Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Twelfth Day of Pilgrimage for Mary

Today is the culmination of this wonderful
pilgrimage with Mary and others
who believe in Wisdom and Beauty
and her many many faces
in our world and hearts.

Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadulope
and also my grandmother's birthday.
So I share with you my shrine dedicated to 
both my grandmothers, and the way of all women.

I call this shrine Undying Love

Spiralling into the center, the center of the wheel
Spiralling into the center, the center of the wheel
We are the weavers, we are the woven ones
We are the dreamers, we are the dream
We are the flow, we are the ebb
We are the weavers, we are the web - words by Shekinah Mountainwater

I bought this vintage statue of Mary on Etsy and when I took her in my hand, an image and feeling arose, which I then did my best to re-create in this shrine. The image was that of the Divine Mother, weaving us through the aeons and us weaving life in return. It was a dance of giving and receiving; receiving and giving; all held together by love, whilst honouring the suffering of this world at the same time.

So I dedicated this shrine to Divine Mother, the Weaver of All.

The tenacity with which for millennia of Western history both men and women have, in the figure of the Virgin Mary, clung to the veneration of the compassionate and merciful mother attests to the human hunger for such a reassuring image. This tenacity only becomes comprehensible in the context of what we now know about the millennia-long tradition of Goddess worship in pre-history. Riane Eisler

The intent of life is loving purpose. The intent of life is to manifest Love through our choices and decisions. As we live in a world of cycles, change and death, we often become burdened by the thoughts that joy, ecstasy and love is only fleeting. But by saying 'yes' to the givens in life, to the gifts and blessings of life, we can let go of our attachment to making it last and allow the inevitable change to transform us. As we weave our daily lives with the thread of Grace, we become part of the tapestry of the Mystery : that which shines with Love beyond reason, beyond logic and beyond mind.

The compassionate Mary holds the thread for us; She weaves the Web that holds us, both shadow and light. The shadow is that nothing seemingly lasts in this realm, but the thread is eternal and the Love is for all eternity. That is Her promise to us. And our greatest challenge is to allow it to happen, despite appearances and despite the suffering. Ultimate reality is both temporal and eternal and so are the world and we. We, as humans, include both the personal and the transpersonal; the human and the Divine. Mary is that highest divine potential; she is the Beacon of Love and Grace.

In this shrine she stands on a piece of woven cloth and she holds threads, combined with gold and teardrop crystals, between her two hands - a garland of the web of life. To her left is a porcelain wing and behind her is a crown embellished with real freshwater pearls. In honouring Her as weaver, we are also honouring all those who weave and sew the stories. For them I have added a miniature set of knitting needles and some knitting, a tiny ball of wool, a sewn babe's cap; miniature skeins of tapestry wool, a dressing maker's mannequin, tape measures (one vintage made of cloth), and a tiny sewing machine. On the right is a bucket with copper wire and roses twisted around : reminiscent of the Passion of the Christ. In the bucket is a tiny tag that says 'Faith'. On the left hand side, behind the tapestry wool, is a tiny safety pin, beaded with beads in the traditional African way. The shrine is decorated with pieces of vintage doily, trim and teardrop crystal beads.

As I worked on this shrine, I was filled with memories of my grandmothers; women who passed all their wisdom and creativity on to me. As I sat with my maternal grandmother and watched her sew, she told me about her life of suffering and the courage it took to re-create a life for herself. My paternal grandmother told me her story whilst knitting booties for the next grandchild. Both their lives spanned the war and my paternal grandfather died on the battlefield. In their memory and in holding their suffering, I collaged the frame with postcards and letters and ticket stubs from the war, as well as from some of my grandmother's sewing patterns.

May you be aware of her Presence as you walk on your journey through life.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day Eleven of Shrines for Mary

A shrine for the blessed child within

An iconic shrine to the Lost Inner Child.

When I first started putting this shrine together, it called itself the Shrine of Lost Children.  
But as I listened to the creative voice within, and I put the bits and pieces together, I started to understand that this is indeed an Ode to the Lost Child Within myself and other 'grown-ups'.

