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Mother Mary

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
The Virgin Mary appeared to me in a dream, recently.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Yesterday, I was reminded of the fact that it was a feast day, for the Immaculate Conception of The Blessed Virgin Mary. It was also this very week in 1531 that Juan Diego, in Mexico, began seeing an apparition of the Virgin Mary, also known as Our Lady of Guadalupe. An important time for Catholics and those familiar with Marian history.

As a Catholic website explained: “The Immaculate Conception, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church, was the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the womb of her mother, Saint Anne. Mary was conceived naturally but God kept her soul immaculate, or free from original sin.”

I have always been interested in Mary, the mother of Jesus. At the same time, while very holy, she struck me as enigmatic. My Catholic mom always told me she felt Mary had a particular interest in me.

The stained-glass window of the Virgin Mary in the Sacred Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Boulder, Colorado. (Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)

However, in all of my years of journaling and/or simply recalling and sharing information about my sometimes bonkers dreamlife, I did not recall the Virgin Mary ever appearing in a dream of mine.

But a week or two ago, it happened.

In this particular dream – which came to me just last night – I am in a somewhat familiar locale; sand dunes and cottages and a western view of Lake Michigan as the sun is setting. The car ferry is approaching the harbor and I am looking through a half-completed cottage. A sun setting. An incomplete house. A picturesque and familiar locale.

I can see the interior of the cottage, which is not yet built. And in the cottage, on the unfinished second floor, I see a portrait of myself. And overlaid on this portrait is an artistic rendering of the Virgin Mary. I was shocked by this, wondering – in the dream – if I was really seeing this image. Regardless, it felt comforting.

I should note that the last song I heard in the car, before going in for the night was the Beatles’ “Let It Be.” For a variety of reasons, this song has been resonating for me. While it is well known that songwriter Paul McCartney has said his 1970 hit song was written with his late mother Mary in mind, there is a spiritual quality to the song that can be quite moving at times. This may have unconsciously triggered the Virgin Mary dream I would have that same night.

After this dream occurred, I traveled to Boulder, Colorado and attended the funeral of a beloved aunt who had lived there for many years. The funeral mass was at the Sacred Heart of Mary Parish, which has had a Catholic presence on that site since the 1860’s. It even has a adjacent cemetery, something you don’t often see these days. Looking out upon the snow-covered tombstones and bare trees gave one a melancholy feeling.

And here I was in Boulder. The city Jack Torrance and his family live in just prior to their move up into the Rocky Mountains and the deeply-haunted Overlook Hotel. When Jack goes to see manager Stuart Ullman in his office, Writer Juli Kearns, who appears in Rodney Ascher's 2012 documentary about Stanley Kubrick's 1980 masterpiece The Shining, Room 237, notes the brilliant, indigenous-styled painting outside Ullman's office - Morrisseau's "The Great Mother."

This, Kearns and others have noted, is part of the "Great Mother" archetype as Carl G. Jung noted: "The Mother archetype takes the form of personal mother, grandmother, stepmother, mother in law, nurse, governess. It can be fulfilled in figurative Mothers such as Mary Mother of God, Sophia, or the Mother who becomes a maiden again in the myth of Demeter and Kore. Other Mother symbols include the Church, country, the Earth, the woods, the sea, a garden, a ploughed field, a spring or well. The positive aspect of the archetype is Motherly love and warmth, so celebrated in art and poetry, which gives us our first identity in the world. Yet it can have negative meaning – the loving mother or the terrible mother or goddess of fate. Jung considered the Mother the most important archetype because it seemed to contain all else.

Added Jung: "When there is an imbalance of the archetype in a person, we see the Mother 'complex'. In men, the complex may give rise to 'Don Juanism', which can make a man fixated on pleasing all women. Yet a man with a mother complex may also have a revolutionary spirit: tough, persevering, extremely ambitious."

Meanwhile, Juli Kearns writes at IdyllopusPress.com: "The Great Mother" painting is a shock of energy in contrast to the subdued earth tones of the lobby and its ornamentation, as well as the photographs on the other side of the entrance to Ullman's office, seeming to exhibit a sensibility and knowledge of the world quite apart from the photos and the tepid lodge and the well-behaved humans wandering about it engaging quietly with each other. The picture is an x-ray of a quite different interior world.

Around the hotel we will see prints of pastels of indigenous children by Dorothy Oxborough. Is ‘The Great Mother’ intended to be their mother?

The painting may refer to Wendy, who is often aligned with American Indian elements in the film. The hair style of the Great Mother can be compared to Wendy's three tiered haircut, which is less obvious in some scenes than others. When her hair is pulled back we observe that she has not only bangs but that a portion of hair is cut about chin level. Does "The Great Mother" hold what Kubrick might mean to register as a club, foretelling Wendy with the bat? "The Great Mother" is vibrant, communicating a ferocious strength, in contrast to Mary as the great mother in Christianity and her passively suffering the sacrifice of her son."

I will have more in coming posts about my recent Colorado visit and things I came to understand about synchronicity and its importance in my life.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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