Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

A blessed feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes to you.

For the past nine days we had been walking a novena
together, sharing our thoughts, prayers, art and messages from
Blessed Mary with you.

Early this morning I created a special altar for Our Lady of Lourdes.
I lit the candles and Ave Maria candle shades
 that I brought back from my pilgrimage
to one of the most sacred sites in the world. 
I sprinkled the healing waters that
She gave to us in the springs of Lourdes,
 and I waited on Her voice.

'My Beloved children
You can make a difference.  
You have heard this often and most probably
just block it out as it usually means more pressure to perform,
and more demands to be met. 
 Bu,t my dear beloveds, you can make a difference
by truly being who you are.  
You are the divine spark of God and without you,
specifically you, there can be no living breathing world which is the
Beloved of God.  
This calls for Courage and Faith, both of which
are available in your own inner wellspring.  
You have everything that you need
to access your deepest and greatest power.  
You are a power house
of genius and potential and this does
not always look like it sounds.
All you have to do is open the tap through
intent and willingness.

The challenge is to find the courage to turn within.
To look in your deepest heart and to hear the voice that
is calling on you and asking you to actively engage in life
and to participate in bringing to birth the compassion
and empathy from which all humans are created. 
The challenge is to find the inner strength to stand up
for what you believe in, despite the logic and reasoning 
and rationale of others; despite statistics and scientific evidence
that tries to persuade you to believe differently.

Your heart is your inner compass and it is always focused
on True North.  You and I are the only Ones who know what your
heart truly says and calls for.  When you actively participate in 
your own life and your own healing, it is like a flag
being tethered to a flag post.  Without commitment and without
discipline and boundaries there can be no unfurling of the flag.
Often you fear taking responsibility and often you fear being
held accountable.  It is so much easier to fly freely in daydreams
and ideology of a better world that will come to pass.
However, the mirror of Divine Sophia only reflects back to you that which
is within yourself.
Heal the wasteland of your heart and the world out there will heal. 

You may be looking around you and see the dire plight
of other living beings.  
You may be looking in the mirror and see someone who
is caught up in suffering and fear.  
And you may be feeling powerless and
haunted by past memories of feeling and being
deeply disempowered.
But all of that can change.  
If you build your house on Faith, 
your own faith on the implicit divinity and
goodness of the Creator,
 by any name that you may choose to call Him and Her,
then you will be led to the door of the Sacred Heart 
which houses your own heart.
There is no boundary between you and the Divine 
nor between you and the Beloved other
than the boundaries created by your own mind.

You are the Beloved for whom this world has been created 
and you have the power
to make a difference.
The smallest act of loving yourself; 
 the smallest act of being kind to yourself;
the smallest act of reaching out to another in pain or distress or hunger;
these all have the power to change the image that the world is reflecting to you.

As you let the Light of your own heart shine on yourself
and on others and on the Earth, you become
the Gift that Life has gifted to this world.

Ave Maria

When I went back into the house I found a small
robin bird inside my bedroom which opens on to
the Mary garden in which set the altar
to Our Lady of Lourdes

This is what Animalspeak by Ted Andrews says about the
appearance of the Robin Redbreast :

The Robin Redbreast 

The robin redbreast is a bird of Spring, a time of new growth and new beginnings. It flies into our lives on the winds of change asking us to weed our personal gardens and plant new seeds for our future. Rebirth and renewal require changes in all areas of life that have become stagnant and outdated. The robin redbreast teaches us to how to make these changes with joy in our hearts. Its song is a happy one reminding us to let go of our personal drama and learn to laugh with life. If this medicine is underdeveloped those with this totem are continually challenged by the prospects of change. Difficulties arise and emotional discord can surface. Learning how to release our attachments to the old is one of the life lessons the redbreast helps us master. 

This bird packs a powerful punch. It holds strong significance in ancient myth and lore. One legend had its origins in European mythology, in which the bird of Spring was associated with the New Year and represented divine sacrifice and the rebirth of the spirit. 

In Medieval Europe the robin redbreast was often depicted attending the Christ child, an emblem of the Passion to come. It was told how, at that fateful hour, it was the tiny robin who flew to Jesus' Crown of Thorns, striving valiantly to pluck the spines away with his beak. Unfortunately the bird succeeded only in tearing his own breast on the thorns. Ever since then it was thought that all robins wore red feathers on their bosoms as a badge of honor. The robin redbreast is a bird of divine service. Those with this totem often have past life ties to the Christ energy. They make excellent priests and missionaries. 

