A Return to Light by Judith Shaw

judith shaw photoSpring is here in the northern hemisphere and with it the return of light in the yearly round of seasons. Today is Earth Day. Flowers bloom, new seedlings emerge and birdsong fills the air. As the cold and dark of winter gives way once again to warmth and light, cultures across the world celebrate fertility and the rebirth of life and light.

And yet, even as I welcome the warming kisses of the Sun and the blossoming of the Earth which the return to light brings, I find my thoughts and my heart still pondering the issue of the light and the darkness. How can I reconcile my fears of the lengthening shadows who cast down huge swaths of hate, division, oppression, control, and cruelty, with my deep inner conviction that love is stronger than hate; that a world which lives in harmony and spirit connection is not only possible, but has been, and will be again?

A Dark Night, gouache on paper, by Judith Shaw

I feel my own self sinking into a state of judgement and dislike; these feelings feel dark, unloving. Recently I heard Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, speaking on a radio program. He spoke at length about an important concept he had learned from his grandfather. He spoke of passive aggression, of the negative thoughts we have about people, the judgements and yes, even the hate. Gandhi taught his grandson that this passive aggression creates a world of conflict, domination, and tyranny. He taught that to reach a better world we had first to heal the wound within ourselves which makes us lash out with this passive aggression. Even in the face of the worst tyrants, past and present, and the horror we feel at their and their supporters actions, we must find it within ourselves to still view them as human, to not judge, to seek common ground. He did admit that this is not an easy task. I know I find it very hard to do.

I hear the daily news of air strikes, random and multiple shooting episodes, terrorist attacks, loss of privacy, loss of health care, loss of clean air and water, power struggles, and corruption. This brings me sadness. The realization hits that once more we, the human species, could be erupting into a long bloodbath, the likes of which could be even more horrific than the wars we have seen repeatedly in the past. The truth hits home that man’s cruelty to man appears again and again through out the long arch of history.

She-Welcomes - the-light-painting-by-Judith-Shaw
She Welcomes the Light, oil on canvas, 12″x6″, by Judith Shaw

With such bleak facts staring me in the face, how can I continue to believe that love is stronger than hate? The only way is to take the long view. Perhaps that triumph of love over hate, that world which lives in harmony, which recognizes the connectedness of all will not be realized in my lifetime. But maybe, just maybe, some day it will.

We need the dark just as we need the light; both are always with us. But modern culture demonizes the dark and according to Carl Jung turns it into its shadow self. The ancient Celts had a different view of the dark. Dark and light are eternally intertwined in their world. They embraced the two equally. Death was not to be feared; it was simply a pause in a long life. All of their stories and myths show their continual quest for a balance of light and dark.

As the world dives deeper into expressing the shadow darkness, will we be able to return to balance by shining the light onto the darkness. Or will we ultimately succumb to imbalance, destroying ourselves and our home, our vibrant blue and green planet Earth, leaving the only light left that of the stars shining brightly in the infinity of the dark heavens?

And my heart sank further a few days ago as I heard the radio announcer declare that the “mother of all bombs” had been dropped on Afghanistan, on the the caves, the Mother Earth of Afghanistan. Fear set in and anger surged. How dare they call a bomb a “Mother!” What mother would bomb her children? What mother would bomb the Earth? I felt the darkness take precedence. I feared the loss of life and light.

Then I remember that though the chaos of war or the onslaught of calamity destroys worlds, after each such eruption the conditions of the human spirit emerges, like a butterfly in the sun, to soar even higher. I look out my window as my garden erupts into full bloom and realize that spring and the return to light renews my faith in the belief that love is stronger than hate.

Irises bloom, photo by Judith Shaw
Spring blooms Inspire Hope, photo by Judith Shaw


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 Goddess in all of Her manifestations. Originally from New Orleans, Judith now makes her home in New Mexico where she paints as much as time allows and sells real estate part-time.  She is now in the editing stage of her deck of Celtic Goddess Cards, which should be released this summer. Give yourself the gift of one of Judith’s prints or paintings, priced from $25 – $3000.

