Category Archives: Animal Guides

A break from bad news – Pig/Sow Animal Spirit Guide

This month has delivered punch after punch to those who dream of a world in which all women and men can live together in peace.  My work as an artist has generally been about presenting images which show a world of love and beauty. In these times that intent can seem lacking. But then I remember that energy is part of the equation here on Earth.  So in the spirit of remembering and honoring the beauty and joy of life,  I offer my newest Animal Spirit Guide painting for your inspiration today.

Pigs, who were called boars in the wild, were the first animals to be domesticated. Pig domestication occurred about 9,000 – 10,000 years ago in two places – central China and Neolithic Anatolia in modern day southwestern Turkey.

Around 7,000 years ago when the Anatolians moved into Europe with their domestic animals and plants, they interacted with the indigenous Mesolithic hunter-gatherers and facilitated an interbreeding of their domestic pig and the local wild boar. The European swine descends from this interbreeding.

The mythical and cultural associations assigned to Pig in all its forms is very contradictory – sacred and beneficial to some, demonic and unclean to others. For our purposes here, we will concentrate on the positive associations.

Pig is associated with fertility, regeneration, death, inspiration, magic, knowledge, good luck, prosperity, transformation, Earth.

Pig-sow-painting-by-judith-shaw

The female pig is a sow and has a slightly different connotation from the male pig, a boar. Sow is associated with the Goddess and Mother Earth in many cultures around the world.

The ancients believed that Pig, grounded in Earth, favors us with fertility, life and abundance. A multitude of artifacts from all across western Europe show Pig in strong association with the Great Goddess.

Read more about the symbolic meaning of Pig and see more images from around the world on my recent post at FAR.

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Bee, Bee, Sweet Honey Bee

I’m sad that I lost my hive over the winter. I think it was partially my fault as life has gotten way too busy and I did not have time to manage and maintain my hive properly last year. So now I have to satisfy my love of bees with all the neighbors’ bees who are foraging in my garden.  Here’s a painting I did in 2012 when I first started keeping bees.

“Attributes that are very important to consider when Bee appears to guide you are Hard Work/Productivity and Community. Bee speaks of focused energy. Hear Bee’s call to keep everything in order and everything will fall into place. ”

These words are from my recent post on FAR in which I share my Sweet Honey Bee Animal Guide card and symbolism.  I just realized that since bees came into my life I have been working very hard with a long-term objective in mind.

Bees have been part of the human community since the days of prehistory. Cave paintings created by Neolithic people in Spain from between 6000 and 8000 BC show them gathering honey from wild bee colonies.

The earliest record of beekeeping in human-made hives dates back to Egypt of 2400 BC.

egyptian bee keeper

The Egyptian Bee Keeper

Bees themselves have been around for even longer than their association with humans. The oldest bee fossil was found in Myanmar enclosed in amber. It is 100 million years old.

Worldwide, Bee is a symbol of good luck, abundance, hard work and community. The ancients believed that the bees’ ability to make honey was a gift from the divine. Bees who give us their sweet honey –  used for food, drink and medicine – are found in myth and story all around the world.

Read more about bees – their symbolism and their life on my recent post.

Animal Guides – An Oracle Deck Grows

I’ve made a good start on my next Oracle Deck – Animal Guides  – four done and many more to go

Ancient wisdom from around the world teaches us that all animals carry their own unique energy and spirit. Furthermore we can call on animals to help, protect, inspire, and heal us on our life paths. You might have a Spirit Animal who stays with you your whole life or you might encounter an Animal Guide for a particular time or situation. Animals can be our allies, guides and
sources of power throughout our whole lives.

So far I have completed Owl, Horse, Dragonfly and Fox.  Coming soon – Swan.

Fox – Cunning, Camouflage, and Persistence

Fox is intelligent, clever and cunning. While it is persistent, fox is gentler and less aggressive than wolf. Fox is associated with feminine magic, offering the power of the feminine to both men and women.  Read more about Fox on my recent blog post here.

Dragonfly – Guide to Transformation
and True Sight

With their translucent beauty, erratic flight patterns and speed, dragonflies have inspired people for centuries. They are found in myth and stories worldwide. They most frequently symbolize transformation, both physical and mental/emotional changes in self-perception.  Read more about Dragonfly from my April post in FAR here.

Horse – Symbol of Power & Freedom

horse-spirit-guide-painting-by-judith-shaw

Worldwide the horse has come to symbolize power, grace, beauty, freedom, nobility and strength. The horse is emblematic of the life-force imbued with spirit.

The horse plays an important role in cultures all around the world, both culturally and symbolically.  Read more about Horse in my February post in FAR here.

Owl – Guide to True Sight and Wisdom

Owl symbolizes perception and deception – quiet observation and wisdom. Owl is a harbinger of death through which we find the passage to new life. Owl with its large, all-seeing eyes peers deeply into the nature of reality, seeing what others fail to note. Owl, in the dark of night, in the dreamtime, gifts us with its all-seeing vision, opening our eyes to the truth of each situation.  Read more about Owl in my December, 2017 post on FAR – Wisdom of Reindeer Goddess and Owl.

In the meantime, if you love oracle decks, you can check out my recently published Celtic Goddess Oracle Deck. Sales are strong and I’m getting really good feedback from folks who are using it.  You can view the whole deck on my Etsy shop.

celtic-goddess-oracle-cards-by-judith-shaw

Our Long Connection to Horses

Humans have had a strong connection to horses for a very long time. The horse was first depicted in art about 32,000 years ago on the cave walls of southern France and northern Spain. Though archeologists disagree as to whether the paintings are realistic depictions or symbolic markings, many concur that they are both. Perhaps our ancestors applied a numinous meaning to the horses and the symbols painted on those ancient cave walls.

Horses were domesticated in the western Eurasian Steppes about 5,500 years ago. New evidence places the domestication of the Arabian horse at 9,000 years ago in current day Saudi Arabia. Culture and the movement of peoples was forever changed with the domestication of horses. Hunting, herding, migration and warfare were all greatly heightened after the horse was brought into the human fold.

Worldwide the horse has come to symbolize power, grace, beauty, freedom, nobility and strength. The horse is emblematic of the life-force imbued with spirit.

horse-spirit-guide-painting-by-judith-shaw

Read more about horse and its symbolic meaning to the Celts, the Greeks, the Romans and more on my post at the Feminism and Religion Blog.

My deck of Celtic Goddess Oracle Cards is out and being very well received.  Celtic-Goddess-Oracle-cards-by-judith-shawYou can  order your deck on my website. Experience the wisdom of the Celtic Goddesses!