Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck






A card deck of 78 large size cards printed on 350 gsm card stock with an accompanying A5 book with glossy papercover and 160 pages of info on each card and its themes and background.  Packaged in a hand crafted tarot pouch, accompanied by a signed card from the deck and a rosary.  



The Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck is a unique deck of cards and guide book published in Cape Town, South Africa.  The Mysteries of Mary Tarot is a mystical vision of the sacred mysteries of the Soul and its unsung feminine path. The Mysteries tells of a sacred marriage of the Bride and the Beloved : a new mythos of the Story of the Child Within and the Gospel of Love. A mystical vision of the religion of the Soul as reflected in the archetypal images of the story of Divine Mary in the Mariamic tradition.

Back of the Mysteries of Mary deck

Today we know the Blessed Mary as the Mother of Jesus who plays a small part in the story of Protestant Christianity and who plays an important part in the Roman Catholic tradition.  She is lesser known as a goddess in the feminine traditions and very few would connect her with the great Mother goddesses of the past or the Lady Sophia in the Wisdom traditions.


But to myself, and others like me, there is a connection, a red thread that connects the dots in the eye of the heart.  The ancient divine feminine had been demonised many moons ago and her stories had gone underground.  One has to rely on myth, folk tale, oral traditions, fairy tales and subtle clues and especially correspondences, to uncover Her story.  And today Mary is the Sacred Keeper of all Our Lady’s titles and Wisdom.

The Mysteries of Mary is a reweaving and a regathering of all these threads of Our Lady’s garment created from red wool and linen.  We look in the Bible, in the Koran, the Kabbalah and many other ancient and rediscovered lost books.  There are also esoteric and apocryphal books that tell the stories of Mary, the feminine counterpart of the Divine Creator in the Western religion and myth and many of these stories have been included to create The Mysteries of Mary deck.
 
Mysteries of Mary tarot deck included in
tarot collection of Museo dei Tarocchi, Bologna, Italy


In this deck the story starts with Mara, the bitter one.  Why is she called Mara?  We follow Mara, the holy fool through the stories of Maria Prophetissa, the Jewess and the first woman alchemist, to Sophia, Mary of the Gael onwards till we get to the Woman who stands on the moon with twelve stars around her head.
Woven into the tapestry of myth, metaphor and inspiration, are fairytales and in particular, the folktale of The Handless Maiden.  And so are the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, pagan and especially the Judaic history which is the precursor to the Christian mysteries.

The deck incorporates alchemical principles and as such it is a marriage of opposites, a living hieros gamos which follows the sacred journey of the Holy Fool through the mysteries of Mary. I focus on the mystical (hidden)  and inner meanings of the Mysteries of Mary. 



Historically and politically there are so many theories and ideas – none of them completely provable – thus it remains a Mystery. The teachings of Jesus and the Marys, are also open to various interpretations.  Many wars have been fought based on differences in interpretation.  I am not exploring the religion of the Mystery, but rather the message that I, personally see in this ancient story.




The four suits of the deck correspond with the four cycles of Mary's life :  Virgin and Priestess as the Suit of Vessels;  Beloved and Bride as the Suit of the Holyrood;  Mother and Sacred Woman as the Suit of Distaff and Wisdom as Suit of Roses.


It is my vision that this deck can be the start of a far greater vision : one that marries the mind and the heart; the feminine and the masculine.  It is my hope that you will glimpse the revelation that all religion contains Soul and that the veils of dogma and manipulation obscure the truth.  May you look in the mirror of Sophia and see yourself as Love Eternal. - extracted from the Introduction of the accompanying book.


The deck consists of 78 handcrafted shrines, each one made by  myself to 
represent one of the stories in the deck.  These were photographed and then professionally 
printed in a large card format on a good quality card stock.  
The style and colours used create a rich tapestry of imagery, symbol and colour.  
The accompanying guide book has a paperback cover.   
Each limited edition deck will be signed by myself and each deck 
will come in a unique pouch in the style of the deck

- 78 tarot cards printed on 350 gsm card stock with thick glossy varnish
- 160 page A5 paperback tarot book signed by myself
- Unique handprinted tarot pouch
- Extra signed tarot card

I ship registered airmail with a tracking number

Archangel Michael, Servant of Distaff


Here is a link for reviews received from those who purchased
the deck :
 http://www.hergracesacredart.com/p/feedback-and-reviews-of-mysteries-of.html

Here is a link to the review by Arnell Ando on her website :

http://www.arnellart.com/mary-tarot.htm



The deck is available in my shop The French Madonna
www.etsy.com/shop/thefrenchmadonna


blessings


Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Black Madonna on the Pillar

XV The Black Madonna
Mysteries of Mary Tarot
www.hergracesacredart.com


XV  BLACK MADONNA
Traditionally The Devil
‘The Black Madonna is Dark and calls us to the darkness.. Darkness is something we need to get used to again—the “Enlightenment” has deceived us into being afraid of the dark and distant from it’ – Dr Matthew Fox in his blogpost The Return of the Black Madonna

