long periods at a time in the fortress she shared with her husband.

One day, a party of hunters happened to be near the settlement, and Blodeuwedd became attracted to their leader, Gronw Pebyr.  A romance blossomed, in the course of which they decided they wanted to be together.  But there was a problem - and that problem was her husband.

Together, they decided that Lleu Llaw Gyffes must die but, as the son of a Goddess, he could not be killed except by special means.  Blodeuwedd, however, asked her husband the exact circumstances in which he could be killed.  Suspecting no mischievous intent, he told her: "I cannot be killed save by a spear, fashioned for exactly one year.  Even then, I must be about to bathe, and that bath should be beside a stream, and I should have one foot on the side of the bath and the other on the back of a goat."

On hearing the news, Gronw Pebyr got to work fashioning the spear.  Exactly one year later, Blodeuwedd asked Lleu Llaw Gyffes to demonstrate the circumstances in which he could be killed which, again fearing no evil, he did.  But Gronw Pebyr, hiding nearby, then threw the spear he had fashioned for exactly one year, and it pierced Lleu Llaw Gyffes' side.

He did not die, however, instead changing into an eagle and flying away.

News of this act reached Math and Gwydion, who hunted Gronw Pebyr down and killed him.  They then hunted for the eagle that Lleu Llaw Gyffes had turned into and, after much searching, they found him, all bedraggled and in a desolate tree.  They were soon able to restore him to his proper form and fitness, however.

As for Blodeuwedd, she ran off into the forest, in fear for her life.  When the majickians found her, however, they did not kill her; instead, they transformed her into a tawny owl, telling her: "you have betrayed your husband and your purpose.  You will be turned into an owl, to live out your days in the forest and, because all the other birds will fear you, those days will be spent in solitude."