Black Madonna

wil

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So...on another thread we were discussing the male, female or gender neutral aspect of G!d.

It was brought up that Mariolatry is strong to provide a feminine figure in a G!d created after the image of man (male, priests, prophets, authors, scribes).

Common in Black Madonna discussions are goddess worship thought and the occasional Magdeline stories, theories...

What say you?
 
Hi wil...I know that we've discussed this all before, but I'll repeat what I know.

There are two fairly specific locales where the "black madonna" phenmomenon seems to have arisen.

The first is in the south of France in the Marseilles/Languedoc regions. There are a lot of local legends and traditions regarding a resurrected Jesus coming there after Mary Magdeline came with her children, and resuming their life together before moving on to live the rest of their lives in Gastonbury England. The Madonna/Mary images revered there are both blue and black.

Joseph of Arimathea was a wealthy trader and owned tin mines in the Glastonbury region. It is said that a potion obtained by Joseph was given the dying Jesus to continue a death like coma until after he was entombed. Such drugs are well known natural substances in Africa and the Carribbean. He was then revived after he was laid in the tomb and had remained there in a coma for two days. He was then taken away by Joseph's people and set upon his journeys after he had recovered sufficiently.

There are physical remnants of this history in both France and around Glastonbury where one of the most ancient Christian Chapels in the world is located, said to date to the second century ad. It is believed that Mary is buried there. Glastonbury is also the locale of ancient zodiacal symbols etched into the earth, and which extend in a circular fashion around the town in an eleven mile diameter. Scholars speculate that it was also the site of an ancient temple to Apollo

Much of this mythos was utilized by Biagent, Lincoln, and Leigh in their book, Holy Grail-Holy Blood which focuses upon the known blood line of English Kings that are said to have descended from Jesus' line. These are also the guys that sued Dan Brown for using their material in his DaVinci Code book without their permission. They lost .

The late Princess Diana has been identified with that royal and ancient English bloodline, and as we well know, the majority of the present English Royal family came from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in Germany in the 17th century to assume the throne through intermarriages.

The other region is eastern Poland, the Ukraine, and Belarus. There aren't the amount of legends and mythos there that is prevalent in England and France. However, blue and black madonna images and statues are commonplace and have been for centuries. Pope John Paul II was especially attached to the images of the Black Madonna of Crackow.

That's about it.

flow....:)
 
Namaste Flow,

Yes, we've discussed that story and that Lazarus played the part as well...

I couldn't find those threads to add to...

But I found some different info on Wiki and listings of locations as well..
Many writers seeking to interpret the Black Madonnas suggest some combination of the following elements:
  • Black Madonnas have grown out of pre-Christian earth goddess traditions. Their dark skin may be associated with ancient images of these goddesses, and with the colour of fertile earth. They are often associated with stories of being found by chance in a natural setting: in a tree or by a spring, for example. Some of their Christian shrines are located on the sites of earlier temples to Cybele and Diana of Ephesus.

(left) A bronze statue of Isis nursing Horus from Ptolemaic Egypt; (right) A famous mediaeval icon of Mary and Jesus.


  • Black Madonnas derive from the Egyptian goddess Isis. The dark skin may echo an African archetypal mother figure. Professor Stephen Benko among others says that early Christian pictures of a seated mother and child were influenced by images of Isis and Horus. (See figure.)
  • Black Madonnas express a feminine power not fully conveyed by a pale-skinned Mary, who seems to symbolise gentler qualities like obedience and purity. This idea can be discussed in Jungian terms. The "feminine power" approach may be linked to Mary Magdalene and female sexuality repressed by the medieval Church. In France, there are traditions affirming that some statues are of Mary Magdalene and not of Mary, the mother of Jesus, but these traditions and related theories are generally rejected by theologians. The suggestion that Black Madonnas represent feminine power may be linked with the earth goddesses and attributed to the archetypal "great mother" who presides not only over fertility, but over life and death. These ideas overlap with "feminist spirituality" or "women's spirituality". (Chiavola Birnbaum)
  • Black Madonnas are sometimes associated with the Templars and/or St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Ean Begg suggests they were revered by an esoteric cult with Templar and/or Cathar links, but this idea is dismissed by other writers, who may also reject stories of a connection with Mary Magdalene, and any gnostic or heretical traditions.
  • Some Black Madonnas may have been created because the artist was familiar with other similar images.
One 21st century suggestion which is devotional and not academic, and which illustrates Scheer's point about different eras and contexts, proposes that the black mother and child remind us of the under-privileged black people of the world, and the nurturing care offered to the infant symbolises Jesus' love for the poor and dispossessed.
 
