|Sara la Kali - Mysteries of Mary tarot|
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.