Monday, May 28, 2012

Taphophile Tragics # 23

The Trustee of the Catholic Section of Rookwood Necropolis, has erected self-tour signage throughout the Old Catholic area. I would have totally missed this otherwise!

This statue of Mary is standing on a globe of the world, and around her feet is entwined a snake eating an apple. Pretty simple symbolism to understand, but not to SEE! The serpent represents Satan, a very subtle enemy. The apple is the 'forbidden fruit' symbolising Sin. The figure of Mary represents the dignity of the human body, that gives hope, faith, and love to the people of the world.

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Welcome to the 23rd week of Taphophile Tragics.

Your contribution is most welcome. Please ensure that you include some details of the cemetery in which you took your photographs, and link directly to your post, rather than simply to your blog in general. This week, Mr Linky opens at 10pm Monday, Sydney time (GMT+10), and closes at 10pm on the Friday. When you can, please visit the other contributing bloggers to show your appreciation of their endeavours. Due to time zone variations and overcrowded schedules, some contributions are made later than Tuesday/Wednesday. As per usual, we are working with the Linky with thumbnails, and displaying the oldest entry first, with no randomising.


Dina said...

Mary has to do quite a balancing act here, and in her mission as well.

I hope someday to see a cemetery with self-tour signage.

JM said...

I don't recall seeing Mary and the snake ever. Interesting.

Francisca said...

Julie, I've been trying to link for the past hour and cannot. Can you link for me?

I wll come back to comment after I sleep. :-)

Francisca said...

Okay, I linked, but was not able to use an image from my web page or my files. Sorry. :-( Back later.

Gemma Wiseman said...

Fascinating statue! The symbolism is dynamic, far beyond the grace of a sacred figure!

I too can't link up at all! Not sure why! I'll be back later - probably tonight!

Dina said...

I'm glad the linky has recovered and seems to be working again.

Julie said...

Yes, me too, Dina. Francisca & Gemma: I have relinked on your behalf.

Gail said...

"The figure of Mary represents the dignity of the human body, that gives hope, faith, and love to the people of the world."

Actually Julie the figure of Mary does not represent the human body etc, but the Blessed Virgin, and is more to do with the soul. She has her foot resting on the snake which is symbolizes Satan, and which indicates her power over him.

Julie said...

Thanks for your visit, Gail.

The line about Mary was taken from the signage provided with the statue in Rookwood Necropolis. I am fascinated by the absolute difference between the two opinions re the role of Mary. Where does your comment about Mary representing the soul derive from?

Dyanna said...

This meme seems especially important and apt today. Thanks for hosting it! I hope posting a memorial works instead of a graveyard.

Anonymous said...

It sure does, Dyanna. Welcome to Taphophile Tragics. I will be over in a while to have a read.

Francisca said...

1. Thank you Julie for relinking me. So it was blogger, not my proxy, that caused the tech-blip.

2. What are the chances that two of us post an image of Mary with her foot on a snake eating an apple? As you say, hard to see, and I hadn't noticed it in my Vensaque statue until I read this post!

3. So after Gail's comment, I got more curious about the symbolism of the snake under Mary's feet, and it gets complicated. In the Catholic view it originates from Genesis as a prophecy of the coming of the Saviour. Outside the church, there is another interesting interpretation of the snake as an archetype of Mother Goddess.

Jim said...

Great post.

Gemma Wiseman said...

Thanks so much Julie for re-linking for me!

Joan Elizabeth said...

The image is based on this Bible reference

Genesis 3:13-15 (ESV)
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”

Halcyon said...

I definitely wouldn't have noticed the snake and apple if you hadn't pointed it out. Very interesting imagery.

Julie said...

Golly, Joan, yes, that is spot on. Bruising head and heel. Thank you.

NixBlog said...

Interesting that the Mother Goddess of pre-Christian religions is often associated with snakes.

The snake is a complex symbol, indicating pestilence (as in Apollo's python, which he slew to indicate his power to heal), but also health (as in the sacred snakes in healing temples, even nowadays remembered in the "snake massages" offered in some Asian countries).

The snake is also a powerful sexual symbol and its association with knowledge, Satan, original sin and the male organ (i.e. fertility) all harks back to pagan beliefs. Mary conquering the snake indicates the triumph of spirit over flesh and the victory of God over Satan.

Now that Mary is a syncretisation of Christianity with old Mother Goddesses is another topic...

Thanks for hosting, Julie.

Nicola Carpenter said...

Lovely pictures. We had a simillar statue of Mary at our primary school.

Herding Cats

Nellies said...

Never seen this before, but maybe I completely missed it. Very interesting!

CaT said...

i would have completely missed the snake too!
but isnt the snake also a sign of eternal life? of good AND evil..?

Julie said...

A little later than usual, but I have finally made it around to each of you. Once again, the variety is superb, with the text contributing nearly as much as the imagery.

I value each and every one of you for the efforts you go to for this meme each and every week.

Thank you.

diane b said...

You are really getting into this activity. The tours sound interesting. Your statue is interesting and caused a lot of discussion. I will have one for you the week after next.