Friday, November 23, 2018

Looking at my tradition of a pink Christmas

The Chapel of the Miraculous Medal in Paris

I am re-posting these Christmas posts from my blog The French Madonna

Crowned by Grace
Stella Maris
Star of Bethlehem

Chapel of the Miraculous Medal on Holy Night in miniature

Vintage Miraculous Medals

Christmas night in miniature
under the tree

The angels sing in heaven

Holy card of Catherine Labourre on the back

Sacred Altar ready to hang



A Christmas past

Angels relate to our capacity to love,
to accept ourselves fully,
and to embrace life.

Reigning above the heavenly host
is the spirit of the Shekinah,
the feminine face of the Divine,
through whom all creation is made manifest.

The heavenly realm interacts with the physical
world, and the two become one, in the incarnation
of the Divine in a human being.

The Higher Principles thus find expression in
flesh and spirit.

In Judaism, the manifestation of the Divine Presence
in human life takes the form of a created being of
light called the Shekhinah.  
Meaning literally the 'indwelling' this is the feminine
aspect of God that brings peace and blessing
to the home.  In biblical times it referred to the glory
emanating from the Source.
Then Shekinah was then seen as a heavenly messenger,
and later as the Holy Ghost.  In the Kabbalah,
she is the mystical Bride of the Lord, who channels
grace to the lower worlds.

Because we contain the Divine Spark within us,
our actions resonate throughout creation. - The
Angelic Year, Ambika Wauters

In this shrine the blessings and healing energies
and powers of the birth of the Christ within the personal
self and and within humanity, the Guardian Angel and
the Queen of Angels all come together in a beautiful

The Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Christ,
is our link with the eternal feminine principle within us.
She is the embodiment of truth, love, surrender and
miraculous healings and manifestations.

Her litany describes her as
Queen of Angels,
Mother of God,
Mother Inviolate,
Tower of Ivory,
House of Gold
 Mystical Rose
Gate of Heaven

This shrine captures the colours and names
of the Holy Litany
and here Mary is seen as the Queen of Angels
protecting the child within us against
the pitfalls, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual,
on the personal journey in this world.

The trees and fir garlands and small berries
are all symbols of the regenerative energy and the power
of renewal and Grace
of the Christmas tide and of the good news that
Love can and will be born within the heart
of humanity.  The traditional Christmas tree
has the shape of the pineal gland, known to be
the seat of consciousness and enlightenment
in the human brain.

In the centre of the shrine is the Stag,
an ancient symbol of the Christ.

The small child is stepping onto the angel
wing stretching out in front of her.
They will carry you lest you should knock
your feet on a stone or rock

The shrine forms part of my special Christmas
Guardian angel series.

Here are links to some of the other stories :

Feel your heart expand and contract with each breath that you take.
Let it soften and ease as you affirm life.
As you do t his, be conscious that you are opening up to your
life force with each breath.
This is how you experience renewal at all levels.
As you feel this happen, ask yourself
where you need to renew your commitment to life,
to be the best that you can be.
Renewal comes when you affirm your desire to
accept life on its terms.

Blessed and Beloved Mother of us all,
you surrendered to the will of God
to bear the fruit of our salvation.
You accepted a higher will than
your own so that all humanity can be raised up.
We open our hearts and minds to
receive your grace, love and courage


- repost from - The French Madonna

Looking at Christmas past

It is a pink Christmas
filled with roses and crowns

angel wings
and guardian angels to protect 

little voices
filled with happiness and joy

one wandering off into a hedge of roses
but not to fear
the Queen of Angels is close by

It is a pink Christmas
filled with roses and shimmering Christmas trees
angel wings and pink feathers


Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Witch, the fairy godmother, the princess and goddess

Fairy tales evoke images of childhood, magic, miracles, supernatural events and dreams coming true. 

