Statement on the Black Madonnas, p2

Page 2 In 431 AD, the Council of Ephesus, declared Mary to be the Mother of God, in part to deter heresy. Many previously banned pagan shrines were re-dedicated to her. The Black Madonnas perpetuate the pre-Christian symbolic blackness of the goddesses such as Kali of India, Isis of Egypt, Inanna/Lilith of Sumeria, Artemis of Ephesus, and Cybele of Asia Minor. Kali means black. In Hinduism, Shakti, the feminine side of the absolute, is both creative and destructive. As mother, she gives life and destroys it. Kali is the dark side of Shakti, but also gives vital energy and regeneration to life. Isis, like Kali, is also the creator mother and the destroyer, and is usually depicted holding her son Horus. Isis is the Queen of the Night and mistress of the underworld. Her husband Osiris is murdered but is regenerated by the Wisdom of Isis in the form of Horus, who represents a new Consciousness. The Black Madonna/Infant Jesus has obvious parallels to Isis/Horus. This portfolio consists of photographs of statues of Mary in which her face and hands are generally black or dark. These statues are found in churches, chapels, shrines, or crypts. They are generally seated, holding the Infant Jesus in a position of “majesty,” or Seat of Wisdom, reminiscent of Isis and Horus. Her gaze is direct and her countenance is severe and commanding, as befitting the “Queen of Heaven.” The Infant Jesus is often strangely adult in appearance. Her robes are colorful (predominately white, red, or blue) with gold fringe. The colors may be associated with alchemy and its emphasis on transformation from ignorance to Wisdom. The first stage in alchemical transformation (The Blackening) occurs when the impurity of primal matter is burned in order to be enlightened (The Whitening). “The Reddening” indicates the final perfection of matter leading to the Philosopher’s Stone or Tincture and eventually changes to gold (union of the opposites). Changes in color (life spirit) are a visible sign that transformation is taking place within matter.