Archive for July, 2009

RETURN OF THE BLACK MADONNA

July 31, 2009

“Every archetype has its seasons. They come and go according to the deepest, often unconscious, needs of the psyche both personal and collective. Today the Black Madonna is returning.”

Matthew Fox, Return of the Black Madonna, ©2006

The Black Madonna

Karen at The Lonely Post-Modern Artsy-Fartsy Peep Show

Karen Bernard by George A. Hanson

The images in this posting are George A. Hanson’s photographs of Karen Bernard’s Removed Exposure performance at the Post-Modern Artsy Fartsy Peep Show performance at Tribeca Cinema in Manhattan.  The quotes are from Matthew Fox’s The Return of the Black Madonna.

The Black Madonna

“She is coming, not going, and she is calling us to something new (and very ancient as well). The last time the Black Madonna played a major role in western culture and psyche was the twelfth century renaissance, a renaissance that the great historian M.D. Chenu said was the “only renaissance that worked in the West.”

Karen at The Lonely Post-Modern Artsy-Fartsy Peep Show

Karen Bernard by George A. Hanson

“It worked because it was grass roots. And from this renaissance was birthed the University, the Cathedral, the city itself. She brought with her a resacralization of culture and a vision that awakened the young. In short, it was the last time the goddess entered western culture in a major way.”

Karen at The Lonely Post-Modern Artsy-Fartsy Peep Show

Karen Bernard by George A. Hanson


“The Black Madonna is Dark and calls us to the darkness.. Darkness is something we need to get used to again—the “Enlightenment” has deceived us into being afraid of the dark and distant from it. Light switches are illusory. They feed the notion that we can “master nature” (Descartes’ false promise) and overcome all darkness with a flick of our finger.”

Karen at The Lonely Post-Modern Artsy-Fartsy Peep Show

Meister Eckhart observes that “the ground of the soul is dark.”[3] Thus to avoid the darkness is to live superficially, cut off from one’s ground, one’s depth. The Black Madonna invites us into the dark and therefore into our depths. This is what the mystics call the “inside” of things, the essence of things. This is where Divinity lies. It is where the true self lies. It is where illusions are broken apart and the truth lies. Andrew Harvey puts it this way: “The Black Madonna is the transcendent Kali-Mother, the black womb of light out of which all of the worlds are always arising and into which they fall, the presence behind all things, the darkness of love and the loving unknowing into which the child of the Mother goes when his or her illumination is perfect.” She calls us to that darkness which is mystery itself. She encourages us to be at home there, in the presence of deep, black, unsolveable mystery. She is, in Harvey’s words, “the blackness of divine mystery, that mystery celebrated by the great Aphophatic mystics, such as Dionysisus Areopagite, who see the divine as forever unknowable, mysterious, beyond all our concepts, hidden from all our senses in a light so dazzling it registers on them as darkness.”

Eckhart calls God’s darkness a “superessential darkness, a mystery behind mystery, a mystery within mystery that no light has penetrated.”  To honor darkness is to honor the experience of people of color. Its opposite is racism. The Black Madonna invites us to get over racial stereotypes and racial fears and projections and to go for the dark.

Mary: Confessions and Revelations

July 25, 2009

Mary Magdalene healed Jesus of the Seven Demons and anointed him as the Christ for the Age of Pisces. For the three years he traveled as a preacher, he found refuge in the home of Mary and her siblings, Martha and Lazarus, who supported his ministry financially.  The writers of the gospels turned these facts around to suit the doctrine of Jesus as the miraculous Son of God. 

Karen Bernard, Madonna Confessions

Karen Bernard, Madonna Confessions

The above is not the narrative of a new work of fiction.  Rather, it is a revelation exper- ienced under the Great Solar Eclipse on the feast day of Mary Magdalene.

