Giovanni di Paolo, “Madonna of Humility”


In the new issue of National Geographic there is an absorbing article on “Mary: The Most Powerful Woman in the World.” The article, which I cannot recommend enough, can be read here:

The holiest woman, even in the Koran, until the 12th century had been portrayed as a royal, imperial figure but later on evolved into the universally accessible force of Love that knows no political or social boundaries, as we know Her today. She attracts millions to shrines, where her apparitions have been recorded, though only 16 have found the official acceptance of the church. There is no one, self-proclaimed skeptics included, who can resist the force of this archetype. From the symbolic standpoint, I have not seen a better account of the meaning of Mary than the one in The Lost Language of Symbolism – An Inquiry into the Origin of Certain Letters, Words, Names, Fairy Tales, Folklore and Mythologies by Harold Bayley (published in 1912). The following are excerpts from chapter “The Star of the Sea” devoted to Mary (page 232):


Sandro Botticelli, “Madonna of the Book”

“The worship of the Queen of Heaven was flourishing long before the time of Jeremiah,and when the Christian Church appointed its festivals, it fixed upon 25th March as “Lady Day” for the reason that this date was celebrated throughout the Grecian and Roman world as the festival of the miraculous conception of the ” Blessed Virgin Juno.” The month of May, now dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was likewise the month of the pagan virgin mothers. The titles of ” Our Lady,”” Queen of Heaven,” and ” Mother of God ” were borne by Isis the immaculate, and, Assumption-like, Isis was represented standing on the crescent moon and surrounded by twelve stars.

Among the titles of Queen Mary is Stella Maris, the Star of the Sea—-an appellation for which it is difficult to discern any Biblical justification. “Star of the Sea” was, however, one of the titles of Isis and other pagan goddesses, and one must assume that it was sanctioned by Christianity for the usual reason that the people obstinately refused to relinquish it.

The Star of the Sea is represented in the accompanying Water-Mother emblems, Mary, Maria, Myrrha, Miriam, or Mara, the sparkling light of the waters, the virgin daughter of Labismina, the Great Abyss.

There is hardly a nation whose history has come down to us that does not record the existence of some Saviour God born of an Immaculate Virgin, and not infrequently this Virgin Mother is named Maria or an equivalent word, pointing to the Sea. Dionysos was born of the virgin Myrrha; Hermes, the Logos of the Greeks, was born of the virgin Myrrha or Maia, and the mother of the Siamese Saviour was called Maya Maria. All these names are related to Mare, the Sea…

When the letter M was taken over from the Egyptians by the Phoenicians, it was supposed to resemble ripples and was christened Mem, “the waters.” The word em is Hebrew for water…

The Indian Goddess of Beauty was, like Aphrodite, said to have been born of the Sea, and there is an inscription to Isis which hails her as:

“Blessed Goddess and Mother, Isis of the many names,

To whom the heavens gave birth on the glittering waves of the sea,

And whom the darkness begat as the light for all mankind.”


Sandro Botticelli, “Madonna of the Pomegranate”






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12 Responses to Mary

  1. Jeff Japp says:

    Hi Monika. I will try to come back and read the NG article. Regardless, the post is great, as always. Wishing you all the blessings for the New Year. Thanks for all your posts. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marie Taylor says:

    As you know I am currently deep in the throes of the Madonna image. Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lampmagician says:

    it’s really true, in Koran her name has been mentioned many much more than Mohammad!! thanks as always. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Monika

    I love this post. So good to see Isis and the pre-Christian goddesses being given their rightful place in the timeline. And thanks so much for enriching my and my Followers’ lives this year with your beautiful blog. With every good wish for 2016


    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is interesting, but you guys know Rupert Murdoch bought National Geographic and fired a bunch of fact-checkers tho right? Jus sayin; careful about recommending them as an authoritative source.


  6. herongrace says:

    Ma the root name of so many maternal names. Fab article and as always beautiful National Geographic photos. I read the Wayne Weible books on Medjugorge. Fascinating and thank Goddess it occurs! I have been reading “Rex Deus” by Marilyn Hopkins Graham Simmans etc. It breaks your heart what the Catholic Church did to the Marys and Christ and consequently to women.
    I made the trek over to beautiful Rainbow Beach a few days ago and spoke to Mara who was in a glorious playful mood. I am sure the Marys will bless us all for 2016! Thank-you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am utterly fascinated and mystified by Madonna apparitions. Being from Poland, I have special devotion to the Black Madonna. Also here, in Switzerland, we have the Black Madonna of Einsiedeln, who is very special to me as well. I have just finished reading “The Virgin Goddess” by Stephen Benko – very informative and scholarly, but I think nothing can replace real devotion and participation in the mystery. It is admirable you have the connection with Mara.

      Many blessings in the New Year and thank you for all the kindness and support you have shown me.



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