Tag Archives: Celtic Art

Art for Life

Colors. Images. Words. Art can be a very personal expression. Having beautiful art in our homes and work spaces can serve as a focal point of calm during chaotic times or ignite passion in us to move into action. Art can be a reminder of who we are or who we strive to become.

At Amber Lotus Publishing, we are fortunate to be able to spend our time contemplating art – discussing, researching, and discovering. Art that we hope will infuse clarity, joy, and inspiration into our calendars. When we develop our calendars, we fall in love with the art and the message. It’s exciting to create a story for the year to mark our journey around the sun – one month at a time. Twelve pieces of art in celebration of that journey or to be touchstones along the way.

We are honored to work with a host of extraordinary artists, illustrators, photographers, writers, and thinkers. Here is a bit more about just three of them:

The Mindful Art of Thich Nhat Hanh 2018 wall calendar

Click to see more images from the 2018 calendar.

Thich Nhat Hanh
New for 2018, The Mindful Art of Thich Nhat Hanh wall calendar features the Zen calligraphy of Thich Nhat Hanh – affectionately known as Thay (“teacher”). His work is a joyful, fluid expression of his artistry and a timeless interpretation of Buddha’s teachings. Thay uses the calligraphy as a meditation; his hand and the brush merge to become one. Each serene stroke conveys a sense of mindfulness, energy, and love. With his calligraphy, Thay invites you to breathe in, to bring your mind back to your body, and to be present in the moment.

Thich Nhat Hanh has dedicated his life to the art of mindful living. Born in 1926, this Vietnamese Buddhist monk, scholar, poet, artist, peace activist, and prolific author is a beloved and revered global spiritual leader. His powerful teachings and best-selling books have reached an audience of millions around the world. For more than fifty years, Thich Nhat Hanh has been a pioneer of “Engaged” or “Applied” Buddhism, which applies ancient Buddhist wisdom to contemporary issues. He teaches that only through living in the present moment can we approach peacefulness – in ourselves and in the world. Now known as the “Father of Mindfulness,” he is the man Martin Luther King called “an apostle of peace and nonviolence.”

Celtic Mandala 2018 wall calendar

Click to see more images from the 2018 calendar.

Jen Delyth
The Celtic Mandala wall calendar presents the magical knot weavings of Welsh artist Jen Delyth. Jen’s intricate paintings and illustrations are founded in her deep connection to her Celtic heritage and are a personal journey into the language of ancient Celtic mythology and symbolism. In its 16th year of printing, this wall calendar is a beloved bestseller.

Inspired by the spirit in nature, Jen’s artwork appeals to those who seek meaningful, profound images that express deep and essential aspects of the Celtic tradition. This tradition has its own ancient roots in the cultures of Neolithic and Paleolithic peoples who came before them. It continues to evolve and is – most important to many today – a living tradition.

Jen elaborates, “Although I am not affiliated with any particular branch of Celtic spirituality, my work often focuses on an expression of my deep love and respect of nature and all its mystery. The Celtic tradition expresses a wealth of wisdom and understanding of the natural world – of plants and animals and also the inner world of active imagination and our psyche. Working with the patterns, sacred images, and myths of the ancient Celts renews my connection between the past and the present, the inside and the outside, the seen and the unseen – life in all its mystery and interconnectedness, through art and story.”

Spirit Horses 2018 wall calendar

Click to see more images from the 2018 calendar.

Tony Stromberg
The gorgeous Spirit Horses wall calendar features extraordinary portraits of horses, both wild and domestic, by renowned photographer Tony Stromberg. Each luminous image is paired with quotes from great teachers and writers exploring equine wisdom and the love of these magnificent creatures.

For more than two decades, Tony Stromberg made his mark as a successful advertising photographer. Yet a quiet but gnawing voice eventually drew him out of his commercial roots and deep into the soul of the West. What he had gained in reputation he felt he was losing in quality of life. Just before the turn of the millennium, he began his pilgrimage away from the frenetic world of advertising and into a world possessing a respect for nature and the land. Since then, he has spent much of his time learning the nuances of his most beloved equine companions in their natural environment. “The spirit of the horse,” says Stromberg, “is a magnificent teacher to humanity.”

Our most enduring companions, horses teach us about honesty and authenticity because they know no other way of being. They teach us about collaboration over dominance. And they teach us to respect and honor the unknown as opposed to fearing it and trying to destroy it. In both their physical and archetypal forms, horses help bring us back to something wild and unrestrained, reminding us of a sense of freedom many have forgotten.

