Friday, November 23, 2007

, Brazilian President
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Tuesday in response to his
government's announcement earlier this month that massive
new oil reserves had been discovered offshore.

And, the discovery of TERRA PRETA
may prove that She is Black.


This image is of the much-revered Black Madonna of Brazil, Nossa Senhora de Conceição Aparecida -- Our Lady of Conception Who Appeared.

The story is that a statue of the Virgin made around 1650 was somehow lost. Then, in 1717, some government people were traveling north to the gold mining region of Minas Gerais where the precious metal was called Ouro Preto due to a dark coating on the nuggets. Along the way fishermen cast their nets in a river hoping to catch fish for a big banquet. Instead of fish, they found the statue -- all darkened by years in the river bed. The travelers went on but the statue was kept in a little family shrine.

Soon the statue appeared to have healing and wish-granting powers -- at least for some faithful ones -- and a cult began to grow around it. As time passed, it had to be housed in larger and larger quarters and came to be venerated throughout Brazil. In 1929, the Virgin was proclaimed Queen of Brazil and its official Patron Saint. Today its Basilica, in the city of Aparecida near São Paulo, receives about 7 million visitors yearly and is the largest Marian shrine in the world.

From the first time I saw this great Black Madonna, the symbol appeared as an icon of the power of the earth. And, nowadays, there is a possible parallel with the story of 200 hundred years ago. As the Brazilian state oil firm Petrobras looks for and discovers another kind of Ouro Preto in the form of oil extracted from the ocean depths, Terra Preta soil from deep in Amazônia may be emerging as the healing force of the earth.

It would be Brazil's great good fortune to receive both.

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