I won't add too much detail as I don't wish to offend anyone... But, for me... If there was a god of gods thee god... It would -have- to be some amazingly super atractive woman in my eyes... Just like wow.... Has that look in her eye... but, I guess also a motherly touch... If I got in trouble or I was hurt... Did I run to my father? Did I hell... I wanted to be embraced and comforted, I'd go to my mother.. I am now a man, I still need that comfort and embrace of my mother.... But I also -need- more from a woman, but that cannot come from my mother...
 
I would have thought it far more likely that Christians would look for inspiration from within their own tradition, rather than outside of it?

This, from Solomon's 'Canticle of Canticles':
"I am black but beautiful, O ye daughters of Jerusalem,
as the tents of Cedar, as the curtains of Solomon."
(Song of Songs, 1:4)

Especially when at the hands of Christian contemplatives, who would a priori assume that their Revealed Scripture is of a different order than anything else the world had to offer ... why go looking elsewhere, when the most sublime texts are right here?

Within the Christian Tradition the Song has proved a rich source for mystical theology and asceticism. Among its commentators are Origen, St. Gregory of Nyssa, Theodoret, St Ambrose of Milan, Pope St Gregory the Great, the Venerable Bede, Honorius of Autun ... no less than 86 homilies were addressed by St Bernard of Clairvaux, all redolent with historical, allegorical, tropological, and anagogical meaning.

I doubt there is one Mystic within the Tradition who has not referenced the Song of Songs somewhere ...

Thomas
 
This, from Solomon's 'Canticle of Canticles':
"I am black but beautiful, O ye daughters of Jerusalem,
as the tents of Cedar, as the curtains of Solomon."
(Song of Songs, 1:4)

... Scripture is of a different order than anything else the world had to offer ... why go looking elsewhere, when the most sublime texts are right here?
Namaste Thomas,

Thank you and good question...correct you are that often that scripture out of context is pointed to... but can you shed some light as to how and why?

How does this old testament text refer to the mother of Jesus, and cause churches to see her as dark, black, weathered? Would not a new testament writer somewhere decide to provide some info if that were knowledge of the day??
1The Song—best of all songs—Solomon's song! The Woman

2-3 Kiss me—full on the mouth!
Yes! For your love is better than wine,
headier than your aromatic oils.
The syllables of your name murmur like a meadow brook.
No wonder everyone loves to say your name!

4 Take me away with you! Let's run off together!
An elopement with my King-Lover!
We'll celebrate, we'll sing,
we'll make great music.
Yes! For your love is better than vintage wine.
Everyone loves you—of course! And why not?

5-6 I am weathered but still elegant,
oh, dear sisters in Jerusalem,
Weather-darkened like Kedar desert tents,
time-softened like Solomon's Temple hangings.

Don't look down on me because I'm dark,
darkened by the sun's harsh rays.
My brothers ridiculed me and sent me to work in the fields.
They made me care for the face of the earth,
but I had no time to care for my own face.
 
Hi wil and Thomas..

This is good, yes the mystics know don't they? Song of songs from the times of King Solomon has always been a favorite of mine. You may not be aware that the legends that inspired the verses may have started with folk tales among the Hebrews of King Solomon and his Ethiopian wife about 1,ooo bce. I want to say Bathsheba,but I believe that was David's woman. Jezebel ? C'mon Thomas I need your expertise.

