Breaking Chains - The Evolution of the Black Madonna by Nic Phillips published by Avalonia Books. Paperback: US $24.99 U.K. £14.99 Kindle: £5.99
The Black Madonna had a mysterious relevance after appearing some thousand years ago. Many have studied her and written books about her myths and miracles. This is the first I have come across that offers an exclusive explanation of her cultural background and associations. It’s an interesting personal understanding by Nic Phillips, who explains their history and their connection with ancient goddesses including mother, dark and pagan goddesses, such as Kali, Vodou Lwa Ezili Danto, Orishas, and others. He covers specifically Our Lady of the Pillar, Czestochowa, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, and also others that are less well known from across the world.
Cultural appropriation is a subject that is covered here along with the multiple possibilities of how these statues became black or were made of black stone or wood and how and why they have such presence in the Roman Catholic Church. But where are the photos of these great antique sculptures that have inspired millions of devotees across the world? The author is an artist and he has included some of his paintings of the Black Madonna and Child in this book. Did he break the patriarchal chains?
I wondered if men perceive these statues of mother and male child differently from women, and whether women would have asked different questions about their evolution. I was left with lots of questions but for anyone interested in the cultural history perspective, they will, no doubt, find this book interesting.
Nic Phillips is from SW England. He studied history and archaeology at Cardiff University. He created the tarot decks ‘Sol Invictus’ and ‘Pistis Sophia’.
By the same author:
Celtic Saints: Ancient Wisdom
Faces of the Black Madonna
Celtic Saints of Western Britain
Review by Wendy Stokes https://wendystokes.co.uk
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