Paris has always been a city close to my heart. I spent a lot of time there as a child and always as we crossed the bridge onto Ile de la Citè, a sense of calm would come over me. It was as though I could breathe again. When I saw the fire ravaging Notre Dame Cathedral, it brought me to tears. There was something so destructive, yet also so regenerating about it. Fire destroys, but also offers rebirth and renewal.
I thought about the beautiful rose windows...and my heart broke. I am so glad that they miraculously survived. But that night, I felt compelled to begin to create this piece in honour of Notre Dame, of what is past and what is yet to come on that sacred site.
It took 200 years to build the Cathedral...and life expectancy was of course much shorter back then and so I figure it was around 4-5 generations in the making. So the people who began it never saw it finished. Like planting a tree for the future, they put their hearts and souls into this beautiful building never seeing the end result of their work. I thought of them. Notre Dame and Ile de la Citè always felt like the belly of Paris to me. The heart centre of that beautiful city. So many wonderful works of literature have been set there, from Victor Hugo to Emile Zola...and even I remember one of my favourite Nancy Drew books 'The 99 Steps', which I loved as a child! Notre Dame existed in our collective imagination, even for those who had never been there.
Mankind's architectural creations are one of humanity's finest and easily identifiable symbolic achievements. It was an iconic building and seeing it burn brought a real sense of the impermanence of all things, and a feeling of discomfort at that. It brought a sense of the fragility of our physical and symbolic constructions. Even though we logically know that all things are impermanent, that they will one day fall apart and that as Osho said, 'society is but a clearing in the forest', we still feel it strongly in our bellies. Notre Dame was a an iconic symbol of France, a symbol of religion and, a symbol of civilization. It was an interesting feeling.
The Saturday before the fire, I gave a mandala workshop in Cork. At my workshops, I always create a piece myself, processing the energy of the group I'm working with within my own piece. My piece that Saturday was red and fiery...unusual for my work. I also put in a little black sun and a red sun and when we did the share at the end of the workshop , I voiced that I felt it to be the energy of the Black Madonna. The words sprang into my mind and my mouth, even though I knew very little about the Black Madonna. I always burn the pieces I create at workshops to transmute the energy but I include a picture of it beneath.
So when the fire happened and afterwards I read about how Notre Dame was in fact built by the Knights Templar in honour of Mary Magdalene, who is personified as the Black Madonna, I was quite taken aback by the synchronicity. Mary Magdalene is a being close to my heart it feels. I also read that beneath Notre Dame Cathedral lies the ruins of a Temple of Isis. Ile de la Citè is also a place of many intersecting ley lines, known as point zero. Perhaps it is for these reasons that one gets the feeling of ease and spaciousness when one crosses the bridges onto this small city island. I have always been very attracted to Isis and her energy and have had many wonderful experiences over the years which are slowly beginning to make some kind of sense to me.
I created this piece in honour of Notre Dame as I felt compelled to do, for what is passed and what is yet to come. I feel the rebuilding of this place will embrace the sacred feminine quality much more openly. That it will be a balanced place. A much more harmonious place in terms of yin and yang energies. In my mind's eye, I see the spire being rebuilt in glass, with diamond facets...it will shimmer. That's what I see! This piece encompasses the energy that I felt around all of this. When fire destroys, something new is reborn.
The original mandala measures 70cm x 70cm and is acrylic on canvas. It is available for sale and I'm always open to people paying in installments if that works better for them. I will also have prints available of it soon, and if you'd like one, message me and I'll put you on the order to the printer, as I don't get many of each print initially, so it's good to know numbers!