‘…that which is unknown to us, we deem weak and contemptible. So it is that realities revealed to vigilance seem weak and contemptible, whereas they are strong and praiseworthy.’ – Logion 124, The Gospel of Philip

The Black Madonna or Black Virgin is an ancient aspect of Mary revered as sacred across many cultures of the world.  She is worshipped in caves, underground chambers and dark, hidden places. She represents the darkness of the void and the womb and the dark side of the divine and the feminine. She is virtually the polar opposite of the image of the purity of Virgin Mary.  (It is an interesting fact that there are Black Madonna statues at many places sacred to Mary Magdalene) The Black Madonna can be regarded as that which is hidden and dark or that which is hidden in the dark shadows.  She holds the sacred image of our wholeness by reflecting the dark shadow of our collective and personal consciousness.  She also represents pain and suffering and death, but she is a tremendous agent of change and transformation.  That is one of the meanings of her dark countenance.  She is the one who entices you down into the painful depths of your desires and passions only to bring you face to face with yourself in the mirror of her all-encompassing divinity.

Shrines and holy places dedicated to the Black Madonna are known to have been placed on power points of the earth’s energy ley lines.  This shrine shows the Madonna on the Pillar in the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres.  Until my second-last visit to the Madonna on the Pillar she was a Black Madonna.  But recent renovations have turned the Black Madonna into a milky-white doll-like version of the once powerful Black Madonna.  This miniature statue still shows the Black Madonna in her previous appearance and clothing and the Cathedral of Chartres as it once was, veiled with mystery and tradition.

On the shrine of the Black Madonna we see the arms of Our Lady at the top, with the red rose and white lily of alchemy tied onto the arms demonstrating that she holds us in an equal embrace, body and spirit alike.   Religion often regards this world and its physical pleasures and desires as the world of the devil. All religion shy away from the shadows and only see the light as ‘good’ or ‘positive’.  Black is usually regarded as a ‘negative’ and the colour of death and worse.  Wherever there is light, there will be a shadow and the shadow plays a very important role in the wholeness or holiness of the psyche and soul.  If we never look into the shadows, we can never know who we are; we will then become stuck in the idea of who we think we are only and the depths of our being will never be plumbed. Without the darkness of the night our nervous systems cannot completely come to rest in order for the body and mind to regenerate itself.  How would the fetus gestate without the darkness of the womb? How would the human heart come to know true compassion and empathy for another’s suffering without entering the darkness of the cave of loss and pain?
 Traditionally this card is the ‘Devil’ card.  The name Lucifer has become accepted as a name of the devil or the fallen angel in Isaiah 14 of the Old Testament, especially because of a sermon by Pope Gregory the Great (540-604 AD) and the poem Paradise Lost by John Milton. The name Lucifer literally means ‘light bringer’ or bringer of light. ‘Bringing light’ is derived from the Latin lux which means ‘light’ and ‘ferre’ which means ‘to bring’. In Latin Lucifer originally referred to the morning star, Venus, or the Bringer of the Dawn. 
So here we have the goddess Venus, the morning star, directly connected to the Christian idea of the devil.  There is a direct connection between Venus goddess of love and the astrological ruler of Virgo (virgin) and Mary, virgin-mother of the child of love.

In this shrine the Black Madonna is the bringer of light into the darkness of pain and ignorance.  ‘Enlightened’ means to bring light to the darkness of an uninformed mind and I would add that it means to bring the light of awareness and insight into the heart of humanity.  Without the darkness there would be no need for the light and conversely, the light will be completely blinding without the darkness.

When you receive this card, take a moment and see what your personal fear-based beliefs are. You have the power to free yourself from the chains that tie you to your present circumstances.  Speak to others, read books and become informed:  there are different perspectives to your self-limiting one.  

blessings
Hettienne

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Mary Magdalene as Black Madonna

The Tree of Choices
Mysteries of Mary Tarot
www.hergracesacredart.com


VI  TREE OF CHOICES
Traditionally The Lovers

‘God planted trees in a garden. Humans lived among those trees, they were not yet divided when they were told: Eat from this tree or do not eat from it.’ Logion 94, The Gospel of Philip

The tree plays an important role in the Mysteries.  In this card we are confronted with the Tree of Choices.  In the Biblical and Judaic stories there are different versions of the trees of Paradise.  It would seem that there was in truth only one tree, the Tree of Life.  This is an ancient symbol of the self-sustaining and regenerating power of a spirit filled world. In the story, this tree was later split into two, the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. After the split of the trees we see that they are now in opposition to each other. After the fall of Adam and Eve, caused by their eating from the fruit of the tree of Knowledge, humanity was cut off and banned from the Tree of Life.  The Tree of Life promised eternal life and humanity was now doomed to a mortal and exiled life.

