Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sara la Kali

Sara la Kali - Mysteries of Mary tarot

 Sara la Kali is the V of Vessels in the Mysteries of Mary Tarot

 Every year the holy festival of Santa Sara la Kali takes place in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
 in the South of France. 
Sara la Kali is also known as Santa Sara and
Sara the Black One, Queen of the Romani Gypsies.  
Gypsies from all over the world gather here to pay homage to their goddess.  
For three days a non-orthodox Catholic mass takes place 
and the relics and statues of Mary Jacobe and Mary Salome is carried in the boat, 
in procession down to the sea.  
On the third day of the pilgrimage, Santa Sara is brought up from the crypt 
underneath the Church and she is taken in a wonderful procession to the beach 
where she is immersed in the sea whilst pilgrims enter the water which has been blessed by her immersion. The statue of Sara gets dressed in a multitude of cloaks before she is taken out in the procession. 

One version of the story is that, after the crucifixion of Jesus,  the Three Marys and their servant Sara was put into a boat without a sail or oars,  as punishment meant to kill them, yet they miraculously made it the French shore.  Another version was that the Three Marys (Mary Magdalene, Mary Jacobe and Mary Salome) was put in a boat without sails.  Sara, a child-servant was on the shore and begged to be put into the boat in order to serve the Three Marys and she miraculously walked on the water and climbed into the boat.

Sara first appeared in the Legend of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in which it was interpreted that she was a Gypsy.  The Gypsies expanded this story and turned her into a French Gypsy princess who had knowledge of the secrets of the world.  In this version of the legend she had visions forewarning her the that the Three Marys will arrive and that she is to help.  She saw them arrive in a boat struggling with the rough seas.  She threw her cloak onto the waves and it miraculously became a raft and she rescued the holy ones. 

Then there is also the legend that the Three Marys carried with them the Holy Grail and that this holy blood was Sarah, the daughter of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer was the place where Isis Pelagia, Artemis and Cybele were once worshipped. One cannot miss the inclusion of the name Kali into Sara la Kali, thus linking her to the Hindu goddess of death and transformation.  This seems possible as the Gypsies are descendants of India.  Kali means black in both Sanskrit and Romani, the language of the Roma gypsies. Sara la Kali is regarded as a Black Madonna.  The Dark Mother archetype was, and is still, worshiped under the names of the Dark Mothers such as Kali, Cybele and Artemis.

Sara the Black One is also a reminder for us of the Great Goddess worship and the great Mystery which the Black Madonna holds. 

 In pre-Christian times the Gypsies used to worship the Goddess Ishtara or Astarte.  Once a year they carried a statue of her into the sea to receive its blessings.  Every year on her feast days of 24 and 25 May Sara is carried to the sea amidst the sound of music, song, dance and prayer. The Catholic Church only gave them permission eighty years ago to include Sara in the procession of relics of the Marys and to dip her into the sea.
Immersing sacred statues of the Goddess is an ancient custom to be found in many cultures.  In India huge statues of Durga Ma is floated down the Ganges during Navarathri.  The Romans used the bathe Cybele in a river. 

This card signifies change and the sadness and disappointment that accompany certain changes.  In the celebration of Sara la Kali we see the disappearance of the nature based Goddess worship which has been replaced with the patriarchal church and its strict religious code and taboos.  This card reflects regret at how the strict moralistic father has replaced the loving mother.  But all is not lost.  Do not cry over the spilt wine from the fallen cups.  Look ahead and see that union between spirit and matter is present in the image of the Black Madonna, Sara la Kali and within reach of the one who is willing to commit to the inner path.



