Sunday, October 9, 2016

Nativity of the Virgin Mary

Nativity of Holy Child-Daughter
II Roses
Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

By honouring and acknowledging the birth of the holy child-daughter, Mary Herself, the masculine story is changed and the daughter and girl-child becomes sacred in the collective unconscious.

‘A hermit had on a certain night for many years heard music in the heavens. When he asked the cause an angel answered, : the Virgin was born this night, and what is ignored on earth is being celebrated by angels’ – Legends of Mary, Thirteenth Century

In this card we see the birth of the holy daughter, the female bearer of the Christ.  When one considers that the term Christ or Christed One is a title and not part of a name, then the sentence ‘female bearer of the Christ’ has a completely different meaning.  Mary is the feminine companion to Jesus or Maryam to Yeshua in the original Aramaic.  As we saw earlier three Marys always accompanied Jesus one of whom was his mother and one his companion or beloved.  Reading these words and stories with the inner mystical eye of vision and understanding, we understand that the psyche has four aspects : two masculine and two feminine and these are referred to as mother, father, daughter and son.  The picture reflected a whole psyche is incomplete without the daughter.  What would change within both men and women when the Christ appears in female form?  Or when the Christ appears as a divine couple? 

In the Lost Books of the Bible, The Gospel of the Birth of Mary, Mary’s lineage and birth is described in detail.    Mary of Agreda in her book The Mystical City of God which describes the details of the life of the Virgin, calls the child Mary, ‘the true living Ark of the covenant’.

In the Koran it is told that in the year 16 BCE, the people of Jerusalem are awaiting the birth of the son of Imran (Anna in Greek). Instead of the much-anticipated "Messiah", a girl is born to Imran and Anna. The latter names her Mary, which means "Servant of God". Did they miss the birth of the Messiah through their expectation that he has to be male?

 In the Gospel of the Birth of Mary, it is described that the angel visited both Joachim and Anna (Mary’s parents) on two separate occasions.  Mary’s conception and birth was a miraculous one.  Anna, her mother was barren until the Archangel Gabriel visited her and declared that her barren womb will be opened by God and that the Holy Spirit will descend into the body of her daughter Mary whilst still in the womb.  Mary referred to herself as The Immaculate Conception when She appeared to Bernadette at Lourdes.   The sanctuary of the nativity of the virgin Mary is in Milan and her tiny effigy wrapped in lace and swaddling clothes is known as Santa Maria Bambina.  Her nativity is on 8 September and is one of the twelve major feast days in the liturgical calendar.    In the years between 1720 and 1730 a Franciscan nun from Todi (Sister Chiara Isabella Fornari) created wax statues of Mary as a baby. One of these dolls was donated to the Capuchin Sisters of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Milan. Eventually the statue arrived at the General House of the Sisters of Charity of Lovere , in Via Santa Sofia in Milan, and these sisters are called "Maria Bambina" .
The miraculous image of Maria Bambina was made prior to 1730 by a Franciscan nun who afterwards entrusted Her to others. During the ensuing years, she came into the care of the Sisters of Charity at Lovere, Italy. In 1856, these Sisters of Charity were asked to take over the management of the Hospital of Ciceri in Milan and, in 1876, this waxen image was carried to their Mother House there at Via Santa Sofia 13, where she has remained ever since.
The beautiful image of the Maria Bambina was exposed for veneration only on the 8th of September, the Feast of Mary's Nativity. In 1884, those who were devoted to the Maria Bambina received a reward for their devotion. Due to paralysis in her arms and feet, Sister Josephine Woinovich was bedridden and in unbearable pain. On the 8th of September, she begged the Mother General to get Maria Bambina and leave the image near her overnight. The following morning the Mother General was inspired to take the image, so old, worn and grayish colored to the other sick Sisters in the infirmary so they could kiss her.

There was in the infirmary a good novice, Giulia Macario, who was unable to move because of her serious illness, but who, overcome by her ardent faith, took the image into her arms and pleaded with her in tender and loving words for the grace for her recovery. She was immediately and miraculously cured, for such Faith moves mountains. And at the same time this image itself underwent an amazing transformation from the former dull gray color to the warm flesh hues it has today, as can be seen, where she is enshrined in the Sanctuary of the Mother House in Milan.

