Artio, Celtic Bear Goddess of Wild LIfe and much more

I’ve been working on my series of Celtic Goddess art for about two years now. My goal with this undertaking is to create an oracle deck of cards of Celtic Goddess.  I have 21 completed – so only about 14 to go.

It has been a very exciting and interesting journey as I did not know much about Artio, Celtic Goddessthe Celtic Goddesses when I began.  Though certainly not an authority, I have learned so much and developed a deep connection to some of these Goddesses.

Since the Celts did not write down their myths and beliefs much information has been lost about many of their goddesses.

Artio, Celtic Goddess of Wild Life, Transformation, and Abundance, is one of the more obscure goddesses in the Celtic pantheon.  She is often shown with baskets of plenty and surrounded by animals.  Artio is frequently depicted as a bear. Her name comes from the old Celtic word for bear, arth(e), which the Roman’s Latinized to Artos.

Discover Artio’s connection to the skies, to abundance, to wild life, to shamanism and to King Arthur (in the comments section) in my essay on Artio in my recent blog post over at the Feminism and Religion blog.  

If you know of a particular Celtic Goddess who you would like to see in the deck of cards please let me know.

Art Projects and More

I’ve just started a new website with all kinds of information about art projects, art materials, and articles about art and artists.  For instance –

Are you wondering what art is?

How does one define artistic expression?

Art takes many forms today.  In the fine arts world, artists have freedom to Joseph Beuys artchoose from many different styles; from traditional, to abstract, to modern, to post modern, to conceptual.


Click here to read more and discover what’s the deal with this suit.

A World in Deterioration

International Districtr tire shop,photo by Judith ShawIn October of 2011 I spent an afternoon on my bicycle touring my neighborhood, the International District, seeking the beauty and the ugliness of it all. The International District was given its name in 2009, after decades of duress in which it was known as “The War Zone”. Of course where there is much poverty one usually finds much ugliness.  But in reality on that afternoon I also discovered a great amount of beauty.  This photo of a tire shop on Louisiana and Zuni illustrates the beauty found in the ID.

Now almost three years later and “deeper in debt”, as the old song says, I see my city and my neighborhood deteriorating around me.  Every day there is another murder or swat situation or fugitive chase or dumped dead body or… or… or.  Desperation of the people slipping deeper and deeper into poverty and drug addiction increases coupled with an ever increasing militarization of the police.

Six and a half years into the Republican administration of Susana Martinez and New Mexico has been swept down to 49th in terms of economic growth and well-being. Oh and let’s not forget the ongoing attack on public education. Adding to the perfect storm of poverty and ignorance consider the closure of mental health clinics a few years ago which left people with serious mental issue with nowhere to go for help.

On Wednesday  there was a swat situation in the neighborhood.  It began with an early morning carjacking in the Northeast Heights (supposedly “safe” neighborhood), followed by a car chase. The police and the criminals raced through town, first touring the Southwest and finally ending in the Southeast about 4 blocks from my house.  Here the carjackers abandoned the car and ran into a tire shop.

swat situation abqYep, that’s the same tire shop from my photo illustrating the beauty of the neighborhood. This screen shot of a KOAT video shows my beauty spot in a completely different light.  The War Zone is too often truly the War Zone.

But unfortunately the war zone is much much larger than the pre-conceived notion – it seems to be surrounding the whole world.  How have we gotten to this state of continual war and violence”.  How has my neighborhood, my city, my town, my country become a place of such unending violence and desperation?

International Districtr tire shop,photo by Judith Shawswat situation abq

Rosmerta, Celtic Goddess of Abundance

As we near August 1, known to the ancient Celts as Lughnasadh or Lammas, examples of abundance are everywhere.  Gardens and farms are in full bloom with some crops ready for harvest and others very near.  Lambs born in spring are now reaching maturity. Days are still long and we are full of energy. It is a perfect time to remember the Celtic Goddess, Rosmerta.

Rosmerta, celtic goddess painting by Judith ShawRosmerta,  a goddess loved by both Celtic and Roman Gauls was known as ”The Great Provider”. She is a goddess of fertility and wealth. She was worshipped in South-western Britain, Gaul, and along the Rhone and the Rhine rivers.

After the region was conquered by Rome, Rosmerta was incorporated into the Roman pantheon, becoming associated with Mercury.  Though She has been called Mercury’s consort there is no evidence that was the nature of their relationship.  She survived in the Roman era as a powerful goddess in Her own right, being depicted alone many times.  Alone and with Mercury, She carries a cornucopia and a basket of fruit, symbols of abundance.   A giving goddess, She was often shown with a patera, a ritual offering bowl, and with a ladle or scepter.

Read the rest of my thoughts on Rosmerta and view some ancient images of her on my recent post on the Feminism and Religion blog.  Click here.

Celtic Month of the Oak

Judith Shaw:

I love this information about how the Celtic people related to trees as sacred and vital. Enjoy this post about the Oak Month in the Celtic calendar.

Originally posted on magick millenial:

Celtic Calendar: Oak Month, June 10 – July 7


Some quick notes on the tree and the month:

1. The Oak moon falls when the trees are beginning to reach their full blooming stages. The mighty Oak is strong, powerful, and typically towering over all of its neighbors. The Oak King rules over the summer months, and this tree was sacred to the Druids. The Celts called this month Duir, which some scholars believe to mean “door”, the root word of “Druid”.

