Flower Face and the Owl

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Transformation can be tough.

The way Blodeuedd was treated in myth has always bothered me. Created specifically to be a wife to a boy who was also in a sense created without consent, I saw her as more slave than woman. I hated the magician Gwydion for his lack of awareness and for using his power to create playthings for the amusement of himself and his cronies without a thought for their desires and their basic rights.

This song came out of he time I spent meditating on Blodeuedd and asking her what her side of the story was. I wrote it years ago, but was unable to finish it until I went to my first Druid Camp, Anderida Gorsedd, which revolved around the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi. There I met Kristoffer Hughes, who was not only kind enough to teach me how to say the names in the story as close to properly as an American can manage, he deepened my understanding of the story to the point where I understood what Blodeuedd had been telling me. And why Gwydion couldn’t be anyone but who he was.

Only part of one verse had to be changed, in the end. The story I was told had been very simple, only Blodeuedd’s creation and her return to where she had come from. It was complete in itself, as she is. When I had asked for the story of her life with Lleu several times, as I considered it the meat of the story, she sang me her answer:

You silly little mortal,
I decide the tale I tell,
I decide the shape of it,
This time it’s mine!

I had to leave it at that, and I did, until last Fall.

One of the things I didn’t understand about the Fourth Branch was that it is all about impulsive action. No one in the story is blameless. Everyone does something dumb, and while everyone ultimately pays for it, they are also transformed into more than they would have been otherwise. Did they learn their lessons? As well as any of us do, I suppose. The story leaves that question to the individuals involved, where it truly belongs.

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