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

Monday, September 7, 2015

II High Priestess

II High Priestess - Mysteries of Mary Tarot deck

She who Priestesses the Holy in the Ordinary

'To seek God without already having Him, is of all things the most impossible'

The Mysteries of Mary and the Christian mystery of the incarnation
of the Divine into earthly matter, is the ultimate sacred marriage,
the hieros gamos, the marriage of the greatest opposites,
that of heaven and earth.
We cannot fathom how does heaven and earth unite as one
and we cannot fathom that all of earthly matter is sanctified
by the divine essence that lives in all.
We cannot accept the open invitation that the Soul
does exist in this body and we cannot accept that all is
blessed by the Presence of God.

We continue to look for signs and manifestations and
confirmation that the God does exist and the God may
be present here and now.  But instead of looking within
and trusting the inner voice and the inner Self,
we look without.
We turn to others for their wisdom.
We look at the stars in the sky;  we turn to books,
to those in authority, we look at the tribe.
Sometimes we see what we think of as God
in the world outside of us, but mostly the God that
we seek we never find.  It does not look like God.
It does not act like God.

In the Mystery of the incarnation, no earthly matter
or place is too humble or too low or too ordinary
for divine presence.  Mary, an ordinary woman,
bears the Son, straw, stable and animals, the worthy
audience and guardians of this self-disclosure
of God among us.

Awake to the Inner Presence and you will
experience matter as matter and God as the
Mystery and the reality that these two both
co-exist here and now.
There is no separation between holy and ordinary.

The Mystery of the Incarnation of the divine into the ordinary
has been told through many aeons of time and through
many cultures and traditions.  It is not only now
in the new unfolding age that we are being reminded
that woman metaphorically and in human
consciousness, represent matter (mater) and that
woman (matter) mothers the Divine.  Isis held the suckling
Osiris to her breast as did Inanna and other ancient goddesses.

Awake to the Inner Presence by discovering your story that
lives within you.  In the High Priestess card in the Mysteries of Mary Tarot,
she has stepped off the wheel of fate (usually symbolised by your
astrology chart which has fixed your destiny in time and space) and
she has stepped off the half-moon.  Often the High Priestess,
the Virgin Goddess, the Queen of Heaven, stands on the half-moon,
symbolising amongst other things, the influence of the hidden
world of emotions.

The Soul within you is priestessing the healing balm for your own
personal story, but first you have to learn to let go of the ideas
of who you think you are and what life should be like, and
start to pay attention to the unlived story within.

'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water'
What is the myth that you are living?
Myths are alive in our consciousness and they reflect our cultural
understanding of the personal and transpersonal stories that 
are playing out in our time and in our personal lives.
There is an unconscious and preconscious myth 
which is forming you and unfolding through you as your life.
It dictates your reactions, your responses, your defenses
as it is rooted in an archetypal mythical story and 
until you uncover the story and find its healing balm,
you will not be able to truly become an autonomous being.

Mostly we believe that when we are acting in the opposite
way of our upbringing, or our wounding, or our parents, or our
tribe, that we are autonomous, but this is not true.  We are then
still being run by this script as we are not free to act
autonomously and holy (healed).

Each one of us is born into a personal myth.  We did not
choose the race, culture, place and time into which we were
born.  These factors make up the personal and historical myth
which will unfold in our life.  We have a choice what we will
do with this myth.  Through our growing up process we will
have many experience and we will have many learning
opportunities and these will all add to us - through the losses
that we had to endure and the victories that we may have claimed,
we will grow into adolescence and then we  no longer need
those experiences.

Sometimes we inherited a deep psychological and spiritual
wound.  We need to know what we were born into so that
we can wake up and realise that our perspective of the
world is not true, that it is skewed through our inheritance
or our upbringing or our experiences.

In order to cope with your early life experiences, you may
have created an anti-myth for yourself in which you became
someone other than yourself.  It is also important to uncover
this anti-myth because this is also not your true story that
wants to be lived.  This is a fantastical story that also
shapes the way that you see the world and which will
not serve you any longer after childhood.

These two aspects of your personal myth will overlap and
both have contributed to whom who you have become.

In order for the spell to be broken, you need to become
disenchanted.  Unless and even if, you do your inner work
and face the myths that you created about yourself, life
may still confront you with shattering life experiences in order
to shatter the mirror of illusions that you continue to stare into.

Once the disenchantment is allowed to take place and you step
off the wheel of fate, the High Priestess within will start to
pour the living waters from which you can continuously
drink.  She is in complete balance, the waters contained in two
sacred vessels, the hieros gamos of heaven and earth, 
alive within you.

'To seek God without already having Him, is of all things the most impossible'