The Goddess Way: Ancient Stories for Modern Hearts

Judith Shaw both paints and writes about the Goddess, great symbol of life, death and the natural world. For the past few years she has focused on the Celtic Goddesses, whose stories are explored here in The Goddess Way.

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Judith Shaw

Judith Shaw

Judith Shaw, a New Orleans native and graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, has always been interested in myth, culture and mysticism. Her work, inspired by the goddess, nature and sacred geometry, combines whimsy and the esoteric - whimsical tree paintings which often look like women dancing are intertwined with esoteric symbols such as those found in sacred geometry. After graduation, while living in Greece, the Goddess first appeared in her artwork. The Divine Feminine, in all of Her manifestations in this world, continues to inspire Judith.    Judith has also lived in Mexico and visited France, Italy, Turkey, China, Guatemala, and Jamaica. She now lives in Albuquerque where she divides her time between painting, writing, yoga, gardening, bee keeping, and hanging out with friends and family.  She is putting the final touches on a deck of Celtic Goddess cards which will be published soon.  
Cerridwen, Goddess of Transformation, Inspiration and Knowledge

Cerridwen (kEH rihd wehn), Dark Goddess of Transformation, Inspiration, and Knowledge 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.

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Arianrhod, Welsh Star Goddess of Reincarnation

Arianrhod (ar i AN trod), Welsh Star Goddess of Reincarnation, is known as Silver Wheel, Silver Circle, High Fruitful Mother, and Sky Goddess. She is a primal figure of feminine power, a Celestial Mother Goddess who through her role as Goddess of Reincarnation, rules fertility and childbirth. 

Arianrhod also rules arts, magic, and manifestation. As the Goddess of the Silver Wheel she is associated with spinning and weaving. With her wheel she magically weaves the tapestry of life.

Divinatory Meaning

Be in the open mind of the initiate who seeks truth of self and of others. Seek the knowledge of past lives and release the past. Connect with the collective consciousness of your ancestors. Allow rebirth and renewal.

Her Story

Arianrhod, the most powerful child of the great Mother Goddess, Don, was very beautiful, with extremely pale skin. She was a virgin goddess in the ancient meaning of the word virgin a woman who is complete unto herself; a woman who needs no protection from a man. She enjoyed sexual freedom, with a distinct preference for mermen.

Her palace was found in the far North on the magical, rotating island of Caer Sidi, which probably means Revolving Castle, where she lived with her female attendants. The ancients believed that her domain and her castle, Caer Arianrhod, were in the Corona Borealis, the constellation of stars moving around the apparently motionless North Star. Legend tells us that poets and astrologers learned the wisdom of the stars at Caer Sidi.

She has also been known as the Silver Wheel that Descends into the Sea, which together with her preference for mermen and her son, Dylan, supports her strong association with the sea. 

Caer Sidi is also known as Annwn, the Otherworld, land of the dead. People were brought there when they died. As Silver Wheel, Arianrhod was responsible for the souls of warriors who fell in battle. She gathered them aboard her ship, the Oar Wheel. and transported them to Emania, also know as Moonland. In the Northern sky, whirling around the enduring stability of the north star, Arianrhod presided over the fates of departed souls, nurturing their journeys between lives. 

Things sacred to Arianrhod are the owl, the wolf, and the birch tree. The owl has long been associated with death, whereas the birch tree is the tree of new beginnings. To the Celts, the wolf was associated with the power of the moon. 

She was sister to Gwydion, King Math's successor and student of the magical arts. She was also the mother of two sons, Llew, a Sun God, and Dylan, a God of the Sea. Their birth was a consequence of magic and trickery, a story recounted in the fourth branch of the Welsh collection of stories, known as The Mabinogion, dating back in their oral form to the 4th century BCE. 

New fashions arrived and knowledge of fatherhood together with the idea of chaste virginity entered human consciousness. Arianrhod became enamored of the glamour of this fashion, yet with no intention or desire of practicing chastity. 

