Saturday, December 29, 2012

Handmade, relief carved ceramic Celtic deer tile

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~Happy Holidays~
Relief carved 9"round Celtic deer Knot ceramic tile.
For many cultures around the world the female deer or hind's natural qualities of gracefulness, gentleness and dignity have made them a symbol of the sacredness of life.
 For the Huichol people of Mexico the 'magical deer' is of very special significance. Representing both the power of the maize to sustain the body and peyote to enlighten the spirit, the deer is also said to pass some of her qualities onto the people of the tribe. Interesting to note that the character of the Huichol people tends to be light, flexible and humorous, and they have avoided open warfare with the Spanish as well as with any Mexican governments, but still hold to their own traditions. 
The Celts held hinds as supernatural animals, often referred to as 'fairy cattle', herded and milked by a local, benevolent fairy giantess that could shape shift into a red deer who would oft times lead this or that hero to adventures in the underworld.
In some Native North American symbolism deer is a strong healing totem that helps humans to conquer the fear of death and leads their souls peacefully into the spirit world.
In Buddhism they are considered the messenger of universal love and there is a mandara (sacred painting) of a deer standing on a white cloud with the tree of life above. Meditating on this mandara is said to open ones consciousness to the mystery of infinite peace.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Decorative handmade Celtic hound ceramic tile

4x18 relief carved Celtic hound tile
In ancient Ireland the 'great Irish hound' known today as the Irish wolf hound was held in such high esteem battles were fought over them and the laws of the day permitted only Kings and nobles to own them. Often adorned in collars and chains of precious metals, Wolf hounds were frequently given as presents to people of importance. Though mainly kept for guarding property and herds as well as hunting, there are many stories of the bravery and ferocity of these colossal hounds in battle. The greatest Chief of the Fianna, who's soldiers fought on foot side by side with their dogs,  was reputed to own over 400 hounds. Today Irish wolf hounds have a much different reputation being often refered to as 'Gentle Giants.'

Saturday, December 1, 2012

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6x12 relief carved English Holly tile
Holly trees occur almost everywhere in the world and are surrounded in myth and legends which are usually but not exclusively associated with winter and winter magic. It was sacred and favored among the Ancient Celtic Druids in whose tradition the Holly King rules the land from Summer to Winter Solstice sharing the year with the Oak King. Due to the widespread belief in it's ability to ward off evil, wreaths and sprigs of Holly would be hung indoors in the winter. As well as for general protection, Holly wreathes provided a safe place for fairies to shelter from the cold, avoiding friction between them and their mortal hosts. Also traditionally known to protect against lightening strikes Holly was closely associated with thunder gods such as Thor and Taranis. In Japan Holly is a popular New Years charm and there are a number of amusing and somewhat lewd legends involving Holly there. The seeds and berries of the Yaupon Holly were used by the early people of the American South to induce vomiting and hallucinations during purification rituals. In South America the Guarada have a tale of the bearded god Pa-i-shume who taught mortals to make mate, a stimulating, healthful beverage made from the leaves of the Paraguay Holly.