I have been collecting representations of the Black Madonna for many years. I’m not quite sure what my attraction is, but I suspect it’s because she’s not the untouched virginal White Madonna we often think of at this time of year. The Black Madonna has been through the fires of experience and has survived, each time stronger than ever. I have photographs of paintings, sculptures, icons, and more.
The Black Madonna is a national symbol in Poland, with Polish Catholics making the pilgrimage as often as possible to see her. The story of how she came to be known as the Black Madonna can be found here. You might want to search for a list of countries where the various Black Madonnas can be found.
There is a beautiful essay online by Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox first written in 2006. I highly recommend that article to you. He talks about the “Return of the Black Madonna” as being a sign of our times.
Of all the female religious icons, the Black Madonna is my favorite, and my favorite representation is the Virgen de Guadalupe (Spanish for the “Virgin of Guadalupe”). Most of my collection is about her. I even have a mouse pad with her picture on it, although someone once asked if I didn’t think it was a bit sacrilegious to be running a mouse over her.
I love to light rose-scented candles labeled “Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe” that are very popular with the Mexican population. When I lived in Tucson, I kept one burning on the altar in my entryway at all times. What a warm welcome the smell of roses gave each time I walked in my door.
The photo above is a painting that hangs by my front door of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I also have a huge platter with her image painted on it, that even my Kaimana Kat seemed to love!
There are several books available if you are interested in reading more about the Black Madonna. Three exceptionally good books of all the ones I own are:
1) Longing for Darkness: Tara and the Black Madonna, by China Galland
2) Our Lady of Guadalupe: Faith and Empowerment among Mexican-American Women by Jeanette Rodriquez
3) Dancing in the Flames by Marion Woodman and Elinor Dickson.
I highly recommend any of these for enlightened reading this time of year. You may never think of the Madonna in the same way again.
Mele Kalikimaka and a hui hou!