Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Mysteries of Mariam

The Handless Maiden
Eight of Holy Rood

Reclaiming, re-membering, revisioning and reweaving our Soulstory 
and our spiritual mystical heart as seen in the archetypal stories of the god and goddess.  
We follow the story from Isis and Horus, through to the Greek stories of Ariadne and Athene;  

Our Lady of Glastonbury carrying the hawthorn branch
Nine of Holy Rood

We collect the red thread in the Hebrew Goddess Ashera, 

Seven of Holy Rood

the Shekinah of the Kabbalah.  

The journey takes us through fairy tales of The Handless Maiden 
and Rumpelstilskin and ultimately to the 
Three Marys and Jesus as embodiment of the two equal streams of Light. 
The Higher Mysteries is a sacred guide to inner alchemy culminating 
in the Hieros Gamos between Soul and the Beloved. 
The sacred threads of our lives weave the Great Tapestry 
and the red thread of Isis-Maria-Sophia lead us to the heart of the matter, 
beyond the dogma and distortion of religion. 

Today Mary, the Virgin, Beloved and Lover and Mother is the composite of the 
feminine archetypes as they developed in Western consciousness. 

May this deck inspire you to go within and to dive deep into the  Mysteries of Maryam within your own consciousness and the soft light of the impersonal unconscious. 

Water into wine
God of Vessels

You must give birth to your images. 
They are the future waiting to be born ....
fear not the strangeness you feel.
Just wait for the birth .....
for the hour of new clarity - Rainer Maria Rilke

My quest is, and has been, to give expression to
the mystical vision that is alive in my inner world,
both in a way that will add beauty and meaning to my own life
and to the world of which I am an active
participant, and to, very importantly,
understand that mystical vision.
And then to go out and share my understanding
with others so that we may all benefit
from the fruits of the Tree of Sophia.

Queen Esther
Handmaiden of Vessels

Blessedly we are living in a time of
religious freedom, and if we have the courage
to break away from our mechanistic following of
our religious traditions and heritage
and our familial conditioning, we can read
and study the many religions of the world.
Even more powerfully, and importantly, we
have the freedom and option to heed the
Inner Voice which is without sound,
and to craft our own Religion of the Soul.

I have a strong sense of the inner world
and see it reflected in fairy tales, myths, legend
and religion.
Some of these inner visions have stayed with 
me for all my life and they have acted as my
Guide and Guardian Angel, as well as Daemon.
Sometimes they have guided me into very difficult
places of great challenge and loss but always,
eventually, to greater understanding and meaning.

Soulcollage card

Probably because of the belief, in Western patriarchal religion,
in separation and the original sin and fall
of humanity from their existence in Eden,
there is a deep-seated belief in personal
unworthiness. Or maybe this is a deep-seated
stream in the human psyche, a basic duality
as seen as the other side
of the double-headed face of Janus,
symbolising our dualistic understanding and beliefs.
On the flip side of this coin, there is the also deep-seated
knowing that we are indeed the Holy Sons and
Daughters of God, holistically one and whole,
no separation and no distinction between good and
bad, dark and light : both the light and its shadows
praising the Creatrix.

This deep seated belief in personal unworthiness
gives rise to a need and yearning for
perfection and purity. As an artist I am privy
to this need for perfection and it really spells
death for all creativity and art.
Creating art, as does life, demands great courage and risk taking.
Our Western way of thinking and striving for material
success, negates all creativity and art-making
and denies the beauty of Creation, both in its
light and dark aspects.

Snow White and the Saints in their incorruptible bodies,
spell death. Yes, that is obvious, you are saying.
But they are resurrected in various ways.
So it is a form of a living death; 
a suspended state of neither being awake nor
being asleep, but outwardly perfectly beautiful,
staying forever young.
And as we know, our society values eternal youth
beyond gold and jewels.

I see in these images the desire for perfection.
The glass encased face of eternal beauty.
She is not ravaged by the demands of life;
she does not create nor make art, nor participates in life
and the living. 

The Black Madonna
Major Arcana Card XV

A perfect mask that will be acceptable
to the mind of the self. A role that is to be enacted
under the maestro of the archetype of the ego.
And the opposite for this perfection
is messy living with its huge emotions and conflict.
So in that belief system, it follows that soul and body
are in conflict with each other : that the earth
is not paradise and that humanity is doomed
by its own mortal flesh and blood, its senses and
sensuality, its primal instinct and wayward nature.
Humanity is stuck in a glass coffin of perfectionistic
and purist ideals as God, the All, is only present 
in the Light.