The red coloring of the robins chest is linked to the kundalini in man. This life force lives coiled up within the base of the spine. When sufficient spiritual growth has been attained it uncoils, rising up the spine to create heightened awareness. This process enhances psychic vision which leads us into enlightenment. Those with this medicine are dedicated spiritual seekers. Growth can be slow and arduous. With patience, compassion and proper focus spiritual ideals are achieved. 

Robins lay powder blue eggs. This is the color associated with the throat chakra in man. It is also linked to heavenly inspiration. Because the throat chakra's main function is to express the will of God and the egg is symbolic of new life, this helpful little totem teaches us how to assert the creative will of God in all we do. It leads us into new beginnings without fear by restoring faith within our hearts.

Myself and Mary Beben thank you for travelling these nine days with us and
invite you to share on your own blog, should you feel called to do so, and to link back here.

Hettienne and Mary

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Day 9 of the Art Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes

Day 9 of Novena: 
The alchemical nature of Mary

As we see in the story of Bernadette she had to face many obstacles
and challenges.  Her vision was not accepted at face value.  She
was tested by the Cure and by the community;  she was even locked
up by the police.  Can you imagine the scene?  When I visited
Lourdes it was so apparent to me that life was very simple
in the time that Bernadette lived.  Her original house and the small
little jail cell that she for a while stayed in with her family,
is still in Lourdes and one can walk through these places.
The community would have been unsophisticated peasants
and superstition would have been rife.  So it is not
surprising that the village considered Bernadette to be crazy.
And this is still true for us even today.  Following a spiritual path,
or a path of inner focus and inner knowledge, does not mean that your
path is now lined with thornless roses.  As we very well know,
life has a darker side to it as well and we see this so clearly in nature.

Water has the power to drown us or to quench our thirst.
We know Mary as the loving nurturing mother and also
as the Mater Dolorosa, the grieving mourning mother,
dressed in black, mourning the loss of her son.

In Lourdes you will see hundreds of pilgrims carrying large
containers of water from the sacred spring home every day.
We bring tiny bottles of the healing waters home with us.
Mary is called a Vessel of Spirit, a Vessel of Honour and here in
Lourdes she is the Vessel of the Sacred Waters.

Mary as Alchemical Vessel

In alchemy the vessel is the container in which the
various ingredients are mixed and transformed by each other.
It was believed that the alchemists were looking for
a way to turn lead into gold, but this is a metaphorical
journey of transforming darkness into light.  Or of
finding joy and peace amidst sorrow and hardship as we live
in a world of radical opposites and many challenges.
Mary is the vessel for the divine incarnated as her Son
and then as all of us.  She is also the spiritual vessel in which
opposites combine.  As we are tested and challenged, like Bernadette,
we have the choice to obey the instructions of the voice of the Lady
that no-one else sees or to listen to the incredulous villagers and
Cure.  As we follow the calling of our heart, we are led to dig where
no-one else thought to look and we will uncover a spring that will
feed and nourish thousands.

Join us tomorrow for the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes
and maybe you would like to contribute.  I will add Mr Linky
to  tomorrow's post.

Hettienne and Mary

Monday, February 9, 2015

Day 8 of Art Novena of Our Lady of Lourdes

Day 8 of Novena : 

 Circle of Roses, the Rosary

For me the rosary is a holy object that connects me to my origin, and the
origin of all creation.  We spring from God's womb, the Mother-Womb
of the Holy One.  The rosary, in Western spirituality, is what has
survived of our devotion to the motherhood of God.
It is the mother-prayer - Christin Lore Webber

As we saw on Day 6 the beautiful lady asked that a chapel be built for her.
This was done in 1876, but the basilica soon became too small for the many
pilgrims that arrived to visit Lourdes.  And the Rosary Basilica was built :
Basilique Notre-Dame du Rosaire
When Our Lady appeared to Bernadette she was holding a rosary
in her hand.  The Basilica of the Rosary is dedicated to the rosary
in its architecture and magnificent chapels, mosaics, shrines and paintings.
The three arches depict the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries.
Around the central dome, the transepts and the sanctuary contain
15 Chapel of the Mysteries each one decorated with mosaics depicting
the 15 mysteries of the rosary.

The rosary was given to Bernadette and mankind by Mary, the
Queen of Roses, or the Rose Queen.  One can imagine that by repeating
the rosary, one hands Mary a rose and thus create a garland of roses for her.