Iconography and amulets of the story of Cinderella is included in the Lourdes story as it corresponds with the story of Bernadette.  In many a fairy tale the protagonist is a young girl. Think of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rumpelstilskin and Snow White.  Sometimes she is a princess and at other times she is a poor servant girl.  But the focus in the fairy tale is always on the young girl, the mother and step mother and the fairy godmother or the thirteenth fairy or some interaction with a supernatural Blessing Lady.


In most fairy tales the main character is a young girl or princess.  Think of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel and Snow White.  Sometimes she is a princess and at times she is reduced to a cleaning girl or servant. The focus in the fairy tale is always on the young girl, the mother and step mother and the fairy godmother or thirteenth fairy or some interaction with a supernatural Blessing Lady.  Where is your inner princess?  Pay attention to which part of the casting cloth she appears on and see what she needs from you by looking at the nearby amulets.  The amulets tell a story and by paying attention to the pattern that they form, you can read the story for yourself

For many of us the journey towards wholeness starts with the impulse and desire to heal the Inner Child.  The inner child carries the openness and vulnerability of the soul and during our growing up years, these qualities become suppressed and hidden away. And the feminine qualities of the inner child gets conditioned away from an early age, as we grow up in a patriarchal culture with masculine values of goal setting, achievement, physical beauty, material gain and advancement. These are all positive and essential qualities,  but without their counterpart feminine attributes, such as inner appreciation, imperfection, chaos, individuality, compassion and nurturing, the inner world can become one of deprivation, depression and burn-out.

No-one knows for certain how old fairy tales are but the experts who have written on the history and meaning of fairy tales agree that fairy tales started to appear at more or less the same time that Christianity started to oppress pre-Christian beliefs and religions which developed into the horrific Inquisition and eventually the witch hunts. Unfortunately fairy tales have been mangled and their
original stories changed to fit in with patriarchy - many of the magical and supernatural women characters have obviously also been demonized, as has the meaning of fairy and witch. But there are still some amazing resources and research available for those who are interested in exploring this fount of wisdom Many, myself included, regard fairy tales as secret bibles of feminine wisdom and divinity. 

Fairytales are a font of wisdom, a secret book of Wisdom and Divine Feminine tales.  Fairy tales have certain basic structures, and in a nut shell one can describe them as stories in which the hero is always a woman guided by the supernatural, surrounded by magic and miracles and a wondrous healing tale for all!     The story of the Bright Lady in shining white Light that appeared to the starving little girl of Massabielles,  has all the elements of a fairy tale.  At Lourdes you step into the Otherworld; into a Land of Enchantment where miracles are possible. Fairy tales can be regarded as mythical religious stories with the focus and emphasis on the divine feminine as a balancing contrast to the patriarchal Roman and Greek myths which we have come to know.  In other words, a thealogy (female deity) in contrast to an exclusive theology (male deity). In this year's Art Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes  I explored the feminine wisdom and guidance of fairytales and specifically as it pertains to the miraculous story of Our Lady of Lourdes.

The fairytale has certain predictable elements, the heroine or young girl or princess;  the witch that tries to stop her; the queen mother or fairy godmother and magical animals and elements.

Amulets from the Fairytale Amulet Sets

I created the Fairytale Amulet sets which contain elements of the fairytales that are in the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck and specifically the story of Our Lady of Lourdes.  It contains a printed casting cloth

Casting cloth for Fairytale sets

The casting cloth has the image of my painting entitled "Sophia" and the Witch, Goddess, Fairy Godmother and Holy Child layout.  It also includes 30 amulets with ones coloured lilac, pink and blue.  Each set comes in pink, lilac or blue.  It includes a Virgin mary statue with matching Christmas tree, matching tin, rosary, a set of mini tarot cards from the Mysteries of Mary deck and a full booklet, explaining the art of casting, the practise of Benedicaria and explanations for each charms.



Saturday, September 29, 2018

'scarlet woman, penitent sinner, Sister-Bride,
whore, Black Madonna, High Priestess of Isis,
Mistress of the Elements,
beloved wife of Jesus, favoured disciple,
Mary of Bethany,
Miriam of Magdala, Magdal-eder, the tower-stronghold,
Daughter of Sion  .......
- extracted from Hymn to the Eternal Feminine by Teilhard de Chardin

XII The Tower
The Magdalen
Sacred Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck
The tower is often seen as a bolt of lightning
coming down from the sky, and I suppose by inference,
from God in Heaven.

