Welcome to the Rose Sisters Oracle’s first Blog Post!

Our introductory blogs will concentrate on the theme of

Many of us cannot travel at the moment, so these armchair sojourns gently transport us to exotic destinations where traditions and legends of the Divine Feminine endure and inspire.
Here we take a trip to a remarkable destination in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Black Madonna of the Canary Islands

By Leslina Fanelli

Shrines and energy portals devoted to the Divine Feminine Consciousness can be found in places of antiquity and spirituality all over the world.
In early 2019, I had the honour of visiting the island of Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, east of the African continent in the Atlantic Ocean. Here, I stumbled across a particularly enigmatic, local expression of the Black Madonna archetype.

I had long been interested in visiting the Canaries, as I had read that the origin of the Islands has been historically connected to the lost continent of Atlantis, according to the account of Plato. Supposedly, the continent sank into the ocean after a huge volcanic eruption, and only its highest mountains remained jutting out. Researchers and historians have linked the Atlantis legend not only to the Canaries, but also to the islands of Madeira, Azores and Cape Verde.

This arcane story is compounded by the mysterious origins of the Canary Islands’ first inhabitants, known as the Guanche. These indigenous people trace their roots to the Berber tribes of Northern Africa who settled on the seven islands until the conquest by the Spanish Castilians between 1402 and 1496. These groups had arrived at the islands in several waves starting from the 5th century BC.

Some tribes settled on Tenerife Island where they became known as “Guanche”. Other tribes settled in other parts of the Canaries: Gran Canaria, La Gomera, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, and in Las Palmas.
The Guanche society was divided into different social strata. Each island was broken into territories presided over by two kings, one king was in Tenerife and another in Gran Canaria.

Sculpture of Guanche Warrior King

They worshipped sacred places such as the Teide Volcano. Mount Teide is a striking volcano on Tenerife. Its summit rises to 3,715 m and it is the tallest peak in Spain and the highest point above sea level in the archipelago.

View of Mount Teide

They had their own language that was spoken until the 16th or 17th centuries. It is suggested that certain words from the Atlantean language may have survived in the Guanche dialect. Unfortunately, it became a lost language after the Spanish conquest of the Canaries. The Guanche, a proud and fearless group of courageous warriors, were sadly conquered by the Spanish and inevitably their language and ethnic traditions were assimilated into the dominant culture.

Candelaria is a picturesque city located on the eastern coast of Tenerife, best accessible by car. The town is noted by Catholics in Spain and Latin America as a place of particular veneration to the Black Madonna of Candelaria, the patroness of the Canary Islands. The most prominent building here is the Basilica, which includes the sculpture of the Black Virgin, as well as beautiful Divine Feminine mural paintings. Of particular interest is one which appears to me as a sweet Sister of the Rose holding a garland of pink roses. There are other stained-glass depictions of Mary within the cathedral.

View of the Basilica and its square set on the eastern coast of Tenerife Island.
Sister of the Rose? Mural detail from Candelaria Cathedral.
Stained glass window inside the Basilica dedicated to Mary.

The Madonna herself sits in a crypt-like chamber accessible via a stony staircase behind the altar. Petitions can be left here, and her followers cross themselves as they file past. I followed suit, whispering a quiet prayer for my special intention. A sense of calmness and serenity filled my being, and I breathed the quintessence of this moment into my heart and soul.

The statue sits in a crypt-like chamber inserted in a wall at the back of the altar. Colourful murals adorn the arch which surrounds her. Visitors can enter the chamber to petition the Madonna for special favours.

There is an adjoining square, set beside a glistening dark blue ocean, with imposing statues of the nine mysterious Guanche warrior kings of Tenerife who fought for the independence of the islands against the Spanish.

The nine Guanche kings adorn the plaza near the Basilica. Descendants of Atlantis?

A visit to the holy Shrine of the Black Madonna of Candelaria or Our Lady of the Candles (Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria) is a touching and memorable experience. Once standing in front of her effigy, one is shrouded by a subtle holy energy and immersed in a deep reflection of the Black Madonna archetype. She is popularly called La Morenita due to her black colour.

Her feast is celebrated on February 2nd, known in pagan tradition as Candlemas and then again on August 15, on the patronal feast of the Canary Islands, in line with the feast of the Assumption of Mary, the most significant celebration in the western Marian tradition.

