Twenty-first Century Icons
Star Mother has two inspirations:
The Astronomer/Cosmologist’s discovery of the origin of the birth of stars in the Eagle nebula, and The linguistic source of the Jewish and Islamic word for the Divine attribute of Compassion/Mercy.
Within the horseshoe arch of the mihrab I have painted the Eagle Nebula and the Black Madonna holding the Christ child. The mihrab is the cave of the heart, place of epiphany, and designates the direction of Mecca in the mosque. Muhammad felt kinship with the Virgin Mary because he received the revelation of the Koran from the angel Jibrail as she received the revelation of the Divine seed within her from the angel Gabriel. In mystical traditions the Madonna and child motif represents the birth of the soul.
The Arabic and Hebrew script at the bottom left and right of the painting express the tri-lateral linguistic root RHM. Each tradition uses the root to describe the attributes of the Divinity: Allah and YVHV (Yahweh). Depending on the vowels added to the root, the Divine attributes are Majesty/Power or Compassion/Mercy. The root itself means origin or womb, giving a maternal and feminine slant to the masculine gender linguistically attributed to the Deity.
I have surrounded the central image with a border that includes images of female goddesses from other spiritual traditions, some nursing a child.