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Sunday, February 21, 2021

Update on progress with the Mysteries of the Black Madonna tarot deck

 Mary the Holy Tree from the Mysteries of the Black Madonna tarot deck

I want to give you an update on the progress of the Mysteries of the Black Madonna deck.
The progress is going well and, as always, there are many unexpected twists and turns. Just when I thought that I had completed everything and now it is a simple matter of 'putting it all together', I am being gifted with radiant images and clarity from the cauldron of the unconscious and I am right now in the process of making very important changes to the deck. When I set out to create this deck I had an idea and a vision and this deck is surpassing all those expectations.
Also, I had forgotten how many little details there are to take care of to get a deck published. We are in lockdown level 3 in South Africa and everything is taking much longer than anticipated. I dont have to explain to you, we are all in the same boat.
My intended shipping date for the first pre-orders were set at end of March or end April. Right now the expected shipping out date for the first batch of pre-orders are set at end April and it will continue into May 2021.
Shipping for the second set of pre-orders will still start on time during May and June.

Thank you for your support and patience. I will add the second payment listing for those who have made one payment and you can pay the balance when the decks are ready to ship.

I will continue to share updates here, also on Patreon and

on Instagram @walkingwithmary




Friday, February 19, 2021

The Temple of Mary on Patreon


The Temple of Mary is now on Patreon.

You will find us at www.patreon.com/templeofmary

When I first started the Patreon community it was under the banner of The French Madonna, the name of my shop on Etsy.com and my blog.  I started the community to share my creative process and journey with Sacred Art and Sacred Altars and the Walking with Mary online annual retreat.

In the past 18 months the community has expanded so much and many have chosen the path of the Temple of Mary and self-initiated as Flamekeepers and received spiritual names in the tradition.

In February I took a pause to for a month to focus on the Mysteries of the Black Madonna tarot deck and during this time, through a series of dreams, I am guided to expand the Temple of Mary this year and to add to the initiations and more.

I have opened the highest tier of the Order of the Dove for a limited number of initiates.

I keep these numbers restricted as the initiations calls for energetic and spiritual support from my side and I can only work with a limited number of people at a time.

In March we are resuming our journey into the Mysteries of Mary, White Mary, Red Mary and Black Mary.  On 25 March is the feast day of the Annunciation of the Great Virgin and I will share the special link between this event and the oldest Temple of Mary on Earth, Notre Dame de Chartres, The Temple of the Queen of Heaven.

I have new and exciting surprises : such as two monthly draws - one for the higher tiers,  for a beautiful set of Mary treasures, such as relics, holy cards and special art work created by myself, miniature Marian statuettes and a second monthly draw for the lower cost tiers of various items, such as handmade tarot pouches, postcard prints from the upcoming Mysteries of the Black Madonna tarot, blessing seeds and so on.

I will share all these details during the month of March on Patreon


I am looking forward to the month of March and sharing the beauty, compassion, justice and peace of the Queen of Heaven with you.



Sunday, December 27, 2020

Day 27 Walking with Mary 2020

 Today is the final day of the thirty days of 

Walking with Mary.

Virgo Maria Potens
III Maria Natura
Sacred Mysteries of Mary Tarot deck

Working on the Black Madonna tarot deck I have once again uncovered
many golden threads.  One of them being the Presence of the Bee Goddess and
her Bee Priestesses.  In the Mysteries of Mary deck there are many
references to the Sacred Bee.

Mary as Maria Natura 
in the Sacred Mysteries of Mary Tarot deck is 
connected to the Sacred Bee
Here Mary is the strong,  powerful and positive Feminine, 
Empress and Mother of the World.
She is pregnant with Life and the absolute abundance of creativity
and beauty and she is the womb of potential 
for ever-returning life;  the possibility of birthing 
sustaining and fertile life both within the psyche,
the spiritual and the physical.

The Empress
The Mysteries of Mary tarot deck  www.hergracesacredart.com

Mary as the Empress embodies the powerful feminine force which is within
both the masculine and the feminine.  This strength is not limited to the masculine
action of this world. The receptivity of the feminine does not make
her only submissive and dependent and the activity
of the masculine does not make it only divisive and cutting.

