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Saturday, August 17, 2019

In preparation of Thirty Days with Mary spiritual practise

Our search for a God who looks like us begins in our own lives.
She will be found there -  Patricia Lynn Reilly

This is the second Thirty Days with Mary incorporating the
Mysteries of Mary tarot deck that I am hosting.
This is an invitation to embrace sacred consciousness and to
reclaim the sacred weaving and crafting of the sacred
practises of a priestess/priest devoted to Mary.

The annual Thirty Days with Mary started as an annual online devotional practise
of the Temple of Mary and her initiated Flamekeepers.

But I have been called to share with you in an ongoing way and to deepen
our understanding of the mystical aspects of the Mysteries of Mary.

Each Thirty Days of Mary is slightly different but mantras and initiations
are only changed every year as part of the initiations.

In these Thirty Days with Mary you will enter and re-enter into a direct and personal relationship with the Divine and in particular the Divine Mother in Her many names, aspects
and manifestations.

An initiate is one who chooses to turn his or her focus inward, into a metaphysical reality and upward into a wider context and upward into a higher consciousness.
An initiation is a ritual which takes the initiate through a doorway and threshold from the mundane ordinary reality into the sacred life.   

Creating a sacred space

It is a powerful practise to have a sacred space in which to meditate and focus on your activities. 
You can prepare this space beforehand with a special chair or space on the floor to sit on.

If you already have a meditation shawl, place it in your sacred space.  I suggest that you find
a special (meaning one that you use for this purpose) shawl with which to cover your shoulders or head.  In the bhakty tradition we wear white.

Create your altar with candles, incense, an essential oil burner, fresh flowers and of course a statue 
or image of Mother Mary.
Add your Mysteries of Mary tarot deck and healing amulet oracles.

You will add items to the altar over the thirty days.  

Blessing and consecration of space and items

On the first day of this journey I will share with you the diksha to bless and
consecrate all your items.  

You will need to gather the following items :

meditation shawl

rosary or mala or prayer beads

a few fresh lemons - at least one or two 

one or two cups of coarse sea salt

colours : white, red, dark blue, gold, yellow

small bottles of essential oils : eucalyptus, lemon and rose
(frankincense and sandalwood optional)

frankincense or myrrh incense

a journaling book

a couple of old magazines, calendars or picture books for cutting out images
cardboard to cut into A5 size for collaging

start collecting holy cards, or any images of Mary

a blank book that you can alter with crayons, or paints

crafting items for a shadow box - a small cardboard box or deep frame

baby pictures of yourself
any items that you may have from childhood
any favourite childhood picture books

None of these are essential.  You will have enough time to collect whatever you want to create.
You may wish to create nothing at all which is also perfect.
I add these items for those of you who like to be prepared from the get-go. 


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Walking with Mary September QnA

I am sharing some of the personal tools and ritual which I garnered
through my experiences and spiritual practices over the years.

I have found these practises and blessings to be of great value in my own journey  and believe that they may be of value to you as well.
I am not teaching a specific practise complete in itself with precise lists of what you have to do, but rather I will share with you some of the key practises and prayers which you can adapt to suit your own expression
and consciousnesness.
Some aspects may seem particularly vague, but that is done on purpose
as it will enable you to fill the gaps with your own inner understanding and to stretch yourself into ever-deepening
 layers of connection with self and the Divine.

May these practises and energy transferences (diksha) lead you deeper into the well of wisdom.

Energy Clearing

I will share some inspiration on how to create your sacred space in advance before you start with the meditations. 
It is also important to clear your space before you start with the consecration
of your altar and shawl, etc and before you receive the first mantra for the blessing (diksha) and meditations.

There are various ways of clearing your space : these are just a few that I like to use : burning sage or mpepho (a local indigenous plant in South Africa); 
burning aromatherapy oils;  holy water; sacred waters and salt.

