Saturday, December 5, 2015

Twelve Days with Mary - Day Five

Mary and her Child's return to Nazareth
Six of the Suit of the Holy Rood
in the path of Beauty
(traditionally Six of Wands)
Sacred Mysteries of Mary Deck

The return of Mary and her Son through the
gates of Jerusalem.

The traditional Six of Wands look like this :

and its meaning is victory, success or triumph.

Many people are familiar with the fact that Joseph and
Mary fled with the infant Jesus to Egypt at the threat
of the massacre of the innocents by King Herod.
This event is well covered by many artists
and it is seen as one of the seven sorrows of Mary.

However, what is not clear, is the amount of time that
was spent in Egypt and what transpired there.
The two accounts in the books of Matthew and Luke
do not correspond at all.  Luke mentions nothing about Egypt
and Matthew says nothing about a trip to Nazareth
soon after Jesus' birth whereas Luke describes in detail
how Jesus was taken to the temple in Jerusalem
'after Mary's purification according to the law of Moses.'

 And when they had performed everything
 according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, 
to their own town of Nazareth - Luke 2:39

The town of Nazareth is in the 'kingdom' of Jerusalem
and here we see Mary on the donkey riding
through the gate of Jerusalem.

In The Hebrew Goddess, a book by Jewish historian
and anthropologist Raphael Patai, we learn
that the Hebrew goddess Asherah was seen as the
mother of Yahweh.  
In the time of King Joshua the Hebrew goddess
had to go 'underground'.  The use of her name and images
were forbidden and her devotees replaced her with
the tree, a pole or rod and the branches of the menorah.
She was known as the Lady of Jerusalem;
the Gate of Jerusalem and the Eastern Gate.
The Lady of Jerusalem was also depicted as an arch.
According to the Dead Sea Scrolls and
The Mother of the Lord by Margaret Barker,
 the ancients
believed Mary to be the incarnation of
the Lady of Jerusalem.

In Christian iconography from the East
we see Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn.
Her image is above the city gates (in Lithuania
and Poland) to protect the city and its inhabitants
and many miracles have been ascribed to her.

In Ezekiel it is written that the eastern gate of
Jerusalem has been shut
and that it will only re-open for the divine One.

So here we have Mary returning victoriously
through the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem
into the light of a new dawn.

A marriage of eastern and western iconography
and cultures and more importantly,
a marriage of masculine and feminine values
for our world.
This card is a way shower of the return of Mary
and her hidden and lost meaning to our world.

The deck takes us on a journey through the 
life, the initiations and the mysteries of Mary
as the Sacred Feminine and what it means
to our natural world as well as our spiritual,
emotional and social health.

May the values of mercy, compassion, forgiveness and acceptance
of all diversity as embodied by Mary
return to a place of honour and respect in our world.

(the above is an extract from the Sacred Mysteries of Mary Deck -
a work in progress and to be published in 2016
Each tarot card is a handcrafted shrine)

I am participating in
Twelve Days with Mary love
as hosted by Rebecca at
This is an annual circle of connection, much
wider than culture, religion or dogma.

Kindly visit and leave some comments.



  1. have a lovely Saturday Hettienne

    much love...

  2. Powerful stuff. A positive reimagining of the image of Mary on the donkey with the Christ child. The Eastern Gate, the spiritual consciousness opening for the Chosen One and the celebration to meet her. The crown and laurel wreath are beautiful, she is at once servant and royalty.

  3. dear hettienne,
    i am deeply intrigued with your creation of the Sacred Mysteries of Mary Deck - and anxiously look forward to its publication. thank you for each day shared and each gorgeous glimpse into your soulwork.

  4. Again, your hand-crafted Mary entering one of the gates in Jerusalem floods me with memories--and knowledge that I didn't have before. The creation of your deck is such a labor of love. Having been in Israel and staying inside the Jerusalem walls, I wonder which gate Mary is entering. I wonder if it is the same gate that her son Jesus entered on his donkey 33 years later.

    1. thank you Fran - i will do some research on this point - nothing is unconnected I believe

  5. Wow! Great information. I particularly love your thoughts: "May the values of mercy, compassion, forgiveness and acceptance
    of all diversity as embodied by Mary return to a place of honour and respect in our world." Peace.

  6. Our Queen on a donkey. Beauty shines in humility.

  7. I am always 'wowed' by what you present here by way of visual imagery and content. So rich!!!


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