In this bright blinding light, 
the mind blocks the consciousness from
understanding and awakening to the tremendous
and awesome meaning of God equals 'Good'.

I see that many have moved away from the
patriarchal religion and are desperately looking
for a new way. A way of wholeness.
A path that is based on Beauty, Compassion,
Truth and Wisdom.
But, alas, unless you do your own soul-searching and
your own wild-crafting, you will in no time find
yourself walking a well-trodden path leading
to the same places of separation and division,
of transcendence as opposed to participation,
now merely parading new names and banners.
Now these places are often called Light Spirituality,
Enlightenment, self-improvement and
mostly Light and Love and once again, there is
an attitude of either-or.

In trying to bring balance to a Western patriarchal
system by only focusing on the matriarchal, a new imbalance
is being created. 
Can you see how the opponent serves your transformation?
How the ever-happening imbalance brings
growth and new birth and new life:

Mary Magdalen
Card XVI in the Major Arcana
(The Tower)

Balance equals perfection.
Perfection equals stagnation and death.
In trying to control conflict, in denying
tension and differences, no new life
can be created.

If one only looks at the cruficixion and you forget
about the resurrection, then you miss the entire
message of suffering.

Three daughters of Anna
Three of Vessels 

One plus one equals three :
new life is born from struggling and discord.
Living with the tension of the opposites,
allowing disagreement and another's
voice that differ from yours, to be heard,
brings awareness to the glassy mind,
of the awesome beauty of creating a life
that has meaning.
Unity and a wholistic understanding of
God and Its Kingdom, which is Us,
is a paradoxical approach of both/as well as.
A sacred trinity of one plus one equals three.

There is a place where all the rivers converge
and that place is the Sacred Heart of humanity.

The Mysteries of Maryam Tarot Deck is in production phase. yay!

A culmination of many years of understanding and not understanding.

Each of the 78 shrines is being photographed and then off to the
printers.  The deck with an accompanying pocketbook, all packaged
and presented in a unique manner, will be available towards
November 2016 here on this site and on my Etsy shop.
(link is in the sidebar)

I am currently working on the full book
The Mysteries of Maryam based on my research for the cards
and a more in-depth interpretation of the metaphorical
as well as mystical meaning of each card.

Look out for news on its publication in 2017 on this blog
and on my Facebook pages.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016



All that is made bears Sophia’s likeness ….. so recognizing the features of Wisdom is the name of the game – Caitlin Matthews

She who priestesses the holy in the ordinary

Ruler of the path Compassion

In Sophia’s mirror, Sophia, Lady of Wisdom looks into the reflection of creation. She is pillared by the red rose and the white lily.  The mirrored background is set in the checkerboard pattern of the old Masonic temples.  She is standing on the moon and is crowned with the peacock feather, or the seraphic all-seeing eye which is a symbol of the essence of Sophia.  She is a mystery hidden behind many veils.  Metaphors are her cloak.  Sophia has remained veiled by symbol and story  and only those who listen and see intuitively and with spiritual awareness, recognizes their connection to Her and their inner source.

The feminine nature of wisdom is a strong theme in many of the Hebrew texts.  Proverbs 8 describes Sophia as the first creation of God and as co-creator of the world.  Ultimately She is seen as the expression of beauty, truth, justice and wisdom in creation.

Sergei Bulgakov in Sophia: The Wisdom of God states that ‘Sophia is the ousia or substance of the Godhead; she is ‘the divine essence.’  ‘What are we dealing with here?  This invisible feminine ‘breath’, which is an emanation of the divine, which has the male power to fertilise, yet which can be shared and experienced as comforter and unifier by human beings … has a great deal in common with the Hindu Maya, which generates the cosmos and then is ‘left behind’, incarnated in human beings – CG Jung, Collected Works. Vol II

Thomas Schipflinger in his book Sophia-Maria : A holistic vision of creation defines Sophia as follows: ‘Sophia (Greek) – Wisdom, knowledge from the ground of being in its entirety.  In the Bible the word Sophia is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word ‘Chokmah’ meaning Wisdom.  In the Wisdom Books of the Old Testament (in particular Proverbs, Ecclesiasticus, the Book of Wisdom, Job and Baruch) it is indicated that Wisdom was created before all creation, as the Co-Creator of the cosmos with Yahweh, as the One who shares Yahweh’s throne and His Darling.  Acoording to some Sophiologists, She is the Bride of the Logos Son of God and, as such, incarnated in Mary, from whom the Logos took on flesh and incarnated as Jesus Christ.

