Saturday, December 12, 2015

Our Lady of Justice


XI Seat of Wisdom
Sacred Mysteries of Mary deck
Notre Dame Sous Terre de Chartres
Our Lady Underground
The Black Madonna hidden below the Cathedral of Chartres.

I read a wonderful book by Sybil Dana Reynolds
called Honey and Ink which brings
Our Lady of Chartres vividly back to life.

Since then I have visited Chartres twice.
The background tapestry in this shrine
I drew and stitched myself.  It is a replica
of the one that hangs behind Notre Dame Sous Terre
in the underground chapel of Chartres.
The image of the hand seen here is also painted above the door
which leads to the chapel and it is called
'The Hand of God'
and it is as though you are being blessed
by merely entering the hidden chapel
of the Underground Madonna



The artist that did the original tapestry said
that it depicts the Source of all Life
and she sees the Black Madonna seated
at the centre of the chaos of creation.

The hidden Black Madonna under the earth
is seated on the throne of wisdom and justice.
One has to descend through the Chartres Cathedral
to access these underground passages and
chapels, all of which are dimly lit and often
only by candle light.  You can only visit
this chapel under the guidance of an appointed
tour leader and you are not allowed to linger in
the chapel to pray or meditate.

The Black Madonna in the upper Basilica is
no longer black, but has been repainted and
redressed in a more modern European style
as part of the renovation of the Cathedral.

Oh Lady of Justice,
Seat of Wisdom,
where will I find thee?


“There is a reason Mary is everywhere. I've seen her image all over the world, 
in cafés in Istanbul, on students' backpacks in Scotland, in a market stall in Jakarta, 
but I don't think her image is everywhere because she is a reminder to be obedient, 
and I don't think it has to do with social revolution. 
Images of  Mary remind us of  God's favor. 
Mary is what it looks like to believe that we already are who God says we are.”

― Nadia Bolz-Weber, Accidental Saints: 
Finding God in All the Wrong People


Blessings
Hettienne

Triumph


Triumph
Mary and her Child's return to Nazareth
Six of the Suit of the Holy Rood
in the path of Beauty
(traditionally Six of Wands)
Sacred Mysteries of Mary Deck
www.hergracesacredart.com

The return of Mary and her Son through the
gates of Jerusalem.

The traditional Six of Wands look like this :


and its meaning is victory, success or triumph.

Many people are familiar with the fact that Joseph and
Mary fled with the infant Jesus to Egypt at the threat
of the massacre of the innocents by King Herod.
This event is well covered by many artists
and it is seen as one of the seven sorrows of Mary.

However, what is not clear, is the amount of time that
was spent in Egypt and what transpired there.
The two accounts in the books of Matthew and Luke
do not correspond at all.  Luke mentions nothing about Egypt
and Matthew says nothing about a trip to Nazareth
soon after Jesus' birth whereas Luke describes in detail
how Jesus was taken to the temple in Jerusalem
'after Mary's purification according to the law of Moses.'


 And when they had performed everything
 according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, 
to their own town of Nazareth - Luke 2:39

The town of Nazareth is in the 'kingdom' of Jerusalem
and here we see Mary on the donkey riding
through the gate of Jerusalem.



In The Hebrew Goddess, a book by Jewish historian
and anthropologist Raphael Patai, we learn
that the Hebrew goddess Asherah was seen as the
mother of Yahweh.  
In the time of King Joshua the Hebrew goddess
had to go 'underground'.  The use of her name and images
were forbidden and her devotees replaced her with
the tree, a pole or rod and the branches of the menorah.
She was known as the Lady of Jerusalem;
the Gate of Jerusalem and the Eastern Gate.
The Lady of Jerusalem was also depicted as an arch.
According to the Dead Sea Scrolls and
The Mother of the Lord by Margaret Barker,
 the ancients
believed Mary to be the incarnation of
the Lady of Jerusalem.

In Christian iconography from the East
we see Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn.
Her image is above the city gates (in Lithuania
and Poland) to protect the city and its inhabitants
and many miracles have been ascribed to her.

In Ezekiel it is written that the eastern gate of
Jerusalem has been shut
and that it will only re-open for the divine One.


So here we have Mary returning victoriously
through the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem
into the light of a new dawn.

A marriage of eastern and western iconography
and cultures and more importantly,
a marriage of masculine and feminine values
for our world.
This card is a way shower of the return of Mary
and her hidden and lost meaning to our world.

The deck takes us on a journey through the 
life, the initiations and the mysteries of Mary
as the Sacred Feminine and what it means
to our natural world as well as our spiritual,
emotional and social health.

May the values of mercy, compassion, forgiveness and acceptance
of all diversity as embodied by Mary
return to a place of honour and respect in our world.

