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30 Day Pagan Journaling Challenge 9-16-2017

There is a 30 day Pagan journaling challenge for the month of September set up on Instagram and I thought it would be fun to do it – and would get me back into the swing of things as well.

And back into blogging here as I answer the posts. (I’m not much of an Instagram person.)

Today’s question is:

What is my favorite myth from my tradition? Why?

This one is a little tougher that it looks like it should be.

As much as I love the Greek deities and their myths, I can’t pick just one of them, so I think I’ll detour to the north and pick Blodeuwedd’s story.

Why?  Because she is the epitome of “I don’t have to be what you want me to be.”

For those who aren’t familiar with her story, read on.

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Blodeuwedd was the wife of Lleu Llaw Gyffes.

He was cursed by his mother (Arianrhod) first that she would never give him a name (which she was tricked into doing) and then that she would never give him weapons (which she was again tricked into doing).

Furious at having been twice tricked, she cursed him that he would never have a wife of any of the races of the earth.

So his uncles (Math and Gwydion, both powerful magicians) formed a woman from the flowers of oak, broom, and meadowsweet, and breathed life into her.  They named her Blodeuwedd, which means “Flower Face” and gave her to Llew as his wife.

Lleu Llaw Gyffes spent a fair amount of time away on business, and Blodeuwedd grew lonely.  She fell in love with Gronw Pebr, a neighboring lord, and they conspire to murder Lleu, which was much more difficult than you might think, as he could not be killed during the day or night, nor indoors or outdoors, neither riding nor walking, not clothed and not naked, nor by any weapon lawfully made.

Blodeuwedd tricked Lleu into demonstrating how he could be killed, so at dusk, he wrapped himself in a net and stood by a riverbank, with one foot on a cauldron and the other on a goat.  While he was in this position, Gronw threw a spear forged for a year during the hours when everyone is at mass.  (It’s that last bit that makes me want to dig deeper and find an older pre-Christian version of the story.)

But Lleu wasn’t killed, just transformed into an eagle. His uncles coaxed him down from the tree he was perched in, nursed him back to health, and sought revenge on Gronw and Blodeuwedd.

Gronw ended up dead, but Blodeuwedd was transformed into an owl.

“You will not dare to show your face ever again in the light of day ever again, and that will be because of enmity between you and all other birds. It will be in their nature to harass you and despise you wherever they find you. And you will not lose your name – that will always be “Bloddeuwedd.”

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So there’s the short down and dirty version.

She wasn’t given a choice, and rebelled against the role assigned to her by the patriarchy.

From Damh the Bard:
“To many Blodeuwedd is seen as a betrayer, but not to me. She was conjoured by Gwydion and Math to be a wife for Lleu Llaw Gyffes, so she was a trapped woman, and we all know that this is NOT a good idea….”

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/kQwkekR1ORE&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen><!–iframe>

 

For the first part of the story:
Oak, Broom, and Meadowsweet

 

 

 

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30 Day Pagan Journaling Challenge 9-7-2017

There is a 30 day Pagan journaling challenge for the month of September set up on Instagram and I thought it would be fun to do it – and would get me back into the swing of things as well.

And back into blogging here as I answer the posts. (I’m not much of an Instagram person.)

Today’s question is:

Do I work with deities? If yes, who and why? In not, why not?

Define “work with.”

Are there deities that I worship, that I make offerings to, give thanks and praise to, and ask for Their assistance?

Yes.

Do I ask Them to do things for me (other than protection, or giving me the strength, courage, and knowledge to handle challenges)?

No.

Do I use Them when I’m casting a spell?

No.

Why not?

Because They are my deities, not my familiar spirits, or members of my (non-existent) coven.

But do I pray to Them and meditate on Them?

Yes, of course I do. I seek Their guidance and counsel, either through prayer and meditation or through divination or just staying open to signs in the outer world.

(Note: not everything you see is a sign. And if you ask for one, being specific is a good idea so you know that you’ve been answered.)

As for which deities, I am primarily Hellenic in orientation, with special devotions to Apollo, Hermes, Athena, and Artemis.

Why?

The answer to that might fill a book or two or three or…

Athena for Her wisdom and courage. When I need strength to fight a battle She is the one I turn to. When I am truly angry I’m probably closer to Ares in nature, and She provides the calmness, logic, and rational outlook that I need to temper my temper. “Revenge is a dish best served cold” and She keeps me from burning it.

Artemis because She is both huntress and protectress of the wilderness, and it is in the latter aspect that She calls to me. I was raised in an area where hunting is almost a way of life, but so is respect for and conservation of the wilderness.  Both of my maternal grandparents were very big on conservation, so Artemis is a natural (pardon the pun) choice for me.

Apollo… What can I say? God of the sun, music, poetry, prophecy, healing (and also pestilence) from the very first I was drawn to Him, perhaps because I used to write a lot of poetry. (Hey! I was in high school. That made a lot more sense as a reason to choose a deity then than it does now, but even so, looking back I can see His presence and guidance throughout my life ever since.)

Hermes is a more recent addition to my life, I think stemming from when I worked at the jail. A friend and I were having a conversation (an email exchange, actually) and he commented that the jail was very much an “underworld” type of place. Hermes journeys freely between all the realms – Olympus, Earth, and Hades. Hermes is also the god of thieves – and of protection from thieves.  He is also the patron of travelers and I was doing a lot of driving back then.

Outside of the Greek deities, I have a fondness for Kwan Yin, “She Who Hears the Cries of the World” because if there is anything this entire world needs it is more compassion.

And Blodeuwedd. Her story spoke to me from the first moment I heard it. (Years ago I read a quote attributed to Muhammad Ali (“I don’t have to be what you want me to be.”) and when I first learned of Blodeuwedd that quote came to mind because She is the embodiment of it.

And there you have it: the deities that hold a special place in my life. My life would be much the poorer without Their presence.

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(If you would like more information on the Greek myths and deities, I recommend The Theoi Project.)