Like the Queen of Hearts in Wonderland, who demanded 'Off with her head!', this piece started with the head of a frozen charlotte doll.  When I held that tiny little head in my hand, so many feelings came to the surface.  Everything just flowed from there, as it does in the creative process.  No time to think!

Then followed the ceramic arms and hands of a doll that I brought back from France;  a small plastic doll clothes' hanger and a tiny rocking horse.  

All against the backdrop of stamped images of the Holy Mother and a beautiful antiqued statue of Our Lady of Lourdes which I brought back from the Lourdes Grotto.  Her divine presence supports and holds this process of realizing that a child within has become buried under the responsibilities and identity of adulthood.

As children we learn certain core beliefs and attitudes and these we take with us into our adult life.  At times we are completely unaware of the self-limitation and emotional pain that we inflict upon ourselves by holding on to these childhood beliefs - often based on experience.  

Our attitudes regarding our worthiness, personal value, and 
relationships are some of the values we incorporate into our lives from childhood. 
We also become so weighed down with the practical
realities of life and living
and the responsibilities that can weigh so 
heavily on us as adults and caregivers
and parents and providers.
At times we hold on to grief and grieving,
and feelings of hurt and having been hurt,
far too long.
When we give ourselves permission to play again, be it through art, playing with paint,
clay, paper or just by making a thorough mess
do we realize to what an extent  we suffer from a  loss of childhood.

Grieving this loss and awakening to the miracle of transformation of personal re-parenting can wake us up to a new life, one true to ourselves and not our family patterning.
Inside each of us is a blessed child. 

How we honor ourselves by honoring that child will bring us much healing, wholeness, happiness and joy.

a blessed journey to you
on this pilgrimage of wholeness 

Visit Rebecca for more wonderful offerings.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Tenth day of a shrine for Mary

This tenth day of a Shrine a Day for Mary
I offer you the
Our Lady of Fatima shrine.

A handmade clay grotto chapel,
porcelain statue, porcelain roses, porcelain doves
beads and lilies made of cloth

and the words of
Andrew Harvey from The Return of the Mother

The old version of Mary as passive and submissive is a lie.
Look deeply at the story and you see in it a woman of immense
strength, surrendered to God, but not submissive;
humble, patient, tender, infinitely focused on and
burning with real love, but never passive.  

The Mother and her Son came to show us a revolutionary new way
of enacting and witnessing love in action in the world,
not simply to alleviate suffering, but to conspire with the
inner will of grace to change everything and to transform this world.

And this is why Mary has been appearing with such regularity over the last
150 years - because she cares, and cares absolutely
and passionately;
she cares personally and with a tremendous 
suffering intimacy for the future of humanity and of the planet.

She has again and again said that she is the Mother of all human beings,
the universal Queen of Peace.

Please visit Rebecca at
for these last few days of sharing
in the Pilgrimage of Mary, the divine feminine in 
everything and everyone.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Day Nine of Shrines for Mary

May today's offering reflect the light in your own heart :
an old bent tin and glass shrine,
lovingly gilded,
an old chipped statue,
highlighted and sanctified with
a few strokes of the brush,
a hand made clay sacred heart on fire,
an old holy card image,
a rosary brought back from Notre Dame
and my favourite
poem by
Thomas Merton (Maria Lodevicus)

Be still
Listen to the stones of the wall,
be silent, they try
to speak your
Listen to the living walls.
Who are you?
Are you? Whose
silence are you?

Who (be quiet)
Are you (as these stones
Are quiet). Do not
Think of what you are
Still less of
What you may one day be.
Be what you are (but who?) be
The unthinkable one
You do not know.

O be still, while
You are still alive,
And all things live around you
Speaking (I do not hear)
To your own being,
Speaking by the Unknown
That in you and in themselves.


'I will try, like them
To be my own silence :
and this is difficult.