The feminine form of God has been called by many names that
is directly related to the word rosary - or maybe the rosary is derived
from the many names of the Heavenly Rose.
Through the ages the goddesses Isis, Venus, Aphrodite and the Shekinah,
had been called Great Rose, the Rose Queen, Flower of Venus, the Rose Garden
the Cosmic Rose and the Mystical Rose.
The early Christians used the Psalms as a 'rosary'.  Often they were
divided into three parts, each containing fifty Psalms.  Early
hermit monks describe these three designations by knotted ropes which they wore
tied around their waist.  With a certain number of prayers came to be ascribed
to Mary, they were termed Our Lady's Psalm.

The rosary is a universal form of prayer and present most religions.
In the Bhagavad Gita chapter 7, it is said that the Universe is a necklace and the string is the 
Atman or the Higher Self that holds all things together. 
 The prayer on each bead corresponds to breaths. This Hindu rosary is sacred to Sarasvati, Goddess of language. The goddess hears the words of the prayers and is the Word.
The Buddhist rosary has 108 beads. This is 12 times 9 to represent the cycles of the universe.
The Muslim rosary has 33 beads for the 99 names of God. In all instances, the rosary is a prayer wheel and a living mandala, a symbol of wholeness.

In the same way that our prayers string together a garland of roses, so do our
every thought and our every action.  What we say and do contribute to the
Sacred Garden, both within and without.  When we sow and nurture with love
and empathy, then we harvest and reap with love and empathy and all
those that live on Mother Earth, human and creature, will benefit.
Such is the way of the Mother - her cloak covers all.


Hettienne and Mary

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Day 7 of Art Novena of Our Lady of Lourdes

Day 7 of Novena

I Am the Immaculate Conception - The Cosmic Rose

Let's look at some of the details of the Lourdes appearance. As soon as we realize that she stands over the wild rose bush and comes wearing golden roses on her bare feet, it tells us that she is deeply identified with roses, as was Our Lady of Guadalupe. The rose just seems to be the most easily recognizable symbol for the flowering of differentiated consciousness or the unique divine spark. The Lady of Guadalupe brought forth roses in cold December and wrapped them tenderly in an ordinary tilma worn by an old Indian peasant. This is an image of wrapping consciousness in the outer cover of our human body, something that a mother does when she conceives a human life. It is something that the earth does when she provides us with the material for a human body. Or, another way to look at it, is that creation itself – the material world – is a wonderful cloak that covers the radiant divinity.
Juan Diego had something in common with the Lady who came to him on the hill of Tepeyac. They each had a cloak that was made of the fabric of created reality. She gave him a visual aid in order to teach him and us about this. She imprinted her picture graphically so that Her cloak – the entire cosmos – can now be seen upon his rough one.  This Lady is not interested in dogma or ideologies; she interfaces with us to teach us about our personal rose – our inner divinity – which is trying to become incarnate here.

The woman at Lourdes refuses to give any other name but to say "I am the Immaculate Conception." She does not say, as the Church would have Jesus' mother say, "I am the virgin Mary who has been immaculate from the moment of my conception." (conceived and born without sin of any kind) She says that she IS the Immaculate Conception. The Lady of the Grotto is the embodiment of the cosmos speaking to us as an aspect of God’s own Being. She shows us the breathlessly beautiful immaculate plan – God’s conception of materiality. She is telling us that she is an image of our created, material nature, which is nothing less than a cloak that covers divinity. She uses every means available to communicate to us about who we are and what will help us.

At Guadalupe she used symbolism that the Aztecs would understand. It spoke instinctively to the Spaniards, as well. She uses symbols and language that will help her immediate hearers to understand for their own purposes. As the late mythographer Joseph Campbell has pointed out, different religious traditions are like software that helps the “computer” to function. It is usually best for people to stay within their tradition, if it is helping them to function. So this woman relates within those belief systems, but is not at all confined to them.

The Pre-Christian Apparition of Queen Isis

Painting of Isis by Hettienne

In conjunction with Lourdes, it is necessary to speak more about Queen Isis whose lore is still embedded in the Christian mythology from its ancient roots in Judaism while it lingered in Egypt. The Lady of the Lourdes grotto asked specifically for processions. Queen Isis loved grottoes and processions. Processions to the goddess are as old as recorded history. What child of the pre-Vatican Catholic Church does not recall the May processions and the joy of strewing flowers in the path of the statue that represented Mary? It was a way of showing our deep devotion to our “Queen of Heaven.” She was “Queen of the angels and Queen of the May!” Bernadette referred at times to the Lady as  “The Queen of Heaven” or “The Beautiful Lady.”