I'm not aware of any written history concerning this but there are certain understandings among scholars regarding this possibility. Add to that the origins of the Hebrew temple gold transported up the Nile from below the first cataract, and the frequently proposed final resting place of the Ark of the covenant in the Mary chapel at Axum Ethiopia, and then you have the makings of a truly epic and mystical love story from 3,000 years ago.

flow....:)
 
well, maybe... maybe Mary was black? who knows? Maybe baby jesus was black too? Of course, most of us make the assumption that they were Jewish/Arab looking, but there are some of us who think Jesus was fair with blue eyes and a well trimmed beard... all presumptions.... Jesus might have been ugly, big pointy ears, crooked teeth, Mary might have been fat and ginger... we just don't know, do we?
 
Hi both ...

'fraid i can't shed much light here, as it's not one of my topics ... just wanted to lodge a marker before we all get too carried away.

Recent scholarship has posited the Song might have derived from the cult of Ishtar and Tammuz, which pushes it way back ... and perhaps back to 'divine' marriage ceremonies in which the king stood in place of a god, but the cultic/mythological theory does not carry too much weight with scholars apparently, as similarity of expression is not a strong enough argument in this case, as 'tha language of love' is universal.

What is more unconvincing is the assumption that a strictly monotheist and somewhat moralistic people should adopt the hyms of a fertility cult to overcome their inability to write their own poetry ... especially when compared to the Psalms and other material.

Generally a straighforward literary interpretation of the Song is favoured — when the Prophets resort to allegory, they usually signal their intention. The Psalms are strictly liturgical, whereas the Song was sung at marriage feasts into the 1st century.

In fact sexuality is demythologised (contrary to Canaanite culture which saw sex in relationship to fertility deities) and here established as forming a stable relationship based on mutual affection ... the Song champions the idea of 'love' in a way that was unique and laid the foundation of Jewish life, Christian agape, European chivalry, etc.

The closest parallels are in the love songs of ancient Egypt, which are also literary compositions.

Apparently, although the themes are timeless, the Aramaic structure, and especially the borrowing from Persian and Greek, dates the copy we have as postexilic, and its place of composition certainly Palestine.

That is not to reject Flow's notion of its age ... the version we have might well be a reworking of a Song that is as old as love itself ... The Book of Proverbs, one of the youngest books in the Hebrew Scriptures, no doubt contains words and wisdoms older than Israel ... sayings already old, told to Abraham when he was a boy...

The strongest argument is there is no allegorical interpretation of the Song prior to Christianity other than the love of Israel for her God, and the love of God for Israel — a theme visible in Hosea and onwards. So most exegetes follow that line. There is nothing in the Q'mran finds, for example, to suggest any other allegorical interpretation.

In Christianity, the love was transposed to the love between Christ and the soul, and Christ and the Church, and Mary was and is regarded as a figure of the Church, with all that such implies.

With Origen, of course, 'all bets are off', as he was the master of allegorical interpretation, and then some ... the problem being, once you start, where do you stop? As someone once said, once's you're rolling, then every pebble along the road the Good Samaritan walked can stand for something ...

However one chooses to interpret the Song, in a Christian context there is no surpassing the core idea of Christ/Church, Christ/Soul ... St John of the Cross being perhaps the most famous example of the genre.

In all our speculations, we must ensure that we do not fabricate some notion of a female deity around the Blessed Virgin, that would be to reduce her to a cypher, her child to a Docetic illusion, and the human soul to an empty vessel.

"What God has not assumed, God has not saved"
St Gregory of Nyssa

Thomas
 
So...on another thread we were discussing the male, female or gender neutral aspect of G!d.

It was brought up that Mariolatry is strong to provide a feminine figure in a G!d created after the image of man (male, priests, prophets, authors, scribes).

