Sunday, April 29, 2018

Introduction to Mysteries of Mary tarot deck

A card deck of 78 large size cards printed on 350 gsm card stock with an accompanying A5 book with glossy papercover and 160 pages of info on each card and its themes and background.  Packaged in a hand crafted tarot pouch, accompanied by a signed card from the deck and a rosary.  

The Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck is a unique deck of cards and guide book published in Cape Town, South Africa.  The Mysteries of Mary Tarot is a mystical vision of the sacred mysteries of the Soul and its unsung feminine path. The Mysteries tells of a sacred marriage of the Bride and the Beloved : a new mythos of the Story of the Child Within and the Gospel of Love. A mystical vision of the religion of the Soul as reflected in the archetypal images of the story of Divine Mary in the Mariamic tradition.

Back of the Mysteries of Mary deck

Today we know the Blessed Mary as the Mother of Jesus who plays a small part in the story of Protestant Christianity and who plays an important part in the Roman Catholic tradition.  She is lesser known as a goddess in the feminine traditions and very few would connect her with the great Mother goddesses of the past or the Lady Sophia in the Wisdom traditions.

But to myself, and others like me, there is a connection, a red thread that connects the dots in the eye of the heart.  The ancient divine feminine had been demonised many moons ago and her stories had gone underground.  One has to rely on myth, folk tale, oral traditions, fairy tales and subtle clues and especially correspondences, to uncover Her story.  And today Mary is the Sacred Keeper of all Our Lady’s titles and Wisdom.

The Mysteries of Mary is a reweaving and a regathering of all these threads of Our Lady’s garment created from red wool and linen.  We look in the Bible, in the Koran, the Kabbalah and many other ancient and rediscovered lost books.  There are also esoteric and apocryphal books that tell the stories of Mary, the feminine counterpart of the Divine Creator in the Western religion and myth and many of these stories have been included to create The Mysteries of Mary deck.

In this deck the story starts with Mara, the bitter one.  Why is she called Mara?  We follow Mara, the holy fool through the stories of Maria Prophetissa, the Jewess and the first woman alchemist, to Sophia, Mary of the Gael onwards till we get to the Woman who stands on the moon with twelve stars around her head.
Woven into the tapestry of myth, metaphor and inspiration, are fairytales and in particular, the folktale of The Handless Maiden.  And so are the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, pagan and especially the Judaic history which is the precursor to the Christian mysteries.

The deck incorporates alchemical principles and as such it is a marriage of opposites, a living hieros gamos which follows the sacred journey of the Holy Fool through the mysteries of Mary. I focus on the mystical (hidden)  and inner meanings of the Mysteries of Mary. 

Historically and politically there are so many theories and ideas – none of them completely provable – thus it remains a Mystery. The teachings of Jesus and the Marys, are also open to various interpretations.  Many wars have been fought based on differences in interpretation.  I am not exploring the religion of the Mystery, but rather the message that I, personally see in this ancient story.

The four suits of the deck correspond with the four cycles of Mary's life :  Virgin and Priestess as the Suit of Vessels;  Beloved and Bride as the Suit of the Holyrood;  Mother and Sacred Woman as the Suit of Distaff and Wisdom as Suit of Roses.

It is my vision that this deck can be the start of a far greater vision : one that marries the mind and the heart; the feminine and the masculine.  It is my hope that you will glimpse the revelation that all religion contains Soul and that the veils of dogma and manipulation obscure the truth.  May you look in the mirror of Sophia and see yourself as Love Eternal. - extracted from the Introduction of the accompanying book.

The deck consists of 78 handcrafted shrines, each one made by  myself to 
represent one of the stories in the deck.  These were photographed and then professionally 
printed in a large card format on a good quality card stock.  
The style and colours used create a rich tapestry of imagery, symbol and colour.  
The accompanying guide book has a paperback cover.   
Each limited edition deck will be signed by myself and each deck 
will come in a unique pouch in the style of the deck

- 78 tarot cards printed on 350 gsm card stock with thick glossy varnish
- 160 page A5 paperback tarot book signed by myself
- Unique handprinted tarot pouch
- Extra signed tarot card

I ship registered airmail with a tracking number

Here is a link for reviews received from those who purchased
the deck :

Here is a link to the review by Arnell Ando on her website :

The deck is available in my shop The French Madonna


Friday, April 13, 2018

Anna, Keeper of the Hearth

Saint Anne Keeper of the Hearth - Ten of Vessels (cups) in the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck as an amulet rosary.

You can choose to wear it as a protective and blessing rosary or you can choose to put it on your altar.

The image is set under a glass bubble in a resin frame with crystal beads - all in violet hues.  It comes with the tarot card in the pouch as shown.

This image is of the tarot card Ten of Vessels(Cups) in the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck.  In this suit the story of Mary in the archetype of Virgin-Mother, Prophet and Priestess of the Mysteries is depicted.

