When I was in Italy I fell in love with the artwork, which is everywhere - churches, fountains, town centers, buildings.
It's awesomely beautiful. The most popular person painted and carved is the Madonna who was, not only in churches, but out and about throughout cities and towns.
The Madonna aka Mary, Queen of the Angels, Blessed Virgin, Our Lady, God's mother, Jesus' mother, was the central image to behold in much of the artworks.
It had me wondering why men felt a great need to create a female deity over and over again. Can this be that even back when these men were creating there was more than a deep appreciation for the mother and the woman? Could it be an innate and inner understanding and faith in the female principle as the source of all life?
For my mother and her daughters, we were very inspired by the power of the Madonna, the love for her, the faith and that led to a different spiritual path for me.
As a former Catholic from a European country, we were taught to pray to and put faith in Our Lady, the Blessed Mother, Mary, Jesus' mother to guide us.
When we emigrated to the United States, the focus appeared to be more on God and Jesus for guidance and help. Still, in our household images - pictures and small statues of Mary outdid the cross or Jesus; this doesn't mean we did not respect and honor Jesus or God as we did.
The devotion to Mary, the Madonna eventually through, at times, difficult decisions, translated to my spiritual pathway today as a Wiccan and no doubt this deep connection and relationship to a female deity. In fact, my spiritual enjoyment was my inspiration for writing my first novel, The Skye in June.
In the story there's a strong connection between two main characters, Cathy, the mother and June, her youngest daughter to Our Lady. The connection leads to June discovery of a spiritual path outside their family's Catholic religion. Although this is a fictional story it is also a thinly veiled autobiography.
A PERFECT! story for those from San Francisco and might have grown up in San Francisco during the 1950's and early days of the 60's and those who have wanted to visit San Francisco It's a great look at one of the city's most famous neighborhoods, known as "The Castro."
Do you know that before it was The Castro and this neighborhood was known as Eureka Valley and sits just about in the heart of the city?
Another hot topic at book events is from those who went to parochial school when the nuns wore the habit and religion ruled the home - you will understand. And also, people who were "outside the box" in the family.
What, if anything, was dissatisfying with the family religion had you seeking spirituality elsewhere?
Read more about my four books at www.juneahern.com Amazon.com and smashwords.com