Friday, December 12, 2014

Twelve Days with Mary - Feast day of Our Lady of Guadulupe

One of the Mary shrines in my garden

Today is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe
and the final day of Twelve Days with Mary
and Lupita Love hosted every year by
Thank you Rebecca and everyone else who
made these twelve days so special and 
gave such depth to the meaning of the
Christmas season.
 I found a fascinating website written
by an inspirational author,
Mary Beben and

My Lady of Guadulupe lamp

She wrote this piece on Our Lady of Guadualupe
which I found very wholistic and insightful.
It is not often that a piece is written taking
into account the literal religious as well as the
metaphoric and mystical interpretation.
It may not be everyone's point of view,
but it is a point of view of hope and love.

One of my Soulcollage cards

"Did you ever realize that the young woman 
who appeared in the 16th century

 to Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill was pregnant?
This young woman asked the Indian man to go to his bishop a
nd ask that a chapel be built in the place that she appeared. 
She told him to climb to the top of the hill in chilly December 
and bring her  the roses growing there.
 He did that and she arranged the 
roses inside his tilma – 
the rough cloak that he wore. 
He took this to the bishop 
because he thought it was the 
sign she was giving him to prove her request was real. 
But when he opened the tilma and the roses
 spilled out at the bishop’s feet,
 there was an image covering the inside of the garment – 
a picture of the woman herself – 
the same image that hangs today
 in the basilica that was built for her.

There are many wonderful details in this story, 
but I want to accentuate the one I find most important.
 In this picture the woman is wearing a dark robe
 that is covered with the starry constellations of the night sky.
 Her inner garment is rose, the color of dawn. 
The type of robe she wears is the style 
that was worn by pregnant mothers in that time. 
There are little ties above the waistline that seem to be 
meant for gradually letting 
out to make room for the growing fetus. 
So here is a woman who 
gives us a vivid image of her identity. 
She shows us, rather than tells, 
that she is the cosmos itself, 
actually Earth taking on a persona. 
She is Earth pregnant with the coming human!

She reveals that she is actually Spirit
 that has covered
 herself with a robe of matter, as each of us has done, as well. 
Without the robe she has put on, 
we would not see her at all;
 Spirit is imperceptible without its partnership with matter. 
So here we see an image of Earth Herself, 
robed around with the stars and galaxies of space! 
And beneath the outer robe,
 the other,
 inner one peeks through – enlightenment – 
the coming of Dawn.

If we are not convinced from that, 
she stands on the moon
 – our moon – and is lighted from behind with the rays of our son,
 so that she is truly “the woman clothed in the sun,”
 from the ancient scriptures. (Revelations 7:12) 
The sun both clothes her and gives its reflected light to 
all the orbs covering her robe and to the moon, as well.

Her coming caused quite a stir in the 1500’s

for the Aztecs and created waves of
 conversion to the Christian faith.
 But they were not yet prepared to
 know that this message
 was for all the years to come when we could now see 
even more into the 
stunning revelation. 
The tilma, made of very crude cactus fiber should have
 lasted about 40 years,
 but it is still intact and carrying its image in 2014, 
with its message for our time.

Conversion to Christianity was just the beginning of the 

story of how God comes to humanity. 
We learn from the 
Christian story a more universal,
 larger story
 that is for all people at all times.
 God is an inner coming,
 as most religions of the world will agree. 
We welcome that Presence
 into our beings as a woman welcomes a gestating child. 
But the Coming is never over. 
It is the cosmos itself that is pregnant with all of us 
and gives birth to us one by one.
 As we evolve communally,
 the new human comes into existence,
 but it is always an inner coming to each one personally.

The Woman clothed in the sun is Earth herself, 

having come to enough consciousness 
to be able to communicate this fact to us.
 It wasn’t possible before that
 moment because we had not grown
 enough in our sense of identity for this 
amazing miracle to happen – 
the revelation of the Lady 
who is still calling us to come
 and see and ponder this truth.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Twelve Days with Mary - Day Eleven

You cannot hide her!
A selection of street shrines in Rome -
I took all the photographs recently in September.

Around every corner and every turn, in alley ways
and under balconies, we discovered shrines,
many tended with growing plants and lit candles!!

