Art, Nature and Spirit

Danu, Celtic Mother Earth Goddess, painting by Judith ShawThe beauty and the power of the Earth are all around us.  Even in the poorest and most blighted urban environments trees, hollyhocks, sunflowers and other sturdy plants grow up through the concrete.  We are children of the Earth, of the Goddess, who in Her many forms, is the manifest symbol of the sacred Earth.

Most of us love the space we find ourselves in when spending time with nature –  hiking, walking, camping, birdwatching, swimming in the sea, riding a bike, working in our gardens – all activities that help us feel connected to this Earth we walk upon; that help us find an inner peaceful place.

Sonoma Trees, drawing by Judith ShawAs a child growing up in New Orleans I remember vividly my desire to lie on the grass under the majestic oak trees of City Park, longing to merge with the land.  Now an adult and an artist, I have found that pleine-aire painting and drawing allow that feeling of merging to occur, bringing me to an inner space of connectivity with the land which in turn creates a connection to spirit and the cosmic source.

To read more about my experience with art as a vehicle to a deeper connection to nature and spirit read my latest blog post on the Feminism and Religion site. Click here.

A Moon Dance

Moon Dance, painting by Judith ShawThe moon rises.

The moon sets.

How many full moons

have I seen -

have I loved -

in this life?

And always She shines,

on the rich and on the poor;

on the wicked and on the good;

on the hot and on the cold;

never denying Her light,  as She guides us through the darkness.

Cerridwen, White Lady of Inspiration and Death

Having just celebrated Halloween, also called Samhain, and the Day of the Dead we are truly in the time when the veil between the world of the manifest and the world of the unmanifest is the thinnest.  We remember our ancestors, we reflect on losses and we look forward to positive transformation as we enter the quiet, meditative time of year.

Cerridwen, Celtic Goddess, painting by Judith ShawCerridwen, Dark Goddess of Transformation, Inspiration and Knowledge is a perfect goddess to remember during this time. She  is best known as the mother of Taliesen, the greatest of all the Welsh poets.   But Her story is much older and Her powers run deep.

Cerridwen (“White Sow”, or “White Crafty One”) has many other names:  Dark Moon Goddess, Great Mother, White Lady of Inspiration and Death, Goddess of Nature, and Grain Goddess. She rules the realms of death, fertility, regeneration, inspiration, magic, enchantment and knowledge. Her ritual pursuit of Gwion Bach symbolizes the changing of the seasons, nature’s yearly cycle of death and rebirth.

Cerridwen, as a powerful Underworld Goddess, is the keeper of the cauldron of knowledge, inspiration and rebirth.  She and Her cauldron most likely appear in the Welsh legend of Bran the Blessed. She came from Ireland to the Land of the Mighty disguised as a giantess named Kymideu Kymeinvoll with her husband Llassar.

Read more about Cerridwen and Her wisdom on my recent blog post on the Feminism and Religion blog site.  Click here

Hildegard: A Saint Eight Centuries in the Making By Mary Sharratt

hildegardI just read this wonderful post  by Mary Sharratt about the visionary abbess Hildegard von Bingen published about a month ago on the Feminism and Religion blog site. It begins like this -

The visionary abbess Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) has long been regarded as a saint, with her feast day of September 17, yet she was only officially canonized in May 2012. Why did it take the Vatican over eight centuries to canonize this great polymath, composer, and theologian?

The first attempt to canonize Hildegard began in 1233, but failed as over fifty years had passed since her death and most of the witnesses and beneficiaries of her reported miracles were deceased. Her theological writings were deemed too dense and difficult for subsequent generations to understand and soon fell into obscurity, as did her music. According to Barbara Newman, Hildegard was remembered mainly as an apocalyptic prophet. But in the age of Enlightenment, prophets and mystics went out of fashion. Hildegard was dismissed as a hysteric. Even the authorship of her own work was disputed as pundits began to suggest her books had been written by a man.

Click here to read the rest of the post and to hear a transcendent recording of Hildegard’s music.

A Give Away – The Tree of Life

tree of life painting by judith shaw

As we near the time of gift giving I thought I would host a give-away.

Sign-up to receive my e-newsletter by October 31 and your name will be entered in a drawing for a free print of this painting “The Tree of Life”.  The print is on matte photo paper 8.5″ x 11″ and is one of my all time favorite paintings.

Just click on the green button on the upper right.  Please know that I will never sell, transfer or trade your information.  Also I send my e-newsletter out once a month or so.  We are all so busy and certainly don’t need daily updates.

I will publish the results of the drawing on November 3.

Thanks and good luck!

 

Connections

sunflower bee, painting by Judith ShawA sunflower

A bee

A sun

A moon

Spiral Connections

The particularness of infinity.

Medb, Celtic Sovereignty Goddess

Medb, Celtic Sovereignty Goddess of Connacht, the wilderness in the Irish west, ruled war, fertility and the earth. A man became king of Connacht only by participating in a ritual of intoxication and entering into sacred marriage with Medb at Connacht’s mystical center, Tara. She had an insatiable sexual appetite, taking men as she pleased and marrying at least four, who became King of Connacht in their turn. Her first husband was probably King Conchobar of Ulster, with whom she had seven sons and later became her mortal enemy. With Aillil she had three daughters.

Medb Rides Forth, painting by Judith ShawMedb, translated as “strong” or “intoxicating”, drove men wild with desire at the mere sight of Her. Indicative of Her connection to the earth and fertility, She clothed Herself with live birds and animals across her shoulders and arms. Further evidence of Her strength, sexuality and passion lies in Her ability to run faster than any horse.

Medb, Celtic Sovereignty Goddess, painting by Judith ShawMedb claimed to have originally come from, Cruachain, a site that the ancients believed held the entrance to the Otherworld.

Queen Medb, most likely an aspect of the Goddess Medb, reigned during a time when Celtic women maintained a status of freedom and equality not granted to women in most other parts of the world. They both owned property and held important positions in society. Who ever possessed the most wealth in a marriage, could be considered the ruler of that household.

Queen Medb, more commonly know today by Her Anglicanized named Maeve, is a central character in one of the most important old Irish epics, the Tain Bo Cuillaigne, or the Cattle Raid of Cooley.

Medb generated a lot of controversy in my recent post about Her on the Feminism and Religion blog site.  Should we or should we not continue to explore stories of Goddesses who were also warriors?  Click here to read the rest of Her story and comments that follow.

Stayed tuned for a painting I’m working on now which portrays Medb  as she leaves the violence of patriarchy behind.