Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas Sale at the French Madonna






Christmas Sale now happening
at The French Madonna


all jewellery and shrines
less 25%
till Christmas Day

Come and visit
blessings,
Hettienne



Monday, November 28, 2016

The Miller's Daughter

The Miller's Daughter
Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck
www.hergracesacredart.com


The Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck and Book
has been published and is now available on
and also in my shop The French Madonna

You can subscribe to my blog
for regular updates.


A few fairytales are included in the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck.  Some of them were chosen as they relate to a specific archetype in both the tarot and the stories of Mary.

The fairy tale of the Handless Maiden was chosen because Mary
appears in an Eastern European folktale version of the story. 
In some versions an angel or a being of light appears to help the 
Handless Maiden, but in this particular folktale, Mary herself appears
to help the maiden.

The story of the Handless Maiden and her powerful symbology is told over a sequence of three cards in the deck.  Links
to different versions of the fairy tale is included
in the bibliography at the back
of the book.  
The V of Holy Rood (traditionally Wands) is the first
card that depicts a scene from the tale.  
This card is titled The Miller's Daughter 
and we are introduced to
the young maiden, her father, the devil 
and very importantly, the apple tree.

The Miller's daughter is standing next to the apple tree with a loaf of bread
(food produced by the miller) on her shoulder.  She, as well as the significant apple
tree represents feminine values and attributes.    Feminine qualities and attributes
live in both male and female.  The story of speaks of the 'miller' and not the maiden's father.
This demonstrates that great importance is given to his occupation in the world, 
rather than his role as father.
From the start we see the focus and emphasis on masculine goals and values.
In our culture the masculine values and attributes are greatly admired and promoted.
The emphasis on the miller, his greed for money, his disregard for both the apple tree
and his daughter, reflects and highlights the imbalance which exists and
the lack of reverence for the less visible feminine principles.

The apple blossom is a symbol of fertility and sensuality.
In Celtic lore the apple tree is the Tree of Love.

At the top of the shrine are two hands.  These will take
you to the next part of the story which is further developed
in VII of Holy Rood,, where the Handless Maiden enters the forest.

Traditionally this card means conflict and in this deck it refers to inner conflict.
The really important questions in life you have to find the answers to
yourself. Do not rely on the opinion of others.  Do not rely
on 'the done thing' or the accepted way of doing.
In other words, do not make a pact with the devil for your most
precious feminine feeling  and earthy nature.
Dig deep and feel the discomfort of the inner conflict
and may you find peace.

This is an extract from the discussion of this card in companion book
to the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck



peace,
Hettienne

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The nativity of the Holy Child-Daughter

Nativity of Holy Child-Daughter
II Roses
Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck
www.hergracesacredart.com


By honouring and acknowledging the birth of the holy child-daughter, Mary Herself, the masculine story is changed and the daughter and girl-child becomes sacred in the collective unconscious.

‘A hermit had on a certain night for many years heard music in the heavens. When he asked the cause an angel answered, : the Virgin was born this night, and what is ignored on earth is being celebrated by angels’ – Legends of Mary, Thirteenth Century

In this card we see the birth of the holy daughter, the female bearer of the Christ.  When one considers that the term Christ or Christed One is a title and not part of a name, then the sentence ‘female bearer of the Christ’ has a completely different meaning.  Mary is the feminine companion to Jesus or Maryam to Yeshua in the original Aramaic.  As we saw earlier three Marys always accompanied Jesus one of whom was his mother and one his companion or beloved.  Reading these words and stories with the inner mystical eye of vision and understanding, we understand that the psyche has four aspects : two masculine and two feminine and these are referred to as mother, father, daughter and son.  The picture reflected a whole psyche is incomplete without the daughter.  What would change within both men and women when the Christ appears in female form?  Or when the Christ appears as a divine couple? 

In the Lost Books of the Bible, The Gospel of the Birth of Mary, Mary’s lineage and birth is described in detail.    Mary of Agreda in her book The Mystical City of God which describes the details of the life of the Virgin, calls the child Mary, ‘the true living Ark of the covenant’.

In the Koran it is told that in the year 16 BCE, the people of Jerusalem are awaiting the birth of the son of Imran (Anna in Greek). Instead of the much-anticipated "Messiah", a girl is born to Imran and Anna. The latter names her Mary, which means "Servant of God". Did they miss the birth of the Messiah through their expectation that he has to be male?

