"You gaze on the icon, but it gazes on you too...We need to gaze on truly conversational, truly loving images, images that will return our love." -- William Hart McNichols
In times of mingled hope and despair, of longing for the sacred combined with disillusionment, the image of Mary continues to hold tremendous appeal. Not only the mother of Jesus, but the quintessential Mother, the feminine face of the divine, fierce protector and gentle consoler, Mary serves as a source of inspiration, wisdom, vital essence of compassion and forgiveness.
In Mother of God, Similar to Fire, priest-iconographer William Hart McNichols and mystical author Mirabai Starr collaborate to help make the perennial wisdom and love of Mary vibrantly accessible. Selected images of Mary, illuminated by Starrs lyrical prose-poems, embrace such diverse expressions as the Black Madonna, Latina, Bosnian, Greek, Italian, and Native depictions of Mother Mary. In these images of Mary we are reminded of what matters most, of what endures when all else seems lost, of what grace may yet be available when we meet fear with love.
William Hart McNichols, a priest and icon painter, lives in Taos, New Mexico. Described by Time as being "among the most famous creators of Christian iconic images in the world," his work has been featured in several books, including "You Will Be My Witnesses," and Christ, All Merciful.
Mirabai Starr, who also lives in Taos, speaks and leads retreats on the connections between teachings of the mystics, contemplative practice, and social action. She has translated and written introductions for works by St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, and has edited writings of St. Francis and Hildegard of Bingen. Her most recent book is The Showings of Julian of Norwich: A New Translation (Hampton Roads).