How Old are You Now?

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Our Lady of the Grey

I’ll admit, this one hits a personal nerve. I am one of those women who was subjected to assumptions about whether my family obligations interfered with my commitment to work. I know many women who shifted thriving careers to focus on family and when they were ready to rejoin the workforce, their careers stalled and in some cases compensation didn’t even match what they started with and progress stalled by a reduced tolerance for aging women at work.

Women are outliving men but are being forced out of the workplace earlier. These generalizations often take the form of stereotypes with the older women traditionally seen as inactive, unhealthy, asexual, and ineffective.

Here Our Lady is seen as both her younger and older self. For better or worse, we often do not embody ‘correct’ examples of our age as others may perceive it.

Ecclesiastes in the Bible, an almond tree is used as a symbol of age, and so almond branches in various stages of bloom are her halo.

On either side are stages of the Goddess archetype. The blooming rose and waxing moon on the left, the crown of wisdom and waning moon on the right.

Her face and hair show both youth and experience-exuberance and trial.

Her younger side wears bright pink. Her older side, red or an ‘older’ pink.

The Maiden side holds a mirror facing outward. She is concerned with her own appearance and how she is perceived. The Crone carries a shepherd’s crook. It is a staff she can lean on and a symbol of ‘caretaker’ status. Note that the top is a question mark, representing a position she may have been put in that she did not want for herself.

Our Lady of Self Devotion

self devotion.jpgI have had several people ask me what lead me to develop this current series of icons and what inspires my symbolism. So for the next few weeks I’ll be sharing these pieces and their notes with you. It’s been a long labor of love.

OUR LADY OF SELF DEVOTION-inspired by Mary Magdalene.

‘Body image’. What is the perfect body and why do we strive so hard to try to achieve it? I think most women who say they are happy with their physical self don’t mean it. What makes it so hard for women to love themselves as we grow and change into different stages of ourselves. At what stage did we need to start convincing ourselves that we are worthy of self-love?

It was Mary Magdalene, a woman, who went and told the twelve Apostles that Jesus had risen from the dead; for this she is called “Apostle to the Apostles.” Mary was a prostitute, considered to be the lowest caste. I used the number 7 in the lucky slot machine design because Mary is said to have suffered from 7 demons and 7 is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual), and the number 7 is the foundation of God’s word.

Her halo is 3 imperfect circles in honor of the creation in the trinity. She wears purple robes of royalty to symbolize her status among the male Apostles and she holds up her cradle of creation, which has the fierceness of teeth.

When Mary traveled to spread the Gospel, it is said she carried and egg, the symbol of creation, that would change color to red. Eggs were what helped people to understand a new theological truth—the resurrection of the dead, and a new religion—Christianity—built around the first Resurrection.

Women are of the creator and creators. WE ARE PERFECT AS WE ARE. WE HOLD TRUTH-THE TRUTH IS RENEWAL AND RESSURECTION.