I was prepared for such a lightening bolt.  I finished Jean Markale’s The Church of Mary Magdalene on July 8, the day of the Lunar Eclipse and spent the next two weeks absorbing its message while actively clearing out my mind from clutter. 

images-2

The publicist from Inner Traditions (www.innertraditions.com) sent me the book (left) in 2004 when I was writing on their author, Margaret Starbird (www.margaretstarbird.net), whose book Woman with the Alabaster Jar inspired The Da Vinci Code.  I finally picked it up to read while writing the proposal for the Black Madonna exhibition.  Engrossed in the story of how the Legend of Mary Magdalene was unearthed by a humble French priest, I savored it on my train journeys to and from HP Garcia Gallery on Eighth Avenue.  Engrossed as I was, I left the closing chapters for my annual Cape Cod vacation, which took place this year under a Lunar Eclipse.

Markale, a specialist in Celtic studies at the Sorbonne, has written books about the Templar treasure and the Cathars, who honored the Black Madonna.  The author does not write that Magdalene was the healer who purified Jesus from the demons that were bound to latch onto him in his travels, but in recreating her identity from prostitute to a wealthy woman, prepared for the revelation to hit me on the very day of the feast of Mary Magdalene.

The author brilliantly guides the reader through all the speculation surrounding the Abbe Sauniere (1852- 1917) legend, which inspired the documents re-reading Merovingian history that were planted in under a false name in the Bibliotheque Nationale in 1956, accompanied by other significant events pertaining to the Black Madonna legend later chronicled in the best selling book Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

Yet it is his talent as storyteller which pulled me right into the lore surrounding the treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau where the Church of Mary Magdalene and Magdalene Tower.

He treats his readers as authentic seeker of mysteries, giving them clues leading to false truth and then winding them back through the labyrinth trapped by their own prejudices.  At one point he is so convincing in providing the portrait painted by the legend of Abbe Sauniere, who arrived in 1885 at the Church of Mary Magdalene as a turn of the century crusader.  He weaves the speculative tale of the humble priest discovering documents under the altar which open the door to an inner sanctum: a secret Masonic world complete with trysts with a glamorous actress and the fortune which paid for the restoration of the church and construction of the Magdalene Tour (below). 

Magdalene Tower at Rennes-le-Chateau

Magdalene Tower at Rennes-le-Chateau

Yet, through this adventure, the core of the legend, which gives the book its title, was neglected.  What a clever literary device!  How like human history, performed and written by men, to pursue an illusive treasure, while neglecting the very fact of the existence of such a monument, however humble, to the true identity of Magdalene! 

The treasure is the very church whose innards carried the wisdom of knowing the power of remaining hidden until the time is ripe for the unveiling.  This is how the tale of the Abbe remained underground from his death in 1917 to mid 20th century when false documents planted by genius marketers churned up his legend.  Holy Blood, Holy Grail spawned such seekers as the scholar Margaret Starbird, whose investigation of early Christianity inspired Dan Brown to write The Da Vinci Code.  By the time this bestselling book became a movie, the world was awakened to the legend of the Black Madonna preserved in the inner sanctum of this village church by a skull with a ritual marking.

Magdalene depiction in Rennes-le-Chateau

Magdalene depiction in Rennes-le-Chateau

The depiction of Mary Magdalene on the tympanum of the church of Rennes-le-Chatea is described by the author: “she is on a sort of boat, with a snake against her robe and a cross crowning her head.”

The serpent, associated with knowledge in the bible, can be newly identified here as the kundalini, the serpent power sleeping at the base of the spine, whose awakening leads to self-knowledge and eventually transcendence.  In the Arthurian legend, the Fisher King was guardian of the Grail, and only those capable of seeing his castle were able to enter

Through this story, we arrive at the paradox of the Age of Aquarius: How do we open our eyes to see that which will awaken us if we are still asleep

This, I believe, is the task of art.  Art communicates through time, as the humble Abbe well knew.  As Markale writes:

Abbe Sauniere’s message is to be found at the church in Rennes-le-Chateau and nowhere else: it is Mary Magdalene herself.  The parish church had borne her name certainly since the ninth century, but Beranger Sauniere made every effort to multiply her image: the statue, the fresco beneath the alter, the fresco on the back wall, the stained-glass window in the choir, the tympanum on the outside, not to mention Villa Bethania and the Magdala Tower.  There are many, many depictions and clues.

…But one has to have their eyes wide open to find them.