My favourite way of cleansing is the following :

A whole lemon placed in the room and one on the altar.  I leave the lemons in place for weeks (until it has naturally dried out).  
When the lemon starts to rot it has absorbed negative
energy and you have to put it into the compost or garden and replace it with another fresh lemon.

Lemons are powerful energy clearing fruit and one of the oldest holy fruits that we know.  The lemon also aborbs the sacred energies 
of the activated altar and space and you 
can eat it as prasadh (blessed food) after your sacrament.

Secondly I use salt.  
I place a bowl of salt on my altar and this is replaced with clean salt regularly.
It is also a good practise to sprinkle a bit of salt 
in the corners of the room and to sweep
them out regularly. 
 You may be familiar with bathing in water with 
a few tablespoons of Epsom salts
added to it.  I also add slices of lemon to my bath water 
or to my shower, especially
after I had done personal clearing or healing work on others.

In preparation of my sacred space and before any meditation or healing work, I burn frankincense
and myrhh granules (on lit charcoal)
 or a good quality vegan incense.
I clear the entire room with the smoke of the frankincense.

I also clear my space by sprinkling blessed water on everything.

Music is also a powerful energetic cleanser.  We all have different vibrations
and resonate with different frequencies.  I have my favourite music which includes
classical music by Mozart and Beethoven, chants by Krishna Das and my
absolute favourite are the chants of Lourdes.  You can find these online :
Les 20 plus beaux chants pour la messe
Lourdes : 150 Ans de chants

Blessing of the Altar

Placing sacred items and images on your altar, sanctifies and blesses everything
that is within the energy field of those items. 
 If you work with a pendulum you can
prove this fact to yourself.  You can test the frequency and vibration of a space
without a sacred image.  
Then place the image or holy water or rosary which had
been used for prayers, back into the space and test the space again.
You may be amazed at the increase in vibration. 
 Our cells consists mainly of water
and prana and these vibrate in resonance with its surroundings. 

Essential oils

I will share with you the secret recipes for meditation blends
during the weeks to come.

We will use lemon oil, eucalyptus oil, rose oil and if can afford to,
sandalwood oil.  Frankincense oil also has a very high vibration but is very expensive.

Candles and colours over the four weeks

You can keep the same candle for the four weeks or you can
change the colour and/or image of the candle that you work with..

Feel free to change the colour of your altar cloth and flowers too.

We will do a draw, layout and reading from the 
 Mysteries of Mary tarot deck
for each week, but you can use any deck that you choose to.

The themes for the four weeks are :

Week 1 - Saturday 7 September to Friday 13 September 2019

The Nativity of Mary 
- the inner child -
The Suit of Vessels

Week 2 Saturday 14 September to Friday 20 September
Mary as Mother
- the tree of life -
The Suit of Holy Rood

Week 3 Saturday 21 September to Friday 27 September
Mary as Sophia, Our Lady of Wisdom, Shekinah
- high priestess -
The Suit of Distaff

Week 4 Saturday 28 September to Friday 4 October
Mary as the sacred rose garden
- Cosmic Mary -
The Suit of Roses

I will share posts during each week with support, 
discussions and other tools such
as creating soulcollage cards, keeping a journal, dream work and so on.
You can share and connect with the Walking with Mary community
on Instagram #walkingwithmary #thirtydayswithmary 
We are also on www.patreon.com/thefrenchmadonna
and I share on FB on the Mysteries of Mary tarot page


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Walking with Mary - why Mary?

From Mara to Miriam, from Miriam to Mariam and Maryam to Mary.
She is the archetypal Divine Woman of our times. 
Mary is the bridge
between the mortal and immortal feminine. 
She is the Sacred Virgin and Mother, Beloved Bride
and Lady Wisdom.