A legend was recorded by Alonso de Espinosa, a Spanish priest and historian of the sixteenth century, about a dark statue of the Virgin Mary, bearing a child in one hand and a green candle in the other, which was discovered on the east coast beach of Güímar. Two Guanche shepherds had found her in 1392.

This date was from then onwards passed on through word of mouth. Interestingly, the Guanches could count years, so the year was acknowledged as the Guanche had a calendar similar to ours and were counting 12 new moons to a year. The discovery of the effigy took place one hundred years before the Spanish Castilian conquest of the island of Tenerife.

The two Guanche reacted in shock and surprise to the event. They were superstitious and feared the wrath of the local Black Goddess Chaxiraxi. One of the shepherds even tried to throw a stone at the statue, but his arm became paralysed. The other tried to stab at the statue with a knife but stabbed himself instead. The statue was then taken by the local Guanche to a cave nearby on the beach in Güímar. This cave was the traditional palace of the Guanche King and was where the Sun-Mother goddess Chaxiraxi was worshipped. Historians believe this local goddess evolved from the Punic-Berber goddess, Tanit, of North Africa.

Guimar Cave, first resting place of the effigy.
Glyph for Chaxiraxi Guanche Sun-Mother Goddess

Later on, after Spanish domination, Anton, a Guanche man who had been enslaved by the Spanish but eventually converted to Christianity, returned to Tenerife and proclaimed the statue as that of the Virgin Mary. He told the indigenous people about his conversion and the statue was from then on venerated by the Guanche, who moved it to another cave, the Cave of Achbinico, behind the present-day Basilica.

A few years later, however, the statue was stolen and taken away to the northernmost island of Lanzarote. It was later returned to Tenerife after various negative events and misfortunes, including an outbreak of the plague, which occurred on Lanzarote. The Black Madonna of Candelaria therefore emerged, both powerful and benevolent, to embrace her devotees on the island. The legend grew as she appeared in various apparitions to her devotees, carrying her child, on several occasions in the 1400s. She soon acquired cult status with a reputation for curing illnesses. Pilgrims visited from all over the Canary Islands.

The first mass was celebrated at Achbinico on February 2, 1497, and the construction of a hermitage was commissioned there by the Spanish ruler, however, this was not built until 1526. Achbinico is the site of the current Basilica of the Black Madonna of Candelaria. Unfortunately, the original Basilica was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in the 19th century. Strangely, the statue, too, was lost when a tsunami carried it out to sea in 1826.

Front View of the Basilica of Candelaria

The present statue is a copy by Fernando Estevez, a famous Spanish sculptor. The statue of the Black Madonna is ornately dressed in rich robes of different colours and jewels. She was declared patroness of the Canary Islands in 1559, by Pope Clement VIII and patroness of the Canaries in 1867 by Pope Pius IX.

The Madonna with a child in her right hand, a world sceptre in her left, which was said to be originally a green candle.

The Black Madonna of Candelaria is widely petitioned to pray for protection against epidemics, plagues, droughts and volcanic eruptions of Mount Teide and other natural disasters. She is petitioned for her miraculous healing powers.
Her status grew over the centuries and affirmation of the powerful devotion to the Black Madonna was realized between October 1964 and January 1965, when the largest pilgrimage in the history of the Canary Islands took place. The statue of the Black Madonna was paraded through the towns, cities and municipalities of the island for the first time in history.

Since the Coronavirus pandemic began in 2020, the Black Madonna of Candelaria has been invoked to protect against the virus and to shine her healing and restorative light into people’s houses. The faithful pray at an altar in their homes or to their ancestors for her divine intercession. Special “perdon” candles are blessed in the cathedral after the 7:00 AM mass. “Perdon” actually means “forgiveness” in Spanish, but these are said to be especially powerful in times of calamities and great danger, including pandemics. These long, tapered candles are lit by her followers to engender hope and faith and to channel radiance upon her worshippers.

Perdon Candles

The cult of La Morenita is also venerated in the central Philippines, Southern India, Jacaltenango, Guatemala; Mexico; Puno, Peru; and parts of Puerto Rico.

A distinctive, inspiring and uplifting Divine Feminine connection in an exotic and fascinating part of the planet.

Angel mural, Basilica of Candelaria.

Until we meet again, may the inspiration of the Divine Feminine Energy be with you.

Leslina and Vivienne xo
August 2021

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