In the Temple of Silence in my heart, on the sacred altar of my soul, the world is imbued with Your Wisdom, great Sophia, and all becomes Holy. Living your life in the SacredOrdinary. Her Grace Sacred Art and Altars. Sacred is everything that connects us with that which is bigger, more profound and more loving than ourselves. Sacred is a practise of ritual that grounds us into this moment of the eternal now and that makes an ordinary experience numinous and aglow with the sacred.
The story of the Handless Maiden unfolds through the Mysteries
of Mary Tarot Deck.
The Handless Maiden in the Forest
Chop off her hands otherwise I cannot
come near her.” The father was horrified. “You want me to sever the hands of my
own child?” The Devil bellowed, “Everything here will die, including you, your
wife, and all the fields as far as you can see.” The father was so frightened
he obeyed… – The Handless Maiden in Women who Run with the Wolves.
we pick up the story of the Handless Maiden. We left off in card V of this suit
where the Devil could not come near the daughter. This battle between the devil
and the daughter continued as she washed her hands and drew a circle of
protection around her. But then the Devil demanded from her father that he cut
off her hands! A horrific scene follows in which her father sharpens his axe
and both father and daughter scream as he amputates her hands.
this vicious act the daughter answers: “I am your child, do as you must.”
you hear the similarity in her reply to the reply that Mary gave to the
Archangel Gabriel? ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according
to thy word.’ We see the receptivity of the feminine in both these replies. As
said previously, this aspect of the feminine is often despised and feared and
maybe it is because it will undoubtedly change one’s life path forever.
Devil still cannot take the daughter despite the loss of her hands and he
storms off into the woods. The father offers to take care of his daughter in
luxury and riches. But the daughter chooses not to stay with her father and to
rather enter the forest in search of a new life. Here the maiden shows us the
courage of one who realises that the soul is going through a transformation. If
this transformation is to be completed, it is necessary to leave behind the old
and the wounding.
Hands symbolise our ability to ‘do’ for ourselves and our
ability to ‘grasp’ and ‘take hold of’. Without hands one is powerless to take
care of oneself on a very basic level of survival with greater implications for
the survival of the soul. It is also implied that she needs to leave and to be
by herself in order to grasp what has taken place here. She has to act now to protect herself from
so she had her arms bound in clean gauze, and at daybreak she walked away from
her life as she had once known it.’ The young maiden sets out into the unknown
forest and this is where this shrine places her in the story. The forest
represents the unknown feminine psyche and the shadowy characters that lurk in
the hidden unconscious. Throughout time orchards, trees and forests have been
sacred to the goddess and the Divine Feminine.
young maiden comes to a magical orchard which she could not enter. The orchard
was surrounded by a moat and she could see the beautiful pears glowing on the
trees. She was starving and really needed to get to the fruit. In the version
of this story in Women who Run with Wolves a spirit appeared to help her, but
in the Polish folk version of legends of Mary gathered by Rasa Luzyte, Mother
Mary appears at her side. She helps her across the moat and picks one of the
beautiful lush golden pears for her to eat.
this version of the story we see once again the connection between the tree and
specifically the pear tree, Mother Mary and the feminine soul and the soul of
women in particular. This part of the story illustrates to us that we are never
lost and forgotten. We learn that we are mysteriously and magically protected
and taken care of. Both in the imagery of the white spirit and the presence of
Mary, do we see the promise of the Guardian Angel Within, that we are not
abandoned to the cruelty of others. It does not matter what terrible deeds are done
to you, your soul stays intact and whole and protected by Its Radiant Presence.
shrine shows the two blue birds of happiness at the top indicating that it is
one of the fairy tale shrines in the deck. I used a pomegranate tree to
represent the Divine Feminine here and to indicate that this is a sacred forest
with deeper meaning in which the handless maiden is wandering. I combined the image of Holy Mary with the
Handless Maiden to bring home the understanding that both Mary and women have
been disempowered in our world. At the
bottom of the shrine are two golden hands representing the ego’s attempt to
replace feminine values with golden hands of treasures and riches. On the right
is the hand of Mary ‘handing’ the pear to the maiden.
card indicates radical change and transformation. It speaks to you of change on
various levels of your being and your life. This will be a window of
opportunity so you are advised to act without hesitation and to cooperate with
the powers of transformation.
The Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck is available on this website at this page :