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Other names: Blodewedd

Location:  Wales

Notes from Hrana

Goddesses & Heroines text

© print is available

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Hrana's Notes

I painted Blodeuwedd in 1991 for Llewellyn's1992 Goddess Calendar. She is included in the Goddess Oracle.

from Goddesses and Heroines
  Exerpt from Goddess & Heroines by Patricia Monaghan
[Used by permission. This text is NOT included in the Goddess Oracle]

Arianhod, unwilling mother of the Welsh hero Llew Llaw Gyffes, laid a curse on him that he would never have a human wife. So two magicians made Blodewedd from nine kinds of wildflowers, among them meadowsweet, oak, broom, primrose, and cockle. The magicians piled blossom upon blossom to create "Flowerface."

The beautiful Blodewedd was also treacherous. She lived with Llew Llaw for a time. One day, though, she saw a band of hunters pass outside her window and, falling in love with one of them, plotted the death of her husband. Llew Llaw had a magical safeguard. He could be killed only under curious circumstances: in a bath by the side of a river, under a thatched roof over a caldron, while standing with one foot on a deer. Blodewedd set up those circumstances, daring Llew Llaw to stand in his only dangerous position. He took the dare and her hidden lover killed the king.

Blodewedd eventually was found out, captured by the magicians who created her, and turned into an owl. This strange legend, which parallels the Irish story of Blathmat and the Semitic Delilah, seems to record an ancient legend of the goddess, the clues to which are now lost. Some, like Robert Graves, see Blodewedd as a type of the May Queen, wedded ritually to the king who would eventually be sacrificed to her. Others see her as a flowery rebel, an image of women's opposition to patriarchal bondage. But it is also possible that the flower goddess of betrayal was simply the goddess of life and death, a form of the earth goddess who, like Ishtar or Cybele, both loved and devoured the living.

Back to TOP Text from Patricia Monaghan's The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines
Published by Llewellyn, copyright 1997.   Used by permission of the author.

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