Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Holy pilgrimage to the Three Marys

 all photos: Ella Rozett
Photograph by Ella Rozzett from her website Interfaith Mary
Notre Dame de Confession

Dear friends and devotees of the Mother in her many forms and aspects

The pilgrimage to the Three Maries in France will not take place in 2019.  I cannot promise that it will take place the following year either.  I did not realise that taking a group on pilgrimage will be such a big undertaking.  I have always taken friends and family on pilgrimage previously and therefore it was a much more casual affair.
However, taking a group of strangers means a much more formal arrangement and contracts and I therefore decided to get a guide and a travel agent, but that made the costs sky rocket.

I have been waiting on inner guidance and finally received it very clearly : I am to focus on the research and creation of the Black Madonna deck.

So dear ones, that is what I will do.  I have already with the creation of the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck learnt that it is a huge undertaking that it demands diving deeply into the Otherworlds in order to return with the insight and understanding necessary to put the deck together; and then there is still the actual crafting of the deck.  I will share my journey with you.

I will leave the itinerary up here for those who would like to undertake this pilgrimage on their own.  

blessings to you

 A Holy pilgrimage to the Three Marys as explored
in the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck.

23 May 2019 to 3 June 2019

The intent of the tour is that of a holy pilgrimage and initiation
into the Temple of Mary priestesshood and I will only take 6 people with me

The vision of this pilgrimage is to learn about and immerse ourselves in the
energies of Blessed Mary, Mary Magdalane and the Black Virgin of the South of France

Since I have envisioned taking a slightly bigger group than usual with me, this idea
has blossomed and grown and I have now teamed up with two local experts who
will take care of all the arrangements and travel and leave me free to
spend time with you in meditation, contemplation and sharing of energy, experience and

My own spiritual path have included at least one pilgrimage once a year for the past 20 years
and I have travelled to Thailand and the temples of Quan Yin, across Europe to the many
sacred Marian shrines, six annual visits to the Goddess Conference in Glastonbury and my priestess of Avalon soul friend Koko Newport and my spiritual path as Jothi Diksha giver and Shaktipat in India and Malaysia. I have blogged some of these pilgrimages
on my blog Cloister of the Heart at  :

Candles burning in the Lourdes sanctuary

Our Lady of Lourdes card in Mysteries of Mary tarot deck

23 May to 3 June 2019

Starting in Marseilles and ending in Lourdes, France

As a group we are accompanied by a local guide from Provence who is
also a Mary Magdalene devotee.  My own personal experience with pilgrimages
to Saintes Maries de la Mer and Sante Sara, the Mary Magdalene pilgrimage and my many
personal retreats at Lourdes PLUS our French guide's mastery of the French language,
her first hand knowledge and intimate experience
with the mysteries of the Mary Magdalene, the Cathars and the other saints and
myths of the region will open doors for us that we otherwise will not have
access to plus new sites that I have not visited either, so I am also excited.

All travelling will be done in the comfort of an 8 seater minibus.

We will meet in Marseilles on Thursday 23 May.
The city was founded by the Phoenicians 2600 years ago and it is the oldest city in France.
This is also the place where Mary Magdalene preached with her brother Lazarus after
they landed at Saintes Maries de la Mer.  We will drive along the panoramic Corniche to
the Basilica of Our Lady of Gard and we will visit the Saint Victor Abbey and the ancient crypts
and one of the highlights of visiting Notre Dame de Confession.

There are those who believe that this Black Madonna is indeed Mary Magdalene.

From the website :

According to an obscure French alchemists’ website, Our Lady the Green One is an old title of Our Lady of the Confession. Normally I wouldn’t pay this much heed, but she certainly has a close relationship to the color green and she has another old title, which has fallen out of use. Ean Begg mentions it as: Our Lady of the Fennel or Our Lady of New Fire. “Our Lady of the Fennel” is actually a misunderstanding of the old Provence dialect words ‘fue nou’ or ‘fuech noou’. They mean ‘new fire’, not ‘fennel’ or ‘fenouil’ in modern French. She was long called Our Lady of the New Fire, because on her feast day, Candlemas, the new fire for the candles was blessed, just like nowadays the new Easter fire for the Easter candle is blessed during the Easter vigil. People would then bring fresh wicks and oil lamps and take some of this “new fire” home. This old rite of blessing a fire connected with Mary (as well as one connected with Jesus) probably survived longer at St. Victor’s church than anywhere else.] It still echoes to this day in the green candles, which the faithful buy at the church on Candlemas to offer there and also take home. What about the title the Green One? The easy explanation for it would be that she wears a green mantle, not so easily made out normally, because the colors are faded. However on her feast day, Candlemas, on February 2nd, her wooden green mantel is overlaid with a green cloth over coat and green candles are burnt and blessed in her honor.

