Thursday, December 12, 2013

Day Twelve of the Pilgrimage with Mary

Mother Wisdom Speaks

I have always been
There is not time that I did not come forth
I am the song
I am the endless opening,
the infinite widening of the Godhead
I am the Word from the everlasting breath
I am the sound originating in eternal silence
I am love

I am who calls from every cell, every atom
I erupt in mountains, I am fire
I am the circle, the spiral of reality
I am the universe and I always return to the holy
I am the green of grass and trees,
the red of the rose,
the gold of dawn
I am the blue of playing waves
I am the dance of stars
I am the fir in your heart
I am your longing
I am the one and the many becoming one

I am the simple woman, the mother nourishing the child
I am her flesh
I am the eyes that heal
I am the hands that smooth away fears
I am the smile tat consoles

I will take you to the holy,
I will take you to the heart of God
I am so much more than you imagined
I am beyond your widest mind

an extract from Circle of Mysteries by Christin Lore Weber

Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadulupe

Twelve days of sharing ideas, stories, memories,
images and our hearts

A blessed day to you!!

Please visit :

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Day Ten of Twelve Days with Mary

Ancient prayer of Protection

My altar for the Immaculate Conception Feast Day

I salute you, Glorious Virgin, star more
brilliant than the sun,
redder than the freshest rose,
whiter than any lily,
higher in heaven than any of the saints.

The whole earth revers you, accept my praise
and come to my aid. In the midst of your so
glorious days in heaven, do not forget the miseries
of this earth:
turn your gaze of kindness on all those who suffer
and struggle and whose lips are soaked
in the bitterness of this life.

Have pity on those who loved each other
and were torn apart.
Have pity on the loneliness of the heart,
on the feebleness of our faith,
on the objects of our tenderness.
Have pity on those who weep,
on those who pray,
on those who tremble.
Give everyone hopefulness and peace.

Ancient prayer of Protection translated by Andrew Harvey

This is Day ten in our twelve day pilgrimage of Mary.
I am behind in visiting, but I will be by tonight for sure!!

If you would like to join us, please visit
Rebecca at Recuerda mi Corazon

Monday, December 9, 2013

Day Nine of Twelve Days with Mary - the mystical rose

Painting by Hettienne

I thought of Mary's spirit, hidden everywhere. 
Her heart a red cage of fierceness tucked among ordinary
things...... Here, everywhere, but hidden .....

Whatever it is that keeps widening your heart, that's Mary too,
not only the power inside you but the love. And when you
get down to it, that's the only purpose grand enough 
for a human life.

Not just to love - but to persist in love.

Sue Monk Kidd : The Secret Life of Bees

Day Nine of Twelve Days with Mary

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Day Eight of Twelve Days with Mary

Pictures taken today in the Mary shrine in the garden of my studio

Today is 8 December and the
Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception of Mary

I found this very interesting conversation on the Internet
by Eric Bugyis published in the Commonweal Magaize online
I share a small extract, but here is the link

Philosophical Reflections on the Immaculate Conception

This past week, I had lunch with one of my Philosophy professors, Karsten Harries, who does not self-identify as a Christian, but given his specialization in nineteenth and twentieth century German thought, is quite familiar with the tradition. Our conversation veered onto the topic of the Immaculate Conception, and he suggested that this Marian doctrine represented a curious celebration of the divinity of nature, more generally, and an elevation of the feminine, in particular, that challenged the patriarchal theology of the Church. By insisting on Mary's sinless state, he suggested, the Church recognized a Trinitarian divinization of Mary as the Mother, Daughter, and Bride of the Godhead, thereby placing Mary, a human, above one of the divine persons and on an equal footing with the other two. Indeed, he pointed out, there were icons of the Virgin that portrayed her as housing all three members of the Trinity in her womb in churches throughout Bavaria, an area whose church architecture Harries has written on extensively. (This is an image that is also repeated in the writings of female mystics like Frauenlob). 

