Where Love Lay Sleeping
deb to mike:
Have a dissertation here found at a yard sale on 15th C tapestries in Germany. Venus and Mary Virgin are interchangeable.
venus and the virgin mary interchangeable?... in aspects, possibly, yes.
Interchangeable as icons in the tapestries. Also in figurines, decorative boxes, things people had as keepsakes, things they lived with and treasured. Things that weren't burned easily, casually, or regularly. Things that were safe to keep. Things that belonged to people, not scholars -- scholarship the province of the church, the political power of the time.
The theme was love and love gardens, the stuff of Roman de la Rose, Paradise Garden, the Unicorn in Captivity, etc. Eros / Christ is also implicit.
We don't think of it that way now, even as mystics, but this was the way it was. How do we know? Evidence. It's there in the things people left behind. Even in later literature -- the Bard -- he wasn't seen as wogga wogga, as alchemical. He was the court, the framer of everyday drama. The myths, Homer, Hesiod, all at home there.
Grasping the heavy foot, Blake wrote:
I laid me down upon a bank,
Where Love lay sleeping;
I heard among the rushes dank
Then I went to the heath and the wild,
To the thistles and thorns of the waste;
And they told me how they were beguiled,
Driven out, and compelled to the chaste.
I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.
And the gates of this Chapel were shut
And "Thou shalt not," writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore.
And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be;
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.
all aspects of the goddess (and of the god) are - more or less - interchangeable, but aspects they remain... tara, for example, has 21 major aspects ranging from the infinitely kindly to the pretty fierce and wrathful... she, herself, may be considered as the outermost (or most manifest) of several more inner (or cosmic) degrees of the same thing right up to the very nature of primordial awareness herself - the "mother of all buddhas"...
ultimately all only re-presentations - representation to human minds of what the feminine aspect of 'what is' is - as are the various gods its enactment.
I'm only too well aware of what the various churches have crushed underfoot, but what i'm saying is that Aphrodite is not Astarte, nor Magdalene the Queen of Heaven... they are functions, and hence not interchangeable as such... each goddess is her own goddess, each function its own...
they may be conflated, compared, made to share each others' qualities, if you like, but they do not replace each other... even in the mediaeval mind.
Then let us say that by what is projected onto the images, what they have inspired, are to the viewer (often a bride, her beloved, as these were often gifts, commemorations, mementos: identity statements ) the heavenly /earthly garden of the virgin/garden of love were one. Unus mundus, the world ripe and we the world. Conception? Proof of love. A blessing.
Posted by deborah