In this shrine I compare the metaphor of the two trees with the way in which our culture have split value and worthiness of masculine and feminine and then still further dividing the feminine into the ‘good girl/virgin/wife/mother and the bad girl/lover/wise woman.  This split is reflected in the way that the stories of Mariam of Nazareth and Miriam of Magdala, is interpreted and held up as image of the two aspects of woman .

Popular legend has assigned the apple tree to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  The apple is a powerful symbol of woman and her feminine sexual nature. (Also see V Holy Rood, The Handless Maiden for more on the symbolism of the apple tree).  In this version of the story of the Fall of Man, woman and her sexual nature is held responsible for their eviction from Paradise.  So right at the onset a woman has been forbidden from getting to know and understand her complex sexual nature. There is an inherent sexuality in physical bodies; one could say that the soul radiates its mystical and sexual nature through its physical cloak.  But humanity has been severed from this mystery and all its gifts.
In the Christian story we are only told the story of Mary the Virgin-Mother, the one who conceived immaculately and who remained a virgin even after the birth of her son.  We never really meet Mary the Beloved of Jesus, the Bride of the Bridal Chamber, the one who is called the Magdalene.  Mary the Mother of God is indeed a Bride without a Bridegroom as She is the Bride of the Spirit, but there is another sacrament in the mysteries, that of the Bride and the Beloved Bridegroom..  This brings us to Mary Magdalene and the various interpretations of her role in the story of Jesus and the three Marys.  Few accept Mary Magdalene as the beloved or the bride of Jesus the Bridegroom.  Mary Magdalene has been blackened in reputation by various authors of religion through the centuries and mostly she has only been seen as an unholy woman who indulges in pleasures of the flesh.  Religion has always separated the life of the flesh and the life of the spirit and especially in the treatment of women as wives, lovers and mistresses.  And we see this split right at the start of the story with the two trees in the Garden of Paradise.  



In this card we see Mary the Mother with the rosary in her hands and we see the black Mary as she is depicted in the poem ‘The Thunder, Perfect Mind’ in the Nag Hammadi library.  In this shrine she represents Mary Magdalene and ultimately both together represent the Feminine Soul and aspect of the eternal feminine.  Both these women carry the name Mary and to me it is an important indicator that there is an important hidden message for those with ears to hear.  The split between the Madonna and the whore is active in many layers of our cultures.  Women are demonised for the expression of their sexuality, whereas men are honoured and revered for their sexual prowess. 

In the traditional Lovers card we often see a male hero struggling for a choice between two women.  In the Mysteries card we have the female version of the choices card.  Women are mostly compared to men and masculine pursuits and rarely in relation to other women and themselves.  This creates an imbalance in women and a suppression of womanly ways and feminine relational values.

Hecate, goddess of choices, is often shown with three roads behind her.  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. There is a place where all the rivers converge and that place is the Sacred Heart of humanity. 

Through the union of the opposites, that is, through the marriage of two opposing forces, a third force is born.  This is the meaning of creativity and the magical nature of the number three.  (This card is a six and thus contains two threes). On the path of divine love, the magical child of love and hope is born from the marriage of the opposites.

The braid of life contains three strands which can be symbolised by the colours white, red and black.  In the ancient cultures the hawthorn tree was regarded as a sacred tree. Today the hawthorn tree is sacred to Mary and the goddess as well. This specific tree contains all three elements of the thread of life and even more importantly, they overlap. The white blossoms start to form whilst the red berries and black seeds are still hanging on the thickly leaved branches.

 The white is regarded as the 'virgin', the cycle of spring and new beginnings; the red berries represent summer and the fullness of the season and the physical acts of sensuality and joy and loving and the black seed contains the potential of fathering the new life and it also is the end of the life of the berry.
As we dance and weave with the tension of desire and repulsion between the opposites of life, we discover new possibilities, new experiences and we weave a new story.

This shrine and card represent choices. The Tree of Choices invites you to consider the choice to say ‘both’ instead of the black and white rationale of ‘either/or’.  You will be given the opportunity to make a decision and you are reminded that it is possible to find a new way and a different way of reacting and of doing things.  You are reminded that it is only fear that will force you into a corner, and thereby denying half the picture.  When you are willing to keep an open mind and an open heart, it is possible for a new vision to be born.

blessings
Hettienne

Friday, August 25, 2017

Holy Wisdom Black Madonna

XI Holy Wisdom from Mysteries of Mary tarot
www.hergracesacredart.com

Mirror of Justice, Seat of Wisdom – Litany of Loreto


There are many streams of understanding of Holy Wisdom as the Lady of the Mysteries. 
In the Litany of Loreto She is called the Seat of Wisdom.  
The Black Madonna, the ‘Notre Dame Sous Terre de Chartres’; 
Our Lady Underground in Chartres is the representation of the Divine Woman 
as Holy Wisdom in the deck. 
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. 
As you enter the chapel you pass underneath ‘the Hand of God’ 
and it is as though are being blessed as you enter the hidden 
underground chamber of Dark Wisdom. 


