Before this trip, I had little knowledge or understanding of The Black Madonna. These ladies sit in many churches in France (and other countries) and are misunderstood and discounted by most visitors. There are many theories on why the Madonnas are black (or were black - many have been white-washed by the Church), but my personal feeling is that these Madonnas represent the divine feminine, an earthy, mothering, goddess aspect of I AM that brings forth creativity and renewal. They are linked to Mary Magdalene, who also represents those qualities. They exude love, compassion, understanding and hold secrets to not only the past, but to our present and future experience on our relationship to ourselves, each other, and the divine. Upon returning home, I started gathering material on the Black Madonnas and am going to do some research on this lovely lady.. She fascinates me because of what she is said to represent, because the Church is SO threatened by her coloring it feels a need to paint her, and because her mystery is a source of information on a higher place.
As if Black Madonnas weren't enough to keep me busy, I was introduced to the world of encoded stained glass windows. I saw some of the most amazing windows in a little town called Alet-les-Bains. The windows of this small church have Stars of David build into the supports for the windows and colorful, intricate glass within the frame. Each tells a story, of course, but many were hard to see because of the height of the windows. I was instantly obsessed with the symbolism in these windows and will have to add discovering their secrets to my list of things to do. But I think, perhaps, the Madonnas and the windows have some shared secrets that are waiting to be discovered...
|Black Madonna, Alet-les-Bains|
|Black Madonna, Notre-Dame-de-Marceille|
Oh, and we saw Nostradamus' house today. It was a good day!