A Holiday Greeting from UK Artist and Replacement Child Caroline Mackenzie

Birth in the Outhouse

An Adult Replacement Child celebrates Christmas

The Flourishing Man and Woman
The Flourishing Man and Woman

The divine has a habit of appearing in uncomfortable places.  The Hindu deity Krishna is born in a prison and the Christ child arrives in a stable.  This year is a special one for me, as a girl who replaced a boy.  At last, I am discovering a new way of looking at the world.  In Advent, scripture readings recount stories where the impossible becomes possible.  Deaf people hear, blind people see, paralysed ones walk and nature itself flourishes where previously there was arid ground.

In the past, traditional Christmas cards have been a nightmare for me.  Every depiction of Mother Mary looking adoringly at her new-born son triggered – unconsciously – painful memories of my infancy.  Physically my mother held me in her arms – but her thoughts and feelings were uncontrollably attracted back to her first-born son – who had died very unexpectedly, eighteen months before I was born.  He was eternally perfect.  This experience triggered first, feelings of depression – “she hates me”.  Then rage – “Look I am here; I am the one who is alive!”.

As an adult artist, who was until very recently unconscious of my infant experience, I expended vast quantities of energy attacking men and the culture that made them visible and me invisible.  Year after year I made cards that celebrated the birth of the Divine Girl.  This year I’m celebrating something different: a new relationship with my animus or inner male.  This vital aspect of my psyche was occulted by the invisible presence of my brother – my rival for attention who was always perfect.


About the connection of the drawing to Christmas:

The Divine has habit of appearing where you’d least expect it, for example in an outhouse and not an inn.  Christian culture has not had a great track record as regards its theology of nature and sexuality.  Yet it’s right there in those neglected, stable-like areas, that I am searching for a new birth.   

I have taken the Man-Woman-Tree motif from the Adam and Eve iconography and re-arranged them through the image of the Tree Person analogy in Psalm 1.  There, the human being who is rooted in the Divine is compared to a tree that flourishes beside flowing water.  I’ve added this to the Divine-Human possibility offered in Christ – as being revealed as much in women as in men.

Along with my friends at Replacement Child Forum, I wish everyone a very Happy Christmas.

Caroline Mackenzie Suffolk UK Dec 2020

Caroline Mackenzie, is a UK artist and sculptress and a replacement child whose journey towards consciousness is featured in Individuation for Adult Replacement Children, Ways of Coming into being (2019), by Kristina Schellinski. You can see more about her art here, or visit her website at http://www.carolinemackenzie.co.uk/.

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