Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wonderful Review by Arnell Ando

King of Vessels : The Marriage of Canaan

Arnell Ando wrote a wonderful review on The Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck
on her website 
Arnell Ando' Art at

In previous posts I have written about the role that Arnell's work
has played in my life (we have never met, but who knows, that may change!)
Here is the link to my previous posts :

The Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck & Book 
Inner Mysteries of the Journey of the Soul as Portrayed by Mary
Created by: Hettienne Grobler
A Limited, Signed Edition
78 Card Deck & Book Set
Cards: Semi-Gloss, Sturdy 350 Gsm Stock, with Gold Edges & Rounded Corners
Each Image Created as an Individual Shrine
Card Dimensions: 5" L by 3.75" W, 12.7 by 9.5 Cm
Card Backs: Non-reversible Image, (Shown Below)
Accompanying Book: Soft-Cover, 160 Pages, Written by the Artist
Price: $75. + P&H
Self-Published in Cape Town, South Africa, 2016
Review by: Arnell Ando

1 MagicianI recently received a simply divine 78-card Tarot deck and book set from this gifted artist in Cape Town, South Africa. I was immediately struck by the intricate, symbolic altars in the imagery, which she painstakingly created for each card with great purpose and attention to detail. Even a heathen like me could feel the artist's sincere devotion to the subject matter and her deep reverence for Mary. Every card depicts a small, hand-crafted, wooden shrine with a miniature diorama dedicated to an archetype or an initiation into theGreat Mystery, 1 Magicianwhile revealing a vignette woven into this rich, meaningful tapestry dedicated to the sainted mother of Jesus.

The four suits of this deck correspond with the four elements and four cycles of Mary's life: Virgin and Priestess is denoted by the suit of Vessels (Water, Cups); Beloved and Bride, is the suit of Holyrood (Fire, Wands); Mother and Sacred Woman is represented by the suit of Distaff (Air, Swords) and Wisdom is attributed to the suit of Roses (Earth, Pentacles). The cards were professionally photographed and printed in a large format (5"L by 3.75"; W, 12.7 cm by 9.5 cm) on sturdy cardstock and would work nicely for readings or as one's daily card meditation (also serving to study her personal associations and interpretations). 1 Magician

The 160 page, soft-cover book goes into great detail about each card, while sharing stories with historical and mythological context and analogies. Each limited edition set is signed by the artist and comes beautifully packaged, including a unique cloth pouch in the style of the deck, adorned with a St. Mary amulet and a rosary, for a distinctive and enticing presentation. Alternatively a version with a handcrafted box relating to the iconography of this deck may also be available upon request from the creator. And an expanded version of the guidebook became available in early 2017.

Hettienne Grobler believes Mary's long legacy is connected to the ancient Goddess culture and lore. She envisions Mary as the archetypal Divine Woman of our time as well as the bridge between the mortal and immortal feminine and the sacred heart of humanity, (in dire need of myths which can usher in an era of intuitive awareness, visionary creativity imagination, social justice and the healing of humanity, the earth and all her creatures!)

1 MagicianMs. Grobler surmises that we currently recognize Mary as the Mother of Jesus, playing a small part in the story as told by Protestant Christianity or having a more significant role in the Roman Catholic tradition. However Mary is less known as a goddess in the feminine traditions and few would connect her with the great Mother Goddesses of distant past or as the Lady Sophia in the Wisdom traditions. But to the creator of this deck and others like her, there is an underlying red thread of connection. Since the ancient divine feminine became demonized many moons ago and her stories went underground, one must rely on myth, fairy and folk tales, oral traditions and subtle clues to uncover Her story. Grobler adds that if we dig deeper, we can discover that many of the titles belonging to Mary used to also be attributed to ancient goddesses in various cultures and traditions and that even the name 'Mary' has been known to signify a title, such as 'Priestess', beyond being used as a personal name. Ms. Grobler goes on to state that the history of both the power and eradication of the Divine Feminine as an ideology have been suppressed and hidden by each subsequent ruling power throughout time, until she was at last removed from any meaningful role in religion and thereby relegated to only a minor part in the story. 1 Magician