We have an account, still extant, of an apparition granted by Queen Isis in ancient times that further points to the identity of the marvelous woman still appearing today. It comes from the book “The Golden Ass” written by Apuleius, an initiate of Isis, the night before he walked in her procession in 150 A.D. Here is his testimony that records the words spoken by the apparition that stood before him then:

“I am she that is the natural mother of all things, mistress and governess of all the elements, the initial progeny of worlds, chief of the powers divine, queen of all that are in hell, the principal of all that dwell in heaven, manifested alone and under one form of all the gods and goddesses. At my will the planets of the sky, the wholesome winds of the seas, and the lamentable silences of hell are disposed; my name, my divinity is adored throughout the world, in divers manners, in variable customs, and by many names.

For the Phrygians that are the first of all men call me the Mother of the gods of Pessinus; the Athenians, which are sprung from their own soil, Cecropian Minerva; the Cyprians, which are girt about by the sea, Paphian Venus; the Cretans, which bear arrows, Dictynian Diana; the Sicilians, which speak three tongues, infernal Proserpine; the Eleusinians, their ancient goddess Ceres; some Juno, others Belonna, others Hecate, others Ramnusie, and principally both sort of the Ethiopians, which dwell in the Orient and are enlightened by the morning rays of the sun; and the Egyptians, which are excellent in all kind of ancient doctrine, and by their proper ceremonies accustomed to worship me, do call me by my true name, Queen Isis." (Occidental Mythology, p. 42-43 - from The Masks of God series).

 When she appeared to Apuleius she was crowned with the headdress of the moon and two vipers, with corn stalks woven in her hair. Her multi-colored robe was woven with flowers and fruit, and her black mantle embroidered with stars and the moon. There is much similarity between the vision of Apuleius and that of Juan Diego, the visionary of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The mantle of Isis is covered on the outside by the night sky – by stars. Like Our Lady of Guadalupe, she is dressed in the cosmos itself as if it is her robe.  Spirit "wears" materiality like a garment. This garment is Earth's physical nature – her Body. She/we are the Immaculate Conception!

Hettienne and Mary

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Day 6 of Art Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes

Day 6 of Novena:

 “The Name of the Rose”

On Feb. 25th, the Lady had told Bernadette to tell the priests that she wanted a chapel built there at Massabielle. The young girl went before the Cure of Lourdes, even though terrified of him, and told him the Lady's wishes. She did not pretend to know who the Lady was at this point. This is obvious from her own words:

"The Lady of the grotto has ordered me to tell the priest that she wishes to have a chapel at Massabielle and that is why I have come." 
The Cure pretended to know nothing. "What is this Lady of whom you speak?" he asked. 
"She is a very beautiful Lady who appeared to me on the Massabielle rock."
"Well, but who is this Lady? Is she from Lourdes? Do you know her?"
"She is not from Lourdes and I do not know her." (There were more questions of the same sort.) 
Then he asked: "And have you never asked this Lady her name?"
"Yes, but when I ask her she bows her head slightly, smiles, and gives me no answer."
"Is she dumb, then?"
"No, because she talks to me every day. If she were dumb, she would not have been able to tell me to come to you." 
She went on to tell him the whole story. Towards the end he said: 
"You imagine that a woman who has no name and comes from nowhere, who takes up her abode in a rock and has bare feet deserves to be taken seriously?... Tell the Lady who has sent you that the Cure of Lourdes is not in the habit of dealing with people whom he does not know; say that before everything else he demands to know her name, and that moreover she must prove that this name belongs to her. If this Lady has the right to a chapel, she will understand the meaning of my words; if she does not understand, tell her that she need not trouble to send me any more messages." 

He watched till she was out the gate and admitted later that he could not refrain from saying to himself, "This child is most certainly a child of divine providence."

When Bernadette returned to the grotto the Lady told her to go again to the Cure and tell him she wished a chapel to be built and wished for people to come there in procession. She was terrified to go back to him and cajoled her aunt into going along. This time the Cure was more harsh. He said if the Lady wanted to prove she was worthy of all she asked, let her cause the wild rose bush to suddenly burst into bloom. He said that when he heard that this had happened he would come to Massabielle himself and believe her word. (This never happened.)

