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.

Amen.




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 http://pathofdivinelove.blogspot.com/2011/03/archangel-michael-wayshower-and-animus.html


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




blessings, 

Hettienne

St Francis, Canticle of the Creatures


St Francis sacred salts available on Her Grace on Etsy.com







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 www.path-of-divine-love.com

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 www.pathofdivinelove.com)


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!!



blessings

Hettienne

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Swan Blessing Part II - the Mystery of Incarnational Spirituality

Statue of Compassionate Mother of the World
in my garden shrine

You must give birth to your images. 
They are the future waiting to be born ....
fear not the strangeness you feel.
Just wait for the birth .....
for the hour of new clarity - Rainer Maria Rilke


My quest is, and has been, to give expression to
the mystical vision that is alive in my inner world,
both in a way that will add beauty and meaning to my own life
and to the world of which I am an active
participant, and to, very importantly,
understand that mystical vision.
And then to go out and share my understanding
with others so that we may all benefit
from the fruits of the Tree of Sophia.

Soulcollage images created by myself


Blessedly we are living in a time of
religious freedom, and if we have the courage
to break away from our mechanistic following of
our religious traditions and heritage
and our familial conditioning, we can read
and study the many religions of the world.
Even more powerfully, and importantly, we
have the freedom and option to heed the
Inner Voice which is without sound,
and to craft our own Religion of the Soul.

I have a strong sense of the inner world
and see it reflected in fairy tales, myths, legend
and religion.
Some of these inner visions have stayed with 
me for all my life and they have acted as my
Guide and Guardian Angel, as well as Daemon.
Sometimes they have guided me into very difficult
places of great challenge and loss but always,
eventually, to greater understanding and meaning.


In the first part on the Swan Blessings, I visited
the image of the Swan and how some of it has
played out in my story.
Today I am focusing on the second part of the
vision, and yes, they are related, in a very
unexpected way!!
The second vision is that of 
Snow White and her glass coffin.


Through the different phases and cycles in my life, this image has had
different meaning and interpretations for myself on a
personal level.

I did not fail to notice the correspondence between the
fairy tale and the incorruptible bodies of the saints
in both the Hindu and Catholic traditions


Image from www.bluehearttravel.com
The body of St Terese of Lisiuex
Notice the similarity in the flower wreath around the head

www.lifeinitaly.com
Santa Chiara in Assisi

There are various interpretations on the level of
the psyche as to what these images mean.
I choose to rely on my own intuition and feeling.
When the 'colours' of the image and the meaning
that I uncover in my own understanding, lines up,
then I experience a great sense of release,
a letting go, followed by a birthing of inspiration
and renewal on many levels.

Probably because of the belief, in Western patriarchal religion,
 in separation and the original sin and fall
of humanity from their existence in Eden,
there is a deep-seated belief in personal
unworthiness.  Or maybe this is a deep-seated
stream in the human psyche, a basic duality
as seen as the other side
of the double-headed face of Janus,
symbolising our dualistic understanding and beliefs.
On the flip side of this coin, there is the also deep-seated
knowing that we are indeed the Holy Sons and
Daughters of God, holistically one and whole,
no separation and no distinction between good and
bad, dark and light :  both the light and its shadows
praising the Creatrix.

This deep seated belief in personal unworthiness
gives rise to a  need and yearning for
perfection and purity.  As an artist I am privy
to this need for perfection and it really spells
death for all creativity and art.
Creating art, as does life, demands great courage and risk taking.
Our Western way of thinking and striving for material
success, negates all creativity and art-making
and denies the beauty of Creation, both in its
light and dark aspects.

Snow White and the Saints in their incorruptible bodies,
spell death.  Yes, that is obvious, you are saying.
But they are resurrected in various ways.
 So it is a form of a living death; 
 a suspended state of neither being awake nor
being asleep, but outwardly perfectly beautiful,
 staying forever young.
And as we know, our society values eternal youth
beyond gold and jewels.

I see in these images the desire for perfection.
The glass encased face of eternal beauty.
She is not ravaged by the demands of life;
she does not create nor make art, nor participates in life
and the living. 



A perfect mask that will be acceptable
to the mind of the self.  A role that is to be enacted
under the maestro of the archetype of the ego.

And the opposite for this perfection
is messy living with its huge emotions and conflict.
So in that belief system, it follows that soul and body
are in conflict with each other :  that the earth
is not paradise and that humanity  is doomed
by its own mortal flesh and blood, its senses and
sensuality, its primal instinct and wayward nature.
Humanity is stuck in a glass coffin of perfectionistic
and purist ideals as God, the All, is only present 
in the Light.

In this light (I could not resist the pum),
the mind blocks the consciousness from
understanding and awakening to the tremendous
and awesome meaning of God equals 'Good'.


I see that many have moved away from the
patriarchal religion and are desperately looking
for a new way.  A way of wholeness.
A path that is based on Beauty, Compassion,
Truth and Wisdom.
But, alas, unless you do your own soul-searching and
your own wild-crafting, you will in no time find
yourself walking a well-trodden path leading
to the same places of separation and division,
of transcendence as opposed to participation,
now merely parading new names and banners.
Now these places are often called Light Spirituality,
Enlightenment, self-improvement and
mostly Light and Love and once again, there is
an attitude of either-or.

In trying to bring balance to a Western patriarchal
system by only focusing on the matriarchal, a new imbalance
is being created. 
Can you see how the opponent serves your transformation?
How the ever-happening imbalance brings
growth and new birth and new life:

 Balance equals perfection.
Perfection equals stagnation and death.
In trying to control conflict, in denying
tension and differences, no new life
can be created.

If one only looks at the cruficixion and you forget
about the resurrection, then you miss the entire
message of the Christ.  A Course in Miracles
devote many chapters to this understanding.

One plus one equals three :
new life is born from struggling and discord.
Living with the tension of the opposites,
allowing disagreement and another's
voice that differ from yours, to be heard,
brings awareness to the glassy mind,
of the awesome beauty of creating a life
that has meaning.
Unity and a wholistic understanding of
God and Its Kingdom, which is Us,
is a paradoxical approach of both/as well as.
A sacred trinity of one plus one equals three.

There is a place where all the rivers converge
and that place is the Sacred Heart of humanity.