Here is Mary Magdalene, the woman from
Magdal-elder, the tower-stronghold,
Daughter of Sion seen as the embodiment of
Wisdom as the Changemaker.

She holds the closed book of the Mystery in her hand.
At her feet is the skull, a symbol of Wisdom
and the ability to overcome the fear of death.
In the right hand corner she is depicted as the consort
of Jesus and her sacred oil and jar is displayed
as a reminder of her role as the woman who
anointed the King.

The tower represents the principle
of "living in one's own tower"
This symbol is often used in fairytales,
think of Rapunzel and her tower and
also in the story in the Bible of the Tower of Babel.
The tower separates one from the communion of
others;  it places you 'above' it all and it highlights the differences 
between you and others.  

The path of Wisdom is not always pleasant and comfy, but
she does promise regeneration and rebirth
and new enlivening circumstances
even if it means tumbling down from your high tower!!
(an extract from Magdalen, the changemaker


Friday, September 28, 2018

The annunciation of Anna

The Annunciation of Anna

All alone, she (Anna) went into the garden and sat down
 beneath the laurel tree. Looking toward the heavens, 
she saw a nest of sparrows in the tree. Fresh tears welled up in her eyes. 
How she longed to have a child of her own. Anna entreated the Lord, 
saying” Woe is me! To what am I likened? 
I am not likened to this earth, for even the earth brings 
forth her fruit in its season and blesses you, O Lord.” 
And behold an angel of the Lord appeared, 
saying “Anna, the Lord God heard your prayer, 
and you will conceive and give birth, 
and your offspring shall be spoken of in the whole inhabited world.” – extract from the Infancy Gospel of Mary

Anna was barren and never conceived with child. 
The Archangel Gabriel announced to her that she will miraculously conceive.  
It is told that this is a miraculous conception of the Holy child Mary 
and it is an echo of the immaculate conception of Mary still to come.  
As Anna and Joachim, Mary’s father, was too old to physically conceive a child, this was regarded as a conception by Spirit.  
‘Promise them, that by the favour of our right hand they will receive the Fruit of benediction, and that Anne shall conceive a Daughter, to whom We give the name MARY…. were revealed to St Gabriel.’ 
And Gabriel said: ‘She shall be elect, exalted, powerful and full of the Holy Ghost; 
on account of the sterility of Anne her  conception shall be miraculous;’ – Mystical City of God

Anna is Greek for the Hebrew name Hannah and it means ‘grace’. 

Anna’s story is also in the Quran and she is revered in Islam.  
In Islam Joachim is called by the name Imran 
and he dies before Mary is born. 
The priest Zacharias predicted the birth of a male Messiah to Anna, 
but she gave birth to a girl.  
She is revered as a mystic in Islam for her wisdom 
and realisation that Mary was a highly spiritual 
and special child to be dedicated to the Temple. 

In this shrine we see Anna sitting under the palm tree, working on her sewing.
Gabriel is holding the red thread of the mystical message of love and good news
which he delivered to Anna.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Handmaiden of the Holy Mystery

I am Thy Handmaiden
The fiat of Mary's consent

Each one of us is called to become the handmaiden of the Holy Mystery

The Angel said to her :
Hail full of grace,
the Lord is with you;
Blessed art thou amongst women

Two of Cups in Tarot Deck

Rejoice, depth hard to contemplate even for the eyes of angels!
Rejoice, you who are the King's throne!
Rejoice, you who bear Him who bears all!

Two of Vessels in the Suit of Compassion
Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

Rejoice, star that causes the Sun to appear!
Rejoice, womb of the Divine Incarnation!
Rejoice, you through whom the creation becomes new!
                                                 -  Romanus Melodos, Akathist Hymn to the Virgin

This is the Two of Vessels, 
from the suit of Compassion
and the mystery of Mary as Virgin
Archangel Gabriel, divine messenger,
gives her the news that she is the chosen one,
the Godbearer.  This is a pivotal moment in
Mary's life and her response changes the course
of the world.