Notre Dame Sous Terre de Chartres
XI Holy Wisdom
Mysteries of Mary Tarot

The hidden Black Madonna under the earth is seated on the throne of wisdom  
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. 
Holy Wisdom is veiled behind the appearance and noise 
of the external world and it is necessary to enter the 
subterranean cave in order to find her ‘still’ voice.

The Greek for Holy Wisdom is Hagia Sophia.  
Sophia is the Wisdom of the divine deity. 
She has been revered as the Wise Bride of Solomon 
in the Judaic tradition; as Athena, the Queen of Wisdom and War 
in the Greek pantheon and as 
Our Lady Wisdom by Christians.  
She is known as Chokmah in Hebrew, and Sapientia in Latin.

When Holy Wisdom is seated on the throne of your inner world, then you are ensured of a wise voice of intuition and discernment.  Following Lady Wisdom is a skill that needs commitment to be developed.   She does not often speak in a loud voice, but often through the words of others, images, nature and your soul.  You are surrounded by the voices of Wisdom, you only have to open your ears and eyes. 

blessings
Hettienne

Looking at the Black Madonnas in the deck

Lady of Regla, Mysteries of Mary Tarot

There are more than one Black Madonna in the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck.

Our Lady of Regla is the ninth card in the suit of Vessels.

The Black Madonna of Regla is revered by thousands. Tradition tells us that her statue was buried under a fig tree to safeguard it against an invasion, and it was miraculously rediscovered. (Notice the importance of the fig tree in her story – we see her in relation to trees in many other stories in the deck) The rediscovery of the hidden image, chalice and lamp led to the revival of the devotion to the Virgin of Regla.

IX Vessels - Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

This Black Madonna has many attributes in common with the African goddess Yemaya. Her colours are blue for the ocean and silver for the moon. She is represented by the crab, fish, mermaids and shells. As is often the case with a new religion, it assimilates the culture and religion of the land and many African slaves were brought to Spain, bringing their devotion to Yemaya with them. And in Our Lady of Regla, we see the Great Mother as the protector of the mariners, seaports, provider of the abundance of the oceans and its tides. Our Lady of Regla is associated with the astrology sign Cancer known for its mothering nature and family.

The Black Madonna symbolises the dark matter, of both the Earth, our physical mother, as the darkness of matter in the process of alchemy. And the white Divine Child is very obvious in this shrine, symbolising the Light which humanity can potentially give birth to through spiritual transformation.



When you receive this card, you can expect a period of fulfilment and attainment.  It may herald the end of a cycle and the happy and fulfilling conclusion of undertakings and projects. It speaks of integration and synthesis as well as happiness in family and home.  You will enter a time of peace and spiritual harmony and you may expect many blessings to flow to you.  You have continued from the VIII Vessels and are integrating this new level of spiritual enlightenment and bliss.

Blessings
Hettienne

Sara la Kali

Sara la Kali - Mysteries of Mary tarot
www.hergracesacredart.com

 Sara la Kali is the V of Vessels in the Mysteries of Mary Tarot

 Every year the holy festival of Santa Sara la Kali takes place in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
 in the South of France. 
Sara la Kali is also known as Santa Sara and
Sara the Black One, Queen of the Romani Gypsies.  
Gypsies from all over the world gather here to pay homage to their goddess.  
For three days a non-orthodox Catholic mass takes place 
and the relics and statues of Mary Jacobe and Mary Salome is carried in the boat, 
in procession down to the sea.  
On the third day of the pilgrimage, Santa Sara is brought up from the crypt 
underneath the Church and she is taken in a wonderful procession to the beach 
where she is immersed in the sea whilst pilgrims enter the water which has been blessed by her immersion. The statue of Sara gets dressed in a multitude of cloaks before she is taken out in the procession. 


One version of the story is that, after the crucifixion of Jesus,  the Three Marys and their servant Sara was put into a boat without a sail or oars,  as punishment meant to kill them, yet they miraculously made it the French shore.  Another version was that the Three Marys (Mary Magdalene, Mary Jacobe and Mary Salome) was put in a boat without sails.  Sara, a child-servant was on the shore and begged to be put into the boat in order to serve the Three Marys and she miraculously walked on the water and climbed into the boat.




