Sunday, December 29, 2013

Decorative handmade ceramic Celtic owl tile set

Owls and humans the world over have forever had a strong connection to one another. The very ancient goddess of death, Lilith is depicted with talons as feet, a horned head dress and flanked by owls. She was likely the inspiration for Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and warfare able to assume the shape of an Owl. The many ‘Little Owls’ that inhabit the rock crevices of Athens and the Acropolis were believed to be embodiments of Athena. The Romans, who appropriated many of the Greeks beliefs, associated Owls with Minerva, goddess of prophesy and wisdom. Representations of Owls were used in Rome to ward off the evil eye and feathers as well as other Owl parts were found in many magical potions and pharmaceutical remedies. The Ainu of Northern Japan placed carved Eagle Owls on houses as protection from famine and disease. Although they revered the Eagle Owl and Screech Owl, who warned against danger, the Barn and Horned Owl were considered demonic.

The Owl was the emblem of a royal clan of Chinese masters of the thunderbolt and was also a symbol of too much Yang.

In the Middle East, a person who nags and complains too much is compared to an owl. There was a belief there that Owls represented the souls of people who died un-avenged.

The hoot of an Owl in Southern India was interpreted by number:

1) Impending death. 2) Success in anything started soon after. 3) A woman marring into the family. 4) A disturbance. 5) Travel. 6) Guests on the way. 7) Mental distress. 8) Sudden death. 9) Good fortune.

In Polish folklore women who die un married turn into Doves and Married women into Owls.

The Ojibwa of North America, along with many other indigenous tribes consider the Owl a guide to the life beyond for the spirit of the dead. The Pawnee people have a beautiful ritual involving the decoration of the ceremonial pipe with Owl feathers based on the following visionary instructions:

“Put me upon the feathered stem, for I have power to help the Children. The night season is mine. I wake when others sleep. I can see in the darkness and discern coming danger. The human race must be able to care for its young during the night. The warrior must be alert and ready to protect his home against prowlers in the dark. I have the power to help the people so that they may not forget their young in sleep. I have power to help the people to be watchful against enemies while darkness is on the earth. I have power to help the people keep awake and perform these ceremonies in the night as well as the day.” (Fletcher, 1900-1901)

Whether perceived as power possessing beings or harbingers of death, Owls, throughout history, wherever they are found, have inspired humans who continue to celebrate their aesthetic beauty, sense of mystery and sharp sensory awareness, much superior to ours.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Relief carved and hand painted 21 x 29 ceramic tile set available to order from
The north wind blasts cold and rude,

boldly bearing down from snow capped peaks,

hurling icy fragments of discontent,

from a host of laden clouds.

The earth sighs a quiet requiem to the impotent sun

and drifts into slumber.

No creature dares wander the hills bleak and drear,

nor linger near the wild swell of the sea,

to be swept away

or pierced by sharp arrows of cold,

hissing through barren boughs


At length, fury spent,

wind, fog and mist gather in retreat,

leaving the pallid moon to luminate,

a frigid blanket of glittering splendor.

Snug in cranny and crevice,

life curls supine,

awaiting the docile Zephyr to return with spring.

~Shannon Gresham~