Arianrhod (Welsh pronunciation: [arˈjanr̥ɔd]) is a figure in Welsh mythology who plays her most important role in the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi. She is the daughter of Dôn and the sister of Gwydion and Gilfaethwy; the Welsh Triads give her father as Beli Mawr. In the Mabinogi her uncle Math ap Mathonwy is the King of Gwynedd, and during the course of the story she gives birth to two sons, Dylan Ail Don and Lleu Llaw Gyffes, through magical means.
According to the Fourth Branch, Arianrhod's uncle Math fab Mathonwy would die if he did not keep his feet in the lap of a virgin when he was not at war. Gilfaethwy conceives a lust for Math's original footholder, Goewin, and he and his brother Gwydion engineer a war with King Pryderi of Dyfed, forcing Math to leave his court. In his absence Gilfaethwy rapes Goewin, but is punished when Math returns (Math turns him and Gwydion into a series of mated pairs of animals). Math marries Goewin to alleviate her shame, but must find a new virgin to hold his feet.
Gwydion suggests his sister, Arianrhod. To test her virginity, Math tells her to step over his magician's rod. On doing this, however, she immediately gives birth to a young boy, Dylan Ail Don, and an entity which becomes Lleu Llaw Gyffes. Dylan is a sea spirit, who flees to the ocean immediately after he is baptized; Gwydion grabs the entity before anyone else sees it and places it in a chest. Before long it becomes a boy who grows at twice the normal rate; when he is four he is as big as an eight-year-old. Gwydion takes him to see his mother at her home, Caer Arianrhod.
However, Arianrhod is still angry about her humiliation at Math's court. She places a tynged (a geis or curse) on the boy that he will never have a name unless she gives it to him. Gwydion disguises the boy as a shoemaker and returns to Caer Arianrhod; while Arianrhod is being fitted, she sees the boy killing a wren with a single stone and remarks that the fair-haired one ("lleu") has a skillful hand ("llaw gyffes"). Gwydion reveals the disguise, and says she has just given her son a name – Lleu Llaw Gyffes. Arianrhod then places a second tynged on Lleu, that he would never take arms unless she armed him. A few years later Gwydion and Lleu return to Caer Arianrhod, this time disguised as bards. Gwydion is an accomplished storyteller and entertains her court. That night, while everyone sleeps, he conjures a fleet of warships. Arianrhod gives them weapons and armor to help her fight, thereby dispelling her second curse. When Gwydion reveals the trickery, Arianrhod places a final tynged on Lleu: he would never have a wife from any race that is on this earth now. Gwydion and Math eventually break this curse by creating a woman out of oak blossom, broom, and meadowsweet; she is named Blodeuwedd ("flower face"). With her curses, Arianrhod denied Lleu the three aspects of masculinity: a name, arms, and a wife.
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