Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day Six of Art Novena of Our Lady of Lourdes

Rituals honouring the Divine Mary

Through my many pilgrimages to sacred places around the world, I have learnt from other cultures and societies, and I have found many ways with which to show my love for Mary.  These small rituals also leads me into full trust and acceptance of Her infinite Love for me and all of this world and all of its fruit.

From creating art and shrines, to the simple act of lighting candles, each of these actions, done with intent and contemplation, has the power to anchor the numinous into this physical world;  to bring profound healing to the human heart and all its illusions and to liberate us from our self-sabotaging and limiting ego personalities.

Our lives are no different to the lives of those mythical tales.  As we act with loving awareness, acceptance  and intent, we awaken the Godself within and we open ourselves up to become aware of a new way of seeing and to the divine Presence that is in everybody and everything.

I created a sacred Mary garden outside my art studio.  Here I light candles, burn incense and plant fragrant lavendar, basil, rosemary and white roses.  Each plant and its fragrance has a sensual and healing property and the rose is sacred to Mary.

And then I have added the ritual of dressing the image of Mary in beautiful cloaks and flowers.

During the festival of Sara la Kali, the image of Sara is dressed in many many cloaks - at times up to 25 cloaks.  The cloaks represent the prayers of her devotees.

I follow the old Pagan wheel of the year or the wheel of the seasons.  Here, in the Southern Hemisphere, we are six months different to the North.  The equinoxes are the feast days within the wheel, which follows the path of the sun.  I then add the Holy Days of Mary to this wheel.

You will see that you can fit any tradition or religious calendar into this wheel.  Most of the Christian feast days coincide with these dates, as do other traditions.  Each season has its own colour and symbol.  These are archetypal, that is, they are images deeply embedded in our subconscious and we recognise them when we see them.  Advertising and marketing people know this and they also use these images in their advertising and promotional campaigns, not the other way around.

Obviously, as this will be your own ritual, there are no rules and regulations and if you have symbols or colours that are pertinent and meaningful to you, then there is no reason why you cannot change the generally accepted symbol.

When we work with archetypal images and symbols, we are telling a story on another level, a much deeper level and we give meaning to our own stories, our own suffering and our own inner conflict.  

Without meaning we cannot enter the centre of our beings and the centre of our lives;  we will always stay on the periphery and on the outskirts and we will feel alienated, lost and alone. 

The rosary (known in other traditions by other names), uses the word rose because the five petals of a rose in medieaval times signified Mary's five joys and the thorns her sorrows.  The rosary combines mysterious roses, white, red and gold.  The white rose is joy.  The red rose is sorrow.  The gold rose is glory.  These colours are also reflected in alchemy, as well as in myths and legends and fairytales!!  This reflects the wisdom of the psyche, the inner language of the soul, planted there for us by the Divine to help us find our way home, to Love, again.

Ave Maria!


  1. I love the idea of combining the Wheel of the year with Mary's Holy Days.. I think that is what i have been doing for quite a few years..
    which photo is your Mary Garden? I had a garden devoted to Mary in Villa Maria but am still in the process of finding suitable plants for where i live now. but my shrines are built [I have one in the front yard and one under the apple tree]
    I love lighting candles at the feet of Mary.. something very sacred about that act.
    [oh and by the way, looks like Lourdes is out as most hotels shut down from October til April, so now we are looking at Fatima]
    my post is up!

  2. All the photos of the garden Marys are from my Mary garden :) - taken from different angles. I also have posted previously some of the other Marys in other parts of my garden. Please show your garden shrines - I would love to see! It is such a pity about Lourdes - October is not that cold! I will send you the name of the place where we stayed - it is a self catering hotel (with meals if you wish) within walking distance of the grotto. blessings

  3. It has been such a lovely time here, Hettienne. Today is now day six and I'll be thinking of something all day to share for the seventh day. Interesting what Robyn said about Lourdes and the hotels. I wonder at that.

  4. Dear Annie, thank you for participating and sharing with your comments. I also do not understand that the hotels would close in Lourdes - maybe someone gave her the wrong info - Christmas, even though it snows, is a highlight at Lourdes! I am planning to be there at the end of September early October so I will be finding out soon. xoxo


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