I came across the stunningly beautiful La Vierge au Lys yesterday and was captivated by it. It stayed with me throughout the day, whispering. That's the activating power of imagery.
The artist, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, was of a school attentive to ancient themes and symbolism. La Vierge au Lys translates as The Virgin of the Lilies.
Aside from being captivated by the almost photographic quality of the painting -- common to Bouguereau's style -- specific symbolism caught my attention.
What does La Vierge au Lys tell us about the Divine Feminine?
I intuitively associated this image immediately with Mary Magdalene, whose embodiment and mastery of The Inner Way of the Deep Feminine is hinted at by the symbolism here.
La Vierge au Lys wears a dark cloak, symbolizing the Mysteries and the wisdom that comes from the unseen realms. We might also think of what the Black Madonna symbolizes and brings alive here.
The red sleeves showing hint at Shakti, the creative life force and Feminine Mysteries.
The Virgin's eyes look downward, toward her heart. She focuses her attention within.
We know now that the electromagnetic field of the heart is 5,000 times more powerful than that of the brain, giving new meaning to "where your heart is, there too is your treasure."
If you're a meditator, you might recognize this heartward gaze as a common eye focus -- eyes 9/10ths closed with a light focus at the tip of the nose.
This eye focus is said to help calm the mind and nervous system, withdraw attention to outward distractions, and stimulate the pineal gland and frontal lobe of 'higher thought'.
It is also symbolic of bowing one's ego to the wisdom of the heart and the Divine.
Her hands seem to be in a mudra, with the ring- and middle-fingers together and the others spread apart. The ring and middle fingers are associated with Sun and Saturn, so this might hint at a Vesta-like devotion to the practice, so that it informs what one 'shines' into the world.
La Vierge au Lys is flanked by white lilies -- lilies being a flower associated with regeneration and rebirth, white symbolizing higher vibration and Spirit. The throne makes clear her power, and that she is one who is revered.
As she focuses her eyes inward, toward her heart center, notice the clear, unflinching gaze of the Divine Child and the arms open wide in a welcoming, 'no one disenfranchised' kind of way.
Here we see that the Divine Child, the Christ consciousness, and the Sacred Masculine are all born from and sourced by the inner wisdom of Sophia-Wisdom, the Feminine, and from a heart-centered consciousness.
If they aren't -- if the ego, the mind, and the masculine are disconnected from the Feminine, from empathy, and from heart-centeredness -- they can become cruel, and even sociopathic or psychopathic. We see this in more recent history.
So evocative she is, La Vierge au Lys will find a place on my altar, alongside of Da Vinci's Magdalene (read my previous entry on Mary Magdalene to see Da Vinci's image).
We can work with the imagery to kindle remembrance within us, to activate latent knowing and strengthen our connection to the Medicine of the re-emerging Feminine so that wisdom and heart-centeredness inform our consciousness, expression, and action in the world.
Image Credit: La Vierge au Lys, painted in 1899 by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905)
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