Day Eleven in this wonderful glimpse behind the veil
of Mary.
Join us or visit the others linked at


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Twelve Days with Mary Day Ten

Street art in Assisi.

I took these pictures during my trip to France and Italy
in September this year.
Shortly after I took these photographs it started to rain,
but that did not deter the artist. 
The next morning he re-did the painting!
and the next!
Such a reminder of daily life.

travelling through twelve days of Mary Love
with Lupita Love by Rebecca
of RecuerdamiCorazon.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Twelve Days with Mary - Day Nine

My kitchen shrine with fresh bay leaf and
rosemary for protection, from my garden


Mary Oliver

Salt shining behind its glass cylinder.
Milk in a blue bowl. The yellow linoleum.
The cat stretching her black body from the pillow.
The way she makes her curvaceous response to the small, kind gesture.
Then laps the bowl clean.
Then wants to go out into the world
where she leaps lightly and for no apparent reason across the lawn,
then sits, perfectly still, in the grass.
I watch her a little while, thinking:
what more could I do with wild words?
I stand in the cold kitchen, bowing down to her.
I stand in the cold kitchen, everything wonderful around me.

Day Nine in these annual Twelve Days of Mary
hosted by Rebecca

Please visit and share in the Lupita Love


Monday, December 8, 2014

Twelve Days with Mary - Day 8 - The Immaculate Conception

Lady of Lourdes, The Moon
Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

December 8, Mary Feast Day of
the Immaculate Conception

She said to Bernadette :
Je suis l'immaculee concepcion

I took these photographs at Lourdes
during the full moon in September 2014.
I had already seen the amazing full moon
on the 7th September at the Notre Dame
and did not expect to see it two nights
later at the procession at Lourdes.
It was a most vivid red-pink -
my limited phone camera could not capture
its luminosity and colour.
I only took these two photographs
as I thought I would take some more the
following evening, but alas, the next night
was a cloudy one!

The full moon to the left of the procession.

This extract from
The Life and Mission of the Blessed Virgin by 
Corinne Heline, 

Early religions stressed the importance of the divine feminine,
publicly dramatized, usually in the worship of the
Moon goddess or the goddess of Heaven.
The Moon astrologically governs the sign Cancer, and both
governs the waters of the world and their psychical equivalent, the
emotions.  (The word' mare' in Latin means ocean or sea)

for more Mary love
visit Rebecca at


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Twelve Days with Mary - Day Seven

Gate of Heaven
you are round and open,

Your hands are raised in blessing
blessings rain down on our uplifted faces,
Mother of the All,
you contain the answer to our deepest longings.

Fill me with hope for the new world,
a world of pervasive peace and unmitigated justice,
where swords are hammered into plowshares,
and our leaders sow vegetable seeds.

Lady of the Mountain,
I have struggled for your summit.
The ascent has been harrowing,
but I have grown strong on my journey.
Now I see the world as you see it,
broken and beautiful,
flawed and perfect.
-  Mirabai Starr from Mother of God, Similar to fire

An old furniture polish tin turned into a shrine

Twelve Days with Mary
a pilgrimage
a journey of a thousand steps
into the realm where heart and mind meet

hosted by Rebecca 
from Recuerda mi Corazon

Click here if you would like to walk with us.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Twelve days with Mary - Day 6

With whom can we compare you,
O Mother of Grace and beauty
You are the paradise of God.

From you springs the fountain 
of living water 
that irrigates the whole earth

-  St Bernard of Clairvaux

Keeping the fire alit
Twelve days with Mary in Love
Join us or visit others' sharings and inspiration
at Rebecca's


Friday, December 5, 2014

Twelve Days with Mary - Day Five

a fiery dawn arises
in celebration
   heart of the world is burning

Honouring Rebecca's weekly tradition
of Haiku,
and Twelve Days of Mary

You are invited to play along
and to pay it forward at


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Twelve Days with Mary - Day Four

The Rosary Garden 
an extract from The Wild Heart of Mary
by Gail Faith Edwards

Our Lady's Florilegia

Teachings of the herbs, flowers and trees
of the Mysteries

The rosary mysteries focus our minds and hearts
on the story of our birth as a people, as a culture.
They also speak to us of certain plants, herbs and
foods of field and wood, necessary for our
sustenance.  These plants became associated
with each of the mysteries and their teachings 
due to their individual features and unique qualities.
These included the growing habit :  the colour,
the form and aroma of the flowers, leaves and
roots and the over-all effect of its use on other living
beings, such as its medicinal, spiritual and emotional benefits.

