Alternative Religion/ Resources
There are almost five hundred so-called “Black” Madonnas scattered over Europe, the highest concentrations appearing in France and Italy. Many are believed to have miraculous powers of healing and protection.
While many of these dark-skinned Virgins are explained away as the result of candle soot or age, most appear to be deliberately created with black skin. Some bear reference to the Song of Songs from the Old Testament:
“I am black, but beautiful, daughters of Jerusalem. Like the black tents of Cedar, like the pavilions of Solomon.”
The Black Madonnas are associated with the earth, with darkness, mystery, and most importantly, miracles. Many have theorized that these images and statues hearken back to the worship of the ancient Goddesses Isis and Demeter; indeed, some of the statues themselves are believed to be pre-Christian. Certainly, the image of the divine mother and child-god are older than Christianity, and the tendency of the Catholic Church to borrow, consciously or subconsciously, the iconography of widespread Pagan cults at the time of it’s founding is well known.
The statues have also been connected to Mary Magdalen, who is often seen as the counterpart of the Virgin “Goddess” Mary- an emblem of fertility and sexuality, a substitute for the missing “Goddess consort” to Christ.
Articles and Essays on the Black Virgins:
A Reflection on Black Virgins
Some musings on their origin and meaning.
Isis, the Black Virgin
Selected quotes from a variety of sources.
Black Madonnas: Still Black and Still Venerated
Lists locations of dozens of examples.
The Black Madonna: Primordial Ancestress
As an archetype of earth.
The Black Madonna and Mary Magdalen
Connections between The madonnas, Isis and Mary Magdalen
Return of the Black Madonna
Images and Galleries:
The Black Madonnas of France
A Small Gallery with several good examples.
The Black Madonna Gallery
Madonna and Child Gallery
Goddesses with Child, from Christian and Pre-Christian Icons
Other “Black” Madonnas:
Mexican Black Madonnas
The Madonnas of Mexico and their Aztec origins.
Black Madonna del Tindari
An American Black Madonna