Thursday, February 11, 2016

Bernadette and the Waters of Aquarius

Today is the 158th anniversary of the first appearance of the Lady of Lourdes to Bernadette Soubirous, a 14 year old girl from the south of France.

A shining, beautiful lady appeared to Bernadette in a large, rocky, cave-like grotto beside the River Gave de Pau in 1858 on February 11th, a day that would have been the pagan feast of the Goddess Brigid (and the Catholic Candlemas) —which heralded the approach of Spring—by the old calendrical reckoning still used in areas of Europe. From Bernadette’s earliest descriptions of the Lady we learn that she was she dressed in white aside from her blue sash, and that she was very young. Bernadette referred to her as “petito damizela,” which means a petite young lady, and said that she looked to be about 12 years old.

The grotto was on the side of a massive ancient rock formation known as Massabielle, which means “ancient rock.” The word grotto is used because the cave was not very deep.

It should be noted that both caves and rivers are traditionally associated with the Goddess.

Garbed in a white gown with a blue sash and with golden roses on her bare feet, the Lady appeared to Bernadette a total of eighteen times, praying the rosary with her each time, and during one of the apparitions the Lady instructed her drink from the spring. Bernadette did not see a spring, so began to dig in grotto’s dry ground. After a few minutes the ground was muddy, and soon water came bubbling forth. The spring which Bernadette found today provides hundreds of gallons of healing water per day. At the end of the cycle of apparitions, after repeated requests for her name, the Lady said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

The Virgin Mary’s appearance in Lourdes was at a place that had previously been sacred to the Roman Underworld Goddess Proserpina, and quite likely to a native Underworld goddess before that. Proserpina is the Roman equivalent of the Greek Persephonethe maiden goddess and daughter of the Great Mother, taken by the Lord of the Underworld to be its queen and his bride; she is the Dark Goddess of the Underworld. In Latin the word Proserpina means something akin to “to emerge, to creep forth,” as germinating plants emerge to the sunny surface of the earth, and as hibernating snakes creep forth from their holes as the weather begins to warm. I am reminded that Proserpina’s Greek counterpart, Persephone, emerged from her Underworld realm in the Spring.

Interestingly, there’s a Brigid’s Day rhyme from Scotland that says:
Early on Bride's morn
The serpent shall come from the hole,
I will not molest the serpent,
Nor will the serpent molest me.

Was this serpent a reference to the Underworld Goddess who emerged and brought in the warmth of Spring?

In addition, one cannot help but notice the similarity of the Lady of Lourdes to other apparitions recorded in folklore of the  “White Ladies” — young, beautiful, female spirits dressed in white, who often appeared near the caves and caverns of the Pyrenees, especially those near a water source such as a river or spring, and often the spring was known to be a healing spring.  The White Ladies usually sought interaction with passers-by, and it is interesting that the Lady of Lourdes requested the asthmatic, under-nourished Bernadette to drink and wash in the waters of the spring. Her request resulted in the discovery of this spring, perhaps long hidden in the rocky earth of Massabielle, which is now world famous as a healing spring.

The feast of Brigid is also known as Imbolc (“in the belly”) and Oimelc (“ewe’s milk’) and heralds the approach of the season of Spring, a time when a new cycle of life begins. Baby animals are born, and the first of the hardiest plants begin to poke through the cold soil and into the light.  In many of the legends Brigid is known as a milkmaid, and sometimes as the wet nurse and foster mother of the Christ child.

An astrological chart drawn for the day of the apparition shows that the Sun was in Aquarius—the Water Bearer—and the Moon was waning in sign of Capricorn, just a few degrees short of a new moon.

How fitting that the Lady of Lourdes appeared during the sign of Aquarius, by a river, and that by her intercession a spring of healing waters—long lost and buried under rubble—was unearthed. Healing waters, similar to the Waters of Life that Aquarius, the Water Bearer, pours down onto the thirsty-for-healing world.  To me this apparition was one of many signs that heralded the end of one World Age and the start of a new one.

(Some of the above is excerpted from my book, “Lady of the Sea: The Goddess Who Birth the New Age” Chapter 10)