Re-Imagining Mary: A Journey through Art to the Feminine Self
by Mariann Burke
Artists plumb the depths of soul which Jung calls the collective unconscious, the inheritance of our ancestors’ psychic responses to life’s drama. In this sense the artist is priest, mediating between us and God. The artist introduces us to ourselves by inviting us into the world of image. We may enter this world to contemplate briefly or at length. Some paintings invite us back over and over again and we return, never tiring of them. It is especially these that lead us to the Great Mystery, beyond image. Re-Imagining Mary is about meeting the Cosmic Mary in image and imagination, the many facets of the Mary image that mirror both outer reality and inner feminine soul.
In Re-Imagining Mary Jungian analyst Mariann Burke offers personal reflections and suggests symbolic meanings in works by several artists including: Fra Angelico, Albrecht Dürer, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Nicolas Poussin, Parmigianino, Duccio di Buoninsegna, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, and Frederick Franck.
In western Christianity this Mary bears the titles and the qualities worshipped for thousands of years in the Female images of God and Goddess. These titles include Mary as Sorrowful One and as Primordial Mother. Recovering Mary both as light and dark Madonna plays a crucial role in humanity’s search for a divinity who reflects soul. Also discussed is Mary as the sheltering Great Mother that Piero della Francesca suggest in the Madonna del Parto and Mater Misericodia. Frederick Franck’s The Original Face and the Medieval Vierge Ouvrante also suggest this motif of Mary as Protector of the mystery of our common Origin. Franck’s inspiration for his sculpture of Mary was the Buddhist koan—”What is your original face before you were born?”
Here’s what a few of Mariann Burke’s contemporaries have to say about Re-Imagining Mary:
“Mariann Burke has undertaken the remarkable and urgent task of grounding one of the major icons of Christian history, Mary. She plants Mary side by side with her ancient sister colleagues: Isis, Kali, Demeter, Tara and others, revealing Mary’s ancient roots. This reading is critical for the 21st century since, through Mary, one expression of the Feminine archetype, matter can again be seen as divinized and the idea of incarnation pushed solidly into the matter of all things. Re-Imagining Mary is really re-imagining ourselves as women and men giving birth to God in newer and more relevant ways today. It is reimagining not only our own personal soul’s journey but also the deep sacredness of the soul of the world itself.” —Fred Gustafson, author of The Black Madonna.
“In this beautiful book, recounting her personal journey of discovery, Mariann Burke offers us her awakening to the experience of the Feminine. We follow her as she encounters and responds to images of Mary which hold meaning for her: Mary as Virgin Mother, Mary as Mirror, Mary as the Compassionate Sanctuary for suffering humanity, Mary as Temple, Mary as Black Madonna and Divine Wisdom. Through her contemplation of these images, she leads us deeper into an understanding of the Feminine and into unexplored dimensions of the soul. This is a book to savor and return to often.” —Anne Baring, co-author of The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image.
“For two millennia throughout all Christendom the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been adored. From the lofty world’s cathedrals to the smallest Christmas crèche that adorns a humble family dwelling her representation is present. Anthems are sung to her, voices are raised to praise her name, her very being. And yet standing back with some reflection, are we consciously aware of a deeper, more significant meaning of Mary? In re-imagining Mary, may we broaden our understanding of the profound psychological value her image holds for us. As author and analyst Mariann Burke wisely guides us and reawakens us to a renewed vision of Mary, we consciously begin to understand the extent of what her image embodies.” —Nancy Qualls-Corbett, author of The Sacred Prostitute and Awakening Woman.
“This fascinating and energizing book is the fruit of the author’s travels, study, contemplation, and personal experiences. I heartily recommend it to anyone who wants to begin or continue to face self, death, pregnancy in its various modes, and spiritual creativity. Using her readings of Mariann paintings and sculptures, from Fra Angelico to Warhol and Franck, Burke explores the Divine Feminine as a powerful force in the past, present, and future.” —Jane D. Schaberg, Professor of Religious and Women’s Studies, University of Detroit Mercy, author of The Resurrection of Mary Magdalene.
Mariann Burke is a Jungian analyst in private practice in Newton, MA. She holds graduate degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, Andover-Newton Theological School, and the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland. She has done graduate work in Scripture at Union Theological Seminary and La Salle University. Her interests include the body-psyche connection, feminine spirituality, and the psychic roots of Christian symbolism. She is a member of the Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ).
Re-Imagining Mary: A Journey Through Art to the Feminine Self
Paperback: 180 pages
Publisher: Fisher King Press; 1st edition (March 8, 2009)