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Symbolism of Our Lady of Walsingham

Updated: 5 days ago

Explaining the image of Our Lady of Walsingham

Our Lady of Walsingham

In the year 2015, at the request of the Carmelite sisters of Prenton;  I Created this 24 inch figure of Our Lady of Walsingham .

The figure itself was made from a variety of lightweight components for ease of carrying in the annual procession. ​​The statue now resides at the Monastery of the Ascension,  Birkenhead. 


Statue processed at Carmelite monastery

SYMBOLISM OF THE IMAGE

  • The throne displays seven rings on the two upright pillars.

  • These pillars represent the church, and the seven rings symbolise the seven sacraments. These are sometimes interpreted as the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

  • The back of the chair is arched to represent the arch of the rainbow (Genesis 9 verses 12 -13): 'And God said 'This is the sign of the covenant which I make between you and every living creature, that is with you, for all future generations, I set my bow in the cloud and it shall be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.'

  • Our Lady of Walsingham sits with her foot placed upon a toad. The toad was the East Anglian equivalent of the moon or serpent seen in Marian imagery.

  • In medieval England it was believed that the toad could form a magical stone in its head, which was used for superstitious and idolatrous practices.

  • Just as the serpent is crushed under heel in the book of Revelation, so Mary crushes the Toad stone and all it represents - under her feet.

  • ​The Virgin also holds a symbol of Queenship, a sceptre fashioned like a three fold lily. This tells us that the Virgin Mary is the pure Lily chosen by the Trinity from all eternity.

  • The Christ child wears a crown. Holding the scriptures he shows his teaching authority; his right hand is raised in blessing. 

  • Sitting on Mary's knee, as on a throne, he displays the gestures associated with God of all creation and authority over Heaven and earth, Christ "Pantochrator".


Our Lady of Walsingham in Carmelite chapel


"When England returns to Walsingham; Mary will return to England."

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