Monday, December 10, 2012

Virgin a Day - #10

Please visit Rebecca, who is hosting Virgin a Day for these first 12 days of December.

From Matthew Fox's essay on the Black Madonna. 

10. The Black Madonna calls us to our Divinity which is Compassion. Compassion is the best of which our species is capable. It is also the secret name for Divinity. There is no spiritual tradition East or West, North or South, that does not exist to instruct its people in how to be compassionate. “Maat” is the name for justice, harmony, balance and compassion among the African peoples. The Black Madonna calls us to Maat. To balance, harmony, justice and compassion. Grieving and Celebrating and Acting Justly are all parts of compassion. In both Arabic and Hebrew, the word for compassion comes from the word for “womb.” A Patriarchal period does not teach compassion, it ignores the womb-like energies of our world and our species. If it mentions compassion at all it trivializes it and renders it sissy. (For example, Webster’s dictionary declares that the idea that compassion is about a relationship among equals is “obsolete.”) Patriarchy neglects what Meister Eckhart knew and taught: “Compassion means justice.” [18] Compassion has a hard side, it is not about sentiment but about relationships of justice and interdependence.
Because the Black Madonna is the goddess that dwells deeply and darkly within all beings, ourselves included, she brings with her our capacity for compassion. We are not whole—we are not ourselves—until we partake in the carrying on of compassion. Meister Eckhart taught that the name of the human soul properly is “Compassion” and that until we are engaged in compassion we do not yet have soul. [19]
Compassion knows when enough is enough; compassion does not overindulge; compassion does not hoard and does not run its life on addictions of insecurity and pyramid-building to overcome these addictions. Compassion trusts life and the universe ultimately to provide what is necessary for our being. But compassion works hard as a co-creator with the universe to see that a balance and basic fairness is achieved among beings. Compassion is present in the Black Madonna in her very essence for “the first outburst of everything God (and Goddess) does is compassion.” (Eckhart) To return to compassion is to return to the Goddess.
Cultural historian and feminist Henry Adams writes about the role of Mary at Chartres Cathedral in the twelfth century. “The convulsive hold which Mary to this day maintains over human imagination—as you can see at Lourdes—was due much less to her power of saving soul or body than to her sympathy with people who suffered under law—justly or unjustly, by accident or design, by decree of God or by guile of Devil.” [20] Adams understood Mary as the Buddhist element in Christianity for with her as with Buddha, compassion is the first of all the virtues. “To Kwannon the Compassionate One and to Mary the Mother of God, compassion included the idea of sorrowful contemplation.” [21] Only the Great Mother could provide the compassion needed by the sorrowful human condition.
The Mother alone was human, imperfect, and could love; she alone was Favour, Duality, Diversity. Under any conceivable form of religion, this duality must find embodiment somewhere, and the Middle Ages logically insisted that, as it could not be in the Trinity, either separately or together, it must be in the Mother. If the Trinity was in its essence Unity, the Mother alone could represent whatever was not Unity; whatever was irregular, exceptional, outlawed; and this was the whole human race.[22]
She was beyond the law, a friend of the outlaws who appealed to the masses who “longed for a power above law—or above the contorted mass of ignorance and absurdity bearing the name of law.”[23] This power had to be more than human. It required the goddess.

The Black Madonna, the goddess, provides the womb of the universe as the cosmic lap where all creatures gather. An ancient hymn dedicated to Isis underscores her cosmic role as sovereign over all of nature and queen of all the gods and goddesses.
I am Nature, the universal Mother, mistress of all the elements, primordial child of time, sovereign of all things spiritual, queen of the dead, queen also of the immortals, the single manifestation of all gods and goddesses that are. My nod governs the shining heights of Heaven, the wholesome sea-breezes, the lamentable silences of the world below.[24]
How like a twelfth century poem to the Christian goddess Mary is this ancient hymn to Isis. Alan of Lille wrote the following poem about Nature in the twelfth century:
O child of God and Mother of things,
Bond of the world, its firm-tied knot,
Jewel set among things of earth,
and mirror to all that passes away
Morning star of our sphere;
Peace, love, power, regimen and strength,
Order, law, end, pathway, captain and source,
Life, light, glory, beauty and shape,
O Rule of our world! [25]
Interestingly, Alan of Lille speaks of the “Mother of things” as a “firm-tied knot” and the Thet which is an important symbol of Isis is also understood to be a knot.[26] We play in her cosmic lap, we bump up against one another there, and we work for balance, Maat, and justice there.
The Black Madonna is the Throne of Compassion, the Divine lap. That is the meaning of the name “Isis” and Isis is the African goddess who gave us the Black Madonna both in Ephesus, Turkey and through Spain and Sicily directly into Western Europe. Indeed, certain passages of the Christian Gospels such as the birth narratives, which are clearly not historical but are stories of the Cosmic Christ, are passages taken from stories about Isis and her son, Horus. Sir Ernest A. Wallis Budge, the late keeper of the Egyptian and Assyrian antiquities at the British Museum, writes:
The pictures and sculptures wherein she is represented in the act of suckling Horus formed the foundation for the Christian paintings of the Madonna and Child. Several of the incidents of the wanderings of the Virgin with the Child in Egypt as recorded in the Apochryphal Gospels reflect scenes in the life of Isis…and many of the attributes of Isis, the God-mother, the mother of Horus…are identical with those of Mary the Mother of Christ.[27]


  1. This message of compassion is a very important one-I'm glad to see the time and effort you took to put all of this lesson plan together. One cannot love without having compassion in their heart.
    Christ commissioned us to 'love one another as I have loved you'. What a different world we'd have if everyone did that.
    Thank you for all that you put together here.

  2. I enjoyed the video, amazing how ornate the statues are, how well preserved, it's magical. I've read the similarities between Isis and our Mary before, it's fascinating and very believable to me that they are the same Divine Force, the feminine side of the Mighty One.♥♥♥

  3. Yes, thank you very much for this. This video of the many Mary's, but all one, just electrified me. Very informative. Thank you Delphyne. Have a wonderful week.

  4. Oh, Kathy, thank you for the email...I added it to my comments because I like everyone's thoughts to be included for everyone to share. I am sure you don't mind♥

  5. "I am nature, universal Mother, mistess of all the elements...etc." I think that says it all. Thank you for this message.

  6. The video is spectacular -- not only the images and historical notes, but the chanting as well. It took me to another realm, having it reverberate through my headphones. I am particularly enjoying the writings of Matthew Fox throughout these days. It provides such a rich framework to what all of us are doing with Our Lady tributes.

  7. "...until we are engaged in compassion, we do not yet have soul..."
    That really speaks to me today. Thank you for continuing to share the secrets of the Black Madonna's wisdom!

  8. Wonderful post again with great video and information ~ blessings to you ~

    (A Creative Harbor) ~ aka ArtMusedog and Carol ^_^

  9. I'm listening to the monks chanting as I watch the Black Madonna story. Though I know much of this already, I love when something mystical like this is reinforced again.

  10. Thanks for showing this interesting video.....loved the chanting too! Mathew Fox gives us a lot to consider.

  11. Thanks for this! I'm checking out his other black madonna videos on Youtube. I just returned 2 months ago from 5 weeks in Italy, France, and Spain to see black madonnas -- and of course what I learned is that I need 5 YEARS more to see even the most important ones!

  12. The divine feminine has always been with us - her name and face changing with history! An excellent post!!

  13. Thank you, everyone, for your comments and your visit. Time seems to be so short these days - like the waning light! Normally, I like to respond to each comment - hopefully, I can get back to that soon!!


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