Tuesday, February 9, 2016

XI Our Lady of Justice

Notre Dame Sous Terre
XI Our Lady of Justice
Sacred Mysteries of Mary Tarot 

XI Seat of Wisdom
Sacred Mysteries of Mary deck
Notre Dame Sous Terre de Chartres
Our Lady Underground
The Black Madonna hidden below the Cathedral of Chartres.

I read a wonderful book by Sybil Dana Reynolds
called Honey and Ink which brings
Our Lady of Chartres vividly back to life.

Since then I have visited Chartres twice.
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.
The image of the hand seen here is also painted above the door
which leads to the chapel and it is called
'The Hand of God'
and it is as though you are being blessed
by merely entering the hidden chapel
of the Underground Madonna

The artist that did the original tapestry said
that it depicts the Source of all Life
and she sees the Black Madonna seated
at the centre of the chaos of creation.

The hidden Black Madonna under the earth
is seated on the throne of wisdom and justice.
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.

The Black Madonna in the upper Basilica is
no longer black, but has been repainted and
redressed in a more modern European style
as part of the renovation of the Cathedral.

Oh Lady of Justice,
Seat of Wisdom,
where will I find thee?

“There is a reason Mary is everywhere. I've seen her image all over the world, 
in cafés in Istanbul, on students' backpacks in Scotland, in a market stall in Jakarta, 
but I don't think her image is everywhere because she is a reminder to be obedient, 
and I don't think it has to do with social revolution. 
Images of  Mary remind us of  God's favor. 
Mary is what it looks like to believe that we already are who God says we are.”

― Nadia Bolz-Weber, Accidental Saints: 
Finding God in All the Wrong People

Saturday, February 6, 2016

XXI Oneness

Card XXI Oneness
Sacred Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

I share the final card
in the Major Arcana of the Sacred Mysteries of Mary Tarot
Card XXI Oneness
traditionally The World

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun,
 with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head -
Revelation 12:1

In the World card the archetypal journey of the Holy Fool
reaches its culmination.  Here we have the sanctification
of the ordinary world :  the sacred marriage between
spirit and flesh; nature and soul;  the ordinary and the sacred.

In the Oneness card of the Mysteries of Mary
we see the Virgin Mary, the immaculate
conception, as both the perfect, immaculate
idea of the world as well as the
incarnate embodiment of the very human mother.

She is the Queen of Heaven and Angels
as well as the Mother of all Living Beings
and nature itself.
We have Mary, the woman,
the stag, the lamb and the wings of angels
representing the four suits and the four paths.
The Virgin and the Stag are ancient symbols
of the World and the Christ.  Here the Virgin,
the Immaculate Conception, is symbolic
of the world as an idea, immaculate from all sin,
born from inspiration and a perfect idea, and the Stag
is symbolic of the incarnate Christ,
the sacrifice and redemption of the sin of
the physical and natural world.

The horns of the stag are like the branches
of the tree, the ladder of the world,
ascending through the various stages
of life, from the physical to the spiritual.

Beyond our physical and psychic being, we have
to discover our spiritual being, our eternal ground,
and there the mystery of love is fulfilled.
Some may come to this interior marriage by
way of exterior marriage, others are called
by the way of virginity, but all alike have to experience
the virgin birth, the marriage with God,
before they can reach maturity - Father Bede Griffiths


The Dancing Sun

Our Lady of Fatima, the Dancing Sun -
9 of the Suit of the Bee
The Path of Truth and Justice
Tarot Deck of the Mysteries of Mary

The Miracle of the Sun. This is how it is known to the people of Portugal.
 It all happened just 93 years ago, starting in May, 1917. 
Three shepherd children spoke of experiencing a vision of the 
Virgin Mary in the Cova da Iria fields close to the town of Fatima. 
It was the 13th day of the month. 
They were to repeat the experience on the 13th day of each month till October.
 The eldest child was Lucia, aged ten, and she was accompanied
 by her two cousins, Francisco, aged nine and Jacinta, aged seven.

When questioned, the children described seeing a flash of lightning about noon.
 It was followed by another which enveloped them in a blinding light.
 Looking up, they saw a lady “brighter than the sun”,
 her bare feet resting on a cloud touching the branches of a stunted holm oak. 
They described the vision as lovelier than any person they had ever seen. 
The “lady” was young, dressed in white, her face pure and smiling, 

On October 13th a crowd of 70,000 gathered at the
 Cova da Iria in response to the children’s claim 
that a miracle would occur on that day “so that all may believe.”
 At the appointed time, in the middle of a rainstorm the clouds broke up 
and the sun was seen as a disk spinning in the sky, 
throwing off great rays of fantastic colours. 
As one columnist reported, “Before the astonished eyes of the crowd 
the sun trembled and danced.” Suddenly it seemed to fall 
until it almost reached the earth, but then it stopped, 
slowly making its way back into the sky. 
Before Christianity the Sun was the female deity in many cultures
and the moon was the male God.  The mythologist
Janet McCrickard asserts that sun goddesses are more common
worldwide that male sun gods.  She suggests that the belief
in the male solar deities spread due to a few popular
Greek and Roman mythologies.  There are opinions that
the rising patriarchy in some cultures downgraded the power
of the female realm assigning it to the Moon of lesser light
claiming the power and brightness of the Sun for themselves.

The stories and descriptions about Mary become meaningful
to a woman when she understands the mysteries of Mary
in the light of her own feelings, her personal experiences,
imagination, dreams, creativity and all the aspects of her own
personal life.  A personal relationship with a female
divine image and being allows a woman to connect
with her own deepest inner and divine self.

