For hundreds of years, we have been taught that the darkness represents evil and we must always keep our attention vigilant on the light if we wish to attain greater levels of spiritual awakening.
As I look at pictures of the Black Madonna, breathe into the cool wonder of an inky night sky, and reflect upon journeys into my mother’s womb where I sat contentedly nestled in the darkness, I have struggled with the concept that darkness represents evil.
As I put on a black dress, blacken my eyelashes, comb my head of dark hair, adorn myself with black beads or stones, and head out the door for an evening with my husband, I muse about how much I like the darkness.
I have lovely memories of sleeping at night directly on the Mother Earth, wrapped in a blanket of the sky’s darkness, completely content and at ease. Walking at night or floating on a lake looking up into the darkness are among my most cherished meditative moments. I look forward to cuddling up to my husband at night, sinking in to the darkness where dreams are born.
Darkness for me is a place in which to explore the mystery. Against the darkness, light has splendor, like stars in the night sky. I don’t think of the light reflecting from the stars as light poised against evil. The light and the dark are simply unique expressions of Source.
Historically; however, it seems we may have demonized the darkness and the deeper natures of women along with it. Take Lilith, whose name means “of the night.” The story goes that Lilith was created as an equal to Adam, before Eve. She refused to lie beneath him while having sex. In anger, she left Adam and took up with some demons. (I haven’t seen a definition of exactly what was meant by “demons.”) Because she refused to return to Adam, a more submissive Eve was her replacement.
There is an interesting underlying implication in this story: If you are an assertive woman, you are bad and probably cavort with demons; if you are a submissive woman, you are good and obey your husband’s wishes. Some stories even speculate that Lilith might have been the serpent that tempted Eve. That would certainly equate her with evil, wouldn’t it? In earlier times, these concepts would certainly have encouraged women to remain submissive, wouldn’t they?
When you hear the word witch, do you automatically assume that means someone evil, practicing dark magic? While in some cultures only people practicing negative or (black) magic are called witches; however, in pagan tradition witches can be doing beautiful, positive work in the world. Further, the pagan witches I know do not distinguish darkness as bad and lightness as good, but rather see them both as unique expressions of creation, not as reflections of good and evil.
Somehow through history, we have managed to demonize the darkness and that which represents the feminine along with it, except perhaps for the Black Madonna. She continues to represent a mystery of feminine expression that we do not yet fully understand. She teases us and taunts us to wonder about what she means and why she exists.
I love this excerpt from Reverend Dr. Matthew Fox, and if you wish to read all of his report you can at: http://www.matthewfox.org/sys-tmpl/theblackmadonna/
Consider a few of his thoughts about the Black Madonna and her meaning for us today:
1. Paraphrasing Meister Eckhart: “The Black Madonna invites us into the dark and therefore into our depths. This is what the mystics call the ‘inside’ of things, the essence of things. This is where Divinity lies.”
2. “The Black Madonna calls us to cosmology, a sense of the whole of space and time. Because she is dark and leads us into the dark, the Black Madonna is also cosmic. She is the great cosmic Mother on whose lap all creation exists. The universe itself is embraced and mothered by her.”
3. “European culture in the modern era especially has tried to flee from all these elements (depth and earth) both in religion and in education. The Black Madonna will not tolerate such flights from the earth, flights from the depths.”
4. “Because she honors the direction of down and the lower charkas that take us there, the Madonna honors the earth and represents ecology and environmental concerns. Mother Earth is named by her very presence. Mother Earth is dark and fecund and busy birthing.”
The Holding guided meditation that we freely share here at our web-site is a gift from enlightened Native elders on the other side of the veil. Those of us that practice this meditation discover that indeed, as it says in Genesis 1:2:
“The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”
In the depths of this meditation and my meditation practice in general, I have personally discovered that:
1. Emotions are a powerful expression of the Divine to be honored, not shunned and feared
2. The darkness is the womb of creation from which all life was born, including the light;
3. The first sounds of creation were like ripples, creating waves across the darkness;
4. All life returns to the womb at some point for its recreation. We can do that consciously or unconsciously. When unconscious, we create pain – the darkness some psychics see in our auras. Something in us is longing to return home for healing compassion.
5. The darkness is the very soul of the Sacred Feminine. We access it through our emotions and our intuition.
It would be easy to follow the pattern of history that has equated evil with darkness and evil with the feminine. Or we can embrace this wonderful time in history to listen to the calling of the Sacred Feminine within us and once again embrace the darkness as our refuge, perhaps as our most ancient ancestors once did.
This is the birth right we have forgotten—that the pathway to our limitless selves lives in the limitless darkness. It lives in our natural tendencies of compassion, our boundless emotions, the depths of the creative force that dwells inside our bodies.
Our cells remember the way home to the Sacred Womb of the Divine Feminine, if we let go of the old beliefs that were created to imprison us in complacency and obedience—and instead follow our hearts into the depths of the unknown—the darkness where all life originated.