Sunday, 29 June 2014

Áirmid - Goddess of herbs and healing

As well as enjoying the summer I have recently completed 'Áirmid', a gift for dear friend who also modelled for the painting.


The Goddess Áirmid and her cloak


According to Irish mythology the goddess Áirmid (sometimes spelt Áirmed) was one of the Tuatha Dé Danann and the daughter of Dían Cécht, the god of healing.
Áirmid, together with her father and her brother, Miach, healed those injured in the Second Battle of Magh Tuiredh and by singing incantations over the well of Sláine were able to resurrect the dead warriors.

Later Dían Cécht killed Miach because he was jealous of his sons' healing skills and as Áirmed wept over her brother's grave her tears watered all the healing herbs of Ireland. Some say that 365 herbs sprung from the earth over Miach's body. 
Áirmid gathered and organised them all by spreading them on her cloak. 
Once again Dían Cécht became angry and jealous and scattered the herbs across the land
and it is for this reason that no human in Ireland knows all the secrets of herbalism and only Áirmid remembers.

Ocus atbert Dén Cécht,  ‘Mane pé Míoach, méraidh Airmeth.’
And Dían Cécht said, “Though Miach is not, Airmed will persist.”


Áirmid stands above the Well of Áirmid, now Christianised and known Lady's Well, 

which can be found in the grounds of Slane Castle Co. Meath. 
The waters from the well flow into the nearby River Boyne.
Info. on the Lady Well fete at Slane Castle can be found here - 

For details about the herbs & their uses click HERE

Two goddesses

As you can see the painting is very detailed and contains 60 herbs and flowers which over the years were used in Ireland as cures for various ailments.
To help in identification I have included a 'map' of the plants below and in a later post will include their the uses and Irish names.

Art cards and posters of Áirmid are available HERE





LEAVES OF BIRCH, ROWAN, ALDER, WILLOW, ASH, HOLLY, OAK, HAWTHORN & HAZEL AROUND HER NECK 

1 YARROW
2 HONEYSUCKLE
3 IVY
4 SPEEDWELL
5 RAMSONS - WILD GARLIC
6 TORMENTIL
7 DOG ROSE
8 MILKWORT
9 AGRIMONY
10 MEADOWSWEET
11 FOXGLOVE
12 MALLOW
13 YELLOW FLAG
14 GOLDEN ROD
15 POPPY
16 SHEPHERD'S PURSE
17 VALERIAN 
18 VERVAIN
19 PURPLE LOOSESTRIFE
20 CHARLOCK
21 SOAPWORT
22 CENTAURY
23 DAISY
24 PIMPERNEL
25 ST. JOHN'S WORT
26 BLUEBELL
27 COWSLIP
28 EYEBRIGHT
29 VIOLET
30 WOOD SORREL
31 PRIMROSE
32 MARSH MARIGOLD
33 CHICKWEED
34 CELANDINE
35 HARTS' TONGUE FERN
36 WATER CRESS
37 MAIDEN HAIR FERN
38 WATER AVENS
39 BOG BEAN
40 NETTLE
41 WORMWOOD
42 LADY'S MANTLE
43 MUGWORT
44 RAGWORT
45 DANDELION
46 SELF HEAL
47 DOCK
48 OATS
49 RUSH
50 ARUM LILY
51 WILD SAGE
52 MARJORAM
53 COLTSFOOT
54 GROUNDSEL
55 CLOVER
56 WILD THYME
57 MINT
58 BEARBERRY
59 BILBERRY
60 BRAMBLE

BUTTERFLIES:
A COMMON BLUE
B SMALL TORTOISESHELL
C SMALL WHITE
D PAINTED LADY
& ASSORTED BEES





14 comments:

  1. This has to be The Best of them all a wondrous painting with so many plants all of them botanically correct. I greatly admire your determined dedication and attention to detail.

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    1. Thank you for your comment.....and the endless cups of tea and coffee you made for me whilst I painted her.

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  2. very beautiful work ... and informative.

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    1. Thank you Gwen - glad you like her.

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  3. Hi Jane, Just love this painting and all the herbs. What a lovely story. What a great reference.

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    1. Hi Margaret - lovely to hear from you and thanks for your appreciation.

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  4. Absolutely gorgeous Jane! Congrats on another beautiful painting.

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  5. I am so honoured to received such amazing Painting. I love it , my husband loves it and Áirmid and Miach are just amazed by it. There was a lot of wowing when they saw it unveiled.
    The painting pulls you in, from the initial beauty of the overall painting, slowly the eye is drawn to each wonderfully detailed and beautifully painted wild flower or herb. The painting definitely embodies the story of Áirmid, her gift of healing and the knowledge of herb lore overflowing from her. It invites the viewer on a journey. The flowers, herbs, butterflies, trees and bees are all a part of our intricate surroundings in Nature. Each is beautiful in its own right and yet much goes by unnoticed by humankind each day. The miracle of what surrounds us, the healing potential within our grasp if we could only wake up and relearn what is being offered. It also reminds us of the beauty that surrounds. The simplest of flowers in our eyes when looked at closely is an absolute wonder of nature, and perhaps there is a message here that when we return to the simplest of forms we are surrounded by exquisite beauty.
    Miach in particular was drawn to the background of the different seasons reflected in nature, each having its own aspect to contribute to our journey.
    Of course it is my favourite, but then I'm biased. It works so well with Dían cécht, they reflect and compliment each other.
    This is a real testament to you Jane, a truly gifted artist who is so connected and facilitates this beautiful transition of our Gods and Goddesses onto a painted medium.
    Buíochas Mór a chara

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    1. Dear Áine Máire - I am so pleased that you all love Áirmid and thank you for your comments. I really enjoyed learning so much about Irish herbs, flowers and mythology whilst painting her.
      I look forward to seeing her above the fireplace in your home and I hope she continues to bring pleasure to you and your family.
      Jx

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  6. Magnificent painting. You're brilliant jane. Hope you mel and toby had a lovely solstice. Sending love. Gaynor and tony xx

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    1. Glad you like her and thank you for commenting, Tony.
      Solstice blessings to you both as always. Jx

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