Beira- First Sketches
Well I promised a horse but for my next piece I wanted to go with the squarer format again since I feel on a bit of a roll with that composition shape. The horse is hopefully coming in my "final" piece as I see that very definitely as a longer "landscape" sized work and I say "final" piece very loosely, as for the purpose of the exhibition I will have 8 large scale pieces ready in time and then hope to add more on this theme over time weaving in some of our broader Celtic and Norse heritage too. It has certainly given me a passion for reading more about our Scottish Myths, Legends and Fairy Tales.
Beira is the Scottish Goddess of Winter and is said to be the mother Goddess or Goddess of Everything.
Beira is most often depicted as hag or crone and she has immense power over the elements, predicting the weather, raising storms and casting rainfall. It is not surprising that she is revered and feared by the farm folk who would fashion a corn doll in her likeness to protect their crops from her wrath.
Beira was said to have carved the mountains with her enchanted hammer in her form as a giantess. Her time of year is Autumn to Spring where around the Autumn Equinox she was said to wake from her slumber and gradually pull in the dark and the cold. In giant human form she would tread through the mountains and with her feet and her staff she could turn the ground hard with frost and ice. In the form of a stag (her totem animal) she would ride the forests whisking the leaves from the trees.
Part of the legend refers to Beiras seven cycles of youth and I thought this would be an interesting aspect to represent as its less commonly told.
Beira is said to have lived through seven cycles of mortal youth before becoming the great "hag". In each cycle she takes a new husband, who she is with until his death and together they populate the lands. When her own life cycles end in the mortal world she is transformed into the all powerful deity who has control over the land, the elements and its people.
I decided to show the young and mortal Beira in a state of "becoming". The season is her waking in Autumn "becoming" winter and the animals shown are young deer "becoming" the future stag which is her symbol of strength. I have a few more ideas to add in regards to her symbolism but here are the first pencil sketches.