Arianrhod's uncle, the magician King Math, was under a strange taboo which required him to keep his feet in the lap of a virgin whenever he was not actively engaged in battle. Gwydion suggested his sister Arianrhod for this role, with a secret intention of his own, and he set out for Caer Sidi to present the offer to Arianrhod. 

During his stay with Arianrhod, Gwydion had a different suggestion for her: he proposed marriage. The true heir to the house of Don could only come through the female line and Gwydion wanted his seed to father that heir. But Arianrhod valued her position as an independent woman without need to be tied to a man and chose instead the excitement of court and the possibility of acquiring more magical powers herself.

Arianrhod journeyed with Gwydion to the castle of King Math, where the king demanded proof of her virginity: she had to step across a magical rod designed by Gwydion which caused her to birth two boys, products of liaisons with two different males, a merman and Gwydion. The first, whom Math named Dylan, fled to the sea and swam away. The second boy, unnoticed by all present, was scooped up by Gwydion, and raised in a magic forest. 

Thus, through guile and trickery, Gwydion forced Arianrhod to bear what became known as his foster child.

When Arianrhod learned of this betrayal, she laid three curses on the boy. She denied the child a name or the right to bear arms the right of Welsh mothers,which gives a clear indication of the  ancient power of women. But Gwydion tricked Arianrhod into granting them. The third curse - the boy shall have no wife of the race that is now on the earth,  Gwydion broke by creating a woman of flowers, Blodeuwedd, to be his son's wife. 

Humiliated, defeated, and betrayed, Arianrhod spent the rest of her days at Caer Arianrhod.  When the sea reclaimed the land, Arianrhod and her realm drowned and an epoch ended, but she lived in the hearts of her people for countless ages, nourishing their souls.

Arianrhod opens your heart to the flowing changes of the moon and the infinite possibilities of the stars.

Visit Judith's Etsy Shop to view and purchase her Celtic Goddess Oracle deck 

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Rosmerta, The Great Provider

 

Rosmerta, a goddess loved by both Celtic and Roman Gauls, was known as the Great Provider. A goddess of fertility and wealth, she was worshiped in southwestern Britain, Gaul, and along the Rhone and the Rhine rivers.  Sheis a good goddess to remember and to honor during the harvest season. 

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Blodeuwedd, Flower Goddess

Blodeuwedd, known as the Ninefold Goddess of the Western Isles of Paradise, was a goddess like no other in the manner of her birth. She is one of the main figures in the Mabinogion, the Welsh cycle of stories of the early Celtic Goddesses and Gods.

Divinatory Meaning

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Creiddylad, Welsh Goddess of Love and Flowers

Creiddylad, (cree-THIL-ahd) Welsh Goddess of Flowers and Love, is celebrated on Beltane, better known today as May Day. Creiddylad is the eternal May Queen, always seeking peace and stability. She remains eternally constant in the face of all change.

Divinatory Meaning

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Judith Shaw
    Judith Shaw says #
    Hi Carol, Thanks! Glad to be here - another great community.
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Love to see your art and words here, welcome, Judith!
Etain, Goddess of Love, Transformation, and Rebirth

Etain (Ay-deen), known as the Shining One, was originally a Sun Goddess before becoming a Moon Goddess, and finally a White Lady of the Fae. Her story, which lasts over one thousand years, reveals her place as a Goddess of Love, Transformation, and Rebirth. Elements sacred to Etain are the sun, dawn, the sea, rain, water, butterflies, apple blossoms, and swans. She is associated with healing and the transmigration of souls.

Divinatory Meaning
Overcoming difficult circumstances, spiritual awakening, transformation, wholeness, rebirth, true love, internal beauty. Etain, the Shining One, helps when your journey becomes difficult. She guides you back to your own shining light.

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Brigid, She Who Reigns During The Time of Light

Brigid, Goddess of Healing, Poetry, and Smithcraft, begins her reign on Imbolc, February 2, the midpoint between winter solstice and spring equinox. On this day the ancient Celts held their Fire Festival in honor of Brigid and the growing light. In Scotland, as recently as the mid-twentieth century, houses were cleaned and the hearth fires rekindled on February 2 to welcome in Brigid. 

Divinatory Meaning

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