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