This is one of three SoulCollage® cards I created this week. I call it Our Lady of the African Continent and it’s in the Council suit. My I am the one who statement would be, “I am the one who is beloved cross-culturally, the epitome of the divine feminine. I bring comfort and hope to all humanity.”
As those who know me well, I have a deep connection to Our Lady, not in the religious sense really, but as an archetype of the divine feminine. I was not raised Catholic, so Mary wasn’t part of my growing up years. When I converted to Catholicism in 1958, however, I began to realize what an important role she plays in this religion and I quickly fell in love with her. When I was married, part of the Mass for marriage is when the bride goes to Mary’s altar and presents a bouquet with a prayer to ask for Mary’s blessings as a wife and mother. That was a totally new concept to me. I laid gardenias at her feet. I took that symbol seriously and began to seek her image in many places I visited.
By the early 1960s I was reading the work of the Benedictine mystic Thomas Merton and I distinctly remember his poem “Hagia Sophia,” written in 1963, another eye opener for me. If you want to learn more about Merton you can go to the University of Dayton site or to the Bellarmine College site where his archive resides. Merton wrote many Marian poems.
Most recently I’ve read two books about Mary, very different, but each interesting in its own way.
The first was Our Lady of the Lost and Found by Diane Schoemperlin. The second was The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin. If you are not particularly steeped in Marianology, I think you would find either of them interesting. They are not theological by any means, but fiction where Mary plays a key role.
In the meantime, my own art continues to focus on what I call femmage or the divine feminine. I am so grateful to have Mary in my life.