In this card we see the birth of the holy daughter, the female bearer of the Christ.  When one considers that the term Christ or Christed One is a title and not part of a name, then the sentence ‘female bearer of the Christ’ has a completely different meaning.  Mary is the feminine companion to Jesus or Maryam to Yeshua in the original Aramaic.  As we saw earlier three Marys always accompanied Jesus one of whom was his mother and one his companion or beloved.  Reading these words and stories with the inner mystical eye of vision and understanding, we understand that the psyche has four aspects : two masculine and two feminine and these are referred to as mother, father, daughter and son.  The picture reflected a whole psyche is incomplete without the daughter.  What would change within both men and women when the Christ appears in female form?  Or when the Christ appears as a divine couple? 

Luce Irigaray in her work says that ‘there is no woman God, no female trinity: mother, daughter, spirit.  This paralyses the infinite of becoming a woman since she is fixed in the role of mother through whom the son of God is made flesh’

By honouring and acknowledging the birth of the holy child-daughter, Mary Herself, the masculine story is changed and the daughter and girl-child becomes sacred in the collective unconscious.

Santa Maria Bambina with golden wool
Handmaiden of Suit of Distaff
Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

These stories of the divine are powerful myths which activate and animate archetypes in our consciousness.  Mary calls Herself the Immaculate Conception and as such Her birth is truly a divine birth of a divine female and feminine which has been lying fast asleep like the princess in Sleeping Beauty (Card IV of the Suit of the Distaff).  Creating art and seeing images of Mary as the holy girl-child  and images of the Sacred Mother and Daughter will change our understanding of the world and our Soul completely.

Mary serving as priestess in Temple of the Dove
Four of Vessels
Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

I used mainly Western Christian Catholic icons, statues and symbolism, which I combined with the wider vision of the journey of the feminine divine as archetype of the Self. By juxtaposing these well-known images onto a different context and by re-connecting their symbolism to the correspondences found in myths, legend, fairy tale and stories carried down through the ages, a deeper, more meaningful picture unfolds.  I set out taking the well-known Christian images of Mary (and really mostly the only ones readily available) out of their Roman Catholic context thus giving them new meaning.  As my own personal journey evolved and I immersed myself into the Christian mysteries at the sites sacred to Mary that I visited, I discovered that the numinous emanation of Mary truly still does exist in the Christian art and symbology.  I found that She had merely been veiled by dogma and conditioned belief and that when you see with ‘new eyes’, then the true Divine Mary and Goddess is still radiating Her Presence and always has done so.  I realised that the Christian churches and copious art works has been the vessel for Her through the dark ages of the suppressed feminine.  This awakened the inspiration and resolve within myself to reveal Her to others in the same way that She revealed Herself to me.

A limited edition of the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck and Book 
is now available on pre-order
on my website here :


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Tarot Deck of Mysteries of Mary

Maria Prophetissa

the Alchemist in the Mysteries of Mary Deck

The early or even some say, the true first alchemist of the Western world,  was known as Mary or Maria the Jewess, Mary or Miriam the Prophetess and Maria Prophetissa.  She is known as a Jewish alchemist, but is also referred to by other writers and cultures.  She is also known by these names :  Maria Hebraea, Maria Prophetissima and Mariya the Sage; She is known from the works of the Gnostic Christian writer Zosimos of Panopolis who dates her as having lived in the third century.  But others claim that her work was done no later than the first century. Zosimos describes her as one of the sages. 

In alchemy the Axion of Maria exists :  "One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the one as the fourth."


Maria holds the hawthorn branch as her magician’s wand.  The magician or alchemist archetype of the deck has all four the elements to her disposable.  Here we see the chalice, pitchers and alchemists' bottles of the suit of vessels and the element of water;  the white hawthorn branch as a symbol of the flowering cross of the tree of life and the element of living fire;  the red thread tied around the wisdom books as the element of air in the suit of the distaff and the red rose from the suit of roses and the element of earth.  The colours of red and white are also significant as these represent the two opposing colours of spirit and matter which has to be unifed into the sacred marriage in order for transformation and new birth within the psyche to take place.

