Assumption Day Newsletter
August 15, 2019
Here I am in Brittany, where they celebrate today’s date with great festivities, as the ‘Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven.’
Mary: The Lady In Blue
The ‘Lady in Blue’ was the topic of a wonderful book that I blurbed (wrote an effusive quote for) some years ago, by my good friend and colleague Javier Sierra, about an apparition of the Virgin in the American Southwest. The Virgin Mary was also the topic of another friend and colleague, Steve Berry’s, great book, The Third Secret, all about the final, never-revealed, secret of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal.
When Letizia Bonaparte (‘Madame Mere’ as she was called: Our Lady Mother) was pregnant with little Napoleon, she’d been dashing about on horseback through the Corsican mountains carrying arms to the freedom fighters; she prayed to the Virgin that her child would survive the strain of her mission. The Virgin answered, and a healthy baby Napoleon was born on August 15: the Official Day of the Virgin’s Assumption into Heaven. Letizia named all of her daughters ‘Maria’: Maria Paula (Paulina); Maria Annunziata Carolina (Caroline); Maria Anna Elisa (Elisa); and just plain Maria Anna. Letizia, Elisa, and the girls appear with the young Napoleon as characters in my book The Eight, and I discuss all the interesting symbolism of today’s date in my sequel to The Eight: The Fire.
The Virgin of the Nile: The Black Goddess
Long before Roman or Greek mythology, or the Judeo-Christian Bible, there was another miraculous virgin birth–in Egypt. The ancient goddess Isis (no relation to the recent terrorist group’s acronym invented by the Press) gave birth to baby Horus after her husband Osiris was killed and chopped into 14 parts. (This number representing the first two phases of the moon–from ‘new’ to ‘full’–making Osiris an early lunar god.) Isis collected her husband’s pieces, but one important part of him was still missing! So she had to produce baby Horus using her own potent magic.
The cult of Isis the goddess was so mysterious and pervasive, that at the dawn of the Roman Empire under Augustus (when Jesus was born) there were more shrines and temples in Rome devoted to the Egyptian Virgin Mother than to the other Greek and Roman gods and goddesses, though the emperor’s successor Tiberius tried unsuccessfully to suppress her cult. Likewise, for the protestant ’iconoclasts’ who unsuccessfully tried to trash icons of Mary, as representing idolatry. But ‘Our Lady’ – in French: ‘Notre Dame’ – still stands!