The bell tower of Notre Dame de la Gare
Marseilles, France

Sara la Kali and Saintes Maries de la Mer in the Mysteries
of Mary tarot deck

Late afternoon we will drive to the seaside town of Saintes Maries de la Mer where legend has it that the small boat without sail or oars, carrying the three Marys landed.  Here Sante Sara, the black madonna of the Rom Gypsies, miraculously covered the ocean with her cloak and the women could disembark.  We will drive through the landscape of the Camargue, its salted marshes with white sands, wild horses and coral flamingoes.  Annually hundreds of pilgrims arrive in the small town and for a week there are festivities, celebrations and wonderful religious processions carrying Sante Sara and the two Marys into the ocean.
We will spend three nights at Saintes Maries de la Mer to take in the wonderful vibrant
market, the wonderful food of this specific region, the daily opening of the town with the running of the white horses of the Camargue and to participate in the two main events of the pilgrimage :  the two processions on consecutive days of carrying the two Marys and Sante Sara into the ocean.  Similar to the Hindu traditions of Durga Ma, the water is blessed by the saint's immersion into the water and many pilgrims follow her into the waves.

We will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant facing the Mediterranean sea and you will have enough personal free time to scavenge the markets and the choice of dinners.

Picture taken by myself of Mary Magdalene crypt in Basilica in
St Maximin la Ste Baume

One of the Mary Magdalene shrines in the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

The following three nights are spent in Saint Maximin le St Baume.  The town is situated around the magnificent Mary Magdalene Basilica and convent which is now a hotel in which we will stay, right next door to the Basilica.  The Basilica contains the skull relic of Mary Magdalene which is on display once a year on her feast day in June.  You will be able to visit the Basilica and Mary Magdalene crypt more than once and also to spend time there in prayer and meditation.
From here we will undertake a day visit to the grotto where Mary Magdalene spent the last thirty years of her life.  We will hike to the grotto where a daily mass is held. It is a bit of a steep walk up the side of the mountain, but it has carved steps and the walk is done as a ritual and a sacred pilgrimage, so no rushing!  We will drink water from the sacred spring in the Sanctuary of Mary Magdalene.
We will have lunch at the Monastery.

Another day visit will be to Our Lady of Graces and the three apparitions of Mary
and Joseph and the Holy Family at Cotignac.  We will enjoy lunch at the sanctuary.
In the afternoon we will visit the Abbey of Le Thoronet, established as a Cistercian
monastery by Bernard of Clairvaux in the 12th century.
St Bernard had a special devotion to the Virgin Mary, and he would later write several works about the Queen of Heaven.
We will marvel at the beauty of the extraordinary architecture based on sacred
geometry and hear the stories of how the mystical devotion to the sacred feminine
emerged in the 12th and 13th centuries.

From here we will enter the landscape of the history of the Cathars and the many
stories of Mary Magdalene!  This region is known as Our Lady of the Blue Apples.
We will overnight for two nights in the region and will visit the many Black Madonnas,
some which are only known to the locals.

Our Lady of the Blue Apples shrine in the
Mysteries of Mary tarot deck

From there we travel to Lourdes where we will spend two days and nights
filled with visits to the Rosary Basilica, the sacred spring, the miraculous grotto
and participate in the Rosary procession dedicated to Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes.

The final day of the pilgrimage is 2 June 2019 and this night we will walk
the procession together as pilgrims and priestesses.

 From here you can fly to Paris or take a TGV or travel
back to Marseilles by transfer with our guide and driver, depending on your own travel arrangements.  Should you wish to stay longer in Lourdes, I can arrange for your room to be available for a few more days.

The final itinerary with all details, accommodation, meals included, etc
will be up on this website on 1 June 2108 when bookings will open.

