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!!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Art Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes Day 1

Statue of Our Lady of Lourdes in the centre
of the processional area in front of the Rosary Basilica
at Lourdes, France.
Today I am starting my annual
Art Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes.
Nine days of Beauty, Inspiration and Art
dedicated to the manifestation of the Blessed Mary
Our Lady of Lourdes at the Grotto of Massabielle.

If you are so called, I invite you to join in with me
in your own ritual, art making, meditation, prayer
or celebration for these nine days culminating
on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes.

A novena is an old tradition of nine sacred days

and nine intentions, carried by one's chosen action
out into the vibration of manifestation.

My first dedicated intention is that of the Observant.,
and by inclusion the Servant. 
I would like to revisualize and re-interpret for myself the word servant and especially
the holy servant and its images of reluctant and painful sacrifice.

St Bernadette from the Sacred Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

I start off with the story of Our Lady of Lourdes
and her holy servant, Bernadette.
We are told that Bernadette grew up poor
and almost destitute.  Along with her family
she lived in squalor and in the extreme weather
conditions of Lourdes which is on the slopes of the Alps.
She had to scavenge for
fire wood and food on the rubbish heap
of the village.  She also took care of the few
sheep that the family owned.

To mind comes the image of the serving girl
in fairy tales.  One thinks of Cinderella who had
to clean and keep house for her step mother and
step sisters.  Until her life is transformed
by the visitation of the fairy godmother
and she eventually is recognized for who she is.

Soulcollage card :  The Miracle

After the Lady in shimmering white had appeared
to the young Bernadette, her life had changed forever.
But she was persecuted and ridiculed for her visions
and messages.  She was put into jail and put through rigorous
interrogation.  Despite all of these hardships she continued
to turn up for her meetings with the Lady,
and she continued to deliver her messages.
She followed her instructions and dug a hole
where water had never sprung before.

Bernadette surrendered her fear and became
a servant of her divine purpose and calling.
She could not have known then what an impact
she and the messages that she delivered, would have on the world.

The appearance of the Lady in White at Lourdes
and the miracles that she brought to those whom
were touched by her appearance, has the power to
transform our world.  Belief systems and science
are refuted.  The impossible now becomes possible.
The world changes from a dark place abandoned
by the Divine, to a living spring with healing waters
available for all the partake from.

In the same way we see Mary herself take up the role
as holy servant.

I am Thy Handmaiden
Two of Vessels
Sacred Mysteries of Mary Tarot deck

I am Thy Handmaiden

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; 
be it unto me according to thy word.

The fiat of Mary is Mary's consent to the divine plan.
Her acceptance and consent
has created a new world of grace.

My first novena to Our Lady of Lourdes :

I observe the challenge to recognize the call to serve the Divine within my own heart and
to dig the dry soil,

releasing the Spring of Love and Grace.