Flower Face: Blodeuwedd

Parents: Math ap Mathonwy and Gwydion fab Dôn
Siblings: None
Spouse/Lovers: Lleu Llaw Gyffes (husband), Gronw Pebr (lover)
Children: None
Sacred Animals: Owls
Sacred Plants: Oak, Meadowsweet and Broom

Blodeuwedd is a fae woman from Welsh mythology. She features in the the fourth branch of the Mabinogi, a collection of manuscripts which make up the earliest prose in British literature. Blodeuwedd was created by the sorcerers Math ap Mathonwy and Gwydion fab Dôn to be a wife for Gwydion’s nephew who had cursed never to find a bride born of a woman. Because of this, the two magicians craft Blodeuwedd from the flowers of oak, meadowsweet and broom and present her to Lleu Llaw Gyffes.

However, Blodeuwedd wasn’t pleased at being wed to  Lleu, and instead fell in love with Gronw Pebr, a dark hunter and lord of the realm of Penllyn. Gronw and Blodeuwedd conspired to kill Lleu, but as Gronw cast his spear at Blodeuwedd’s husband, Lleu was transformed into an eagle and flew away.

After learning what had happened to Lleu, Gwydion found his nephew and turned him back into his human shape. Together they captured and killed Gronw Pebr, and as punishment, turned Blodeuwedd into an owl.

Past literature casts Blodeuwedd as an unfaithful wife, deserving of her punishment, however more modern writers see her as a tragic figure, created for the purpose of allowing Lleu to be wed (literally) to the land and receive the blessings of Sovereignty. It’s understandable that Blodeuwedd rejects the man chosen for her and desires a lover of her own choosing. Especially a darker, wilder lord from the forest, considering she herself is crafted from flowers and the stuff of the earth.

Because of this, Blodeuwedd feels like a faerie woman who prefers the green and growing things of the land to the company of humans. Her transformation into an owl connects her to lunar mysteries and shapeshifting, and some druid traditions see her as an initiator goddess.

One thought on “Flower Face: Blodeuwedd

  1. Hey great post, a small favor could you tag it as Welsh as well as Celtic? As Celtic covers Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Manx, Brittany, Cornish, and Isle of Man mythology its nice to get some distinction, especially if you post a lot of overall Celtic mythology, and it makes it easier for people wanting to find info about a specific mythology.

    Also some people see Blodeuwedd and the rest as Gods not Fae (i know your tags say goddess but in your first sentence you call her a ‘Fae woman’) they only became known as Fae by the people after Christianity came to the Celtic nations.

    All the best.

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