The Joyful Mysteries bring our attention to the
Allium and Liliaceae Family plants (lily, garlic,
Figs and the spring and summer herbs and
flowers of field and garden (Mary's Florilegia
or Mary's flowers)

The Luminous Mysteries concentrate on grapes
and fermented food and drink, Brassica family plants
(broccoli, mustard, radish) and the Cereals,
such as wheat, oats, barley and rye

The Sorrowful Mysteries highlights the Olive Tree,
St Johns Wort, Aloe Vera and Passion flower

The Glorious Mysteries celebrate Mary's Emblem,
the Mystical Rose and the nourishing
Rosaceae Family plants, such as hawthorn,
apple, raspberry and strawberry

Twelve Days of Mary Love
hosted by Rebecca of 

You are invited to join in and to share or just to visit and
to leave some love


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Twelve Days with Mary - Day Three

Innocence in the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck
St Bernadette

0 Innocence 
traditionally The Fool

The innocent Bernadette lived a life of poverty 
and struggle with her family in Lourdes.
Every day she tended the sheep and collected
sticks for kindle for the fire.

She went to a cave where rubbish
 had collected and it
is here where she had her first of eighteen visions of
the Lady in White. 

She said the Lady in White shimmered with a great
light and she had a rosary and yellow roses on her feet.
The Lady asked her to return to the cave
 for the next fortnight.

Bernadette faced much criticism and even persecution
about her visions.  She was taken in for questioning
by the police many times and great pressure was put on
her to not return to the grotto.

Many felt the power of the Presence of the Lady, but
many others were disbelieving and openly scornful.
However, Bernadette retained a childlike innocence
and implacable faith in her visions and the messages
that she received.

In this card we see the purity and innocent open-heartedness
of the child.  We see someone who sets off on a journey
without consideration of or without any expectation of
hardship and obstacles or even any sense of danger.

Bernadette, like the traditional Fool, is 
accompanied by her sheep who represents the
 herd mentality of human nature :
that part in us that will not break with tradition 
or set out alone;
the obedient self. 
 She is surrounded by flowers and greenery
of the forest and ahead of her are 
magical golden branches
and leaves, indicating that
 magic and miracles are ahead.

Behind Bernadette is the dark cave in which
she received her many visions.
She really steps out from the safety
of the world that she had known, into the unknown.
Like the traditional Fool of the tarot deck, she
steps off the cliff without regard for what is below.
She kneels into the
light that comes from the vision of the Lady in White
in front of her, thus stepping into the light
of a new adventure, a new beginning and indeed
a miraculous new era for humanity and
the message from the Divine Feminine appearing
as the Blessed Mary, the Immaculate Conception.

She has a small picnic lunch wrapped in sack
and cloth with her which contains her
simple lunch of an apple and bread and hidden in the packet
is the fragmented porcelain doll.  These dolls are hidden in
many of the cards and they symbolize the bounded self,
the whole Child Within, who is mostly unconscious or bound
by belief systems, traditions, culture and personal fears and
thus kept out of sight.  

For other visions of Mary please join
with Rebecca of
Recuerda mi Corazon
with twelve days of Mary Love - here is the link


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Twelve days with Mary - day 2

"Mary our Mother is always with us, closer to us than our own jugular vein, more intimately interwoven with our being than our own breath, always holding us in infinite love to her heart, always trying to inspire us into our deepest, calmest, and finest selves. Waking up to the miracle of this all-enfolding passionate concern from the Mother of the Universe is the most wonderful thing that can happen to anyone in this life and the entry into the conscious human divine childhood that awaits all true lovers of the Mother.