Common in Black Madonna discussions are goddess worship thought and the occasional Magdeline stories, theories...

What say you?
Hello Wil,
First off, I would say that the Madonna is not Mary the Mother of Jesus, but an aspect of Christ. As with all of us, Christ bore Mary.

My speculation is that the Black Madonna is a Moon aspect, since the Madonna is connected to the Moon.

-Br.Bruce
 
Hi Thomas..an always excellent and thorough analysis as usual. I wasn't aware that the Song was viewed as an early link in the Judeo-Christian chain of interpretation of concepts of love between men and women. But I can see that point. It may well have been more of a bridge between the ancient fertility beliefs of the desert tribes and the beliefs of the new and chosen tribe of Hebrews which emerged around 1,200 bce in the hills of Judea.

I also meant to mention that images of YHWH and his consort have been unearthed in Israel ( the 80's I believe) on pottery vessels. The black drawn images on a buff background show humanoid figures wearing elabotate masks which identify them as the chief male and female figures to be revered. I believe I saw that in Biblical Archaeological Review when I subscribed at the time. They have a website so the article is probably findable online. But cultic items such as these are not indications of overall belief as you are aware.

cheers....flow....;)
 
well, maybe... maybe Mary was black? who knows? Maybe baby jesus was black too? Of course, most of us make the assumption that they were Jewish/Arab looking, but there are some of us who think Jesus was fair with blue eyes and a well trimmed beard... all presumptions.... Jesus might have been ugly, big pointy ears, crooked teeth, Mary might have been fat and ginger... we just don't know, do we?

Well we do know :| little precious baby jesus had to be of dark tone... He came from the freaking deserts... And he was perfect.... So the white man's image of this lil long haired whiney whimp with a beard jesus has to be wrong.. He'd been built like a brick sh.... With muscle/tone and been dark. Or am I over looking some migration of white folk to the lands of sands?

"oh jesus come and preach to us!"

"I can't! My pastey white skin is burning so bad from this desert sun...."
 
Well we do know :| little precious baby jesus had to be of dark tone..... He'd been built like a brick sh.... With muscle/tone and been dark.
tb_jesuslead-lg.jpg
Real Face Of Jesus: December 2002 Cover Story - Popular Mechanics
 
That's more like a freaking jesus!! Strong, big, dark, and behind it.... peering into those eyes... compassionate. We are talking of a son of god.... a perfect being... He would be far bigger/darker than they show in most ideas of jesus.. This one I like... Gonna read it too seems interesting,
 
madonna's black? she looks white to me!
 

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King Solomon and his Ethiopian wife about 1,ooo bce. I want to say Bathsheba,but I believe that was David's woman. Jezebel ? C'mon Thomas I need your expertise.
Bathsheba was David's woman that he stole from Urijah the Hittite. Jezebel was the exceedingly nasty bitch married to king Ahab. The traditional name of Solomon's Yemenite wife (Sheba was centered in Yemen: it did control some territory across the straits in Ethiopia, and Ethiopia is where the line claiming descent from her and Solomon continued; but she herself was surely from Yemen, though doubtless very dark) is "Bilitis" (compare Hebrew ba'alat "lady; mistress")
 
Hi Bobx...Thanks, yeah it was Sheba. I remembered that while driving my Mom to Wal Mart this morning. I still for some reason remember reading studies that placed her kingdom in the source of the Nile regions below the first cataract. Of course that's all so long ago, and Solomon was such a wise and prolific old dog that there wasn't anything preventing him from having two or more consorts from the same region was there ?

flow....;)

Sheba - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
well, maybe... maybe Mary was black? who knows? Maybe baby jesus was black too? Of course, most of us make the assumption that they were Jewish/Arab looking, but there are some of us who think Jesus was fair with blue eyes and a well trimmed beard... all presumptions.... Jesus might have been ugly, big pointy ears, crooked teeth, Mary might have been fat and ginger... we just don't know, do we?

Awesome.

Jesusmario.gif
 
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