Jake Baddeley

Fine Art Painter & Sculptor

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Great Goddess Oracle

The Great Goddess Oracle Deck

It began with a dream. One of those really Big Ones.

In fact this one was so big it lead to a radical change in the direction of my artistic development. Dreams are very personal and it is impossible to describe the feelings this dream awoke in me except to say that I was changed by it. It had been building for a while; an interest in mythology, mysticism and the unconscious mind, which had lead me here. The dream was of a powerful ancient being. A Goddess, who was hidden in a cave beneath the earth. The cave was shaped like an egg, and the egg was cracking. The noise of men had disturbed her and she was awakening, stirring. And she was angry. It was this sense of power emanating from her, that has stayed with me after all these years. Not an energy that I had previously associated with femininity.

This event shifted my interest, or focused it, on the divine feminine, a subject I began to explore. I read books about it, about how she was said to be reawakening within modern consciousness and I felt a strange recognition. At some point I read Robert Graves famous book “The white goddess” and recognised the same energy as I had felt in my dream. She was indeed an ancient archetype. I also recognised a pattern that Graves was describing, an all most universal mythology relating to the Great Goddess of ancient times that followed a predictable set of rules. She was manifested as a tripartite deity divided into maiden, mother and crone in such diverse cultures as both Christian and Muslim, Hindu and Norse.
These fundamental similarities were hints at the vast age of the theology I was tapping into. And it began to dawn on me that this archetype was at least as old as the neolithic, that is, a stone age religion that preceded the later male warrior religions of the Indo-Europeans.

I began to feel a deep bond with this archetype and recognised her as my artistic muse. She was the force behind my inspiration as she had been for poets, musicians and artists for millennia.

When years and years later the opportunity arose to work together with Lucy Cavendish, I knew immediately what I wanted to do. That was to make a set of paintings dedicated to the Great Goddess in all her diverse cultural forms. And it would give me the opportunity to study her symbolism and myths in much greater detail.

The Great Goddess Oracle Deck is the result of that project. It lays bare in simple images the coherent and trans-cultural symbolism of the Goddess in all her diversity.

I see now, clearer than ever, how well preserved her rites are even today, in spite of the ravages of the ages. This set of images reveals certain patterns and clues to her rites. Ones that I was previously unaware of, such as a consistent association with both the Stars and the Sky in general, as well as the Earth and its abundance. Indeed she is said to rule the three realms of air, water and earth, or heaven, earth and the underworld. And these images, literal myths in pictures, show this to be true.

The style that I chose for this exploration is that of the old illuminated manuscripts of the middle ages such as the Irish book of Kells, which had inspired me already for a long time. I have put myself in the position of a monk, who in some alternate universe, was allowed to dedicate his work to the Goddess this time. For this I chose medieval tools, quill and inks, both self made according to ancient recipes from ingredients found in nature. I even adopted the habit of blessing these tools before working, a thing copied from the monks and which ensured absolute dedication to the work. This was also a sort of poke in the eye to the patriarchal church.

If ever there was a labour of love, this was one. Just getting the research reliably accurate, which was done together with Lucy, was a considerable achievement. Plowing through the myriad myths and legends looking for clues, signs and symbols, all historically attested and true. The myths and stories were then transformed into images, sometimes literal, sometimes intuitive, drawn, inked and eventually coloured. It seemed that wherever we were, in whatever culture we were studying, The Great Goddess shined through with a consistency that still surprises me. There were many magical and synchronistic moments during the two years it took me to finish this work. From being high on the intensity of the Maiden and warrior Goddesses to becoming seriously ill during the making of the Dark Goddess.

My wish is that others can now experience her as I have and gain a deeper understanding of both her simplicity, complexity, her healing power and her destructive energy. All of which is needed to complete her as the Ruler of the Three Worlds.

Whether she is your lover, your mother, or your guide through the underworld: may she always be with you.

Jake Baddeley

The Great Goddess Oracle Deck was made together with Lucy Cavendish and was published by Blue Angel in March 2024 and is available for sale through all the well known shops and platforms world wide. Just search online. Make sure you buy an original deck to support me.

See all of the art work for the Great Goddess on this page:

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Jake Baddeley - Norns II - ink on paper - 30 x 25 cm

Jake Baddeley – Norns 2 – ink on paper – 25 x 30 cm – available as a limited edition art print

Jake Baddeley - Norns II - ink on paper - 30 x 25 cm

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