Sunday, 8 June 2014

Our Lady of the Winds

"Our Lady of the Winds", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

Today's featured drawing was inspired by another John William Waterhouse painting entitled "Boreas".

Boreas was the name of the Greek god of the north wind.  The name is also used to speak of the north wind personified.  The name, Boreas, is Latin from the Greek.

I, of course, thought immediately of Our Lady and decided that my drawing would be entitled "Our Lady of the Winds".  

The Waterhouse painting, which you really might want to take a look at by the way, is quite a bit more detailed than my drawing.  It shows more of the woman and of the wind-blown trees and grass. 

After beginning the drawing, I checked on the Internet and discovered that there actually is a church of Our Lady of the Wind, Saydet El-Rih in Arabic.  It was built in the Byzantine era in Enfeh, Lebanon. Even though the roof of the chapel has long since collapsed, it still retains traces of wall paintings representing Saint George and Saint Demetrios, the Omnipotent Christ, two evangelists, some saints and the Virgin calming the wind. It is believed that sailors and fishermen from the village of Enfeh built the chapel so that the Virgin Mary would protect them as they sailed the Mediterranean. 

Anyone who has ever spent time on or near the Mediterranean Sea knows how quickly the winds can arise and how frightening they can be.  I don't blame those fisherman one bit for asking Our Lady to intercede with her Son for calmer seas!

Orthodox icon, "Our Lady of the Wind"
Written by the nun of Our Lady of
Kaftoun Monastery

There is actually a new icon of "Our Lady of the Wind".  It comes from the Orthodox tradition. The nuns of Our Lady of Kaftoun finished this icon in December 2001 at the request of the parish of Enfeh after having shown preliminary designs to fathers and theologians who gave their blessing.  The icon now resides in the modern-day church at Enfeh, Lebanon (see left).

Of course, in the Christian tradition, the idea of "Our Lady of the Winds" is not just about calming rough seas such as the Mediterranean.  It is also about asking Our Lady to calm our own personal rough seas.  As it says in the Paraklisis (Supplicatory Canon in the Orthodox Christian Church and Eastern Catholic Churches) to the Theotokos:

“O Virgin, calm the tumult of our passions and quiet the storm of our sins…” Amen.



Suki in another one of her favourite chairs!
For some reason, Suki loves to spend part of her day sleeping in a chair by the front door (see drawing to your left).

I have never understood why she likes to sleep there since the chair, being by the front door, means that she hears all the noises from the hallway. Not only would I expect these noises to disturb her sleep, but I also know how frightened she is of that hallway.  She never goes out there and when the door is opened, she backs away and hides under the table near the apartment entrance until the door is closed again!

Be that as it may, she still likes to spend hours sleeping there each day.  Of course, if she is in this chair when someone knocks on the front door, she reacts immediately.  Bounding from the chair, she does not stop until she is almost in the living room.  At this point, with her fur all bushy, she carefully peers around the corner as I go to answer the door.  As soon as she hears me call out, loudly, "who is it?", her fur becomes a bit less bushy and she creeps forward just a bit closer to me -- still ready to run at a moment's notice.

On days when I am expecting both a package from the post office as well as a delivery from the pharmacy, she has to go through this entire routine each time someone knocks.  I have asked myself many times, "why does she still like to sleep in that chair?" and I have never yet come up with an answer!

Of course, as I am writing this, Suki is sound asleep nearby. Whenever I am in my little office space, she has to be here as well. What a sweet and funny cat she is.

As for me, I continue to stumble along with no significant changes in my health.

I did see a doctor this past week, but he was only the locum for my regular family doctor who is presently on maternity leave.  The main reason for my visit was to get a renewal on a prescription drug that my doctor likes to monitor closely.  As well, I needed to have more blood work done in order to check on my potassium levels.

So far, I haven't had a phone call from the doctor about what the blood tests revealed, but, then, the visit to the lab was on Thursday afternoon and the doctor was not in the office on Friday.  So, I will wait and see if I get a phone call tomorrow suggesting I increase the medication that is supposed to be helping me bring my potassium levels back down to normal.

What fun this is!



Happy feast day to you all!

"Pentecost, the Descent of the Holy Spirit", icon by the hand of 
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009

"And when the days of Pentecost were drawing to a close, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a violent wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as of fire, which settled upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in foreign tongues, even as the Holy Spirit prompted them to speak" (Acts 2, 1-4).

May the holy wind of Pentecost blow away all the storm clouds in our lives, leaving behind the peaceful breezes of God's grace. Amen.

Our Lady of the Winds, pray for us.  Amen.

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