Why I Need the Goddess by Judith Shaw


photo of Judith ShawI have been drawn to the Goddess for a variety of reasons.  Initially, as a young woman, She spoke to me of my own power, self-worth, self-determination and my/every woman’s inherent beauty. She lent Her hand to my emerging sense of independence from male domination.

Over the years my experience of Goddess deepened.  At times I feel Her as manifest in me and as a symbol of my own power.  At other times She is who I pray to for both personal and community help.

Aphrodite Dancing painting by Judith Shaw

And certainly She has come to be my strongest symbol of the beauty and power of the natural world, ruling over life, death and rebirth.  In all these ways I have sought to express Her wisdom through my art.

For many years, as I grew to maturity, my paintings both expressed and integrated Her power manifesting in the world through me, through us all.  This painting, Aphrodite Dancing, celebrates my/our sensual, sexual female nature.  It speaks a loud “YES” to the beauty of our sexuality.  It is a response to the “NO” which has been imposed on our sexuality by patriarchal religions and world views for so many, many centuries.

An expression of Goddess power burst forth with my installation, The Shrine of the Bird Goddess, in the late 80’s.  The central piece, The Bird Goddess, is a very large painting – 6′ x 10′.  The painting and installation was inspired by the work of Marija Gimbutas, amazing archaeologist who uncovered the ancient artifacts of a harmonious, pre-patriarchal Goddess-worshipping Neolithic Old Europe.

Bird Goddess painting by Judith Shaw

The Olive Tree painting by Judith Shaw

In more recent years The Goddess has come through me in the form of my many tree paintings.  This painting, The Olive Tree, is seen by many as a dancing woman.  Quite unconsciously I painted in the opening in the tree without realizing that it was vulva shaped. The shape takes you into and through the tree, allowing passage to another realm, in the way that a child is born through woman, coming from the before space into the now space.

Often times She even appears in the tree.  In this painting, The Mother Tree, you can see Her in the trunk.

She also appears in the trunk of The Tree of Life.

mother tree 72 2

The Tree of Life painting by Judith Shaw

Yemaya Mother of All Fish painting by Judith ShawI also call on Goddess for help and healing when my sadness and pain over the ongoing destruction of our natural environment gets too hard to bear.  I long to get on a soapbox and yell at the world to wake up!  But not having that kind of platform open to me, I return to my studio and do what I can do,
paint – in the hopes that on some level my paintings will touch people and open their hearts to the Goddess, who is our Earth.

After the BP oil spill, I turned to Yemaya, Yoruba Goddess, who is known as the Mother of All Fish, The ocean is Her domain.  She came to the Americas with the African diaspora and continues to be worshipped in many places.  These two paintings are prayers to Yemaya for healing of the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  The affects of that massive oil eruption are ongoing and pervasive.  This recent article by David Kirby explains how not only are the damaging affects of the oil continuing but the chemicals used in the “clean-up” continue to cause serious problems.

Offering to Yemaya painting by Judith ShawA couple of months ago I was listening to a report on the radio about the persistent crisis of toxic radioactive releases at Japan’s Fukishima power plant which was badly damaged in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Gaia Wields Her Justice painting by Judith Shaw I felt so angry at the stupidity of the perpetual patriarchal approach to controlling and using nature that this fierce Goddess appeared in a painting.  I call it Gaia Wields Her Justice. It expresses my belief that She, our earth, is alive, is conscious and is now fighting back.  Her power is so much greater than anything we can fathom.  Though She created us and loves us, ultimately she will not allow us to completely destroy life.   She has put up with centuries of abuse but She is now rising, like a dragon who has awakened from a long sleep.

In this world of interconnectedness She responds to our out of balance actions in a way that will return us to balance.  With ever increasing wild weather incidents – floods, droughts, massive forest fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, bug infestations of our forests and so much more – She creates blocks to our current path of destruction.

Yes, those who embrace control and destruction continue to rule but She is awakening in our many hearts.  More and more voices sing out every day with the words form Libana’s Goddess chant, “There’s a river of birds in migration, a nation of women with wings.”  Women and men together, from the Middle East to the Midwest, are spreading their wings and demanding a return to balance. From the fast food workers’ walk-outs and calls for a living wage to the masses rising up to say no to the Keystone XL Pipeline our wings are spread and our hearts are open wide. The Goddess is reborn. Her justice might at times be difficult for us to endure but it is wielded with love and it is inescapable.

Update – Judith’s deck of Celtic Goddess Oracle Cards is ready for publication.  Pre-order your deck at her crowdfunding campaign with Indiegogo -9.19.17 – 10.19.17 – and help bring the wisdom of the Celtic Goddesses into the world.

Judith Shaw, a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, has been interested in myth, culture and mystical studies all her life.  Not long after graduating from SFAI, while living in Greece, Judith began exploring the Goddess in her artwork.  She continues to be inspired by the Divine Feminine in all of Her manifestations. Originally from New Orleans, Judith now makes her home in New Mexico where she paints and teaches part-time.  She is currently hard at work on a deck of Goddess cards. Her work, which expresses her belief in the interconnectedness of all life, can be seen on her website at http://judithshawart.com

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Categories: Climate Change, Earth-based spirituality, General, Goddess, Goddess Spirituality, Goddess Spirituality

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19 replies

  1. Love this post so much! I always enjoy hearing why other women connect to Goddess. I hear so much of what you are saying in my own heart. Especially how She manifests in the art we create. Thank you for sharing your words and images! Blessings!

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  2. Really enjoyed your beautiful artwork.

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  3. Your Art is Divine – Thank you Judith for sharing so beautifully

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  4. Brava! You’re told us why we all need the Goddess in our lives. Thanks.

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  5. Wonderful! And, such beautiful work. I look forward to your cards! :)

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  6. Thanks everyone for reading and for being part of this forum provided to us by Feminism and Religion.

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  7. Judith, you know how much I admire and honor your work, and the pieces here are so strong, so vibrant. Artists such as yourself are a blessing. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.

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  8. The other day I was thinking about Her. Being with Her. What I felt was, dignity and creativity. Thanks for sharing your work. It’s lovely.

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  9. Thank you Judith for sharing your wonderful art.

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  10. Wonderful post and truly divine artwork!

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  11. Thanks for sharing what Goddess means to you and for your inspiring artwork!

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  12. Thanks to everyone for appreciating my humble expression of Goddess in our world.

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  13. Great post. Thank you for sharing your beautiful artwork and connection to the Goddess.

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  14. Like everyone above, lovely post and beautiful artwork. Do you have prints, perhaps?

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  15. Your artwork is incredible and very inspirational. Thank you for sharing your thoughts as well as your creativity. Both are amazing. :)

    ~ Siofra

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