Corona: Looking at the Spiritual Meaning by Joan Forest Mage

by | March 19, 2020 | Articles, Questions for Spiritual Artists, Spiritual Leaders and Educators, Visual Artists

Medieval Sovereign Crown (female) (c) Steven Blaine Adams
one of the artworks in LFAE’s 2014 exhibit Life Force Wheel: The Tribe & The Sovereign

The corona virus pandemic is sweeping through the world, sickening and killing thousands and disrupting lives with quarantines the likes of which many people have never experienced.

In the last few days, many of us have awakened to a deeper spiritual meaning of this global crisis. Corona means “crown”. What is the connection of the corona virus to “crown”?

 Shamanic sound healer Norma Gentile says

Sometimes Spirit hides clues in obvious places. Consider this:

Corona means Crown: a Symbol of Authority
Corona: A Luminous Discharge of particles (the Sun’s corona)

What if the Corona Virus is a representation of a radical shift in human consciousness? What if its appearance is an opportunity to remove our worship of a crown sitting upon the head of any single human leader, and place our attention upon the Spiritual Crown that encircles all of humanity? 

Lisa Nomikos, Featured Artist with Life Force Arts Ensemble told me, “Corona means crown or halo. I view the corona or halo as the connection to everything, connection to the divine. In this day and age, so many people have lost their connection to a higher source, God, the Divine, whatever you want to call it. In a sense, they have the corona virus, the disconnect, from something greater than themselves. Is there anything beyond the physical plane? Something greater than the mundane world? This pandemic is a back to basics: what do you believe in? what’s important and how do you make it through something unprecedented?”

Ascension of Mother Mary (work in progress) (c) Lisa Nomikos

Lisa also explained, “I have been drawing an image of Mother Mary since 2017, and I thought I had finished it in November of 2019. I signed the painting. But then I realized it wasn’t finished. Ironically, the part that I knew I had to complete was the halo or crown. This Mary is crying, she has a waterfall of tears coming out of her left eye, and a small tear coming out of the right eye. Energy emanates from her heart. I’m not sure when I will finish this painting, and I’m not sure what I will discover about the crown, but whenever I do finish a painting, it creates a shift of energy and a healing for someone, whether that is me personally, another individual or the world at large.”

My own thoughts about corona and crown have to do with sovereignty, a key point in the Life Force Arts Method Wheel. For many years (35 years, to be exact) I have been led by Spirit to work on a modern version of a medicine wheel, which I call the Life Force Arts Method (LFAM). I discovered it in my work with improvisational dance and vocals. (You can read my article about it here.)

By “medicine wheel” I mean an explanation of how to live in harmony from the most inner world to the most outer world. Cultures throughout the world have developed medicine wheels to teach such skills of life to their communities. But the Life Force Arts Method did not come from an indigenous culture. It developed from observing basic interactions among people dancing and singing together in the classes I taught right here in Chicago. The students’ powerful cathartic reactions to the work made me realize that there are four Skills that people need to understand in order to lead a happy and healthy life.

Many medicine wheels have a four part structure, shown as a circle with a cross or X dividing the circle into four quadrants.

But almost from the beginning of its development, the LFAM Wheel had a five part structure, with the center as the True Self, surrounded by the Teachers (mentors) who help the individual remain exactly that: true to oneself.

Farther out on the LFAM Wheel is the circle of the Archetypes, the roles people play in life. They are Witness, Artist, Companion, Warrior, Phoenix, Healer, Tribe and Sovereign. There is a progression of Skills from Youth to Maturity, and from the Witness, who takes responsibility for their own thoughts and feelings, to the Sovereign, who takes responsibility for the community.

The Tribe is the community that works together, each person having a valuable part to play, and being recognized as such by the other members of the community. The Sovereign is the one who leads or guides the proper function of the community. Another way to put it: the job of the Warrior is to deal with conflict, the job of the Sovereign is to create peace and prosperity.

One meaning of “Sovereign” is “a ruler”, such as a King or Queen. But a larger meaning is “autonomous, having the supreme authority, self-governing”.

In a sense, each individual in the Tribe is a Sovereign. The Tribe is a gathering of self-governing, equal individuals, who come together willingly for a common purpose as a community. Members of the Tribe respect and appreciate each other as valuable members of the same “team”.

Many medicine wheels that have a four part structure have the Archetypes of Visionary, Leader, Healer and Teacher. But my spirit guides kept telling me to have the Archetypes as dyads: a pair of Archetypes for each section of the Wheel, and to have the Teacher with the True Self in the center of the Wheel.

As I developed the Wheel over the years, I often asked my spirit guides if they were sure that the Life Force Arts Method Wheel was supposed to have Artist (like the Visionary), the Healer and the Teacher, but essentially split what some medicine wheels call the Leader into two Archetypes: the Warrior and the Sovereign. (I called it Sovereign instead of King and /or Queen, to be gender neutral.) Sovereign was a bit of a strange word: why did they want me to include it in this modern version of the medicine wheel?

