Category Archives: The Goddess

Celtic Goddess Oracle Cards

Finally, after almost 5 years of work my deck of Celtic Goddess Oracle Cards is ready.  The cards are designed: the stories are written; the only thing lacking is the funds for publication.

To that end I have just launched a crowdfunding campaign with Indiegogo.  Here you can pre-order the deck with it’s booklet (out by Thanksgiving) or one of the other many perks of prints and originals of my work – all at reduced prices.

Click here to visit my Indiegogo campaign.  Contribute if you can. If not and you like the project then please share the page with your friends.

My most recent post on the Feminism and Religion blog is of Corra, Celtic Celtic Goddess Art by Judith ShawSerpent Goddess. Corra, whose name is almost forgotten today, embodied the Earth, calling forth the serpents of life, death and rebirth to twine the magic of eternity around the lives of our ancestors.

Corra is of the earth and yet She can also transform into a crane, symbolizing the transformation of body to spirit on our journey through the great circle of life. 

Click here to read the rest of Her story

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Gifts of the Goddess

Inanna, Queen of Heaven, painting by Judith Shaw

Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, oil on canvas, 41″ x 30″

In the early 1990’s I discovered the compelling story of Inanna, the ancient Sumerian Goddess, translated and retold in the book, Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth by Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Kramer.  I was inspired by Inanna’s story to create a series of paintings over several years time.

There are four main parts of Her story – The Huluppa Tree which explores creation and Inanna becoming Queen, Inanna and the God of Wisdom which shows how She brought the Gifts of Civilization to Her people, The Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi, a sacred marriage and the Descent and Return of Inanna, the story of death and rebirth.

Read more about the Huluppa Tree and how Inanna brings the Gifts of Civilization in my recent post on the Feminism and Religion blog. 

Star Tree Goddess

If you have been following my work you know that I am inspired by trees and by the ancient wisdom of  Goddess.  In recent years the two have merged as one truth in my mind and my vision.

While reading Elizabeth Cunningham’s second novel in her The Maeve Chronicles series I was inspired to paint a star tree by her words.  A Goddess was involved in the magical, mytical scene in which a sacred grove turned into a Goddess Temple with a huge tree in the center.  The Goddess looked up and saw stars in the branches.  That was the beginning of my journey to find that image on canvas.  Here’s where I started.

Star-tree-goddess-study-1-by-judith-shaw

Star Tree Goddess Study 1, gouache on paper, 15.5″x19″

Another study followed this one.

Star-Tree-Goddess-Study-2-by-judith-shaw

Star Tree Goddess Study 2, gouache on paper, 12″x18″

Read my latest post on the Feminism and Religion blog for more info on the sacred nature of trees to the Celts and to see the oil painting (probably still in progress) that sprung from Cunningham’s words.

And if you haven’t read Cunningham’s 4 book series, The Maeve Chronicles, I highly recommend that you do.

Shapeshifters

One of the things I have loved learning about in my studies of Celtic mythology is the mystical, magical nature of the Celtic worldview as reflected in their stories. The most ancient of their stories, those of the Tuatha de Danaan, belong to eternity whereas the heroic cycles belongs more to the earth but all of their tales are imbued with magic.

I find the magic of the shapeshifting goddesses to be compelling in many ways. Swan Goddess-Swan Song,painting by Judith ShawThey show the relationship between the human and animal world and the need to understand our animal nature.  Horses, seabirds, swans, deer, reindeer, butterflies are a few of the creatures you could meet which might actually be a Celtic Goddess.

Read more about the shapeshifting Goddesses in my most recent post on the Feminism and Religion blog.

In the One is the Many – Celtic Triplicities

In my recent blog post on the Feminism and Religion blog I explored the concept of Triple Goddess and the sacred nature of three to the ancient Celts.

Many neopagans and modern Goddess worshipers mistakenly equate the triadic nature of some Celtic Goddesses with the Triple Goddess concept first popularized by Robert Graves in his book, The White Goddess. Graves stated that Goddesses were frequently found in triplets as Maiden, Mother and Crone. But there is nothing found in the ancient stories of Celtic Goddesses to indicate that they were known in this way. 

