Old Teen Essays
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Article ID: 4550
Age Group: Adult
Posted: February 25th. 2002
The Office of Legitimate Complaints
You won't find the address for the 'Office of Legitimate Complaints' listed anywhere in your local phone directory. You'll never see an infomercial for the OLC on late night TV either. So it's quite understandable that most folks have never heard about it. Of course, the 'Office of Legitimate Complaints' is a modern term that only a few of us use to describe an old sub-division of the Welsh Department of Magickal Recourse, so that may have something to do with the lack of immediate name recognition. It has always been a difficult place to find anyway. If you think that you have some sort of legitimate complaint though, it might be worth the trip. Once you do finally get there however, you'll discover that the personnel directory of the OLC is fairly complex too. All those strange names! But I can help you out with that one. What you want is the Office of the Executive Director. Look under 'Arianhrod'.
Arianhrod's company biography is quite interesting and you most definitely need to read that before you go knocking upon her office door. It will give you some insight on how to make your pitch. Oh..and you'll need to make an appointment. At least for the first visit. Arianhrod is a stickler for protocol. But you'd know that if you had read her bio. So let's take a look at that right now, shall we?
In the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi, we discover that Arianhrod is a daughter of Don and that her entire family is quite magically inclined. We also discover that they are quite incestuous. This rather unsavory fact provides Arianhrod with the 'foothold' from which to launch her career and will ultimately place her in the Director's Chair at Caer Sidi. You have to admire a Gal who can work Her way up through the ranks! Anyway, due to some nepotism problems, Arianhrod's uncle, Math, found that he had an opening in the family business- an opening that could only be filled by a pure 'maiden'- and Arianhrod did come to the interview with a rather glowing letter of recommendation from her brother, Gwydion. Math however still insisted that the proper paperwork be done and wanted to see some verification on that 'maiden' part of the job description. And so "they brought her unto him, and the maiden came in. "Ha, damsel, " said he, "art thou the maiden?" "I know not, lord, other than that I am." Then he took up his magic wand, and bent it. "Step over this, " said he, "and I shall know if thou art the maiden." Then stepped she over the magic wand, and there appeared forthwith a fine chubby yellow-haired boy. And at the crying out of the boy, she went towards the door. And thereupon some small form was seen; but before any one could get a second glimpse of it, Gwydion had taken it, and had flang a scarf of velvet around it and hidden it. Now the place where he hid it was the bottom of a chest at the foot of his bed."
Well, now how the heck did that happen? Yeah. That is precisely what Arianhrod wanted to know, too. She suspected that it had something to do with that 'magic wand' thing. She also figured that Math and Gwydion had set her up. She was pretty pissed off about it, too. But even before Arianhrod had huffed her way out of the door, the first child, Dylan, had already run off to sea and joined the Magickal Merchant Marines. Gwydion-after initially having forgotten all about the child in the box for who knows how long (And you thought that your family was dysfunctional?)- raised up the second child. Of course, there were problems. As we shall see...
There are frequently problems with those magickal tales children because there are frequently problems in the magickal tales themselves. Magickal tales get revised, rewritten and refurbished over the years. Some scholars now think that perhaps the story of the Fourth Branch is a retelling of an even older Pictish legend. And that would explain what happens next in this story a lot better than is done in the version that we have now. Recent examinations of Pictish symbol stones seem to point to a society in which men and women had equal status. As Dr Ross Samson surmises, "The idea started with the 8th century English historian, Bede, who wrote that, whenever the Pictish royal succession was in dispute, kings were chosen from the female royal line rather than the male. Although dismissed by some scholars as a myth, others have taken the absence of sons succeeding fathers in the Pictish king lists as supporting evidence for Bede's words. Several scholars have gone further, arguing that if women had a decisive role in succession disputes, their power doubtless extended to other areas of society as well."