Join us for 10 nights and 11 days in France
on a life-changing pilgrimage and retreat
seen through the lens of Mysteries of Mary tarot and ritual

The focus of this pilgrimage is the Cosmic Mother  in the three aspects of Mary, Mary Magdalene and the Black Madonna and an immersion in the mysteries of the Great Mother.
  Time will be spent immersing ourselves in the sacred energies as pilgrims on these ancient paths;  a daily meditation circle and tarot work, tarot journalling, ritual,  visiting the reliquaries, creating your own tarot card and collage, participating in the nightly light rosary procession at Lourdes, drinking of the sacred waters of the miracle spring at Lourdes, visiting the Basilica and enough personal time to soak it all up and to look after the sensual pleasures of life, such as market scavenging, eating local food and time to rest and integrate. 
The basilica in St Maximin la St Baume where the remains
of Mary Magdalene was found and the basilica was
erected on the site

Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

Picture taken in crypt of Church of Saintes Maries de les Mer 2012

You can read about my previous pilgrimage to the festival
and pilgrimage of the Romani Gypsies to
Sante Sara la Kali here

Ave Maria!
An  unforgettable experience.
Read more about my many pilgrimages to Lourdes

Each morning will start with a sacred circle of focus and intent;  We will work with the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck in a deep and healing way - discussions will be personalised for you and for your own focus for the pilgrimage and spiritual journey.  Each pilgrim will receive a specially created tarot journal and images for the pilgrimage.  You will have time to journal and collage your entire pilgrimage and all work done with the tarot.  A workshop in which you will create your own personal tarot card compiled of insights and experiences during the pilgrimage.

Since planning these pilgrimages I have been creating the Amulets of Mary Blessing and healing sets based on the story of Lourdes, Santa Sara and Mary Magdalene.  I will include these into the daily sessions and I will share my insights and teachings on these ancient systems with you. 

A handcrafted Mysteries of Mary Tarot Rosary
for each pilgrim

Each pilgrim will receive :

*  a Mary Magdalene/Mary tarot rosary which can be worn to all sacred sites for blessing

*  a specially created pilgrim's tarot journal specifically for the Three Marys pilgrimage

*  sheets of images and small items for your own tarot collage and tarot journalling - we will scavenge the village brocantes for additional material and visit the shops at the sacred sites for holy medals, etc.

*  a bottle of salts to be blessed and used in ritual

*a link bracelet for attaching amulets and holy medals along your pilgrimage

I will provide final details, a full itinerary and costs in June and bookings will open in June 2018
Only 6 persons can be accommodated
Final dates, details and prices will follow in due course.

The full itinerary will be posted here

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I am on Instagram as @thefrenchmadonna


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Amulets of Our Lady of Lourdes

The Amulets of Mary is a healing and blessing oracle based on the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck iconography as well as The Blessing Way, also known as Benedicaria.  They marry the ancient craft of charm casting with the use of holy cards, tarot cards, candle ritual and novena prayers. 

The Amulets of Mary Oracle is a two-fold oracle, blessing and healing set incorporating various ancient traditions including the Benedicaria, the sacred path of the pilgrim and priestesshood in the Temple of Mary and the sanctification of the ordinary through the blessing way. The Amulets of Mary Oracle and the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck are both a culmination of my own conscious spiritual journey of the past 25 years. It incorporates the practise of Sacred Altarmaking, the devotion of the pilgrim to sacred places, the use of holy waters and relics, the creation of sacred oils and elixers and my work as Diksha giver (Blessing giver) in Sakta Tantra tradition. The Amulets can be used with and alongside the Mysteries of Mary Tarot cards. You can read more about the Blessing Way and the Amulets of Mary on my blog here :

One of the casting sheets of the Amulets of Mary Sets

The past seven years I have offered an Art Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes on my blog Cloister of the Heart.  

Amulets of the Lady of Lourdes set

This year the theme was the feminine and sacred nature of fairy tales and in particular the correspondences between the fairy tale and the story of Bernadette Soubirous and the radiant Lady of Lourdes. You can find the nine days of the Art Novena of Our Lady of Lourdes 2018 here.

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.