So here we have the story of Creation, Creator and created.  The Essence of the Source, expressed as the Beloved Sophia in the cells of each and every living being.  When She looks into the mirror, She sees Her Beloved reflected back at Her.   This understanding is also repeated in the Hindu stories of Shiva and Shakti, Maya and Parvati.

The Mysteries of Mary and the Christian mystery of the incarnation of the Divine into earthly matter, is the ultimate love story, the sacred marriage of Beloved and Lover, the marriage of the greatest opposites, that of the Divine and soul.

But this is a story that we need to be reminded of and a reality that we have to fathom for ourselves by looking into Sophia’s mirror and finding our own inner connection to Her.
When we become aware of this inner connection and we realise that all beings share in this sacred reality, we come to realise that all of earthly matter is sanctified by the divine essence that lives in all.

Sophia extends an open invitation through art, poetry, music and nature that the Soul does exist in the earthly body and therefore all is blessed by the Presence of God.

But most often one cannot accept this invitation and you stare blindly into the veils that hide the truth. We continue to look for signs and manifestations and confirmation that the God does exist and the God may be present here and now.  But instead of looking within and trusting the inner whispers and the inner connection, we look without. We turn to others for their wisdom. We look at the stars in the sky;  we turn to books, to those in authority, we look at the tribe.

Sometimes we see what we think of as God in the world outside of us, but mostly the God that
we seek we never find.  If  it does not look like God and it does not act like God, how can it be God?

In the Mystery of the incarnation, no earthly matter or place is too humble or too low or too ordinary for divine presence.  The Mysteries of Mary reveal that the life of an ordinary woman, bears the Son, straw, stable and animals, the worthy audience and guardians of this self-disclosure of God among us.

There is no separation between holy and ordinary.

The Mystery of the Incarnation of the divine into the ordinary has been told through many aeons of time and through many cultures and traditions.  It is not only now in the new unfolding age that we are being reminded that woman metaphorically and in human consciousness, represent matter (mater) and that woman (matter) mothers the Divine.  Isis held the suckling Osiris to her breast as did Inanna and other ancient goddesses.

Awake to the Inner Presence by discovering your story that lives within you.  In the High Priestess card in the Mysteries of Mary Tarot, she has stepped off the wheel of fate (usually symbolised by your astrology chart which has fixed your destiny in time and space) and she has stepped off the half-moon.  Often the High Priestess, the Virgin Goddess, the Queen of Heaven, stands on the half-moon, symbolising amongst other things, the influence of the hidden world of emotions.

The Soul within you is priestessing the healing balm for your own personal story, but first you have to learn to let go of the ideas of who you think you are and what life should be like, and
start to pay attention to the unlived story within.

What is the myth that you are living? Myths are alive in our consciousness and they reflect our cultural understanding of the personal and transpersonal stories that are playing out in our time and in our personal lives. There is an unconscious and preconscious myth which is forming you and unfolding through you as your life. It dictates your reactions, your responses, your defenses
as it is rooted in an archetypal mythical story and until you uncover the story and find its healing balm, you will not be able to truly become an autonomous being.

Mostly we believe that when we are acting in the opposite way of our upbringing, or our wounding, or our parents, or our tribe, that we are autonomous, but this is not true.  We are then
still being run by this script as we are not free to act autonomously and holy (healed).

Each one of us is born into a personal myth.  We did not choose the race, culture, place and time into which we were born.  These factors make up the personal and historical myth
which will unfold in our life.  We have a choice what we will do with this myth.  Through our growing up process we will have many experience and we will have many learning opportunities and these will all add to us - through the losses that we had to endure and the victories that we may have claimed, we will grow into adolescence and then we  no longer need those experiences.

Sometimes we inherited a deep psychological and spiritual wound.  We need to know what we were born into so that we can wake up and realise that our perspective of the world is not true, that it is skewed through our inheritance or our upbringing or our experiences.