 In the Gospel of the Birth of Mary, it is described that the angel visited both Joachim and Anna (Mary’s parents) on two separate occasions.  Mary’s conception and birth was a miraculous one.  Anna, her mother was barren until the Archangel Gabriel visited her and declared that her barren womb will be opened by God and that the Holy Spirit will descend into the body of her daughter Mary whilst still in the womb.  Mary referred to herself as The Immaculate Conception when She appeared to Bernadette at Lourdes.   The sanctuary of the nativity of the virgin Mary is in Milan and her tiny effigy wrapped in lace and swaddling clothes is known as Santa Maria Bambina.  Her nativity is on 8 September and is one of the twelve major feast days in the liturgical calendar.    In the years between 1720 and 1730 a Franciscan nun from Todi (Sister Chiara Isabella Fornari) created wax statues of Mary as a baby. One of these dolls was donated to the Capuchin Sisters of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Milan. Eventually the statue arrived at the General House of the Sisters of Charity of Lovere , in Via Santa Sofia in Milan, and these sisters are called "Maria Bambina" .
The miraculous image of Maria Bambina was made prior to 1730 by a Franciscan nun who afterwards entrusted Her to others. During the ensuing years, she came into the care of the Sisters of Charity at Lovere, Italy. In 1856, these Sisters of Charity were asked to take over the management of the Hospital of Ciceri in Milan and, in 1876, this waxen image was carried to their Mother House there at Via Santa Sofia 13, where she has remained ever since.
The beautiful image of the Maria Bambina was exposed for veneration only on the 8th of September, the Feast of Mary's Nativity. In 1884, those who were devoted to the Maria Bambina received a reward for their devotion. Due to paralysis in her arms and feet, Sister Josephine Woinovich was bedridden and in unbearable pain. On the 8th of September, she begged the Mother General to get Maria Bambina and leave the image near her overnight. The following morning the Mother General was inspired to take the image, so old, worn and grayish colored to the other sick Sisters in the infirmary so they could kiss her.

There was in the infirmary a good novice, Giulia Macario, who was unable to move because of her serious illness, but who, overcome by her ardent faith, took the image into her arms and pleaded with her in tender and loving words for the grace for her recovery. She was immediately and miraculously cured, for such Faith moves mountains. And at the same time this image itself underwent an amazing transformation from the former dull gray color to the warm flesh hues it has today, as can be seen, where she is enshrined in the Sanctuary of the Mother House in Milan.

In this card we see the birth of the holy daughter, the female bearer of the Christ.  When one considers that the term Christ or Christed One is a title and not part of a name, then the sentence ‘female bearer of the Christ’ has a completely different meaning.  Mary is the feminine companion to Jesus or Maryam to Yeshua in the original Aramaic.  As we saw earlier three Marys always accompanied Jesus one of whom was his mother and one his companion or beloved.  Reading these words and stories with the inner mystical eye of vision and understanding, we understand that the psyche has four aspects : two masculine and two feminine and these are referred to as mother, father, daughter and son.  The picture reflected a whole psyche is incomplete without the daughter.  What would change within both men and women when the Christ appears in female form?  Or when the Christ appears as a divine couple? 

Luce Irigaray in her work says that ‘there is no woman God, no female trinity: mother, daughter, spirit.  This paralyses the infinite of becoming a woman since she is fixed in the role of mother through whom the son of God is made flesh’

By honouring and acknowledging the birth of the holy child-daughter, Mary Herself, the masculine story is changed and the daughter and girl-child becomes sacred in the collective unconscious.


Santa Maria Bambina with golden wool
Handmaiden of Suit of Distaff
Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck
www.hergracesacredart.com

These stories of the divine are powerful myths which activate and animate archetypes in our consciousness.  Mary calls Herself the Immaculate Conception and as such Her birth is truly a divine birth of a divine female and feminine which has been lying fast asleep like the princess in Sleeping Beauty (Card IV of the Suit of the Distaff).  Creating art and seeing images of Mary as the holy girl-child  and images of the Sacred Mother and Daughter will change our understanding of the world and our Soul completely.

Mary serving as priestess in Temple of the Dove
Four of Vessels
Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck
www.hergracesacredart.com


I used mainly Western Christian Catholic icons, statues and symbolism, which I combined with the wider vision of the journey of the feminine divine as archetype of the Self. By juxtaposing these well-known images onto a different context and by re-connecting their symbolism to the correspondences found in myths, legend, fairy tale and stories carried down through the ages, a deeper, more meaningful picture unfolds.  I set out taking the well-known Christian images of Mary (and really mostly the only ones readily available) out of their Roman Catholic context thus giving them new meaning.  As my own personal journey evolved and I immersed myself into the Christian mysteries at the sites sacred to Mary that I visited, I discovered that the numinous emanation of Mary truly still does exist in the Christian art and symbology.  I found that She had merely been veiled by dogma and conditioned belief and that when you see with ‘new eyes’, then the true Divine Mary and Goddess is still radiating Her Presence and always has done so.  I realised that the Christian churches and copious art works has been the vessel for Her through the dark ages of the suppressed feminine.  This awakened the inspiration and resolve within myself to reveal Her to others in the same way that She revealed Herself to me.

A limited edition of the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck and Book 
is now available on pre-order

at The French Madonna 

and on my website here :

http://www.hergracesacredart.com/2016/10/the-mysteries-of-mary-tarot-deck-and.html


blessings
Hettienne

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Vintage black rosary assemblage necklace The Black Madonna


The French Madonna
www.etsy.com/shop/TheFrenchMadonna


I am dark, daughters of Jerusalem and I am beautiful!

