Sunday, November 26, 2017

Amulets of Mary Oracle and Blessing Set



Blessing Amulets of Mary Oracle Set


The Amulets of Mary Oracle is a two-fold oracle, blessing and healing set incorporating various ancient traditions including the Benedicaria, the sacred path of the pilgrim and priestesshood in the Temple of Mary and the sanctification of the ordinary through the blessing way.



The Amulets of Mary Oracle and the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck are a culmination of my own conscious spiritual journey of the past 25 years.  It incorporates the practise of Sacred Altarmaking, the devotion of the pilgrim to sacred places, the use of holy waters and relics, the creation of sacred oils and elixers and my work as Diksha giver (Blessing giver) and Guru in the Shaktipat tradition of the Great Mother and my devotion to the Blessed Mary.

Recently, through various books (all listed in the Bibliography of the accompanying booklet) 
I learnt about the ancient tradition of Benedicaria and the work of a Benedetta.  Although I am not born into the Italian culture, my journey as pilgrim did start in Italy with the call issued by Archangel Michael to visit his grotto in Mont Sant’Angelo and I see myself as a modern Benedetta, continuously uncovering more.

The Amulets can be used with and alongside the Mysteries of Mary Tarot cards.




Benedicaria, the Blessing Way, is an ancient
Catholic and domestic folk tradition practised by the Italians in Southern Italy.  This tradition is fast fading from modern society, but many of its practises are still part of syncretic worship and devotion.

One who practices the Benedicaria, is known as a Benedetta, or a Wise Woman and a Benedetto, a Wise Man .  Benedicaria is a private form of practising your religion and it blends with many domestic practises, such as the blessing of animals and herbs, infusing oils and elixers, creating an altar, using flowers and holy cards for blessings and wisdom.


Benedicaria is predominantly a woman’s practise.  A Benedetta has much in common with the goddess archetypes of Demeter, Hestea, Bridgit and even Athena.   She is the homemaker, mother, herbalist, gardener, chef and healer.  This role is not regarded as of any importance in modern society, but for one who is spiritually aware and who undertakes these tasks with great intent, she understands the spiritual force that is being wielded.  The preparing of food is not only a physical act, but a spiritual one.  If this is done in love it will bless the family;  if done in anger and ignorance, it will curse the family.  The motto ‘cleanliness next to godliness’ means much more than meets the eye.  When you keep your spiritual space, ie the home clean, you also keep your spirit and its physical space clean.

The physical life and its objects are manifestations and representations of the life and existence of the spirit.  Taking care of our physical life is a sacred task and when performed with intent and awareness we realise that the ordinary is indeed sacred.



Every Benedetta will have a home altar and a personal altar.  The Amulets of Mary Oracle set can be placed on your altar along with the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck.

With the Amulets of Mary blessing set you will receive guidelines for
creating an altar, using coloured candles, how to use the casting cloth,
the holy cards and more.



The novena prayers are an important part of the Benedicaria.  A novena is a prayer that is said for nine days consecutively.  It is said that the first Apostles prayed for nine days between Jesus’ Ascension and the descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost.  The number 9 is a very powerful number in numerology (the science of numbers).  Usually a novena is accompanies by candles, rosaries and ritual such as sacred shrine making (see my blog http://pathofdivinelove.blogspot.com) for my art novenas to Our Lady of Lourdes.  The ancient novena prayers are used in conjunction with all of the above as well as an image of the Saint and those who you are praying for.
It is also practise to include the colour of the Saint or Holy One that you are asking for help.

The Amulets of Mary Blessing set consists of a blessed casting cloth, a set of 45 charms in a small bag, nestled in a tin;  a set of holy cards in a linen scapular bag;
an accompanying spiral bound guide book; a small statue for the altar and other options.
Each set is completely unique and one of a kind and cannot be replicated exactly as I use vintage charms, hand cast silver charms and vintage holy cards amongst others.

There are various sets available :  some are dedicated to a particular saint or saints; others to Mary and Her apparitions or a specific apparition, etc. 
You will find more information on the various available sets at The French Madonna on Etsy.com or on my blog.



The casting cloth has been blessed by touching it to the second and third holy relics of Mary’s sacred chemise and roses from St Terese’s sacred garden, as well as roses from the garden of St Francis and other holy relics.  It has also been sprinkled with holy water from Lourdes and Ngome.
On the casting cloth is a hand drawn diagram.  

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou among women
and Blessed is the fruit of thy womb

Holy Mary,  Mother of God,
oh Rose Queen
Bestow your Blessing upon us
Now and Forever


Blessings
Hettienne


The French Madonna
www.etsy.com/shop/thefrenchmadonna


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

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

The Black Madonnas of the deck

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

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

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

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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

Pouches and scapulars and Labour Day Sale

Scapulars on linen pouches
The French Madonna www.hergracesacredart.com

Have a look at the beautiful new tarot rosaries and 
scapular pouches that they are presented in
in The French Madonna

The French Madonna
www.etsy.com/shop/thefrenchmadonna

I just love these retro bubblegum colours

The French Madonna
www.etsy.com/shop/thefrenchmadonna

Many items in the shop will be discounted during
the Labour Day Weekend Sale from 31 August to 4 September 2017

I am also adding a few of the original art works that
make up the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck.
When I heard that the tarot deck is on display at
the Museo dei Tarocchi in Italy, I went for a visit
(read my post on www.hergracesacredart.com)
and handed over the shrine of the Three of Vessels,
Three Daughters of Anna to Morena, curater of the museum.


Three daughters of Anna
Mysteries of Mary tarot deck
www.hergracesacredart.com

Coronation of Mary Ten of Roses
Mysteries of Mary Tarot
www.hergracesacredart.com


Archangel Michael, Servant of the Distaff
Mysteries of Mary tarot deck
www.hergracesacredart.com


blessings
Hettienne