Mary as Goddess: Queen

Our Lady of the Victory of Malaga
Luis Nino c. 1735
Denver Art Museum

Mary
As Goddess:


Queen

Supreme and sovereign mistress of the
world! . . . Oh Virgin, in the highest sense most pure, oh Mother,
worthy of all our worship, our chosen Queen, equal with the gods.”

–Goethe
(A)

Queen of Heaven is a title Mary shares with Isis, Astarte, Ashera, Inanna, Ishtar, Juno, Mariamne, and Brigid, among others. Mary is also hailed as:

Queen of the Earth
Queen of Purgatory
Queen of the Universe
Queen of Creation
Queen of May
Queen of Peace
Queen of Angels
Queen of all Nature
Queen crowned with twelve stars
Queen Mary
Queen, mother and spouse of the King
God’s Queen
Queen of Night
Queen of Sorrows

For more titles click
here
. (B)

The Feast of the Queenship of Mary is celebrated August 22. Prior to Vatican II it was celebrated May 31. (C)

Mary, Queen of Heaven c. 1485

National Gallery of Art

Washington DC

Perhaps the earliest depiction of Mary as Queen
was in nativity paintings where the three crowned Wise Men heaped rich
gifts at the feet of Mary and child. (D) Pope Pius XII officially granted
Mary the title Queen of Heaven in 1945 (D) , emphasizing the penultimate
moment of her assumption into heaven. “Ever since the Council of Ephesus,
it [sacred art] has pictured Mary as Queen and Empress, seated on a royal
throne, adorned with royal emblems, crowned with a diadem, surrounded
by Angels and Saints, and dominating not only the forces of nature but
also the evil influence of Satan.” (E p. 81) Mary is similar to the ancient
trinity of Juno-Artemis-Hecate: “queen of heaven where
she is enthroned in the midst of angels, queen of earth where she constantly
manifests her power, and queen of hell where she has authority over the
demons.” (A p. 603)

Madonna and Child with Angel Choir
William Bouguereau (1825 – 1905)

In the late 1500s in the West, the practice of crowning statues of Mary became popular. In the 1800s, a special rite was developed for this practice. In the Catholic church, crowning a Marian statue is not undertaken lightly: special permission must be granted, and the coronation must be accompanied by the required offices. (C) School children still contribute coins and donate their watches to raise funds for Marian Coronations. (D)

Many of these coronations take place in May. Mary as The Queen of May mirrors her ancient counterpart, Maeve,
The May Queen,
who is also traditionally crowned in May. Mary is Queen of the Angels, similar to Maeve, Queen of the Faeries.

Queen Mary has been depicted in art as seated beside
God the Father on Judgment Day, tipping the scales in favor of sinners.
The Goddess Maat was also depicted as Queen Judge with
scales, 3000 years earlier. (A) Mary’s role as merciful advocate and intercessor
is well documented in art and legend. Here is one such story:

At Mainz Cathedral, a statue of Mary gave away
one of her gold shoes to a beggar who pleased her with his fiddle.
When the beggar was caught and condemned for stealing, Mary
appeared and made it known that she gave him the shoe. The beggar
was set free, but the church fathers locked up Mary’s shoes
“least the Virgin should again be tempted to bestow them upon
some penniless beggar who prayed for her aid.” (A p. 607)

References

(A)
The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets

By Barbara Walker

(B) Titles Compiled by Bob Hitt, presented on The
Mary Page
.

(C)
Dictionary of Mary

Catholic Book Publishing

(D)
Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and Cult of the Virgin Mary


By Marina Warner

(E) Encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam quoted in
Dictionary of Mary



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