The theological dissonance between the doctrine we affirm this December 8 and the ecclesial practice currently barring women who may be called, like Mary, to (re)conceive and give new birth to the Word of God made flesh among us should be both felt and mourned as we remember and give thanks for that first woman who said, "Yes."

Here is the link for the
Twelve Days of Mary Pilgrimage
hosted by Rebecca

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Day Seven of Twelve Days of Mary

Rosaries and shrines by Hettienne

"Moved by what I was discovering, I walked out into the moonlit
night and stood by the sea.  The sea itself seemed to be saying her name.
I returned and wrote :

I realized that all the powers of the Mothers, of Tara, Durga, Kali are in Mary.
She has Tara's sublime tenderness;
Durga's inaccessible silent calm force;
the grandeur and terribilta of Kali.
But Mary is also a woman,
a poor woman
and a human mother.

In her the full path of the sacred feminine is lived.
In her we have a complete image of the Divine Mother,
an image at once transcendent and immanent,
other-worldly and this-wordly,
at once mystical and political and practical.

In Mary the Divine Mother comes to earth and lives on earth
and lives, the passionate, strong, serious,
simple and transforming life that shows us all how to live.

Mary is the bridge between heaven and earth,
between the human and the divine worlds,
between human and divine justice."
                                                                             Andrew Harvey in The Return of the Mother

This must be one of my most favourite chapters in any book -
the chapter is entitled Mary Our Mother.

If you are following in these Twelve Days of Mary Pilgrimage -
my favourite time of year - 
then click on the link below 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Day Six of Twelve Days of Mary - God has no hands

One of my garden shrines

God has no Hands : Comforting Maria, The Ritual of Pesame

Why do we have hands?  There is a saying from Teresa de Avila that
God has no hands. Thus, the old people say too, we were given hand to bring,
protect, comfort, heal and encourage all Creation. 
In the ancient rituals to the Holy Mother, there is also a time of literal laying on 
of our hands upon her body, in order to comfort,
protect, encourage, heal and help to bring
sorrowful Mother back to life again.
The ritual is not just for Our Lady.
It is to teach us also to lay hands on each other,
because we may someday be brought down and 
imprisoned in a long grief, too. 
Isn't it true for most everyone that there comes a time
in life when it seems anti-creation is taking place?

from Untie the Strong Woman by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

In loving memory of Madiba
and a country and nation in mourning

Another good-bye
and an inspiration that will live for ever in our hearts

image from

Today is the Sixth Day in the Mary pilgrimage

a wonderful twelve days of wisdom, sharing,
community and global family

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Day Five in Twelve Days with Mary - Our Lady of Sorrows in Kibeho

Our Lady Hope of Africa - by Sallie Thayer


Ancient Mother,
Black Madonna,
Dark Lady of Birth, Death and Rebirth
you speak out from the heart of the world:
from the glowing windows of distant temples
as I walk through the night;
in secret caves tucked into mountainsides
whose names I cannot pronounce;
in city streets and private academies;
among the poorest of the poor
and the keepers of the jewels.
Your message is uncompromising:
Brother, stop hurting your brother.
Sisters, put down your weapons,
Neighbour, open your door to your neighbours
Wake up, stand up, wash yourselves
and look up attentively.
We must dedicate ourselves to prayer,
we must develop in us the virtues
of charity, availability and humility
Touch me, merciful Mother,
to make peace with every breath.
                          - Mirabai Starr
Statue of Our Lady of Kibeho, Mother of the Word

The Kibeho apparitions began on Nov. 28, 1981, at a time of increasing tension between the Tutsis and the Hutus. They occurred at Kibeho College, a secondary school for girls, and included an apocalyptic vision of Rwanda descending into violence and hatred which many believe foretold the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The Virgin Mary appeared to the group with the name "Nyina wa Jambo" (Mother of the Word) synonymous with "Umubyeyi W'Imana" (Mother of God). The teenage visionaries reported that the Virgin Mary asked everyone to pray to prevent a terrible war. In the vision of Aug. 19, 1982, they all reported seeing violence, dismembered corpses and destruction.
The longest series of visions were attributed to Alphonsine Mumureke who received the first vision on November 28, 1981 and the last on November 28, 1989. Anathalie Mukamazimpaka's visions began in January 1982 and ended on 3 December 1983. Marie Claire Mukangango had visions for six months, lasting from 2 March 1982 until 15 September 1982. She was later killed in the massacre of 1995 at the same location.

