In this Christmas devotional podcast, Dr Christena Cleveland explores the symbolism of the Black Madonna. In times of dysregulation and uncertainty, the Black Madonna has provided Christena a powerful symbol of love, nurture and connection, allowing her to move from a spirituality of fear to one of trust.

Following Christena’s refection, Anna Robinson creates a contemplative space for us to more deeply reflect and experience this womb-like space of safety and trust.

Jay Hulme then reads a poem about Julian of Norwich, the 14th Century mystic who experienced a radical connection with the divine feminine.

All this is beautifully woven together with the music of Jon Bilbrough (musically known as Wilderthorn).

Full instrumental tracks of the music featured in this episode (and more) are available here.

Images used with permission.


The Poem Mother Julian by Jay Hulme from the book The Vanishing Song used with permission from Canterbury Press.


God is a Black Woman – Christena Cleveland

The Vanishing Song – Jay Hulme

The Backwater Sermons – Jay Hulme

Clouds Cannot Cover Us – Jay Hulme


“Liminal spaces are legitimately scary. And as a human, I have all of these built-in coping mechanisms that actually prevent me from connecting with the divine when I need her most.”

“The womb gives me a spiritual umbilical cord which activates precisely when I am most dysregulated, when I am most faced with uncertainty.”

“For unlike white male God, who’s distracted and a workaholic and a taskmaster and judgmental. You are right here saying, okay, little one, I know you got a lot going on.”

“Even though our limited spirituality of darkness is one of White Male God’s ploys to keep us in the patriarchal fold, it is directly into liminal space that we must march if we are ever to liberate ourselves.”


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  1. Linda Evans Dec 22, 2023

    So grateful for this meditation! Wrapped my longing and grieving heart in an open womb like space where I can rest in Divine Love and regulate! What a beautiful gift! Thank you!

  2. Stephen Brown Jan 1, 2024

    Very much appreciated this. I would like to find a picture of the black pregnant Madonna. Can anyone direct me to one?

  3. Tara Knight Mar 13, 2024

    I am writing my senior thesis on the Spirituality of Darkness- a reclaiming of darkness as rest and protection. Dr Cleveland’s devotion on the spirituality of the womb fits beautifully into this theme! I read her book, God Is A Black Woman, but it does not talk about the spirituality of the womb, and I do not see a way to contact her on her website. Do you know of additional resources I can research on this topic? Any books or scholars you recommend? Thanks so much for all you do. I continue to grow and learn so much from your podcasts!

    • Hi Tara.
      Nice to hear from you. I’m afraid I can’t be of much help. Although our next episode with Vanessa Chamberlin touches on some of these themes.You can get in touch with her through her website. The link will be in that episode’s shownotes.

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