Statement on the Black Madonnas, p1

Portraits of the Black Madonna—The Hidden Stream Artist's Statement My approach to the Black Madonnas is from the perspective of Jungian psychology. Central to this discipline is the concept of the “collective unconscious,” which consists of archaic archetypal images inherent in the human mind, rather than being acquired during one’s personal life. According to Carl G. Jung, the “Mother Archetype” is dual in nature. The positive, light aspect is life-giving, nourishing, and associated with birth. The negative, dark side is hidden, destructive, and associated with death and the unconscious. Paradoxically, the unconscious is the source of creative transformation into consciousness and psychic wholeness. The icons of the Black Madonna represent the dark side of the Mother Archetype, including her transformational power. Why is she black? Some theories explain her blackness as due to aging, to having been made of dark wood, to having been buried in the earth, and/or to having been darkened by candle smoke—in other words, accidentally blackened. I believe she is intentionally black in order to express a profound longing. Black is the symbol of the earth and the Earth Goddesses. Black earth is rich and indicates fertility. Earth is symbolically the mother giving birth to all life and then eventually reclaiming it for herself. Black Madonnas are often buried or hidden in caves where they are found by shepherds and peasants.