In order to cope with your early life experiences, you may have created an anti-myth for yourself in which you became someone other than yourself.  It is also important to uncover this anti-myth because this is also not your true story that wants to be lived.  This is a fantastical story that also
shapes the way that you see the world and which will not serve you any longer after childhood.

These two aspects of your personal myth will overlap and both have contributed to whom who you have become.   I n order for the spell to be broken, you need to become disenchanted.  Unless and even if, you do your inner work and face the myths that you created about yourself, life
may still confront you with shattering life experiences in order to shatter the mirror of illusions that you continue to stare into.

- exracts from the soon to be published Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck
The deck will be available in my online shop The French Madonna

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for updates


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Maria Prophetissa


"One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the one as the fourth."

She contains all four elements
The corresponding card in the next cycle is VI The Tree of Choices

The early or even some say, the true first alchemist of the Western world,  was known as Mary or Maria the Jewess, Mary or Miriam the Prophetess and Maria Prophetissa.  She is known as a Jewish alchemist, but is also referred to by other writers and cultures.  She is also known by these names :  Maria Hebraea, Maria Prophetissima and Mariya the Sage; She is known from the works of the Gnostic Christian writer Zosimos of Panopolis who dates her as having lived in the third century.  But others claim that her work was done no later than the first century. Zosimos describes her as one of the sages. 

In alchemy the Axion of Maria exists :  "One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the one as the fourth."

Many precepts of hermetic alchemy have been attributed to Mary.  None of her writings remain except for The Dialogue between Mary and Aros on the magistry of Hermes.   In this document many basic and fundamental alchemical processes are described.  Certain cryptic quotations of alchemy have been attributed to Mary, the Jewess and Prophetissa and she is said to have spoken of the hieros gamos or the union of opposites.  A quote attributed to her is ‘join the male and the female, and you will find what is sought’.

Mary Prophetissa is said to have invented the tribikos,  a three-armed distillation instrument; the kerotakis, which is a hermetically sealed container and the bain-marie.  The bain-marie (Mary’s bath)  is a double boiler that is used in chemical processes.  The bain-marie is also used for cooking food which is an example of alchemy in the day to day life.

Card I is traditionally the Magician in the deck.  It represents Hermes, the psychopomp (the inner guide of the psyche) or the Alchemist.  In this deck Maria Prophetissa is the embodiment of the archetype of Alchemist.  She is the one who initiates us into the adventure called life and its accompanying challenges.  She is the one who introduces us into the melting pot of experiences.

In this card we see the three colours of the cycle of life, red, black and white.  Maria stands in front of a red tree of life blazing in the light of the sun rising in the background.  The birds nest represent new life and the skull represents death.  The alchemical processes involve death and rebirth.  All change and transformation feels like death to the self.  At her feet are the four elements of the four suits, namely the chalice from the suit of vessels, a red apple from the suit of the holy rood,  the red thread from the suit of the distaff is tied around the book and the red rose. 

In the open book is written the Maria axiom :  "One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the one as the fourth."

Maria holds the hawthorn branch as her magician’s wand.  The magician or alchemist archetype of the deck has all four the elements to her disposable.  Here we see the chalice, pitchers and alchemists' bottles of the suit of vessels and the element of water;  the white hawthorn branch as a symbol of the flowering cross of the tree of life and the element of living fire;  the red thread tied around the wisdom books as the element of air in the suit of the distaff and the red rose from the suit of roses and the element of earth.  The colours of red and white are also significant as these represent the two opposing colours of spirit and matter which has to be unifed into the sacred marriage in order for transformation and new birth within the psyche to take place.

The alchemist seeks to ‘make gold from lead, the prima materia’.  The process starts from the black stage also known as nigredo through various stages to gold.  The blazing red tree is firmly planted in the black stone said to be buried at the foot of the tree of life.  The red tree has become one with the black stone through its root system.  In the alchemical process of spiritual transformation, it is understood that one has to bond with the opposite or the nemesis.  You have to surrender to and accept the given circumstances and the parts of the personal self which you might find abhorrent and as the cause of your failed attempts at finding joy and peace.  And indeed, you have to grow to love, integrate and merge with that part of yourself before transformation can take place.  Then, and only then can conception and birth take place.  

The black stone represents the black stage (nigredo) and the physical matter and personal ego.  The personal ego would seem to be the black sheep in the story.  One’s personal limitations and shortcomings would appear to be the nemesis in the journey of joining soul and spirit.  