Tomorrow we will learn the Name of the “Beautiful Woman” as she herself gave it to Bernadette.


Hettienne and Mary

Friday, February 6, 2015

Day 5 of Art Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes

Day 5 of Novena : 

 Initiation into the four elements :  The Rite of Baptism by water

The first night of the novena I had a powerful and vivid
vision-dream of Our Lady's cloak covering the entire earth
and all her creatures and of the rain of Grace pouring down
on everyone.  I woke up once again filled with bliss and great peace,
and a deep sense of renewal in the world.
In the meantime, Mary, at the other side of the world, received
the message that it will rain or snow lightly on the
feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes.

The initiations of Earth, Water, Fire and Air are well-known in metaphysical
and esoteric circles.  The names of the four elements were part of the
earliest Mysteries.  In the Mysteries, the four elements
describe the processes through which the pilgrim and seeker
come to know him and herself in the effort to become closer
to that which she seeks.

Lourdes is famous for the miraculous healing properties of the waters
uncovered by Bernadette.  That spring still rushes strongly and
pilgrims fill their bottles with the water which they use
for drinking and bathing.  It is a powerful ritual to behold at
the sanctuary of Lourdes :  the thousands of pilgrims that bend
over the taps, silently saying a prayer or a sign of devotion
or respect, then washing their hands, followed by washing the face
and finally sprinkling the water over the crown of their heads.
A personal baptism.

A big part of the visit to the sacred waters of Lourdes are
the healing baths.  These baths take place in an
atmosphere of sanctity. Each pilgrim undresses or is helped by a volunteer
and then wrapped in a plain white sheet.  This reminds one strongly
of a burial cloth and the implied rebirth and resurrection which is sought
by those visiting sacred places.
The pilgrim faces a statue of Mary as his or her head is submerged under the water.
And then the amazement as you emerge from the waters and the bath,
to discover that your skin is dry.  The water does not remain wet on your skin.

Entering the healing waters of Lourdes is an initiation of oneself
 into the baptismal waters of the nature of the Feminine,
 the Soul and the World Soul that we know as Mary.
As you are lowered into the bath, you are metaphorically returned
to the waters of the Cosmic Womb of the Mother.
And as you emerge dry to the touch, it is a profound statement that
that which you have left behind, has truly been purified and removed
from your physical and psychological self.

This mystical ritual has a very strong foundation in the
practical everyday life.  Emotions and feelings can be
a confusing and overwhelming area of our inner lives.
At times we suppress our feelings which lead to an inner revolt
and an outburst of emotion.  We can so easily get trapped
in the quagmire of suppressed unexpressed emotions.
Depression is just that :  the suppression of our emotions.
It is important to distinguish between emotions and feelings.
Emotions are the tags and labels that we add to our feelings, whereas
feelings are like water, pure and clear.  When they are not
being judged and analysed, but allowed to flow up, they
bring up all the old debris from the subconscious mind and
they will be taken down to the ocean of unified consciousness,
leaving your mind cleared and purified.

Water is a powerful symbol of the clear and pure emotions 
or feelings.   Purifying the emotions enables one to
experience the living waters that flows eternally from the
Divine Mother. As the mind is cleared
of the turbulent emotions,
great stillness settles in the heart and the
integral heart can be opened.
We then begin to see and hear with the heart
instead of the mind.

In contemplation today we immerse ourselves in the healing waters
of the Blessed Mother's accepting and unconditionally loving gaze.
Unconditional love means that there is nothing to be forgiven -
it is as though it never existed.  It is gone.  You are renewed and
reborn over and over.

Hettienne and Mary

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Day 4 of Art Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes - a collaboration between Hettienne Grobler and Mary Beben

Day 4 of  Art Novena: 

The Revelation of Sophia

In the book of Sirach, Wisdom is extolled as the Holy Presence whose teaching flows out to us from God. This passage again ties the event at Lourdes and the book of Esther together in the manifestation of Sophia, or Divine Wisdom.

The first man never finished comprehending wisdom,
nor will the last succeed in fathoming her.
For deeper than the sea are her thoughts;
her counsels, than the great abyss.
Now I like a rivulet from her stream, 
channeling the waters into a garden, 
Said to myself, “I will water my plants, 
my flower bed I will drench;
And suddenly this rivulet of mine became a river, 
then this stream of mine, a sea.
Thus do I send my teachings forth shining like the dawn, 
to become known far off. (Sirach 24:26 30, N.A.B.)

