Thursday, February 11, 2016

Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes

Maria Bambina
Sacred Mysteries of Mary Deck

Today is the final day of the
Art Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes

Today I am reminded of the universality of Mary
and the mystery of who she really is.
To some she is the literal figure in a Bible story;
to others she is a Western goddess;
some know her as Queen of Heaven and the Angels
and still others know as her Mama, Gaia,
Mother Earth and our nature.

Coronation of Mary
Sacred Mysteries of Mary Deck
Who is she to you?
What are the whispers in your ear? 
What are the winds stirring up in your heart?
It takes great courage to answer that call
and to step out of the comfort and security
of the unexamined room in which we live.
Has she been calling  you?
Then today is the day to answer.

Sacred Mysteries of Mary

Then today is the day to accept the call to step out
into the unknown

Lady with the Lamp
Sacred Mysteries of Mary Deck

To do that which you have been avoiding,
to see and hear that part of yourself that has
been tugging on the hem of your coat,
begging for attention

Maria Bambina - spinning gold
Sacred Mysteries of Mary Deck

'I realized that all the powers of the Mothers, of Tara, Durga, Kali are in Mary.
She has Tara's sublime tenderness;
Durga's inaccessible silent calm force;
the grandeur and terribilta of Kali.
But Mary is also a woman,
a poor woman
and a human mother.

Sacred Mysteries of Mary Deck

In her the full path of the sacred feminine is lived.
In her we have a complete image of the Divine Mother,
an image at once transcendent and immanent,
other-worldly and this-wordly,
at once mystical and political and practical.

In Mary the Divine Mother comes to earth and lives on earth
and lives, the passionate, strong, serious,
simple and transforming life that shows us all how to live.

Sacred Mysteries of Mary Deck

Mary is the bridge between heaven and earth,
between the human and the divine worlds,
between human and divine justice."
                                                                             Andrew Harvey in The Return of the Mother


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Art Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes - Day Eight

On Wings of Prayer

Hail holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life

I am the mother of fair love and of respect and of knowledge and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth; in me is all hope of life and of virtue - Ecclesiasticus 24:24

My knowledge is so weak, O blissful Queen,
To tell abroad thy mighty worthiness ...
Guide thou my song - Chaucer

Mary is a statue sculpted by God as an image of a divine archetype - St Andrew of Crete in the eighth century.

The literal view of the importance of Mary is as the mother of Jesus.  But Mary can also be viewed as the most recent personification of the great mother goddess, her predecessors beings Demeter, Tara, Isis, Astarte, Inanna, Cybele, Kali and all the goddesses of light and shadow.  In this view Mary is important in her own right and the accent is not on her as a person but as an archetype, a living component of the human psyche - David Richo, Mary within Us.

The title Queen of the Rosary was added to the Litany of Loreto.  The rosary is present in all main spiritual traditions.  The rosary is referred to in the Bhagavad Gita 7:7.  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.

A wooden shrine behind a pane of protective glass, celebrating Mary, divine healer of Lourdes and the power of contemplative prayer and observance of the breath as a sacred prayer.

A porcelain statue of Mary of Lourdes which I brought back from the shrine in Lourdes, France.  Behind the statue is a gilded porcelain wing and a white cloth lily.  "I visited Lourdes last year as a pilgrim. There, in front of the cave, I experienced something very special. I felt a spiritual vibration, a kind of spiritual presence there." - the Dalai Lama.

The shrine is filled with roses, both paper, silk and metal.  Our Lady of Lourdes, appeared with a white rose on one foot and a gold rose on the other foot, to show her twin concern with earth and haven.  The white rose is joy, the red rose is sorrow and the gold rose is glory.

She is the Mystical Rose of our hearts that has such incredible power for love and compassion.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Art Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes Day Seven

Della Carita Capolavoro - Masterpiece of Love

Della Carita Capolavoro

We are blessed with three mothers in the course of life; our biological mother, mother nature, and Mary, our spiritual mother. 
Mother is a metaphor in the case of nature and of Mary. 
They are mothers in the sense that they represent a structure that acts in a motherly way; forming, transforming, protecting, instructing, directing and redirecting, warning and initiating. 
This is an energy in the universe called mother nature and an energy in the soul personified as Mary. 
The life-giving powers in nature were sacred in ancient times. 
This referred not only to the physical but to the inner Source that is always alive and and one and the same in the world and the pscyhce. 
Nature has laws that exert an energy that compels and draws but also accompanies us through the phases of life.

Loved Beyond Measure

Aldobrandesca, a medieval mystic of Siena, when close to death had a vision of Mary with this message : 'Daughters, be obedient to the law of the Mother'.

Spanish Madonna

Mechtild of Magdeburg saw Mary as the spiritual mother of all humankind : 'I suckled the prophets and sages before God was born'.

Our Lady of Lourdes

Juliana of Norwich saw visions of the motherhood of God and also said 'Our Lady is our mother in whom we are all enclosed ..... and our saviour is our mother in whom we are endlessly born ..... To motherhood belong nature, love, wisdom and knowledge, and this is God'

Heart of Power

Allah has chosen you, Mary. He has made you pure above all women - The Koran

Shrine of lost children

You will open the hearing of the wayfarer's heart (fu'aadi min saalikin) because the subtle knowledge of Her is Her proof. Grant us union with Her always and cause us to withdraw from every sensory existence.- Songs of Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib

Inciting love in every heart, you bring forth generation after generation - Prayer to Venus, Mother of Rome, by Lucretius (d 55B.C.)