............... Read the complete piece at

Monday, August 1, 2016

A Labour of Love

A small portion of the 78 Tarot Cards

Two years ago I started the project of creating my own tarot deck.  I had the vision of each card being a handcrafted shrine. But I did not want to just emulate the traditional tarot decks based
on the teaching of the Order of the Golden Dawn or Rider-Waite. I wanted to share and highlight my own understanding based on my own experiences.  I saw that this could be a vehicle
for sharing my own teachings and mystical insight into the hidden secrets in religion and the new age.

I took time out from offering classes and retreats through my wisdom school, The Temple of Mary
and I closed my shop on I packed away my paints and canvases and focused solely on creating this deck.
Ace of Vessels
The New Human

And what a labour of love it was.  I loved each and every 
moment of it.  The process was to collate the
many stories of Mary, gathered from folktales,
legend, metaphor and myth, Bible stories
and apocryphal books such as the Proevangelium
of James.

Each shrine consists of a small wooden shrine which contains the miniature diorama of the part of the story that I am depicting.
Card XV Our Lady and the Stag
Through the years I had become a committed
spiritual pilgrim and travel at least once a year
to a sacred site in the world;  especially places
where the Divine had manifested into the physical.
During my travels I collected many bits and pieces
and especially vintage and wonderfully kitsch
(some of them) religious statues.  I wanted these
for my hand crafted shrines and this became a
mission in itself.  I had to make two extra trips to
Europe to source statues and I have spent hours
on the internet buying up these little figurines.
Maria Bambina, Vessel of the Suit of the Distaff

The Tarot deck has 78 cards :
22 Major Arcana cards which are the main archetypal cards followed by the Minor Arcana which are separated into the four suits.

Well, all 78 shrines have been completed!
And my studio have been taken over by them.  All my books and display areas
have been taken over by the shrines.  

This is but a small portion of the shrines and only one wall -
they cover three walls

My vision is to publish the deck with a small accompanying book.
And then to rewrite this book over time into a more expanded version.
So now the next part of this Labour of Love is starting.

If you are interested in following my journey and
learning from my mistakes,
please follow my blog
Higher Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

I will be offering the deck for sale in my online
shop The French Madonna
and I will offer special pre-publication offers
as well.

And I am working on some unique jewellery pieces based on the cards in the deck.  I have started with Card XVIII Stella Maris, traditionally The Star.

Higher Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

Each pendant will be accompanied by a Tarot Card and its meaning and interpretation, packaged in a special tin or presentation box.

If you would like to stay up to date with my journey and the Higher Mysteries
of Mary tarot deck, you can subscribe to this blog in the side margins
where it says "Follow by email' or you can become
a follower on Google Plus.

I am also on Instagram where I update regularly.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Triumph of the Immaculate Heart

You who radiate peace, dear Mary,
help us to break this obsession with war
and vanquish the culture of death.

Too many people have died, Blessed Mother,
and no amount of official explanations
and strategic manipulations
can possible justify such suffering.

At this very moment, all over the planet,
dozens of battles are raging,
like bursts of flame exploding
from different zones of a forest on fire.

Whether they take the form of the 
massive bloodshed of entire communities
or single acts of domestic violence,
your Mother-Heart will not tolerate such hatred.

You break yourself open
and offer us the only true antidote
to the poison of global strife:
universal love.

The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart
Mother of God
Similar to Fire
Mirabai Starr

Friday, July 22, 2016

Blessed Feast Day of Mary Magdalene

Here is a repost of my pilgrimage to the places in the South of France
sacred to the story and tradition of Mary Magdalene

2012 - Walking in the footsteps of Mary Magdalene
in the South of France

Six weeks ago I undertook a pilgrimage to France. My main focus was the festival of Sante Sara, the gypsy saint and the annual gathering of the gypsies in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer and from there to Lourdes. I am a pilgrim whom does not belong to a religion, one who follows the religion of the soul (in the words of Thomas Moore) and my pilgrimages have taken me across the globe. Each stay has always further dissolved my sense of a separate self and has taken me deeper into Unity Consciousness. I am always happy to see that hidden pockets of the separate self is revealed and that the transcendent and radiant Presence in these sacred places, replaces all discordant notes within. A pilgrimage has a wonderful way of revealing the Love Within. Ultimately, it seems to me that our biggest obstacle as human beings are that of Trust! Trusting ourselves, trusting our feelings and our vulnerabilities with others, trusting the goodness of Life, trusting that everything that is happening to us is meant to be and ultimately trusting God. This is not a 'bad' thing - most probably a very effective protective device - and merely part of our journey as human beings back to Unity Consciousness - the complete Knowledge that we are not separate from Divine Will.

