This is the second book by Jhenah Telyndru to be published in the Moon Books Pagan Portals series. The first was Rhiannon, a scholarly work that was well received in 2018. I am pleased to say that Blodeuwedd is equally rounded and assiduously researched.
Blodeuwedd appears in the fourth branch of the Mabinogion, a woman created from flowers by the sorcerers Math and Gwydion, (‘Blodeuwedd’ means ‘Flower Face’ in Welsh,) to be the wife of the hero Lleu Llaw Gyffes. Lleu’s mother, Arianrhod has placed a tynged (Welsh equivalent of a curse) on him to prevent him marrying a human woman. However, Blodeuwedd falls in love with another man and together they plot to murder Lleu. When their scheme is nearly successful and their tryst is discovered, Blodeuwedd is turned into an owl by Gwydion, who states “You will not dare to show your face ever again in the light of day” – Blodeuwedd is still a common name for an owl in Welsh.
How then, is Blodeuwedd a goddess? Often, she is demonised or dismissed as a wrongful wife, getting her just deserts for daring to betray the hero. Telyndru argues that the stories in the Mabinogion are in fact far older than the medieval texts that exist today and that Blodeuwedd was possibly a seasonal sovereignty goddess. Telyndru draws her conclusions from accredited academic sources; her writing style is clear, concise and illustrates the author’s expertise on the subject. I enjoyed the overall sense of passion and devotion that is obvious throughout the book. Telydru’s poems and personal experience of travelling in the landscape that created the stories are touching and beautiful, adding a personal touch that balances perfectly with this otherwise scholarly work.
There have been a few books written about the Welsh Pantheon recently, some published by Moon Books, but this is one of the only books dedicated to Blodeuwedd as a goddess. Thus, making it essential reading for anyone interested in creating their own devotional practice or who has an interest in the Mabinogion or Welsh deities. I highly recommend this book.
Book Details: Jhenah Telyndru. Pagan Portals – Bloudeuwedd. Moon Books (30 July 2021). ISBN: 978-1785352126
Review Details: Bloudeuwedd was reviewed by Thea Prothero for Indie Shaman magazine and this review was published in Issue 52.
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