Title: Pagan Portals: Blodeuwedd: Welsh Goddess of Seasonal Sovereignty
Publisher: Moon Books
Author: Jhenah Telyndru
Price: $10.95 / $5.99
Release Date: 1 August 2021
She is Blodeuedd the Flower-Faced Bride. And she is Blodeuwedd the Owl in the Night. Wife of Lleu, lover of Gronw, she is a mysterious and complex figure. Ancient Goddess? Nature spirit? Legendary Queen? Adulteress? Sovereign woman? All of the above? And what are her connections to other figures from Welsh mythology, such as Arianrhod, Rhiannon, Math, and Gwydion?
Telyndru explores all of these questions, and more, in this short but impressive and inspirational work. Over the course of nine chapters, Telyndru digs deep into the original written material about Blodeuwedd; its cultural context and connections to the local landscape; the mythical cycles and figures tied to the seasons; Blodeuedd the specially-created bride and Blodeuwedd the owl of winter and wisdom; and how modern seekers can draw Blodeuwedd into their lives and model their own search for personal sovereignty after that of the Goddess.
My knowledge of Welsh mythology and contemporary polytheism is limited. As such, I have found previous Pagan Portals books such as Fairy Queens and Gods and Goddesses of Wales to be immensely informative. Telyndru, in particular, does an excellent job of explaining to the modern reader how the Four Branches of the Mabinogi (from which we derive most of our written information about Blodeuwedd) fit into medieval Welsh society; there is a lot that I never would have understood without reading an extensively annotated edition. I also loved her exploration of the Blodeuwedd/Lleu/Gronw triangle as a seasonal sovereignty myth with Lleu as the Solar Hero and Gronw as the Lord of Winter.
Blodeuwedd: Welsh Goddess of Seasonal Sovereignty is a terrific addition to Moon Books‘ growing Pagan Portals series. Recommended to anyone with an interest in Goddess Spirituality, Welsh polytheism and mythology, as well as fans of Lugh by Morgan Daimler, Gwyn ap Nudd by Danu Forest, and Elen of the Ways by Elen Sentier.
[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]