Sara first appeared in the Legend of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in which it was interpreted that she was a Gypsy.  The Gypsies expanded this story and turned her into a French Gypsy princess who had knowledge of the secrets of the world.  In this version of the legend she had visions forewarning her the that the Three Marys will arrive and that she is to help.  She saw them arrive in a boat struggling with the rough seas.  She threw her cloak onto the waves and it miraculously became a raft and she rescued the holy ones. 

Then there is also the legend that the Three Marys carried with them the Holy Grail and that this holy blood was Sarah, the daughter of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer was the place where Isis Pelagia, Artemis and Cybele were once worshipped. One cannot miss the inclusion of the name Kali into Sara la Kali, thus linking her to the Hindu goddess of death and transformation.  This seems possible as the Gypsies are descendants of India.  Kali means black in both Sanskrit and Romani, the language of the Roma gypsies. Sara la Kali is regarded as a Black Madonna.  The Dark Mother archetype was, and is still, worshiped under the names of the Dark Mothers such as Kali, Cybele and Artemis.

Sara the Black One is also a reminder for us of the Great Goddess worship and the great Mystery which the Black Madonna holds. 

 In pre-Christian times the Gypsies used to worship the Goddess Ishtara or Astarte.  Once a year they carried a statue of her into the sea to receive its blessings.  Every year on her feast days of 24 and 25 May Sara is carried to the sea amidst the sound of music, song, dance and prayer. The Catholic Church only gave them permission eighty years ago to include Sara in the procession of relics of the Marys and to dip her into the sea.
Immersing sacred statues of the Goddess is an ancient custom to be found in many cultures.  In India huge statues of Durga Ma is floated down the Ganges during Navarathri.  The Romans used the bathe Cybele in a river. 

This card signifies change and the sadness and disappointment that accompany certain changes.  In the celebration of Sara la Kali we see the disappearance of the nature based Goddess worship which has been replaced with the patriarchal church and its strict religious code and taboos.  This card reflects regret at how the strict moralistic father has replaced the loving mother.  But all is not lost.  Do not cry over the spilt wine from the fallen cups.  Look ahead and see that union between spirit and matter is present in the image of the Black Madonna, Sara la Kali and within reach of the one who is willing to commit to the inner path.

 Blessings

Hettienne

Monday, August 21, 2017

Charmed!

My charms set out on a casting sheet from CarrieParis.com 

My charm bracelet of trip to Bologna

I have always loved charms.  Ever since I can remember I collected
charms.  My very first charm bracelet was a plastic one with all
the fairytale princesses in bubblegum colours.

Since those days I have read a lot on charms and where
they come from and how they are our 'visionkeepers' and
hold the energy for our focus and manifestation of our intent,
desires and goals, amongst other things.

Carrie Paris from www.carrieparis.com has been
working with charm casting for years and she offers
beautiful casting sheets on her website.


Casting sheet by Carrie Paris of carrieparis.com
with my charms in a spread

When I created the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck
I included charms into every single shrine and altar.
These charms represent the theme, the archetype, the symbolism,
the hidden meanings and so much more of each shrine
and card in the deck.  I chose charms to represent an entire suit.
For instance, the Suit of Distaff, has all the weaving, cutting, sewing
and braiding charms.  By adding a pair of scissors to a shrine,
I invoke in your mind's eye the theme of the Three Fates,
the cutting of one's life thread and the cutting of emotional cords.
When one places the pair of scissors on top of a casting cloth or a card
symbolising someone in your life, as in the court cards,
it takes on the meaning of cutting the cord of that relationship.

The skull of Mary Magdalene means wisdom and
sacrifice through wisdom.  It can also symbolise that something
has to die in your life and that wherever this charm lands, that
is the area that has to die off.

I have had the tradition the past ten years, of creating
a charm bracelet for every pilgrimage and places
I visited.  I attach charms to the bracelet while I am
travelling - each charm represents either a place and what
it means to me or an insight or vision or understanding
that was revealed to me.

Once the deck was published I started to create tarot rosaries
with the image of the cards and I added charms to the necklaces
to embody and harness the symbolism and meaning of the archetypes.




Casting sheet by Carrie Paris of carrieparis.com with some of my charms

I am playing with bags of charms, working on translating the
Mysteries of Mary tarot deck into a set of charms
and how you could use it in your life, along with the
Mysteries of Mary tarot cards or just the book with the charms.

What better way to access the Inner Child during this solar eclipse
than playing with charms?

Check back and I will share with you my progress on
the Mysteries of Mary charm set

Blessings
Hettienne





Thursday, August 17, 2017

Celebration of the Dormition and Assumption of Mary





15 August is the feast day of the Dormition and
Assumption of Mary.  These archetypal events in the life of
the triple Mary, are very important and has powerful implications
for the way in which we interpret our soul and also
the way we view the feminine.

