“Madonna of the Roses,” William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1903, WikiArt.

Part 1: Twin Sisters, Muriel and Betrys

How can I leave one ocean clifftop for another?
Abandon fields and forests of Irish homeland
For trackless cloud-swept heights of Sheep
Isles? Thus was daunting charge and challenge,
Vision of Mary, Holy Mother, ministering to
Faeroe Island folk, tasks I could not perform
Alone, my twin sister, Betrys, I approached,
Druid priestess, uneasy meeting, sunlit glade,
Rock altar revered by Christians, pagans, alike.

“By separateness, our faiths have stronger
Grown,” advised Betrys. “We are like fissure
In this stone, fire and ice, ancient forces
Once ruled this land, mountains reduced to
Rubble plains, scars imparted, still unhealed,
We are like this.” With Betrys, I, Sister Muriel,
Did not agree, religious life paths, separate
And distinct, we followed, watery reflections
Of the other, convictions non-opposing.

Sisters of faith, disorders of soul and body,
We healed by woodland deities or by Christ’s
Love and salvation. “By vision of Mary, Holy
Mother, I was called to Sheep Isles,” I offered
As explanation. “Mary, Mary, I know not this
Mother of your god,” countered Betrys. “Reveal
Her to me, here, now, and upon my word, I
Will accompany you to Sheep Isles, no more
Than ship voyage, to and from Irish shores.

Beyond our experience, invisible appearing
Visible, deep stone fissure, vaporous light
Arose, sun-rising cloud, time unraveled, rock-
Scarring ancient ice forces we reckoned, two
Sisters to each other clinging, strength and
Faith combined, earth-touching, radiance form-
Assuming, crucifix to breast I grasped, shell
And bead necklace, Betrys in hand gripped,
Image mercurial, blending, separate, distinct.

“Ruth and Naomi,” Ary Scheffer, 1856, WikiArt.

“O! Maiden-Mother goddess,” Betrys prayed to
Image I perceived as Mary, Holy Mother. Were
They sisters or one in same? We knew not, for
To us, she or they spoke: “From Ireland leave,
Minister to shepherds on distant Faeroe Isles.”
No sailing ship for use, thoughts mind-spoken:
“Approach Norsemen, passengers on longboats,
From Norway, closest point of sail, exchanged
For secrets of navigation clear-stone.”

This poem is continuation of story-line found in:
“Sister Muriel, Christmas Visitation, Part 2”

Since ancient times, mother of gods have been venerated and/or worshiped,
whether it was Cybele, Rhea, Tara, Brigid, and Mary, Holy Mother. Parallels
exist between “great mothers” and divine births, gods becoming man, man
becoming gods, distinctions celebrated in religions, old and relatively new.
Thanks for reading. 

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