Monday, August 21, 2017

Pouches and scapulars and Labour Day Sale

Scapulars on linen pouches
The French Madonna www.hergracesacredart.com

Have a look at the beautiful new tarot rosaries and 
scapular pouches that they are presented in
in The French Madonna

The French Madonna

I just love these retro bubblegum colours

The French Madonna

Many items in the shop will be discounted during
the Labour Day Weekend Sale from 31 August to 4 September 2017

I am also adding a few of the original art works that
make up the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck.
When I heard that the tarot deck is on display at
the Museo dei Tarocchi in Italy, I went for a visit
(read my post on www.hergracesacredart.com)
and handed over the shrine of the Three of Vessels,
Three Daughters of Anna to Morena, curater of the museum.

Three daughters of Anna
Mysteries of Mary tarot deck

Coronation of Mary Ten of Roses
Mysteries of Mary Tarot

Archangel Michael, Servant of the Distaff
Mysteries of Mary tarot deck


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Love of the Mother

French vintage scapular and relic

Love of the Mother

French cloth scapular relic pendant and keepsake

Part of a french cloth scapular with a tiny miraculous medal set under glass - ready to hang on a chain or use for decoration - suspended from a hand dyed black vintage ribbon, 

Packaged in a matching box, in a small black bag plus an extra cloth scapular for your projects or keepsake

- scapular relic pendant tied to a piece of black vintage hand dyed ribbon
- small holy card matching box
- black voile bag
- french cloth scapular

For your adoration


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Sacred altar

St Theresa the little flower

This beauty is still available at The French Madonna.

Be sure to visit The French Madonna and see the new look, the new
inspiration and the new items for sale!

St Therese the little flower whose life spoke of many miracles and continue to do so after her death. This is a shrine depicting the miraculous power of love, hope and faith as seen in St Therese's life.

“God would never inspire me with desires which cannot be realized; so in spite of my littleness, I can hope to be a saint.” 

― St. Thérèse de Lisieux, Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux 

In the right hand corner of the shrine is a crucifix that have sprung into bloom, covered with roses. In the background is a beautiful holy card of the flowering sacred heart. The shrine is filled with fabric roses and hand made cold porcelain roses and rosebuds. You will receive the small bottle of blessed salts that is in the picture. Read below how I make these. Both the St Theresa medals that I used in the shrine I brought back from her cathedral and the oil that I used for the blessed salts, is rose oil that I brought back from Lisieux. The shrine comes ready to hang. 

'For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; 
it is a simple look turned toward heaven, 
it is a cry of recognition and of love, 
embracing both trail and joy. - St Theresa of Lisieux 

I visited the hometown and cathedral of St Therese in Lisieux in France and it was a very powerful experience. The whole town of Lisieux has great flowering rose shrubs and her shrine is set in a magnificent rose garden. The fragrance is unbelievable. I visited her convent, the house where she grew up in and of course, her immaculate body. 

Images of the Divine carry enormous energy and Presence. There are various ways of explaining it, but the ancients believed that the Spirit of that aspect of the Divine lives in Its image and form. Those of us who can see light around living beings, can see the light around sacred objects. In holy places of pilgrimage one can often smell the fragrance of the Divine. 

Each one of my pendants, shrines, paintings and other sacred art are first infused with holy water from Lourdes (which I brought back), and then infused with holy relic oil of more than 53 Saints & pure essential oils. A mixture of one hundred oils are used, including frankincense, myrrh, spikenard, agarwood and rose. It is also immersed in blessed pink dead sea salts, infused with rose petals steeped in holy oil of a third relic of St Therese of Lisieux and it is packaged with blessed salts, frankincense and sprinkled with holy water collected form many sacred places in the world. So it becomes a holy object to be handled with reverence and care. 

This shrine comes with a small bottle (seen in the foreground of the pictures) of salts. I carry pink salts in small containers with me when I visit sacred places. These salts carry the blessing of the holy place and for the St Theresa salts I mixed some of the rose petals that was steeped 

in the third relic oil of St Theresa and then dried- together with 
some of the holy oil and rose petals - all crushed together. 

