Explaining the image of 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.
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".