Gwydion

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Gwydion

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The name means "the prophetic one." Gwydion is a powerful sorcerer and brilliant storyteller who is featured in the Fourth Branch of the medieval Welsh book, The Mabinogian.

In both Welsh and Irish mythology there is a hierarchy of deities headed by a mother (Dôn in Welsh and Danu in Irish) and three sons. They are the family of Dôn.

According to Mabinogi, which is a centerpiece of medieval Welsh literature, Gwydion is one of the three sons and also is a master sorcerer and wonderful craftsman. His brother, Gilfaethwy, falls in love with a young girl named Goewin, footholder to Math, the son of Mathonwy and uncle to the three sons. Math has a compulsion that forces him to always rest his feet in the lap of a young maiden. The only time he does not feel the compulsion is when he goes away to war.

Through the machinations of Gwydion, Math leaves to fight a battle, allowing both he and Gilfaethwy to sleep with Goewin, albeit against her will. When Math returns and learns of their treachery, he turns his two nephews into deer. They remain that way for one year, after which they are turned into wild boars, and then, one year after that, wolves.

When he returns to his natural form, Gwydion approaches Math and suggests that Arianrhod—Gwydion's sister—fill the now-vacant post of foot-holder. Before accepting, Math insists that the girl must step across his magic wand as a test of her virginity. She promptly flunks the test, as two babies drop out of her as she steps across the wand. One of the babies is Dylan Eil Don, and the other—originally scooped up and hidden by a quick-thinking Gwydion—becomes Lleu Llaw Gyffes, or, "the Bright One of the Skillful Hand." In fact, the rescued child is the result of an incestuous relationship between Gwydion and Arianrhod.

Arianrhod swears to Math that Lleu will never bear arms and will never have a human wife. She is tricked on both counts by the powerful magic of her scheming brother Gwydion, who fashions a woman out of the flowers of the oak, broom, and meadowsweet. The woman becomes known as Blodeuwedd, the fairest woman of them all.

In reality, Gwydion was almost certainly an ancient deity, sharing affinities with Lug himself. Gwydion is a powerful and cunning sorcerer and a great craftsman, but he can also fight as a hero.