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In this exceptional study of the Black Madonna, author, scholar and artist Nic Philips leads you on a pilgrimage through the history, myth, practice and modern relevance of her many images around the world and asks astute questions about how they have been interpreted and misinterpreted over the centuries. As though restoring the artefacts themselves, he gently strips away layers of supposition and imposition to show the truth beneath, but also looks to the value of the later meanings and significance accrued by these sacred portrayals of a Black Virgin.


Starting with one of the most famous of her statues in Chartres, France and then casting light on the less explored phenomenon of syncretic worship within the African and Indian diasporas, we learn how the mysterious Black Madonna became equated with Dark Goddesses such as Kali, the primal fury of the Vodou Lwa Ezili Dantor , and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico.  Taking us into an in-depth exploration of a figure who has been interpreted as both Mary Magdalene and various Orisha, this expertly-researched book shows what a powerful figure this Dark Mother remains throughout the world as a symbol of the strength and liberation of the oppressed.


Whilst many existing books on this subject have focused mainly on myths which have grown within the European Grail tradition, Breaking Chains embraces both a personal journey and an objective approach to finding the real power behind the Black Madonna, not only mythically and historically but politically. In a fascinating and accessible work, including his own extraordinary paintings inspired by statues and stories around the world, Nic Phillips shows that the Black Madonna is the focus for a living, breathing, evolving movement, and is perhaps even more relevant today than ever before.

Breaking Chains: The Evolution of The Black Madonna

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