And so, Black Madonna continues the story into a new century by presenting a 21st century face for Mary from the imagination of artists.

DESIREE, Donna Ruff; 1997 mixed media

 

 

Can it just be a coincidence that Donna Ruff was creating a trilogy of collages revealing the schism of patriarchal archetypes through the deaths of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa under the Virgo/Pisces Eclipse of 1997?

 

 

 

 

 

Could it be only coincidence that Vincent Baldassano created a work entitled Madonnas 3 (below) revealing the three faces of Mary pointed out by Markle in his chapter That Odd Mary Magdalene

Vince Baldassano; Madonna3, 2009

Vince Baldassano; Madonna3, 2009

 

 

One question arises immediately.  What do the three Mary Magdalenes have in common?  They are the sinner that is won and forgiven by Jesus; Mary of Bethany, sister of Martha and Lazarus; and finally, Mary of Magdala (thus Mary Magdalene), who, according to Luke, has come from Galilee with Jesus.  It is well known that divine figures were often depicted in the form of triads in ancient times…Could the same be true for the three Marys of the Gospels, who can be seen beneath a varnish of folklore in the legend of the Holy Marys of the sea?

 

 

 

Mary, Contradictions Series 2006, Michael Manning

Was it just a coincidence that Michael Manning, whose fluid style of multilevel narrative painting exhumed the ancient association of the Virgo symbol (the red M left) in his portrait of Mary, which also carries the artist’s symbol of the base of the female spine (the seat of the kundalini) as a common motif of awakening?

 

 

 

 

Was it just a coincidence that the miracle of a midtown temple to Mary sprung up overnight with the installation of the Black Madonna exhibition in early May of this year, a timing which accompanied the first sighting of Venus in Aries in the Eastern skies at dawn? Even I who live by the stars did not realize that I was being guided into this adventure by the soul of Mary Magdalene through the opening of the Great Solar Eclipse her feast day.  It took an extraordinary act of surrender for the miracle to happen.

Could it be an accident that The New York Times quoted artist Bill Viola on his piece for St. Pauls in the week leading up to the Great Solar Eclipse on her feast day, thereby bringing the dialectic of the face of the feminine into the center of the art world?

Mary is the embodiment of a universal female figure present in nearly all spiritual and religious traditions… I see this piece as the embodiment of the feminine principle, related to ideas of creativity, procreation, inner strength, love and compassion.    

And what of the importance of Mary to the Age of Aquarius?  Markale writes in the closing of his remarkable book:

Mary Magdalene is the image of the Feminine in its highest expression.  She is the “revealer” of the resurrected Jesus.  She performs the royal anointing of Christ.  She is the one who loves Jesus and whom Jesus loves above all other women, she who gave him the Second Life, that of the Spirit and the body of glory.  Hers is a message of love that can transform the world.

Could it just be a coincidence that I was able to weave the revelation of Mary on her feast day into a tapestry of images and narrative inspiring Black Madonna under a Virgo Moon?

Not at all, I selected the Virgo Moon to disseminate this revelation, knowing the wisdom of the Goddess would guide me!

Conjunctio: Vesicaquaria

July 23, 2009

The Great Solar Eclipse 2009

Great Solar Eclipse, 22 July 2009

The alchemy of the eclipse is the conjunctio where the opposites are unified.  This divine marriage (hieros gamos) of Luna and Sol is the goal of the Great Work, the Philosopher’s Stone.  

Yesterday’s annular Solar Eclipse (left), the most exact of this century, was at a crucial degree (29 Cancer almost exactly on the Moon’s South Node at 0 Leo) marking profound endings and new beginnings.  The Nodes of the Moon are known as the Dragon’s Head, where our past Karma is churned up (South Node) and our paths of destiny (North Node) are cleared.   Because I am an Aquarian and the North Node has been traveling over my Sun this year, my celebration of this event was a day of conscious watchfulness in which ritual, work and creative effort were unified, a commencement of a 24 year goal!  I began a two week purification with a seaweed treatment at 4:30 PM.