I am Thy Handmaiden

 Archangel Gabriel is standing on 
two vessels.  The vessels are mainly used for
water or wine and here they are  symbolic of
the living waters of consciousness .
And indeed Mary is to become the vessel
of the Holy Son.
We are reminded of our own individual roles
as vessels of consciousness and our own
birthing of the new, be it art
or hope or inspiration or consciousness.

Each one of us is called to become the handmaiden of the Holy Mystery

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; 

be it unto me according to thy word.

The fiat of Mary is Mary's consent to the divine plan.
Her acceptance and consent
has created a new world of grace and
it is within the potential of each one of us
 to birth such love and grace.

Down the side of the card are tiny forget-me-not flowers,
one of Mary's sacred flowers and the white lilies
in the background.

The flower garland on Mary's head shows
that she is a virgin. 
It is also predictive of her future
state as Theotokos and
Queen of Heaven and  Earth.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Through the Eastern Gate

Mary and her Child's return to Nazareth
Six of the Suit of the Holy Rood
in the path of Beauty
(traditionally Six of Wands)
Sacred Mysteries of Mary Deck
The return of Mary and her Son through the
gates of Jerusalem.

The traditional Six of Wands look like this :

and its meaning is victory, success or triumph.

Many people are familiar with the fact that Joseph and
Mary fled with the infant Jesus to Egypt at the threat
of the massacre of the innocents by King Herod.
This event is well covered by many artists
and it is seen as one of the seven sorrows of Mary.

However, what is not clear, is the amount of time that
was spent in Egypt and what transpired there.
The two accounts in the books of Matthew and Luke
do not correspond at all.  Luke mentions nothing about Egypt
and Matthew says nothing about a trip to Nazareth
soon after Jesus' birth whereas Luke describes in detail
how Jesus was taken to the temple in Jerusalem
'after Mary's purification according to the law of Moses.'

 And when they had performed everything
 according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, 
to their own town of Nazareth - Luke 2:39

The town of Nazareth is in the 'kingdom' of Jerusalem
and here we see Mary on the donkey riding
through the gate of Jerusalem.

In The Hebrew Goddess, a book by Jewish historian
and anthropologist Raphael Patai, we learn
that the Hebrew goddess Asherah was seen as the
mother of Yahweh.  
In the time of King Joshua the Hebrew goddess
had to go 'underground'.  The use of her name and images
were forbidden and her devotees replaced her with
the tree, a pole or rod and the branches of the menorah.
She was known as the Lady of Jerusalem;
the Gate of Jerusalem and the Eastern Gate.
The Lady of Jerusalem was also depicted as an arch.
According to the Dead Sea Scrolls and
The Mother of the Lord by Margaret Barker,
 the ancients
believed Mary to be the incarnation of
the Lady of Jerusalem.

In Christian iconography from the East
we see Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn.
Her image is above the city gates (in Lithuania
and Poland) to protect the city and its inhabitants
and many miracles have been ascribed to her.

In Ezekiel it is written that the eastern gate of
Jerusalem has been shut
and that it will only re-open for the divine One.

So here we have Mary returning victoriously
through the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem
into the light of a new dawn.

A marriage of eastern and western iconography
and cultures and more importantly,
a marriage of masculine and feminine values
for our world.
This card is a way shower of the return of Mary
and her hidden and lost meaning to our world.

The deck takes us on a journey through the 
life, the initiations and the mysteries of Mary
as the Sacred Feminine and what it means
to our natural world as well as our spiritual,
emotional and social health.

May the values of mercy, compassion, forgiveness and acceptance
of all diversity as embodied by Mary
return to a place of honour and respect in our world.

(the above is an extract from the Sacred Mysteries of Mary Deck -
a work in progress and to be published in 2016
Each tarot card is a handcrafted shrine)