Tuesday 23 July 2013

The Royal Baby and the Sacred Mother and Child

Of course the birth of the royal baby is the big news this week, but the image of a mother and her child is something timeless - and sacred.

The beautiful sculpture is one I photographed earlier this year at Rochester Cathedral. The small statue caught my attention more than anything else in the building - although it is an impressive Norman structure.

I was taken by the sense of all-encompassing maternal love that the piece evokes. The child is asleep in the mother's arms as she holds him or her close to her heart. Although it is meant to depict the Virgin Mary, to me it symbolises the archetypal mother - whatever name we might choose to give her.

What surprised me further was that I discovered the statue is called the Blisland Madonna, and was made in the village of Blisland, in Cornwall, which I visited last year on holiday. Blisland really is a village that deserves its name - a blissful place full of lovely old buildings, a superb pub, a great sense of community and, indeed, talented artists living there.

The Blisland Madonna was carved from Cornish yew that was over 150 years old. Yew itself is a sacred wood, a tree associated with the dark mother of death and rebirth. Yew trees are often found on ancient sacred sites and represent gateways to the Otherworld, where the ancestors can be contacted and magical healings can take place.

The sculptor, Michael Marshall, said about the piece: "I wanted the figures to emerge from the wood, the base being the log, in as natural a form as possible. The mother is bent showing her humanity, and the face I wanted to register a 'stunned awe', a realisation, a humility, a heavy burden mingled with great joy."

Although I have never had a child myself, I expect all new mothers feel emotions similar to that expressed above. It doesn't matter if your new babe is a prince or a pauper, all children embody the hope for the future. They may be destined for great things, and all mothers know it is a huge responsibility to bring their child up to fulfil their highest potential.

Caring for a child can be a huge burden, particularly in this time of recession and hardship, but ultimately a mother's love is worth more than all the wealth in the world when it comes to comforting their babe in arms.

Links and previous related posts


Anonymous said...

I notice you have a place in Eastbourne. Come Dine with Me is currently casting for an Eastbourne episode. If you're interested on being on the show or know anyone that is then please email CDWM@itv.com.

Badwitch said...

Thanks very much for the invite. I enjoy watching the programme, but wouldn't want to appear on it - I'm a lousy cook!