Sunday, November 22, 2015

MARA - the first card in the deck

Mara, the holy fool
Card 0 Major Arcana
Sacred Mysteries of Mary tarot deck
Drink the poison and find the cure

Mara is the archetypal woman representing the self
on the inner journey of Self-Realization.
She is the holy fool who sets out on an unknown
journey towards an unknown destination, leaving
behind a limited understanding and perception
of the inner life and its manifestation into this world.

Mary had a little lamb 
Its fleece was white as snow
 And everywhere that Mary went 
The lamb was sure to go 

Here she is accompanied by the rabbit,
symbol of the goddess and the fertile nature
of the divine and nature as well as the
vulnerability and tenderness of all life
and all living beings.

Mara carries the Lamb, symbol of the Soul,
as well as the soul's purity, enduring innocence
and its incorruptibility.

She also wears the garland of the virgin
symbolizing a potent truth of 
the true metaphysical meaning of the virgin :
'one unto herself'.  

Behind her are the trees of the forest
that she is leaving behind as steps out on her journey.
On the tree top sits a dove, the Holy Spirit, or
messenger of the heavens, accompanying her on
this journey.

The tree represents the archetypal Tree of Life and the
Tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  This theme
is more fully explored in the Suit of the Holy Rood.

Here we see the fir tree for the first time and
we are reminded that this is the shape of the pineal gland, the
seat of consciousness and enlightenment in the human brain.
She is surrounded by the elements of the
Sacred Mysteries of Mary :
the white hawthorn blossoms,
the red berries, the black seeds
and the green branches.
Read here more about the symbolism of the hawthorn
in this deck.

Mara's story unfolds through the journey of Maryam,
the Jewish prophetess and the hidden Hebrew goddess;
through the wisdom of Maria-Sophia,
the three Marys, Mary Magdalene, the handless maiden
and finally, through the initiations of

The name 'Mara' forms part of the word 'amara',
a medicinal plant called bitter-ash or bitter-wood;
the most bitter plant known to us with a characteristic black
elixer which is known to aid digestion and healing
for stomach disorders.  It is also known for its blood purification
properties and cleansing of the gallbladder and liver. 

'Mara' from the Hebrew means 'bitter' or 'strong' in taste.  

This first card introduces us to the sacred understanding
that our journey will lead us through the purification
of fire and flame.  And most importantly, 
Mara teaches that we have the 'cure' for our malaise
within ourselves, accessible by and through the self.
'Drink the poison and find the cure"

As she sets out on her journey she will move through
the lower and also the higher mysteries of initiation
towards self-realization.

Another important message that Mara delivers
is the unity and oneness of divine and nature,
as well as the sacred knowledge that all
paths lead to the same mountain.  It does not
matter which culture you belong to and which
myths guide your story, there is the One and the Many.
One Divine Being and many different names and traditions.

The Kingdom of Grace cannot be achieved.  
It arrives when the ego is surrendered.
When all desire and goals fall away
and when the fullness of life is truly experienced.
When all desire for perfection is no longer
existent and when innocence is born.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The symbol of the flowering cross, the Holy Rood

The Three of Holy Rood (Three Marys at the Cross)

The flowering crucifix is a symbol of Divine Love,
absolute forgiveness and rebirth.

It is also a promise of regeneration and a new vision.

It symbolises the Life Force also known as the kundalini
or the Sacred Living Fire, which gives life to
all that is alive.  

An object of torture and death becomes a symbol
and an embodiment of the greatest power : Love.
Each human being has the power and the ability
to know Love and to become Love and the act of
forgiveness truly speaks of Love.

The crucifix theme is a continuation
of the theme of the sacred tree or tree trunk as
seen in the myth of Isis and Osiris where a tree
grows around the chest containing Osiris' corpse.
Isis through various tasks resurrects Osiris from the tree.

Death is a journey through the Underworld
in order to be born again.
In contemplating the hidden or esoteric meaning
of the metaphor of spiritual and religious stories
we enter the realm of sacred psychology.
The marriage of the personal life and the 
inner divine life, give birth to the divine
child of Love within.  
This marriage initiates one into an amplified
life, one that is more cherished and more cherishing.
It requires that we undertake the task of
dying to our habitual, reactive, personal selves
and being reborn to our eternal selves.

The flowering crucifix and flowering rod is a symbol of eternal life.
It is a reminder that we, as Spirit, live eternally and that
death is merely a transition and not the end.
Love is eternal and by embodying Love
we become One with the eternal.

The crucifix is the ultimate symbol of the Holy Rood,
the Holy Wand or Holy Rod.

We see an example of this miracle of the flowering branch
the first time
in the Old Testament with the flowering of Aaron's rod.

Then again at Mary and Joseph's wedding and
later with the flowering of the hawthorn rod planted
by Joseph of Arimathea in Glastonbury.

The story  of Mary and Joseph's wedding and the miraculous
flowering of the rod that he carried,
is found in the Protoevangelium (New Testament apocrypha) 
and thence in the 13th century Golden Legend, 
which was an important source-book for artists.

Four of the Holy Rood - The marriage of Mary and Joseph

It tells how Joseph was chosen from among a number of suitors by a sign,
 the miraculous flowering of his rod. The miracle was witnessed by the 
seven virgins who were Mary's companions during her upbringing in the Temple. 

Joseph, the husband of Mary's attributes as a saint 
are a Lily (for chastity); various carpenter's tools, and a flowering rod or wand.

The story of the flowering of Joseph's rod :
 According to St Jerome the suitors of Mary each brought a 
rod to the high priest of the Temple. 
Joseph's rod blossomed, a sign from heaven 
he was chosen to be her husband. 
The apocryphal Book of James relates that a
 DOVE came forth from the rod and settled on Joseph's head. 
He is usually depicted with a flowering rod, 
sometimes with a dove on it. 
The theme was condemned by the Council of Trent
 in the mid-16th century 
though thereafter Joseph retains the rod as an attribute. 
It was seen as a symbol of the Virgin's state because 
it flowered without being fertilized.
 The story was a borrowing from the Old Testament account, 
which it closely resembles, of the flowering of Aaron's rod.

  -  extracts from the Sacred Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck