Like most of the East Coast Beyhive, I’m currently running on about four hours of sleep. I’m tired, but still pumping with adrenaline. At a little after 1 a.m. EST Friday morning, we got the long awaited “Beyoncé just shared a post” notification from Instagram. Finally, we were able to feast our eyes on the two newest members of the Knowles-Carter family. Sir and Rumi Carter, a boy and a girl — although we can’t confirm which twin has what name, and I hope Sir is the girl — were born exactly one month ago. We all spent at least another hour past our bedtimes fawning over Blue Ivy's tiny younger siblings. But a post of this magnitude is never just a picture. It’s a challenge.
It is up to us to pick apart all of the possible meanings in everything from the baby names to her outfit, her posture, and the symbolism of her backdrop. We are a fandom that should not and does not want to miss a single thing, and we know that Bey is all about the subtle details. This photo was not taken on a whim. Time, creativity, and inspiration went into it. So what exactly does it mean? I have a few ideas.
When Beyoncé first announced her pregnancy in February, she did so kneeling in front of a floral background, cradling her belly and draped in a long veil. The immediate connection that many made was to the Virgin Mary, implying that pregnancy is a spiritual experience for Beyoncé. She also confirmed this with a series of poems and images in the full maternity shoot she released later that day. Religious motifs appeared again during her performance at the 2017 Grammys. Her baby bump was drenched in yellowish-gold in the spirit of the Orisha Oshun.
If we continue with these religious themes, the reveal of the twins finishes a story. Beyoncé is placed, once again, in front of an altar of colorful flowers. This time she stands, holding the children she formed from her own body. Pregnancy was a sacred quest that she had to endure in order to create new life. Symbolically, she is seen in an elevated state after completing that quest. She is saintly as a result of this act, fully prepared to be a protector of her children. Her stance radiates grace and natural power. The ocean itself spans the background of the photo, further representing Bey’s emergence as a divine life-bringer. The tableau is evocative of Botticelli's Birth of Venus.
Hopefully, we will get a another full spread of photos from the icon. More beautiful musings about what it means to be a mother of three could definitely add some context to the image that has already racked up views in the millions. I can only speculate as to what Beyoncé wanted to represent in these photographs, but I was certainly filled with immense joy looking them. That’s a spiritual experience in my book.