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.