When one relates to Mary through your own personal
experience, the story becomes different for every woman
but a personal guide and Muse for life direction and
self-fulfillment and happiness.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

XV Rebirth

Major Arcana XV Rebirth
Sacred Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

Who has ever been stronger than Mary?
Anyone then who wishes to live in the valley
of humility must conquer
All the power of great love

 -  Hadewijch of Antwerp

XIII Rebirth
Sacred Mysteries of Mary Deck

She will take the racked treasure of our suffering
on her knees and place it beside the 
tortured relic of Christ's body.
Her arms contain all the suffering of the whole of humanity,
the countless ever-growing number of wounds
of a human race which is continuously crucified.
-  Edward Schillebeecks


Cloak of the Earth Mother

Cloak of the Earth Mother (Lady of Guadulupe)
Mother of Roses in the Sacred Mysteries of Mary Deck
(traditionally Queen of Pentacles)
The Path of Wisdom

She comes through the door without knocking in order to deliver some sweet or strong dulces or carnes, sweet bread or meaty nourishments, to you.

I have heard you state seriously that you have no access to rocky caves where you can take up immediate residence in order to pursue your love of her in a solitary way.M'hijas y m'hijos, daughters and sons, understand that wherever is your bed, that is the right cave for you. Your own cellar, your own table, your own street corner, your own bicycle, your own alley -- these are all the right rocky caves. It is true that some people teach that mystics live in out-of-the-way places, but many, many across the world live exactly as you do -- in the most hidden way of all -- as very extraordinary souls living inside very ordinary circumstances. 

This is right and proper, for although it is lovely to think of retiring from the universe -- perhaps to a faraway place of great beauty and serenity where the outer world hardly ever intrudes, Our Lady grows her strongest roses in the earthy ground where she is most needed -- amongst horns honking, ambulances careening, children crying out alternatively in joy and in pain, all the people groaning and dancing and making love, the completetrochimochi, every which way, of humanity whose singings, sounds, works and actions are part of the exact basis for the harmonious cacophony -- the music of the cosmos. - Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes, the path of the broken heart

"No estoy yo aqui que soy tu madre?" 
Am I not here, I who am your mother?


Monday, February 1, 2016

XII The Stillpoint : Where Eternity and Time meet

XII The Stillpoint
Major Arcana - Sacred Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

Major Arcana Card XII The Stillpoint
(traditionally The Hanged Man)

 Being here, behind the Veil of Wisdom, we have to become
a part of the illusionary reality in order to truly transform our
perceptions and understanding.   This world can be likened to a
web, a matrix, birthed by the Mother of the World.  She has
to devour us so that we can truly become a part of Her
and in return, we will see the world through Her wise and
all-loving eyes.

The ancients taught that we have to enter the cauldron of Ceridwen
and that she will boil us down till only the bones remain.
At first we may be blinded and enchanted by
her spell or we may be disenchanted from day one.
Either way, we will come to know this world as a place of
both pleasure and pain and we may feel that we are being tortured without
any good reason. In Mary's story we witness her absolute loss as her beloved
Son is crucified and dies in front of her eyes.

The sacrifice that this experience of reality demands from each
one of us, can be regarded as a sacrament.  Sacrament is a word derived from Latin which means
sacred, hallow, to make sacred, mystery or solemn oath.
In the Christian mysteries a sacrament is regarded as a visible sign of Grace.
And indeed, this is what The Stillpoint card is :
a visible sign of Grace.

In order to enter The Stillpoint and to access the Grace of Bliss,
we have to sacrifice the enchantment of Time.

Hildegard of Bingen speaks of the 'happy fault'.
In the same way that the fall of Lucifer was a happy fault
or a blessing in disguise, are we blessed with the stillpoint of sacrifice
and the gift of Grace.  The highest price that is demanded
of us, more than once during the course of our lives,
is the sacrifice that is required in order for us to receive what
we truly want.  An artist cannot create without destroying
something which exists.  You cannot eat to survive without
killing something, even if you are only killing plants.
Often you cannot honour yourself and your own journey without
disappointing another.  Some sacrifices seem lesser than others.
Some sacrifices seem easier than others.

One can regard birth into this world in which the Light
is not easily visible, as a sacrifice and a sacrament.
The Birth of Jesus also tells the story of the Soul
or the True Self, Isa.  In the Isa Upanishad we follow
the journey of Isa, the true Self.  The Arabic
word for Jesus is Isa.  
Jesus, the likeness of the Soul or Self,
was born in a cave, hidden from the view of those
who meant him harm.  There were many obstacles
and challenges to both Mary and Joseph
and their Son Jesus' birth and childhood.
In a similar way is the birth of the Soul into this world
a precarious and precious event in each person's life story.
Childhood are fraught with emotional and psychic danger and
disappointment and betrayal.  Most people grow up never really
falling in love with themselves or even accepting the self
for who they are and who they can be.
And thus we experience the pain of becoming
part of the soup in Cerridwen's cauldron;
being boiled down to nothing.  We have to become
nothing.  We lose all sense of self-value;
we become completely disenchanted with this world
and the people who live in it and we die
to all that is dear and important to us.

But the image of the crucifix offers us the understanding
and illumination that by sacrificing our personal
drive into the exterior world of time and space and by
 entering the Stillpoint within, the highest sacrifice
will bring us absolute rebirth and transformation
and we will experience life from a different reality.

an extract from The Major Arcana, The Sacred Mysteries of Mary Tarot
a work in progress to be published 2016/7

You may be interested in following my annual
art novena to Our Lady of Lourdes starting
on 3 February 2016 at Cloister of the Heart
Nine days of art and sacred intent