This is "Miriam of Magdala," more commonly known as Mary Magdalene. As I've alluded to before, I've been on a quest to find my own voice through art. Gradually the dream is manifesting after months and years of working through obstacles both tangible and intangible, real and imagined. Getting to the point of starting this piece represents something monumental--painting it was easily one of the most meaningful, healing and liberating experiences of my life--actually finishing the project was an absolute triumph!
Miriam was inspired by ancient Essene writings that present a different picture of Mary Magdalene. Traditionally viewed as a reclaimed prostitute, the Essene texts suggest that she was born in Ethiopia and every bit the female counterpart of the Lord Christ . . . the Lady Christ, the Mother Goddess incarnate. There's actually quite of bit of interest in the Black Madonna these days. To those who thirst for her message, Miriam beckons:
"See me now in physical embodiment.
See me now in this black skin.
Always see me in all of my daughters;
I am the whore and the virgin;
I am the midwife and she who gives birth;
I am the daughter and the mother;
I am your barren sister;
I am the mother of your father and the daughter of your brother;
I am the Queen upon her throne and the beggar woman on her stool.
I am in every woman and have given birth to every man.
I am the one who gives life and is life: I am the Feminine Power.
I am Miriam."
Miriam is both divine and earthy, regal and common. As she represents "Mother Earth," every element is represented. Along with my typical mixed medium approach, I used actual leaves, stones, sticks, a gold chain and some tree bark to make this piece 3D.
Central to Essene concept is the "Tree of Life" found behind Miriam. This tree of life has seven branches (representing the unseen realms of the Heavenly Father), and seven roots (representing the visible realms of the Earthly Mother). To find out more about the tree of life and other stuff mentioned in this update, please find the link to The Essene Church of Christ in the LINKS section.
The DNA strand represents the Golden Ladder of evolution and ascension. The dove has long been a symbol of the feminine Holy Spirit. It carries the energies of peace, maternity and prophecy, and its cycle of power is at dawn and dusk. There are two astrological symbols near the top that capture this. The red color around Miriam's body represents not only the blood that is shed when new life is brought into the world, but the pain and agony when life is violently sent out of it.
When I first started sketching Miriam, it just seemed like she needed to be holding something, and it ended up that I put a couple of sweet, vulnerable, baby rabbits in her tender embrace. I discovered how fitting this was after I read up on what rabbits represent. This is what "Animal-Speak" by Ted Andrews, published by Llewellyn Publications in 1994, says about rabbits:
"In Egyption hieroglyphics they are associated with the concept of being. In China, people born under the sign of the hare possess the power of the moon (feminine Goddess energy) and are considered sensitive and artistic. The rabbit is known for its fleetness, its ability to make great leaps and hops, and its ability to procreate (fertility). Perhaps this is why the ancient Hebrews considered rabbits unclean, "lascivious," just as they considered women unclean." But here she stands, gently nurturing these symbols of feminine fertility, protecting these vulnerable, yet powerful symbols of life.