A variation of the cross devoted to the Virgin Mary.
Often Marian crosses are objects of beauty, befitting the Mother of Jesus. Here we introduce a rough home made cross, yet its beauty is not diminished.
Grave marker, New Mexico
This photo of a Marian Cross was sent to us by somebody in New Mexico. It was found on a burial marker stone, showing a cross with cups or perhaps pincers, or a Lunate Cross with two stars and a distinctive 'M' at the base.
The photo was taken close to the ghost town of Folsom, on a hill in a remote area near Raton, New Mexico. There are at least four or five other graves marked by plain Latin Crosses. The gravesite is not associated with any town, village or church. It appears to have been used by a particular family, although there are no names inscribed on any of the stones. Nearby, there is evidence of a small, collapsed structure, perhaps an altar or shrine, shaped stonework and a few very old timbers. The graves themselves are unembellished, covered with lava rocks or white stone.
Early settlers in New Mexico were from Spain and Ireland, and most likely Roman Catholic. It is not surprising therefore to see typical Catholic symbolism in the area. The 'M' at the base of the cross is one such symbol and refers to Mary's station at the foot of the cross. It represents her vocation as Mater Dolorosa (Mother of Sorrows).
Initially we had no idea what the other symbols meant, so we were delighted to have the following clearly explained to us by Dr Alexander Roman.
The stars refer to the Virginity of Mary (three such stars adorn many icons of Mary). Here we see two stars, and they represent her virginity both before and after the birth of Christ (virginitas post partum).
See also the Carmelite Cross.
These cups are like the 'wings' of the Armenian Cross and fishtails of the Maltese Cross. Split hoops also represent the moon, which is another Marian symbol. There are three on the stone and these represent the Holy Trinity.
Dr Roman goes on to point out that in Rev. 12:1 we read of "a woman adorned with the Sun with the moon at her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head." This symbol represents both the Church and Mary. As Mother of Christ and of the Church, the Body of Christ - just as She nurtured Christ physically, so too she nurtures the Church, the Body of Christ by means of her intercession in heaven.
See also the Crescent Cross.
Folsom itself is an intriguing place. The town's website (www.ghosttowns.com/...) explains that
"in 1927, archaeologists uncovered bones belonging to Ice Age animals, most of them slain by man-made weapons such as spears and lances. The discovery dated the existence of man in North America to 1000 B.C."
Why the citizens left is unknown...