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- Attributes: Goddess of Abundance, transformation and wildlife
- Symbols: Bear and fruits
- Place: Europe
Artio is a Celtic Goddess of abundance (or fertility), transformation and wildlife. Her name originates from the Celtic word for bear (arth) and it is represented most of the time as such. She may also be surrounded by fruits.
The earliest records of this Goddess are from 450 CE, but their origin may be even older: skulls and bones of bears have been found tidied up in niches inside caves throughout Europe.
The ancestors of the Celts who arrived in Europe were the Helvetii, who worshiped a Goddess who was referred to as “The Bear”. This tribe was eventually taken over by the Roman Empire, but we can see that the worship of the Goddess survived, even being absorbed by another entity within that pantheon: The Goddess Diana (or Artemis, in Greece). Both have similar attributes and perhaps this may have been an achievement of Artio’s followers in Rome.
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The Bear Goddess
The female bear usually passes the pregnant period in hibernation so it can give birth in the spring. If we associate with Shamanism, where such a figure is constantly found, the period of pregnancy during hibernation in winter symbolizes the journey in the midst of darkness while the birth of the cub in early spring symbolizes the return to light with the knowledge obtained during the season. This also symbolizes a cycle of transformation.
|Goddess Artio sleeping with a Bear by Alexandra Nereïev|
The spring period is instinctively chosen by the bear mother because it is the season when the food is more abundant, and her cubs will have 3 more seasons with plenty of food to fortify themselves. This is the blessing of the Goddess Artio, who renews the earth alive at the end of winter.