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Erzulie Freda Altar Art Bottle, Mater Dolorosa
Erzulie Freda Altar Art Bottle, Mater Dolorosa
Erzulie Freda Altar Art Bottle, Mater Dolorosa

Erzulie Freda Altar Art Bottle, Mater Dolorosa

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This little confection of an altar bottle is densely packed with glitter, faux pearls, lace, velvet ribbon, and "gemstones" and beads made of crystal, glass, and resin. They adorn a glass bottle 4.75" tall and 2" across.

Features a full-color image of Mater Dolorosa, the Mother of Sorrows. If you serve or are even familiar with Erzulie Freda, you have probably seen this print and are aware it's a favorite image associated with this lwa. It has a curious little transnational, multicultural character that makes it a particular favorite of mine.

There's a route in Jerusalem, a sort of pilgrimage path or processional route, called the Via Dolorosa, the road of sorrow or the way of grief, supposedly the same path Christ walked on his way to Golgotha.

Along this path is a church called the Holy Sepulchre. In that church is a shrine with a sculpted statue of the Blessed Mother as Mater Dolorosa (it's not full-sized, but it's more than a bust). It's pretty much a giant nicho on top of a table or stand, or I guess you could call it a cabinet as it has a glass front or door.

Over the years, tons of votive offerings have been left by the faithful in thanks and recognition for the Blessed Mother's care and intercession -- jewels, crowns, necklaces, rings, all those gold and silver hearts, those are all behind the glass with the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows. They're a dynamic collection of sacred objects occupying a sacred space, given by Christians from all over the world.

A number of artists have drawn or painted pictures of this shrine with its offerings over the years. One of them was a Mexican artist whose name I haven't had any luck tracking down yet. A Mexican printer of chromolithographs prepared and printed the drawing and, like the version by a French artist that the Jesuits had circulated in Europe before, this print was widely circulated.

Since Erzulie Freda is generally portrayed as the Virgin alone, sans Child, and often as the Mother of Sorrows, those associations would have been in place already. But since she's also associated with luxury and beauty, with jewelry and fine things, this particular image of the Virgin Mary was just ideal and to this day I don't personally think there's a better one, imo.

So that's how this Mexican print of a drawing of a statue donated by the Queen of Portugal in a shrine in a chapel inside a church in Jerusalem on the Via Dolorosa ended up on altars for the lwa Erzulie Freda in Haiti (and the Republic of Benin, too, for that matter. I just referenced the Benin iconography in a blog post the other day.)

Anyway, the bottle -- keep your libations for your altar spirits in it, store your incense grains or powders, keep holy water or Florida Water or Pompeia Lotion or an appropriate condition oil in it - use your imagination. (Do not, however, try to wash this bottle. This is folk art for your altar, not something meant to withstand being handled as a kitchen utensil, and please keep it away from children and pets!)

All spiritual and devotional pieces are made with care and intent with respect to traditional origins, lore, and practices, all of which I'm happy to answer questions about. If you have questions about customization or anything else, feel free to message me. I love to customize or custom-finish the altar pieces that have found new homes when I take them down from my altars they're residing on and package them up with prayers and blessings to send to you.

SHIPPING / HANDLING TIMES: Please note published handling times, which start at 5 business days and will be longer for large and/or custom orders. Why? Two reasons.

One, I make all my formulas in tiny batches and I work one order at a time. For instance, I don't decant my oil out of the mother bottle into a customer's bottle until an order's been placed. I handle all the stages of formula creation and order fulfillment myself from start to finish and bless each individual item myself for every order.

The payoff for your patience is that you get fresh blends and powerful products made the old fashioned way, by hand and with focused intent, by a worker with 35 years of experience who is paying personal attention to *your* items. And that personal attention is my goal, not one- or two-day turnaround.

Two, I live in the middle of nowhere, seriously.  I have to count on time-eating disruptions out here.

LEGALESE: For external use only. Keep away from children. All items are sold as curios and/or for educational purposes in the study of folklore and popular religion.

MORE INFO / KEEP IN TOUCH:  Find more information on various spiritual products and their uses, plus over ten years' worth of articles about folklore, folk magic, and Deep South hoodoo, through the blog.

By using this site, you are stating that you understand and agree to our Terms of Service, which include the following highlights:
  • handling times start at five business days minimum for all items  (excludes weekends and holidays)
  • posted handling times are estimates, not guarantees, and will vary depending on order size and amount of customization involved
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  • any refunds must be initiated by us; chargebacks are considered theft
  • we will send a personal acknowledgment email within 48 business hours of receiving your payment to let you know your order has entered processing, after which it cannot be modified or canceled
  • we will send a notification email when we purchase your shipping label for your packaged order, so when it's ready to ship, you know as soon as we know
  • we are not able to provide updates during order processing beyond these two emails
  • any unusual issues affecting handling times will be announced on our website and social media channels
See the TOS page for more details.

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