Judith’s deck of Celtic Goddess Oracle Cards is available now.  Celtic-Goddess-Oracle-cards-by-judith-shawYou can order your deck on Judith’s website. Experience the wisdom of the Celtic Goddesses!

Author: Judith Shaw

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 art. She continues to be inspired by the Goddess in all of her manifestations, which of course includes the flora and fauna of our beautiful Earth. Judith has exhibited her paintings in New York, San Francisco, Mytilene Greece, Athens Greece, New Orleans, Santa Fe NM, Taos NM, Albuquerque NM, Houston TX and Providence RI. She has published two oracle decks - Celtic Goddess Oracle and Animal Wisdom Oracle and is hard at work on an illustrated fairytale - Elena and the Reindeer Goddess.

11 thoughts on “A Return to Light by Judith Shaw”

  1. Yes, how dare they name it the “Mother of All Bombs” — John Oliver expressed his dismay with #Mombomb #feminism. No we do not want equal opportunity employment in the war machine, thank you very much!!!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Why not the Father of all bombs?

    I no longer believe that light triumphs over darkness – (not the nurturing darkness of the womb of Nature) but the darkness of human -induced hatred. I have distanced myself from an unspeakable political situation that I can do nothing about and yet I have days where feelings of alienation overwhelm me. It is only when I turn to Nature for support that my perspective shifts. In the cosmic scheme the human horror story will one day be silenced permanently. We know that the only constant is change – and this and only this brings me a measure of peace.

    Last night I went to a movie about seeds. Real seeds and Monsanto. Jane Goodall and many others spoke about the importance of saving seeds for the planet and for ourselves – and in the same movie Monsanto wins. Why? It has the political power… every story of “hope” has to deal with the reality that power is king.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sara, I know exactly how you feel about the darkness of the human soul which has shown its ugly face time and time again. But through out history it has been taken down each time by the brightness of the human soul. Unfortunately much, much pain and suffering is endured before the light emerges.

      This time, as that horridness has gained prominence, we have the very real issue of its power to destroy our home, our earth as you mention about Monsanto and so many more power players. We might, as a species, regain our sanity but will the Earth still support us or will it have turned herself into a different being which no longer supports life as we know it today.

      I also get some peace when viewing things from the cosmic perspective. But the cosmic view is very cold comfort to my warm blood. Spring does give me a warmer renewed hope that somehow, someway we will return to a time when the light of the human soul shines more brightly than the darkness.


      1. I agree about spring – I’m in love with this season this year perhaps more than ever before – because there is so much killing, lying etc – too much for me to contain and stay sane. Nature is my refuge

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The generals employed by the Troll-in-Chief dropped the “mother of all bombs.” The generals employed by Saddam Hussein fought the “mother of all battles” in about 1981. There’s nothing maternal about those men. I agree with Carol that we don’t want that kind of equal opportunity.

    Thanks for writing this post and reminding us of hope and light arising out of darkness. My garden’s growing, too. It’s mostly succulents, but there are a few blossoms.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We are certainly in a period of crisis which, if nuclear weapons are unleashed, could end our part in the story of life quickly and totally. And yet, before Trump, we were slowly killing life while sleepwalking. I hope that the extremeism we witness today will wake us up and become the rebirth of … sanity might be a good word.


  5. Such beautiful paintings and photographs. That we still long for and create beauty moves me. Thanks for the reminder that Celts honored both light and dark and recognized the beauty and necessity of each. In the season of light and heat, we seek shade for relief. And in the season of dark and cold, how precious is a warm patch of light.

    I think my metaphor for hate might be that it is toxic. Its effect is to make us rigid. It is interesting to think that some toxins can be medicines in the right proportion and administered for the purpose of healing. It is appropriate to be confront injustice. Sometimes with indignation. Our challenge is to keep outrage from turning to hatred. Taking time to remember and create beauty, to tend to life in our gardens and our lives can help keep us flexible and responsive.

    Thank you for a beautiful post!


    1. Great metaphor Elizabeth- it highlights that balance is the issue. With that balance we can keep outrage from turning to hate. I guess it’s like forgiveness. We strive for it but forgiveness does not mean we condone the acts of hatred.

      Liked by 1 person

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