On Holy Ground is a collection of icons for this age of climate change. The collection of iconography opens with an image of Mary of Swords inspired by the number seven. This sacred number is associated with intuition, mysticism, inner wisdom, and a deep inward knowing. The ancient church speaks of seven deadly sins and seven holy attributes, and seven sacraments. The composition places the planet Earth beside Mary as she bows her head. The Mary icon is inspired by the biblical passage; “ a sword will pierce Your own Soul ”
Mary of Sorrows is the softener of Evil Hearts, she tilts her head lovingly towards our planet Earth with a Divine Message. Seven swords pierce her heart; indicating the fullness and boundless sorrow, pain and “sickness of heart” that would have been experienced by Mary the Mother of Jesus at His crucifixion.
Muslims pilgrims circle the Kaaba in Mecca sevens times, and Egyptians had seven gods. The Christian bible used the number 735 times. God created the Earth in seven days and there are seven wonders of the world. In the book of Revelation mentions seven churches, seven angels, seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven stars. All music is created is based on seven basic notes, and we have seven chakras in the body. The prism effect in a rain bow shows seven distinct colors of light. There are seven bones in our face, neck, ankle and there are seven holes in our head. There is a Divine message in the number Seven.
The mother Mary bears the pain of her son, Christ who was pierced seven times by three nails and a spear. The seven swords represent the union of flesh and spirit; Earths four cardinal points and the holy trinity. Three of the swords enter her heart on the left, right and one sword from underneath. Mary of Sorrows icons are associated with the prophetic prayer of St. Simeon, ” Yea, …And a sword will pierce Your own Soul too, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed .” (Luke 2, 34-35) . She stands with her hands clasped in prayer with a Divine Message for humanity and our capacity to turn away from our hard headed attitude towards climate change all around the globe.
The Earth’s climate is warming due to our negligence in having the light of compassion for the rock we live on. We did not create Earth; we do not sustain Earth. It is in our power to care for and maintain the Earth. The seven swords piercing Mary’s chest represent the seven sinful human passions that cause spiritual torment for us all. Our human greed, lust, sloth, pride, envy, gluttony, and anger are largely the components that have led to our planet’s ill health, imbalance, and climate change.
Pride is an excessive belief in one’s own abilities, a failure to see others before themselves. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is the sword that comes from beneath, unseen, yet at the center of everything.
The biblical passage about Gluttony refers to an inordinate desire to consume more than what is required. We take more than our share; we fail to know what is enough or when to stop.
The biblical passage about lust is an inordinate craving for bodily pleasures. The sex trade and our obsession with perverse bodily delight have become a hindrance too many.
The biblical passage about anger is an uncontrolled response and rage towards government, religion, or anyone acting contrary to our desire. We spurn love and opt instead for fury. We cause massive destruction by undisciplined reactions and excessive outbursts of ego.
The biblical passage about greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. Big industrial companies use greed to mine sand or gold, and sell seduction and cravings through lies. Greed, that insists on becoming bigger and better year after year, is an avarice.
The biblical passage about Sloth is the avoidance of one’s individual physical or spiritual work. It arises from a lack of self, feeling there is no point or purpose in life. On the international landscape, it looks like dictators who refuse to act benevolently.
The biblical passage about Envy is wishing for the other person to not have what they want to possess. We go to extreme measures to prevent others from having. Personal ambition sets one on a course to do anything necessary to have “what does not belong to them”.
These seven behaviors are from biblical passage, a divine message where a sword will pierce your own soul. Our planet needs a new awareness for profoundly understanding our place in the solar system. We can change our mindset to bring about a more balanced existence between humankind and the natural order.
On Holy Ground
On Holy Ground is not fully published. I began working on the collection at the Vaughan Park retreat center till September 2019. The entire finished collection will be posted as a Divine Message on the web site beginning January 2020.
Mary Jane Miller had created The Dialogue Project in response to war and violence; the US invasion of Iraq in 2008. Now she is dedicating her art and focus to climate change and prayer for our future. Climate change is a real issue in many of our hearts and minds. She urges everyone to yield, step back from our past behaviors, reflect and move towards a new, more conscious and responsible lifestyle on this planet Earth. https://sanmiguelicons.com/
Beautiful work and divine sentiment. Peace and love to you Darling Mary Jane.
It is a debasement of iconography to use it to serve and promote social, or sociopolitical causes, no matter how “good” or “noble” these causes may be. Iconography is, at its heart and core, concerned with the truths of God, and a proclamation of the Incarnation. It must never be a vehicle for self-expression. Shame on the artist for committing such a travesty!
By all means, mitigating climate change is a cause which should be supported. If through art, then for God’s sake, find some other artistic style to use for the purpose!
Mary Jane Miller says
Are we as humans a proclamation of the Incarnation? If not only through our efforts to bring peace. iconography is a great form of communication for the love of God. The early iconographers created many images about the injustices in Greece, the persecutions of monks and saints. In Russia we see the history of beautiful etherial angels changed and morphed in to warriors. Our planet is suffering and if one person changes their direction for the love of God, I will continue to use the medium and history of iconography to that end. To serve and promote social, or sociopolitical causes. Peace be with you