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Goddess in the Spotlight
by Fiana Sidhe
Imbolc 2002, Vol 1-2
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MatriFocus, a Cross-Quarterly eZine for Goddess Women Near & Far
forest maiden with flowers
detail, She Who Sings
(used with permission)
© Jonathon Earl Bowser
Owl Woman
(used with permission)
© Steve Goin, stoneart@aol.com
Blodeuwedd, Flower Face

"So they took the blossoms of the oak, and the blossoms of the broom, and the blossoms of the meadow-sweet, and produced from them a maiden, the fairest and most graceful that man ever saw..."
(The White Goddess by Robert Graves)

In Celtic lore, Gwydion’s nephew Llew shamed his mother Arianrhod, and she placed a curse upon him that he could have no human wife. Out of pity for the lonely Llew, his uncles, Gwydion and Math, magically created a beautiful woman for him to marry. She was created out of nine sacred flowers--flowers of the oak, broom, primrose, cockle, meadowsweet, bean, nettle, chestnut and hawthorn. This beautiful woman was known as Blodeuwedd, or Flower Face.

However, Blodeuwedd did not love her husband, Llew. Instead she fell in love with the hunter, Goronwy. Blodeuwedd tricked Llew into telling her the ingredients of the protection spell that protected him from being killed. Knowing these, the lovers Goronwy and Blodeuwedd set up the unusual circumstances that would allow them to kill Llew. Their attempt to kill him was unsuccessful. They only wounded him, and he turned himself into an eagle. Later Gwydion found the eagle Llew and turned him back into his human shape.

primrose  cockle flower  oak in flower  chestnut  bean  meadowsweet  hawthorn  broom in bloom  nettle
The Nine Sacred Flowers/Blossoms -- click thumbnails for full-size images
all
photos © Henriette Kress, Henriette's Herbals, used with permission

When Gwydion heard what had been done to his nephew, he swore revenge on Blodeuwedd . As the legend goes, a great chase took place across the sky, and the tracks of their chase created the Milky Way. Gwydion finally caught Blodeuwedd and punished her for her adultery and betrayal by turning her into an owl. As an owl she could never be with her lover again, and was sentenced to roam the night sky alone forever.

Blodeuwedd is a maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess. She is the Goddess of Spring, the blooming Earth, flowers, wisdom and initiations. The Protea is associated with Blodeuwedd because not only is it a flower, but it’s petals are said to be very much like an owl’s feathers. She is also associated with the Goddesses Fflur, Blanaid, and Guinevere. Blodeuwedd is seen as a great rebel, a woman who refused to stay in the patriarchal box put around her.

I am
Inside me,
there is a spirit burning a bright spectrum of color.
Inside me,
there is a wild woman, a fey woman, with knee length rainbow hair,
a true Wonder Woman,
a woman of strength, and knowledge.
Inside me,
there is a glorious owl taking flight

Visitors of the Night

It is a cold night and I stand alone, half in my driveway in the real world, and half in a magical realm. It is their second visit, and this time I don’t get to glimpse their amazing beauty, but just hearing their songs stirs something in me, a calm content wildness. I am connected to these owls, I know. My spirit is like theirs.

When I close my eyes and listen to them, I can feel the wind beneath my outspread wings.

I heard the faintest trace of their calls and jumped right out of my warm relaxing bath to go out into the cold night and listen. It was as if they summoned me to come be a part of their mystery. They take turns hooting back and forth to each other. One is in the tree above me and the other lurks in some other nearby tree. They are not bothered by my presence, they just go on with their conversation.

I have listened to their music twice now. They know when I need them. Both times that they have visited me were times when hopes of everything and anything were fading in me, times when my spirit grew dim. In these times, my feathered friends come to me and mesmerize me back into the magic of my soul. I feel content now. I feel closer to the Earth and nature, even closer to myself.

Their simple rhythm reminds me of the Goddess Blodeuwedd. Like me, she couldn’t do and be what was expected of her. Like me, she spent her nights cold and alone with no other companionship but the owls. Like her, I am an odd misunderstood creature on the surface with a delicate sensitive flower as my core. My nightly visitors accept me, just as I am. They allow me access to their mysterious world and in their presence I feel like somehow, everything really is going to be ok.

eastern screech owlReferences
Celtic Women’s Spirituality, By Edain McCoy
The Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom, by Caitlin and John Matthews

Graphic Credits
+ Owl Woman, Copyright © Steve Goin, stoneart@aol.com
+ She Who Sings (detail),
The Goddess Art of Jonathon Earl Bowser
+ broom, meadowsweet, oak, primrose, cockle, bean, nettle, chestnut, hawthorn, Henriette's Herbal Homepage
+ eastern screech owl, McBride Raptor Project, Copyright © 1997-2001 by AI-Design, LLC. All rights reserved worldwide

Further Resources
The White Goddess Website