Friday, December 4, 2015

Twelve Days with Mary - Day Four

The Wedding of Mary and Joseph
Four of the Holy Rood
(traditionally Four of Wands in the Tarot)
Sacred Mysteries of Mary tarot deck

The story  of Mary and Joseph's wedding and the miraculous
flowering of the rod that he carried,
is found in the Protoevangelium (New Testament apocrypha) 
and thence in the 13th century Golden Legend, 
which was an important source-book for artists.

It tells how Joseph was chosen from among a number of suitors by a sign,
 the miraculous flowering of his rod. The miracle was witnessed by the 
seven virgins who were Mary's companions during her upbringing in the Temple. 

Joseph's attributes as a saint and as Mary's husband 
are a Lily (for chastity); various carpenter's tools, and a flowering rod or wand.

The story of the miraculous flowering of Joseph's rod is as follows:

 According to St Jerome the suitors of Mary each brought a 
rod to the high priest of the Temple. 
Joseph's rod blossomed, a sign from heaven 
that he was chosen to be her husband. 
The apocryphal Book of James relates that a
 DOVE came forth from the rod and settled on Joseph's head. 
He is usually depicted with a flowering rod, 
sometimes with a dove on it. 
The theme was condemned by the Council of Trent
 in the mid-16th century 
though thereafter Joseph retains the rod as an attribute. 
It was seen as a symbol of the Virgin's state because 
it flowered without being fertilized.
 The story closely resembles the Old Testament account, 
of the flowering of Aaron's rod.

  -  extracted from the Sacred Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

It is said that the rod was a branch of the Hawthorn tree,
sacred to many goddesses in the ancient world and today
sacred to Mary.  And did you know that the hawthorn
rod that Joseph of Arimathea planted on WearyAll Hill 
in Glastonbury flowered every year during winter
and that a branch was sent to the Queen every Christmas?
Vandals cut the tree down a year ago and many people
mourned its loss and its symbol of hope and illumination.

There is also a hawthorn tree standing at Glastonbury Abbey
near the well of Mary and legend tells us that she was
taken to the safety of Glastonbury by Joseph of Arimathea.
This tree also inexplicably flowers in winter.

Can you imagine the sight of a white blossoming hawthorn
in the midst of the snow of Avalon?
(the mystical name of Glastonbury)

If you would like to hear more about the hawthorn and its
significance as the holy rood in the Mysteries of Mary
I write about it here :

I am participating in Twelve Days of Mary Love with
a creative and inspirational 
circle of people - you will find other offerings here :



  1. flowering in the winter-so reminiscent of the roses that bloomed in the dead of winter at the feet of the virgin of guadalupe, offered to diego to gather in his milta and deliver to the disbelieving. when he knelt before the viceroy and opened his mitla to offer the blooming roses; they tumbled to the ground and reveled the image of guadalupe in his milta!

  2. Hettienne. This is an amazing piece. I have never heard this before now and I am very moved by the symbology of these stories that you have shared. I will follow your link to learn more and take this gift of yours to heart. Thank you!

  3. Such a beautiful and informative post and love the photo! ~ A great honor to all ~

    Wishing you a loving and magical weekend,
    artmusedog and carol

  4. I am again reminded of this story today and it really touches my heart as I start a 3 day retreat today! Thank you for this gift!

  5. I have seen that hawthorn tree at Glastonbury Abbey. What a holy presence!

  6. Did not know the story about the flowering of Josephs rod. So interesting. Thank you for all of your wonderful sharing.

  7. I am so excited to read your post each day and see the image/s you choose to accompany your words. When you finally publish the deck, even though I do not personally use tarot as one of my spiritual practices, I definitely want to buy your deck. Keep me posted.

  8. I was not aware of the Hawthorne tree. Thank you for this new information.

  9. So delicate and beautiful. Reminisent of pre renaissance art pieces by angelico and giotto with a touch of springtime magic. I now understand why the topic was not painted later. It was because it was banned, as you say, by the council of trent. This shrine is, to me, a special way to remember the unique holiness of saint joseph, his dedication to the divine feminine and the connection of mary to asherah.


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