In Alchemy the Philosopher’s Stone is required to make the process happen.  Is this the same stone as the stone hidden at the foot of the tree?  If it is, it means that the physical life and its suffering is the Philosopher’s Stone to the manifestation of the gold, the goal of the alchemical process.  In other words, there is no other way except for the way through the dark tunnel of despair of feelings of being overwhelmed.  

The red tree of life is symbolic of the fiery kundalini that rises like the living sap through the trunk of the tree and its branches, enlightening the human energetic system with higher spiritual values and understanding.  And in the background we see the blazing golden Sun of Gnosis and illumination. 

Maria Prophetissa, the Alchemist, tells us that that everything is as it should be.  You are exactly where you need to be and that there is no hidden enemy other than ignorance and unconscious living.  When you bask in the golden Sun of illumination and you allow all of yourself to come out of the hidden shadows of shame, guilt and depression, then transformation will take place.  Obviously, that is not such an easy undertaking as you will have to die to the old.

The production of the tarot deck is under way and I hope to have it available in my shop
The French Madonna October/November 2016



Tuesday, August 2, 2016

0 Mara, the Holy Fool

Mara, the holy fool
Card 0 Major Arcana
Sacred Mysteries of Mary tarot deck

Drink the poison and find the cure

Mara is the archetypal woman representing the self
on the inner journey of Self-Realization.
She is the holy fool who sets out on an unknown
journey towards an unknown destination, leaving
behind a limited understanding and perception
of the inner life and its manifestation into this world.

The Holy Fool has the number zero (0) in the deck.
Zero is the number of potential.  It stands outside the 
numbers of the major arcana which runs to
card 21, the culmination of the journey.
But as the journey is circular, card zero is both the
beginning and the end of the journey -
like the Tenth card in the Major Arcana, the Wheel
of Time depicts, the journey is infinite.

Mary had a little lamb 
Its fleece was white as snow
 And everywhere that Mary went 
The lamb was sure to go 

Here she is accompanied by the rabbit,
symbol of the goddess and the fertile nature
of the divine and nature as well as the
vulnerability and tenderness of all life
and all living beings.

Mara carries the Lamb, symbol of the Soul,
as well as the soul's purity, enduring innocence
and its incorruptibility.

She also wears the garland of the virgin
symbolizing a potent truth of 
the true metaphysical meaning of the virgin :
'one unto herself'.  

Behind her are the trees of the forest
that she is leaving behind as steps out on her journey.
On the tree top sits a dove, the Holy Spirit, or
messenger of the heavens, accompanying her on
this journey.

The tree represents the archetypal Tree of Life and the
Tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  This theme
is more fully explored in the Suit of the Holy Rood.

Here we see the fir tree for the first time and
we are reminded that this is the shape of the pineal gland, the seat of consciousness and enlightenment in the human brain.
She is surrounded by the elements of the
Sacred Mysteries of Mary :
the white hawthorn blossoms,
the red berries, the black seeds
and the green branches.
Read here more about the symbolism of the hawthorn
in this deck.

Mara's story unfolds through the journey of Maryam,
the Jewish prophetess and the hidden Hebrew goddess;
through the wisdom of Maria-Sophia,
the three Marys, Mary Magdalene, the handless maiden
and finally, through the initiations of

The name 'Mara' forms part of the word 'amara',
a medicinal plant called bitter-ash or bitter-wood;
the most bitter plant known to us with a characteristic black elixer which is known to aid digestion and healing
for stomach disorders.  It is also known for its blood purification properties and cleansing of the gallbladder and liver. 

'Mara' from the Hebrew means 'bitter' or 'strong' in taste.  

This first card introduces us to the sacred understanding that our journey will lead us through the purification of fire and flame.  And most importantly, Mara teaches that we have the 'cure' for our malaise within ourselves, accessible by and through the self.

'Drink the poison and find the cure"

As we set out on our life journey, we are faced with many bitter and painful experiences.  The temptation
are strong to at times just give in, to feel that one
just cannot overcome the painful disappointment,
loss or emotional wounding.  But Mara and her
message of 'drink the poison and find the cure'
remind us of the homeopathic philosophy that
the body has the power and ability to heal itself 
by creating the cure for the symptoms which
have been invoked by self-action.
She teaches that if you are facing a challenge,
you have the ability to overcome it and you 
will discover the alchemical abilities of mind,
body and spirit and the mystical ability of the Soul
or Self to ingest and transform your life experiences
and to birth a new understanding and perception.