My body turned green like that of Inanna hung on a meat hook after her dark sister, Ereskigal, killed her in the underworld, I descended into the conjunctio where consciousness and unconscious are merged.  I then had a Galactic vision in which my body became the Center of the Mayan World Tree, my trunk converging Past (roots) and Future (branches).   I found myself on top of  a structure combining the seven level Zigarret with the Magdalene Tower in my dream the other night.  Then, I entered the future where I was sitting at a desk (the prophecy of the Priestess) with my computer.  

I have been following eclipses for over 20 years, and never have I felt so profoundly embraced by the conjunctio…

But of course, all other eclipses were just a prelude to this!

Chalice Cover, Glastonbury

Chalice Cover, Glastonbury

 

The  Mandorla (almond) shape is known as the Vesica Piscis (see video link) to Christians, a symbol that has been used in freemasonary and related to the Grail through the Chalice Wall in  Glastonbury (left).  Notice the two hexagons at the base, symbolizing the hieros gamos with the trident of Neptune at the top.

 Below is an image discovered on the Internet of the Vesicaquaria, the marriage of masculine and feminine personified by Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. I am appropriating this image renaming the 7/22/2009 Great Eclipse phenomenon (the synchronicity of the eclipse geometry reflecting the constellation of the hieros gamos in the psyche).  Notice that the numbers of this date are the magical number of 7 followed by the two master numbers 22 and 11.  This was a highly significant day indeed!

VesicaAquaria

VesicaAquaria

 

The child of the Age of Aquarius is the conjunctio (the sacred marriage of masculine and feminine) at the center of the Mandorla of Sun & Moon.  The caption for this image relates that the shape is the position of the eclipse at its end point in the Phoenix Islands.

What magic!  The Phoenix is the symbol of transformation and rebirth and this Mandorla is the sign of a newly emerging archetype, the hieros gamos, predicted by Wolfgang Pauli and C.G. Jung in a long correspondence (www.psychovision.com).  The symbol for Aquarius is the androgynous Water Bearer, who is holding the chalice pouring the collective unconscious of pisces (Vesica piscis means “kettle of fish” in Latin).  Aquarius is the sign that transmits the collective unconscious to humanity.  

That this took place on Mary Magdalene’s feast day makes it all the more significant.  The long repressed face of the feminine has been restored through the Sun’s illumination of the dark face of the Moon.  This was experienced in my experience of Inanna’s descent to her dark sister, the Queen of the Underworld, a myth we revived during the course of Black Madonna.

Moreover, astronomer’s eyes turned to Jupiter prior to the eclipse where an asteroid was seen hitting the surface of this great planet.  The New York Times quoted an astromoner saying we were lucky that Jupiter’s great face blocked this collision from occurring in the inner solar system.  

We astrologers have always known that Jupiter is lucky!

Here is a Galactic narrative of Jupiter, who abdicated the throne when the planet went retrograde last month, leaving his partner Juno (moved into Aries early this month) to carry on alone.

The new cycle of eclipses in Cancer/Capricorn will emphasize the grounding and crystalizing of the newly emerged face of the feminine represented by the Veiscaquaria.  What does she look like?  How will the collective be awakened to this new face of Luna?

The Black Madonna exhibition was only the first step in this journey.  The eclipse certainly marks a new beginning for me in terms of  personal/universal and public/private.  It is the first time I have awoken with a dream image and come to write it publicly in my blog rather than privately in my journal!

Here is the image: a beautiful androgynous youth with a long blonde braid in a plastic round swimming pool singing the praises of the woman he loves.  I don’t know anyone who fits this image but, interestingly, I have heard from three former loves (who, for a time, carried the energy of the Beloved) this week that come close!  

And I made a date for a studio visit for an androgyne who has crossed my path which will culminate with the Lunar Eclipse …simply divine!

Great Eclipse ’09: Convulsive Beauty

July 19, 2009

 “Beauty will be convulsive or will not be at all.”

