Art Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes
Art Novena for Lady of Lourdes - an annual tradition on Cloister of the Heart starts
3 February (the day after Candlemas or Imbolc and St Bridgid's feast day) and
culminating on the feast day of Our Lady
of Lourdes, the Immaculate Conception on 11 February.
When one participates in a ritual (probably any ritual, but when you regard it as sacred, you add a certain 'light' to it) you are transported into a different time and space : colors are different; the light is different; everything has meaning and the ordinary become extra-ordinary. My art novena for Lourdes in particular, highlights my statement that our lives are the altar to the Divine and I strive to capture that numinosity of the sacred ritual in my photographs and altars. I only started creating sacred altars on my return from Lourdes. These small shadowboxes are vignettes, a moment in time in the life of ordinary human beings, lifted out of the mundane into the numinous, merely by seeing life as sacred.
You can read the previous seven years' novena blog posts here :
This year I am creating Our Lady of Lourdes Amulet Blessing Sets
based on the Benedicaria way.
The Amulets of Mary Blessing set is a two-fold oracle, blessing
and healing set incorporating various ancient traditions including the Benedicaria,
the sacred path of the pilgrim and priestesshood in the Temple of Mary
and the sanctification of the ordinary through the blessing way.
I am creating only a few Our Lady of Lourdes Amulet sets for use
in the annual novena and for every day!!. All amulet sets that I create complement the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck.
Recently I learnt about the ancient tradition of Benedicaria and the work of a Benedetta. Although I am not born into the Italian culture, my journey as pilgrim did start in Italy with the call issued by Archangel Michael to visit his grotto in Mont Sant’Angelo and I see myself as a modern Benedetta, continuously uncovering more.
Benedicaria, The Blessing Way
Benedicaria, the Blessing Way, is an ancient Catholic and domestic folk tradition practised by the Italians in Southern Italy. This tradition is fast fading from modern society, but many of its practises are still part of syncretic worship and devotion.
One who practices the Benedicaria, is known as a Benedetta, or a Wise Woman and a Benedetto, a Wise Man . Benedicaria is a private form of practising your religion and it blends with many domestic practises, such as the blessing of animals and herbs, infusing oils and elixers, creating an altar, using flowers and holy cards for blessings and wisdom.
Benedicaria is predominantly a woman’s practise.
A Benedetta has much in common with the goddess archetypes of
Demeter, Hestea, Bridgit and even Athena.
She is the homemaker, mother, herbalist, gardener, chef and healer.
This role is not regarded as of any importance
in modern society, but for one who is spiritually aware and
who undertakes these tasks with great intent,
she understands the spiritual force that is being wielded.
The preparing of food is not only a physical act, but a spiritual one.
If this is done in love it will bless the family;
if done in anger and ignorance, it will curse the family.
The physical life and its objects are manifestations and representations of the life and existence of the spirit. Taking care of our physical life is a sacred task and when performed with intent and awareness we realise that the ordinary is indeed sacred.
The Lady of Lourdes amulet sets will contain
items that I collected during my annual visits to Lourdes,
hand cast resin holy medals (including
a cast of the Holy Chemise of Our Lady charm)
charms, holy cards, a miniature Lady of Lourdes resin
statue, a tiny vial of the healing waters of the Lourdes
spring, as well a set of 46 charms applicable to the story of Lourdes
and the Mysteries of Mary
(some of these charms will be the same as in the Amulets
of Mary set but some are completely unique)
and a Our Lady of Lourdes casting sheet with different
sections to the Mary and Goddess sets.
(All sprinkled with waters from the Lourdes spring and touched
to the relic of the Chemise of Our Lady.
The Lady of Lourdes amulet sets will be available in
my shop The French Madonna @etsy.com in the next fortnight.
Be sure to return on 3 February and follow the art novena to Our Lady of Lourdes