Friday, November 29, 2013

The Love and Sorrow of Branwen

In the first four stories found within the Welsh collection of myth, the Mabinogion, four enduring female characters can be found.  The better known Rhiannon appears in the first and third stories, with Arianhrod of the Silver Wheel appears in the fourth.  Also appearing with Arianhrod is Blodeuwedd, the "flower bride", leaving the little known Branwen, the daughter of the Welsh Sea God Llyr, to appear in the second story.
Often overshadowed by her brother, Bran the Blessed, and in particular the journey of Bran's head which appears towards the end of the second story, Branwen's role in the events that unfolded are equally important.  After all, if it was not for her marriage to the Irish king Matholwch, then there would not have been a war wherein Bran's "Assembly of the Head" would not have taken place.
In order to do each character justice, I have written a series of four articles will be appearing in The Cauldron, commencing with Rhiannon (who appeared in issue 149).  The current issue (No.150) is now available and contains my second essay, The Love and Sorrow of Branwen, with the remaining two essays to follow in later editions.
The Cauldron is a privately published British magazine edited by Michael Howard (renown author of some 30 books on magic and folklore himself) that has been featuring indepth articles on traditional Craft, Wicca, Paganism, magic and folklore since 1976 (making it one of the longest running Pagan orientated magazines around).  As The Cauldron has included essays from well known authors and scholars such as Ronald Hutton, Gareth Knight, Andrew Chumbley, David Rankine, Sorita d'Este, Philip Heselton, and Rae Beth, it is a great honour to have my essays included in this magazine.

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