Whispers of the Ancient Ones by Judith Shaw

Moving from town to town – by train, bus and ferry – I have walked and walked the ancient land of the Scottish Highlands. From Paleolithic to Mesolithic to Neolithic and on to Picts, Celts, Scots, Romans, French and English – many different people have walked these same paths.

Standing Stones, Cupmarked Stones and Pictish Stones along with medieval castles, monuments, graveyards to soldiers lost in centuries of battles and sheep, always sheep – pepper the landscape everywhere.

The Callanish Stones – circa 3500 BC – Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland
Cupmarked Stone, Aberfledy, Perthsire
Pastures of Fortingall – a very small village in Perthshire, Scotland
Graveyard to soldiers lost to war, Fort William, Scotland

This land was formed millennia ago when Mother Earth first birthed herself from the waters of our beginnings. Through epochs of volcanic spewings, earthquakes, continents splitting, the ice advancing and retreating – change, always change, remains the one constant. Here in this high land, one is reminded of the smallness of our individuality.

Isle of Skye, East side of island formed by tectonic plate movement
Niest, most westerly point on Isle of Skye

Tales of goddesses, gods, faeries, giants, monsters and countless heroines and heroes inhabit the land.

After the ice receded – the Faery Glen, Isle of Skye
The Faery Glen – another view

All along this way the Ancient Ones have whispered to me – whispered through the rushing streams and babbling creeks, joyous bird song, waves murmuring, waves crashing against the shore, and wind howling through the air.

A beach on the Isle of Lewis

It has rained and rained and yet one day the sun emerged, revealing the vibrant green, green, green – everywhere green – temporarily lifting the blue grey mists and the brown, brackish swaths of horizon.

Every moment has been a joyous exaltation of our beautiful Mother Earth. And of course, along the way I was drawing. Here are a few sketches or dream remembrances.

Sheep, Birds and Trees
On the Banks of the River Tay
Seaweed and Rocks
Loch Dreams

And one day there was snow!

I’ll leave you with just a few more photos – big vistas, trees and small things – all parts of the beauty found in this ancient land of Mother Earth – our mother who sustains and supports us through all time.

Leaving Uig, Isle of Skye by ferry
Uig, Isle of Skye

Judith’s deck of Celtic Goddess Oracle Cards is available now. You can order your deck from Judith’s website – click here. Experience the wisdom of the Celtic Goddesses!

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. She is now working on her next deck of oracle cards – Animal Wisdom. Originally from New Orleans, Judith makes her home in New Mexico where she paints as much as time allows and sells real estate part-time. Give yourself the gift of one of Judith’s prints or paintings.

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.

19 thoughts on “Whispers of the Ancient Ones by Judith Shaw”

  1. Oh Judith, you transported me with this pictorial feast – thank you! I can almost feel the Old Ones near… whenever we allow ourselves to let nature lead mystery incarnates as it obviously did for you!
    One sobering note – sheep – maybe too many? In the US we have 4 percent of our wild mammals left – 36 percent humans and the rest are cattle… Hopefully those sheep are being used for wool – or maybe I’m spinning a fantasy I can stand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sara,
      I believe that the old forests of Europe and the British Isles were destroyed long ago because of the husbandry of sheep and cattle.

      But I think that sheep here have always been sheared for wool. Yet after the lambs have been born at a certain age the males are sent to slaughter for lamb meat whereas the females are retained for milk, wool and the birthing of more lambs. At least that how it was done when I lived in Greece and would suspect it is the same here in Scotland.

      I did learn that the reason Harris Tweed is considered the best wool worldwide is because of the nature of the Isle of Harris/Lewis which is very rainy and gets very, very cold and windy. Apparently the sheep there develop extremely oily wool as a protection against the cold and that oiliness together with an extremely tight weave creates a very warm and waterproof wool.

      I also heard that in the Highlands some people are developing harvesting of wild venison (would be the proper term not sure…) as a way to provide grass-fed meat that does not create the high methane emitted by cattle and sheep. The deer population had once been decimated but is now growing too fast because of a lack of predators and their numbers are having bad effects on the environment. Oh what a web we weave…..