About Amber Lotus Publishing — We Plant Trees!
Based in Portland, Oregon, Amber Lotus Publishing is proud to be a carbon-negative independent publisher with a dedication to environmental stewardship. As of December 2016, Amber Lotus Publishing had funded the planting of 650,000 trees.

Amber Lotus has been a Gold Certified Green America member since 1993. Green America certifies businesses that are committed to using business as a platform for social change. Green businesses adopt principles, policies, and practices that improve the quality of life for their customers, employees, communities, and the planet.

Today our team is an extended family of ten people, including a martial artist, a jazz singer, bibliophiles, musicians, writers, belly dancers, gardeners, bicycle enthusiasts, plus a whole host of talented, creative, inspiring contributors. We strive to consistently offer products that are authentic and distinctive to bring you a sense of the eternal by nurturing your heart, renewing your soul, and expanding your mind.


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Beltane — The Dance of Spring

Celtic Mandala 2017 wall calendar

Image from our Celtic Mandala 2017 wall calendar featuring artwork by Jen Delyth.

Ceilidh – The Dance
Excerpt by Jen Delyth from the Celtic Mandala 2017 wall calendar — Within ancient and modern spiritual traditions, dance is a metaphor for life, an ancient choreography moving with the rhythm of the earth to the music of the cosmos. Within Celtic tradition, the Ceilidh is a gathering to celebrate music, storytelling, and dance. The long winter nights are passed to the music of the fiddle, the whistle, and the beat of the bodhran drum. Traditional Celtic dances weave intricate patterns of circles, spirals, and squares in arrangements of threes and fours – a dynamic expression of the eternal knot. In ritual dances such as the annual Beltane Maypole dance, men and women weave ribbons in ancient spiral patterns around the sacred tree to raise and manifest the fertile earth energies. Morris dancers continue the tradition of shaman dances. They wear antler headdresses and costumes of red and white representing the colors of the Otherworld. Their clogs, sticks, and bells stamp out rhythms in circular and square patterns in celebration of the ancient Horned God of fertility and strength. The Lord of the Dance is one of the oldest gods of the natural world. Within the Christian religion, he is still honored as the force at the center of our spiritual and metaphysical lives. Continue reading

Midweek Mindfulness with Michael J. Green: Flowing — June 8, 2016

Image by Michael J. Green from our Celtic Blessings 2016 wall calendar. Click image for more info.

Image by Michael J. Green from our Celtic Blessings 2016 wall calendar. Click image for more info.

Flowing

Within every human breast shine two mystic hearts, one woven subtly within the other. One points downward and so loves and attends the graces of the world, and in obtaining them is led into happiness and song, but in losing them is led to grief and lamentation.

The other heart is a secret heart. Its form is grace, and it gazes with unbroken rapture upward into the Great Mystery of the soul’s desire. There, in the domain of neither gaining nor losing, all things are perceived truly and there is face-to-face seeing into the deepest nature of things.

And so it is in the communion of these two hearts that the fullness of Being presents itself, like coming upon a light in thick darkness, like receiving a treasure in poverty.

In this fashion we make a mysterious whole. Existence is delivered from its limitations, spirit flowing out of body, body flowing out of form.

And Blessed Be.

— Michael J. Green


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Midweek Mindfulness with Michael J. Green: Be As a Candle — March 2, 2016

Celtic Blessings 2016 wall calendar

Image by Michael J. Green from our Celtic Blessings 2016 wall calendar. Click image for more info.

Be As a Candle

Never has our world been rendered so alive with glitter and temptation as it is today. And so it is that amidst these delights, only a few who pass through are taken by a longing for the simple and the still.

Do we even know of such a hunger? Are we simply wanderers, or would we be pilgrims? Window-shoppers or seekers? Have we the gift of sacred yearning, and are we those who truly hunger?

If we nod our heads and murmur yes, then know that it is given and charged in these days of distraction that a few must now begin the task of turning away from the ten thousand glitters. And in this turning we turn to the heart, That which is secret and shining and simple.

Be wary, then, but wise, and a witness to the changeless Truth.

O Friend, O one with yearning face, Become as a candle now, A candle in a windless place!

And you shall Blessed Be.

