Table of Contents
Religions, Volume 9, Issue 12 (December 2018)
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Cover Story (view full-size image) In this paper, we propose a symbolic framework of deep culture and apply it to understand the [...] Read more. In this paper, we propose a symbolic framework of deep culture and apply it to understand the prominence of Virgin Mary in Eastern Christianity and the manner in which she plays a role in people’s lives through a bewildering variety of Marian icons. The framework esoterically appreciates Mary as a symbol that is multivalent, irreplaceable, archetypal, interior, and manifest yet hidden. We analyze images and stories of five highly venerated icons in Greece, Russia, and Finland, and amongst diasporic Orthodox Churches, as well as associated hymns. Our analysis reveals that Mary is a symbolic doorway to mystical religiosity. This role is highly agentic, although not in the sense in which agency is typically—exoterically—understood, but rather as esoteric and transformative. We also show how a deep culture can be used to examine similar esoteric figures in other religious traditions. View this paper