Grandmother’s Story by Judith Shaw

The past few years have been way too busy. Every winter I longed for quietness and solitude – for time and space to see and feel the strong bones of tree trunks and branches standing sharp against the sky and to gaze in awe into the fathomless winter night.  And yet responsibilities and duties continued to yell at me for attention. The quiet gifted by Winter slipped away and soon I was on the treadmill of action offered by Spring and Summer once again.

This year is different. Most of the things that I had to take care of over the past few years are accomplished. Now I have truly settled into the quiet of winter.  I am in my own version of heaven, working in my studio as bare trees sway in the winter winds outside and the usually bright blue skies of the high desert fill with grey clouds while low fog blankets the mountains to the east of town. For the first time in a very long time I don’t feel rushed or overloaded. Most likely this will not last, but for now I am taking this time to continue creating the illustrations for my new project – a modern myth, Elena and the Reindeer Goddess.  Here’s the next excerpt with two new illustrations. This part begins with Grandmother telling Elena the story of Reindeer Goddess. In case you missed the first excerpt, you can read it in my post from last month , where I have added one more illustration.

“Our people knew her as Reinna. Sometimes she was seen as a woman who flew through the skies in a chariot pulled by reindeer. At other times she was seen as a flying reindeer herself.

“Reinna oversaw the sun and the moon in their dances with Earth.  She loved the conversation between Earth and Sky – the way Sky kisses Earth at the horizons. The way the sun of Day Sky warms and nourishes our world. The way the moon of Night Sky moves through its phases. The way the dark Night Sky transports us to the mysterious realms of imagination. For Reinna knew that, though darkness gives rise to fear, all answers lie in the quiet darkness found within.

“It was her job to guide the sun on its path across the sky, pulling it with her chariot through long summer days and short winter ones. But on the day of the Winter Solstice the sun barely appears in the far northern land of our ancestors. On this night – called Mother Night – Reinna flies through the Night Sky, guiding our hearts to hope.

For many long years our people trusted in Reinna to maintain the balance between the light and the dark. Reinna’s promise was two-fold – she taught that both seeds and inspiration take root in darkness and that the cycle of the seasons will continue. For each seed holds the light and growth of spring deep within itself.

Since the days of Reinna’s promise, we human folk have been busy, busy, busy –  building civilizations, creating gadgets, gaining power – moving further and further away from our connection to nature. Centuries have passed since people truly paused to honor the quietness of winter.” 

“But Grandmother,” said Elena, “Why are you telling me this now? And where are we going?” 

Elena, I tell you this ancient tale because Reindeer Goddess came to me in a dream last night. She told me that she has a great gift to give humankind tonight, a gift that will change the world by opening the hearts of all to love and showing us how to live in harmony with all creation.

“But she needs our help. The world has changed so much and people no longer understand our Reindeer Goddess and the beauty of the darkness. We both know that what people do not understand they can easily fear. She needs us to help her.

“Tonight is the Mother Night, the Winter Solstice, when the night is longest, so we must hurry, as Reinna begins her preparations at dawn.”

Check back next month when you will meet Reinna and discover how Elena and Grandmother will help her.

In the meantime here’s a video I put together a couple of years ago which celebrates the beauty of winter.

And finally just a couple of photos taken this winter. It’s been cold here but beauty still remains.

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. Originally from New Orleans, Judith makes her home in New Mexico, The Land of Enchantment.

After almost 5 years of work Judith’s new oracle deck, Animal Wisdom Oracle, has just come out. You can order it here. Experience the wisdom our animal kin have to offer.

The Celtic Goddess Oracle Deck is still available. Order your deck here.

Categories: Art, General, Goddess Spirituality, Myth

Tags: , ,

10 replies

  1. Thank you for sharing. Beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing. Beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Both your story and illustrations are stunning. While this is engaging for all ages, I think it will be especially wonderful for girls and young women who may not be aware of reindeer myths to get a start in learning about this and other goddess traditions. I’m so glad you are enjoying a relaxing winter, too! You are an inspiration to all of us to slow down, hibernate, restore and renew…


    • Carolyn
      Thanks for your kind words. Creating this illustrated story is so far out of my comfort zone that at times I have questioned my sanity in attempting it. But I felt compelled to do it after I first learned about the reindeer myths back in 2017. I do hope what you say comes to be and my story will help spread the word about goddess traditions and the Goddess Way.


  4. Love this and those gorgeous illustrations… and the fact that YOU at least are taking pleasure in these lovely quiet months that I adore – while i have been going crazy – not with projects but with issues – I won’t bore you. Just enjoy this special time…

    In the midst of the mess there are moments but no stretch of quiet time. Chaos for me this year and last…. let’s hope the shifts….


  5. Thank you for this Judith! I always enjoy your beautiful posts so much! love diane


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