The Vestal Virgins

On my recent trip to Rome to finish researching St. Cecilia’s life for my historical fiction novel, Virgin Martyr, I spent some time at the Temple of Vesta and the home of the ancient Roman Vestal Virgins. One of my purposes in writing this book was to investigate how attitudes about women’s sexuality and social […]

Women in Sacred Dream History

While most scriptural accounts were recorded by men within the historical setting of their time and cultures for an audience of other men, much can be learned about the true nature of  the historical-cultural mindset about gender in relation to the art of sacred dreaming, by evaluating what these sacred texts say about women as […]

Alchemy and the Goddess in the Western World

Grecian and Egyptian Alchemy and the Goddess In the West, the practice of alchemy is rooted in Grecian and Egyptian lore. Within these traditions the alchemical process became not only a physical practice, but a philosophy with far reaching spiritual significance. The transmutation of base material into gold became highly symbolic of the transmutation of […]

The Goddess and Eastern Alchemy

Chinese – Taoist Alchemy Taoism is a religious – philosophical system that was syncretized from other spiritual traditions. Taoist alchemical practice and lore was also adopted from other Eastern traditions, but developed  some distinctive characteristics. As Taoism is largely the practice of living in harmony with nature, Taoist alchemy stresses more continuity between the physical […]

Alchemy and the Goddess

Alchemy is All About the Goddess Alchemy has historically been referred to as the “Magnum Opus” or “Great Work.” It is an arcane, mystical practice that varied from one alchemist to another. What historical writings we have were often written in code to protect its secret/esoteric character, but at its root level, alchemy is the […]

Well Read Mary

As we continue considering Virgin Mary symbolism in art during the month of May, it is interesting to note how in so many famous paintings of Mary, she is reading a book. What is she reading, and why? Mary Reads During the Annunciation We often see Mary reading in paintings of the Annunciation, as the […]

How Mary Became the Church (Literally)

Virgin Mary Symbolism in Art Parallel to the development of Mary as “Mother Nature” in Christian art symbolism is the development of the equation of  of Mary to the “Church” itself in terms of placing her within or near symbols of sacred architecture. In the second century Tertullian and other church fathers likened her virginity […]

Mary and Motherhood in Art

The parallel between Eve and Mary dates from the very beginning of Christianity and resonates throughout the writings of the patristic fathers.

Virgin Mary Symbolism in Art

May is Mary’s Month and We Really Need Her Right Now! As a single mother of two sons who was raised Catholic and received a format Catholic education (right up to a Master’s Degree of Theology Degree at Notre Dame), I have always loved Mary. Though my spiritual sensibilities have led me beyond the confines […]