“When I die, I will send down a shower of roses from the heavens,I will spend my heaven by doing good on earth.” 
― St. Thérèse de Lisieux 


Friday, June 2, 2017

The Sea Journey

The Sea Journey tarot card rosary

The Sea Journey is the VI of Distaff in the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck (listed elsewhere in my shop). This is a unique handcrafted rosary necklace with the image of Mary under a glass bubble in a bohemian style - lightweight frame and a lightweight rosary - with a vintage holy medal dangling at the bottom.

The Sea Journey card is Mary on a barge in the tradition of Isis, crossing the river Styx or metaphorically the waters of consciousness.  This tarot card is a major initiation taking you deeper into life and the Sacred Mother's mysteries. 

'Mary is the bridge between heaven and earth, between the human and the divine worlds, between human and divine justice.' - Andrew Harvey

This card depicts the tradition of carrying an image of Mary in a boat on a sea or river journey in a sacred procession and celebration.  This ritual reminds one of the processions of Sante Sara la Kali as seen in the card V Vessels in the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck.  An image of Mary is sanctified with prayers, incense, candles and flowers and placed on a boat.  It is a Sea Journey to new shores, both within and without.

These rosary pieces are created in the practise of the making of sacred altars and they contain the healing energies of both the image, the meaning of these cards and the spiritual energy that they were created with.  Here is one of many testimonials : 'I received our Lady of Lourdes, mystical healer stunning wearable shrine today. The moment Hettienne shipped it, I saw a white light with a white flame in its centre. Throughout the shrine's travel I would keep visions of it. I can firmly attest that this is more than a necklace, but carries divine consciousness which is transferred powerfully through the artist's love and devotion. The package arrived fully intact, filled with frankincense and myrrh and tiny shells and pebbles, the precious necklace safely wrapped. Thank you! Arathi Ma.'

The Mysteries of Mary tarot deck took four years to complete.  Each card is a print of a handmade three dimensional shrine depicting the Mysteries of the tradition of Isis-Maryam-Mary.  It fits together the myth and metaphor as contained in Egyptian, Jewish, Greek, Christianity and the various Gnostic teachings (amongst others) of the feminine and masculine Christ and the inner Sacred Marriage.  The deck is at once an artistic and mystical vision of the sacred mysteries of the Soul and its unsung feminine path.  Each card is an individual shrine dedicated to an archetype, an initiation, a Mystery in the Great Mystery and a vignette of one of the stories woven into the tapestry of Mary.  You can read more about my tarot deck and book at www.hergracesacredart.com.

Now in The French Madonna at www.etsy.com/shop/thefrenchmadonna


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Join us in a tarot retreat and a pilgrimage to the Triple Marys, France 2018

The Magdalen card in Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

A mystical journey to Mary Magdalene in the South of France

Come with us on a journey filled with mystery and
awaken the Divine Feminine within yourself

Join us on a mystical journey to the sites sacred to
Mary Magdalene in the South of France

23 to 31 May 2018

Spend a week exploring the myth and ritual
of Mary Magdalene, Mysteries of Mary tarot and
ritual in Provence, France

Shrine of Mary Magdalene in the Basilica of St Maximin st Baume on my blog Cloister of the Heart

Join us for 8 nights and 7 days in the
South of France following in the footsteps of Mary Magdalene
after the Resurrection, to the last days of her life in the grotto
at La Sainte Baume.
It will include three days at the

The focus of this pilgrimage is the Divine Feminine
and her story in the myth of Mary Magdalene
and Sara la Kali.   Time will be spent immersing
ourselves in the sacred energies as pilgrims on these
ancient paths;  a daily meditation circle and tarot work,
tarot journalling, ritual, finding your Earth gifts and
creating a mandala in the forest, visiting the reliquaries,
creating your own tarot card and collage, creating and
ceremoniously walking a Goddess labyrinth.
And did I mention three days during the feast day of
Sara la Kali and the sacred gypsy festival and pilgrimage?
And a full day of scouring French brocante and flea markets?

