As we proceed through the year, our planetary system is like a symphony of movement throughout the heavens. As we traverse the stars, each month gives us a new opportunity for deeper understanding on our journey.
The Holy Nights are a microcosm for this journey. The period between Christmas Eve and Epiphany is a time when time in some aspects stands still. The days and nights are pretty consistent in their length during this time, and after Epiphany the length of the days increases in the northern hemisphere.
During Medieval Times, there was a thirst for the Apostolic fervor of the early days of Christianity. This desire for passion led people to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to test themselves for endurance either through fasts, extreme hardships through monastic living and other endeavors. A famous route for Pilgrimage through the European Continent which still stands today is called The Camino de Santiago de Compostela, or the Way of the Stars.
What is unique about this route is that it literally casts a net over the entire continent. The route also has a correspondence with the Stars. Legend says that the dust of the footprints of the pilgrims made up the Milky Way.
The Black Madonna's are found in churches, shrines and cathedrals along this Camino. An interesting correspondence with the stars is in France, where the Virgo Constellation is reflected in the location of the major cathedrals dedicated to "Our Lady" or Notre Dame.
The star in the constellation that corresponds to Chartres is Porrima, or the Roman Goddess of Birth. There are three Black Madonna's at this Cathedral, which was also the home to a great Templar Mystery School.
Pilgrims would flock to Chartres, start out their journey in the crypt and make their way up into the Cathedral of light. The mysteries of Birth, of Light and Dark were the focus of this school. When you go from the Crypt into the main sanctuary, filled with colored glass, you can see the beauty and meaning behind these mysteries.
The Black Madonna's are placed throughout the Camino. I think they were placed there to remind us that we must now use our will, our effort to reach out to the Spiritual World in our modern times. I also think the Black Madonna's are reminders of our cosmic origins and our spiritual natures.
After the the Christ Event on the first Easter, the mysteries were opened to all. Before this time, only a select group of people were initiated into the mysteries. After the Christ event, life itself became the initiation, and our path through the year as indicated by the journey through the stars, brings us Wisdom.
These ancient Icons and Fresco's with Christ and the Zodiac offer a unique perspective on our collective journey. As we enter the midpoint of our Holy Nights journey, it is my hope that we remember that all paths lead to the Christ for those who can take up the task, and answer the invitation to be whole.
Blessings to you as you continue your journey on the "Camino" of the Holy Nights!