This is the second card that unfolds the deeper meaning and relevance
of the story of the Handless Maiden in the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck.
The first card is the Miller's Daughter, Five of Roses in the
Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck and you can find the link here :
|The Millers Daughter|
The story of the Handless Maiden unfolds through the Mysteries
of Mary Tarot Deck.
|The Handless Maiden in the Forest|
Chop off her hands otherwise I cannot come near her.” The father was horrified. “You want me to sever the hands of my own child?” The Devil bellowed, “Everything here will die, including you, your wife, and all the fields as far as you can see.” The father was so frightened he obeyed… – The Handless Maiden in Women who Run with the Wolves.
Here we pick up the story of the Handless Maiden. We left off in card V of this suit where the Devil could not come near the daughter. This battle between the devil and the daughter continued as she washed her hands and drew a circle of protection around her. But then the Devil demanded from her father that he cut off her hands! A horrific scene follows in which her father sharpens his axe and both father and daughter scream as he amputates her hands.
To this vicious act the daughter answers: “I am your child, do as you must.”
Do you hear the similarity in her reply to the reply that Mary gave to the Archangel Gabriel? ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.’ We see the receptivity of the feminine in both these replies. As said previously, this aspect of the feminine is often despised and feared and maybe it is because it will undoubtedly change one’s life path forever.
The Devil still cannot take the daughter despite the loss of her hands and he storms off into the woods. The father offers to take care of his daughter in luxury and riches. But the daughter chooses not to stay with her father and to rather enter the forest in search of a new life. Here the maiden shows us the courage of one who realises that the soul is going through a transformation. If this transformation is to be completed, it is necessary to leave behind the old and the wounding.
Hands symbolise our ability to ‘do’ for ourselves and our ability to ‘grasp’ and ‘take hold of’. Without hands one is powerless to take care of oneself on a very basic level of survival with greater implications for the survival of the soul. It is also implied that she needs to leave and to be by herself in order to grasp what has taken place here. She has to act now to protect herself from more harm.
‘And so she had her arms bound in clean gauze, and at daybreak she walked away from her life as she had once known it.’ The young maiden sets out into the unknown forest and this is where this shrine places her in the story. The forest represents the unknown feminine psyche and the shadowy characters that lurk in the hidden unconscious. Throughout time orchards, trees and forests have been sacred to the goddess and the Divine Feminine.
The young maiden comes to a magical orchard which she could not enter. The orchard was surrounded by a moat and she could see the beautiful pears glowing on the trees. She was starving and really needed to get to the fruit. In the version of this story in Women who Run with Wolves a spirit appeared to help her, but in the Polish folk version of legends of Mary gathered by Rasa Luzyte, Mother Mary appears at her side. She helps her across the moat and picks one of the beautiful lush golden pears for her to eat.
In this version of the story we see once again the connection between the tree and specifically the pear tree, Mother Mary and the feminine soul and the soul of women in particular. This part of the story illustrates to us that we are never lost and forgotten. We learn that we are mysteriously and magically protected and taken care of. Both in the imagery of the white spirit and the presence of Mary, do we see the promise of the Guardian Angel Within, that we are not abandoned to the cruelty of others. It does not matter what terrible deeds are done to you, your soul stays intact and whole and protected by Its Radiant Presence.
This shrine shows the two blue birds of happiness at the top indicating that it is one of the fairy tale shrines in the deck. I used a pomegranate tree to represent the Divine Feminine here and to indicate that this is a sacred forest with deeper meaning in which the handless maiden is wandering. I combined the image of Holy Mary with the Handless Maiden to bring home the understanding that both Mary and women have been disempowered in our world. At the bottom of the shrine are two golden hands representing the ego’s attempt to replace feminine values with golden hands of treasures and riches. On the right is the hand of Mary ‘handing’ the pear to the maiden.
This card indicates radical change and transformation. It speaks to you of change on various levels of your being and your life. This will be a window of opportunity so you are advised to act without hesitation and to cooperate with the powers of transformation.
The Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck is available on this website at this page :