The strong positive feminine power within the Soul and
within the person, is often regarded as wild and chaotic
and it is also mostly deeply feared and our culture
believes that she should be controlled and harnessed
for our own use and benefit.
In a simplistic fashion, mother nature is seen
as the pure expression of the powerful feminine.
But mother nature, and our instinctual nature, is only a
part of the feminine power.  The soul is, and in earlier times,
the Holy Spirit was as well, most often depicted as a woman
and if the soul is only seen as a wild force of nature which
should be dominated and controlled, where does that leave us
as human beings?  And where does that put women
in this world of organisation and structure?  And
what happens to traditionally womanly values
and enterprises and to whom is the mothering of
the world relegated?   We end up with a world in
which the ideal and image of a
 positive nurturing mother and the powerful empress 
is completely absent.

She is surrounded by the symbols of the Mother of Nature
and the Mother as Earth as known to mankind
through the ages and throughout many cultures.
  She is standing in the stream of living waters, 
as they are eternally birthing through her.
She has the bee, the Queen bee, the sheafs of wheat, bunches
of grapes and is standing on a mountain covered in roses.

She is the Queen Bee surrounded by bees.
In the ancient world those who worshipped Demeter and Artemis 
were referred to as 'bees' or 'melissas'.
The bee was also a symbol of Potnia, also referred to as the
pure Mother Bee in the Minoan mysteries.
The priestess at the sacred site of Delphi was known as
the 'honey bee' and honey has many sacred and profound metaphysical
and physical properties and metaphoric meaning.

In Samuel 1 "Jonathan... put forth the end of the rod 
that was in his hand, and dipped it in a honey comb, 
and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened."

The Empress
The Mysteries of Mary tarot deck http://www.hergracesacredart.com

Mary as The Empress embodies the great positive
Mother of the World.  Through her courageous
acts of meekness and mercy she manifests
the positive feminine force in this world.
She is the icon and symbol of our own
positive feminine strength and courage
and of the great mothering power that we possess.
We are capable of great acts of kindness,
we are capable of staying present in life with an open
heart and being present to our own vulnerability
and allowing the infinite waters of compassion
to flow through us to all of creation and to all living creatures,
including ourselves.

Thank you to all those who were part of this caravan of reflection,
art, poetry, tarot and contemplation


Saturday, December 26, 2020

Day 26 Walking with Mary 2020


XI Seat of Wisdom
Sacred Mysteries of Mary deck
Notre Dame Sous Terre de Chartres
Our Lady Underground
The Black Madonna hidden below the Cathedral of Chartres.

I read a wonderful book by Sybil Dana Reynolds
called Honey and Ink which brings
Our Lady of Chartres vividly back to life.

Since then I have visited Chartres twice.
The background tapestry in this shrine
I drew and stitched myself.  It is a replica
of the one that hangs behind Notre Dame Sous Terre
in the underground chapel of Chartres.
The image of the hand seen here is also painted above the door
which leads to the chapel and it is called
'The Hand of God'
and it is as though you are being blessed
by merely entering the hidden chapel
of the Underground Madonna

The artist that did the original tapestry said
that it depicts the Source of all Life
and she sees the Black Madonna seated
at the centre of the chaos of creation.

The hidden Black Madonna under the earth
is seated on the throne of wisdom and justice.
One has to descend through the Chartres Cathedral
to access these underground passages and
chapels, all of which are dimly lit and often
only by candle light.  You can only visit
this chapel under the guidance of an appointed
tour leader and you are not allowed to linger in
the chapel to pray or meditate.

The Black Madonna in the upper Basilica is
no longer black, but has been repainted and
redressed in a more modern European style
as part of the renovation of the Cathedral.
This seems to be an ongoing process of 'cleaning up' 
the Black Madonnas and removing all trace of their powerful
message and history. 

Oh Lady of Justice,
Seat of Wisdom,
where will I find thee?

“There is a reason Mary is everywhere. I've seen her image all over the world, 
in caf├ęs in Istanbul, on students' backpacks in Scotland, in a market stall in Jakarta, 
but I don't think her image is everywhere because she is a reminder to be obedient, 
and I don't think it has to do with social revolution. 
Images of  Mary remind us of  God's favor. 
Mary is what it looks like to believe that we already are who God says we are.”

