Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pilgrimage to Ngome Part 1





Five years ago I visited the grotto and sanctuary of Lourdes
in the Alps of France.  My direct personal experience of the sacred Presence
of the Lady, irrevocably changed my understanding of life and set me on a new path.
I returned and felt compelled to devote all my work and actions to Her.
I created a sacred Mary Garden   Under Her guidance I founded
the Temple of Mary and She imparted the two year initiation program to me.
I felt called to create shrines in the ancient sacred altar tradition and this led
me to creating the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck.

Since then I have made four more pilgrimages to the grotto of Lourdes.
Last year I  did not travel to Lourdes and towards the end of the year
I had more and more dreams of Our Lady of Lourdes.  I felt a deep
calling to commune with Her in Her sacred place where She manifested.
But I could not see how I would be able to visit Lourdes till much later
the following year.  Still the dreams persisted and became more sensory.

Years ago I had heard about the apparitions of Our Lady of Ngome.  
I did add it to my bucket list and then it sorted moved to the background
of life.  At the time of the dreams I started doing research on Ngome
only to discover that it is called the Lourdes of Africa! 

Ngome is an ancient sacred site where seven streams meet to form a 
spring of which the water has healing properties. Mary as Lady of Ngome
had appeared ten times to a local Benedictine nun and the image of the Lady
 of Ngome, Tabernacle of the Most High, cured many miraculously.
The apparitions were kept secret for years after the death of Sr Reinolde -
but I will share the full story in my next post.

Our Lady of Lourdes shrine at Marianhill, Durban

Once I had read up on Ngome I decided that I am being called
to visit Our Lady of Ngome and immerse myself in Her sacred waters
and energy.  Three of us decided to go on a pilgrimage to Ngome in 
the new year.  We did not have any specific dates in mind and decided
to buy the best airfare tickets available which happened to be
9 to 14 February.  Only when I made the booking for the guesthouse
near Ngome did I realise the incredible synchronicity : we had planned
to spend the Saturday in Ngome.  As it turned out it was
Saturday 11 February, the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes!!

We took a local flight to Durban, spend the day and two nights, then drove five
hours to Ngome - a story on its own as we dodged cows, goats
and potholes.  As part of our pilgrimage we visited the Lady of Lourdes
shrines at Marianhill Monastery near Durban.  The monastery is
outside Durban in the green rolling hills of Natal.


As we climbed the steps toward the shrine we were enveloped
in the most intense fragrance of thick sweet honey.  At first we did
not really pay attention as we were in the tropical and lush
Natal gardens and we had seen many tropical flowering trees
everywhere.  After a few minutes, as the pungent fragrance
persisted, unmoving, unlike the fragrance of flowers carried
on the wind, we all came to a standstill and exclaimed
'what is that smell?'.  We all had previously been to Lourdes
and Lisieux (the shrine of St Terese) where we had experienced
the incredible honey-rose fragrance.  However, there we were
surrounded by roses and a rose garden, although we all did agree
that we had never smelled roses with such a potent fragrance!

We lit some candles and spent some time at the shrine and as we
descended the stairs, we could not resist the temptation to look for 
the source of the fragrance.  There were no flowers nearby, only
creepers and ferns and trees. We walked up and down and the
fragrance did not move, nor become any fainter.

We realised that we were once again immersed in the
honeyed fragrance of Our Lady of Lourdes.

This is a very real phenomenon found at places where the Lady
has either appeared or where She is revered.  It also appears
during healing sessions with the healing energy and Presence
of Our Lady or during times of deep meditation and bliss.

with love and blessings
always
Hettienne
   




Friday, February 3, 2017

Wonderful review of Mysteries of Mary

King of Vessels : The Marriage of Canaan


Arnell Ando wrote a wonderful review on The Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck
on her website 
Arnell Ando' Art at www.arnellart.com.