If Dr. Sampson's theory is indeed correct, then it is not hard to figure out what happened. If the tale of Arianhrod does indeed have Pictish roots, then she definitely has a legitimate complaint. As a Queen- and we see that she is indeed a Queen because she owns a castle which becomes famous in the further tales of Arthur, of Mabon and of Taliesin- the line of legitimate power would have to come through her and not through either her uncle's or her brother's children. She would also have the legitimate right to the giving of names and the granting of (or training in) arms- another common thread throughout the Celtic myths. Hence Gwydion's problems.
"And one day Gwydion walked forth, and the boy followed him, and he went to the Castle of Arianrod, having the boy with him; and when he came into the Court, Arianrod arose to meet him, and greeted him and bade him welcome. "Heaven prosper thee, " said he. "Who is the boy that followeth thee?" she asked. "This youth, he is thy son, " he answered. "Alas, " said she, "what has come unto thee that thou shouldst shame me thus, wherefore dost thou seek my dishonour, and retain it so long as this?" "Unless thou suffer dishonour greater than that of my bringing up such a boy as this, small will be thy disgrace." "What is the name of the boy?" said she. "Verily, " he replied, "he has not yet a name." "Well, " she said, "I lay this destiny upon him, that he shall never have a name until he receives one from me." "Heaven bears me witness, " answered he, "that thou art a wicked woman. But the boy shall have a name how displeasing soever it may be unto thee. As for thee, that which afflicts thee is that thou art no longer called a damsel." And thereupon he went forth in wrath, and returned to Caer Dathyl, and there he tarried that night."
Now obviously, Gwydion would have just given the kid a name if he could have. But that power did not legitimately rest with him, but with Arianhrod. And since she was still none too pleased about being accused of sexual hanky-panky where none had occurred, she exercised her rights. Rather than being the archetype of the 'wicked stepmother' that she became in later references, Arianhrod here is standing up against the seizure and usurping of legitimate power. Understanding the issue in this light, the rest of the tale makes a great deal more sense. You can read the story for yourself, but the short version is that Gwydion had to trick Arianhrod by magickal means into giving the boy his name of "Llew Llaw Gyffes" and then into granting Llew both horses and arms. Obviously this use of magick to deceive her and once again to circumvent her legitimate power did not earn either Gwydion or Llew any enchanted business bonus miles. So she cursed Llew again that he would have no wife of earthly origin. Later Uncle Math and Gwydion conjure up a little flowery bride for Llew. That doesn't turn out very well for anyone concerned either.
As far as Arianhrod is concerned, the misuse of magick for selfish or illegitimate gains will always backfire. I think that Arianhrod might have actually put that out at some point in the form of a memo. There is little doubt that She considers it a cornerstone of the 'Office of Legitimate Complaints' company policy. You might be able to occasionally arbitrate with Her to amend a few of the rules, but this ain't one of them. And lest you be tempted to push it, I hear from Taliesin that she has an underground prison located somewhere on the premises...
So now you know a little bit more about Arianhrod and where she is coming from. Her very name translates into something like 'Silver Wheel' which points to concepts such as karma, Sovereignty and what comes as the results of the choices that we make in life. So if one day you find yourself on the Path that leads to Caer Sidi- You really can't miss the billboard. The OLC logo is the Aurora Borealis.- and the Office of Legitimate Complaints, look her up in the directory. Call for an appointment. Make your pitch. For if you have been wronged through the misuse of magick or if your legitimate power has been circumvented or usurped by devious means, She will be your strongest advocate. She'll take up your case and put her very best people on it. She'll be on your side.
And that's a whole lot better than having to duck every time that you happen to see an Aurora Borealis flaming across in the sky.
Walk in Love and Light,
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, February 25th., 2002
Photo Credit: Thanks go out to Wvox staff photographer Don "Two Eagles" Waterhawk (Web) for this powerful image. (location: Wendyl and Bill's ritual space in Ft. Meyers, Florida).
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