'Whoever knows the spiritual secrets of the world and knows what speaks through
Isis and Madonna sees in them something of primeval life, something much more alive
than whatever one can express in any slaving imitation to a physical human model.
A person of this kind whose gaze penetrates to the living quality of the Madonna
as through a veil, beholding the spiritual behind her, can feel piety in
complete spiritual freedom, free from all dogma and prejudice.  Such a person
will unite science, or wisdom, with art in his or her soul and give new birth to genuine
free religious feeling' - Rudolph Steiner

According to the Ageless Wisdom and great seers like Rudolph Steiner and Helena Blavatsky, the Grail knowledge (esoteric and hidden knowledge of the new era of divine love) began to flow into the consciousness of humanity 2000 years ago.  This new consciousness has the ability
to transform wisdom into love.  Through love outer wisdom becomes inner wisdom.
The transformation of wisdom into love is an action.  It can be seen as a passionate on-going relationship with another being.  In the case of the spiritual vision it is seen as a Feminine
Being and the transformative power of your love for Her.  This is called Bhakty (devotion) in 
Tantra Yoga (the sacred tradition of the mystical marriage).

The thirty days of Walking with Mary practises is part of the Yoga of the Mother in the
Bhakty tradition
of devotion to Our Lady Mary.

The poet Dante had a great love for Lady Philosophy. Dante's relationship with her
was no mere allegory.
It was a concrete experience of a passionate relationship with Lady Philosophy.

For Jacob Boehme the incarnation of Sophia in Mary is central to Sophiology ;

'Sophia was above all chosen and sent to unite herself with Mary and to
strengthen her, so that she would be able to become the mother of the
Incarnating Logos.  She incarnated into Mary; Mary is the incarnated Sophia.'

But Christianity, by insisting on the chastity of the Mother Goddess, utterly
transformed the meaning of the matriarchal image even though to all outward appearances
it remained unchanged.  The image of the Mother Goddess with her child
represented her sexuality and procreative power, whereas that of the Virgin
and child stood for her celibacy and the will of God.
 She was merely the agent through which he acted. 
But early on, many women and men felt differently.  They paid homage to 
Mary by customary offerings to Goddess.  The church, aware of the similarities
of Mary with Goddess, converted existing temples and shrines and adapted
rituals into its own devotional calendar.
Thus Mary seemed to belong to the Roman Catholic Church and early on she was
even there side-lined into a minor role.
She was virtually removed from the Protestant Church.

Mary's most common personifications in the liturgy and in art are
Virgin, Mother and Queen (reminiscent of the Triple Goddess ).
 'Mary' is a Greek pronunciation of the Hebrew name Miriam
or Miriamne.  There are many theories about his name, such as that Mary
might not even be a personal name, but a title meaning Priestess.

In the age of the troubadours, Mary was
praised as the object of courtly love, the untouchable beauty to be praised above
all others.  Many paintings of this era portrayed Mary as a sensuous woman.
Offering of love to her were common.  One legend tells of a man who gave
Mary a crown of 50 roses every day.

Monks and priests used to wed Mary.  Hopeful knights were known to
place a ring on Mary's finger.  If the statue gripped the ring firmly, the knight
considered himself her Bridegroom and entered a religious order.  In Greece,
men who worshiped Venus performed the same ritual.  Venus was also known to 
firmly grip the rings of the men she loved. 

In the annual Thirty Days of Mary I share ritual and initiation with you;
practises and a spiritual path that I wrote down in a state of bliss for hours
through the night.  I had followed a path of tantra yoga and had received
various initiations.  During my visit to Lourdes I felt deeply called to marry
the eastern tradition of bhakty with the western tradition of pilgrimage
 within myself and my spiritual path.
(You will find more posts on my story on my blog Cloister of the Heart)
The pages that I had written down that night, contained a complete guidebook
for a spiritual community devoted to Mary.
I founded the Temple of Mary and initiated Flamekeepers to maintain
the fire in the Hearth of Mary.
Working on the tarot deck of the Mysteries of Mary and my
pilgrimages I withdrew deeper into my spiritual path
and realised that I cannot burn the candle on both ends.