As explained in the accompanying guide book of
the Mysteries of Mary
outer religion is not merely a set of rules and stories
imposed onto humanity.  The stories of religion
are born forth from humanity's unconscious and
mystical understanding and interpretation of the
mysteries of life.  The outer religions evolve and form
based on the ideas and needs and desires of that specific
culture and community.  It is impossible for one person or
a group of people to impose their ideas on an entire mass
without the cooperation of the group.

This means that outer religion and its beliefs and dogma and
doctrine give us a powerful and empowering vehicle and tool
for self-awareness and self-contemplation.  By studying the religion
of our culture we can become more fully aware of our own
nature and intrinsic tendencies, fears and beliefs.
Awareness leads to acceptance which in turn leads to transformation.

In this shrine we see Mary, the wise woman and Teacher of the Cosmic Mysteries.  There are various stories and traditions in the apocrypha that tell the story of the dormition or death of Mary.  Two ancient groups of work that are mostly discussed are the ‘Palm of the Tree of Life’ traditions and the ‘Book of Mary’s Repose’.  In the ‘Mystical City of God’ by St Mary Algreda, the story of Mary’s dormition is also included.  All the versions of the story agree that shortly before Mary’s death, an angel appeared to her.  She was called to go up to Mount of Olives, where a Great Being of Light appeared to her.  Some say it was the Archangel Michael and some say Archangel Gabriel that appeared to her. (There is also an ancient tradition that believes that Archangel Michael was an early Christ and that he came before Jesus)
 Stephen J Shoemaker in his translations of ‘The Book of Mary’s Repose’ speaks of the ‘Great Cherub of Light’ who is a ‘Christ-Angel’ that appears to Mary.  It is said that Mary immediately recognized the great Being of Light as the same energy and essence as that of her son, Jesus.  Here we have the second annunciation of Mary.  In Luke the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her to announce the birth of her son.  Here we have the Great Christ Angel of Light appearing to her to tell her of her impending death.  According to St Mary Algreda, Mary greeted the message with the same words of acceptance of Divine Will as in Luke: ‘I am thy handmaiden’.
 After the Being of Light had given Mary the news of her death, he gave her a book that contained all the Cosmic Mysteries.  He also gave her a palm leaf of the Tree of Life.  (In India there is a tradition of reading the palm leaf of the Tree of Life.  According to belief each and every person’s entire life, past and future is written on the palm leaf.)
Mary did not initially understand who this Being is that is appearing to her.  When she asks, she is told that she is to keep His name secret  ‘And they will know my authority and the power of my strength; not because of the book alone, but also because of my name, since it will be a source of great power.’ – Stephen J Shoemaker, Ancient Traditions of Virgin Mary’s Dormition and Assumption
This shrine shows where Mary is standing on top of Mount of Olives, carrying the palm leaf and the secret books of Mysteries given to her by the Being of Light.  At her feet lies the spindle with the red thread and a skull telling us that she is the Mistress, Hierophant and Teacher of the Cosmic Mysteries of life, death and ascension.  The dormition of Mary is followed by her assumption, with body and soul, into heaven. 
This card is the archetype of the Queen of the Distaff, the Great Teacher and Mistress of the Cosmic Mysteries.  She could be a person in your life, or someone that you may meet.  She is the Queen of Peace and teaches from the sacred heart of divine love. This archetype is within you and all of humanity and she can be activated through the secret book of Wisdom.  It is said that each one of our living cells is encoded with Divine Wisdom and that our lives and their experiences are the palm leaves of the Tree of Life, or the pages in the book of Mysteries.  When we open our eyes to see and our ears to hear, we will find that the jewel has been right under our noses all along.


Early in the deck we discuss the vision of St. John and here he sees her, the Lady in Heaven, restored to the holy of holies and he saw her tree standing (once again) by the heavenly throne. (In the Suit of the Holy Rood it is explained that the tree of the Lady was removed from the heavenly throne and along with it an attempt was made to eradicate the Lady from our understanding, but we continued to honour her through poles and wands and holy rods and thus she lived on in our consciousness – although abandoned in our belief systems and culture.)

The woman with the crown of twelve stars on her head represents the constellation of Virgo and also the Egyptian Isis and the Great Mary. She can be interpreted to be the secret mysteries and her son the initiate born from ‘the womb of the Mysteries’. This vision can be interpreted as the story of the dragon (personifying the spirit of ignorance) and its efforts to destroy the Sacred Mother (the mysteries birthing the Truth within you) of the saviour gods who have sacrificed their lives in an attempt to redeem and enlighten the world through the sacred Mysteries. 
In this card the archetypal journey of the Holy Fool, Mara, reaches its culmination.  Here we have the sanctification of the ordinary world: the sacred marriage between spirit and flesh, nature and soul, the ordinary and the sacred; the restoration and crowning of the Feminine Divine in humanity and in our world, thus creating heaven on earth.