I'm reminded of another sacred Tarot offering to Mary in the form of a Major Arcana deck, created by Morena Poltronieri of the Tarot Museum, (in Italy). In 2013 Ms. Poltronieri made a spiritual journey to Montserrat, (near Barcelona, Spain). During that mystical pilgrimage she came upon 22 shines and alters dedicated to Mary and realized a correlation to the 22 Trump cards and thus created the deck,Maria - 22 Madonnas of Montserrat. And like a kindred spirit, Morena also relates Mary to the divine, eternal Goddess (as she has shared in various texts including theTarot Travel Guide of Italy). 

So in this thoroughly researched project, the artist set out to collect ancient legends, myths, fairy tales and stories from a wide range of sources and cultures and arrange together the pieces of the puzzle which contribute to a fuller revelation of the archetype of Mary.

This visionary deck is a heartfelt offering from the artist and a powerful source of inspiration and imagination. It therefore becomes another healing way to reconnect with the inner Goddess and see oneself in her divine light with compassion and insight.

1 MagicianThe edges of these cards are a muted gold and the variety of colorful borders make for a visually stunning presentation, while highlighting the intricate shrines. Traditional symbolism associated with the Tarot can be found in the cards, albeit in often mysterious, symbolic ways, that are explained in the accompanying guidebook.

The Major Arcana have traditional Roman numerals but the card titles are unique to this deck's theme (although most are recognizable to the seasoned Tarot student). The more familiar titles are included in the guidebook for easy reference. Strength is represented by card VIII in this deck and Justice as XI (following the Waite-Smith model). The court cards are: Servant, Handmaiden, King and Queen, (described in detail as to why).

1 MagicianThis precious set is available directly from the artist's Blog or her Etsy shop along with other mystical treasures and meaningful works she creates. The deck set is reasonably priced, given the time, the elaborate materials and extensive research put into its creation and all the personal touches which make for a uniquely lovely presentation for each order. It would make a potent reading deck for anyone drawn to this spiritual theme or those entranced by the iconography of religious shrines and alters. It would also be a lovely addition to any collection of those seeking a feminine vision of Goddess power and insight related to Tarot.

A few more favorite cards from the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

VI Tree of Choices (Lovers), VIII Lady and Stag (Strength), X Spinning Wheel (of Fortune)
XVII Stella Mars (Star), 4 of Vessels (Water/Cups), Queen of Distaff (Air/Swords)

About Hettienne Grobler: A spiritual healer for years, she has also created the Freedom through Love three year spiritual wisdom course and founded the Shekinah Healing Foundation; formed the Path of Love Wisdom and Mastery School as well as organizing the first international Goddess Conference on the Artemis Farm in Franschhoek. She was initiated as a Shaktypat Guru into the Siddha Yoga lineage in 2008 and founded the Temple of Mary at Sancta Maria, Durbanville in 2012. She is the Vision keeper Hettienne Bhakty Ma Maria at the Temple where East meets West. After years of dedication and study she completed this inspiring Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck in 2016. Aside from her Blog journal, Ms Grobler also has an Etsy page with a unique selection of sacred and handmade offerings.
Arnell Ando 

Images courtesy of The Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck & Website © 2016,Cape Town, South Africa

Friday, January 6, 2017

New stock to arrive soon!

Companion Book

Purchase the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck and Book Set

The special edition includes :
the 78 card deck of Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck presented
in a handcrafted tarot pouch and
the 160 page companion book,
and an extra signed tarot card

Read reviews here on this website
and here on my shop The French Madonna

The back of the tarot cards

The Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck is a unique deck of cards and companion book published by myself 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. 

The deck consists of 78 handcrafted shrines, professionally designed and printed in a large card format on a 350 gsm good quality card stock. The style and colours used create a rich tapestry of imagery, symbol and colour. The accompanying 160 page guide book has a glossy paperback cover.
Currently the cards are presented in a unique hand printed storage bag but
the next 100 decks will be presented in a printed tuck in box.
You will receive a signed book and an extra collectors card signed by myself.