My vision is to continue to offer the Thirty Days with Mary
to all those who work with the deck and that each year the
thirty days retreat will deepen and expand.
When you have completed the Thirty Days you
are a Keeper of the Hearth and you can continue
to keep the flame burning.

For those who would like to continue the journey and become
a Flamekeeper, I will be introducing the initiations on Patreon
later this year.


Sri Hettienne BhaktyMaria Ma

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Thirty Days with Mary September 2019

Walking with Mary for thirty days
7 September 2019

When you pray to Mary, mother of Jesus, you pray, without knowing it,
to the World Mother in her many forms. -  The Mists of Avalon

You are invited to join me and the Temple of Mary in a 30 day practice with the metaphor, Sacred Presence and iconography of Blessed Mary.  
We will start Saturday 7 September 2019 on the eve of the Nativity of Mary
 and continue till Sunday 6 October, the eve of the feast day
of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Walking with Mary focuses on the tarot deck
Mysteries of Mary tarot deck.  If you do not own the deck you can still
join in.  There are daily practises, mantras, chants, ritual, dance,
soulcollage, tarot spreads and more.

A  Walking with Mary community exists around the globe and
we are united in our love for the sacred feminine in the embodiment of Mary.
If you wish to, we share on Instagram with the hash tags

and on Facebook on the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck page.

You can subscribe to this blog on the right hand side column
'Subscribe by email' and you will receive the posts via email.
You can also follow this blog.
I have a group on Patreon called Walking with Mary.
You will find us on www.patreon.com/thefrenchmadonna
and for $5 a month you will receive monthly posts and background
information on the deck and an on-going spiritual practise.

You can participate wherever you are and you can spend as much time as you can afford to on the daily practise.  The month of Walking with Mary will include special prayers, contemplation, spiritual exercises and tools to uncover your own Sacred Heart and strengthen your relationship with 
Blessed Mary.

This is a free event and open to everyone
Over the next few days I will share here a few items that you have to collect and prepare beforehand.
If you own the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck and/or the  Amulets of Mary Healing Oracle,
you can bring them to this event.

We will consecrate our decks and we will set up a special Walking with Mary altar.  

You may like to read my Art Novena to Lourdes or Mondays with Mary posts
on my blog Cloister of the Heart at
for some background to my sacred path of art as spiritual practise
and what you can expect of Walking with Mary.

You will experience the flowering of peace and joy and you will see the changes in your personal life unfold as you walk these thirty days with Mary.


Sunday, February 10, 2019

Day 8 of Art Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes

Fire and Light

Fire and light are both powerful  symbols and alchemical agents
of transformation
and they play an important role in myth,
fairy tale and religious stories and rites.

I took this picture during a full moon on the Nativity of Mary
at the light procession at the sanctuary of Lourdes
In the story of Bernadette and the Soubirous family we
learn that Bernadette's father, a miller by craft and trade,
had fallen on hard times and the family had lost everything.
To earn money he undertook to dispose of waste materials from
the local hospital.  He took the bloodied and putrid bandages
in a small wooden wagon and set off
to the grotto of Massabielles where he built a big fire

'There arises an evil-smelling pyramid of
blood-soaked cotton, pus-stained bandages,
and filthy linen rags...quickly he tosses his box
of matches to set the heap on fire...The horrid
combustible pyramid flares up on the instant...
this strange sacrificial pyre, whose smoke, graciously
accepted by Heaven, rises in a straight line.
extract from The Song of Bernadette

a vestal virgin in Rome

A shrine of Bernadette Soubirous with the
candles of Lourdes

Fire is of great importance to us.  We use it to
cook our food and to keep warm in winter.
The hearth and its fire has always been a symbol
of the divine presence of the Deity who
provides and supplies us with what we need.
The candle is also seen as the flame of the Soul.
Those with mystical sight can see the flame that
is alit on the crown of the awakened ones.

