Our Lady of Guadalupe (detail from mixed media mosaic) Copyright 2011Jane E.Ward
“Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.” (Words of Our Lady to Juan Diego on December 12, 1531)
For the past few years I would head up to PineCrone Labyrinth and Retreat Center in Bastrop, Texas to hold a Our Lady of Guadalupe Day weekend, sacred art workshop. My dear friend Fern dedicated Pine Crone to Our Lady of Guadalupe and every year on this day she would honor her. As PineCrone was lost in the Bastrop Wildfires this summer and Fern passed away in June, I just couldn’t seem to get my self together this year to plan and hold the Guadalupe Day workshop any place else but I’ve been working on a mixed media mosaic to memorialize the place and my friend and these details are from that piece. I’m not ready to completely unveil it yet as I still have a lot more work to do on it.
I’d also like to share some material from one of the Guadalupe Day workshops, (they were different every year) :
Our Lady of Guadalupe is always shown within the glorious golden light of her mandorla. In my research have found that a mandorla is a doorway and Our lady of Gualdalupe is a portal Goddess. Portal goddesses lead us into a religion and from there they open the doors to a wider and infinitely deeper spiritual space.
The Mandorlais an ancient symbol of two circles coming together and where they overlap an almond shape is formed in the middle. It is also a variant of a halo which surrounds the whole body of a holy person also known as the Aureola.
The Mandorla “Almond,” (mandorla is the Italian word for almond) is also called vesica~ piscis, the Vessel of the Fish. Almonds were holy symbols because of their female, yonic connotations. Almonds were believed to have the power of virgin motherhood, as shown by the myth of Nana, who conceived the god Attis with her own almond. During medieval times, the almond was interpreted as a symbol of the embryo enclosed in the uterus. To the Pythagoreans, the Vesica~ Piscis was literally the womb of the universe, the ever unfolding Mother of Sacred Geometry. A Vesica Piscis is on the cover of the Chalice Well in Glastonbury, England.
Chalice Well cover. Theangryblackwoman at en.wikipedia
The Chalice well is a spring, in continuous use for thousands of years, which has become a symbol of the flow of eternal life, and of nature constantly renewing itself. The ancient Celts believed wells to be doorways to the other world, a place where the veils between human existence and the greater spirit became thinner, and communications could take place with the gods and goddesses.
The mandorla symbolizes the point at which two clearly separate worlds meet and intersect. The center of the Mandorla, represents liminal space, the threshold of the doorway or portal between the worlds, between the inner world and the outer world, between the magical and the mundane. It is the divine container in which new creation begins to form and germinate. This is the womb, the moment of creation, where something seems to come from nothing.
This ancient symbol appears in the images and myths of cultures from around the world, from the Orient to old Celtic tribes of Europe. Ancient mandorlas in art represented the mysterious feminine aspect of life as a sacred womb, a portal between the realm of spirit and the realm of matter through which all life passes into this world.
Meditating on the Mandorla can bring about transformation: in our bodies and spirits if we use them for healing, and in our whole life if we use them in our art.
(From Stepping Through The Doorway 2, a sacred art retreat by Jane E Ward)