A common space for harmonic peacemakers
The Way of the Rose #8: The Hail Mary
Photo : A New York based Japanese photographer. I can’t recall her name just now but it may be credited in the archives since we’ve used this image before. It doesn’t come up with attribution in any of the reverse image searches I’ve used.
Originally the rosary consisted only of the Hail Mary, repeated 150 times to match the number of Psalms. Only much later were the other prayers—the Our Father, the Glory Be, and the Apostle's Creed—added on. The rosary was for the illiterate, a substitute for the Divine Office recited by monks and nuns that allowed ordinary people to access the depths of meditative prayer.
Only, it turned out that the Hail Mary was even better suited for meditation than reciting the Psalms. From the beginning, its mantra-like repetition evoked a very peaceful and open state of mind. There was little theology, it was easy to learn, and—starting a thousand years ago—the people took to it in droves.
What was it about the Hail Mary that made it so perfect for meditation? For one thing, it was addressed to Mary, a comforting maternal presence who inspired trust and surrender, rather than an obsession with purity or perfection. It was a soft prayer, an easy and accepting prayer. It slowed the heartbeat, stilled the mind, and left the body feeling embraced and honored for what it was.
But there was something else as well. Most people couldn’t put a name to it, but they felt it. The Hail Mary followed the course of a human life from womb to the tomb, so that by saying it repeatedly one essentially "rehearsed" the eternal ancestral drama of coming and going from this world. It was a little prayer with a big message—as big as the planet itself.
“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
People said the prayer over and over again, handling it like a worry stone, until its edges became smooth, and eventually their bodies would grasp what their minds could not—that in all the universe there was not one cause for alarm. The beads of the rosary were Mary’s body. The syllables of the prayer were her voice. That body and that voice were always in the world. They always had been and they always would be. Because Mary WAS the world.
The book will be released in autumn.
The Way of the Rose: The Radical Path of the Divine Feminine Hidden in the Rosary