icon by Carol Abel

The Black Madonna, the Earth Mother in the Christian tradition

Darkness precedes light and she is mother

Inscription in the altar of the Salerno Cathedral in Italy.

The Black Madonna is the alter ego of the Virgin Mary, they are Queen of the Earth as Mary is Queen in Heaven and fertile and sensual as Mary is icon of the Immaculate Conception and Incorruptibility. The Black Madonna is the Virgin who belongs to no man or deity, since all life emanated from her as Mother Nature. In contrast Mary received the seed of God in the form of the Holy Spirit (see the chapter on the Virgin Mary and  Sophia).

Black Madonnas are found all over Europe, especially in France, the most famous ones being at Chartres in France, Czestochowa in Poland and Montserrat in Spain.

Some Black Madonna figures are pregnant rather than holding a baby, representing the fertile mother of the Earth. The symbol of the Goddess with the swollen belly dates back to Palaeolithic times. At Lozere in France in the cathedral Notre-Dame de Mende, the fecund Madonna made of walnut or apple wood, both fertility trees, was  brought back from the Holy Land by Crusaders in 1253. Sometimes shrines of  Black Madonnas are inscribed with the words from the Song of Songs referring to the Queen of Sheba whose wisdom was greater than that of Solomon   I am black but beautiful

Sheba, like the Black Madonna, was linked with wise Sophia

source: Cassandra Eason

Black Madonna At Soul Food

The Black Madonna by Monika Roleff

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S is for Sophia, The Black Madonna and Sheba's Treasures

Our Lady of Dreams: The Black Madonna

by Zayra Yves

Love is her point of entry
between a pomegranate seed
and a curve -

where it slices the heart
hammers two halves into one
then flattens it out again
juiced to the bone, in need
of confessions and weeping.

Our Lady of the Broken

But no one dares to complain
since the Black Virgin's heavy body
is not ascending to heaven
is not wearing the adornments of bliss
but burning with persistence
and reminds the bleeding of uncertainty
and the need for it.

Our Lady of the Unimanifest

She does not utter plentitudes from her blackness, 
and from the pools of her eyes,
marked by mystery, are no visions of color
or streaks of luminescence;
no need for what has already happened
or might not ever be.

Our Mother of Consumption and Remorse

Her darkness is a stranger
someone might meet on a side road
by mere happen chance, by accident,
while looking for little misshapen grains;
searching for spices and skulls,
and those rare precious things

as small gestures between two people
unfamiliar with one another
but craving a mystical day of union
like water and open mouths.

Our Lady of Roots and Seeds

Pleasure is concealed behind her face
so nothing can be seen of her meeting with God,
except the Divine child destined for a crown of thorns.
And, since the Enlightenment failed
everyone is on a journey into the abyss of Self -
chanting silent prayers and burning on altars. 

Our Mother of Beautiful Losers
Our Mother of the Damned and Confused
Our Mother of the Emptiness and Inevitable Change
Our Mother of Compassion

She does not have a single name
that is uttered in daylight or covered sweetly,
because no one understand her origins
and only the naked walk with her in the flames.

We sometimes call her The Void

Our Lady of a Dark Star
Our Lady of Skeletons
Our Lady of Caves

without a stained glass window
or a litany of Sunday's unholy afternoons,
neither a rose in the belly of the soul.

Our Mother of All Things 

She gives birth to an untidy universe
peels the robes of an unknown mistress
as Love forcefully enters
with a loud crack that scars and chants
that seduce, ravage, swallow, and devour -

Our Lady of the Mysteries

enshrined in the depths of our hearts
to consume us wholly submerged
in the subconscious dying to ourselves
in Love eternally.

Poetry by Zayra Yves copyright 2006
Do NOT copy this poem without first asking permission of the author.