The crown on top of the basilica of Our Lady of Lourdes

One can see the halo of a burning flame with the naked eye
and holy ones and awakened ones are often
drawn with similar halos.

Even though we understand how fire is created, it remains
a mystical ocurrence with miraculous abilities.
Similarly, as prana is ignited in the body (spontaneously
or through spiritual practice) and involuntary and
unexpected changes take place in both the mind, the body
and the heart, it is a wondrous mystical occurrence.
As inner sight develops and extra sensory perception
and a vast peace eventually settles in your being,
one feels drawn to make these events manifest in ritual
and practise.

Since ancient days a candle was kept alit in the temples and cities
as an offering to the heavens and as a sign of the unwavering spirit.
This is still the practise at Lourdes and also at Kildare where
the Brigidine nuns keep the flame lit.

The candles at the sanctuary of Lourdes are
kept burning 27 hours a day

Radiant Mary, shine radiantly upon me.
Bright Lady who illuminates my inner darkness
Yours is the incorruptible fire;
As it is clean, it cleanses; as it is pure, it purifies.

Taken in my garden in the most eastern corner
at dawn


Saturday, February 9, 2019

Days 30 and Day 7

I am the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of Lebanon

Blessings to you as we reach the end of our
Thirty Days with Mary journey and as we approach
the feast day of the Immaculate Conception.

During these days we have covered so many
aspects of the Divine Feminine and who and what
Mary is to us. We have peeled away the layers
and have stared deeply into the mirror darkly.

I have offered the Thirty Days with Mary a few times
over the last few years, but this year has been
very special, thanks to all of you.
Thank you for sharing your images, your experiences,
your insights and your own resistances.
I could relate to each and every one.

Today I offer you these thoughts to ponder :

The Mysteries of Mary and the Christian mystery of the incarnation
of the Divine into earthly matter, is the ultimate sacred marriage,
the hieros gamos, the marriage of the greatest opposites,
that of heaven and earth.
We cannot fathom how does heaven and earth unite as one
and we cannot fathom that all of earthly matter is sanctified
by the divine essence that lives in all.
But we can accept the open invitation that the Soul
does exist in this body and we can accept that all is
blessed by the Presence of the Divine.

There is no separation between holy and ordinary

The Mystery of the Incarnation of the divine into the ordinary
has been told through many aeons of time and through
many cultures and traditions.  It is not only now
in the new unfolding age that we are being reminded
that woman metaphorically and in human
consciousness, represent matter (mater) and that
woman (matter) mothers the Divine.  

Preparing to greet the goddess

Do not think of her unless you are prepared
to be driven to your limits;
to rush forth from yourself
like a ritual bowl overflowing
with consecrated wine.

Do not summon her image
unless you are ready to be blinded,
to stand in the flash
of a center exploding,
yourself shattering into the landscape,
wavering bits of bark and water.

Do not speak her name
until you have said goodbye
to all your familiar trinkets -
your mirrors, your bracelets, 
your childhood adorations -
From now on you are nothing,
a ghost hovering at the window,
a voice singing under water. 

             - Dorothy Waters

Om Jai mata Mary Ma
Jai jai ma

Day 7 of the Nine day Art Novena to Lady of Lourdes

The Ace of Vessels
Mysteries of Mary tarot deck

“We are now, I believe, on the threshold of a third stage which I call the stage of the sacred marriage. This is the only position we could possibly take and still survive. This is a stage beyond both matriarchy and patriarchy. It involves the restoration to human respect of all of the rejected powers of the feminine. But it is absolutely essential that this restoration should be accomplished in the deep spirit of the sacred feminine. Not only should we invoke the sacred feminine, restore the sacred feminine, but this union between the matriarchal and the patriarchal, the sacred marriage, must be accomplished in the spirit of the sacred feminine for it to be real, effective, rich, and fecund. It must occur in her spirit of unconditional love, in her spirit of tolerance, forgiveness, all-embracing and all-harmonizing balance, and not, in any sense, involve a swing in the other direction.”