2. Oak month is a good time for spells for protection and strength, fertility, money and success, and good fortune.

3. Tip: Carry an acorn in your pocket when you go to an interview or business meeting; it will be bring you good luck.

4. Oak trees act as a conduit for the energy of endurance, fortitude and strength, offering a magical remedy for fear and despair…

View original 237 more words

Rose Windows for a Rose Garden?

Last fall the City of Albuquerque put out a call to artists to submit design proposals for a permanent public art installation in a new Rose Garden in the Albuquerque BioPark.  Loving roses, both for their beauty and their symbolic meaning, I decided to give it a try.  In addition, through my experience as lead artist for the International District Community Art Garden, I had learned that I do not have to know everything to bring a project to completion.  I had learned how to collaborate with others who have different areas of expertise from my own.

Rose Window ChartresThe call was for art which would reflect the importance of roses in the Southwest landscape.  Researching roses, I discovered that antique roses which precede the modern hybrid tea roses date back to the Roman days. These antique roses are hardy, tolerate cold, and flourish well in a dry environment.  Working off of the idea of the ancient, I gravitated to the use of the Gothic Rose Window as the form for the art.  These windows, found in Gothic Cathedrals across Europe, are called rose windows because the panes of stained glass radiate outward just like the petals of a rose.

In addition, the symbolism of the Gothic Rose Windows fits well with what one might hope to experience in a beautiful rose garden.  These rose windows are seen as mandalas, which are spiritual expressions of the desire for wholeness and harmony.   The rose window serves us on many levels – spiritual, mental, and emotional.

Rose Window design by Judith ShawThe call was for the art to be incorporated into a fence to be constructed on the west side of the garden.  The concept of a window type installation seemed appropriate for such a location.

My design called for three large Gothic type Rose Window shaped sculptural pieces.  The design would be realized with a combination of metal with appropriately colored patina, glass mosaic, and fused glass.  The North Rose Window in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Chartres, France (seen in the first photo here) was the inspiration for the central piece of my three proposed art pieces.  Of course the Rose Window built into the stone walls in the Chartres Cathedral is massive.  I used a segment of the Sacred Geometry of the Chartres Rose Window for the design, as my piece would be only 10 feet high.

Rose Window Tree design by Judith ShawThe two “Rose Windows” that go on each side of the center Rose, though placed in the same outward form of a Gothic window, depart from the geometry of the rose window designs. They display a stylized tree within each window form.  The tree,  a symbol of life throughout the world, unites heaven and earth, digging into the earth with its roots and reaching to the sky with its branches. Placed appropriately on either side of the “Rose Window” central piece, they create a frame for the Rose Window which lends a feeling of enduring strength and protection  to the more fleeting feelings of love, beauty and inner secretes associated with the rose.

Rose Garden art design by Judith Shaw

Finally, to bring New Mexico into the feeling of the design I planned the placement of these metal and mosaic pieces in a structure built to look like the skyline of the multi-storied residential complex you can find in places like Taos Pueblo.  This architectural element is repeated many places in New Mexico and has become an iconic symbol of New Mexico.

I worked very hard to meet the deadline, which was October 31, 2014, knowing full well that another artist team might win the commission.  The Rose Garden opened to the public last month but without any art. Unfortunately the City of Albuquerque decided in December, 2014 that they were not yet ready to move forward with art for the Rose Garden – sort of disappointing when you consider all the work that all the different artist teams put into their design proposals. Perhaps I can find another home for this concept?

Grainne, Celtic Sun Goddess

Grainne, Celtic Sun Goddess painting by Judith ShawIn the ancient Celtic world the Goddess was the One who expressed Herself through the many.  Grainne is such a one. She is both Winter Queen/Dark Goddess, nurturing seeds through winter, and Solar Sun Goddess, welcoming the rebirth of spring.  She is Aine’s sister or another aspect of Aine. She, like Aine, was honored at the summer solstice and the first grain harvest of early August with bonfires and torchlit processions on top of her sacred hill at Leinster, Ireland.  Remnants of these festivals are still found in folk ritual today.

Grainne is a part of the triple goddess formed by Herself and Her two sisters, Fenne and Aine.  Both Grainne and Aine were seen by locals as beautiful, golden-haired goddesses who visited their fields and hilltops to protect and nurture the land, people and animals.

A Sun Goddess and master herbalist, Grainne rules herbs, knowledge, the sun, and fire.

Today Grainne is most known from the elopement story of Diarmaid and Grainne, with a similar theme to the later Welsh story of Trystan and Iseult and to the even later tale of King Arthur and Guinivere. These tales portray the unhappy love triangle of two men who both love one woman.  Usually the woman is married to or promised to the older, more powerful man yet is in love with the younger man. In theses tales it is the woman who chooses the man, compelling him to act as she desires. The woman’s choice of the younger man is reminiscent of the Sovereignty Goddess who chooses youth over an ailing king.

Read the rest of the story on my post on the Feminism and Religion site.  You might want to visit some of the sites I have listed in my sources as they give more details of the magical events in the elopement story of Grainne and Diarmaid.