The spring in the story, as the geologist testified, was “always there,” but undiscovered, just as our own healing gifts and possibilities are always there, but perhaps undiscovered by ourselves. Bernadette was confused about where to dig because the source of the water was not visible or recognizable. The Source of our own ability to heal is hidden within us, as well. We usually have to dig, with God’s grace, to uncover them. They start with the tiniest trickle and become a mighty stream if we know how to be obedient to our inner knowing. 

Not everyone has an overt gift of physical healing for others. But the image means to tell us that all the healing we need and the planet needs comes from within. We have all the other gifts we need for our individual contributions to whatever field we may touch with our lives and to whatever people may be within our field of caring. The revelation at Lourdes is on two levels: the microcosmic story tells us about our individual selves and where true healing is to be found: in us. Sometimes we have to work a little, as Bernadette did, to uncover the blocked wellspring. We may even have to look foolish to others while we are learning to respect it and claim it. But all healing comes from within.

The macrocosmic version of the revelation tells us that Earth is the “garden” designed just for us and we must respect it. It is right here that the feminine presence of God is returning to our world and the springs of healing and refreshment are being opened, as if by “magic.” But they have always been here. Earth is our Mother and Mary shows us her loving care for us.

Message received from Our Lady :

Pray for light to understand how you treat yourself first. If you, clay of this earth, do not consider every part of your body and mind as precious, you will not revere the earth, either, and your attitudes will affect the outer world around you. Pollution and disregard for the earth begin within, in careless and ungrateful attitudes and judgements about your own body and in the way you abuse or neglect it. The great commandment has always been to love yourself and your neighbor. You have no power to change the way you act and feel until your heart has opened. Pray as never before for this first great miracle: the opening of your own heart to accept that you are beloved, just as you are. Pray with me to know love as never before and be bathed in it as in the spring of healing. Please take time to linger with me there – in the love I have for you.

We invite you to participate, to visit Mary's blog and leave a message or comment
and maybe even put up some art of your own?

Yesterday Mr Linky did not appear, but today it is back.

Hettienne and Mary

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Day Three of Art Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes

Day 3 of Novena:

 Finding the Little Spring

Mary Shard by Hettienne

A few people remained in prayer after even Bernadette had left and these noticed that a tiny thread of water, scarcely visible, had de­tached itself from the point where Bernadette had scratched and was trying to make a way for itself toward the Gave. Later in that same afternoon others returned to the grotto and found a ribbon of water coming down the slope. It was already hollowing out a little channel in the soil. 

The next day, Feb. 26th, it was flowing freely toward the river, spreading wider yet. It was the beginning of the source that flows there yet today and to which the sick are brought from all over the world for healing. The crowds heard about it and came back, stronger than ever. (A professional hydro-geologist was later to examine the spring and he said that the spring had always been there, underground, but had just never been known.) This was accepted as the truth. The spring was not miraculous in origin, but was made known in a miraculous way and has documented miraculous healing effects on multitudes ever since. 

The Story of Esther:

Anyone who has read the story of Esther in the Bible cannot help but be reminded of the “little fountain” that was discovered at Lourdes and quickly grew into a wider channel that never ceases. Esther had a devout uncle named Mordecai who was given a sacred dream. The dream came to him before the great events when the Jewish people were threatened with annihilation. Esther was the instrument of salvation for her people. In Mordechai’s dream, "the whole race of the just (the Jewish exiles living in Babylon) were dismayed with fear of the evils to come upon them, and were at the point of destruction. Then they cried out to God and, as they cried, there appeared to come forth a great river, a flood of water from a little spring..." Here is the wording:

“This was his dream. There was noise and tumult, thunder and earthquake – confusion upon the earth. Two great dragons came on, both poised for combat. They uttered a mighty cry and at their cry every nation prepared for war, to fight against the race of the just. It was a dark and gloomy day. Tribulation and distress, evil and great confusion lay upon the earth. The whole race of the just were dismayed with fear of the evils to come upon them, and were at the point of destruction. Then they cried out to God, and as they cried, there appeared to come forth a great river, a flood of water from a little spring. The light of the sun broke forth; the lowly were exalted and they devoured the nobles.” (Esther A: 4-10 N.A.B.)

