Saturday, August 4, 2018

"Our Lady of the Midwives"... Reflections

          "The breath of the ages 
            still ghosts to the vitality
            of our most early and unwritten forebears
            whose wizardry still makes a lie of history
            whose presence hints in every human word
            who somehow reared and loosed 
            an impossible beauty enduring yet:
            and I will not forget."

            Robin Williamson, "Five Denials on Merlin's Grave"

"Our Lady of the Shards" is a series of Madonnas I have been working on for a year or so now.  Our Lady of the Shards lies among the broken shards, debris, lost artifacts, and resurfacing mythos of the past.  She has been buried by time, his-story, and by endless war, and co-option of what was once sacred.  She is the Black Madonna, the dark Earth mystery at the roots of timeless sacred springs and caves, the generative "Numina" of place.  She is also the buried work and lives of the women who wove the ancient stories, who birthed our ancestors, the memory keepers and the comforters.  Perhaps collectively my "Madonnas" are  the Divine Feminine, arising into the world again at our greatest need, insisting that we see, re-member, re-claim. 

A number of years ago I met a midwife who was retiring.  Her hands had brought many children into this world, so I asked if I could take a cast of her hands.  She took what she told me was the "Midwives Gesture".  My Icon celebrates her life and work, and the lives of Midwives going back into prehistory, those un-named ancestors who brought us here through that Portal.

My Madonnas are also visual prayers, iconic images that pray that humanity will turn toward life-giving and life-nurturing once again, toward generation instead of destruction, toward reverence for our Mother Earth. 

            "I hate the scribblers, who only write of War
             and leave the glory of the past unsung between the lines."

             Robin Williamson, "Five Denials on Merlin's Grave"

I reflect on the ongoing tragedy of patriarchal culture and priorities, whereby the military, whereby technologies devoted to Death, are celebrated, funded excessively, endlessly rewarded and mythologized.  The U.S. has the highest military budget in the his-story of humanity.  What might be accomplished, if even a fraction of that went to serve Life, communion and love,  instead of Death?  Entire museums are devoted to famous generals, great epics about conquering armies and the rape and murder of women and children, like the Iliad or the Odyssey, are celebrated classics.  While ubiquitous Midwives of new life of all kinds.......are forgotten, un-known, trivialized, un-important.  How might we live, how might we act, if the welcomers of souls into this world were as celebrated, as honored, as those who are experts at killing? 


How might we live, how might we act, if Our Lady of the Midwives rose in all of Her power to teach us a new way of being?

            “What might we see, how might we act, 
               if  we saw with a webbed vision?
              The world seen through a web of relationships
               .…as delicate as spider’s silk,
              yet strong enough to hang a bridge on.”

             Catherine Keller,  From a Broken Web 


Valerianna said...

Yes, indeed we need to reclaim the Sacred work of the midwife on both ends of life

Trish MacGregor said...

These are beautiful! And I love the poems you used to illustrate the idea.