It is truly right to call You Blest, O Theotokos the Ever-Blessed, You who are Most Pure and All-Immaculate and the Mother of our God. More Honorable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare More Glorious than the Seraphim, who without corruption did give birth to God the Logos/Word, the very Theotokos, You do we magnify. ~ MEGALYNARION HYMN TO THE THEOTOKOS
MARY AS THEOTOKOS – THE GOD BEARER
Our Marian Devotional for July is exploring Mother Mary as Theotokos, the God Bearer. We explore this aspect of Mary as she accepts this incredible calling … task … from Archangel Gabriel. The archive chat and meditation is from my previous Mother Mary Novena.
… the title of Mother of God derives from Catholic teaching on the Incarnation of the Word. Mary conceives and brings forth, in His human nature, One Who is God from all eternity. Jesus is not God by the fact that He is conceived or born of Mary (this would not be a Mystery but an absurdity because it would make Mary mother of the Divine nature). Mary is Mother of God because from her own flesh she gives to the Word a human nature like hers. And just as in ordinary human generation, the truth of the parents’ generative action is not the human nature produced but the person subsisting in this nature, so in the case of Mary: her maternal action reaches to the Person of the Word, Who by this very fact is truly her Son. Mary is “theotokos” because “the Word was made flesh” in her and through her. ~ University of Dayton
FOR THE MEDITATION
Choose a quiet place to meditate. Light a candle or incense if you wish.
The earliest known prayer to the Theotokos (Greek, Θεοτοκος, meaning “Bearer of God”) is a prayer found on a fragment of papyrus dating back to approximately AD 250.
This is that prayer:
Beneath thy compassion, We take refuge, O Mother of God: do not despise our petitions in time of trouble, but rescue us from dangers, only pure one, only blessed one.
Circle of Mysteries by Christin Lore Webber
Goddess Meditations from Isis to Sophia by Gabriel
Mary Within Us by David Richo
To set up a Mother Mary Altar or get some ideas for your current altar …
MOTHER MARY GODDESS CORRESPONDENCES
Super Powers/Rules Over: Many of Mary’s “powers” syncretize to what aspect of Mary is being called upon. Here, I am just focusing on Virgin Mary, Mother Mary generally.
- Birthing GOD (that is a big one)
- Speaking to Archangels
- Intercession for problems
- Visitations and Appearances
- Inspires joy
- Alleviates suffering
Magickal Aspects & Forms: Titles of Mary listed here
Culture: Christian Origins
Temple Sites/Abodes: too numerous to list but this is a cool map of 500 years of Mary sightings
Colors: royal and light blue, pastels, white
The Venerable Bede (673-735), Benedictine monk, historian, and scholar, wrote of the white lily as the emblem of the Blessed Virgin; the white petals symbolized the purity of her body and the golden anthers the beauty of her soul. Later, St. Bernard praised the Virgin Mary as “the violet of humility, the lily of chastity, the rose of charity, the Balm of Gilead, and the golden gillyflower of heaven.” University of Dayton
Herbs & Plants: (Check out this amazing reference of Herbs of Religious Symbolism – I chose a few that I liked below)
- Anise – Our Lady’s Sprig
- Balm of Gilead
- Bee Balm – Sweet Mary
- Chamomile – Mary’s Plant
- Fennel – also called our Lady’s Fennel
- Lemon Balm – Sweet Mary
- Orris Root – Madonna Iris
- Pennyroyal – Our Lady’s Flavoring
- Purple Mallow – Our Lady’s Cheeses (HA – this made me laugh)
- Sage – Mary’s Shawl
- Spearmint – Mary’s Mint
- Wormwood – Mary’s Tree
Flowers & Oils:
- Bluebells – Our Lady’s Thimbles
- Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger)
- English Daisy
- Iris – Our Lady’s Sorrow
- Lady’s Slipper Orchids(Cypripedium spp.) – pictured above
- Lady’s Tresses Orchid (Spiranthes spp.)
- Lily of the Valley – Our Lady’s Tears
- Marigold – Our Lady’s Gold
- Meadow Cress
- Morning Glory
- Peony – Mary’s Rose
- Rose – The Mystical Rose
- Rose of Sharon – Queen of All Flowers
- Rose Geranium
- Solomon’s Seal
- Star of Bethlehem flower (Ornithogalum arabicum)
- White Lily
- Wild Geranium
- Wild Pansy – Our Lady’s Delight
Animal Allies – reference Signs & Symbols of Gods and Saints:
- BEE: for tireless activity. Regal power. Chastity.
- Cat – it is said that there was a cat in the manger that birthed a litter of kittens when Mary was in labor. As well, several Annunciation images show a kitty with Mary.
- Dove – connected to Holy Spirit and peace
- Stork – associated with the Annunciation
- Unicorn – attribute of Virgin Mary as it is said only Virgin’s can catch a Unicorn
- White Rabbit – Christian lore says it is the symbol of Mary’s “triumph over lust”, but (ahem) we all know who the Hare Goddess is 🙂
- Article on Our Lady of the Grasshoppers
- Traditional foods of Nazareth (Mary would have kept a kosher kitchen!): bread, lentils, sheep or goat’s milk cheese, olives, figs, melons, fish (great article is Nazareth: What People Ate)
- Grilled Cheese (this is totally my sense of humor)
- Fruit, honey, fresh vegetables – as signs of nourishment, abundance, sweetness
Offerings for Her Altar: candles, flowers, more flowers, sweet-smelling oils, herbs that are sacred to her. This becomes a very personal exercise and may also be adapted according to the aspect of Mary. When I was little, I would give her tins of hard candy from France that a family friend gave me. I would set them in the window where I would see her. What does YOUR Mary like?
Feast Days: See the Marion Calendar (this one is amazingly comprehensive)
Crystals: apophyllite, kunzite, rose quartz, most pink crystals, pastel crystals, crystals of the heart
Suggested Goddess Practices:
- Prayer, especially praying the rosary
- Litany of Loreto (traditional) or create your own litany with the titles of Mary that speak to you
- Create flower crowns and gather a group of friends to honor Mary with the adornments of May! If you have a statue of Mother Mary, do a Crowning ceremony.
- Plant (or visit) a Mary Garden with her sacred herbs and flowers.
- Create your own Novena or do this one again.
- Find a Marian shrine near you and take flowers for Mary.
- Walk a labyrinth.
- Create a Mother Mary altar or one of her syncretizations and learn more about her.
- Devotion to Mary as the Lady of Hours (Hours of the VIrgin)- Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Write your own prayers to Mary.
- Invite Mother Mary for a cup of tea and chat
Circle of Mysteries by Christine Lore Weber (highyl recommended!)
Sophia by Caitlin Matthews (has some great chapters on Mary)
Goddess Meditations from Isis to Sophia by Gabriel
Mother Mary Oracle by Alana Fairchild with Art by Shiloh Sophia McCloud (highly recommended)
Mother Mary by Katherine Skaggs (pictured below)