Updated: Aug 10
Bocca della Verita (The Mouth of Truth)
My husband was born in Italy and in 2011, we decided to take our four children who were between the ages of 8 and 16 at the time, to see the mountain town that my husband grew up in before moving to America with his family. Besides spending 8 days in his town, we also traveled around to see other parts of the country. While in Rome, we went to see the famed Bocca della Verita, or mouth of truth, in English, at the Santa Maria in Cosmedin church. It is a large marble mask with a mouth large enough to fit your hand into.
If you know me at all from reading my blogs, you know that I was fascinated with it. I just had to know more. It’s mystery drew me in. It is said that if you are telling a lie when you insert your hand into its mouth, it will bite it off. Fascinating!!!
THE STORIES PEOPLE TELL
There is a cute legend about an emperor and his wife whom he believed was cheating on him. He told her she had to say that she was not having an affair while sticking her hand in the mouth of the marble mask so he would know whether or not she was telling the truth. So, the wife devised a clever plan where while walking through the town full of spectators, there to watch her public shaming, she had the man she was having an affair with grab her and kiss her. She pushed him away calling him a madman and slapped him in the face. When she arrived at the Bocca della Verita, she inserted her hand into its mouth and said, “I swear, I have never kissed any other man besides my husband and the madman who just kissed me.” And in doing so, she saved her dignity and marriage;)
FRAGILE, DON’T BREAK!
Well, I had to have a small version of this to bring home and hang in my garden. So, we paid our 80 Euros for it and brought it home. I knew it wouldn’t survive the check-in baggage on the plane, and it was too big to fit in the carry on, so I decided I would wrap it and carefully carry it. It survived the overhead bin, but when we arrived in Boston, customs needed to run it through the X-ray machine. While bouncing over the rollers on the belt, my new favorite garden decoration cracked in half. I was devastated! Fortunately, I was taking a stained glass class and knew my teacher worked with resin. I asked him to fix it and he also decided to paint it as well to cover the seam of the crack. It looked brand new again and I was happy.
A few years down the road, the hanger in the back decided to give way and it crashed to the ground breaking a large chunk of an edge into crumbled pieces too small to salvage. I was sad again and put it in a less noticeable spot in my garden between some plants. Just recently, I was moving it and it hit off of another decoration in my garden and broke into three separate pieces. All I could say was, “WHY?”
This happened at a time when I was having doubts about my abilities to take on my life's purpose. I knew there was a video of a dear teacher speaking of doubt, so I decided to search for it. As I was listening, she began to speak of a time in her life when she was shattered and explained what the ancient art of Kintsugi was. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of putting the broken pieces together with gold to make them better than before.
Wow! What an analogy for life! Again, being me, I had to dive deeper down the rabbit hole on this one. Once I satisfied my thirst for knowledge, I understood that I had to put the mask together using the art of Kintsugi. As I was gluing the pieces together, the mask began to speak to me. It told me that sometimes we have to crack twice in the same place before we learn the lesson. It told me that sometimes we lose pieces of ourselves. It told me that some wounds leave scars, but that doesn’t mean they are not beautiful. It told me from it’s flaking paint, that sometimes people try to paint us to be something they want us to be and sometimes it’s us that use the paint to cover the scars. It told me that some wounds leave sharp edges so others won’t get too close. As I was listening to the lessons, the mask had to teach me, I knew my way forward.
The Transformative Kintsugi class I will be teaching was born from this putting together of the pieces. I am excited that I will soon be offering this class for all. In this class you will not only learn the art of Kintsugi, but I will take you through a process to confront and honor the broken pieces, put them back together and learn to see the light from the pieces that were broken. And so much more.
"The wound is the place where the light enters you"
I love you,