The Heart of the Black Madonna

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Eve and the Birth of the Son Within



All the preparations are done and the world turns inward for the annual celebration of the Birth of the Christ. There is something so special about Christmas Eve. I have always loved the quality of this evening, the anticipation, the onset of the celebrations. If you haven't got everything done, then, oh well, it probably won't get done before the big day, because it Christmas is going to start anyways, regardless if you baked that amazing cookie recipe or made those awesome place cards out of foil. The Church services, the candlelight, the music, it all starts up and something magical is in everything, the light, sounds, smells and feeling.

Every year for the last decade or so, the local classical music station in Southern California broadcasts the annual festival of Carols from Kings College in Cambridge England. It is a lovely combination of poetry readings, scripture and choir music. It always starts with the Genesis story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. The significance of this story for  Christmas is the fact that the plan was put into motion way back in the dawn of human history, for the Christ to come to Earth through the vessel of a human body.

Adam and Eve: Windows to Beginnings by Paul Matei


The first centuries of Christianity there was a comprehension of the Christ that is very different our modern understanding. It was common knowledge until the 9th century that Christ descended to Earth from the sun to join his destiny with that of humanity. Christ was seen as the "sublime being of the Sun," who descended to Earth for our benefit. 



Human beings in this context were seen as having a threefold nature; body, soul and spirit. I go into great lengths about this in my book, The Black Madonna, Journey of the Human Heart. But for our discussion here, many events in heaven and on earth conspired to create a dimming of this awareness.


Icons of the 4th Ecumenical Council of 869-870 AD

In the 9th Century, a great Ecumenical Council took place in Constantinople, then the seat of the Vatican and the head of the Holy Roman Empire. At this Council in the year 869 AD,  consciousness of Christ as a being of the Sun, and knowledge of the existence of the Human Spirit was made into heresy. Essentially, teaching, preaching or writing about the human spirit became illegal, and the church hierarchy became the disseminator of the mysteries. The mystical knowledge of the Christian impulse started to dim, and make way for a more materialistic orientation towards the Spiritual World. Ultimately, this has lead to the opportunity to develop our freedom and independence, but the drawback was a shutting down of the living knowledge of the nature of the Christ. 

The Black Madonna of Montserrat Discovered in the Mountains 
Discovery Dated in the late 700's Early 800's
Painting by Ricci 1640 AD

The Black Madonna Appearing to St. Meinrad of Einsiedeln in the 9th Century

During this time, the 9th Century, the Black Madonna's started to "appear" on the European Continent. The discovery narratives of several of the major Black Madonna's tell of the works of art revealed through light and sound, music and stars. As the age of the Crusades commenced with the founding of the Knights Templar, the Black Madonna's began to be brought to Europe by their efforts. Rudolf Steiner indicates that much of the secret efforts that the Templars had on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem was to penetrate the Sophianic Mysteries, The Grail Initiations. It is in my estimation profoundly significant that The Black Madonna's appeared in earnest during and after the 9th Century, just as human consciousness was dimming, as a invitational spark into memory. But this time, humanity would have to develop their consciousness of the Spiritual World, of the Christ Impulse out of their own efforts, through translating Divine Will symbolized by the color black and the large hands of the Madonna's.



The Holy Nights that are the yearly festival of Cosmic Memory, begin on Christmas Eve. December 24th, Adam and Eve Day, is the commemoration of the great drama that unfolded, when the spark of the Divine plan for the Incarnation of the Christ in response to the Fall of Man was set in motion. It is a time for us to remember how we can see the Sun at Midnight, that the light is present during the darkest time of the year.

What is particularly moving to me each year, each day in fact, is seeing the effort and gesture that the Spiritual World has towards to humanity. That after the event in Palestine over 2000 years ago, the Spiritual World continues to reach out to us. The Black Madonna's are for me part of this gracious reaching out to humanity, as a constant reminder we are not alone, that our suffering and endurance has purpose, and that we are thought of so highly that the Christ would come to dwell amongst us.



Blessings to you this Christmas Eve!