Black madonna

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The Black Madonna and the Earth Mother

There are many interpretations that try to explain the Black Madonnas of Europe. These include theories and ideas that the Black Madonna may stem from her dark skinned parents, Christ and Mary Magdalene, or that ages of candle smoke darkened the statues. Being at heart attracted to symbolism and symbolist thought, I reject the too literal explanations and prefer to "read" Her darkness symbolically.

Some of the legends attached to these statues describe how she was buried to avoid destruction or veneration and how, later, she was come upon by a farmer ploughing with his cow. I like these legends of the Dark Mother coming out of the earth. This is closer to my understanding of our  pre-literal past when the earth was venerated as Mother, as the Great Generatrix. She is black because she is Earth: The Mother of the Beginnings...

A travelogue, "Goddess Sites: Europe", describes one of the Black Madonnas of France at Dijon as naked with pendulous breasts and legs apart, no sign of the child. However, when I "met" her she was not naked, her body was described by a delicate carving to suggest the folds in her garments. The child, which must have been carved separately as with many 13th century statues of the Madonna in Majesty, was gone and so were the  mother's hands.  What struck me and compelled me to return to this statue was the empty lap. In it and on it I could "see" a place for the divine female to take her place on the lap/throne/seat of the Great Black Mother. The absence of sacred gender symmetry in the Abrahamic religions left a space that begs to be filled...

How would our relationship to ourselves and the earth be different if the prevailing sacred image was of a mother giving birth rather than a man dying on a cross?

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This page contains a single entry by Majak Bredell published on November 16, 2007 8:14 AM.

Blue Prayer - Interstice was the previous entry in this blog.

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