The whole
World is secretly on fire.  The stones
Burn, even the stones
They burn me. How can a man be still or
Listen to all things burning? How can he dare
To sit with them when
All their silence
is on fire?"
Please visit others on this ninth day of Pilgrimage of Marys

Friday, December 7, 2012

Day Eight of Pilgrimage of Marys

Hail holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life
This shrine and post I posted a little bit more than a year ago and I share it here for A Virgin A Day with Rebecca
and others on this pilgrimage which has become
a wonderful sharing space of many interpretations,
thoughts, ideas and mostly acceptance and love
for the universal imago and the divine nature
of the Blessed Mother, Mary, in her many
forms and faces in different traditions and cultures.

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 goddess 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.

I printed the image of Mary of Lourdes on a piece of canvas and then mounted it on layers of lace and velvet.  I used a few vintage prayer cards;  one which I framed with a gilded frame;  another mounted on gold-leaf with a miniature Agnus Dei medal attached and the the third one in the shape of a votive locket decorated with silver german glass glitter. A small pewter with red enamel sacred heart is resting against some vintage lace and paper.

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 heaven.  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 potential power for love and compassion.
May every person who yearns for succour and motherly love,
become aware of the infinite Presence of the Divine Mother.
Please visit Rebecca and others in this powerful
life-affirming journey.

Day Seven of Shrines for Mary

Our Lady of Lourdes
I Am the Immaculate Conception


The box is lined with pages from a vintage French novel
as well as the sheet music of 'Heaven'.
The statue of Mary is a replica of the 
statue at Lourdes : "I am the Immaculate Conception' -
the name that 
She revealed to Bernadette, the shepherdess
whom saw Her in the apparition of brilliance and Light. 

The tiny kneeling saint doll holds a miniature wooden rosary with an image of 
Saint Bernadette on. 
You may know that one of the instructions of the Virgin Mary to Bernadette was that people are to approach this sacred place of healing water, 
on their knees.

In the background is a handmade tarot card of The Sun Card no 19,

with a miniature golden statue of The Madonna.
Two other images are in the box, depicting the Virgin as the Sun.

The box stands on four round feet filled with wooden rosary beads and a blue rose, 
the symbol of the Madonna. 

The box is framed with gold chandelier beads and gold tassels.
 One gold chandelier bead is hanging from Mary's hands,
depicting the Grace that flows forth from Her.

The crown on top is a wooden crown covered in pure gold leaf.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Day Six of Shrines for Mary

She was a poor shepherdess,
growing up at the foothills of the Pyrenees
on the banks of the Gave du Pau
tending the very poor family's
small flock of sheep

When the most miraculous vision appeared to her
a vision of Light
with roses on Her feet

from this numinous event
flowed forth a stream of healing water,
a holy place was born

Bernadette's life was transformed
into one of passion,
commitment and a vocation to the highest Love

Bernadette's message : God is everywhere!

A place where the fire was lit long ago
and the fire of your Soul
and Its unconditional love
is kept alive

A light for your feet

And such is the miracle within our own hearts
as She brings forth the waters of regeneration,
healing and wholeness,
teaching you that Love is everywhere

A small naif shrine made from items I collected during my visit to Lourdes :  an embroidered holy card, a small collector's doll which I dressed up as Bernadette, a tiny statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, and a watercolour sketch of the Cathedral of Lourdes.  To strengthen the feel and theme of the innocent child and childhood feelings, I used birthday cake candles to represent the massive votives that are kept burning at the grotto.

You may want to join in or
visit other participants
in this sharing of A Virgin a Day
hosted by Rebecca


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pilgrimage of Mary - day five

A travelling altar or the altar of a traveller

a plastic statue painted to make it my own

a wooden cigar box

an opportunity to exchange time for a moment in eternity
as she contemplates the
sacred heart of her Beloved

the familiar and comforting feel
of the rosary beads
evokes the memory
japa mala
on distant shores

a bundle of holy cards
one image
speaks a thousand words
as Christ the High Priest
initiates the heart into blossoming
within and without

a brooch
to take the lingering sweet fragrance 
of the morning's meditation
as she sets out on her travels
wearing the sacred heart
on the altar of the body

om prema
a Hindu blessing that means in uncondititional love

the blessings of the Mother's unconditional love on your travels today
wherever you may go