I was blessed with many wonderful and powerful visions along the way (some which I will share with you in this blog and others to follow) and messages repeated reinforcing the understanding that Forgiveness is the salve that makes us (w)holy. Forgiveness in the largest sense of the word. And as we forgive ourselves, we realise that we have to forgive God and that the God that man created, truly does not exist. 'God' is complete and total Forgiveness, or Prema (unconditional love) and therefore forgiveness is not necessary. But it is a long journey to integrate these incredible paradoxes and to see that the marriage between spirit and body truly does exist and that that is our journey here - to make sacred the mundane self.

One of the beautiful visions that I had was how each human being is on the symbolic cross, suspended between heaven and earth and stretched across the heart. On the one side is the seemingly 'positive' inner voice and on the other side is the seemingly 'negative' inner voice - both waging war on the person hanging from the cross. This is true suffering which takes on many layers and dimensions. And trying to judge positive from negative becomes a never-ending quagmire of psychology, biology, personality traits and so on. Salvation comes from the flowering of the heart, the sacred heart within, which radiates the light of the living Christ. 

These Divine archetypes seemingly transcend our human lives, but in the sacred marriage the soul meets Spirit and a new way of living and understanding is born - a deep peace within which surpasses all understanding - the inner voices are dissolved and Love is the world.

Our first stop was St Maximin la St Baume where we stayed in the old cloisters of the Basilica. The adjacent Basilica houses the relics of Mary Magdalene. As with all sacred places, saints, myths and legends, there is always controversy and dispute about the truth of the legends as well as the relics. As we know, religion is a powerful political tool. Personally, I choose to see the entire spectrum of religion, myth and legend as an archetypal journey. We, ourselves, embody these archetypes and these inspirational lives and stories of these almost superhuman beings, is to me a cross road where the archetype and the physical meet and cross. 

One cannot ignore the power of the names given to these characters - the names in themselves are archetypal. Also, if you pay attention to the ley lines where the sacred places are established and where the waters run from the sacred springs and well, you can see the presence of the Divine, marrying our world with the Spiritual world.

Staying in the old cloisters was a very humbling experience. 

This was the view from my room in the convent which has now been turned into a hotel.

Right next door, as part of the complex, stands the massive St Maximin Basilica of Mary Magdalene. 

We visited the Basilica more than once. We also visited the chapel at the grotto where Mary Magdalene spend the last thirty three years of her life at La Sainte Baume. I experienced the same divine Presence at both these sites. The Presence of the Divine Feminine known as Mary Magdelene. I can only describe it as a very very gentle, loving and forgiving energy. It felt as though the energy was vibrating in gentle, yet powerful waves of nurturing and embracing : an energy with a very specific vibration and colour which I will now recognize immediately again. Each time we visited the Basilica and its many shrines, we were reluctant to leave Her absolute Beauty.

This is the statue of Mary Magdalene placed just outside the crypt where her relics are kept.

Here is picture taken during the Mary Magdalene feast day. Her skull is behind this mask which is taken out for the procession.

The Basilica contained many statues and a shrine dedicated to Mother Mary, the Mary Magdelene crypt and more. The most beautiful Mary Magdalene statue graced this church. The picture does not really do justice to the presence that radiates from this beautiful image.

Blessings on this feast day to you.

You may want to read about the cards in the
Sacred Mysteries of Mary deck that bring the stories
of Mary Magdalene into the bigger picture of the sacred Mysteries.

You will find them here :


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Embroiderer

Has the pen or pencil dipped so deep in the blood
of the human race as the needle? 
asked the writer Olive Schreiner.
The answer is, quite simply, no.

The art of embroidery has been the means of educating women
into the feminine ideal, and of proving that 
they have attained it, but it has also provided
a weapon of resistance to the constraints of femininity.