 André Breton 

Luisa Valenzuela as Venus, HP Garcia Gallery 14 May, 2009

Luisa Valenzuela as Venus, HP Garcia Gallery 14 May, 2009

19 July 2009.  In my dream last night I was alone inside of a spa.  The group I was with disappeared. I realized they all went to lunch but I didn’t want to join them.  I was searching for something and grateful for the solitude.  I opened a door to discover a “convulsive beauty” whose body vibrated right off her chair.  She wasn’t disturbed by my intrusion…and actually appeared to expect me…

On Tuesday, July 21 at 10:34 PM EDT, we have what may be the most significant Great Eclipse of the 21st century in terms of what it is delivering: the face of the feminine.  Where the path of the eclipse falls (Southeast Asia) on July 22, it is the Feast Day of Mary Magdalene.   This full eclipse takes place under a historic conjunction of Chiron, Jupiter and Neptune in the sign of Aquarius.

Eclipses are times of endings and new beginnings.  This second New Moon in Cancer this year is about releasing our emotional attachment to the past so we may enter into a Galactic Consciousness.   From now until the Lunar Eclipse on August 5 (8:55 PM EDT) is a time for fasting, meditating and ritual making to honor the sacred feminine and bring our solar consciousness and lunar intuition into the Sacred Marriage, the conjunctio of Luna and Sol.

Here is what is happening (from the weather page of the Sunday The New York Times).  The Moon arrives at the nearest point in its orbit (known as the perigee), a distance of 222,128 miles, before passing through the Earth’s orbit plane.  When it meets the Sun to begin its monthly cycle known as the New Moon, the three bodies will be in direct alignment.  The dark umbral shadow of the Moon will be cast in a path 161 miles wide across India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Tibet and China before ending over the Pacific Ocean.  At the peak of the eclipse, the Sun will be blotted out for 6 minutes, 39 seconds.

21 July 2009, Solar Eclipse, 10:37 PM, EDT, New York City

21 July 2009, Solar Eclipse, 10:34 PM, EDT, New York City

 

The astrological chart of the precise time of the eclipse in New York City clearly reveals the universal narrative:  the convulsive face (Uranus in Pisces conjunct Juno on the Ascendant) coming into form (Saturn in Virgo conjunct Ceres on the Descendant).  In the past year, this tension of opposites between the rulers of Aquarius (Uranus and Saturn) challenged us to remake our physical bodies, and bodies of our individual creations (South Node in Leo in the Fifth House of Creativity), as vessels for this holistic archetype in the collective consciousness (North Node in Aquarius in the Eleventh House of Collective Consciousness).  The message of this eclipse cycle is the letting go (South Node) of the past (Cancer) so that we can introduce, through Saturn in Libra (commencing in October), a culture that is balanced by the opposites, which is manifested here by the polarity between Juno (the wife) and Ceres (the mother).  Clearly, artists have a guiding role in the process of the culture remaking itself to reflect the archetype of the hieros gamos reflected by the presidential couple.  This eclipse represents an open door of transformation during the last stages of the mutual reception between Uranus and Neptune that is delivering a new art movement of holism into the collective consciousness.

Zeus/Jupiter is retrograde, and therefore has abdicated its power while conferring with Chiron and Neptune (this line-up takes place on Obama’s Aquarius ascendant).  Meanwhile, his long-suffering partner, Juno, is being remade through the lightening rods of Uranus, while in  standoff with Ceres (the Mother) whose liberation is crystallized (Saturn) in form (Virgo).  The transpersonal impulse of the spiritual feminine (Pisces/Virgo) towards a new structure (Saturn) of independence (Uranus) delivers a brand new female liberation that is not simply outward (as was the 20th century struggle) but a penetration into the depths of the psyche to reflect the authentic feminine spirit attuned with nature (heaven & earth).  The intimacy of Venus and Mars in the past few months now has some needed breathing space while traveling through Gemini.  Mars is playfully poised to create with Mercury in Leo; the sextile between the two planets while both are inconjunct Pluto in Capricorn creates a Yod with the chart’s Midheaven – which happens to be the Galactic Center!  Here we find the opening in which creative communication declares a message of the androgynous Self to the world.  Channeling this new language into the Internet (as I am doing here) bypasses the patriarchal hold over the mainstream media.

