Saturday, December 6, 2008

Goddess of the Week



I shuffled, honest!

It would seem that last week's energy is sticking around for another week, and that we are being called upon to dig deeper into Blodeuwedd's myth.

As I said in last week's post, in the Welsh tale, Blodeuwedd was created from flowers to be the wife of Lleu after His mother Arianrhod set a curse on Him, saying He would never have a wife from any race of the earth. But Blodeuwedd betrayed Him, and helped to cause His death (or His rebirth, anyway); and as punishment She was changed into an owl.

Now, that She was transformed into an owl means the owl was Hers anyway; and a Welsh name for the owl is Her name, blodeuwedd, which means "Face Like A Flower." In another Welsh legend, Culhwch and Olwen, King Arthur asks various old animals for help, in seeking the lost youth Mabon son of Modron; but none of the animals know his whereabouts, and so each brings him to an animal who is older and wiser still. The Owl of Cwn Calwyd is the third of the animals Arthur asks for information, and she refers him to the Eagle of Gwernabwy, "the oldest creature in the world." (Not that he knows either; in the end it is the Salmon of Llyn Llyw, who had once dragged the Eagle "down into the depths" who does know where Mabon is.)

So the owl is associated in Welsh legend with great age as well as great knowledge, both of which link it with the Crone; and in Scotland, another Celtic country, the owl is known as cailleach oidhche, the Old Hag of the Night. This is the wisdom of the dark, the night; and of winter, too, as the Cailleach is also the name of a constellation of Celtic Goddesses Who personify that season.

Perhaps we are being asked to look into the darkness, now, into the winter and the cold, and to see the wisdom and the beauty there. This is the time that the darkness gets deeper and deeper (in the northern lands, anyway). This is the time also that it is traditional to celebrate, with great festivals, joy, mirth, and the hanging of lights; but the last couple of years these traditions have felt to me to be based, somewhat, in denial of the dark. (Or faith, perhaps, in the light returning.) I think what this card is saying is that we do need to sit with this dark and acknowledge it, for a spell, at least. It will turn soon enough.

So I asked Her, What do we have to learn from You this week? And She said:

I am the turning of the earth. I am the moving balance. I am the force of spring which follows autumn which follows spring which follows autumn. I am the balance and the contrast. I am the in-between. The realms of neither this nor that, or both this and that, are mine. The black night and the white snow both. I am the black in the white and the white in the black; nothing is purely one or the other, ever. Winter descends. You descend. All is white.

And rebirth also is mine, though the circumstances may seem unlikely.

Why am I here again this week?

Because I have not yet left.


Well, what do you think?

8 comments:

Pietra said...

I know nothing or very little about Welsh or celtic myths, for that matter, so I cannot give my opinion on that specifically...

However, I am thinking about the owl thing and how I can relate it to two ideas: the idea of Athena, and the awareness, the thought and strategy... And the owl of Hekate. And how it calls us to the Mother Hekate and the things we can produce and imagine during the night...

What do You think?

Thalia said...

Hmmmm. When I had asked Blodeuwedd what She had to say to us this week, there was something else She said which got edited out of the post:

I am not Athena. I am not Lilith.

Which I took to mean to look at the specifically Welsh/Celtic meanings for the owl (as Lilith is also associated with it) and not to reach too far afield. They're both (Celtic and Greek) Indo-European cultures (or does that only apply to languages?) so they do have a shared root though. So I don't know.

I also don't know how long ago the owl was associated with Athena. I do know that Mykenaean pictures of what might be Her show Her with a griffin, or a shield. And that the little owl flourishes on the Akropolis in Athens.

I had never heard of the owl being associated with Hekate, but it certainly makes sense.

For all that Blodeuwedd helped plot to "murder" Lleu (and curiously, that word is always used, even though He did not die--He was transformed into an eagle, then restored to His human shape) I don't see Her as that much of a plotter, if that makes sense. There is something more instinctual and darker and deeper than the kind of thought Athena puts into things. More a force of nature thing than a thinking thing, if that makes any sense?

Thalia said...

First "flatesse", now "mathera." What is with the Google word verification lately? It hasn't, dear God, developed an intelligence of its own, has it?

Oh my God oh my God I hope not.

(We're doomed.)

Pietra said...

Well, the owl related to Hekate is the one we call in Brazil "rasga-mortalha", the "shroud tearer", the kind of owl that screams into the night announcing ways have been taken by the Trivia. People from the countryside say that this owl announces death.

I think that your thoughts make sense... on the matter of deeper thought and even the transformation.

Yesterday I saw that happening. I saw life turning into death, the same as I saw pain turning into relief.

The point here, I think, is an observation of the "turnings" and "passings" and a deeper thought into it... I got that a lot yesterday...

Pietra said...

As for Google, I hope not because right now it is saying "sksurth" to me...

Thalia Took said...

What's it all mean???

(I mean, "rentsati"?)

Thalia Took said...

That's fascinating about the "shroud-tearer" owl; that's very like Lilith, and Her association with the screech owl as a creature of the night.

You know, I do have a book on European birds. I could look up the specifics of what types of owls live in Wales. (Though, that would be what kinds are there now, which might not be the same as the kinds which (whooo?) were there in the past.)

I can feel things moving and turning too, in my life and circumstances at least. In my neck of the woods we are approaching Yule, whose name means Wheel; the Wheel of the year, the day when the turning is most dramatic, I've been thinking.

But, yeah, Blodeuwedd is properly an agent of transformation, isn't She. Of a dark kind, like initiation, or near-death experiences; something that gets you way down to your roots.

Pietra said...

So near-death, Thalia, that I, with a friend, faced death on its eyes this week... The kind of thing that does make you think about your ways...

And I do have to agree... darker transformations... the kind that haunts you if you allow...

That is a weird week...