THIS IS A DOLL WITH A STORY TO TELL…
I am just going to tell you part of her story because the whole story is very long. The part about how she came to be.
First of all I made her. She came from my imagination. She was created to accompany me on a healing journey to Mexico. This doll would represent wellness to me and help me heal from an issue that had been a problem for several years. Intention is strengthened for me if I create a visual object because I am such a visual person.
I created this beautiful, powerful doll that you see above, placing my hair, stones and crystals and other objects in her body as I meditated and prayed my intention into her to animate my request. My doll would traveled with me for 6 weeks as I visited churches all over the Central Highlands in Mexico. I was staying in Patzcuaro, Mexico the home of Our Lady of Health. I would be there on December 8th which was her feast day and there would be a grand celebration as people came from all over Mexico to ask her for healing.
The History of Our Lady of Health Basilica of Our Lady of Health: (Nuestra Señora de la Salud): it was the Cathedral’s seat in the State of Michoacán until 1950. The Basilica was built over a pre-Hispanic ceremonial centre, commissioned by the first bishop in Michoacán, Vasco de Quiroga, whose remains rest in the temple. The basilica is well attended throughout the year, especially on the 8th day of every month, when hundreds of devotees come to pray and ask for protection to the regional patron.The venerated image of our lady of Health, made with paste of corn cane and orchid honey in the XVI century.
The venerated 16th century image of the Virgin was in fact brought here by Bishop Quiroga, and for almost 300 years stood in the humble hospital chapel of Santa Marta down the hill from the Basilica. Now she stands in splendor inside the Basilica opposite and 18th century painting of the controversial bishop.
Most of the time she stands inside of an enclosed glass case, which is how she was when I first saw her. One her feast day she is brought out on a platform and carried about the church by 4 devotes so that she can be touched by those asking for healing.
The Virgin is richly costumed in an embroidered robe and spreading floral cap. She wears a crown and a finely wrought silver glory surrounds her head. In accordance with the traditional image of the Virgin of the Conception, she stands on a silver crescent moon. Over the centuries La Salud/ Our Lady of Health has been credited with many miraculous cures, as well a favorable interventions in times of plague and drought.
To me she represents the Goddess… When I set out to create this doll, I had never seen her image, nor did I know any of this history.
An image came to me in a vision and I created it. I made a beautiful box for her and also a medicine bag. The box eventually fell apart and she is now in the wooden box seen below.
The first time I went to the Basilica and saw the statue of Our Lady of Health, I was stunned by her beauty. She was almost life size, with long brown human hair and real clothes and jewelry. With over 400 years of prayer and dedication this statue seemed almost human. She was wearing a long velvet cape, embroidered with gold designs, that was floor-length in the front and longer in the back. I was surprised to find that the doll I created before even seeing her was an exact replica, right down to the red and gold cape which she only wears once a year, on her feast day! It was clear that I had connected with Our Lady of Health long before I arrived. The small statue that you see on the edge of the box and in the top photo is what she looks like on her feast day. Really close to the doll I had created wouldn’t you say?
This is part of being a visionary artist. We see things, create them and find out later they were exactly as we saw them in our mind’s eye.
She now carries healing energy for our travels and all of the sacred spaces where were in as well as all of the ceremonies we participated in together on my pilgrimage. Just writing this story makes me nostalgic because it was a powerful trip for me and I did find healing there.
The complete story of my healing pilgrimage is Chapter 6 in my book Empowered Health and Wellness: Awakening You Inner Physician