Artio: Celtic Bear Goddess

Artio is a Celtic Bear Goddess. She is strong and enduring and one of my favorite deities because she protects wild animals and the natural world. Artio is an environmental educator’s dream goddess.

Who is Artio?

Artio is the Goddess of Wildlife, Transformation, and Abundance. She is often shown with baskets of food surrounded by wildlife as with the statue below.

She can become a bear and was referred to as the She-Bear.

Artio is most noted among the Celtic Helvetii tribe where archaeologists have found evidence of her dating to 450 BCE.

The bear is felt to be one of the oldest deities as the skulls and bones of bears have been found arranged in a ceremonial fashion in caves. A 70,000-year-old grave from the Paleolithic period was discovered in France. The grave was lined with a bearskin and bear bones were arranged around the human body.

Her name comes from the ancient Celtic word for bear - artos. Artwork and inscriptions for Artio have been found throughout Europe.

Celtic goddess Artio

Statue of Celtic goddess Artio with a bear. Historical Museum of Bern, Switzerland. Photo by Sandstein.

Artio corresponds to the Greek goddess Artemis, who is also associated with bears. Bears are associated with shape-shifting and transformation across many cultures. It’s probable when the Romans invaded Celtic lands they merged Artio with Diana and Artemis.

During Christendom, she was absorbed into Saint Ursula (‘Little Female Bear’) a Latinized form of the Saxon ‘Ursel’ meaning (‘She Bear’).


Artio is connected with astrology and astronomy. She is connected to the heavens through the constellations of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, the Great Bear and the Little Bear (which contain the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper).

Honor Artio

One of the reasons I love Artio is that she is so easy to connect with. Artio wants us to embrace nature, shamanism and protect wildlife.

As a wildlife rehabilitator, I often ask for her blessing when I work to heal broken animals or rehydrate orphans. One way you can honor Artio is to donate to a wildlife rehabilitation center near you.

I love this welcoming poem by w. walker

Praise Artio for your love of the beasts
Such compassion and peace
Humbled I am by your selfless love
Guide me as I open my eyes, spirit, and mind
To the life of our sisters and brothers of the land

The bear is the keeper of Great Medicine and Artio represents healing and shamanism.

Meditation is important in transformation work. Take time to be quiet and listen for the voice of Artio to guide you.

Her feast day is October 21. Make a fresh fruit salad (anytime of year) to honor her and thank her for your blessings. Say: Artio, see my needs and bless, bring to me fruitfulness!’

Take a hike, go kayaking, sit in your backyard. Wherever you can go to breathe in nature.

Check out our article on the Bear Spirit Animal


Hibernation of bears is seen as a transformation. The bear appears to die and then be reborn in the spring. A “she-Bear” may be reborn with cubs. Bears are symbols of fertility

Pregnancy during hibernation symbolizes the Shaman’s journey in the midst of darkness while the birth of the cub in early spring symbolizes the return to light and the gaining of wisdom.

Check out my video below.

Correspondences For Artio

Pantheon: Celtic

Abode:- Cave

Animals: Bear

Colors:- Green, Brown

Crystal:-Axinite, Brown jasper

Element:- Earth

Offerings: Fruit, salmon, berries

Planet:- Constellations of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor

Plant/Tree:- Apple and Pear trees, Fir,

Rune:- Thor’s Rune

Symbolizes: Leadership, strength, confidence

Our Founder, Ame is a lifelong pagan, an environmental educator, and a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Ame writes about honoring nature, animal spirit guides, crystals, and holidays. She feels particularly close to Artio.