"Rhiannon was not written about the mythological mabinogion from Wales. She was written about a name that came up in a book that I read that was called Triad by Mary Leader. There were two women in it, they were named Rhiannon and Branwen. So this story truly is when everybody says, “you want to write premonitions, you know you have premonitions.” I don’t think that I consciously have them but I do seem to have some sort of a psychic knowledge of what’s going to happen in the future. The whole thing about the birds in the sky, this is all intricately woven through the myth, so I always think it’s pretty interesting when I listen to it or when I play it, that I had no idea about any of this when I wrote it. I just thought it was a really beautiful name and that if I ever have a little girl that I’ll call her Rhiannon and that’s really what I took to the piano to write the song. I also wrote this song in Aspen – at the same time I wrote Landslide – there must have been a very creative force going on in Colorado at that moment, that night.
Mary Leader would really like to think that I got the story from her, but I didn’t. Her Rhiannon is evil and mine is really good. Triad’s about a modern lady with two personalities, and has nothing to do with history. I just fell in love with the name, sat down, and wrote the song in about ten minutes, and found out later that the whole story is already written in Celtic mythology, Welsh mythology. It’s very strange…and ‘Rhiannon’ onstage is very, very weird. I’m sure that I was there at the time, and ‘Rhiannon’ somehow came through me. I started collecting butterflies in L.A., after I’d joined the band, and ‘Rhiannon’ was recorded. Then, a year and a half later somebody gave me this book. I’d never read anything on Rhiannon at the time. This book was called The Song Of Rhiannon, and there’s a picture of her at the beginning. She’s sitting like this; she has really long flowing hair, and out of her mouth is flowing butterflies. You turn the book over and there’s these little nooks and crannies and there’s butterflies on all the ledges…and I’m going, this is very strange. I said, Lindsay, I’ve never read any of that stuff, but it’s all there in the song. I figure I really didn’t need to read it, I just think I was around at some point.”