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from Goddesses and Heroines
|Exerpt from Goddess & Heroines by Patricia
[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.
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Published by Llewellyn, copyright 1997. Used by permission of the author.