Black Virgin
Mother of us All
teach me to see the beauty in the Mystery.


The French Madonna
www.etsy.com/shop/TheFrenchMadonna


Help me to relinquish my need to figure out the Holy One
with the feeble tool of my intellect
and instead encompass divine truth
with my open heart




I am tired of fighting for control.
I am ready to lay down my sword
at your gentle feet, Blessed Mother.

Give me the courage to enter the secret cave
where you hold the Redeemer nestled in your loving arms.




Your face radiates from the gaze of the angels that surround you.

Let me find my own true face reflected there.

The French Madonna
www.etsy.com/shop/TheFrenchMadonna


Then I will be able to sing with the Bride

The French Madonna
www.etsy.com/shop/TheFrenchMadonna




Do not see me as only dark:  the sun has started in me.

-  Mirabai Starr

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Queen of the Gypsies







Queen of the Gypsies
www.etsy.com/shop/thefrenchmadonna


Gypsy wagon in Saintes Marie de la Mer, South of France
during the Sara la Kali pilgrimage


Sante Sara la Kali in crypt of church at
Saintes Maries-de-la-Mer in South of France



Queen of the Gypsies inspired by the sacred pilgrimage to
Santa Sara la Kali, the Queen of the Gypsies
and the story of Mary Magdalene, Mary Jacobe and Mary Salome

You can read more about my first visit to Sara la Kali here :
http://pathofdivinelove.blogspot.co.za/2011/08/sara-la-kali-part-three-in-lourdes.html


The festival always takes place on Sante Sara's sacred day 25 May. The week before the caravans stream into the small sea side village.  As we travelled many motorhomes passed us.  The gypsies live in these modern motorhomes and many have enormous trailers behind. 






Outside the church of Saintes Maries de la Mer you will find flamenco playing gypsies, dancing girls, small girls handing out images of Lakshmi and older women selling the holy medals of Sante Sarah, indicating that you have arrived at the destination of your pilgrimage!  What magic!!


Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth and Abundance


  Saintes Maries de la Mer is a quaint village known for its white horses from the Camargue, the black bulls and the three Saints : Sara, Marie Salome and Marie Jacobe.  Legend has it that they arrived here on the beach with Mary Magdalene.





Friday, July 29, 2016

Vintage Retro Nativity Rosary




Mother of God
rejoice with me.
In the midst of the petty trials
and the profound sorrows of this life,
let me catch a glimpse of your face
and dissolve into laughter




Let me remember that what matters
is not the laundry I have to fold
but the gurgling of the baby speaking his own new language
not the bank account that will not balance,
but the miracle of the dragonfly landing on my wet shoulder
as I climb out of the river on a summer day




Like the tender hand of a child
who spontaneously reaches to comfort his worried mother,
let me lightly carry the suffering of the world



a wonderfully retro kitsch rosary made from
found vintage nativity scene pieces and 
celluloid roses, rosary, crucifixes and holy medals


blessings
Hettienne

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Vessel of Spirit


Vessel of Spirit www.etsy.com/shop/thefrenchmadonna


Vessel of Spirit
from the Litany of Loreto

The theme of this title is containment.

Mary is the vessel of safekeeping and incubation.



She is the baptismal font of new life.

She is the tabernacle.
In Judaism, the tabernacle is womblike and 
contains all of God's revelation that is
nonetheless continually unfolding.

It is not a binder of old texts, but a releaser
of new and neverending revelations.



The Great Mother was seen as the container of all that
is.  A dark side of containing captivity,
in which the feminine energy ensnares us and inhibits us.

In the aspect she crushes independence - 
a feature taken over, like most of the dark side of the feminine,
by the patriarchy.

The Egyptian goddess of the sky is Nut.  Her image, with embracing arms,
was painted in a sarcophagus so she could 'hold' the dead body
and thereby prepare it for resurrection.
The Great Mother was seen in many traditions as holding us
in the container of a grave, the incubator of rebirth.



In every image of the Great Mother we see Mary.

Mary is called a Vessel of Spirit,
a Vessel of Honour and the Singular Vessel of Devotion.
These titles were added to the Litany in medieval times when
alchemy was popular.  Alchemy was not literally about
transforming lead into the gold.  


The vessel in which the leaden ego is transformed into the gold
of spiritual wholeness is the spiritual enterprise represented by the
science of alchemy. The Litany avers that the alchemical
transformation that is our spiritual destiny can happen in the body
of the divine feminine, that is, in the cosmos.



In the metaphor of the alchemical vessel, we encounter
the two maternal themes of forming and transforming.
We see Mary then as the vessel of gestation of Christ
and of all of us. 
The painful process of letting go of self-centredness occurs
so that the gold of God-centred wholeness can appear.

  extract from When Mary becomes Cosmic by David Richo