— Michael J. Green


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Artist Spotlight — Michael J. Green

We’ve had the pleasure of working with Michael for many years to craft the Celtic Blessings line of gifts and calendars as well as his Illuminated Rumi series. His attention to detail and passion for his art shines through in each of his beautiful works. ~Amber Lotus

Celtic Blessings

Images by Micheal J. Green featured in our Celtic Blessings 2106 wall calendar. Click for more info.

A Word from the Artist
For the first time in human history, we have the entire spread of our species’ cultural achievements easily available. But at the same time we find ourselves curiously rootless – almost weightless – suspended in the strange dream of accelerated time that is our postmodern age. Perhaps it’s a moment of great opportunity, a possibility to reshape – even redefine – ourselves, to re-anchor our souls in those timeless mythologies, tales, and truths where we meet and recognize one another as old, if forgotten, friends.

We are witness today to the emergence of an ancient spiritual vitality into modern affairs. Call it the river of sanity. It comes from the deepest wellsprings of our humanity and moves us into harmony with the natural world and ourselves. It does not contradict scientific thought, but the river offers a profoundly wider way of engaging reality. It is caught rather than taught.

Two great wellsprings of our civilization are the Celtic tradition and the legacy of Christ. And the work here, as it is everywhere in a time of discord, is to bridge, heal, and connect. Let the heart lead; let art follow.

About the Artist
A countercultural revolutionary, author Michael Green has made an eclectic life the foundation of an artistic career. Born in New York in 1943, he received his BA from New York University. He attended film school there before going on to study at the University of São Paulo in Brazil. He joined the legendary Castalia Foundation, worked on germinal light shows with Timothy Leary, and, in the summer of 1967, moved with the group to an area of protected land (essentially a reservation) to experience communal living. Later, Green moved to Pennsylvania to study with the venerable Sufi master Bawa Muhaiyaddeen. Continue reading

Artist Spotlight — Celtic Artist Jen Delyth

We are delighted to share this guest post written by one of our contributing artists, Jen Delyth. Her intricate Celtic illustrations have been included in some of our best-selling calendars and cards for over 10 years. Here she shares more on her process and love of Celtic culture:

CM15-0CFor many years I have enjoyed creating original Celtic art to communicate the ancient symbols and archetypes that still speak to us today. I use the ancient language of Celtic patterning to create new work, rather than reproduce the designs from antiquity, as Celtic art is a living tradition that continues to evolve into our time.

This is exciting and challenging for me—and I feel so lucky to have found this path—as an artist, and fulfilling my love of mythology and folklore, of exploring symbols and how to communicate their meaning through a visual form. Continue reading

February 1st: the Feast of Imbolc

Celtic Mandala 2014 Engagement Calendar

Celtic Mandala 2014 Engagement Calendar

Brighid tends the fertilized seed as it divides into life, grows full and journeys out toward the light and air from the watery furnace of the belly of the Mother. She is loved and worshipped throughout the Celtic world and is still honored as the healer goddess of the creative fire of life.

On the Eve of Brighid’s Feast young Celtic women make corn dollies—woven effigies  of Brighid called the Brídeóg—by weaving sheaves of corn or husks of wheat, barley or oats into the likeness of a woman. They often weave straw from the sheaves of the last harvest into the new one; continuity and blessings are intricately entwined with the golden crop that embodies the fertile fire of the sun.

In parts of Wales the grain spirit was thought to hop from stalk to stalk as the sheaves were reaped, until she was in the very last sheaf, which was brought into the home, dressed and woven into the form of a woman. Sheltered for the winter, the corn or wheat spirit was then offered back to the land at planting time.
These are the ancient rituals of an agrarian people, continuing from mother to daughter, from father to son through the rhythm of the years, keeping alive the balance of nature and connection between the farmers and the land,  between the spirit and the earth.

Excerpted from Celtic Folk Soul, Art, Myth and Symbol by Jen Delyth. Jen is a Welsh artist whose work is founded in her deep connection to her Celtic heritage. She creates intricate paintings and illustrations using traditional egg tempera and contemporary digital techniques. Her original iconographic style is inspired by the Spirit in Nature and expresses our mythic connection to the natural world. Amber Lotus is proud to publish the Celtic Mandala Wall and Engagement Calendars by Jen as well as her Celtic Folk-Soul Card series. http://www.celticartstudio.com

Celtic Folk Soul -                 Art, Myth & Symbol

Celtic Folk Soul – Art, Myth & Symbol