That was back in 1985. I was puzzled as to why it was important to help people contemplate the difference between the Warrior and the Sovereign. But in about the year 2000, I began to understand…

I often ask people, “Who is the sovereign of the United States of America?” A lot of people are confused, saying the U.S. does not have a Sovereign, or (facepalm!) that the president is the sovereign. Actually, in a democracy such as the United States is meant to be, the people are the Sovereign. Sovereignty rests with the people, not with any individual, such as a hereditary ruler who supposedly rules by “divine right” or some such notion.

A Sovereign is deeply connected to both the people and the land. As Laurence Gardner talks about in Realm of the Ring Lords, in the time of the matriarchy, the job of the Sovereign was to ensure good relationship between the land and the people. The task was to care for the land.

Only later did the concept of conquering (stealing) land from other people emerge. The leader of the group doing the conquering then rewarded their followers by giving them ownership of land. The Sovereign thus became the one who subjugated the land, and the value was not to care for the land, but to obey and curry favor with the Sovereign so they would reward you. Devotion and obligation to the land was replaced by devotion and obligation to the human who controlled the land. A totally different equation!

The question to ask is: how are you the Sovereign, the person of authority who brings peace and prosperity to your community? What are you the Sovereign of: where and how do you take responsibility for the land and the people?

In an emergency such as the corona virus, we are seeing city and state governments take the authority, the sovereignty, to make such orders as closing businesses or putting people on “lockdown”. Are we losing our personal sovereignty? Who has authority, and do we trust that they are acting in the best interest of the people and the land? Who do we give our power to? How can each of us take responsibility and empowerment as the sovereign of our family, work or other community?

The halo is an energetic crown. How can we “open our crown chakras” and connect to Divine guidance and wisdom now, when we need it?

The halo is part of the full energy field surrounding the body. This field can connect to the energy fields of everyone and everything around us. The Sovereign connects their energy field to the people and the land, to know who needs what, to find solutions, and to lead effectively.

Life Force Arts Ensemble has been creating visual art exhibits with accompanying performances based in the Life Force Arts Method Wheel since we opened our own space in 2008. Some of LFAE’s exhibits with the theme of the Tribe & the Sovereign are the 2014 exhibit Life Force Wheel: The Tribe & The Sovereign; 2017’s Art: The Language of Community; and 2018’s Love & Wisdom: The Skills of Maturity.

Interestingly, we have an artwork in Life Force Arts Ensemble’s current exhibit The Soul’s Essence which also relates to the subject of crowns, sovereignty and connecting to the divine: the Black Madonna. The Black Madonna is traditional iconography of Mother Mary, found in many countries since the Middle Ages. Black Madonnas are depicted with a halo and usually a crown, seated on a throne, indicating her status as Queen. Some researchers say the black or dark skin means that the figure represents the Earth, an Earth Mother goddess, rather than the Christian Mary.

Black Madonna of Czestochowa
Artist Marilyn Hrymak with Black Madonna of Montserrat, Spain

Marilyn Hrymak writes of her artwork Black Madonna:

Black Madonnas represent a memory of a time when Mother Earth was worshiped and respected. She is most worshiped with non-traditional beliefs and is associated with political resistance and movements aimed at transformation. Madonnas are usually discovered in nature, and the Black Madonna of Montserrat, shown in my piece, was found in a cave near Her present location. 

Black Madonna (c) Marilyn Hrymak

Ex-votos (offerings to a saint or to a divinity in fulfillment of a vow or in gratitude or devotion) are usually near Black Madonnas to represent the miracles, power and protection She generously gives. Her gifts are given to all of Her worshipers regardless of class, gender or wealth. The Asian symbol in the upper right corner stands for wishes granted. 

All of our ancient ancestors are originally from Africa.  Many believe the Black Madonna represents our Mitochondrial Eve. She is the only female in patriarchal churches that sits on a throne. Locations where She can be found are usually on or near archeological evidence of pre-Christian divinity. 

Black Madonnas touch my soul. I can feel power and get important messages from Her.  My wall hanging honors Her because I strongly believe in social justice, and She provides a link to worship before patriarchy.

Perhaps the corona virus is telling us we need to connect our energy to the energy of the land, to the groundedness of the soil. May we return to the sovereignty of the land, of the harmonious community of humans and nature.

Joan Forest Mage is proud to serve as a shamanic artist, teacher and healer in her hometown of Chicago. She is the founder and Director of Life Force Arts Ensemble.

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  1. Anna Urošević Applegate

    Great post! The word “sovereign” to me is in line with the understanding of the word “virgin” in the Classical, Mediterranean world. “Virgin” originally meant “a woman who was sovereign, whole unto herself.” In no way was it a commentary on a woman’s level of sexual activity or lack thereof. A virgin was an unmarried woman who acted on her own agency, who didn’t “need” the social, patriarchal definition of a husband to “complete” her. She was a sovereign being. I think of goddesses like Athena and Artemis like that. Celtic lore is chock-full of Goddesses of Sovereignty, Powers Who mediated the relationships of the Divine and the realm of mortals through the living link of the Land, as you pointed out. Since the Virgo Full Moon earlier this month some of these Goddesses, formerly unknown to me outside of academic study, have come roaring into my devotional and ritual practices. I’m very curious to learn what They have to say.

  2. Editor

    Wonderful insights! thank you for sharing.


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