After all the events of the book are fulfilled, in which the Jewess Esther has used her influence and her beauty to save her people from destruction by the Persian King, Mordecai recalls his dream and says, "This is the work of God... not a single detail has been left unfulfilled. The tiny spring that grew into a river, the light of the sun, the many waters. The river is Esther, whom the king married and made queen..." (Esther F: 1-3, N.A.B.)

Shrine to Isis-Maria by Hettienne

The tale is an allegory of a feminine majesty who once stood as equal to her spouse the king and was the instrument through which her own blood relatives and all the nation were saved. This echoes the place of Sophia who was present to God at the creation itself and helped it all come into being through her assent to the plan. This story of Esther may be a “fossil” that remains in the Bible and allows us to see how Israel first regarded the feminine, before the patriarchal powers purged the nation of all forms of the ancient Goddess known as the Shekina, partner to the masculine manifestation of God. “Esther” is another form of the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, (Star) who was also called “Queen of Heaven” as was the Egyptian Mother Goddess, Isis and as Mary is yet called today. 

Words received from Our Lady for today :

My loved ones, you are my brothers and sisters, as well as my children. I will help you to learn to stand in your full stature as adult children of mine and take responsibility, with me, for the continued creation. I will also teach you, in the coming days, how to be “small” and yet powerful. Remember, for now, that the little spring at Lourdes was “always there” but not available for healing and refreshment until it was opened. The Waters of Life that can never run dry are like that in you. You must first believe the wellspring is in you. Then find it! For me, for yourself, for all the planet and its creatures! Do not be ashamed to do as Bernadette did, no matter who believes or does not!

Hettienne and Mary

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Day 2 of Art Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes

Day 2 of Novena: 

Repentance for Treatment of the Earth

Shrine 'The Earth Womb' by Hettienne

The Lady came back every day except for two, for the next fifteen days. Usually Bernadette would go into an ecstasy, which would last for about an hour. People who witnessed this saw the girl transformed in radiance. Often she moved on her knees to the place where the wild rose bush was growing out of the earth and kissed the earth very reverently. On Feb. 24th Bernadette's ecstasy was marked by sadness. She had abundant tears running down her cheeks. She ascended the slope in front of the recess where the Lady stood, kissing the earth at each step. She prostrated herself beneath the wild rose bush and then raised her head toward the vision, as if hearing a new command. She turned to the crowd, tears still streaming, and cried out "Penitence!" three times. 

On Feb. 25 Bernadette began by praying, then she pushed aside the branches of the wild rose bush and went to kiss the ground under the rock again. She came down the slope and fell into ecstasy. She got up as if confused and started for the Gave. She stopped abruptly, looked behind her, as if hearing instructions from the rock, and made a sign of assent. This time she walked towards the grotto, not toward the Gave. She went a little way and looked around, confused. She raised her head as if to question the Lady; then she resolutely bent down and began to scratch at the earth. The little hollow she scratched out immediately filled with water. She waited a moment, then drank of it and washed her face with it. She took a blade of grass growing in the soil and put it into her mouth. When she returned to her place of prayer, her face was smeared with muddy water and a cry went up from the crowd: "Bernadette has lost her mind!" 

Most of the crowd began to leave, disillusioned and sure the ecstasies were nothing but hallucinations. She herself remained in prayer almost another hour, serene and radiant as usual. Those who remained with her and who accompanied her afterward testified that she was as ordinary as ever and fully in control of her faculties. They asked her to explain her behavior. She said, "While I was in prayer, the Lady said to me in a friendly but serious voice, 'Go, drink and wash in the fountain.' As I did not know where this fountain was, and as I did not think the matter was important, I went towards the Gave. The Lady called me back and signed to me with her finger to go under the grotto to the left; I obeyed, but I did not see any water. Not knowing where to get it from, I scratched the earth and the water came. I let it get a little clear of the mud; then I drank and washed."

Bernadette usually knelt on a stone when she came to the grotto. One day the Lady said to her: "You will kiss the earth for sinners." This the seer did, bowing low to the ground, then going beneath the rose tree and repeating it. Then she turned to the crowd and gestured for everyone present to repeat her action. Every knee was bent and every forehead was touched to the soil. Those who were not able to bow this low placed their kiss of repentance upon the rocks.

Every time that Bernadette called for repentance, it was accompanied by an action of reverence toward the earth – kissing the rocks, soil, etc. as if to say the sin to be repented was disrespect for Earth. The healing spring was not just an aside or an accident. It is obvious that it is meant to show us that it is Earth that provides natural remedies for healing of mind, body and spirit. What may not be as obvious is that we are made of the same stuff of Earth and that we, too, have "springs" that lie hidden deep in our own nature. 

