March 10, 2014 Comments Off on Icon of the Week: Celtic Trinity by Br. Robert Lenz
From ancient times human beings have responded to experiences with the divine with works of art. They have used metaphor and image to describe what they have “seen.” Individual expressions of personal experiences of the divine have often challenged rigid religious traditions.
The spiritual genius of many ethnic groups through the centuries has been responsible for profound images of faith. Drawings on walls of prehistoric caves are powerful witnesses to highly developed spiritual sentiments of peoples who lived before the traditional religions of the East and West.
The civilizations of the Americas which flourished prior to the arrival of Columbus and missionaries from Europe were routinely destroyed. Images of faith were often condemned before any attempt was made to understand the experience which gave birth to these images of the spirit. Religious authorities, urged by patriarchal bias, were especially fearful of the role of feminine images in these primitive yet often highly evolved cultures. Male clerics and theologians were careful to exercise control over the images to be used in worship and devotions.
Native Americans, Africans, Asians, and early Europeans saw their religious traditions and images cast aside in favor of the Christian images current at the time. Treasures of faith were lost as cultures were systematically destroyed by colonists and conquerors.
A beautiful image from ancient Celtic religious experience was God as a trinity of women. The Maiden gave birth to creation. The Mother nurtured and protected it, and the Crone brought it wisely to its end. A raven accompanied the Crone as a symbol of life and death: though it ate dead things, it flew high into the heavens. The three women are depicted from different races to extend the Celtic image to a more global perspective. The snake was another sacred feminine image. It represented life, fertility, and rejuvenation. Devouring its own tail, it represented immortality.
Feminine images have suffered greatly in the west. Women will continue to suffer oppression in religious society until their images have been reclaimed and honored. These feminine insights can help to present a new healing perspective on the problems that face our modern world.
(To view more icons from this artist, please visit Trinity Stores at https://www.trinitystores.com/)