We will meet on 23 May 2018 in Marseilles France
and spend the night.
The following day, after a visit to the Black Madonna of
Marseilles, we will travel to the village of
Saintes Maries de la Mer
for the three day Gypsy pilgrimage to Sante Sara la Kali and festivities.
(You can read about my previous pilgrimage to
Sante Sara and the Gypsy pilgrimage on my blog here)
Then we will move to Saint Maximin de la Sainte Baume
for the remainder of the trip.

The basilica in St Maximin la St Baume where the remains
of Mary Magdalene was found and the basilica was
erected on the site

Here we will visit the Mary Magdalene shrine
and skull reliquary at
Basilica Saint Maximin la Saint Baume.
We will travel to the sanctuary and Grotte St Saint Baume of
Mary Magdalene and ceremoniously 
walk the pilgrimage to the sacred Grotto where Mary Magdalene's bones
 are kept and where she spent the last thirty years of her life.
We will drink water from the sacred spring in the Sanctuary
of Mary Magdalene.

Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

A day workshop in tarot and specifically the Mysteries of Mary
tarot deck.  Each pilgrim will receive the deck and book
as part of the pilgrimage gift pack.

Each morning will start with a sacred circle of
focus and intent;  I will share with you how to work
with your personal numerology and the tarot.
Each pilgrim will receive a specially created tarot journal
and images for the pilgrimage.  You will have time to
journal and collage your entire pilgrimage and all work
done with the tarot.

A workshop in which you will create your own personal
tarot card compiled of insights and experiences
during the pilgrimage.

A leisure day to explore the old village and its
amazing architecture and sights, the many patisseries,
fruit stalls, street markets and coffee shops.

A day trip to the markets at Arles and Aix-en-Provence

Visits to cathedrals sacred to Virgin Mary and
Mary Magdalene in the region

We can only accommodate maximum 7 people.

A handcrafted Mysteries of Mary Tarot Rosary
for each pilgrim

Each pilgrim will receive :

* a Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck and Book

*  a Mary Magdalene tarot rosary which can be
worn to all sacred sites for blessing

*  a specially created pilgrim's tarot journal specifically
for the Mary Magdalene pilgrimage

*  sheets of images and small items for your own tarot
collage and tarot journalling - we will scavenge the village
brocantes for additional material and visit the shops at
the sacred sites for holy medals, etc.

*  a bottle of salts to be blessed and used in ritual

Final dates, details and prices will follow in due course.
If you are interested to receive more information or to be put
on the list, please send an email to hettienne@telkomsa.net
or subscribe on this blog www.hergracesacredart.com
in the top of the right hand column.

The full itinerary will be posted here

The facilitators are Hettienne Grobler, artist,
 Creator and author of the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck,
founder of Temple of Mary,
spiritual teacher and guide and pilgrim to sites
sacred to the Divine Feminine across the globe for the past
20 years and

Terry de Vries, labyrinth facilitator, creatrix and
builder of labyrinths,  pilgrim who has walked the Camino four times,
shaman and yoga teacher
and priestess in Temple of Mary

We are both intrepid travellers, artists
and holders of energetic space with many years
of experience in working with groups.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mystical Rose

Sacred Altar

This gorgeous vintage St Térèse of Lisieux
rosary box set with small garnets reminded me
of my recent out-of-this-world encounter
and inspired me to make this one-of-a-kind
sacred altar necklace.

I used a double garnet rosary and combined it with unusual
vintage rose carved bakelite beads, as well as gentle rose coloured
glass beads and gorgeous rose carved glass beads
and luscious fresh water pearls, both gold and oyster.

Sacred Altar

I added a beautiful old holy medal, a French Notre Dame
sacred heart and at the back, a tiny swallow and a very old red mercury holy medal!

Sacred Altar

Sacred Altar

Inbetween is a gorgeous red intaglio of St Terese set on a gold

At the end of the piece that hangs down the back,
is a beautiful St Anne and Mary mercury red
bubble holy medal - very old.
You can shorten it into a choker length or wear it longer.
The rosary case can open and you keep something
valuable inside.