When I was fifteen I spent a few weeks out of the spring semester as an exchange student in Cologne, Germany. Our many guided outings took us to cathedrals and archaeological sites, as well as former palaces and fortresses. Among those destinations was a medieval open-air tower connected to one of the state behemoths. Continue reading “Before Salem: The Burning Times and a Call to all Self-Proclaimed Witches”
I’ve been on holiday in France for the past month; my husband is a French citizen so I spend quite a bit of time in France every year visiting his family. Throughout my travels here, I have fallen in love with the mythos of the Black Madonna/Virgin or as they say in French la vierge noire. These are usually statues of the holy mother and child that were found under miraculous circumstances; resulting in the development of a local cult for their worship. They are found all over the world ( Virgin of Guadalupe -Hidalgo is an example many North Americans may be familiar with) but France is thought to have the highest proportion of them with over 300 in existence. What makes them unusual is that they have black or dark skin color, hence the name. It is also interesting to note that the Catholic church has absolutely denied their existence and when it does acknowledge them, such as in the case of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, they claim that they are only black due to soot damage.