The New Moon in Cancer this year is the second in the sign that rules the Moon, making its impact all the more significant.  A New Moon that takes place less than one degree from the South Node (the factor which makes a Great Eclipse) is a rare occurrence made all the more significant due to the 2012 passage of this series of eclipses over the Galactic Center, thereby triggering Pluto in Capricorn.  In absorbing the teachings of 2012, we will gain insight into our “winner take all” plutocracy undermining the democratic ideals at the root of America by identifying its origin in the treatment of its native peoples.  With this consciousness, the convulsive beauty of the authentic feminine will rise out of repression and take on the crucial role of remaking the culture!

 

Judge Sonia Sotomayor

Judge Sonia Sotomayor

Andre Breton’s “convulsive beauty” which inspired the Surrealist movement takes root as a 21st century archetype, feminine embracing the opposites — hot/cold, passionate/dispassionate, positive/negative.  We have seen her face in Judge Sonia Sotomayor (left), the passionate (Latina) woman who can master her emotions – a female counterpart to the masculine hero portrayed by Barack Obama, who chose Sotomayor because of his wish for more compassion on the bench.  It would seem, in the abstract, to be an impossible situation: to be selected for the official position of Lady Justice for the very characteristic that could obstruct her confirmation.  This is the paradox that pioneering writer Luisa Valenzuela explored decades ago, forging the path to the clearly where all humanity stands today with the challenge of absorbing this new archetype of the feminine: to be open and compassionate, yet not be pulled off center by the emotions.  Embracing this paradox requires being receptive to the flow of universal energy but mentally capable of steering one’s vessel (the body) in our soul designated direction.

We see the failure to master this challenge in the downfall of Governor Mark Sandford lamenting over his “soul mate,” an Argentine beauty, he claims, has put him in touch with deep feeling and exposed him to ridicule.  The hypocrisy of the governor using taxpayer money for first class accommodations on his lover trysts while bringing a pig to the capital to protest pork in federal spending, is endemic to the patriarchy that denies the feminine.  As long as the face is kept underground, the passions are repressed and the Shadow emerges as the unconscious saboteur.  This was the theme of my first book, Champagne Tango, which took place in Argentina undergoing the convulsions of its first year of freedom following the return to democracy from a military dictatorship defeated by the Falklands War.

And this is why the necessity of celebrating the Kundalini or Serpent Power.  Illuminating the very first HP Salon, The Underground Journey: Literature, was the Argentine literary star, Luisa Valenzuela.  She read her story “Woman” from Heide Hatry’s Heads and Tales, a story about the reconciliation of duality under the patriarchy.  When I was just beginning a career as a professional writer in New York, Luisa’s breakout book, The Lizard’s Tail, was an inspiration to go “underground” to explore the root of this power.  My subsequent journey to Argentina was intended to extend my short career as a business consultant, but ended it as I threw away the structure that confined me to the world economy and embarked on the unknown path into the exploration of new art forms for the 21st century.  

 

Champagne Tango poster in "Fire," Lab Gallery, NYC January 2007

"Champagne Tango" book cover poster "Fire," Lab Gallery: NYC January 2007

After making a full circle in my personal journey, a return to Buenos Aries after 25 years followed by a presentation of the Argentina’s literary star at the HP Salon, I am bringing my millennial project to a conclusion with the release of my trilogy, “The Key: Unlocking the Power of Number.  The first of these manuscripts is Five, my personal journey of self-discovery in attunement with the cycle of Venus.  The second is Six, my professional journey to uncover a new holistic archetype in 21st century art.  The last is Seven, a group of stories about my personal passage to embrace the archetype of holism  (hieros gamos) through the mirror of relationship.

Immersing myself in Argentina in 1984 was to engage with Breton’s “convulsive beauty” and my journey of the last 25 years was to find a form to best express this energy and deliver it into the dialectic of 21st century art.  In the months leading up to this monumental eclipse, we have launched this dialectic through three HP Salons of the Black Madonna exhibition (www.hpgarciagallery.com\salons) in which we reversed the the repression of Jungian psychology and eroticism in the art world.

The journey continues to explore this rich new terrain that has been neglected in the culture since the demise of the New Age with its blatant commercialism.  This blog will be devoted to uncovering and interpreting the arising face of the feminine and rediscovering its long repressed historical foundation in the formation of an authentically American culture.