In the 100 days that followed the April 1994 assassination of the nation's president, By most accounts, 800,000 Rwandans, by some accounts,over one million, were slaughtered by their countrymen and, in some cases, their next-door-neighbors. The violence was the culmination of intensifying animosity between the two ethnic groups – the Hutus and Tutsis – and the civil war that had preceded it. Twice, Kibeho was twice the sight of a massive massacre, first at the parish church in April 1994, and then a year later in April 1995 where more than 5,000 refugees who had taken shelter at Kibeho were shot by soldiers.

The visions may be regarded as an ominous foreshadowing of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, and particularly the 1995 Kibeho Massacre. The school where the visions occurred became a place of slaughter during the genocide as dozens of children were hacked to death by Hutu terrorists. Some of the visionaries were among the victims. - from Wikipedia

Mother and Child of Kibeho by Fr William Hart McNichols
prints of some of his amazing icons are available on FineArtAmerica

Sweet Mother of the Universe
enfold me in the circle of your unconditional love.
I am prepared to be adored, Mother
I have set down the burdens
of self-recrimination and self-righteousness
and reach freely for you now.
Lift me from the illusion
that I am in charge of the world.
Lift me from the anguish
of separation from my source.
Lift me from my isolation and weariness
I take refuge in your kiss,
the universal kiss
that transfigures the heart of humanity,
renewing and revivifying us,
so that, blessed and well-loved,
we may love and bless all that is.

                              - Mirabai Starr

Today is Day Five in the Pilgrimage of Twelve Days of Mary
hosted by Rebecca of Recuerda mi Corazon
You may wish to participate or just visit other pilgrims


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Day Four in Twelve Days with Mary

Photograph taken in my garden shrine

The Fountain
How well I know that flowing spring
in black of night

The eternal fountain unseen
How well I know where she has been
in black of night

I do not know her origin
None. Yet in her all things begin
in black of night

I know that nothing is so fair
and earth and firmament drink there
in black of night

I know that none can wade inside
to find her bright bottomless tide
in black of night

Her shining never has a blur;
I know that all light comes here
in black of night

I know her streams converge and swell
and nourish people, skies and hell
in black of night

The stream whose birth is in this source
I know has a gigantic force
in black of night

The eternal fountain is unseen
in living bread that gives us being
in black of night

She calls on all mankind to start
to drink her water, though in dark,
for black is night

O living fountain that I crave,
in bread of life I see her flame
in black of night

                          John of the Cross

This is day four in the twelve day pilgrimage
to Mary and Her radiant Light;
may the Light shine brightly for you
today and illuminate your mind and heart!

If you would like to visit or participate
please click the image and go to

for more Mary sharings

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Day three of Twelve Days with Mary

Chalice in the Snow by Hettienne

I chose this poem yesterday before I read
on another blogging friend's post that
Joe Spadoman, the man of Peace,
has left his earthly body.
A more fitting poem I could not have chosen
in honour of his memory.
I did not know him that well, but I did get
to know him and his heartfelt posts
through the Twelve Days of Mary.

Mother of God of Akita,
Our Lady of the Snows

Universal Mother,
teach me to love the Holy One,
with utter abandon.
Teach me to pray as you pray,
without words or concepts to hinder my connection with
my Beloved.
Teach me to serve the world as you do,
serenely smiling through tears of blood.
Let the peace you proclaim come at last,
blanketing the earth like snow,
permeating the thirsty land
and penetrating the roots of all nations,
so that a new season of goodness
may burst into bloom  everywhere.

