Deike Begg    Astrologer

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What are Black Virgins? 

Theirs were the great pilgrimage shrines of the Virgin, some still are: Chartres, Le Puy, Montserrat, Rocamadour, Einsiedeln, Walsingham, Loreto, Czestochowa, Altotting, Hal, Guadalupe (Spain and Mexico). All the images are black and there were hundreds more, some destroyed, others whitened, others disappeared, but many still exist, either in the original sites or in museums. In the West they are classically small statues from the 13th Century, thrones of wisdom with the divine child bolt upright, facing forward. The recurring refrain from the Song of Solomon ‘I am black, but I am beautiful’ links them to the Queen of Sheba.  

No one wrote books about them as a special category called “Black Virgins” until the threshold of WW2. Are they of any interest to us today other than devotional or historical? 

Their re-emergence, and the many apparitions of the Madonna, have coincided with other signs of the times, pointing to a change in the dominant ideas of consciousness, away from patriarchal one-sidedness. These include the successes of the women’s movement; the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Gnostic library and the Dead Sea Scrolls; shamanism; the Gaia hypothesis; Jung’s depth psychology; the spread of Buddhism in the West; renewed investigation of animal cave paintings; epic fantasy and the literature of magic and spiritual communities from Esalen to Findhorn. 

Jung called this the “right time for a metamorphosis of the the Gods”. The Black Virgins, the most important still living symbol of the Christian age, heralds the return of the Goddess, who is Nature and our mother, the Earth.  

Ean Begg is author of The Cult of the Black Virgin.

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