"Our tragedy is that we are so rarely open to the one who is always open to us, so rarely vulnerable to the one whose always-open heart is so vulnerable to our pain and difficulties, so rarely awake to the messages that are always arising out of her silence. This is why learning to 'inspire' ourselves is so important. A Christian saint, Bede Griffiths, once said to me, 'What is essential is to keep the heart always open to beauty, for she is beauty.' What could be harder in an age like ours? And yet, it is just because our age is so harsh and brutal that it is more than ever essential to create around us, in our homes and offices and meeting places, a sacred environment. To do so is to awaken the poet in each of us, the poet and the lover of life and beauty.  -  Andrew Harvey, Mary's Vineyard

Twelve Days of Mary Love with
Rebecca of Recuerda mi Corazon
link in the side bar if you want to visit other sharings
or even want to join in these twelve days.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Twelve days with Mary

It is that time of year once again.  Rebecca of Recuerda mi Corazon
is hosting Twelve days of Mary Love at

I look forward to these twelve days of focusing on Mary
in her many mysteries and veils as everyone
starts to focus on Christmas.

In the past year I started work on 
The Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck - a huge undertaking.
78 shrines for each of the tarot cards.
I have set the publishing date as 1 November 2015!
If you are interested in reading more about it,
 there is a link in my sidebar.

It is a mystical deck based on inner vision of colour and light
and the understanding of Mary in the alchemical, spiritual
context of esoteric and mystical Christianity.
I am writing the journey as seen and experienced
by the inner self, the psyche and the inner child.
The inner child that sets out on this journey
and learns to master the self in order to
become the vessel for the Divine Self.

The entire ancient world, from Asia Minor to the Nile
and from Greece to the Indus Valley, abounds in 
figurines of the naked female form, in various
attitudes of the all-supporting, all-including Goddess
and so it came to pass that, in the end and to our day,
Mary, Queen of Martyrs, became the sole inheritor of all the
names and forms, sorrows, joys and consolations of
the Goddess-Mother in the Western World.
Seat of Wisdom, Vessel of Honour, Mystical Rose, 
House of Gold, Gate of Heaven,
Morning Star, Refuge of Sinners, Queen of Angels,
Queen of Peace  
   -   Joseph Campbell

Full Moon at the Notre Dame on the Nativity of Mary
8 September 2014

I took this picture of the beautiful full moon
on the night of the Nativity Feast of Mary with
the bells of the Notre Dame pealing.
I re-visited the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal
in Paris - on the day of Mary's Nativity Feast and
we were in time for the mass in French!  It was
very moving and quite magical to participate in this
beautiful chapel with all the resident nuns.

This shrine will be the Queen of Earth card
in the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Queen of the Suit of Holy Medals (earth)


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

St Michael, Defender of the Virgin

Prayer to Michael

Saint Michael the Archangel, Powerful Spirit of Truth

Take my hand and lead me to Divine Truth.

Protect me from all the evil in the world.

Guard me and compensate for all my weaknesses.

Change, bless, and restore the consquences of all my mistakes.

Carry me on the wings of your love and might to the

Throne of God and pray to Him with me forever.


I Am Michael. The -el stands for Elohim or son of God. Prince of Light, the Great Protector, the almighty Michael who commands the Legions of Light.

Michael (who is as God) in Biblical and post-Biblical lore, Michael ranks as the greatest of all angels, whether in Jewish, Christian or Islamic writings, secular or religious. He is chief of the order of virtues, chief of archangels, prince of the presence, angel of repentance, righteousness, mercy and sanctification. 

He is depicted most often with unsheathed sword, the warrior of God and slayer of the Dragon. In Legends of the Madonna, Michael is shown as the angel who announces to Mary her approaching death.

An aged and distressed shrine, with glints of Michael's golden crown and sword, against a background of the Madonna; a miniature book of Love with the image of the blessed Virgin on the cover; an aged image of Michael in a frame. Attached by rusted wire are unique medals, enameled images and parts of Michael's armour : his mighty sword, his helmet and his shield.

The back of the shrine is adorned with vintage sheet music and it comes ready to hang.

