Here is my story of connecting with the Black Madonna of Paris
and the first time I encountered the Blessed Mother in my life.
I feel vulnerable sharing this as it is usually just shared with the Red Madonna sisterhood.
I watched it for the first time today and it felt like it wanted to be shared with you too.
Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares;
at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech:
“How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?
If you had responded to my rebuke,
I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you….
You rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand…
Cantos Twenty: Pouring Out My Heart
Notre Dame, Blessed Lady, Vierge Noire
You awaken in us that which we do not know.
From the mystery and history you call to us
reminding us that all is not as it seems.
You stand watch for the true truths.
There is a Mother. A good mother.
No matter how they have silenced your story.
You stand watch and we sing to you.
Those who can hear your voice
have reached for you through the night
and protected your stories and would
not allow your skin to be whited out
the way the stories have tried to be whited out.
We have survived this.
Vierge Noire Bonne de Delivrance
teach us how to survive these times
when the world seems to have gone mad.
When I think of you
I think of
of fertile rich soil, seeds ready to sprout
living water flowing for our children,
laughter and times of harvest
and the creation of good stories
that want to be told for generations.
When I think of you I think of this good earth.
I think of justice.
I come to give you praise today
and I am sorry…
but what falls from my lips are
gasps for help…help!
save our wheat
save our water
save our wombs and breasts and organs
save our lands
save our true cultures
save our families
save our art and our songs.
Teach us the language of
the wise and gentle Mother
and the power of the child who rises from death.
You know about victory.
You have witnessed the overcoming
of that which is killed coming back to life.
Teach us your wisdom
Show us this:
How to keep reaching for the Divine in life
and how to not lose hope
when sickness is falling on the land,
caused by those who do not heed
your voice or the voice of reason or true dreaming.
From the cross your son said:
Forgive them, for they know now what they do.
But this time, they do know what they are doing.
Our leaders have lost their way.
The invaders have come into our earth home
and we don’t know how to stop them.
Our crops are killing us
instead of sustaining us.
When I think of you I think of
red poppies in fields of green.
of a flock of doves, each with an olive branch,
of the sea teaming with fish.
I think of unconditional love and good deliverance.
I think of you giving birth in a cave.
I feel you place a rose in my hair
and wipe the tears from my cheeks.
Show us the pathway
to a revolution that saves.
Many of us do hear your voice calling
so please pour out your heart to us.
We are listening here at your door,
sitting on the steps of your temple,
inclining our ear to your call
and reaching for your hand.
We are here at the gates singing to you
and calling upon your saving child.
Lead us in a
a pour out your heart revolution.
We are truly ready.
Beyond health and beauty I loved her,
And I chose to have her rather than the light,
because her radiance never ceases.
Yet all good things together came to me with her
and countless riches at her hands;
I rejoiced in them all, because Wisdom is their leader,
though I had not known that she is their mother.
Wisdom Chapter 7
I am just home from my journeys and the Cantos continue to unfurl.
I started out with a thought to write a praise to Her, but instead what came out was this cry for help. It was amazing being in France and Italy where there was no GMO food. I cannot even tell you what it felt like not to even have to think about that. And the proof is in the chocolate croissants – many of the women who came with me for the journey were gluten intolerant, as I am. I however, had not been reacting to the wheat at all. I asked them to try…and you guessed it. We at chocolate croissants every day.
I try in my work to focus on that which is important to me through the lens of art, and had long ago given up anger at the system and the patriarchy and the government. I choose to acknowledge what was happening by knowing about it, speaking about it and voting about it. And yet I am coming undone around our food and water supply here in the US. I just cannot believe we are allowing this to happen. I feel as if living in a nightmare we are calling we are acting like is just another episode on tv. In addition to my political acts on behalf of our food I am asking the Black Madonna to interceded for us. Everything in my life is a prayer for healing of some kind for some one or some thing. It is just how I roll. So everything ends up in a kind of prayer, some praise some protest, some begging for help.
Today I rose at 4 since I am still adjusting to the time change and came to my little studio and lit the candles and cuddled up on my chaise lounge surrounded by paintings form Paris. I woke thinking about the Black Madonna and my sharing with the Red Madonna sisterhood for this week. But this sharing wanted to be shared with you too. The painting at the left was one that we did in our Voyage des Reve group while in France in the country side.
Today, the Black Madonna led me here and I share my story of finding her with you in the video above which is part of the Black Madonna of Paris painting journey this month, and below in my initial sketch of her. We are working with the theme of healing, that which you are willing to allow to be delivered. Released. Surrendered.
So in this very moment, in the space of WHERE you are –
what is it you are offering up, asking to be released and delivered from?
Those of us who are awake must watch and listen to what is happening in the world, while not being ‘taken out’ by it. My way of navigating what is, is through creating art. Connecting with the Divine through art making, writing, and painting, is my prayer and how I have learned to navigate the rough terrain of ‘what is’.
This Black Madonna of Paris has a story of revolution in her own history – she now dates to close to a 1000 years old and has survived wars of destruction. Her original church home, Saint Etienne des Gres from the 5th of 6th century was destroyed in the revolution, the contents of the church were put up for sale, legend says that many of these were acts against Mary and her child, and this was one of them. She was purchased by a woman of faith, Madame de Carignan St. Maurice who moved her to her own home in Paris. During these times of trouble, she eventually was arrested and was in prison with the nuns of St. Thomas of Villanova. They all prayed to this Black Virgin of Good Deliverance, to whom many miracles were attributed. At a certain point, the house of the Nuns was to be sold, as they were being labelled, disguised religious. Madame Carrignan at hearing this news began to Pray to Notre Dame and vowed to give the Sisters the statue if their house would be preserved. She then appealed to the Revolutionary Committee on behalf of the Sisters. The house was saved and after a time –
with heart poured out and blessings from the red thread cafe
Photos in this post by Jonathan Lewis except for this one where I take the photo with my i-phone! You can see me in the reflection!
P.S. In hind site I don’t know why it was so hard to find her, but I wasn’t sure what I was really looking for. In the end, Jonathan found a random post in French and off we went. Turns out, they aren’t really seeming to want to make this a tourist spot since it is an active Parish – in fact, we got shooed off the altar by parishoners on our second visit. Rebel artists indeed. Now that I know what to look for I find plenty about her, but I needed to have my own voyage and lay my ‘baggage” at her feet.
Here is the address: Adresse : Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-la-Bonne-Délivrance, 52, boulevard d’Argenson, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
P.P.S. You can still paint the Black Madonna of Paris with us – or download the whole series for $97.
Here is a video of me sketching the Black Madonna in the Chapell
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/69369723 w=500&h=281]