She is everything white-washed out of Mother Mary and She is Everything.
Dark. Earthy. Sexual. Mysterious. Dangerous. Death. Beauty. Fierce. Firm. She is dark with the chaos from which all life emerges; dark with the night that gives birth to The Light.
Queen of Heaven, Keeper of Universal Knowledge. She is the Earth Goddess of nostalgia.
Kali. Isis. Ishtar. Cybele. Guadalupe. Xochiquetzal. Kuan Yin. Diana. Artemis.
She embodies the pure potential of Creation– before it is created.
In my dream I am walking towards a church that is housed in a cave. Inside, there is a pile of boulders with a small spring bubbling up and trickling down over the rocks.
I am in the House of the Mother and I have come to see Her.
I have heard that the statue at this particular church is interesting because unlike most statues of the Madonna, this statue doesn’t have the infant Jesus in her arms– instead she is still pregnant with his possibility.
It is said that every pilgrim sees something different when they look at her pregnant belly. Something Divine. Something Holy. Something Mysterious.
I walk over to the wet pile of boulders, making out her silhouette perched on the very top rock. As I walk around the rocks, trying to get a better view of her protruding belly, I gasp.
There is a mirror. When I look at her pregnant belly I see Me. Divine. Holy. Mysterious. Her Daughter.
I was naturally very excited when I discovered that the Patroness of Costa Rica is a Black Madonna: La Virgen de Los Angeles (The Virgin of the Angels), or “La Negrita” they affectionately call her. Little Dark One.
On August 2, 1635, a little stone statue was discovered on a pile of boulders, in a stream, by a young indigenous girl. Because the stone looked like a carved doll, the girl took it home with her. The next morning the statue was gone but was rediscovered back in the stream, on the boulders. The girl took the statue to her local priest, told him the story, and he locked the statue in a box (so the story goes). Yet, once again, the statue was found back in the stream, on the boulders. The local village received the message, loud and clear, and built a shrine around Her and her stream.
Later, the Catholic church tried to build a church nearby and dedicate it to La Negrita. However, the church was destroyed 3 or 4 times by natural disasters before they took the hint and (successfully) built the church around the original stream and boulders.
Today, The Virgin rests on a gold and jeweled-studded platform inside the beautiful Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles in Cartago. And, quite naturally, the spring has been the site of many miracles and is a popular destination for those in search of Holy Water (me).
Of course, back in 1635 the little indigenous girl and her townspeople could probably remember the name of the ancient Earth Goddess of this land now called Costa Rica. When the girl found the statue mysteriously returned to the stream, did she gasp and fall to her knees, exclaiming the Mother’s name? Did she anoint herself in the cool waters flowing under the Mother’s feet? Did the Mother appear in her dreams with guidance and counsel? Did she invoke the Mother as she lay on mattress about to give birth to her own motherhood?
I like to think so.
Image of La Negrita. Credit: La Nacion Newspaper