Quite the contrary – though the Celts had a number of both triadic Goddesses and Gods, they did not represent stages of life. Instead these triple deities were seen to represent the mysterious nature of the cosmos. They expressed and ruled over the more mystical aspects and truths of life rather than the mundane and practical ruled over by the deities connected to geographical locations.

life-emerges - painting-by-judith-shaw

Life Awakens Within the Great Unknown, oil on canvas, 34″ x 36″

Celtic mythology reveals their understanding of the mysterious quality of the universe. They recognized that there is a deeper reality just beyond our everyday physical reality; that there is a limit to human consciousness; ultimately it will encounter the unknown and the unknowable.

Read more on my original post over at FAR.

A Goddess for Winter Nights – The Reindeer Goddess

The Reindeer Goddess warms us on long winter nights. She cries at our pain and Reindeer Goddess painting by Judith Shawsuffering, transforming her teardrops into  amber. She takes to the sky flinging those bits of amber  down, gifting us with glowing abundance and warmth.

Sometimes She is embodied as a woman, sometimes as a reindeer.  How did She become a Goddess? She doesn’t know. She only knows that she has always been one. Every year, on the longest night, She flies across the sky bringing light and love to the people below.

Look closely. Maybe you can still see the trail she left behind on her flight last month. Feel deeply. Her tears of amber soothe our pains and ease our fears.

Read more about the Reindeer Goddess in various lands on my recent post over at the Feminism and Religion blog.

Branwen, A Goddess for Troubled Times

It’s now been almost three weeks since the fateful election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States. It’s still so hard to believe that the forces of hate have won out over those of love.  I still get sick to my stomach as with each passing day the worst seems to be coming true.

Though I know deep in my heart that ultimately this dark and hateful energy will fall, I also know that much pain and suffering will have to occur first. I search for ways to handle my fears and ways to continue advocating for a world in balance, a world where peace and justice is available to all. The heart finds solace where the heart will – while editing the stories in my Celtic Goddess series soon to Branwen, Celtic Goddess of Love and Beauty, painting by Judith Shawbecome a deck of Celtic Goddess Oracle cards, I reread my telling of Branwen’s story, who seems to be an appropriate Goddess for this time.

Branwen, Celtic Goddess of Love and Beauty, speaks to me about the power of love to unite and the patience needed to endure suffering while holding onto the light.

Branwen was the sister of Bran the Blessed, king of all the Island of the Mighty. In the ways of the Old Tribes of the British Isles she was also the mother of the next king. She was the center from which all life emerged and thus possessed a vision which saw the whole, the greater scheme of things.

Her story is long. You can read the details on my post on the Feminism and Religion blog. But in essence She fell in love with and agreed to marry the Irish King, Matholuch, who had made the sea voyage to seek her hand. At first life in her new home in Ireland was happy. The Irish loved Her and She soon gave birth to a son.

But once word of an atrocity committed by one of Her brothers against the Irish got out the people turned against her. King Math, at the urging of his people, put her aside. She was made to work in the kitchen where she was routinely mistreated. With the help of her friend, the starling, she got word to Bran of Her plight. Bran raised an army and off they went to Her rescue.

Branwen urged a peaceful resolution and Her release was negotiated. The face-price for peace was that Branwen’s son, Gwern would become the Irish High King. But the same brother with hate in his heart destroyed this peace. During a celebration of Gwern’s kingship, he threw Gwern into the fire and killed him. War broke out, a war of extreme destruction in which ultimately both sides were destroyed.

Branwen’s story is truly one of sorrow which speaks to many of us today who are in deep sorrow by the recent election results and fear over what these results will mean. Branwen sought to unite two lands by love. We must do the same. With this love she was able to forgive and continue seeking peace for all. We must do the same. She sought this peace not only for the people but also for the land. We must do the same.

Branwen, Great Goddess of Love, died not by violence but of a broken heart at the destruction surrounding her.  Her great love for humanity, Her patience in the face of difficulties, and Her ability to forgive are abilities we can seek to live up to in the difficult days ahead.

Branwen’s wisdom is one of love and peace.  She gives us the wisdom to restore our vision of wholeness, our vision of a world where connections are recognized and diversity celebrated.  Branwen shows us the way to empathy and to the courage to persevere during times of danger and fear.