The Black Madonna Mystery
During one walk through Liboc, where I live, I came across a statue of Black Madonna in a bay above the front door of one house. She’s quite tiny and most people won’t even notice her. Nevertheless, I was fascinated by her. Sometimes, I go to her for some strength. It’s just happened. I couldn’t get her out of my head. So, I started searching for her deeper meaning. And while doing so, I’ve come across some amazing information …
Pic.1 Unspectacular and unknown Black Madonna in Liboc, Praha
Why is she black?
Apparently, just in Europe, there are several hundreds of sculptures and paintings of Black Madonna. Opinions on why she’s portrayed as black, vary. The pragmatic explanation of the Catholic Church about the influence of time on the colour of the paintings and smoke of church candles on the faces of statues doesn’t seem very likely. The colour of her skin has nothing to do with ethnic origin. Far more likely, it’s a metaphorical expression of darkness. The white Virgin Mary presents a light life principle, Black Madonna its reverse side, darkness. At the same time, it refers to the ancient worshipping of the Mother Earth and the female deities representing the givers of life, fertility (Artemis, Gaia, Ops, Kybelé).
Black as a symbol of evil
For centuries, darkness has been associated with a female (yin), an intuitive, devilishly unpredictable energy that is dangerous and needs to be suppressed. In contrast, light, rational knowledge, the masculine (yang) principle was the right (ruling) counterpart.
Nowadays we’re witnessing some kind of rehabilitation, a changed perception of darkness. It’s not by chance that darkness retreats are enjoying increasing popularity. In the ever-accelerating pace of living, in our lives overpowered by technology and artificial light of light bulbs, we’ve lost the ability to tune in to the rhythm of nature and its natural art of balance. We usually reject our dark sides and try to suppress them because we don’t know how to use them positively. We’ve lost the ability to find and maintain balance within ourselves. And precisely the dark symbolism of Black Madonna can support us with that.
Darkness, the beginning of everything
Mixing all the colors together we’ll get black. Light can only be perceived by contrast with darkness. Black fertile soils sprout and grow trees and plants. From the black depths of the Universe, the planets, the Sun, and the comets are created. In alchemy, the first matter is referred to as prima materia, black virgin. And the study of DNA of the female lineage of humanity led scientists to the very beginning of the human race, the first person. She was a woman. The mother of humanity, who lived thousands of years ago. And she was a black woman. Even the Christian image of the Virgin Mary and the Baby Jesus has its foreshadow in a black-skinned woman – the ancient Egyptian goddess Isis and her Son of Horus.
Pic.2 Black Madonna – Monserrat, Spain Pic.3 Black Madonna – The House of the Black Mother, Ovocný trh (Fruit Market), Praha
The light and shadow of cathedrals
Supposedly, many of cathedrals have a statue of Black Madonna stored in their crypts. It’s no secret that Gothic cathedrals were often built in sacred Druid places, in places of strong telluric currents (Earth’s energy currents). It was believed that Black Madonna (Earth, Darkness, Feminine Principle) guides these streams, meridians of the Earth’s energy, towards the cathedral floor. In contrast, the high towers of the cathedrals served as somewhat antennas-amplifiers for drawing the male energy from the sky down into the floor where the male and female energies meet, resonate and bring subtle, balanced force into space.
What can Black Madonna teach us?
Black Madonna brings out the metaphorically viewed element of darkness, the darkness inside us, to the light of our attention. Sadness, fear, anger, fury, doubt, indecision, hypersensitivity, and other emotions that we mostly perceive as negative contain important messages within; they may help us avoid danger or leave what no longer serves us, to set healthy boundaries, etc.
If the topic of darkness & Black Madonna raises your curiosity and you’d like to explore it some more, there’ll be a unique opportunity to do so in a 1-day workshop on Saturday, the 10th of October 2018. It’ll be my pleasure to guide those who feel called in. MORE INFO HERE
See below for some tips on how each of us can work with the topic of darkness alone.
Pic.4 – Black Madonna from the collection of Wellcome Trust, London
1. During these cold autumn days, try to tune into nature’s rhythm of light and darkness. Go to bed a bit earlier and if you can, don’t get up before sunrise. Woman, give yourself sufficient rest when you’re on your moon. Your body will reward you with better energy levels during in the days to follow and you won’t have to draw from your reserves. They’re not bottomless.
2. Sleep in complete darkness. If you don’t have light-resistant drapes or blinds, get some. Even relatively small amount of light, for example, street light shining to your bedroom, effects melatonin production in your brain which has a negative effect not only on the quality of sleep but also the regeneration of your body.
3. When you are really, really busy, slow down and take a break. Breathe, go for a short walk, meditate – simply switch off for a while, so that you can recharge your energy. Apparently, Dalai Lama spends one hour a day meditating. This, of course, does not apply to days when he’s extremely busy. On these days he spends two hours meditating. 🙂
4. Take a moment for yourself. Turn off your phone, play some nice music, or even light the candle. Write down a list of things you don’t like about yourself and for which you are often being criticized (by yourself or others). Ask yourself the following question: Do I reject these parts of me because my parents / friends / colleagues are rejecting them, or do I really believe they are bad? Ask someone close what positives they see in your list of your “weaknesses”. This is a really powerful exercise. Its depth and strength will surprise you.
5. “Just calm down!” “Be a good girl/boy!” “Don’t talk so loud!” Did you use to hear these and other sentences aiming to tune down your emotions at home and in school? When our emotions crossed a certain threshold, just very few of us got the space to express them authentically. Take a moment and think if now, being an adult, you have an instrument for releasing the accumulated energy, which can manifest itself as anger, frustration, great regret etc. It should be a tool that does neither hurt you (if you suppress or deny them) nor anybody else. If not, what could be such a tool? How about jogging, boxing, dancing, singing it out or doing anything else which enables you to give all your emotions space for safe expression? They’re just as legitimate and human as any other emotions. If you need help or support in an emotionally challenging situation, you can visualize the Black Madonna is standing behind you, protecting and strengthening you.
If this topic caught your attention as much as it has mine, I’d be very grateful for sharing. Together we can support the rehabilitation of darkness. It’s worth it, isn’t it? 🙂