The image of Mary in Iconography, Written in Stone has changed many times throughout centuries of iconography. She has been the blessed diva, the Mother of Jesus gazing into the unknown, and a more human mother, experiencing pain and joy. Mary’s identity has given rise to many doctrinal wars, decrees and debates but her image is more than cult, idol, mystery or divine. She is a fountain grounded in imagery, triggering great reflection and contemplation. I want to introduce you to three new images of Mary in Iconography. All of them are written in stone; egg tempera the ancient medium made from our Mother Earth.
Mary sits in union with Christ who is holding an orb of universal energy. This orb symbolizes all energy united in itself. The sphere is a monogram of God; it represents all that is everlasting, outside the limits of time and space. “In the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end.” Christ teaches us and shows us “the way to the truth and the light.” The small healing hand of Christ is contrasted by the large offering hand of Mary, no tension or reserve is found in either.
In fact, Mary arrayed in the blue of the cosmos, bows her head slightly to the leadership of Christ. Her message with Christ is a vision of eternal devotion, sacrifice and forgiveness for the human race. The orb they offer and protect can be seen as conduit for higher divine wisdom and the Universal Mind.
A Mother’s Love Holds the World
Our planet’s climate is warming, and it may be a natural occurrence. However, the Earth has evolved over billions of years to achieve a delicately balanced environment for abundant life. Humanity has neglected to be responsible for taking what we have not created and failing to replenish the vacuum we have left. We did not create the Earth; we do not sustain the Earth, but it is in our power to care for the Earth.
Mary is seen here gently caressing our planet as a mother. She carried our Lord and divine wisdom released throughout Creation. The figure of Mary holds the created order with a tender embrace that reminds us of how fragile our Eco system is. Humanity cannot continue to abuse the natural laws and balance that have been put in place over millenniums. Our species cannot continually take what has been freely given and disregard mother Earth’s generous capacity to empty herself for our benefit. We must learn to be compassionate for one another, as well as the rock we live on.
Mary extends her one hand to us as an invitation and with the other hand she offers the Eucharistic host and challis. She is the mother of contemplation and within her interior is housed the divine life and understanding of Christ. Christ is and has always been an offering to us through Mary. Her womb, her interior self housed human wisdom given by God to humanity. God resides in each of us. The liturgy of the Eucharist is the center of Christian life and the body of Mary is a perfect metaphor for housing that center. She is the metaphysical church which is experienced through stillness and meditation.
Christians find peace and come to rest in her and in the liturgy. Here she is saying, “take this in remembrance of me and feed on it in your heart”. In her we take refuge through what she offers and with hope we find the wisdom of Christ. Here, Mary offers us Gods voice through the Eucharist to feed on it through our daily life and practice. She is blue, the color of the cosmos. The Eucharist she offers is beyond our earthy understanding and cannot be fathomed except through prayer and contemplation through Mary in Iconography.
The entire collection is contained in the book Mary in Iconography, Written in Stone by Mary Jane Miller