― Andrew Harvey, The Return of the Mother

She who Priestesses the Holy in the Ordinary;
The Vessel of the new age of humanity.
The High Priestess is in complete balance,
carrying the two sacred vessels of the living waters
of consciousness.  She is the vehicle for the inner
sacred marriage; the coming together of
masculine and feminine, spirit and matter,
the holy and the ordinary.

We awaken to the Inner Presence by discovering the story that
lives within each one of us.
 Here in this shrine, 
she has stepped off the wheel of fate (usually symbolised by your
astrology chart which has fixed your destiny in time and space) and
she has also stepped off the half-moon.  Often the High Priestess,
the Virgin Goddess, the Queen of Heaven, stands on the half-moon,
a symbol amongst other things, of the influence of the hidden
world of emotions.

The Soul within you is priestessing the healing balm for your own
personal story.

The Ace of Vessels
Mysteries of Mary tarot deck

Prayer for today :

I open myself to the spirit of the sacred feminine as embodied
and demonstrated by Blessed Mary and Bernadette Soubirous and the temenos
of Lourdes.  I invoke the sacred feminine
presence to cultivate the inner garden for the hieros gamos, 
the sacred marriage within myself and my world 

Blessings to you

Friday, February 8, 2019

Day 29 and Day 6

Water has always been the sacred energy of the feminine.
When one follows the leylines in the earth, the Mary line
curves and spirals around wells and you will find
cathedral and churches built on the power points of the Michael
lines (as they are known in the UK)
The feminine has always been worshipped at wells
and it is quite noticeable what an important role the well
plays in Judeo-Christianity and its stories and they
usually involve a woman..

From the very first days, miraculous cures have been granted at Lourdes to many who drank or bathed in the spring that Bernadette discovered at the Lady’s prompting. The Catholic Church is extremely slow and meticulous about acknowledging the validity of a cure and so most of the cures claimed there are never officially recognized. Even so, there are dozens of totally recognized cures that have happened at Lourdes that have been documented by the Church and the medical profession. The first healings happened almost immediately in 1858 and continue until the present day. 

This healing is brought to us on many, many levels.

A picture taken by myself of the Grotto and the spring
and the pyramid of candles

Water has the power to drown us or to quench our thirst.
We know Mary as the loving nurturing mother and also
as the Mater Dolorosa, the grieving mourning mother,
dressed in black, mourning the loss of her son.

In Lourdes you will see hundreds of pilgrims carrying large
containers of water from the sacred spring home every day.
We bring tiny bottles of the healing waters home with us.
Mary is called a Vessel of Spirit, a Vessel of Honour and here in
Lourdes she is the Vessel of the Sacred Waters.

Mary as Alchemical Vessel

In alchemy the vessel is the container in which the
various ingredients are mixed and transformed by each other.
It was believed that the alchemists were looking for
a way to turn lead into gold, but this is a metaphorical
journey of transforming darkness into light.  Or of
finding joy and peace amidst sorrow and hardship as we live
in a world of radical opposites and many challenges.

Mary is the vessel for the divine incarnated in herself as 
the Immaculate Conception and in
giving birth to her Son
and then as all of us.  

water containers at Lourdes

She is also the spiritual vessel in which
opposites combine.  As we are tested and challenged, like Bernadette,
we have the choice to obey the instructions of the voice of the Lady
that no-one else sees or to listen to the incredulous villagers and
Cure.  As we follow the calling of our heart, we are led to dig where
no-one else thought to look and we will uncover a spring that will
feed and nourish thousands.

Prayer for today :

I open myself to your presence, o Great Mother;
I commit myself to your priestesshood of miracle thinking
and the practise of faith in the extraordinary.
I am willing for my eyes and heart to be broken open
by your divine and blinding presence;
as I priestess your love and compassion in the world.