This is a shrine I had built for a garden project with a few teenage girls over twenty years ago. I went to visit the garden at San Domenico in Marin County yesterday…the garden had disappeared but the Mary’s Shrine was still standing.
We used rose quartz to trim the face of the shrine. I remember two of the girls went out towards Bolinas to a nursery to buy the Mary statue for the shrine. It was Holy Thursday and that night they came to a Magdalene foot washing ceremony. When one of the girls walked in the room she had a large scratch across her face which instantly made me think of the Black Madonnas you might see in Europe. They began to tell a story of picking up the statue and they decided to stop and look at this old barn. They had walked into the barn and an owl came flying out of the rafters and clawed the girls face. She brought the arc-type of the Black Madonna into foot washing ceremony that night.
The Mary they bought was white but something else was happening below the surface. The hidden under-ground stream of the Black Virgin had her own expression. The scars you might find on some of the Black Virgins in Europe is the Mother Wound. It is found in our society as a lack of respect for the Earth, women, children, sex void of love, birth and death process. It is the unconscious wound we all carry as humans. The Black Virgins bring healing to our deepest wounding and brings to us the balm of awareness through Motherly Love…..May we all be healed and may we all know love that goes past the appearances.
The man who help me build this shrine put a little secret shelf in the back of the shrine to make offerings. I just so happened had a miraculous medal today, my dear friend Kevin sent me from France. So I place the medal as an offering on the secret little shelf. This made me stop for a moment and reflect. What was this little shelf? Maybe it is the symbol of the hidden aspect of the Black Virgin.
During this same time in the mid 90s, I was teaching a group of teenage girls the rosary. We had 17 teenagers arranging from the age of 12-18. It was an amazing group of girls. We would deeply pray together using the method of laying on of hands. We also pray for each other during the week. Lara one of the young girls in the group at the time was given a free trip to France because she was the best French student at Sir Francis Drake High School. Every girl in the group wrote down a prayer and Lara took all the prayers to Lourdes in France. I remember my own prayers were answered! It was the beginning of my organic rose bussiness.
Lara at one point left her own childhood Mary statue at San Domenico’s Garden. Visiting this garden after so many years touched wonderful memories in me. But it was the sitting in the garden with Mary was the real blessing. It showered me with a grace and peace that only a surrendered heart can find.