Skip to main content

The Black Madonna: My Journey




I've begun doing more and more research on the Black Madonna, spurred on by my upcoming artist residency near Montserrat next fall. I realize though, that I've been interested in the Black Madonna for many years, although I'm not a Catholic or attached to any particular faith. I'm interested mostly in the dark aspect of her.

Matthew Fox, is an American Episcopal priest and theologian. He is an exponent of Creation Spirituality, a movement grounded in the mystical philosophies of medieval visionaries, Hildegard of Bingen, Thomas Aquinas, Meister Eckhart and Nicolas of Cusa. He has written more than 22 books which have sold millions of copies.

In his essay, called "Welcome: The Return of the Black Madonna", Fox says that the "Black Madonna calls us to darkness. Darkness is something we need to get used to again-the 'Enlightenment' has deceived us into being afraid of the dark and distant from it. Meister Eckhart observes that the 'ground of the soul is dark'. Thus to avoid the darkness is to live superficially, cut off from one's ground, one's depth. The Black Madonna invites us into the dark and therefore into our depths. This is what the mystics call the 'inside' of things, the essence of things. This is where Divinity lies. It is where the true self lies. It is where illusions are broken apart and the truth lies."

I have come across a number of websites and a lot of information about the Black Madonna and realized that my interest and research was turning into something more than I had originally intended. In an effort to learn more about her myself, I hope to write a series of blog posts from time to time, called The Black Madonna: My Journey.

I'll reread my copy of the book "The Cult of the Black Virgin" by Ean Begg, and also reread China Galland's book, "Longing for Darkness, Tara and the Black Madonna" and report back in on more books and sites that I've come across.

Millions of people across the world make annual pilgrimages to Black Madonna sites. Two million/year visit the monastery at Montserrat and that is only one of nearly 250 sites of Black Madonna images throughout the world.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Vulnerability in Art and Life

I taught a cold wax painting workshop in abstraction this past week at St. Lawrence College in Brockville, Ontario. I've never had so many beginners in one class before. Two had never ever painted. One hadn't painted in 4 years. Three made art using other media. Only two painted regularly in landscape and abstraction. What a challenge! In our morning discussions, I gradually came to understand that the main challenge each artist had to face, was their vulnerability. Of course this is the case in every class. I suppose I was more clearly made aware of it though in this workshop. 

As an artist, you come up against yourself all the time. There's no way to hide who we really are. "I suffer as always from the fear of putting down the first line. It is amazing the terrors, the magics, the prayers, the straitening shyness that assail one." John Steinbeck

I've written many times before about vulnerabilityHere, and here. Yet it still comes back into my life, not only in…

About Place: A painting workshop on the Camino

Rebecca Crowell and I are staying in a gorgeous retreat centre on the Camino de Santiago called Flores del Camino. It's in the small stone village of Castrillo de los Polvazares with a population of 100.  Voted one of the most beautiful villages in Spain, the streets are cobblestone and each of the unique earth-coloured stone houses is joined to the next in rows that wind through the town.



There are no yellow arrows or brass shells embedded in the village road marking the way of the Camino, as there are in larger cities. It basically consists of one-street and the  Camino resumes at the edge of town.  Paying attention to the moment doesn't stop though when you come into the village because walking the uneven cobblestone streets is an exercise in mindfulness itself!



The owners of this retreat centre, Bertrand Gamrowski and Basia Goodwin are committed to supporting pilgrims who are walking the Camino, offering them a place to stay as well as offering dinners (payment by donatio…

A Case for Coming to Art Late in Life-Part 1

There are a lot of us out there who have come to art later in life. My workshops are filled with women (mostly) who are between the ages of 50 and 75 (The baby boom generation). Probably most are between 60 and 75. And what interesting people they are! They bring their life experiences with them to their art––their heartaches, joys, achievements, worries, and gratitude. And they are, for the most part, committed artists. They are embracing art like it's finally their time. It's what they've been waiting their whole lives to do. They come with their souls on fire.

"and there was a new voice 
which you slowly
recognized as your own, 
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do––
determined to save
the only life you could save." The Journey by Mary Oliver

 It doesn't matter how old you are if you have passion for life.

That passion can carry us a long way. And while recognition is important in the way…