Some thoughts on the sacred feminine
My painting of Mary Magdalene and the Dove.
When I was a young girl, my first European travels were to France, and my father being an architect and with encyclopaedic knowledge of architectural history, would take me to churches in France and talk at length about them with enthusiasm and passion. It was in those churches that I became fascinated by the elaborate and beautiful images of the Madonna, the Holy Mother. Having been brought up in a non-religious family, these images, icons and statues in French churches and the reverent hushed stillness of these sacred places, the scent of frankincense, quiet whisperings, the stained glass, vaulted ceilings, elaborate carvings and secret spaces instilled in me a state of quiet awe.
When we visited Les Saintes Maries de la Mer in Provence I was 19. I learned about the Black Madonna, Sara, the Patron Saint of Gypsies. I also learned that in folklore, myth or fact, who knows, and consequently talked about as ‘pseudohistory’ because it challenges patriarchal versions of history, that Mary Magdalene was said to have arrived with Mary the mother of Jesus, and Mary the sister of Lazarus in a rudderless boat at Les Saintes Maries de la Mer and that with them was Mary Magdalene’s small daughter Sarah. The myth/truth//story was that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and that Sarah was their child and some say that the Holy Grail was the womb of Mary Magdalene.
The book ‘The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail’ fascinated me and the story that Sarah became a part of a sacred bloodline in France and that the Holy Grail is still in the mysterious Corbieres mountains in southern France, in Rennes le Chateau.
These stories of Mary Magdalene and Jesus are said to have been suppressed by the Roman Church. Who knows how much more has been suppressed. How many more stories have been written out of our commonly held narratives? How much have women been edited out of the sacred texts and scriptures. In the dead sea scrolls, there are parts which describe and allude to Jesus and Mary Magdalene being close in more than a spiritual way. I am not an adherent to any belief system, or religion, but I know how suppressed women have been. The secrets and mystery of the village of Rennes-le-Château, and the south western part of France inhabited by the Cathars, both a place and group of persecuted religious people who have always fascinated me. My partner and I once bought a house in the Corbieres mountains because I felt such depth of affinity with this area.
My images of the sacred feminine and the Magdalene are my way of putting back the energy of the feminine into the patriarchal versions of history. I have been painting them for years. I can’t rewrite history but i can put images into the ether and contribute in some small way to a new paradigm; that of the sacred feminine.