5th May is not only the day of our departure but it is also the day I remember my mother.
What began as one of those streams of consciousness type emails that flow between friends on a wave of thoughts and ideas that bat backwards and forwards, my artist friend, Catherine Clancy and I have been having just such an exchange (see below) which has sparked a meditation for me on the colour BLUE. Much of my time here on Lindisfarne has been spent in thoughtful prayers.
Blue energy is pure, soothing, calming, and healing. In Buddhist philosophy, blue is the color of pure mind, uncluttered by thought. The colour blue, and in particular, Ultramarine Blue has always been one of my favourite colours. Originally, the pigment for ultramarine came from Lapis lazuli, a metamorphic rock made from several minerals, but mainly Lazurite. Lazurite has been mined for over 6,000 years in Afghanistan and has been used as a mineral pigment for over 1,000 years. During the Medieval and Renaissance period, this highly prized and costly pigment mixed with oil for painting was used by only the most accomplished artists and those who had wealthy clients, its use, therefore, reserved for the most revered parts of a painting, such as the colour of the sky or the robes of the central figure, such as the Virgin Mother, symbolising holiness and humility, as exemplified in this beautiful painting by Botticelli.
“Sandro Botticelli – The Virgin and Child (The Madonna of the Book) – Google Art Project” by Sandro Botticelli – cgHULpr5dnz9JA at Google Cultural Institute, zoom level maximum. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Then by way of a contrast to the religious theme of Mary, who has given birth to Jesus, the ultimate symbol of Love, Botticelli painted his famous mythological subject, The Birth of Venus (circa 1482), representing the pure love of Paradise, and from which Warhol took his inspiration, (above) some 500 years later in 1984.
The naked female figure of Venus is seen emerging from the sea waiting to be clothed in earthly garments. The scallop shell on which she stands (or hovers on), has become the traditional symbol for pilgrimage, for those in search of Divine Love.
Yves Klein‘s monochrome blue canvases of the 1960’s brought our attention back to these early Renaissance paintings of the Madonna and Child, as he began to devote all his attention to a search for ultramarine blue in its purest form, eventually patenting his recipe to maintain the “authenticity of the pure idea” which became famous as ‘International Klein Blue’ (KB).
And later his experiments with the female figure and blue paint.
It is also the Chakra colour for communication:
to Caro Woods
Dearest CaroWe are on the same journey I have been talking to a near blind retired analyst in America about shame – fear – and all about the light ! So much to talk about but I will try and write it out for you too because it’s a lifetime of knowledge.In the cathedral work it took me so so long to work on the dark that I left too little time for really working on the light. So I am going to spend this year working on the light and I will make a white sculpture of Michael and cast you a copy once he has come through. Michael is your spirit guide Gabriel is my spirit guide. I think engaging with them consciously is the key.I am going to send blue ribbon for you as blue is mystery and Mary and you need a loving mother as you start on your mothers birthday. I am full of admiration for you – we have to forgive ourselves.Much loveCatherine xxxxCatherine Clancy PhD www.catherineclancy.co.uk.
to Catherine Clancy
Dearest Catherine…….what a star! Your beautiful ribbons and amazing card has arrived and was waiting for me when I got back home yesterday (from the new granny run).And of course, as it turns out, it’s the answer to my prayer!You see, i was waiting for some inspiration as to what i will carry with me from Lindisfarne as a symbolic token back to St Michael’s mount. I already have the Piran stone from the beach in Mounts Bay which has been blessed by father harry, (here is the story: https://pilgrimonhorseback.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/st-pirans-stone/ )which i am taking as a symbolic gift from St Michael’s Mount to lindisafrne.As well as your personal wishes to me which are particularly apt and poignant, your ribbons also represent the holy mother and it is the symbolic gift from the church dedicated to St Mary on Lindisfarne that represents the divine feminine that I would like to carry with me all the way back to St Michael’s mount.With much love and deepest gratitude,Caro xxxxPS I will try and speak to Sarah later as i would LOVE you both to join me somewhere along the way…..can’t wait.Caro Woods
to Caro Woods
Ahh I am so pleased Caro that’s exactly what I meant – Mary’s colour. My ‘ anam cara’ friend john O’Donohue said to me once ‘ when blue is on the table you are on a sacred journey ‘ so she will go with you and even if you lie down with serpents nothing can harm you. It is also an alchemical journey uniting the feminine and the masculine in the divine.God speed dearest caro – sarah and I will come and meet you xxxcatherine xxxx