X Vessels - Anna, Keeper of the Hearth
Anna sits with Mary on her lap in the same way that Mary sits with Jesus on her lap. Here we have the feminine version of the Mother and Holy Child: Holy Mother and Holy Daughter. They are surrounded by the pots, pans and utensils of the kitchen.  The kitchen is the hearth of the home and the oven specifically is an alchemical container.  The process of baking and cooking is an example of an alchemical process in ordinary domestic life. Turning wheat into flour, then into dough and ultimately baking it into bread, is symbolic and representative of the powerful processes of transformation in our lives.   Making bread in different shapes as a sacramental ritual and offering to the goddess is an ancient tradition which is still prevalent today.   An oven has also been a metaphor for a woman’s womb and bread making as a metaphor for gestating and giving birth to a new life.  For instance, the saying in popular vernacular: ‘she has another bun in the oven’.  In ancient houses the hearth or kitchen was the communal living area and the central and biggest room in the house and the oven used to be a separate structure outside.

In these old civilisations the process of harvesting from the land and then turning the grain into a complete food, was honoured and revered.  In our modern society much of the preparation of food has been industrialised and domestic activities, once sacred to the Goddess, are no longer valued.
This shrine and card indicates a happy time at the end of a long journey.  It speaks of idyllic happiness and moments to be treasured and honoured.  You are reminded to honour and value the feminine qualities of nurturing, empathy and creating supportive surroundings for yourself and others.  It also speaks of alchemical transformation and positive outcomes.  As a spiritual initiate and student of the mysteries, you will be basking in the blissful glow of fulfilment of being.

The Suit of Vessels in the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck

The Ace of Vessels

Mary in the archetype of Virgin-Mother, Prophet and Priestess of the Mysteries
In the suit of Vessels we encounter Mary as the element of water.  Mary is a derivative from the Latin Maria which means waters.  In French ‘mare’ is the word for water.  Water has the power to drown us or to quench our thirst. We know Mary as the loving nurturing mother and also as the Mater Dolorosa, the grieving mourning mother, dressed in black, mourning the loss of her son. In Lourdes you will see hundreds of pilgrims carrying large containers of water from the sacred spring home every day and many fill small bottles from the waters of the healing spring.  Mary is called a Vessel of Spirit, a Vessel of Honour and in Lourdes she is the Vessel of the Sacred Waters. In the Mysteries vessels refer to the human being and its divine soul being a vessel for the will and love of the divine.

She represents the oceans of consciousness as well as the energetic flow of the soul and her powerful emotions.   Vessels also relate to the metaphor of the Cosmic womb of the soul and the dark void of the Source of all creation. We see the element of water represented in mystery of Mary’s blue robes.  In Homer’s Odyssey, the sea is referred to as being ‘wine-dark’ (obviously a reddish colour) and not blue.  Research has been done which shows that the colour blue was only referred to and used in dyes by the early Egyptians.  Scientists have also argued that the human eye could not see blue in the spectrum of light up till that time.  In the glass windows of Chartres a certain blue is used for the Virgin’s blue cloak.  This colour is called ‘chartres blue’ and modern stained glass manufacturers have not been able to recreate this colour.

The various blues of the Suit of Vessels

In this suit we enter the alchemical process of the miraculous conception within ourselves and we prepare to birth the Sacred One in our own psyche.
In alchemy the vessel is the container in which the various ingredients are mixed and transformed by each other. It was believed that the alchemists were looking for a way to turn lead into gold, but it is also believed that it is actually a metaphorical journey of transforming darkness into light and one of finding joy and peace amidst sorrow and hardship as we live in a world of holy paradox.  Mary is the vessel for Divine Love incarnated as her Son in the physical world and within our souls.  She is also the spiritual vessel in which opposites combine.  As we are tested and challenged, like Bernadette, we have the choice to obey the instructions of the voice of the Lady that no-one else sees or to listen to the incredulous villagers and Cure.  As we follow the calling of our heart, we are led to dig where no-one else thought to look and we will uncover a spring that will feed and nourish thousands.



Friday, April 6, 2018

Miriam the Prophetess and the Miriamic tradition

VIII Vessels - Mariam, the Prophetess
Shrine created for the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

The prophetess Miriam, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand, while all the women went out after her with tambourines, dancing;  and she led them in the refrain : Sing to the Lord, for he is gloriously triumphant; horse and chariot he has cast into the sea - NAB, Exodus 15:20-21

The Hebrew Miriam is the first woman prophet mentioned in the Christian and Jewish Scriptures.  The Greek Miriam is translated as Mariam and in English as Mary.  Thus we see that Moses' sister has the same name as Mariam/Mary, the Holy Woman in the Mysteries of Mary.  The scholar Phyllis Trible, in her piece 'Bringing Miriam out of the Shadows' argues that the Song of the Sea is Miriam's song of liberation of the Hebrew people from Egypt.  She and other feminist scholars, make the case that the Song of the Sea attributed to Moses, should actually be attributed to Miriam.  The Song of Hannah in the VI of Roses in the deck, provided the words and themes for Holy Mary's song, the Magnificat.  However, Miriam's Song, as a song of liberation is also echoed in the song of deliverance sung by Mary as the Magnificat.  