House of Gold

The Tao is the great mother, empty and yet overflowing, bringing forth the infinite universe. And it is forever inside you - Tao Te Ching

Mary held all these things within her, pondering them in her heart - Luke 2:19


Monday, February 8, 2016

Art Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes Day Six

Window and chapel of Mary in Notre Dame de Paris

Sweet Lady of the Snows,
when we are most convinced
that the light is in danger
of disappearing from this world

Lit votives in front of statue of Notre Dame de Paris
in Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris taken on the Nativity
of Mary

 You step through the darkness,
barefoot, enraptured,
and carry the Sun of Justice into our midst.
The highest angelic orders
bear witness to the miracle ripening
in your womb.
Within the mysterious heart of deep winter,
the seed of everlasting life is preparing

Full moon at Notre Dame de Paris on eve of Nativity Feast
of Mary 2014

to break through the frozen mantle 
that covers our hearts,
radiating healing and hope
where we had witnessed only desolation.

Holy Mary,
we are ready to be amazed.
      -  Mirabai Starr

Full moon at Notre Dame de Paris on eve of Mary's Nativity Feast
7 September 2014


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Art Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes - Day Five

My kitchen shrine with fresh bay leaf and
rosemary for protection, from my garden


Mary Oliver

Salt shining behind its glass cylinder.
Milk in a blue bowl. The yellow linoleum.
The cat stretching her black body from the pillow.
The way she makes her curvaceous response to the small, kind gesture.
Then laps the bowl clean.
Then wants to go out into the world
where she leaps lightly and for no apparent reason across the lawn,
then sits, perfectly still, in the grass.
I watch her a little while, thinking:
what more could I do with wild words?
I stand in the cold kitchen, bowing down to her.
I stand in the cold kitchen, everything wonderful around me.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Art Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes - Day Four

You cannot hide her!
A selection of street shrines in Rome -
I took all the photographs recently in September.

Around every corner and every turn, in alley ways
and under balconies, we discovered shrines,
many tended with growing plants and lit candles!!


Friday, February 5, 2016

Remnants of a forgotten time - day three

Art Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes

Day Three

Vas Spiritualis

Shards of Beauty - Remnants of a forgotten time

It has been reported that remains of an ancient
culture and peoples have been uncovered
on the continent of Africa.

Many incredibly exciting pieces have been
dug up, some still in very good condition.

From the obvious reverent way in which these relics have been buried,
it is obvious that these, still un-named and unknown,
peoples, considered many, maybe even all,
aspects of ordinary life to be sacred.
It is also obvious that devotion to
a higher ideal was very important to them.

Many of these pieces contain the images of
women, regaled as sacred mother, priestess, teacher,
householder, artist and as holy.

It would also appear that they understood the essence of
the goodness of Life to be represented by radiant Light.

These relics all contain pottery or clay shards of the
image of the Revered Woman and in some
instances various names are sculptured into these
mysterious and mystical shards.

Remnants of an ancient language is still
visible in pieces of scrolls which had become
embedded in these relics.

These relics all contain very precious pieces
of jewels and other treasures
and this shows that these relics
were regarded as extremely important
and valuable to this community and tribe.

Scholars are speculating that these relics
are from an ancient temple, most probably from
the Temple of Mary.

These relics may be the key to a deeper understanding
for a peaceful and wise society!!!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Mary Garden

All photographs taken in my sacred Mary Garden at
the Temple of Mary, Cape Town, South Africa

Art Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes
Day Two

Mary as the Garden

How beautiful art thou, my love, how beautiful art thou! thy eyes are doves' eyes, besides what is hid within. Thy hair is as flocks of goats, which Come up from mount Galaad. Thy teeth as flocks of sheep, that are shorn which come up from the washing, all with twins, and there is none barren among them. 

Thy lips are as a scarlet lace: and thy speech sweet. Thy cheeks are as a piece of a pomegranate, besides that which lieth hid within. Thy neck, is as the tower of David, which is built with bulwarks: a thousand bucklers hang upon it, all the armour of valiant men. Thy two breasts like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.

Till the day break, and the shadows retire, I will go to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense. Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee. Come from Libanus, my spouse, come from Libanus, come: thou shalt be crowned from the top of Amana, from the top of Sanir and Hermon, from the dens of the lions, from the mountains of the leopards.

Thou hast wounded my heart, my sister, my spouse, thou hast wounded my heart with one of thy eyes, and with one hair of thy neck. How beautiful are thy breasts, my sister, my spouse! thy breasts are more beautiful than wine, and the sweet smell of thy ointments above all aromatical spices.

Thy lips, my spouse, are as a dropping honeycomb, honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments, as the smell of frankincense. My sister, my spouse, is a garden enclosed, a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up.

Thy plants are a paradise of pomegranates with the fruits of the orchard. Cypress with spikenard. Spikenard and saffron, sweet cane and cinnamon, with all the trees of Libanus, myrrh and aloes with all the chief perfumes. The fountain of gardens: the well of living waters, which run with a strong stream from Libanus.

The Mary Garden

Arise, O north wind, and come, O south wind, blow through my garden, and let the aromatical spices thereof flow.

Canticle of canticles, Temple of Solomon