Why 'Madonna Medicina'?
Updated: Aug 17, 2019
Reclaiming the 'virgin' in each of us, and my dive into the feminine underworld.
“Virgin” doesn’t mean what you think it means. At least, it didn’t use to. The word refers to a woman’s status as unattached, strong, independent. It wasn’t used to define her sexuality (specifically, to whether or not she’s had penetrative sex). Back in the day when mother goddesses were common equals among their male counterparts, a virgin was an unmarried woman, often a priestess. They engaged in their sexuality when and with whom they chose, if they so wished. Basically, a virgin can have sex. Or not. It’s not her sexual partners or lack thereof that determine a woman’s virginity. It’s the fact that she is autonomous, whole unto herself.
I’m not completely sure when this awareness of virginity started to take hold in my psyche. I do remember that the light bulb came on in my consciousness as I was reading The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley. When I moved on to (finally!) read Women Who Run with the Wolves, by Claudia Pinkola Estes, the concept became even clearer - as well as my fascination with feminine archetypes and the duality of feminine and masculine qualities within each of us. (Side note: every woman should read Women Who Run with the Wolves. And every man who also wants to understand the feminine.)
‘Madonna Medicina’ emerged out of my creative subconscious like a firefly spark of inspiration. Of course! The word Madonna immediately evokes both halves of the current day dichotomy of the Great Mother: the saint and the whore. I don’t know which you think of first, but I guarantee it’s either the Virgin Mary (probably holding Baby Jesus) or the pop singer. Madonna the singer has always been polemic because her overt sexuality and independence shocked a society still hung over from Victorian-era morals. A woman is only “good” if she is chaste, virtuous, self-sacrificing…all for the benefit of the man she is meant to love, serve and bear children to in exchange for protection, food and shelter. Not even Mother Mary herself has always been held up to those standards.
I like the idea of reclaiming “virgin” by using a word that evokes the striking contrasts of the saint and the whore. We’re all both. The day of ‘either/or’ is past. We’re moving on to ‘yes/and’. YES, I can be chaste AND I can be sexual. YES, I can give generously of myself AND establish healthy boundaries. YES, I can choose to commit to a partner and family AND I can have my own private inner life and independent personal life.
So, the idea of Madonna Medicina is to support the process of merging these contrasting archetypes back into the grander picture of a more feminine world. Believe you me, the Great Mother is re-emerging. The collective feminine consciousness is re-birthing her. Women need her. Men need her. We need to heal our feminine so we can heal our masculine. That’s the medicine. That’s the medicine that will bring our lives and societies back into balance.
And it won’t look like anything we’ve seen before. Madonna Medicina is also an adventure into the unknown (ha! Unknown, subconscious…We’re talking about an adventure into the feminine here). What will it look like when the feminine is finally back in balance with the masculine, within the context of the modern, technological world?
I invite you not only to imagine it, but to bring it forth with me. Let's give our vulvas some love.