My painting of Miriam, the prophetess

Here we see the start of the Miriamic or Mariamic tradition. The mysteries of Mary starts off with Mara, the Holy Fool, whose name is the root of Miriam/Mariam and means the 'bitter one'.   (Amara is a very bitter root used for stomach ailments). Miriam's name is also understood to mean 'Bitter Sea' (mar-yam), thus evoking both the bitterness associated with Miriam and her connections with water.

The story of Miriam's Well tells of Miriam's prophetic water divining ability.  She could lead the people through the desert because she could always find springs and riverbeds.  Wheverever Miriam led, her people were assured of having water to drink.

I interpret this story and symbolism both metaphorically and energetically on many levels.  Miriam represents the feminine part of the soul and psyche, the more watery and receptive side of our nature.  One can also relate Miriam/Mariam/Mary to the feminine face of God. Elsewhere I have shared my pilgrimages down the energy ley lines that crosses the earth and specifically the Michael and Mary ley lines of England.  The Michael (masculine energy)line runs in almost a straight line and is dotted by churches and hill tops.  The Mary line, however, runs a much more winding and weaving manner across and next to the Michael lines and it runs from well to spring to lake.  The Mary ley line is dotted with sacred wells and springs.  These are of course mainly 'sweet waters' but one can say that the sea has 'bitter' water which we are unable to drink. Miriam's name is also translated as the the 'changing sea' or 'transforming sea'.  In the Mysteries of Mary guidebook I illustrate how powerfully Mary is associated with the waters and the sea. In the same manner that Miriam and her people were enslaved, is the feminine voice and face of God marginilized or completely removed from religion and spiritual teachings and practices.  Deep social, cultural and religious conditioning in valuing and honouring certain characteristics, traits and endeavours above others, results in creating a parched desert and wasteland in our psyche.  Our inner worlds are bereft of the expression and celebration of our inner feminine.  When we awaken to this realisation and we enable ourselves to break the shackles of conditioning and fear, and set the inner feminine aspects and even the soul free, do we become aware of the eternal Miriam's Well within that bubbles up with creativity, joy, pleasure, freedom, peace, dancing and the metaphorical playing of tambourines. 

Legend tells of Miriam's Well that appeared wherever Miriam traveled.  Similarly, the Divine Well within appears whenever we dance with the eternally changing and transformative Waters of Life

The waters pouring forth from the water jug or vessel

Miriam the Jewish prophetess' name is linked to the bitterness of slavery and she sings The Song of the Sea leading her people from Egypt to freedom.  Mariam/Mary in her song the Magnificat sings of her prophetic vision of the deliverance of humanity from spiritual slavery.

In her essay Eve and Miriam, Phyllis Trible puts the two hymns side by side, revealing the corresponding resonance between them

SS : I will sing to the Lord, most glorious deity
M :  My spirit rejoices in God my saviour

SS : Thy right hand, O Lord, glorious in power;
M : Thy right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy

SS : God has shown strength with the divine arm, has
M  : Scattered the proud in the imaginations of their hearts

SS :  Pharaoh's chariots and his hosts God hurled into the sea
M  :  God has put down the mighty from their thrones

Miriam the Prophetess
VIII of Vessels

In the Disney version of the story entitled The Prince of Egypt, the words are taken from Exodus :

A-shir-ra I'a-do-nai ki ga-oh ga-ah
(I will sing to the Lord for He has triumphed gloriously)
A-shir-ra I'a-do-nai ki ga-oh ga-ah

(I will sing to the Lord for He has triumphed gloriously)
Mi-cha-mo-cha ba-e-lim adonai
(Who is like You, oh Lord, among the celestials)
Mi-cha-mo-cha ne-dar-ba-ko-desh
(Who is like You, majestic in holiness)
Na-chi-tah v'-chas-d'-cha am zu ga-al-ta
(In Your love, You lead the people You redeemed)
Na-chi-tah v'-chas-d'-cha am zu ga-al-ta
(In Your love, You lead the people You redeemed)
A-shi-ra, a-shi-ra, A-shi-ra
A-shir-ra I'a-do-nai ki ga-oh ga-ah

(I will sing to the Lord for He has triumphed gloriously)
A-shir-ra I'a-do-nai ki ga-oh ga-ah
(I will sing to the Lord for He has triumphed gloriously)
Mi-cha-mo-cha ba-e-lim adonai
(Who is like You, oh Lord, among the celestials)
Mi-cha-mo-cha ne-dar-ba-ko-desh
(Who is like You, majestic in holiness)
Na-chi-tah v'-chas-d'-cha am zu ga-al-ta
(In Your love, You lead the people You redeemed)
Na-chi-tah v'-chas-d'-cha am zu ga-al-ta
(In Your love, You lead the people You redeemed)

A-shi-ra, a-shi-ra, A-shi-ra

Here you can see the words 'ashira ashira' translated to mean 'I will sing', but it is also a different spelling of the name of the Hebrew Goddess Asherah.  More on this theme in another post to follow on the VII of Holyrood, Asherah.

extracted from the guidebook of Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck