My parents always bought golden jewellery on vacation. That was a good investment for later, they had heard. My sign is Virgo, so I got a medallion with a virgin on it.
Of course I knew that my father wore a medallion as well. But I had never given it any thought, until he was deceased and the nursing home handed me over his jewellery. Only then I realized that he had not worn a zodiac sign (he was an Aries) around his neck, but a Virgin Mary image. And only then my mother told me that he was a devoted admirer of the Virgin Mary.
A village full of Virgin Mary’s
Not much later, when I went out to take pictures in my village for my photo blog for the theme “symbol”, I discovered that many houses have a Virgin Mary relief next to the door. Ranging from Cloisonné earthenware to beautiful low relief. Made with a lot of attention and glazed in different colours. Beautiful to see, even if you are not a religious person. And even an atheist such as me feels upset, when people do not appreciate the decorations and unscrupulously paint them white.
The worship of the Virgin Mary is a typical Catholic phenomenon. Both in Dutch and Belgium Brabant, it is still alive. Protestants consider it a form of idol-worship, and I secretly agree. Yet I really enjoy the care and attention with which saint statues are made.
And occasionally I can’t help myself laughing out loud. What do you think of this Mater Misericordiae (Mother of pity) with its horror-nails? It took a while before I realized that they represent beams of light.
|Beguinage Hoogstraten, Belgium|
Symbols fascinate me. The comparison of symbols over time fascinates me. Saintreliefs and -statues have been replaced by constructed computer images. Sometimes this means a deformation of the shape, but luckily there are also unintended street drawings. To me they are as beautiful as the Virgin Mary reliefs in my village.