As she sets out on her journey she will move through
the lower and also the higher mysteries of initiation
towards self-realization.

Another important message that Mara delivers
is the unity and oneness of divine and nature,
as well as the sacred knowledge that all
paths lead to the same mountain.  It does not
matter which culture you belong to and which
myths guide your story, there is the One and the Many.
One Divine Being and many different names and traditions.

The Holy Fool has the number zero (0) in the deck.
Zero is the number of potential.  It stands outside the 
numbers of the major arcana which runs to
card 21, the culmination of the journey.
But as the journey is circular, card zero is both the
beginning and the end of the journey -
like the Tenth card in the Major Arcana, the Wheel
of Time depicts, the journey is infinite.

The Higher Mysteries of Mary is currently
being printed and published by myself.
It will be available in my online shop
The French Madonna


Monday, August 1, 2016

My journey with creating my own tarot deck

A small portion of the 78 Tarot Cards
Two years ago I started the project of creating my own tarot deck.  I had the vision of each card being a handcrafted shrine. But I did not want to just emulate the traditional tarot decks based
on the teaching of the Order of the Golden Dawn or Rider-Waite. I wanted to share and highlight my own understanding based on my own experiences.  I saw that this could be a vehicle
for sharing my own teachings and mystical insight into the hidden secrets in religion and the new age.

I took time out from offering classes and retreats through my wisdom school, The Temple of Mary
and I closed my Etsy shop. I packed away my paints and canvases and focused solely on creating this deck.

Ace of Vessels
The New Human

Each shrine consists of a small wooden shrine which contains the miniature diorama of the part of the story that I am depicting. The Tarot deck has 78 cards :
22 Major Arcana cards which are the main archetypal cards followed by the Minor Arcana which are separated into the four suits.

Well, all 78 shrines have been completed!
And my studio have been taken over by them.  All my books and display areas
have been taken over by the shrines.  

This is but a small portion of the shrines and only one wall -
they cover three walls

My vision is to publish the deck with a small accompanying book.
And then to rewrite this book over time into a more expanded version.
So now the next part of this mammoth task is starting.
It is not that simple to have a tarot deck published in
South Africa.  I have found online international companies but
then the shipping is exorbitant.  There are some wonderful websites out
there and many others have gone this route before me.
A very helpful and informative website is that of 
Arnell  Ando at
Through her website I visited the Tarot emporium of Osvaldo Menegazzi
in Milan and Italy and what an inspiration that was!!

This image is from Arnell's website showing some of his handmade
boxes and deck of cards.

So this is the route that I am taking.  I am investing in a top of the range
printer that uses archival ink - that means that they do not fade or run.
And I will print each deck and myself and also create a handmade 
box for each deck!

And I am working on some unique jewellery pieces based on
the cards in the deck.  I have started with Card XVIII Stella Maris,
traditionally The Star.

Higher Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

Each pendant will be accompanied by a Tarot Card and its meaning
and interpretation, packaged in a special tin or presentation box.

If you would like to stay up to date with my journey and the Higher Mysteries
of Mary tarot deck, you can subscribe to this blog in the side margins
where it says "Follow by email' or you can become
a follower on Google Plus.

I am also on Instagram where I update regularly.

My cards and pendants will be up for sale in my shop
The French Madonna at


Friday, July 22, 2016

Card XVI The Changemaker, The Magdalen

'scarlet woman, penitent sinner, Sister-Bride,
whore, Black Madonna, High Priestess of Isis,
Mistress of the Elements,
beloved wife of Jesus, favoured disciple,
Mary of Bethany,
Miriam of Magdala, Magdal-eder, the tower-stronghold,
Daughter of Sion  .......
- extracted from Hymn to the Eternal Feminine by Teilhard de Chardin

In the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck The Magdalen is the Tower 
in the Major Arcana suit. 
The tower is often seen as a bolt of lightning
coming down from the sky, and I suppose by inference,
from the 'God in Heaven'.

Here is Mary Magdalene, the woman from
Magdal-elder, the tower-stronghold,
Daughter of Sion seen as the embodiment of
the Immaculate Conception of Wisdom and the Changemaker.

She wears the halo of the Immaculate Conception and 
the closed book of the Mystery in her hand.
At her feet is the skull, another symbol of Wisdom
and the ability to overcome the fear of death.
In the right hand corner she is depicted as the consort
of Jesus and her sacred oil and jar is displayed
as a reminder of her role as the woman who
anointed the King.

The iconography of Mary Magdalene is part of the Gnostic
tradition, amongst others.  The Gnostic religion has
virtually been stamped out by the dominant Roman
Catholic Church of the time, but the past sixty years or so, the
hidden wisdom has been coming to light once again.
These symbols of Mary the Magdalene speaks loudly and
clearly of her role in the history of humanity's psyche and
consciousness and our understanding of the role of 
organised religion as opposed to the religion of the soul,
or the inner way.

The Mysteries of Mary tarot deck is based on the Path of Love,
the hidden inner way which is not always that obvious.
To connect with one's own inner way and to embody the
Immaculate Conception of Love within the self, many ivory towers
will have to come tumbling down within the personality
and its mindset and attitudes.

The tower represents the principle of "living in one's own tower"
This symbol is often used in fairytales, think of Rapunzel and her tower and
also in the story in the Bible of the Tower of Babel.
In both these cases, the tower separates one from the communion of
others;  it places you 'above' it all and it highlights the differences 
between you and others.  It also implies
that you are not safe and obviously intensifies the
fear that you are not safe in this world.
 What might have started out as a good idea,
soon becomes a problem.  The tower is a stronghold, a structure of
defense and protection.  You can see this in the personality. 
One develops certain traits of your personality to protect you 
from emotional and psychic harm, but at the same time you
separate yourself from others and from the experiences of the heart,
that is, you create an inner stronghold which keeps painful
experiences out.  This aspect of The Magdalen card can be seen
in the red heart that she holds in her hand on the right hand side
of the shrine.

This keeping out and defensive attitude is not limited to
personal relationships.  It will permeate all layers of your
being and mind and for those on a spiritual path, it will
affect the way that you relate to the idea of God and Goddess
and the sacred inner authority.

Your soul will allow this stronghold to exist as long as it is necessary
and then you will be given many opportunities to let go of those
attitudes and outlooks which uphold this ivory tower.
And when you do not heed the many opportunities, then
a bolt of lightning will bring your tower down and the
stubborn, fearful inner child will come tumbling down,
safely into the lap of Wisdom.

The path of Wisdom is not always pleasant and comfy, but
she does promise change and rebirth into a new consciousness
and new enlivening circumstances.

In the same way The Magdalen is bringing change in our own
religious structures and she is bringing enlivening in the way that
the old mythical gods are seen and understood.  She also highlights
the equality of both the masculine and feminine, both within the psyche
and within the world of knowledge and structure.

When you draw this card in a reading, you can be certain that
change is finding its way to you.  And not gradual slow change,
but an unexpected disruption of the state of affairs;  a shock to
the system and an overthrow of the current status quo.

Our Lady Mary Magdalene is overseeing this change in your life
and you will not be lost, but a new you will be found.

In celebration of the Feast Day of Mary Magdalene

Feast Day of Blessed Mary Magdalene

Queen of Vessels :  The Mystery of the Bridechamber
A tantric ritual, the anointing of the Bridegroom

'The Coptic Gospel of Mary, found in the fifth-century papyrus codex,
is the only known gospel to have been written under a woman's name, that
of Mary'.*  There are those that interpret this Gospel to have been
written by Mary Magdalene, others say it is Mary, the mother of Jesus.

'As a controversial saint now emerging for the first time from the
shadows of Church history, the Magdalene has become today even
more important as one of Jesus' closest disciples and arguably
the most magnetic and yet problematic character in the whole of the
Christian story.  It is becoming apparent that her importance
to the development of early Christianity's mysterious bridechamber
sacrament has been greatly underrated.'

Mary Magdalene, as priestess of the Mysteries of the
Bridechamber,  re-enacting the tantric ritual of the Bridalchamber
Anointing the King -
'Mary's gospel is an exercise in first-century equality....
Clearly, Mary was a woman of wisdom possessed of many
such occult secrets, and in a time of terrible crisis after the master's
death she showed herself well able to lead the group.  Yet,
as a leader, Mary is handicapped by her gender and must
plead for understanding and acceptance of her fellow male
disciples. Yet, this undeniable female imprisonment has not
always existed, a fact of which spiritual leaders like Jesus, versed
in the doctrines of the Old Religion, must have been well aware.
For almost four thousand years - from about 7000 BCE to 3500 BCE, 
in the depths of the Neolithic age - an advanced culture
complex existed in which women were truly free and responsible
equally with men for the building and creative organisation of their society.'

'With the fall of Jerusalemn, both the Pharisees and the Judaeo-Christians were
freed from political constraints to pursue their own course.  In the same period
Christians launched into the production of both the New Testament gospels
and a large corpus of Gnostic gospels, such as the Gospel of Mary,
the Pistis Sophia, the Gospel of Truth, the Dialogue of the Saviour, and others.
All these apocryphal documents betray Qabalistic themes centred on 
the rite of the sacred marriage and the new role of the feminine
principle as an essential subtext in Christian discourse.
Yet apart from Jesus' occasional references to himself as bridegroom
the sacred marriage theme is noticeably absent from the
Christian scriptures, and the disappearance of the Gnostic texts
themselves for nearly two thousand years has reinforced the 
common assumption that Jesus' embrace of the messianic function
meant that women and tantra had no place in his life.'

The symbols of Mary Magdalene as priestess of the
Mysteries of the Sacred Bridechamber

In the Queen of Vessels (traditionally Cups)
Mary Magdalene is seen dressed in the colours gold
and purple depicting alchemical transformation and
wisdom.  She is surrounded by symbols of alchemy
and the trantic principles of death and rebirth.
In the background is the jar of sacred spikenard oil.
A very rare and precious oil traditionally linked to the ancient
mysteries of anointing the sacrificial King and the tantric ritual
to take place between the King and his Lover in the Sacred Bridal
Mary Magdalene holds a chalice or the Holy Grail which contains
a living fish.  The symbol of the fish was a symbol of the Goddess
which was appropriated by the Christians.  The old religion explains
that we come from the waters and it can be linked to the ancient myths
of when fish grew legs.  This myth is also linked to the story of
Quetzlcoatl and the plumed serpent.  The name Mary can be linked
to Mares, the Ocean or Sea of Consciousness and Existence and
Isis (whom preceded Mary in the Egyptian myths) were depicted to
travel in her boat across the sky.

'The apocryphal texts give full support to Mary Magdalene's role
as Jesus' spiritual partner.  They frequently refer to Mary as
Sophia, Spirit of Wisdom, and claim that Jesus gave her the
title 'Apostle of Apostles' and called her Mary-Lucifer,
the Light-Bringer.'

De Voragine, the Dominican archbishop of Genoa,
called her Illuminant and Illuminatrix, both enlightened and
empowered to bestow enlightenment on others.

Of course there are many discussions, views and paths based on the
interpretation of the Mysteries of the Bridechamber.
The Gnostic gospels with their talk of images, metaphorical
garments, and symbols in general, seem to struggle continually
to make their multileveled and spiritualized worldview comprehensible
to their readers.  In a spiritualised view and understanding the
Hieros Gamos, the sacred mystery of the Bridechamber, takes
place in the inner Bridechamber, in the spiritual self.  It is a coming together
of the masculine and feminine inner self, the ultimate tantra, beyond
physical sexual intercourse.

In the bridechamber, death is annulled.  The true marriage, the living
marriage, is not to be found in this material world where death dwells.
This is the Gnostic teaching of the Sacred Bridechamber Mystery.
It also describes the interior union that is possible between compatible souls
who have been adequately purified. 

In the Gospel of Mary, she points out several times that the Master
has 'proclaimed the child of humanity' - that is, the divine
self-goverining principle - to be the Inner Guide
within each of them.  Here Mary indicates that the disciples
have achieved mastery of the higher cerebrospinal energy
centers critical to the birth of spiritual love.  That is the criterion
of a full individuated human being - that she be one who has
mastered the energic secrets of the higher chakras and no longer
needs the physical sexual act to establish a blissful
psychospiritual union with another human being.
Such a one meets the bridechamber of the heart,
where the true psychic marriage takes place.

blessings on this the feast day of Mary Magdalene, Beloved and Bride


*Extracts from Victoria LePage, Mysteries of the Bridechamber as well as