I visited the grotto and the Archangel Michael festival in the 800 year old Mont Sant'Angelo in Italy. Michael appeared here, in a cave, more than once to the local villagers many years ago and he is revered by his devotees during an annual pilgrimage to Mont Sant'Angelo. Read about my personal pilgrimage to Michael on my blog at

Included with this shrine is a tiny bottle patina'ed and decorated with Michael's crown, containing some of the holy water collected in the grotto, as well some of the particles of dirt collected in the grotto during the three day festival and procession.

The Rose of Peace

If Michael, leader of God's host

When Heaven and Hell are met,

Looked down on you from Heaven's door-post

He would his deeds forget.

Brooding no more upon God's wars

In his divine homestead,

He would go weave out of the stars

A chaplet for your head.

And all folk seeing him bow down,

And white stars tell your praise,

Would come at last to God's great town,

Led on by gentle ways;

And God would bid His warfare cease,

Saying all things were well;

And softly make a rosy peace,

A peace of Heaven with Hell.

WB Yeats



St Francis, Canticle of the Creatures

St Francis sacred salts available on Her Grace on

Most High, all-powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, and the honor, and all blessing,
To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no human is worthy to mention Your name.

Brother Sun

Praised be You, my Lord, with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day and through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor;
and bears a likeness of You, Most High One.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
in heaven You formed them clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather,
through whom You give sustenance to Your creatures.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night,
and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains and governs us,
and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs.

Praised be You, my Lord, through those who give pardon for Your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, shall they be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.

Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.

The shrine has a wonderful aura of innocence
through the use of children's plastic toy animals and the fake grass.
The pink halo of Sister Moon around 
St Francis' head shows his intuitive and sensitive nature.
He and St Chiara were seen as soulmates.

The beautiful golden Sir Brother Sun shimmers in the background.

I recently visited  the beautiful Assisi and 
Santa Maria degli Angeli where St Francis
lived and dwelled and this visit was the inspiration
for this shrine.
If you would like to read more about my
most recent pilgrimage to France and Italy,
follow my blog

Statue of Santa Chiara and St Francis in Assisi

Doves have nested in St Francis' statue's hands in the rose garden for centuries

I based my shrine on my own experiences and impressions
visiting St Francis in Assisi, during two separate pilgrimages,
years apart.

His Canticle of the Creatures really epitomises his spirit
of simplicity and love for all.  St Frances and Santa Chiara
were both vegetarians and many miracles with wild animals
and nature have been recorded.

I applied various techniques to the shrine to capture
the essence of the stone and light of Assisi, of the
basilica and of St Francis' robes, some of which
are still on display in Assisi.

I included the halos of Brother Sun and Sister Moon
and the many roses that he stands amongst, is a
reminder of the beautiful rose garden that still exists.
The rose bush, of which the thorns miraculously disappeared
when St Francis threw himself into the bush, is still
growing in this garden at the little church in
Santa Maria degli Angeli.
I brought this beautiful statue back from my trip
as it is so reminiscent of the statue in the rose garden
with the white nest turtle doves at this feet and
in his hands.

The shrine is ready to hang and has a beautiful image of 
St Francis on the back.

During this pilgrimage, as well as previous pilgrimages,
I visited well-known and lesser-known pilgrimage
sites that has special meaning and spiritual meaning to myself.
We weave our own tapestry of myth and meaning
of our inner lives, (as said earlier, you can read more
about this ideology on

Wherever I go, I collect petals of the flowers from
sacred shrines, even bits of soil from the earth
and sand from crypts.  I also carry with me
small vials of blessed salts and blessed petals
as well as holy water and holy oil.  These I touch
to the holy places and to the relics of Saints where
it is possible.  We are surrounded by energy and there
are places that have more intense spiritual energy
than other places.  Also some places you immediately
sense great Love and Compassion and other values
which some of us treasure.  In places like Lourdes
and Lisieux, in the garden of St Terese, the fragrance
was almost overpowering - although some people
smell nothing.

Included with this shrine, is small vial of blessed
salts and rose petals, lavender, as well as 
myrrh that I brought back on this pilgrimage.
The content of this bottle had been carried
by me, and touched to the crypt where St Francis
lies, as well as the crypt where St Chiara's body
lies and I had it with me during a mass in
Santa Maria degli Angeli!!