22×28 acrylic on canvas

Here is a bit about her from my blog:

Deirdre is one of the most tragic characters of Pre-Christian Irish Myth. Her story comes from the Ulster cycle and has all the makings of a classic fairy tale, except for a very unhappy ending. I originally just wanted to paint a Celtic goddess that was known for her otherworldly beauty and was drawn to Deirdre. Her story is a little bit like Helen of Troy, a beautiful woman that causes the ruin of kings and warriors, but the symbolism of the story is so rich I couldn’t resist painting it.
There are many versions of this story, at least 5 plays and 4 books have been written about her, and although the stories vary slightly, the basic theme is the same. So Deirdre is born to a royal storyteller in the court of the king Conchobar. A Druid priest prophesied when she was born that she would be the ruin of the king and the kingdom because of her great beauty. She was almost put to death for this, but the king was so intrigued by her future beauty that he decided to keep her alive and marry her when she grew up. He placed her in foster care hidden away from others.
Here is where the story starts to intrigue me. She lives in a house hidden under the ground (faerie dwelling and Irish name for faerie=sidhe) and is mainly cared for by an old woman named Leabharcham. Leabharcham is the wise crone goddess and/or possibly a high priestess of the old ways. One day Deirdre looks out and sees her foster father slaughtering a young calf during the winter as there is snow on the ground. This in itself is strange because in the old faerie lore you did not slaughter animals after the Blood moon in late October or early November. Any animal or grain harvested after this time belonged to the Fay or the dead ancestors and would harm the living if they partook of it.
So Deirdre looks out at the scene and sees a raven come and start to nibble at the blood on the snow. Most people would see this as some kind of dark omen, but Deirdre sees her future lover and proclaims that she would like to have a lover like that with hair the color of a raven, lips as red as blood, and skin as white as snow. At this point one might be reminded of Snow White, and one should be. The white as snow, red as blood or rubies, and black as the raven is like a code in fairy tales. White, red, and black are the colors of the Dark goddess and of the Faerie realm. I think that Deirdre is claiming her lover to be the goddess, or rather stating her love for the goddess here.
So the symbolism has laid the hints. Deirdre is in the faerie realm. She is between and betwixt the worlds, just like Snow White was when she entered the dark forest and met the gnomes (or dwarfs if you want to call them that). She soon meets this raven haired pale skinned Marilyn Mansion looking lover named Naoise. She runs away with him and lives in some forest in Scotland for awhile and lives blissfully happy there for a moment.
Eventually they have to return to Ireland. In a nutshell, Conchobar succeeds in having Naoise killed, marries Deirdre but she is miserable and kills herself. In one account she knocks her head on a boulder as her carriage is passing it. So what is the meaning of all this tragedy? Like most myth, the meaning is multi-layered, but one meaning seems to come out at me. I think in part, this story is about the old matriarchal Bronze age goddess societies being taken over by the more Patriarchal warrior ones. I think it is trying to warn people that the way of war and Patriarchy is a road only to greed and ruin.
Deirdre is the sovereign goddess in this tale, as at that time a king was still not truly a king unless he was married to the sovereign goddess. She was the living representative of the goddess and the Earth or the land. If we are too greedy with her, if we take advantage of her, she will perish and so will our kingdoms.
I painted the scene where Deirdre has a precognitive dream of ravens flying with bloody torques (necklaces wore by warriors). Ravens are often messengers from the Otherworld in Celtic myth.

Tammy Mae Moon is tired of writing about herself in third person. I like to paint. I like to paint women and birds and snakes, and a few other things.

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Comments

  • Marg Thomson Photography
    Marg Thomson P...about 4 years ago

    Simply awesome work hon! xoxox

  • Thanks Marg!

    – MoonSpiral

  • Erika .
    Erika .about 4 years ago

    Love the facial expressions you capture, and the symbolism and meaning you weave into your work x

  • Thankyou so much Erika!

    – MoonSpiral

  • Kristy Spring-Brown
    Kristy Spring-...about 4 years ago

    Lovely work!

  • Thankyou Kristy!

    – MoonSpiral

  • eleveneleven
    elevenelevenabout 4 years ago

    This is SO GORGEOUS!!! one of my faves of yours to date!! thanks for the backstory. makes her even more captivating

  • I am so happy you like her, I think she might have my favorite face that I have painted so far too.

    – MoonSpiral

  • Emma  Wertheim
    Emma Wertheimabout 4 years ago

    Amazing Tammy – you just get better and better – she is magical x

  • Thankyou sweetie:) xo

    – MoonSpiral

  • GittiArt
    GittiArtabout 4 years ago

    Fantastic as always …bravo MoonSpiral!!!:-)

  • Thankyou Brigette :)

    – MoonSpiral

  • Quinn Blackburn
    Quinn Blackburnabout 4 years ago

    Gorgeous work! Love the pale glittering green and moist blue of the background, the snakey torc in Raven’s mouth hints at rebirth, her beautiful eyes… simply enchanting! Beautiful narrative too! An instant fav! :o)

  • I am so happy you like the finished product :), thanks Quinn!

    – MoonSpiral

  • Druidstorm
    Druidstormabout 4 years ago

    Deirdre was raised in a remote place so that none should see her until she was ready to be the wife of the King of Ulster. Only her foster parents were allowed to be with her, and the old woman Levorcham, a satirist, to whom nothing could be refused. Deirdre grew up straight and clean like the rush on the moor, her movements were like the swan on the wave or the deer on the hill. She was the woman of the greatest beauty like you said and was the gentlest and kindest nature in all the provinces of Ireland. Levorcham taught her ever skill and knowledge that she had herself. There was not an herb on the ground or a star in the heaven or a bird in the wood that Deirdre did not know the name of, and besides these skills Levorcham taught her the Druid crafts of poetry, dreaming and seeing! You have created an image that Deirdre herself would be proud off, your craft sits next to the Druids of All Time; where the bard will sing “Here lies Beauty!” Bravo, bravo!!!…)o(

  • You honor me greatly with your words, and your write up about Deirdre is certainly more beautiful than anything I read about her. Thankyou!

    – MoonSpiral

  • jewd barclay
    jewd barclayabout 4 years ago

    Love the story and this is a beautifully executed piece..the background is wonderul and her skin is tangible..really wonderful…

  • Thankyou so much Jewd, I really appreciate that!

    – MoonSpiral

  • Anita Inverarity
    Anita Inverarityabout 4 years ago

    Outstanding Tammy !!! The story is so interesting and I love the snow white symbolism which runs alongside. I love the Irish feel to the piece and the amazing details and the Raven ofcourse- This has to be one of my favourites so far. Captivating xxx

  • Hey Anita, thanks for taking the time to read my book over there, and I am so happy you like her, I think she is one of my faves now too….of course I always think the current one is my fave…lol. Are you like that too?

    – MoonSpiral

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