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Madonna Rising: Rosa Mystica Virtual Intensive

August 13 @ 11:00 am - August 19 @ 1:00 pm PDT

Week-long Intensive with Banafsheh, Anne Baring, Peggy Rubin, Andrew Harvey and other faculty

11am – 1pm PT | 1-3pm ET | 8-10pm CET
on Zoom
Co-presented with Ubiquity Chartres Academy


The Rose has long been the symbol of divine wisdom and the Chartres cathedral with its 3 sublime rose windows is a hymn to Mary as the throne of wisdom. Chartres Cathedral was built as a temple for the Queen of Heaven. This final rebuilding was dedicated to the risen Mary as her dwelling place on Earth. It is also a grail, the container of mysteries.

From ancient times, the rose has been associated with the great goddesses of the ancient world. The Rose is one of the oldest symbols of the wisdom tradition and of the divine wisdom and holy spirit radiating love to our world from the divine ground. The Rose came to symbolize not only the holy spirit but the awakened soul reunited with the divine ground. Mary was known in the middle ages at the time of the building of Chartres Cathedral as the Rosa Mystica. The rose represents the radiant presence of the holy spirit who fills the whole cathedral.

Mary as the divine feminine is the rose, the lily and also the tree of life from which all who turn to her can draw sustenance, an image that evokes the Shekinah and even older as Isis as the tree of life giving sustenance. Wherever the association is made between love and divinity, between beauty and harmony and divinity, between compassion and divinity, there stands the image of Mary as representing the qualities of the divine feminine.

This intensive is centered around the Feast of the Assumption of Mary (August 15) which honors the Church doctrine, enunciated by the Pope in 1950, that Mary was assumed directly into heaven upon her death and now presides as the Mother of God and the Queen of Heaven, a title held by Goddesses, Isis and Inanna. The much needed resurgence of the feminine archetype and the restoration and recovery of the feminine aspect of the divine in order to bring back wholeness and balance to the human psyche is the key to understanding the Feast of the Assumption which Carl Jung believed marked the most important development in Christian theology in the last 2000 years.

The Black Madonna

On the Day of the Assumption, a statue of the Black Madonna is carried through the streets of Chartres before being placed in front of the statue of the Assumption of Mary, where she is kept for one week and then hidden away till the following year.

Parading the Black Madonna recalls the way the Druids in ancient times brought her out of the grotto underneath the granite promontory upon which the cathedral today stands. They honored Mother Earth and the cycles of the seasons through the Black Madonna. The dark feminine in all her aspects has been revered since ancient times. The Black Madonna has historically been present during times of turbulence and upheaval when a culture or civilization is dying and something profound and redemptive is being born. The metamorphosis from the old to the new is uniquely the domain of the Black Madonna, which is why she is so actively present in our lives today. A profound aspect of the Black Madonna is the manner in which she challenges our understanding of what it means to be feminine.

Mary Magdalene

Mary of Magda is the other Mary of Chartres. As a powerful wisdom keeper, there is a hidden alliance between her and the Black Madonna. We will explore her sacred lineage and her teachings, contemplate images and statues of her in the cathedral, and prepare ourselves for the pilgrimage to the south of France where Mary is by tradition believed to have lived and taught when she came to France with her daughter Sara she had with Jesus and others who had been part of the early Christian community.

The Program

This program is primarily experiential and designed as an initiation into the Way of the Rose. Our intention is to heed the call of the Divine Feminine to see her around us and become her in our very cells so we can live in harmony with each other and with the Earth and all of the Earth community. We will integrate head, heart and body through wisdom teachings, song, dance and theater, and immersion in the imagery of the cathedral.

The week will be a balance of:
Wisdom teachings presentations on the Assumption; The Way of the Rose; Mother Mary as the incarnation of the Divine Feminine; the Black Madonna; the lineage and teachings of Mary Magdalene; and the Chartres Cathedral as a grail and container of mysteries.

Embodiment practices that bring us into heart presence and open a door for us to become the wisdom teachings we explore through meditation, sacred dance, ritual, singing, theater, and sharing circles.

A virtual immersion in the Chartres Cathedral – consisting of an in-depth exploration of the references to Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, the Assumption, the Black Madonna and the crypt, the labyrinth and the rose windows.


  • Banafsheh Sayyad, MFA, MA, sacred dancer, choreographer and founder of Dance of Oneness®, will guide us to embody the wisdom teachings we explore during our week via embodiment practices, sacred dance and whirling.
  • Anne Baring, PhD, author and co-author of 7 books will presents virtual lectures on Mother Mary as the incarnation of the Divine Feminine; The Way of the Rose; and the lineage and teachings of Mary Magdalene. She will join us live via zoom for a discussion after her presentations.
  • Peggy Rubin, Shakespearian actor and master of sacred ritual and group theatre, will guide us into enactment of the mysteries we explore and share her deep insights into the nature of the Black Madonna and how to use the transformational energy of the the feminine for personal growth and group harmony.
  • Ruth Cunningham, classically trained musician, sound healer and founding member of the Anonymous 4 will guide us in singing, and create soundscapes during our visits to the Cathedral.
  • Andrew Harvey, PhD (Hons), scholar, mystic and author of more than 30 books will share his understanding of the Black Madonna.
  • Jim Garrison, PhD will speak about the mysteries of the Chartres Cathedral and present on various aspects of the Assumption of Mary and of Gaia as a new organizing framework for spiritual development.

Ubiquity Chartres Community Webinars – Join the faculty and participants in our monthly webinar on the second Sunday of every month for discussions on the topics included in the intensive. Register for the Webinars here. Watch past Webinars here.


Tuition: $349 for auditors
Click here

More info: Email
15 hrs towards Dance of Oneness® Certification Program
For more information about content contact info@banafsheh.org