So it was only fitting that I created a special Amulets of Mary Blessing Oracle Set based on the fairytale and miracle of Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes.  I have visited Lourdes annually for the past five years and have brought back holy medals, relics and some of the healing spring water. These limited sets contain amulets specifically pertaining to the story of Bernadette and the Grotto of Massabielles outside Lourdes, as told in the Art Novenas to Our Lady of Lourdes.  Some of these sets will include items that I collected during my Lourdes pilgrimages, hand made resin and clay holy medals, charms, holy cards, a miniature Lady of Lourdes resin statue, a tiny vial of the healing waters of the Lourdes spring, as well a set of 46 charms of the Amulets of Mary set and a beautiful Our Lady of Lourdes casting linen cloth(All sprinkled with waters from the Lourdes spring and touched to the relic of the Chemise of Our Lady.)

Mother Goose

 The first two amulets in the special Lady of Lourdes set is the Flying Goose and Mother Goose on her broomstick.

Hannah or Anna as the Great Mother Goddess
also known as Mother Goose and her sacred goose
VI of Roses in Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck
We are all familiar with Mother Goose and her nursery rhymes and fairytales. What better place to hide the Divine Mother Goddess in the guise of an old crone with a goose for a vehicle? The goose has many mythical connections in both Eastern and Western mythology. In Egyptian lore the sky was associated with the Mother Goddess. The goose is one of the most sacred animals in the ancient stories of goddess, along with the swan. Just like Mother Goose, the Greek goddess Aphrodite  rode through the air on the back of a goose. 

There are also artwork depicting Aphrodite with geese at her feet. In the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck, I include the hidden code and meaning in fairy tales and specifically Mother Goose.  Mother Goose is present in the card Hannah's Song.  Here is an extract from Mysteries of Mary tarot deck :

We also know the fairy tale of the goose that lays the golden egg. The egg has always carried the meaning of life and rebirth in ancient traditions. It also symbolises new life and transformation.  The shape of the egg also has connotations as it is similar to the vesica pisces. Goose is a partial anagram of goddess and Mother Goose hides the word mother goddess The mother aspect of the goddess is still present today in Mother Mary. Mother Goose is seen as the magical author of all the fairy tales, reminiscent of our understanding of the Shekinah or Sophia.

The heroine or young girl in the fairy tale

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.

The miraculous story of Lourdes is as much about Bernadette Soubirous as it is about the Lady and the gift of the healing waters. The young Bernadette is the daughter of a poor family. 

The Holy Servant and Handmaiden shrine from the
Mysteries of Mary tarot deck
VIII of Roses (pentacles)
The fairy tale of Cinderella

The servant girl

The young girl Bernadette grew up poor and almost destitute.  She lived in an old broken down room of what used to be a prison, in squalor. She had to scavenge for food on the rubbish heap of the village.  In ordinary time Bernadette was poor, she had no status and she was a girl in the ashes, scavenging to help keep her family alive and warm. In the Mysteries of Mary it is explained that Holy servant and handmaiden are ancient titles for holy ones or Light Bringers.  In the esoteric Christian Bride chamber mysteries, the holy servant is the bride of the Christ.  

As in the Handless Maiden, Bernadette is the daughter of a miller

The Miller's daughter

The sacred tasks of the heroine

Today Bernadette and her story is famous and she is regaled for her vision, her faith, her commitment and the wondrous gifts that she brought back to our world from her meetings with Mary of Lourdes. But this was not the case in her lifetime. She was the only one who saw the visions of the Radiant Lady. No-one else believed her. She was ridiculed and thought to be insane. Her mother forbade her to go back to the grotto after being told about the visions. But Bernadette persisted. and she obeyed the Radiant Lady and took her messages back to the village and the local priest. She was taken in for psychiatric evaluation; she was arrested by the police and she was vilified by the villagers. In many fairy tales and myths as well, the young heroine has to overcome certain tasks until the ultimate challenge has been completed. The ultimate challenge for Bernadette was when Magnificent Mary of Lourdes told her to dig for water in a bone dry patch of land where there had never been water before. And Bernadette started to dig with her hands and nothing appeared.  The villagers

shook their heads at her and walked away. But she persisted and kept on digging away with her hands in the dirt. As in fairy tales Bernadette surrendered her fear, her free will and herself to the visions and the presence of the supernatural. As the innocent heroine of the story she acted in hope and belief in the impossible.

The Radiant Lady in White - fairy godmother, The magical element of fire and light, The miracles, The gifts of the sleeping woman and The gifts from the Otherworld are some of the amulets that are included in this set.

Each set comes with an explanatory sheet and all information regarding the Lady of Lourdes fairytale correspondences and the meaning and interpretation of the amulets.