In the Heaven on Earth shrine of the Mysteries of Mary we see the Virgin Mary, the Immaculate Conception, as both the perfect, immaculate, divine idea of the world as well as the incarnate embodiment of the Earth and all creatures as soul-filled beings. She is the Queen of Heaven and Angels as well as the Mother of all Living Beings and nature Herself. We have Mary, the woman, the stag, the lamb and the wings of angels representing the four suits and the four paths.
The Virgin and the Stag are ancient symbols of the mysteries representing the World and the Christed Ones. Here the Virgin, the Immaculate Conception, is symbolic of the earth in heaven, immaculate from all false beliefs, born from inspiration and a perfect idea. The Stag is symbolic of the incarnate Christ and the lamb is the vulnerable and innocent Truth which makes the highest sacrifice as Love giving Itself to Love.

The horns of the stag are like the branches of the tree, the ladder of the world, ascending the various stages of life, from the physical to the spiritual.
Beyond our physical and psychic being, we have to discover our spiritual being, our eternal ground, and there the mystery of love is fulfilled.

You are the Beloved for whom this world has been created and is being created and you have the power to change what you are creating. As you let the Light of your own heart shine on yourself and on others and on the Earth, you realise the truth that you are the gift to the world. We are the ones.


Blessings
Hettienne


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Museo dei Tarocchi, Riola, Bologna

No automatic alt text available.


If you have been following my Instagram feed, then you will know
that I have received wonderful news.

The Mysteries of Mary tarot deck is now on display in the
Museo dei Tarocchi in Riola, Bologna in Italy!


The International Tarot Museum was founded by
Morena Poltronieri and Ernesto Fazioli

The first and only of its kind in the world!

The Tarot Museum, Italy
image from http://arnellart.com/museodeitarocchi/brochure.htm

Mutus Liber 
 www.mutusliber.it 


'The Handbooks of Museo dei Tarocchi
The Tarot Decks of Museo dei Tarocchi - Limited Edition 
They are editions directly cared by the Museum of Tarots and chosen between artists’ works from all around the world to leave a trace in the contemporary history of tarots.
These handbooks are editions with precious characteristic, in which are producted the Arcana in a small series from 30 to 1000 samples.'
 - quote taken from Museo dei Tarocchi website

Experience of 5 Senses
image from http://arnellart.com/museodeitarocchi/brochure.htm


The Museum's goals are: 

Creation of a database of all artists whose works are displayed in the museum, together with their CV (Bio) as well as insightful notes shared by the artists themselves to better illustrate their works.
Research focused on old and ancient Tarot to help promote the preservation of that which throughout the centuries gave life and meaning to this creative means of expression.
Creation of a vast database to record a census of the most important and influential decks in the world.
Workshops and conferences with various guest artists and speakers.
Organization and promotion of special events and exhibitions.
Creation of a virtual tour website of the Museum.
Creation of a lending library of books, and of rare and unusual texts.

Arnell Ando has many links to the tarot museum and the
tarot tours that she leads to Italy on her website

and here is the link to the Museo dei Tarocchi information page

The Sea Journey
Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck
www.hergracesacredart.com


Here is the link to the review that Arnell Ando, author, editor
and creator of more than one tarot deck, gave the
Mysteries of Mary tarot deck.


http://www.arnellart.com/mary-tarot.htm


I am deeply honoured that the deck has been included in this valuable
resource and I will be visiting the museum and meeting
Morena in person in August.

I will keep you updated with pictures of my visit to Bologna
and the Museo dei Tarocchi


blessings
Hettienne



Friday, June 16, 2017

Untier of Knots




I say that we are wound with mercy round and round as if with air; the same is Mary,…..World-mother air, air wild, wound with thee, in thee isled, fold home, fast fold thy child. – Gerard Manly Hopkins
The devotion to Our Lady Untier of Knots, also known as Our Lady Undoer of Knots. 



In this card and shrine Our Lady Untier of Knots is representative of the absolute power of the divine to ‘untie the knots’ of the personal self.  In the Eastern tradition of yoga and especially Kundalini Yoga, the teaching is that knots or ‘granthis’ exist in the subtle energetic meridians of the body.  These subtle meridians carry the ‘prana’ or lifeforce through the minor chakras (energy centres and nerve plexus) and major chakras (nerve plexus in accordance with glands).  These knots restrict the flow of prana or chi or life force and emotional discomfort and disease is the end result.  




