The Two Marys

In the Gospels we have two descriptions of the Mother of God. The feeling-tone of each is different. In Luke, she is the one to whom the angelic messenger announces the coming of God’s son through the inseminating power of the Holy Spirit. She is humble and open, experiencing an other-worldly event.

The Mother in Matthew’s Gospel receives royal gifts. She must flee to Egypt to save her little Son from Herod’s persecution. In John’s Gospel she stands under the cross. Mother’s innocence has become bitter experience, but she also partakes in her Son’s subsequent rise from death.

At this time of the year we can picture the otherworldly Mother. If we could see her now, in winter, we would see the moon element spread out below the earth’s surface. From her human form, we see a heavenly Earth-Star, raying out into the cosmos from her head.  At her breast the sun’s rays, forming itself out of the clouds, condensing into the child, all in a rainbow-hued background. She is the woman formed out of the clouds, endowed with earthly forces under her feet, sun radiance in the middle, head crowned with stars—the woman of Rev. 12. She is arising out of the cosmos itself. In winter, when we ourselves are most strongly connected with the earth, we see the Mother arising in the cosmos, in the interplay between the earth and the stars.

At the opposite time of the year (and in the opposite hemisphere now) another Mother can be seen. A sparkling silver blue rises from the depths of earth, bound up with human weakness and error. It gathers into the picture of Earth Mother in the depths. She is Mater, materie.  Above her is the flowing golden-red creative form of Uriel and the Spirit dove, the Spirit Father. Between them, between Spirit Father and Earth Mother, we behold the Son. In the summer we breathe ourselves out into the cosmos; but we strongly perceive the Father above and the Mother below. We are made aware of human error.

As we move through the course of the year, we ourselves move between these two counter-poles—cosmic mother, earth mother. During the twelve days and holy nights of the Christmas season, from Christmas to Epiphany, we experience this polar movement in miniature, in the picture of the two Marys. The Christ, the Child reconciles these two poles. In Luke the Child is born in a cave in the earth, in midwinter (not in summer). Although he is in a cave in the earth, he and his mother are innocent and humble. We read his gospel story from the altar early Christmas morning.

On January 6, we read of the Matthew Mother in her regal queenly aspect. She receives royal gifts, moves forward through experience, grappling with Herod’s evil, fleeing to Egypt where the mysteries of death were understood.

In this movement between these two poles, the two mothers represent the overall movement of the human experience. It is a movement from humble innocence to earthly experience, being crowned with the earth-star and at the same time finding and maintaining (again) a connection to the starry cosmos.

Mary represents the human soul, operating between the two poles and moving through them over and over again in the course of the years. She also represents a kind of aggregate of all human souls, a spiritual entity we could call the Soul of Man, as it evolves over time.  From humble innocence we are born out of the summer of starts, generated by the union of Sky Father and Earth Mother. Gradually, the Soul of Man is evolving toward becoming a being radiant with experience, clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, crowned with the stars of earth winter.

3 Comments

  1. Thank you for this beautifully stated reflection.

    I also appreciate the image. Is there a source for the image/name of artist?

    • Dear Jean,
      Mural depicting the Virgin Mary inside the Catedral de Cordoba, a former medieval mosque, Cordoba, Andalusia, Spain.

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