In mediaeval times the legend of the Black Madonna was augmented in France by some especially "esoteric" popular religious sects, common amongst them were the Knights Templars and Cathars. One of the central excuses the French monarchy issued in the persecution and destruction of the Knights Templars was the fact that they had adopted the Maure and had several "Baphomets" in their monasteries. The Templars had brought back with them the devotion to the Black Madonna from the Crusades.
The mystery of the Sicilian Black Madonna , an image, a countenance which like the sunlight came as a gift to this land, via pathways still fraught with mystery from the Christian East sometime during the 7th Century. For hundreds of years it has patiently withstood raids by Saracens and pirates, conquerors and raiders, old and new, exhibiting the elegant sign of a continuity which recent restoration work has revealed in all its dignified beauty.
Many writers seeking to interpret the Black Madonnas suggest some combination of the following elements:
- Black Madonnas have grown out of a pre-Christian Earth Goddess tradition. Their dark skin may be associated with ancient images of these goddesses, and with the colour of fertile earth (such as around the volcanic Etna).
- Black Madonnas derive from the Egyptian goddess Isis. The dark skin may echo an African archetypal mother figure.
If all of this intrigues you, why not consider a stop over in Patti, only a short stroll from Tindari. You can sleep at the picturesque farm-stay accommodation, Villa Rica surrounded by centuries old olive trees, lemon groves, fruit orchards and the particular Mediterranean vegetation.