On Holy Ground is a collection of icons for this age of climate change. The collection of iconography opens with an image of Mary of Swords inspired by the number seven. This sacred number is associated with intuition, mysticism, inner wisdom, and a deep inward knowing. The ancient church speaks of seven deadly sins and seven holy attributes, and seven sacraments. The composition places the planet Earth beside Mary as she bows her head having been told, “ a sword will pierce Your own Soul ”
Mary of Sorrows or in this case, Mary the softener of Evil Hearts tilts her head lovingly towards our planet Earth. Seven swords pierce her heart; indicating the fullness and boundless sorrow, pain and “sickness of heart” that would have been experienced by Mary the Mother of Jesus at His crucifixion.
Muslims pilgrims circle the Kaaba in Mecca sevens times, and Egyptians had seven gods.
The Christian bible used the number 735 times. God created the Earth in seven days and there are seven wonders of the world. In the book of Revelation mentions seven churches, seven angels, seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven stars. All music is created is based on seven basic notes, and we have seven chakras in the body. The prism effect in a rain bow shows seven distinct colors of light. There are seven bones in our face, neck, ankle and there are seven holes in our head. There is a Divine message in the number Seven.
The mother Mary bears the pain of her son, Christ who was pierced by three nails and a spear. The seven swords represents the union of flesh and spirit; Earths four cardinal points and the holy trinity. Three of the swords enter her heart on the left, right and one sword from underneath. Mary of Sorrow icons are associated with the prophetic prayer of St. Symeon,” Yea, …And a sword will pierce Your own Soul too, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed .” (Luke 2, 34-35) . She stands with her hands clasped in prayer for humanity and our capacity to turn away from our hard headed attitude towards climate change all around the globe.
Earths climate is warming due to our negligence in having the light of compassion for the rock we live on. We did not create Earth, we not sustain Earth but it is in our power to care and maintain the Earth. The seven swords piercing Mary’s chest represent the seven sinful human passions that cause spiritual torment for us all. Our human greed, lust, sloth, pride, envy, gluttony, and anger, are largely the components that have lead to our planets ill health, imbalance and climate change.
Pride is an excessive belief in one’s own abilities, a failure to see others before themselves. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is the sword that comes for beneath, unseen yet at the center of everything.
Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than what one requires. To take more than your share, to not know what is enough or when to stop.
Lust is an inordinate craving for bodily pleasures. The sex trade and our obsession with perverse bodily delight has become a hindrance to many otherwise healthy relationships.
Anger is an uncontrolled response and rage towards government, religion, or anyone acting contrary to our blinded desire. They spurn love and opt instead for fury. We cause massive destruction by undisciplined reactions and excessive outbursts of ego.
Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. Big industrial companies use greed to mine sand or gold, and sell seduction and cravings through lies. Greed that insists on becoming bigger and better year after year is an avarice.
Sloth is the avoidance of ones individual physical or spiritual work. It arises from a lack of self, feeling there is no point or purpose in life. On the international landscape it looks like dictators who refuse to act benevolently.
Envy is wishing for the other person to not have what they want to posses. We go to extreme measures to prevent others from having. Personal ambition sets one on a course to do anything necessary to have “what does not belong to them”.
These seven behaviors harbor a divine message if you can notice where a sword will pierce Your own Soul. Our planet needs a new awareness for profoundly understanding our place in the solar system. We can change our mindset to bring about a more balanced existence between humankind and the natural order.
On Holy Ground is not fully published yet, I have just began working on the collection at the Vaughan Park retreat center September 2019. The entire finished collection will be posted on the web site for sale beginning March 2020.
Mary Jane Miller created The Dialogue Project, 2008 in response to war and violence; the US invasion of Iraq. Now she is dedicating her next collection to climate change and prayer for our future. Climate change is a real issue in many of our hearts and minds. She urges everyone to yield, step back from our past behaviors, reflect and move towards a new, more conscious and responsible lifestyle while on this planet Earth. https://sanmiguelicons.com/