                            Mirabai Starr
         Mother of God Similar to Fire

This is Day Three in our annual Twelve Days of Mary
hosted by Rebecca -
my most favourite blogging time of the year!
And Mirabai Starr and her book that I shared with you
here is one of my absolute favourites!

please visit other participants

and enjoy the vast wisdom
being shared by all


May the Queen of Peace reign in all hearts.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Day Two of Twelve Days of Mary

The Virgin and Child by a Mughal artist c 1630
British Library

Welcome to the second day of
Twelve Days with Mary -
an annual meme hosted by
Rebecca of

All cultures and traditions have a wonderfully
rich heritage of the Great Mother, Mother of God,
Universal Mother, Mother of the Holy Son
and many other universal titles.

For twelve wonderful days from
1 to 12 December,
the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe,
we celebrate
the Blessed Woman
in her many many aspects,
and infinite depth of meaning
to each one of us.

I found this very fascinating piece written by
Andrew Harvey and Anne Baring
on Mary in Islam.

Another surprise that awaits anyone who studies the
Koran is the Koranic reverence for Mary, the mother of Christ.
Very few Christians know that Mary is
considered by the Prophet to be the very
greatest and highest adepts of all -
the most marvelous of all women.
She is considered, both in the Koran and
later in theological commentaries on it, to have reached the
very summit of 'servanthood' and to be the greatest possible
example to any believer of the transforming and life-giving
power of pure selfless adoration of the Divine.
In later Koranic commentaries, Mary emerges as the supreme veil
let down by Allah between himself and humankind,
the supreme veil of Allah's mercy, forgiveness, sweetness
and humility towards his creatures,
the supreme sign of the of the loving-kindness of God.

They continue to say that in Sufism, the esoteric tradition of
Islam :

one way of imagining the Divine Feminine is to see it as the path of the lover -
the lover of human life, the lover of divine human love
and all its revelatory splendors,
the lover of so-called ordinary experience known and lived
in its divine ecstatic dimension.

Mary as the Blue Pearl by Hettienne
Please visit the other participants
or maybe join in yourself
by clicking on the image


Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Virgin a Day - Day One of Twelve Days with Mary

The Blessed Virgin compared to the air that we breathe

I say that we are wound
with mercy round and round
As if with air, the same
is Mary, more by name.

She, wild web, wondrous robe,
Mantles the guilty globe,
Since God has let dispense
Her prayers his providence:

An altered pocket prayer book by PritiLisa

Nay, more than almoner,
The sweet alms' self is her
And men are meant to share
her life as life does air....

I made a tiny tin shrine in which to keep my prayer book

Be thou then, O thou dear
Mother, my atmosphere;
My happier world, wherein
To wend and meet no sin;

now filled with old prayer cards

Above me, round me lie
Fronting my forward eye
With sweet and scarless sky;
Stir in my ears, speak there
of God's love, O live air,
Of patience, penance, prayer;
World-mothering air, air wild,
Wound wit thee, in thee isled,
Fold home, fast fold thy child
                   Gerard Manly Hopkins

 It is that special magical time of year again
made possible by Rebecca of Recuerda mi Corazon

And here is Rebecca's invitation to you to join in :

welcome all virgins...
enchanting, traditional, contemporary, exotic,
campy, irreverent, irresistible,
unusual, joyful, rapturous, lovely,
glorious, ordinary and astounding;
let the twelve days of mary begin!
Just click on the image!!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Shine the Divine Gratitude Quilt by Laura

Please visit Laura's blog
Shine the Divine : Creativity is a spiritual practice
for the most amazing
Gratitude Quilt

Two hundred and ten contributions from across the planet!
You may want to make a cup of tea before you sit down
and don't leave the tissues behind!

Reading this quilt humbled me yet again
witnessing such open hearts and
such a powerful reminder that we were
all created in the same Image.

Thank you Laura!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mornings with Mary - Mary of Avalon

In the arms of
Mary, Our Lady of Avalon,
mystical isle of sacred apples.

