Credits, left to right - Carlo Crivelli, The Vision of the Blessed Gabriele, about 1489, National Gallery, London, followed by detail; El Padre Anónimo, Eterno Pintando a la Virgen de Guadalupe. Siglo XVIII; Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe housed on top of Tepeyac hill, north of Mexico City.
The caption which appears with Carlo Crivelli's detail (center left, above) in the book, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols, by J.C. Cooper, Thames & Hudson, 1978 isbn 0500271259 states "In his Vision of the Blessed Gabriele, Crivelli encloses the Virgin and the Child in an almond-shaped mandorla formed by the two intersecting circles symbolic of each of the holy persons' all-perfection." Cooper continues under the entry 'Mandorla': "The vesica piscis or ichthus, the almond-shaped aureole, the 'mystical almond' which depicts divinity; holiness; the sacred; virginity; the vulva." Also refer to the earlier (1997), now found, parallel piece, The Viginal Mary by Anai Bendai.
From an inquiry to the writer, Rufus Camphausen, who also hosts Yoniversum, a vast site on yoni/vulva studies where the following letter and accompanying illustrations were first posted three years ago:
"Dear Professor Camphausen,
"In my research, I have noticed the affinity between the artists' rendering of the various apparitions of female saints and the vulva. Especially the Madonna herself, of which there have been over 3000 accepted appearances during the last 1500 years. With your encyclopaedic overview, has anyone posited such visual similarity? Certainly, there must be a DNA level remembrance at play in the artists' imagination. (I include the art historian's classic "face vase" visualization tool as an additional aid.)"
Frater Gray Hölme
"Dear Brother Hölme-
"The Madonna images next to your black and white renderings and the Yonis are simply great ... the association does not surprise me - although I've not seen it visualized in that much detail. Personally, I've only made the connection between the vesica pisces shaped "halo" around some 'Mother of God' images and the Yoni. To my knowledge, it has never been visually 'spelled out' quite so convincingly as in the images you have sent ... just lovely! Your drawings make it much more clear than Dan Brown's theory in the Da Vinci Code that the Madonna represents a continuation of the millennia old worship of the Great Goddess - now hidden below layers of obscuration. I would like your permission to use them in our yoniversum pages. However, in order to avoid an Bible Belt equivalent to the Fatwa against you, do think about a nom de plume for yourself as the discoverer of this esoteric wisdom. Frater Matrix perhaps? Once it's ready, I will send the relevant URL to the Vatican."
Regards, R.C. Camphausen
NOTE: The above correspondence led to the accompanying gallery of revealing images which can be accessed by the daring from the menu below comparing illustrations from prayer cards with photographs of vulvas. The limited choices of photographs are from the book Femalia by Joani Blank. The selected photographs are used here with permission of Joani Blank and the photographers, Tee Corinne and Michael A. Rosen, who - naturally - retain their Copyright ©. The center drawings are by Frater Gray Hölme.