Would you believe this gorgeous Goddess began as a mistake? I started creating something with a yellow background and hated it! I put it aside for a couple of months, almost tearing it up to use as collage paper.


I kept having an image of a Japanese woman in my head, caught in self reflection. I wanted to use bright colours and thought back to my picture with the yellow background. Once I started, I knew I had made the right decision. She came out better than I had imagined.


I always use this painting as an example to back up my motto:

"There are no mistakes in art, only happy surprises"


Of course I had to add some texture with her gold hair clip and paper flower details threaded with gold string. The paper background is handmade using gelli printing. Other materials include washi tape, acrylic paint, posca pens, pencil and watercolour crayons.


She has taken a while to come to me but I now know she is the Goddess Amaterasu.


Amaterasu is a Japanese sun Goddess and is the only Goddess still worshiped by a major religion today – Shinto which is a nature honouring religion. The Japanese Imperial family claim to be direct descendants of her. She is represented by the emblem of the rising sun on the Japanese Flag. Amaterasu is still celebrated today in festivals and pilgrimages to the Great Shrine of Ise.


The myth says that Amaterasu was so distraught by the havoc her brother caused to the earth in a challenge that she went into hiding in Sky-Rock-Cave and the world went dark. The gods and goddesses performed a ritual outside the cave to coax Amaterasu out. The goddess Amenouzume enters a frenzy, baring her breasts and dropping her skirt as she dances. The god bust into laughter which peaks Amaterasu’s curiosity. She takes a peak and sees her reflection in the mirror. She sees blinding beauty and thinks this is the Goddess they have been speaking about and takes a closer look not realising she is looking at her own reflection. One of the gods pulls her out and her sun light covers the Earth again, balance is restored.


She maintains harmony and balance in both the natural world and human society as can be seen in Japanese society today.


Amaterasu is associated with 3 symbols.

The mirror is not used for vanity but to reflect the state of our soul. There is a Japanese proverb which says: “When the mirror is dim, the soul is not pure”.

In our current world, we can use the mirror as a symbol to take a good look at ourselves and acknowledge the inner reasons for our struggles and take responsibility for creating what we want. Where is there light shining in your life? Where is there darkness? Are there things in your life or people who no longer serve you well? Are there things or people who hold you down and stop you from being who you are meant to be? Are there things you need in your life? Be still, gaze into a mirror, listen to yourself and acknowledge what you need. Where can you bring in more light?


When she was born, Amaterasu was given the sacred necklace of Izanagi. The necklace is her connection not only to beauty and adornment, but also to weaving and spinning. A jewel from this necklace is said to be enshrined at the Great Shrine of Ise.

The world can be a crazy place. This is a simple way to remember the beauty in the world. It doesn’t need to be an expensive item, it could be an heirloom, something you have been given or something found in an OP shop. You could also find some beads and make your own.


Amaterasu is the Guardian of the Japanese people and in her role of protectress, the solar sword represents her martial attributes. It also represents her ability to lead her people into war when necessary.

In your own life you could use the sword as a symbol to look at your boundaries, a way of protecting yourself. Setting boundaries are not to hide away and cut yourself off. They are a way to respect yourself and others to respect you. Where you are listening to the advice of others who don’t have your interest at heart? Where are you giving too much of yourself at the detriment of your health and emotional state?

Use this painting as a way to be still and reflect on the beauty in the world and bring balance to your life.


To learn more about Amaterasu click here https://www.ancient.eu/Amaterasu/


Framed Measurements - (see returns & care info)

42.5cm wide x 52.5cm high x 3.3cm deep

Goddess Amaterasu

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