To know the history of embroidery is to know the history of women.

extracted from The Subversive Stitch, Embroidery
and the making of the Feminine by Rozsika Parker

'....... she is silent when she sews,
silent for hours on end .......
she is silent, and she -
why not write it down the word that frightens me -
she is thinking.'
                             Colette, Earthly Paradise

Starting in the Middle Ages, a split developed between
embroidery which represented the feminine, the emotional and
the family and the intellectual life.  For some
embroiderers this created a deep sense of conflict
which still exist today.

'I am a sociologist - I cringe - never say this - why?
Because it seems a lie.  I care about my work, 
but it is not part of me as are
patchwork and embroidery.
Should I try to make it so, is my sewing
a clinging to a dependent, passive childhood,
a female stereotype, or is it truly me?'

The Victorians identified embroidery with femininity in the context 
of rigidly defined sex roles.  Embroidery is still identified
with femininity, but the framework has changed.
Women have challenged the constraints of femininity and entered
previously masculine preserves.  On the whole women no longer
embroider as a gesture of wifely or domestic duty.

'When I was growing up, all the women in my house
were using needles.  I have always had a fascination with the
needle, the magic power of the needle.  The needle is used
to repair damage.
Its a claim to forgiveness.
                                 It is never aggressive.'  - psychoanalyst Melanie Klein

The Subversive Stitch by Roszika Parker discusses the
contradictory nature of women's experience of embroidery:
how it has inculcated female subservience while
providing an immensely pleasurable source of creativity,
forging links between women.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Rosa Mistica

Smaller statue at sacred spring
Rosa Mistica, Fontanelle, Montechiari, Italy

I recently visited Italy and on my list of places that I really wanted to visit
was the Rosa Mistica in Montechiari.

For me these sacred places of manifestation of the Divine Feminine
has such power and meaning and it is a reminder that Heaven and
Earth are not two separate places but that humanity has such inner
power which seldom manifests.

The Rosa Mistica is regarded as a cult by the Church which
has appropriated all the manifestations of Mary, the
embodiment of the Divine Feminine for our age and culture

As such it is not well advertised and very little information is
available other than their many attempts to become recognized
by the Roman Catholic Church.  It took us two days to find the shrine.
We stayed the night in the nearby Brescia - luckily! as our first
attempts were unsuccessful.  We had a GPS and a map and
directions but still could not find the place.  It was like
an elusive castle in a fairy tale!

The second day we had a 'plan' and we found it and we
were not disappointed.  It is in the middle of quiet fields
next to the river and there were hardly anyone else visiting.

The running water from the spring

The spring is open here, as opposed to the closed up spring
at Lourdes and I could drink directly from the water and
wash my hands and face.  There is also an open foot bath
and I could immerse my feet and legs in the freezing water.

The main statue in the chapel

The statue that gets taken out in the procession is locked up in a tiny
building and she is only visible through the glass doors.  Once a day
a healing procession and rosary takes place when she is taken out.

The walls are covered with plaques of those who received healings
at this shrine.  Outside are beautiful gardens and prayer spots.  It was
a beautiful crisp and clear day when we visited and we spent
about an hour sitting in the garden.  I then went back to collect water
and then only noticed the large statues of saints.  I stopped in front of
Padre Pio with whom I have had a close relationship all my life.

You can read more about this under the heading of  Sacred Journeys.

I lit a candle and had water from the sacred spring in my hand and
an intense fragrance of fresh roses spilled over me.  It took my breath away
it was so intense and despite having had this experience many times
I still looked around to see if anyone had arrived with bunches and bunches
of red roses!!! but of course there was no-one else!
Only the presence of Padre Pio and he always makes himself
known with the fragrance of roses.

I have smelled the fragrance of roses at other sacred sites such
as the shrine of Padre Pio in San Giovanni, the convent and gardens
of St Terese in Lisieux and at Lourdes.

Our divine mother embraces us with such compassion
and deep love and as mother to our own inner child
our healing lies in having acceptance, compassion and deep love
for our own inner wounded one and those of people that crosses
our path on our journey.

Her Presence is palpable and Real and these manifestations
show us how thin the veil is and that our heart and mind
has the power to cross it and to bask in the love of yourself.

with the fragrance of roses still lingering in my mind