(the above is an extract from the Sacred Mysteries of Mary Deck -
a work in progress and to be published in 2016
Each tarot card is a handcrafted shrine)

Blessings
Hettienne

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Four of the Holy Rood - The Wedding of Mary and Joseph

The Wedding of Mary and Joseph
Four of the Holy Rood
(traditionally Four of Wands in the Tarot)
Sacred Mysteries of Mary tarot deck
www.hergracesacredart.com


The story  of Mary and Joseph's wedding and the miraculous
flowering of the rod that he carried,
is found in the Protoevangelium (New Testament apocrypha) 
and thence in the 13th century Golden Legend, 
which was an important source-book for artists.

It tells how Joseph was chosen from among a number of suitors by a sign,
 the miraculous flowering of his rod. The miracle was witnessed by the 
seven virgins who were Mary's companions during her upbringing in the Temple. 

Joseph's attributes as a saint and as Mary's husband 
are a Lily (for chastity); various carpenter's tools, and a flowering rod or wand.




The story of the miraculous flowering of Joseph's rod is as follows:

 According to St Jerome the suitors of Mary each brought a 
rod to the high priest of the Temple. 
Joseph's rod blossomed, a sign from heaven 
that he was chosen to be her husband. 
The apocryphal Book of James relates that a
 DOVE came forth from the rod and settled on Joseph's head. 
He is usually depicted with a flowering rod, 
sometimes with a dove on it. 
The theme was condemned by the Council of Trent
 in the mid-16th century 
though thereafter Joseph retains the rod as an attribute. 
It was seen as a symbol of the Virgin's state because 
it flowered without being fertilized.
 The story closely resembles the Old Testament account, 
of the flowering of Aaron's rod.


  -  extracted from the Sacred Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck



It is said that the rod was a branch of the Hawthorn tree,
sacred to many goddesses in the ancient world and today
sacred to Mary.  And did you know that the hawthorn
rod that Joseph of Arimathea planted on WearyAll Hill 
in Glastonbury flowered every year during winter
and that a branch was sent to the Queen every Christmas?
Vandals cut the tree down a year ago and many people
mourned its loss and its symbol of hope and illumination.

There is also a hawthorn tree standing at Glastonbury Abbey
near the well of Mary and legend tells us that she was
taken to the safety of Glastonbury by Joseph of Arimathea.
This tree also inexplicably flowers in winter.

Can you imagine the sight of a white blossoming hawthorn
in the midst of the snow of Avalon?
(the mystical name of Glastonbury)

If you would like to hear more about the hawthorn and its
significance as the holy rood in the Mysteries of Mary
I write about it here :
 http://www.hergracesacredart.com/2015/10/some-of-themes-of-sacred-mysteries-of.html


blessings
Hettienne

Mary the Empress

Virgo Maria Potens
III The Empress
Sacred Mysteries of Mary Tarot deck


Today I bring to the Twelve Days of  Mary love
Mary as The Empress Virgo Maria Potens
in the Sacred Mysteries of Mary Tarot deck.

Here Mary is the strong,  powerful and positive Feminine, 
Empress and Mother of the World.
She is pregnant with Life and the absolute abundance of creativity
and beauty and she is the womb of potential 
for ever-returning life;  the possibility of birthing 
sustaining and fertile life both within the psyche,
the spiritual and the physical.

The Empress
The Mysteries of Mary tarot deck  www.hergracesacredart.com

Mary as the Empress embodies the powerful feminine force which is within
both the masculine and the feminine.  This strength is not limited to the masculine
action of this world. The receptivity of the feminine does not make
her only submissive and dependent and the activity
of the masculine does not make it only divisive and cutting.

The strong positive feminine power within the Soul and
within the person, is often regarded as wild and chaotic
and it is also mostly deeply feared and our culture
believes that she should be controlled and harnessed
for our own use and benefit.
In a simplistic fashion, mother nature is seen
as the pure expression of the powerful feminine.
But mother nature, and our instinctual nature, is only a
part of the feminine power.  The soul is, and in earlier times,
the Holy Spirit was as well, most often depicted as a woman
and if the soul is only seen as a wild force of nature which
should be dominated and controlled, where does that leave us
as human beings?  And where does that put women
in this world of organisation and structure?  And
what happens to traditionally womanly values
and enterprises and to whom is the mothering of
the world relegated?   We end up with a world in
which the ideal and image of a
 positive nurturing mother and the powerful empress 
is completely absent.

She is surrounded by the symbols of the Mother of Nature
and the Mother as Earth as known to mankind
through the ages and throughout many cultures.
  She is standing in the stream of living waters, 
as they are eternally birthing through her.
She has the bee, the Queen bee, the sheafs of wheat, bunches
of grapes and is standing on a mountain covered in roses.

She is the Queen Bee surrounded by bees.
In the ancient world those who worshipped Demeter and Artemis 
were referred to as 'bees' or 'melissas'.
The bee was also a symbol of Potnia, also referred to as the
pure Mother Bee in the Minoan mysteries.
The priestess at the sacred site of Delphi was known as
the 'honey bee' and honey has many sacred and profound metaphysical
and physical properties and metaphoric meaning.

In Samuel 1 "Jonathan... put forth the end of the rod 
that was in his hand, and dipped it in a honey comb, 
and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened."


The Empress
The Mysteries of Mary tarot deck http://www.hergracesacredart.com

Mary as The Empress embodies the great positive
Mother of the World.  Through her courageous
acts of meekness and mercy she manifests
the positive feminine force in this world.
She is the icon and symbol of our own
positive feminine strength and courage
and of the great mothering power that we possess.
We are capable of great acts of kindness,
we are capable of staying present in life with an open
heart and being present to our own vulnerability
and allowing the infinite waters of compassion
to flow through us to all of creation and to all living creatures,
including ourselves.

(extracted from my work in progress
 Sacred Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck
at www.hergracesacredart.com)

blessings
Hettienne

Five of Vessels - The Temple of the Dove




Mary has her own folk mythology unrelated
to the mainstream Christian myth.
In the mythological sense she is like the goddesses
in all cultures of the world.
The legends about Mary illustrate that Mary
is a force in people's lives.

 -  extracted from The Breath, the soul, the Divine female
by Rasa Luzyte


Mary's presentation in the Temple of the Dove
from the Suit of Vessels
Sacred Mysteries of Mary Tarot
www.hergracesacredart.com


My card from the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck 
depicting the young Virgin Mary as
Temple priestess in the Temple of the Dove
as told in The Mystical City of God:

Joachim and Anne set out from Nazareth, 
accompanied by a few of their kindred and bringing
with them the true living Ark of the covenant,
the most holy Mary,
borne on the arms of her mother in order
to be deposited in the holy temple of Jerusalem.

They arrived at the holy temple, and the blessed
Anne, on entering, took her Daughter and Mistress
by the hand, accompanied and assisted by Joachim.
All three offered a devout and fervent prayer
to the Lord, the parents offering God their daughter,
and the most holy Child.


She heard a voice saying to her :
Come my Beloved, come my Spouse,
come to my temple where I wish to hear they
voice of praise and worship.

The mystical city of God 
by venerable Mary of Agreda


blessings
Hettienne



The Two of Vessels - The Annunciation

I am Thy Handmaiden
The fiat of Mary's consent

The Angel said to her :
Hail full of grace,
the Lord is with you;
Blessed art thou amongst women

Two of Vessels in Tarot Deck
The Path of Compassion
Sacred Mysteries of Mary Deck


Rejoice, depth hard to contemplate even for the eyes of angels!
Rejoice, you who are the King's throne!
Rejoice, you who bear Him who bears all!


Two of Vessels in the Suit of Compassion
Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck
www.hergracesacredart.com

Rejoice, star that causes the Sun to appear!
Rejoice, womb of the Divine Incarnation!
Rejoice, you through whom the creation becomes new!
                                                 -  Romanus Melodos, Akathist Hymn to the Virgin


Today I start the Twelve Days with Mary once again.
This is now my fifth year of participating with Rebecca
at Recuerda mi Corazon in A Virgin a Day

I share with you my shrine/card from the
which is based on the Mysteries of the Rosary
and the Tarot Deck.

This is the Two of Vessels, 
from the suit of Compassion
and the mystery of Mary as Virgin
Archangel Gabriel, divine messenger,
gives her the news that she is the chosen one,
the Godbearer.  This is a pivotal moment in
Mary's life and her response changes the course
of the world.




I am Thy Handmaiden

 Archangel Gabriel is standing on 
two vessels.  The vessels are mainly used for
water or wine and here they are  symbolic of
the living waters of consciousness .
And indeed Mary is to become the vessel
of the Holy Son.
We are reminded of our own individual roles
as vessels of consciousness and our own
birthing of the new, be it art
or hope or inspiration or consciousness.

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; 

be it unto me according to thy word.

The fiat of Mary is Mary's consent to the divine plan.
Her acceptance and consent
has created a new world of grace and
it is within the potential of each one of us
 to birth such love and grace.

Down the side of the card are tiny forget-me-not flowers,
one of Mary's sacred flowers and the white lilies
in the background.


The flower garland on Mary's head shows
that she is a virgin. 
It is also predictive of her future
state as Theotokos and
Queen of Heaven and  Earth.

blessings
Hettienne