an interfaith mother

The future of faith is a coming together.

But first it requires truth. 

White culture must examine itself. White individuals must examine ourselves. We must look for the hate, the notions of white supremacy, the prejudices that have been taught to us, that swim in our blood. We must acknowledge the sin of racism and intentionally dig it out of ourselves.

To continue to live as God's children on this planet, we must recognize one another's divinity.

When we find God in our hearts, we find one another.

I am a Christian but I learn from other traditions. God is everywhere, in everything. The potential for God is in everyone for it is through us that God experiences this world.

I am still a student of Buddhism, yet it is wonderfully freeing to acknowledge that I am Catholic too. I don’t fit anywhere and for the first time that feels correct. I am walking along a nameless path. This walking creates the path, is not separate from the way. Walking becomes the way to weave together the threads that I hold of different traditions. The way of the pilgrim is always to walk, no matter what the country or culture. Pilgrimage knows no boundaries, crosses over the borders. There is only the nameless way, and to find it one must walk, feel one’s feet on the ground, let the way lead.
— China Galland, Longing for Darkness Tara and the Black Madonna

To many Christians, Mary is an intercessor.

We give her our hopes, our desires, our needs. She gathers them in her hands. She shelters us in her heart. 

As the Black Madonna, she draws us, her children, and our prayers deeper into divine mystery.  

Mary is also a gateway. A gathering place. A great unifier.

I know of many non-Christians who posses a love for, even a devotion to, Mary. There is something about her, something we are lacking elsewhere, a medicine we need.

She plays different roles for different people. 

As the Dark Mother archetype she is a symbol of our inner shadow-self when it is healthy and functioning as it should.

At this moment in America, we are witnessing our unhealthy shadow-self, the very worst of our foundation, our history, our motivations - who and what we are - made physical and undeniable.

I believe the Mother of God can guide us into our potential. She can, as she insists upon our truth-telling, help us to redeem ourselves.

She is the blessed Earth itself, our dark earth mother, calling us into the necessity of our humility, call us to look at the truth and correct our ways.

The shadow is the image of ourselves that slides along behind us as we walk toward the light. The persona, its opposite, is named after the Roman term for an actor’s mask. It is the face we wear to meet the social world around us.
— Murray Stein, Jung's Map of the Soul: An Introduction

To some, the dark madonna is the reinvention of the pre-Christian goddesses.

To others, she is the bride in the Song of Songs who says: "I am black but beautiful." (1:5)

She is her own woman.

She is a friend to the oppressed, the outcast, the silenced, and reconciler of the races.

She is a healer of all that is wrong out out of balance, a guide into death.

She is the mother of Christ, his proclaimer and his helper.

When we come to her, sit at her feet, gaze into her eyes, we find ourselves but we also find one another.

Perhaps it is she, our dark mother, who reminds us not of our ability to preserver, just when we most need to be reminded.

She is our feminine essence, our heart and soul, rising up from the ground, of the ground, rooting us to the divine truth of who and what we are.

We may walk different paths to get to her, but we are united in her arms.

And the Black Madonna is the mother expansive enough to embrace us all, to hold us all, to soothe the pain and sorrow that runs in our blood, through the generations.


Contemporary Images

While contemporary images of the dark-skinned Madonna aren't technically Black Madonnas, they are equally important and moving.

Here are a few artists who create beautiful and powerful black madonna images:

Sue Ellen Parkinson

Shiloh Sophia McCloud

Katherine Skaggs

Father John Giuliani


For Your Journal

What does the black madonna mean to you?

What do you intuit about her origins and her importance?

What is your place in the great weaving-together of humanity?

How will you be an activist for love?