Sunday, November 11, 2007
The veiled bride
The shepherd theme also links with an idea of death. This again reminds us of the story of Abel, the first shepherd, who is a Just man, but who is killed by his brother. The theme of death runs through the whole of the Song of Songs. One idea is that the pastoral lover dies, and goes down to the underworld. It is the task of the Divine Shekinah, or the Spirit of God that is also the Presence of the Divine in Creation, which goes in search of the lost lover. The persistent theme of search which is the thread that underlies the link between the different songs, is the idea that the Feminine Principle, which also represents life, goes in search of the human soul that is corruptible, and doomed to mortality. Perhaps in this connection that we can also understand the concept of the “blackness” of the feminine figure. One Jewish Midrash mentions the Chemosh, the chief god of the Moabites, was worshipped as a Black godess.:
“This is Chemosh, the Abomination, which is in the desert. It is a black stone, its form like that of a black woman. It was in the place and Moab and her environs used to go to midst of the high it to worship her.” (cf. Num. 21.29 : “Woe to you, Moab ! You are lost people of Chemosh!”) We are even told that “Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the god of Moab on the mountain to the east of Jerusalem” (I. Kings. 11.7) This black Madonna is thought to be linked to black aeroliths, like the black stone of Mecca, and is later connected to the black virgins who were believed to have a healing power to protect in the middle ages. The goddess Isis who mourns for Osiris in the Egyptian story, is also represented as a black goddess. In India we have the figure of Kali, or again Durga, who are manifestations of a dark power.