(Art Essay) Lap of the Mother by Annabelle Solomon

AS black madonna

The timelessness and wonder of the Black Virgins – or Madonnas, as they are usually referred to – is their universal relevance in all contexts and across eras. Their genealogy flows steadfastly through the human story, transferred across cultures, having deep spiritual significance over millennia. They are the seed bearers. In the middle-eastern regions of Europe, She is Artemis and Aphrodite, Diana and Cybele, Ishtar, Inanna, Isis. Isis is ‘She-from-whom-all-becoming-arose’; the hieroglyphs referred to Her as the Lap, the Origin, and simply the Source. At the season of Lammas, in expectation and awe of the growing darkness, we enjoy the last fruits. We collect the seed in readiness for its regeneration, its gestation in the dark in order to bring new life.

The Black Madonna embodies legacy of these earlier understandings, and continues to give witness to those values that inspired worship of Goddess mythologies and symbolisms. The morphing over time by invasive and persistent patriarchal shifts in consciousness is complex, but the earlier thread remains, realized through our embodied experiences of birthing, nurturing, and caring; giving expression to what I have also referred to as our ‘gnowings’ as women. This expression is the foundation for and infuses my creative process as a means for coming to know Goddess in self. Although I had not seen this site until posted on RTM recently, it is a source of inspiration and empowerment for me: http://vimeo.com/31070437

When presented as a challenge with a small alabaster doll dressed in frock and pantaloons, I became more aware of these ways of ‘gnowing’ in the creative process. I listened to those inner voices as I created “Lap of the Mother” and the small doll was transformed into Great Goddess Isis, with Horus seated on her lap. She sits on a throne (made from an old bedhead), honouring the life-giving mystery of woman’s sexuality; she wears the crescent moon of re-birth on her regal headdress. The full moon sits behind her, completing the cycle. She sits on a cloth with symbols of the lion-headed Goddess, Sekhmet, whose gift is impending decay that both releases the soul energy after death and creates the compost from which the life energy is re-born.


Read Meet Mago Contributor Annabelle Solomon.