In previous posts I have written about the role that Arnell's work
has played in my life (we have never met, but who knows, that may change!)
Here is the link to my previous posts : 
http://www.hergracesacredart.com/2016/08/my-journey-with-creating-my-own-tarot.html

This is an extract of the review.  If you are interested you can read the entire
review here :  http://www.hergracesacredart.com/2017/01/wonderful-review-by-arnell-ando.html


The Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck & Book 
Inner Mysteries of the Journey of the Soul as Portrayed by Mary
Created by: Hettienne Grobler
A Limited, Signed Edition
78 Card Deck & Book Set
Cards: Semi-Gloss, Sturdy 350 Gsm Stock, with Gold Edges & Rounded Corners
Each Image Created as an Individual Shrine
Card Dimensions: 5" L by 3.75" W, 12.7 by 9.5 Cm
Card Backs: Non-reversible Image, (Shown Below)
Accompanying Book: Soft-Cover, 160 Pages, Written by the Artist
Price: $75. + P&H
Self-Published in Cape Town, South Africa, 2016
Review by: Arnell Ando


I recently received a simply divine 78-card Tarot deck and book set from this gifted artist in Cape Town,  South Africa. I was immediately struck by the intricate, symbolic altars in the imagery, which she painstakingly created for each card with great purpose and attention to detail. Even a heathen like me could feel the 
artist's sincere devotion to the subject matter and her deep reverence for Mary. 
Every card depicts a small, hand-crafted, wooden shrine with a miniature diorama  dedicated to an archetype or an initiation into the Great Mystery, while revealing a vignette woven into this rich, meaningful tapestry dedicated to the sainted mother of Jesus.

The four suits of this deck correspond with the four elements and four cycles of Mary's life:  Virgin and Priestess is denoted by the suit of Vessels (Water, Cups); Beloved and Bride, is the suit of Holyrood (Fire, Wands); Mother and Sacred Woman is represented by the suit of Distaff (Air, Swords) and Wisdom is attributed to the suit of Roses (Earth, Pentacles).
 
The cards were professionally photographed and printed in a large format 

(5"L by 3.75"; W, 12.7 cm by 9.5 cm) on sturdy cardstock and would work nicely for readings or as one's daily card meditation (also serving to study her personal associations and interpretations). 

The 160 page, soft-cover book goes into great detail about each card, while sharing stories with historical and mythological context and analogies. Each limited edition set is signed by the artist and comes beautifully packaged, including a unique cloth pouch in the style of the deck, adorned with a St. Mary amulet and a rosary, for a distinctive and enticing presentation. Alternatively a version with a handcrafted box relating to the iconography of this deck may also be available upon request from the creator. And an expanded version of the guidebook became available in early 2017.


Hettienne Grobler believes Mary's long legacy is connected to the ancient Goddess culture and lore. She envisions Mary as the archetypal Divine Woman of our time as well as the bridge between the mortal and immortal feminine and the sacred heart of humanity, (in dire need of myths which can usher in an era of intuitive awareness, visionary creativity imagination, social justice and the healing of humanity, the earth and all her creatures!)


Ms. Grobler surmises that we currently recognize Mary as the Mother of Jesus, playing a small part in the story as told by Protestant Christianity or having a more significant role in the Roman Catholic tradition. However Mary is less known as a goddess in the feminine traditions and few would connect her with the great Mother Goddesses of distant past or as the Lady Sophia in the Wisdom traditions. But to the creator of this deck and others like her, there is an underlying red thread of connection. Since the ancient divine feminine became demonized many moons ago and her stories went underground, one must rely on myth, fairy and folk tales, oral traditions and subtle clues to uncover Her story.


 Grobler adds that if we dig deeper, we can discover that many of the titles belonging to Mary used to also be attributed to ancient goddesses in various cultures and traditions and that even the name 'Mary' has been known to signify a title, such as 'Priestess', beyond being used as a personal name. Ms. Grobler goes on to state that the history of both the power and eradication of the  Divine Feminine as an ideology have been suppressed and hidden by each subsequent ruling power throughout time, until she was at last removed from any meaningful role in religion and thereby relegated to only a minor part in the story.