Tuesday, September 15, 2015

III Empress - Virgo Maria Potens

The Empress
The Mysteries of Mary tarot deck http://www.hergracesacredart.com

In the Mysteries of Mary Tarot deck the Empress is
Virgo Maria Potens :  
Mary as the powerful and positive Virgin*.

Here is the Virgo Potens as  
the strong, powerful and positive Feminine, 
Queen and Mother of the World.

She is pregnant with Life and she is the womb of potential 
for ever-returning life;
 the possibility of birthing sustaining and fertile life, 
both within the psyche,
the spiritual and the physical.

The Empress
The Mysteries of Mary tarot deck http://www.hergracesacredart.com

Mary as the Empress embodies the powerful feminine force which is within
both the masculine and the feminine.  This strength is not limited to the masculine
action of this world. The receptivity of the feminine does not make
her only submissive and dependent and the activity
of the masculine does not make it only divisive and cutting.

The strong positive feminine power within the Soul and
within the person, is often regarded as wild and chaotic
and it is also mostly deeply feared and our culture
believes that she should be controlled and harnessed
for our own use and benefit.
In a simplistic fashion, mother nature is seen
as the pure expression of the powerful feminine.
But mother nature, and our instinctual nature, is only a
part of the feminine power.  The soul is, and in earlier times,
the Holy Spirit was as well, most often depicted as a woman
and if the soul is only seen as a wild force of nature which
should be dominated and controlled, where does that leave us
as human beings?  And where does that put women
in this world of organisation and structure?  And
what happens to traditionally womanly values
and enterprises and to whom is the mothering of
the world relegated?   We end up with a world in
which the positive nurturing mother and the powerful empress 
is completely absent.

She is surrounded by her symbols as known to mankind
through the ages and throughout many cultures.  She is standing
in the stream of living waters, eternally birthing through her.
She has the bee, the Queen bee, the sheafs of wheat, bunches
of grapes and is standing on a mountain covered in roses.
More on these symbols later.

She is the Queen Bee surrounded by bees;  in the ancient world
those who worshipped Demeter and Artemis were referred to as 'bees'.
The bee was also a symbol of Potnia, also referred to as the
pure Mother Bee in the Minoan mysteries.
The priestess at the sacred site of Delphi was known as
the 'honey bee' and honey has many sacred and profound metaphysical
and physical properties and metaphoric meaning.

In Samuel 1 "Jonathan... put forth the end of the rod 
that was in his hand, and dipped it in a honey comb, 
and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened."

The Empress
The Mysteries of Mary tarot deck http://www.hergracesacredart.com

When we split the world into two we become wounded
creatures.  When we turn women into Holy Mary and
Sinful Eve, or the penitent Mary Magdalene,
women become wounded and lost.

When we only see the negative feminine we separate
men from their positive feminine expression
and they become burdened and wounded as well.
When we turn God into feminine and masculine, the world
becomes wounded and separate, filled with fear,
eternally cast out into the darkness.

Through the union of the opposites, that is, through the marriage
of two opposing forces, a magical child of love and hope
is born.

The feminine is often referred to as the negative
and the masculine as the positive, but in our psyche
and our consciousness, there is no separation and no divide
between these two.  The one contains the other.

The feminine has a negative and positive pole as does the
masculine.  And as we dance and weave with the tension
of desire and repulsion between these two opposites,
we discover new potentials, new experiences and we
weave a new story.  The braid of life contains three
strands which can be symbolised by the 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 action of
mothering and the black seed contains
the potential of fathering the new life and it also
is the end of the life of the berry.

In the symbol of the trinity, or the triple goddess
or the triple spiral or triskele often seen in celtic
and other ancient cultures, this overlapping
is clearly visible.
In the same way can we move from the receptivity of the feminine
to the activity of the masculine without getting stuck
in either corner and without losing perspective of the
bigger picture.  For instance,  the feminine act of receptivity
is an act and a choice;  it is an application of the personal will.
It is not only through weakness that someone becomes receptive.
It often takes great courage and strength to stay open
and true to your vulnerability and to stay
without defences in the face of change.

When Mary says "I am Thy Handmaiden" it is a great
act of personal will and courage.  To accept the challenge
that life deals you is an act of inner strength and a willingness
to stay open to learn from an experience and to
allow Life to guide you towards the unknown.

Receptivity does not automatically imply submissiveness.
That which is regarded as weakness are often great acts
of strength.  Closing down and putting one's armour up
are not acts of strength, but resistance.

Mary as The Empress embodies the great positive
Mother of the World.  Through her courageous
acts of meekness and mercy she manifests
the positive feminine force in this world.
She is the icon and symbol of our own
positive feminine strength and courage
and of the great mothering power that we possess.
We are capable of great acts of kindness,
we are capable of staying present in life with an open
heart and being present to our own vulnerability
and allowing the infinite waters of compassion
to flow through us to all of creation and to all living creatures,
including ourselves.

The strong positive feminine does not fall into self-pity
and narcissistic self-gratification.  The strong positive
feminine is an archetypal virgin force, one unto herself,
not dependent on the opinions and actions of others,
but one that lives detached from the projections
and expectations of the world.

The Empress Virgo Potens is the powerful act
of surrendering the fearful will to the sacred
will of the Heart.

The number three also represents creativity and a weaving
of the third possibility and the various manifestations
of The Empress in our lives are seen in the Three
of the deck, that is the 3 of vessels, the 3 of lilies and 
the 3 of roses.  I will share these in upcoming posts. 

*virgin is not a term denoting sexual innocence - it a term
indicating one onto herself - a woman who is free from
psychic and emotional co-dependence

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