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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Arduinna, Gaulish Goddess of Forests

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Arduinna, Gaulish Goddess of Forests and Hunting is one of the many Celtic Goddesses who is associated with a particular region or body of water. She was worshipped in the heavily forested regions of the Ardennes, located in what is current day Belgium and Luxembourg with small portions found in France and Germany. She was also associated with the Forest of Arden in England. Her name has its roots in the Gaulish  word “arduo” meaning “height”.  

Arduinna’s stories have not survived into modern day. We only know for sure that she both hunted the forests of Ardennes and protected its flora and fauna.   

She is associated with the forest, the boar, and the spear. Some scholars assert that she is also associated with the moon. Many ancient cultures connect the boar with strength and courage. Arduinna’s favorite beast was the boar, which she road whenever she hunted, making her own strength and courage clear to all. Plus it is important to note that throughout Gaul the wild boar was abundant and a vital food source for the population. Arduinna’s association with the boar thus shows her importance as a protective and nurturing goddess. 

The only surviving image of her is a small sculpture of a woman riding a boar. This statue has lost its head and some scholars dispute the belief that it is a representation of Arduinna.  

We are left with only assumptions about Arduinna’s original function and stories. It is assumed that she is the Gaulish equivalent of the Irish Flidais, a complex Celtic Goddess called Lady of the Forest by modern Celtic pagans. Once Roman influence began on the continent Arduinna became associated with Diana, Roman Goddess of the Hunt and Forest. 

Arduinna as a Woodland Goddess represents our wild nature. With no tame, domesticated castle or demesne to call her own, she ran free in the forests of the Ardennes. She is the untamed spirit in us all, never tied down by the commitments of love or motherhood. But being Celtic, she was not chaste like Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the Forest. As a free spirit, she would have enjoyed amorous liaisons when and where she chose.

The natural world is her domain which she protects with the ferociousness of a mother bear protecting her cubs. Woe to the human who causes harm to the forest or over hunts the animals. Then she steps in with her justice and extracts a hefty fine. Here we see her in her fierce aspect, standing strong and tall as she protects her domain. 

Many sacred woods throughout Northern Europe were named after goddesses. This association protected sacred trees all over the continent. Punishment was expected by divine intervention. Anyone who cut them down could be struck with palsy or other ailments.  

Such a sanctuary existed at Margut, dedicated to Arduinna. Her following was so large that in the 6th century Saint Walfroy attempted to eradicate her cult by installing himself atop a pillar he had installed close by. He vowed that he would live on only bread and water and would not descend until Arduinna was abandoned by her followers. 

Her nature also manifests in a gentle way. It’s more than likely that like Flidais and Artemis, Arduinna functioned as a healing goddess, protecting and healing the fauna, human and otherwise, living in her region. In this aspect one can image her tending a wounded man, a sick child, a dying elder as dappled light filters through the trees of her forest, bathing her in a soft glow. 

Arduinna calls you to a full expression of your untamed spirit. Through her you can claim your right to your “wildness.” She is by your side when the need to protect yourself and your own arises. She helps you access your own strength and courage. Call on Arduinna when you need a healing touch or you are giving a healing to others.  May Arduinna’s power to protect, heal and run free be with you.

My deck of Celtic Goddess Oracle Cards is ready for publication. You can pre-order a deck on my Indiegogo campaign. Click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.  

Comments

  • Thesseli
    Thesseli Friday, 29 September 2017

    The boar iconography makes me think of Freya.

  • Judith Shaw
    Judith Shaw Friday, 29 September 2017

    I also find it interesting how there is so much crossover of associations between the goddesses. The boar must have been important across a wide area.

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