Mother Mary: Our Lady of Chestohowa
Next month, I will return to the Eastern Hindu tradition to sum up the last three months.
But, in concert with our Goddess meditations at Mythic Treasures, I am going into some dangerous territory of the Western tradition…Mother Mary.
Many of us found our spirituality thwarted by churches. While the Catholic Church was particularly “thwarty”, it also maintained the image of, and love for, the goddess in her facet as Mother Mary.
Last month, we looked at the protective Hindu Goddess Kali, with her skulls and scythe and lolling tongue. We discovered that when we surrender to her, she becomes a protective mother. The traditions of Mother Mary as Black Madonna echo this fierce and protective aspect of the mother. These traditions are known all over the world. There are several Catholic traditions of her, though her presence predates Christianity. Predates everything, really.
Our Lady of Chestohowa is one such Black Madonna. Her image, both preserved but scarred by war in Poland, still draws people of that country to her. She will give aid for any of our personal difficulties. But she can be seen to protect whole countries. She is particularly a goddess of war. Forget the pretty mother at the manger in blue and white. Our Lady of Chestohowa wears the whole universe as her starry veil. Her face is black as coal. Her eyes don’t miss a trick. Like human mothers, she seems to have eyes in the back of her head. She always knows what’s going on.
So if you want to ask her help, be ready to admit to yourself what she knows about you. Sing to her and bring flowers. Polish pilgrims walk dozens of miles on foot to her shrine, singing, praying, and bringing flowers.
The physical image of her picture, as old as the 1400’s I think, was scarred in wars. So she is a goddess who bears her scars with pride. She is not ashamed of having to battle or struggle. Your wars may not be on a national scale. But she will help you face them with courage and without shame.
Gabriel is leading us in a rosary dedicated to her later this month. This is a follow up to his powerful mala meditation to Kali Ma.