Friday, December 5, 2008

Blodewedd, Bean Bláthannái & Ulchabáin.

Is Blodewedd, nó Blodeuwedd/ Blodeuedd, bean finscéalach í. D'inis seanscéal Breatnaise ina 'Mabinogi' fúithi. Tá scéal aici seo ag scríofa ina ceathrú roinnt, 'Math'.

Rinne Math agus Gwydion Blodewedd. Bhain siad sísean de bláthannaí doire, giolcachaí sleibhte, agus airgid luachra. Is ciall mar 'aghaidh bláth' as Breatnais. Is bri é a ainm.

Blodeuwedd a tugadh uirthi seo níos deanaí, mar sin féin! Cén fáth? Ar dtús, bhí sí bean Lhleu mac Arianrhod. Bhí sí is áille aice féin, ár ndóigh, ban uile ar fud an domhan.

Ní raibh Lleu ábalta beann bhásmhar a phósadh. Thóg sé bean chéile ag déanta bláthannaí. Ach, tharraing sísean féin ar fear eile. Fuair Gronw Pebr sí. Rugadh sí é ar ais go raibh ag dul san fiach fia fireann air.

Thugadar grá da chéile oíche céann sin. Iarr beirt a dúnmharú Lleu. Ní bheadh go furasta. Bhí cumhachta draíochta air.

Scéal mór fada eachtrúil áta ann. Ní dhearna an lánúin dana ag fáil saoirse. D'fhoglaim sí rún mortlaíochta do fír chéile aice. Mhairaigh Gronw Lleu.

Bhuail Lleu Gronw. Fuair Gronw bás. D'athraigh Gwydion mar ulchabáin sí. Chaill an h-ainm 'Blodeuedd', mar sin 'bláthannaí'. Anois, faigheann ainm 'Blodeuwedd', no 'aghaidh blátha' amháin. Is cosuil ulchabáin í go deo.

Chonaic mé le deanaí léaráid seo. Chuir Gethin ab Iestyn sí ar a bhlog. Tá 'Ríochtaí Ceiltigh' anseo. Déanann sí íomhá di leis gréas stílithe mar críochnochta. Níl fhios agam an cúis. Cad chuige? Is cuimhne liom seo faoi an dealbh bhansagairt (nó bhandia?) Mhinoa ag coinnaigh suas dhá nathair.

Blodewedd, Lady of Flowers & Owls.

Blodewedd, or Blodeuwedd/ Blodeuedd, is a legendary lady. The Welsh legend in "The Mabinogi" tells about her. There's her story written in the fourth section, "Math."

Math and Gwydion made Blodewedd. They brought her out of the flowers of oak, broom of the mountain, and silvery rushes (=meadowsweet). The derivation of "face of flowers" is from the Welsh. It's her name's meaning.

Blodeuwedd was named this later, however! What happened? In the beginning, she was the wife of Lleu son of Arianrhod. She herself was the loveliest, of course, of all women over all the world.

Lleu was unable to marry a mortal woman. He took a wife made of flowers. But, she herself drew towards another man. Gronw Pebr found her. She caught him after he was going hunting for a stag.

They were lovers that same night. The couple wished to murder Lleu. This would not be easy. He had powers of magic.

It's a long, adventurous, story. She learns the secret of her husband's mortality. Gronw kills Lleu. The bold lovers don't find freedom.

Lleu beats Gronw. Death finds Gronw. Gwydion changed her into an owl. She loses the name "Blodeuedd," that is "flowers." Now, she gets a name "Blodeuwedd," or "flower-face" only. She resembles an owl, forever.

I saw this illustration recently. Gethin ab Iestyn put it up on his blog. It's "Celtic Realms" here. She's depicted by conventional style as bare-breasted. I don't know the cause. What's the reason? This brings into my mind the figurine of a Minoan priestess (or goddess?) holding up two snakes.


Anthony ap Anthony said...

There is a story about Whitehaven in Cumberland (which is undergoing a "Cumbric Revival"), that it gets its name from being "The Haven of the White Breasted", which, in context and as asserted in the story, leans to affirm that native law in Whitehaven has been proven at some stage to allow women to ordinarily go around bare-breated in continuance of their native rights.

In the context of the Cumbric revival in Cumberland, I should think that at some stage a Whitehaven Festival might offer itself up as being the Welsh equivalent in Cumberland of the Glastonbury Festival in England, hopefully not in the sense of over-sexed teenagers ranting and raving at an opportinity where the girls can "get their breasts out", but instead as an opportunity for those who would attend to celebrate their ancient Briton heritage with dignity.

Whether the story is myth or factual, shall in some way, be fortified one way or another, by any cases going through the High Court that either uphold the rights of women to go around bare breasted in Whitehaven, or suppress the story in parts by the contrary outcome, but in any case, there seems to be ample evidence that ancient Briton women could ordinarily go around bare-breasted: the Welsh name Bronwyn is an example of this notion being retained, which means "White Breasted".

Although Bron means 'breast' and the 'wyn' is generally taken as a contraction of Gwyn (white) instead of wyn (lamb) - meaning that the traditional meaning of Bronwyn means white-breated instead of lamb-breasted, I also wonder about the latter in the sense that ancient Briton priestesses would go around bare-breasted, in which case the name Bronwyn could mean lamb-breasted if they were proponents of Christ in their role!

Fionnchú said...

Talk about synchronicity. If you search this blog by tag "owls" as I did to skip to your freshly approved comment to reply, you get a previous post about "Bo" and his wonderful pair of blogs.

And there yesterday I posted on his "The Expvlsion of the Blatant Beast" blog entry "Lingua Gallica" about a Frenchman reviving spoken Gaulish a link I found to a Cumbric revival in Ulverton from my own blog post that I made a year ago! Circular enough? I am not sure if you read Bo's invitation-only version of his blog; he also has "The Cantos of Mvtabilitie" open via my bloglink. He links via that "Expvlsion" entry to a YouTube video of reconstructed Gaulish.

Here 'tis my contribution to the Cumbric comeback: "Remains of Elmet, Revival of Cumbric."

You ingeniously match, in Venn diagram fashion, lambs with white, fair with faith. The bare-breasted nature of Keltoi's distaff contigent's happy news to me. Must have been often cold, so I guess plenty of brooches and shawls helped. Wish I could have been there. Maybe, three decades on, the remains of Elmet-- and resurgent Rheged-- call this Celt back again to Prydain Mawr (not sure if any mutation triggers! Dw i'n dysgu Cymraeg bach.)