      1. Fascinating information and yes I suspected as much with the sheep – didn’t know about the oil in the wool but it makes sense – the argument so many hunters use around here is that the meat is wild venison and there are too many deer – true but it is the fish and wildlife folks – state organizations – that inflate the population so the hunters will have plenty of deer to hunt – what’s wrong with this picture? Turkey slaughter is about to begin – same problem -fish and wildlife introduced them and now they kill them twice a year – worst is now just as they are mating – hell I’ve never shot a gun but I could kill a turkey – these wild creatures barely run.


        1. It’s kind of the same thing over here I think. But I found this interesting website from a Highland Croft taking a different approach to the harvesting of wild deer. Here’s a url to their explanation – which they admit right up front is controversial – if you’d like to take a look.

          Are you familiar with the author David Clement-Davies He write beautiful fantasy novels about animals from the animals point of view. I read one from the viewpoint of Wolf a couple of years ago and am now reading one from that of Deer – Fire Bringer. I learn so much about the animals from his books.

          And on a different but related note, I saw an exhibit of Audubon’s birds yesterday at the Scottish National Museum. They are just stunning. But I learned that he killed the birds, pinned them into position immediately and then did his drawings. That info put a slight edge on my enjoyment of his art.


          1. Oh how weird that you mention Audubon – yes, that has been my problem with him too – Audubon killed every bird he drew and yet he was an incredible artist – and brought birds to our attention in ways that still might help some of them survive. I just saw on documentary about his life – he marketed himself in Europe as an American Woodsman complete with buckskin and gun and Indian ‘war’ cry – UGH.

            No I have not heard of this author – need to look him up. Thanks.

            Just read the article – have heard this argument before – perhaps it has some merit, BUT we wouldn’t have this problem if humans hadn’t interfered with the deer population in the first place…. we just can’t stop “MANAGING” nature – and now each step we take is a suicidal one…. around here we have so many deer that any young sapling I want to save I have to put wire around – older trees too.


  2. Wonderful wonderful wonderful. Your splendid images make me want to take off for Scotland right now. I’ve been to England, but I didn’t travel to the north. Yes, I believe you when you say Scotland has been touched many times by divine hands and in these divine landscapes we are indeed small individuals.

    I read FAR first thing in the morning (well, first thing after I’ve fed Miss Cat) and I thank you for this beautiful visual “breakfast” that is a true feast. Did you take all those photographs yourself? Wow. I’m impressed. Bright blessings to you and your artistic mind and eyes and hands.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Barbara,
      Miss Cat should come first for sure. Cats do rule the world after all, don’t they.

      Yes I did take all those photos with my wee little cell phone camera (as they would say here). Though I did have to tweak the exposure a bit in photoshop as my phone camera couldn’t deal with the grey skies and backlight very well. Not that I would know how to set all that with a DSLR camera anyway. Glad you enjoyed.


  3. So so beautiful, beautiful to feel the strength, the glory, of our Mother’s arms wrap us all in Her care. Thank you for this all too brief glimpse.


  4. Thank you for these photos and your fascinating descriptions and stories! I was surprised to learn recently that the Orkney Islands, which we think of as remote, were a bustling Old European spiritual and economic center millennia ago. One of my post-pandemic dreams is to roam Scotland and many of the places you photographed — you gave me a little mini-vacation with this amazing post!


    1. Carolyn,
      I have been dreaming of this trip for over 5 years now. It has been so wonderful. I hope to come back soon and visit the Orkneys that time.

      I was also surprised when I learned about the Orkney Islands. The vikings built quite and empire there. And even in terms of more recent history they were under the Norwegian flag for many centuries, will into the creation of the Scottish nation.


  5. Your photos are nothing less than AMAZING!!!!! I am sure they will be great inspiration for future paintings and once again you will be transported to those beautiful places.


  6. Jan,
    For sure. Though I’m a little sad my trip is almost over, I am itching to get home and start working on all the visions swirling around in my head. I’ll leave a piece of my heart here with the knowledge that I’ll soon return.


  7. Thank you Judith! Just seeing this now. . . what a beautiful collection of images. . . and I can’t wait to see what art emerges from this! Many years ago my ex and I took our sons to Scotland and spent many beautiful days exploring the castles. . . now I’d love to go back and spend time focusing more on the land and natural environment. xo


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