Camino de Santiago de Compostela near Montserrat, Spain
It as been quite a journey these last several years, exploring, studying, speaking and writing about the Black Madonna. I have been all over the world, and explored the dawn of creation to the furthest reaches of the future to answer the questions the Black Madonna engendered in my own soul. The journey was accompanied by the greatest losses and pain imaginable, my soul got to examine all the sorrows of humanity. Such pain opens the heart if you let it, and the presence of the Divine can be felt in ways that are often difficult to achieve when modern conveniences and comforts cloud the view. To be honest, the journey started in the aftermath of the global upheavals after the terrorist attacks on the United States in September of 2001. I was, as many were, truly trying to grapple with why they occurred and what was the proper response. My greatest grief was coming to terms with what many of the world’s people already knew, that my government was not the benevolent idealistic structure I had always thought it was.
One of the positive movements inspired by those terrible events, was a realization that life was very temporary, so one should get busy and do things one had been postponing for one reason or another. For myself, it was to start studying theology. I sent in my application, and started my master’s program only weeks after the attack. One of the modules of the program was learning about the Black Madonna. While the module was interesting, I felt what I was being exposed to was inadequate, just scratching the surface. I decided to go further, and my personal faith journey since those chaotic days over a decade ago, have helped me put into the context the deeply difficult times we in the human community have been enduring these last years.
In many ways we are so weary. I sometimes long for the concerns of the 1980’s and 90’s. With the advent of modern technology, the exposure to the negative is much greater, and seems to be resulting in the numbing of the masses. What I hope to convey through The Black Madonna, Journey of the Human Heart, and the subsequent next book in the series, The Virgin of Guadalupe and the Destiny of the Americas is a way that we can make sense of the challenges we face in these turbulent times. In so many ways, I have come to discover that the Black Madonna’s were designed and placed throughout Europe to be messages from the Divine, for our time, our modern era. These are not arbitrary works of art by any stretch of the imagination. They are windows to the Divine, giving encouragement and direction for how we can not only endure the current dramas but actually thrive.
I am ever grateful to all those who helped me with this book, from helping me research, editing and design. But ultimately I am grateful to the artists that allowed their talents to convey loving messages through sculpture, painting, glass work and mosaics. They give me courage and solace during this time of deeply painful human development. I hope you will gain the same insights that I have, but are also not limited by my research. These insights are my own, and I urge you to follow your own hearts when it comes to the Black Madonna. As long as compassion is the outcome, your insights and conclusions are valid.
I am sharing the introduction to The Black Madonna Journey of the Human Heart, a sort of free sample chapter if you will. In the days to come, I will share other inserts from the book. Thank you again for your kind attention.
The Black Madonna of Czetochowa Poland
Introduction to The Black Madonna Journey of the Human Heart by Stephanie Georgieff
A Passionate Disclaimer
As Atheism is now a cottage industry for books, magazines, Internet chat groups and organizations; it is the belief system of those who claim to be the only sane educated ones on the planet. Atheists would say they adhere to facts, but I beg to differ, it really is a belief system, but it permeates all of modern culture. I am often deeply intrigued by how differently creation and the natural world is understood between those who have a relationship to the divine world and those who do not. When I see a magnificent mountain range or a work of art, I see the Divine manifest. The art and mountains, they are proof to me of the existence of the Love of God for humanity, messages from the spiritual world. An atheist sees mountains or art as atoms, various arrangements of chemicals held together by gravity and mathematical equations. The perception of the mountains, or a work of art, is reduced to hormonal and neurochemical synapses in the brain. My bias is complete, because I comprehend chemistry, gravity and the intricate workings of the brain as incredible mysteries originating and confirming the Divine, I guess I will always be this way, and to be honest it just “feels” good to me. I excuse myself as a hopeful romantic, from Southern California to boot.
Debating the existence of Spirit with a beloved cousin of mine who is an evangelical atheist, I asked him, “Well, what is love?” He immediately, with out any hesitation or consternation, replied, “Oxytocin.” (This is a hormone secreted by the pituitary Gland, involved with labor and lactation, apparently now called the cuddle hormone because rat studies show when mother rats are injected with large amounts of Oxytocin, they exhibit increased grooming behaviors towards their baby rats) My cousin is a Professor of Physiology at the University of Southern California Medical School, and by the way, a loving father. I reflected on his lifetime dedication to his family, his tender affection towards his wife, and I could not help thinking that his behavior was due to more than great pituitary response to stimuli. The conversation ended when dinner I had cooked was served, he of course enjoyed it with gusto.
Since I believe in the spiritual world, I see messages, proofs everywhere of love, of harmony, of relationships, of the Divine reaching out to me; my psyche needs meaning, needs context. I think there is something that inspires the release of Oxytocin beyond my pituitary when I weep for joy at the sight of pilgrims praying before an ancient Icon, I think there is more at work than Oxytocin when these pilgrims bow in prayer asking for a miracle to heal their loved ones. There was more than Pituitary glands at work when villagers came together to dismantle the windows at Chartres Cathedral and hide them in the country side during World War II for safe keeping, more than neurochemistry synapses that caused the Poles to flock to the shrine of their Black Madonna during Communist times, risking their lives so they could pray for redemption. When I see people rally to help disaster victims, restore the land, feed starving children, weep for their dead, rejoice in the birth of a new family member, I just think, I believe there is something deeper and more mysterious to life than the secretion of a hormone that alters brain chemistry, I feel it in my chest down to my tummy, and this orientation colors my experience of the Black Madonna. It is from this perspective that Love is beyond Oxytocin; I comprehend the mysteries that the Black Madonna reveals.
I invite you, the reader to keep this bias of mine, the bias that I see meaning and context inspired by a benevolent spiritual world beckoning humanity towards wholeness and union with God through the Christ, keep this in mind as we journey together with the Black Madonna. Keep this bias in mind that what I am about to share with you is my interpretation of the phenomena I encountered on this path. In no way is my interpretation the end of the story, it is my sincere hope that my experiences and reflections inspire your own journey, your own beginning of sorts, leading you to the peace that passes all understanding.
Tune in Monday, September 15 at 7 pm Pacific Daylight Time http://hosts.blogtalkradio.com/blackstefka to hear a reading from The Black Madonna; Journey of the Human Heart.