A few years back I followed the Michael and Mary leylines
through the countryside of England.

My journey started with a pilgrimage to Monte Sant'Angelo in Italy to the grotto
of Archangel Michael which led me to Glastonbury, also known as the Isle of Avalon in myth and lore.
Mystery works in many strange ways.

I read the book The Sun and the Serpent by Paul Broadhurst and Hamish Miller and was so inspired
that I decided to do the Michael and Mary pilgrimage. They dowsed the energy lines across
the entire England, discovering the 'solar' Archangel Michael line
which interweaves with the 'lunar' Mary line.  The Mary line flows
through all the sacred wells and through many many churches
including the great St Mary's Churches and Cathedrals.  It was obvious
that the ancients understood the flow of energy and built their
sacred wells and altars on this ley line.

Here is a map of the St Michael alignment
On each of these major crossing points stand a church today and these were all
ancient places of worship before that.

The pilgrimage starts at St Michaels Mount, at the seaside
This picture of the beautiful statue of Mary I took in the church at Penzance - needless
to say the Mary line runs right through this church.

The Michael and Mary leylines run from St Michaels Mount, through
Cornwell, Avebury, Glastonbury and the east coast.

This is the famous St Michaels tower on the Tor in Glastonbury.  The leylines circumambulate
this entire man made mount.  This was built even before the time of the Abbey.

A side view of the ruins of the old Glastonbury Abbey with an apple tree in blossom.

 Blossoming apple trees in the Glastonbury Abbey orchard.

And this is my pendant that I created for Mary of Avalon.

With a glistening red apple for the sacred orchards of Avalon,
a pomegranate as symbol of the eternal feminine,
a sword for the Archangel Michael and a chalice to drink deeply
from the sacred wells of Our Lady.

for mornings with Mary

Please visit and pay it forward


Monday, November 18, 2013

Mornings with Mary - perfect in our imperfection

I always say that we are perfect in our imperfection.
I think the biggest gift we can give one another
is to allow the other, and ourselves,
to make mistakes without judgement
or criticism :  to witness our imperfection
and to be able to be with it.

Today I found this wonderful quote
on a blogpost entitled
Blessedly Imperfect on
the Painted Path

"Forget about enlightenment. Sit down and listen to the wind singing in your veins. Feel the love, the longing, and the fear in your bones. Open your heart to who you are, right now. Not who you'd like to be, but the being right here before you, inside you, around you. All of you is holy. You’re already more than whatever you can know. Breathe out, look in, let go." ~John Welwood 

This week Rebecca is back, so please visit
the other sharings on Mondays with Mary

A wonderful Monday with Mary to you.

The Call to our True Selves - Poetry Party - Abbey of the Arts

Image Credit: © Brent Bill#
Courtesy of Abbey of the Arts
Used with Permission

A ladder of light
stretching mind and body
into infinity

A spine becomes fluid
sending branches
of love into
ancient limbs

My fingers move in the breeze,
touching the
loving gaze of God

I am participating in the Poetry Party
Click on the link in the side bar and participate!
or click here

#Brent Bill is a Quaker minister, photographer, and author. His blog isHoly Ordinary: Musings and Photography from a Quaker Perspective. He lives in rural Indiana.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mondays with Mary

Work, if we don't approach it consciously, will suck us into
its demands.  Then we become slaves, no matter how hight
up we are on the ladder ..... Even people who have jobs they don't like
and find meaningless can still be free within them ....
by reminding themselves deliberately and often, why
they do them.  As long as we do work out of love for those
whom we love, we do it for a good reason.
Love is the best reason for our labours.
Love makes what we do and suffer rise like music,
like a soaring line of chant.
from Music of Silence by Davind Steindl-Rast 


I offer this shrine of mine, called Undying Love,
today on Mondays with Mary,
as a sacrament of the ordinary domesticity
of washing floors, sewing clothes, mending pants,
knitting and such.

If you would like to read more about the story
behind this shrine, please go to

A wonderful Monday with Mary to you.