VI of Holy Rood
Mary and the Eastern Gate 

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. 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 Marys 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 full price of the deck and book set is USD75.00 plus $20.00 shipping with a tracking number
shipped worldwide. This is for international airmail, registered mail with a tracking number.

Payments can be made through PayPal
by choosing a button and and add to cart

shipping and registration

If you are shopping locally and want to pay in South African Rands
it is cheaper for you to pay into my bank account.  Should you choose to
do so, please send me an email to let me know that you paid
for a deck.

The price of the of deck and book set is R850.00

If you need a layaway plan please send me a mail

Shipping in South Africa is R150,00 or R100 via PostNet


The Full Deck and Book Set costs R850,00

kindly send an email to to let me know that you paid

            Please use the account details below for payment.

             Account Details:

        Account number:   276532481
             Account holder: Hettienne Grobler
Account : Savings
Bank Name:  Standard Bank, South Africa 
Branch Name & Code:  Tyger Manor Branch 050410
International Swift Code : SBZAZAJJXXX

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Welcome 2017

Heaven on Earth

We entered  the year 2017 in our calendar system.
The past year, 2016, in numerology was a 9 and on both a personal 
and collective level, we experienced many endings and losses.
Nine as a number represents loss, endings, sacrifice and surrender.
It is the last number of a cycle before the new cycle starts
with 1 again.

2017 adds up to 10 and then to 1.
10 includes both binary numbers of 1 and 0.  It is a dual number
which includes the 1 of new beginnings and the 0 of potential.

In the Mysteries of Mary deck the 10 in the Major Arcana
is The Spinning Wheel.  This links with the idea that life is an ever-turning
wheel and in particular to the theme of spinning and weaving as
told in the Suit of the Distaff.  The old woman is spinning the red
thread of life and this reminds us of the ancient stories of the Three Fates
and the Spinners of the Thread of Life. 

Mara, the bitter one and holy fool

The number 0 is the Holy Mara, the bitter one and the first
card of the major arcana.  She is the one who sets out on a journey
of discovery and revelation and ultimately discovers her true
self in the final card of the Major Arcana, Heaven on Earth.

*We have entered the period of Capricorn a few days ago
on the Winter Solstice and the card Heaven on Earth, is the
card of Capricorn.  The ruler of Capricorn is the planet Saturn which
is represented by the card XV The Black Madonna.  I will discuss
these two in the next post.

Mara sets off with her Innocence and Soul Identity in tact.
She carries the Lamb, symbol of the Innocence of the Soul
and is accompanied by the rabbit, sacred to the Great Mother.  In the
background we see the Inner Child, the one who carries the
Soul Identity for this lifetime, following her footsteps.

Maria Prophitessa
Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

The next very important card for this cycle is the 1 in the Major Arcana, Maria Prophetissa.
She is the first female alchemist in history and she initiates Mara
into her role as Alchemist and Magi.  The 1 represents individuality,
independence, walking by oneself , new beginnings and initiation.
We are being initiated into a new cycle, a year 1.
Maria Prophetissa is the messenger of alchemy and transformation.
This promises a year of new beginning and also of change.
In order to enter into a new cycle, one has to truly let go of the
past.  As we begin something new, we have to create space for the
new.  It also means that we have to gather our courage and inner
strength to embrace the change and the unknown.  None of these
come naturally or easily to the personal self.
So even if you are happy to see the back of 2017, be prepared
for some rocky days, but ultimately the river of life will carry you into
a new horizon and vistas.  

To further understand the impact and meaning of the 1, you can
also look at the Ace cards in each suit.  Also pertinent will be the ten of each suit.
In order to get a full picture of the impact of the new year on your
life and context, you can work with the cards discussed above
as well as the Ace and Ten of each suit.  Each suit represents one of the four
elements of the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of your being.