Mater Dei/ Mother of God

Our Lady of Vladimir (12th century), the holy protectress of Russia, now in the Tretyakov Gallery. US Public Domain via Wikimedia
Vladimir Mother of God- painted in 1130 in Constantinople. US Public Domain via Wikimedia

In the above image, we see the Theotokos of Vladimir, an image of the mother of God with the Christ child. The icon is a version of Eleusa (tenderness): the Christ child snuggles up to his mother’s cheek [1]. The image is surrounded by a golden light, expressing divine illumination. Carl Jung tells us that presence of Mary betokens the sacred quaternity. Jung says:

“The old philosophers of nature represented the Trinity, inasmuch as it was “imaginata in natura”, as the… “spiritus,” or volatilia,” viz., water, air and fire” (Carl Jung, 1938, p. 76)

The holy trinity is the father, son, and the holy spirit. Beyond the holy trinity there lies a fourth archetype: wholeness is unified through knowledge of the Divine Mother. The Quaternary adds a fourth aspect to the Trinity. In spiritual symbolism, the fourth aspect is represented by the divine mother. Jung adds:

“The fourth constituent on the other hand was the earth or the body. They symbolized the latter by the Virgin. In this way they added the feminine element to their physical Trinity, producing thereby the quaternary or the circulus quadratus…. The medieval philosophers of nature undoubtedly meant earth and woman by the fourth element… The quaternity in modern dreams is a product of the unconscious… the unconscious is often personified by the anima, a female figure. Apparently the symbol of the quaternity issues from her. She would be the matrix of the quaternity, a Mater Dei, just as the earth was understood to be the mother of God.” ” (ibid)



  1. Wikipedia on Theotokos of Vladimir
  2. Carl Gustav Jung, Psychology and Religion- 1938


2 thoughts on “Mater Dei/ Mother of God

  1. Reblogged this on Neptune and the Oak and commented:
    I received this post this morning and thought it so appropriate to the energies moving at the moment. And so I share it with you. If you think metaphorically, symbolically, this is a brilliant analogy for co-creating wisely now.
    Air (thoughts), water (emotions), and fire (action) need grounding (earth) to complete a meaningful circuit. Pursuits that have no structure will fail. Relational perceptions that don’t bear fruit will have to be admitted as false.
    It sounds so obvious when you read it like that…but it’s possible to be in a situation like this, to feel an injury of some sort, and not remember that you can slip into neutral and have a private chat with yourself. You can carve out a few minutes of your day to ground.
    If you are physical, work out hard and then re-think. Also, and if you aren’t so physical, use paper and pen and take notes/draw objects such as ladders or graphs while you think in structural terms and fill in the images.

    Purposefully channel your sensitive issues into a structured representation and visualize the circuit closing.

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