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Cathedral of the Black Madonna: The Druids and the Mysteries of Chartres Paperback – October 27, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Markale, now in his 70s and retired from teaching Celtic studies at the Sorbonne, has lost none of his boyhood exuberance for the remarkable history and architecture of the great cathedral at Chartres. In this ambitious study, Markale investigates the symbolism of the cathedral, which sits on an ancient druidic sacred site and incorporates both Christian and pagan images, particularly its dedication to the black madonna. However, this book, translated from the French, is not for the neophyte. Readers need more than a cursory understanding of architectural and reliquary terms, not to mention a working knowledge of world religious history and French geography, to fully appreciate it. Despite an eight-page b&w insertion (not seen by PW), this book begs for more graphics—line drawings of architectural elements, historic time lines and photographs of the innumerable madonnas referred to. While fascinating, its academic density may frustrate some readers—there's simply an enormous amount of information to digest. Descriptions of virtually every inch of the cathedral, every moment in its history and every statue found in its vicinity combine with an exhaustive comparison between Celtic and Catholic traditions to make for a comprehensive discussion of not just the Black Madonna, but of one of the most amazing cathedrals ever built. For the prepared reader, this will be a treasure trove.
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Review

". . . a comprehensive discussion of not just the Black Madonna, but of one of the most amazing cathedrals ever built." (Publishers Weekly, Nov. 29, 2004)

"Markale's examination traces the appeal of the Black Madonna back to ancient goddess legends and times and provides plenty of insights into Druid mysteries." (The Midwest Book Review)

"Markale's linkage of the ancient Druid theology to the Catholic theology and its Marian devotion is a cogent work of historic research and religious considerations. Forget the 'DaVinci Code' and pick up this book instead." (Phil Hall, Arts and Entertainment, New York Resident)

. . . a good case is made for the paranormal background of this architectural wonder and the foundations that lie in the mystic rituals of the Celts and the druids. Cathedral of the Black Madonna is a formidable work. . . .provides ample ground for imagination and speculation as to the inner life of our ancestors.” (W. Ritchie Benedict, Fate, July 2005)

"If you have an interest in ancient cultures, goddess worship, the sacred nature of the cathedrals and those who built them, and the path of Gnosis, there is much to love in this book. . . . Read it, put it away and read it a few months later. You will see something within it that you did not see before." (Kathleen McGowan, The Expected One, Aug 2006)

" . . . author Jean Markale takes us far back to the underlying roots that flowered into the cathedral we see today." (Robert Simmons, MetaGuide Magazines, October 2010)

". . . this book will appeal to the serious scholar and the reader passionate about this unique cathedral; it is rich in information and ideas that can continue to be mined with each successive reading." (Paula Chaffee Scardamalia, ForeWord, Mar-Apr 2005)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions; Original ed. edition (October 27, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594770204
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594770203
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #857,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Jean Markale's books are an amazing journey of discovery through philosophy, gnosis, and the wonderful world of esoterica. He is a mystic and a scholar, he is a teacher and a guide. Markale will never force his conclusions upon you, rather he leads you to them and makes you think and feel for yourself. There is no dogma in his work, only wisdom. While he researches with the thorough tenacity of the most intrepid academic, he is never pendantic or stodgy in his conclusions.

There are layers of fascinating historical information within, the kind of detail that isn't found in a library, but that comes from Markale's lifelong love of his French homeland and the folklore and cultures that he was raised in. This is wisdom firsthand. It is experiential and real.

If you have an interest in ancient cultures, goddess worship, the sacred nature of the cathedrals and those who built them, and the path of Gnosis, there is much to love in this book. But don't expect a linear, typical journey. Markale is a genius, and he would never do anything that obvious.

Read it, put it away and read it a few months later. You will see something within it that you did not see before.
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Format: Paperback
The title of this work is a bit misleading. Rather than being about Chartres Cathedral itself, it focuses upon the development of the cult of the Virgin Mary, from the Roman and Celtic eras to early modern times. Author Markale has skilfully presented and examined the available historical evidence that pertains to the enigmatic Black Madonna statues and paintings that exist by the dozens throughout Europe, particularly in France. This is an engrossing and valuable study, but readers looking for specific information about the iconography contained within and without this most mystical of Christian cathedrals would do better to look elsewhere.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Recommended if you are into Black Madonnas -- he goes beyond vague New Agey ramblings that attempt to connect Madonnas and various Pagan goddesses, and makes a connection between the Black Madonnas and Sun Goddesses which I thought was absolutely, well, brilliant.
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Format: Paperback
I love this man and wish more of his books were translated into English. His insight is phenonemal as well as his research. A must read 'before' your trip to Chartres. It arrived after I returned last year, but encouraged me to go again this year.
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The book is like new; received in timely manner. Professional handling.
I have a hard time sticking with his writing. He's knowledgable; acclaimed; academic, however, does not'engage'the reader. I'm glad to have the book, as he has researched; extensive references; shared historic facts; epic passages from ancient times; rare photos.
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