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.

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Memories of Peace

Somewhere deep within the DNA of each one of us lies the memory of a time of peace among humans, a time before the horrors of pride and glory spilled blood and blood on the earth.

Yellow Flower Mandala, painting by Judith Shaw

Yellow Flower Mandala, oil on canvas, by Judith Shaw

The work of archeologist Marija Gimbutas revealed a time around 6000 – 4500 BC in southeastern Europe where people lived in harmony, with no weapons or warfare, where nature and life were revered.

What was once – what can be imaged – can be made reality once again.

 

 

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.

On Mothers – For Mother’s Day

I am from my mothersmall seed of life painting by Judith Shaw
from the swirling stars of the cosmos
through the long passage,
contacting and expanding
birthed of her body
nourished by her love.

I am mother.
You came to me
through blood and bones
to be suckled by me
and then slowly set free.

artio, Celtic Goddess with stars, painting by Judith ShawI am the Mama bear, ready to attack when you are threatened,
your pain harder to bear than my own.
I explode into a thousand stars when your star rises.
Your life always more precious than my own.

Mother Goddess your names are many – Isis, Rhea, Cybele, Danu……..My Heart Opens, painting by Judith Shaw
Your love flowers in our hearts.
Your strength gives us the courage
to birth, to grow, to die.

Why Eat Breakfast?

In my desire to find positive things to write and think about I realized that healthy eating and slow cooking is a passion of mine which I have not shared on my blog. Since most everyone enjoys good food I thought I would start sharing some ideas on healthy eating. Let’s start with breakfast….

Many of us get stuck in food routines, especially where breakfast is concerned.  Do you find yourself staring vacantly into the fridge, wondering what else you can eat besides your usual cereal, toast or eggs? Are you tempted to just skip breakfast all together or to stop for a fast food breakfast of less than healthy breakfast burritos, sausage sandwiches, syrupy pancakes, and designer donuts?

Don’t give in! Breakfast is a very important meal, perhaps the most important one, as it sets the tone of your day. When you wake up from your sleep induced fast, your body’s blood sugar is low, thus unable to deliver the energy your muscles and brain need to get going with the day’s projects. Lack of food will zapp your energy as will food high in processed carbohydrates and sugars which shoot your blood sugar levels up rapidly only to crash back down. Either of these options will leave you feeling sluggish and hungry long before lunch. Then the temptation sets in to snack on bad fat, high sugar foods which we find in abundance everywhere.

Eating a nutritious breakfast with protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber and good fats helps keep your hunger in check and leads to less over eating through out the day. This will help you maintain a healthy weight. But don’t indulge in a huge breakfast as that might set you up to overeat the rest of the day.

There are so many different diets people are experimenting with these days – vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten free, raw food – to name a few.  No matter what your current diet is, it’s best to chose a breakfast that includes a mix of carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats and fiber. You might even add a veggie or two. The carbs will get your energy going right away, the protein will kick in later on and the fiber will keep you satisfied. 

There are lots of healthy choices which will add variety to your breakfast menu. Cook up a bowl of steel cut oatmeal with berries and topped with creme fraiche, have a few slices of cheese with fruit, make a breakfast smoothie using greens, frozen berries, and coconut milk with a couple of teaspoons of flax meal or heat up last night’s left overs if you are really out of time.  For something totally different cook up a few sweet potatoes and save them in your fridge. In the morning simply slice the sweet potato in half and brown it in some grass-fed butter (flesh side down).  Eat it alone or with a soft-boiled or fried egg. Think outside of the box just a little bit and you might find breakfast becomes your favorite meal of the day.

I also enjoy creating paintings and drawings of foods I love.  Here’s one I call “Apple Smiles”

Apples, small painting by Judith Shaw

Corrales, NM – Where the Past and Present Meet

Long before the Spanish arrived on the banks of the Rio Grande, the Corrales area was occupied by Tiguex Indians. Pit houses dating back to 500 A.D  have been found above the valley floor.  Yet by the time the Spanish settled, the Tiguex had moved elsewhere.

In 1710, the Spanish king awarded the Alameda Land Grant to a Spanish soldier, Francisco Montes Vigil.  Vigil, unable to fulfill the condition of settling the land, sold the land to Captain Gonzáles. Both Casa San Ysidro museum and Casa Vieja restaurant were Gonzáles family homes.

The early inhabitants of Corrales settled two areas along the river –  26 families along the rio grandefarmed the floodplain of lower Corrales and 10 families lived where the current center of Corrales is, considered inferior for farming.

Life was not easy for these settlers. First they had to dig ditches (acequias) for irrigation. The land was divided into long, narrow strips, providing equal access to acequia water.  In each narrow strip of land, the more fertile part close to the river was used to raise crops, whereas the sand hills in the west were used in common for pasturing livestock.

Major floods were recorded in 1864, 1868, 1879 and 1904 which destroyed many original buildings, the village church being one.  A new church was built on higher ground farther west of the river. San Isidro Church is still used for many local events.

Ethnic diversity entered the valley in the 1860’s with the immigration of Italian and French farmers to New Mexico. By 1900 Corrales had become known for it’s vineyards and wine thanks to these immigrants.

The 20th century brought more changes to Corrales farming traditions.  In 1924, 55,000 acres of grassy mesa west of the village, held as common grazing land for over 200 years was purchased by Robert Thompson, a cattle rancher.

Prohibition put a damper on the winemaking vineyards of Corrales. In the 1930’s the vineyards were further affected by the rising water table which increased soil alkalinity lessening the quality of the grapes. By the late 1930s most of the vineyards had been replaced with orchards, pastures and cornfields.

After World War II, a new bridge constructed over the river made Corrales more accessible to the population boom from Albuquerque.  In the 1960’s the Thompson ranch was sold to develop Rio Rancho.  In response to this threat of suburbanization, the residents worked to incorporate the village in 1971.  After incorporation, Corrales maintained its rural character while growing from 3,000 to about 10,000 residents.

Though few residents make their living from the land now, rural traditions still define the community’s character.  Many maintain urban farms and gardens including commercial tree nurseries, flower gardens, and apple orchards. The vineyards of the last century are making a comeback with new vines added each year.  Tourism is important also.  Visitors and residents alike can enjoy galleries, unique shops, and fine restaurants and wineries all set in a beautiful rural landscape with true New Mexican historical roots.   

This article was originally published in the 2016 Balloon Fiesta, a publication that highlights Balloon Fiesta activities and vendors.

Night Turns To Day

As surely as night turns to day,
Suffering will turn to joy.

A Dark Night, painting by Judith Shaw

A Dark Night, gouache on paper, by Judith Shaw

A New Day,painting by Judith SHaw

A New Day, watercolor and ink on paper, by Judith Shaw