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.



  1. This is such a beautiful post, tribute to your grandmother and shrine, Hettienne. Your writing, as usual, is gorgeous. I love your references to Shekinah Mountainwater and Riane Eisler, both of whom I have read.

    I am reminded of the Navajo Spider Woman, along with The Spinners in various countries: the Moirai, the Sudice, the Norns, the 3 witches of Shakespeare - all weavers of our lives in the great web.

    I've enjoyed visiting here during these 12 days and hope to continue afterwards.

  2. they walk hand in hand, the women of one family, teh women of one world, and the youngest reflects the step of the oldest and the middle has the face of her mother, and we are one.. teacher, mother, creativity itself - i have so enjoyed this pilgrimage, many thanks to you..

  3. dear one,
    this shrine speaks to the mother in all of us. to families, and holding close the traditions of our hearts.
    i love this shrine and remember fondly the first time i saw it. i am especially touched be the sewing of the pearl crown with cross, so rich with the patina of time. i was so charmed to discover you had fashioned it yourself, so is the labor of love, timeless, as is Her love.
    thank you for stirring my heart so warmly with love.

  4. Of all the shrines you've featured, this is my favorite. Of all the shrine explications, this delights me most.

    "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."


  5. What a meaningful celebration of not only Our Lady, but to your grandmothers. And, how fortunate for you that you got to sit by her side and hear her stories. Something that I was never given the chance to have. From the bottom of my heart and soul-thank you for your rich contributions to this journey.
    We shall to continue to weave this rich tapestry of life and faith.

  6. Each item of your shrine seems to have a story of its own. I love the image you've woven of your grandmothers' love. Even though this journey is complete, I will return here.

  7. This shrine is one of my favorites too. I've learned a lot from you. I've enjoyed these past 12 days of sharing with you. Pease and Blessings to you.

  8. You are such a gift! So like 'Our Lady' with your beautiful shrine created out of love for your grandmothers and divine feminine in all of us ~ sending you lots of hugs and blessings ~ Wonderful, Wonderful post ~ Filled with wisdom ~

    (A Creative Harbor) aka artmusedog and Carol ^_^

  9. Yow-za!!!
    You saved the best for last, didn't you?
    GORGEOUS! The shrine just SHINES.
    What a tribute♥

  10. Fantastic shrine and beautiful tribute. It has been my pleasure to go on this journey with you. xo

  11. Hetienne, you never cease to amaze me with all of your art. It is so powerfully evocative for me personally. Love the detail in this shrine. See you soon, I hope. Thanks for all your sharing.

  12. She is beautifully enshrined, Hettienne. How lucky that your grandmother shares her birthday with Our Lady's feast day. And she is alive to experience it on 12-12-12. Hope she did something extra special to mark this unique event.

  13. Magnificent display and oh how I loved your words, made it such a treasure!!!
    thank you

  14. To your lovingly created shrine, I say: YES! Amen.

  15. It is wonderful to see your shrines, Hettienne. I am always fascinated to see how other women build their shrines and what objects they choose. When I see a shrine like you posted today, I know that you are a woman I have much in common with. So from this continent to yours, the distance is wiped away by the things we both hold close to our hearts and choose to express in our creations. Thank you for the past 12 days!!

  16. A shrine imbued with love spanning the generations - it's beautiful.
    I always think there is something so reassuring and timeless about following an unbroken thread. Lovely post!

  17. This is an incredibly beautiful shrine! Great post. I love having been a part of this Virgin A Day and hope to be part of it next year, too. xx


Thank you for your comments - I read each and every one! I have taken the word verification off - hope it makes it easier