The message received from Blessed Mary today :

During this time I wish to teach you what will help you. Each day I will heal more deeply your eyes, ears, and hearts to see that all healing is found within you. I want you to have full access to the healing and wisdom that is inside yourselves. Please remain near me for these days of grace. At the end I will reveal what I have come to ask of you now.
We invite you to join in either here or at Mary's blog at  Leave a comment and we will 
visit you!

Hettienne and Mary

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Art Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes - Day One


Art Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes

Nine days of illuminating writing and art.
A novena is a prayer repeated for nine consecutive days.
 This is the second Art Novena
to Our Lady of Lourdes that I am hosting on Cloister of the Heart.
 In this context we are focusing and contemplating
through art, words, poetry and prose on the story of the Lady of Lourdes
and its meaning for the emerging changes in ourselves
and the way that we are experiencing and approaching life on Earth.

This year the Art Novena is a joint venture between myself
and Mary Beben of  Biodynamic Spirituality

We invite you to visit for the nine days and to join in
in any way that you would like - through sharing these thoughts
with others or in your own contemplation or maybe you
would like to put something up on your own blog.
  I have added Mr Linky below for those who would like to link up.

We will be spending time in meditation and contemplation
to receive any messages or revelations from Our Lady
which we will share with you.

You may find that your participation in the novena
in your own time and space will bring you insight
and inspiration.

The Apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes

Day One of Novena: The Background Story

0 Innocence, St Bernadette
Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

Here is the story of that event, taken from a book first published in June, 1912,
 called The Apparitions of Lourdes, written by an eyewitness, Dr. J.B. Estrade,
 translated from the French by J.H. Le Breton Girolestone, M.A. Oxon.
 I believe the copy I own was published in 1958 at Lourdes.
 No further information is available about the publisher.
 The following is not a direct quote, except where noted, 
but the information is distilled factually from the book:

On February 11, 1858 Bernadette Soubirous had gone with her sister
 and a friend to pick up dry branches by the River Gave. This is how the poor obtained wood for their fires. They searched as they went, going downstream to a mill where there was a canal. The current was not strong there, but the water was very cold and the weather was very bad. The other girls took off their shoes and crossed the canal, but Bernadette was afraid. She feared an asthma attack, so she lagged behind. The other girls disappeared along the river bed and Bernadette finally decided to risk it and catch up with them. 

As she started to remove her stockings, she heard a noise like the sound of a storm. She looked to the right and left, under the trees, but saw nothing. Then it came again and she became very afraid. These are her own words: "I lost all power of speech and thought. Turning my head toward the grotto I saw at one of the openings of the rock, a bush – one only – moving as if it were very windy. Almost at the same time there came out of the interior of the grotto a golden‑colored cloud, and soon after, a Lady, young and beautiful, exceedingly beautiful, the like of whom I had never seen came and placed herself at the entrance of the opening above the bush." 

Bernadette went on to say how she began to pray the rosary, without knowing she was doing it, while the Lady continued to smile and hold a rosary of her own, which she herself did not pray, except to repeat the "Gloria" at the end. When the rosary was finished, the Lady simply returned to the interior of the rock and disappeared. The Lady was dressed in white with blue, the beads of the rosary were white on a golden chain and on each of her feet was a golden rose. The bush over which she posi­tioned herself was a wild rose bush. 

As we continue with the remaining days of our novena, we will tell more of the story, as it happened. But for now, let’s look at one detail of this appearance. As soon as we realize that she stands over the wild rose bush and comes wearing golden roses on her bare feet, it tells us that she is deeply identified with roses. The rose in the western mind, like the lotus in the eastern world, seems to be the most easily recognizable symbol for the flowering of consciousness or the unique divine spark. It is also the symbol of the heart, through which the feminine wisdom is returning to our world.

From the very first days, miraculous cures have been granted at Lourdes to many who drank or bathed in the spring that Bernadette discovered at the Lady’s prompting. The Catholic Church is extremely slow and meticulous about acknowledging the validity of a cure and so most of the cures claimed there are never officially recognized. Even so, there are dozens of totally recognized cures that have happened at Lourdes that have been documented by the Church and the medical profession. The first healings happened almost immediately in 1858 and continue until the present day. As we shall see, this healing is brought to us on many, many levels.

Hettienne and Mary