Many therapies and healing modalities have been developed to help one to release these ‘knots’.  These therapies often rely on increasing the prana or energy in the body and to bring insight and awareness to the intellectual understanding of the person.  When we accept the teachings of all spiritual traditions, then it is actually a small step of surrender to the Divine Will which is in truth also your will. When you accept that ‘we are wound with mercy round and round as if with air’ in the words of Gerard Manly Hopkins, then it is really true what the mystics say, that the Divine is as close as your next breath.    

This rosary is hanging from an old wooden rosary and underneath is small skull carved from bone from an old rosaryand an old key.  At the top is a small sterling silver heart with an image of Mary set inside.




These rosary pieces are created in the practise of the making of sacred altars and they contain the healing energies of both the image, the meaning of these cards and the spiritual energy that they were created with.  

Here is one of many testimonials : 'I received our Lady of Lourdes, mystical healer stunning wearable shrine today. The moment Hettienne shipped it, I saw a white light with a white flame in its centre. Throughout the shrine's travel I would keep visions of it. I can firmly attest that this is more than a necklace, but carries divine consciousness which is transferred powerfully through the artist's love and devotion. The package arrived fully intact, filled with frankincense and myrrh and tiny shells and pebbles, the precious necklace safely wrapped. Thank you! Arathi Ma.'


Now available at The French Madonna at www.etsy.com/shop/thefrenchmadonna


May all beings know peace

blessings
Hettienne


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Divine Presence

The Miraculous Medal Chapel shrine, rosary and tarot card
www.hergracesacredart.com
This is a repost from my blog
Cloister of the Heart at http://pathofdivinelove.blogspot.com



The IV of Roses in the Mysteries of Mary Tarot deck is the captured image of my experience
in the Miraculous Medal chapel in Paris.  I have had the privilege to return twice to the chapel
and to attend a special mass for Mary's nativity!!

After my first visit I created a couple of shrines to represent the
incredible light and Presence which is in the Chapel, a place of
Mary's manifestation and visitation.  This shrine eventually became a card in
the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck.

Chapel of the Miraculous Medal, Paris, France
www.hergracesacredart.com


I have also made a few rosaries which can be bought with the tarot deck
or on their own.  These are powerful healing amulets and many have testified
to the healing power experienced when wearing them.



' 'I received our Lady of Lourdes, mystical healer stunning wearable shrine today. The moment Hettienne shipped it, I saw a white light with a white flame in its centre. Throughout the shrine's travel I would keep visions of it. I can firmly attest that this is more than a necklace, but carries divine consciousness which is transferred powerfully through the artist's love and devotion. The package arrived fully intact, filled with frankincense and myrrh and tiny shells and pebbles, the precious necklace safely wrapped. Thank you! Arathi Ma.'

Here is an extract of my post in 2012

A hot steamy day in Paris, a cooling breeze dancing in the tree outside my balcony. ..... This question is even more prominent when we visit the beautiful cathedrals of Paris. At each and every one of them tourists are turned away because of wearing shorts, short skirts and sleeveless shirts. The latter included cotton shirts, covering up to the neck, but lacking sleeves! Which part of the body is offensive to whom and why? I wonder whether it is offensive to the Divine that tourists, carrying their backpacks, are taking the time to integrate the spiritual with the secular? Is it not the nature of life that these two cannot be separated? 




But then, of course, the church is an institution and it has it's own backpack to contend with. It took me a while to learn to look past bureaucracy and dogma and to not let these exclude me from experiencing the Light upon which most cathedrals and other beautiful gifts are built. 




One such gift is the miraculous medal. A young nun at the Daughters of Charity Chapel received a visitation from divine Mary. In more than one visitation she received the image and instruction about the miraculous medal. Mary made it clear that this medal can be worn by anyone and everyone, regardless of religion. The only requisite was faith in 'when you ask, you will receive'. 




The chapel is tucked away in a busy street across from a large departmental store. The nuns scrutinize all visitors and the tiny gift shop is spartan and does not use electronic means of payment; each sale is written down by hand. The chapel is incredibly beautiful, and as soon as you enter you feel the incredible Presence. 


Soon the images seen by my eyes disappear and only a brilliant golden light is visible. The light has a silver rim to it and it is alive and palpable with wisdom and knowledge which cannot be translated into words. This is the Presence of Divine Mary. The light translates into my physical body and energetically there is deep movement in and through my body. 



Then my heart fills with a feeling that seems physical. Everything and everyone around me is bathed in this beautiful light and they all glow in love. The Light becomes stronger and more powerful and I see the intense Light at the centre of it all and also at the centre of each and every person. And the quality of this Light is Good and only Good - pure and beautiful and innocent! And it does not matter what happens on the exterior : nothing can corrupt or diminish that Light which is you and me. 






Blessings from Paris 

Hettienne


Now available at The French Madonna

www.etsy.com/shop/thefrenchmadonna