― Nadia Bolz-Weber, Accidental Saints: 
Finding God in All the Wrong People


Friday, December 25, 2020

Day 25 Walking with Mary 2020

A Blessed Nativity Feast of the Holy Child

Puja in my garden with japonica petals from the
bush that grows next to her image

Welcome to the Hearth of Mary on this blessed day of good news
and healing

Today is the feast day of the Nativity of the Divine Child. 

This morning we step into our sacred space once again
and we will add a special puja (ritual of devotion) for
Mary and the birth of Her Holy Child.

A puja is a ritual dedicated to the worship of one's personal deity or devi.
(also called the Ishta Devata)

As in all ritual there is a certain set of actions;
each one designed with a particular focus and effect
in mind.  In these Thirty Days with Mary we
are devoting our focus, intent, emotion, senses,
passion and vision to evoke our
spiritual selves and to connect with our
own divinity as well as the integration between psyche and body,
masculine and feminine, mind and heart.
These rituals and tools are all part of ancient traditions known
as tantra or the hieros gamos.
Through repeated entry into the spiritual realms
we shed the perceptions and projections of the mind
and access a wider vision, a deeper connectedness to
all of life and  transpersonal wisdom.

My altar with some of my collection of dolls 

For today's ceremony or puja we use fresh flowers,
fresh flower petals, incense, music and if you can,
and you feel drawn to do so, movement and spontaneous dancing. 

Today's puja is dedicated to the
Holy Child, both Mary as child and 
the birth of the holy child Jesus.

You may create a special altar for today or add special items 
that have meaning to you.  Add special flowers.
Have a musical instrument ready, a hand drum, or a bell
or any instruments that you may use in ceremony.
Find a piece of music that has meaning to you
or pick a piece of music that is devoted to Mary.

If you have space, you can use  spontaneous movement and dancing
as part of your puja.

My Black Madonna frame drum

We open our sacred space with the daily prayer.
 Put your music on and you may want to put it on 'repeat'
so that it plays continually

Light the candles.

Light the incense and offer the sacred smoke to the items
on the altar and to the images.

Pick up your instrument and offer your devotion to
the Holy Child.
You may choose to chant or sing along and use your instrument of choice
or you may feel drawn to move your body in movement and offer
the devotion (bhakty) of your sacred dance to Her
Or you can combine it all.

After offering your heart through song and dance, we offer
the fresh rose petals to Mary and Jesus by showering her image with the petals.
You can also sprinkle some of the rose oil and water
from the altar as a blessing.
This is a very evocative and heart opening practise which
you can do as often as called to and not only on holy days.

You can do the daily mantra after the puja.

Daily Prayer

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou among women
and Blessed is the fruit of thy womb
Holy Mary,  Mother of God,
oh Rose Queen
You bestow your Blessing upon us
Now and Forever

Daily mantra

Om Jai Mata Mary Ma Namaha

Sit quietly for a few minutes, just allowing yourself absorb the energy you have invoked.
Enjoy it ...... feel the presence of the Sacred embracing you, flowing all around you.
We rejoice in our physical nature, appreciating this time to pause and remember the holy
purpose of our lives.  We feel gratitude for those travelling with us on this path of love
and freedom.  Feel a smile forming on your face.  You are happy to be here in this
peaceful inner place.  Let there be peace.

You can choose to draw a daily card at the end or to contemplate
your weekly card and see which insight arise after the ritual.

Nativity of Holy Child-Daughter

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 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.

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

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.

blessings to you


Thursday, December 24, 2020

Day 24 Walking with Mary December 2020

I am Thy Handmaiden
The fiat of Mary's consent

Each one of us is called to become the handmaiden of the Holy Mystery

The Angel said to her :
Hail full of grace,
the Lord is with you;
Blessed art thou amongst women

Two of Cups in Tarot Deck

Rejoice, depth hard to contemplate even for the eyes of angels!
Rejoice, you who are the King's throne!
Rejoice, you who bear Him who bears all!

Two of Vessels in the Suit of Compassion
Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

Rejoice, star that causes the Sun to appear!
Rejoice, womb of the Divine Incarnation!
Rejoice, you through whom the creation becomes new!
                                                 -  Romanus Melodos, Akathist Hymn to the Virgin

This is the Two of Vessels, 
from the suit of Compassion
and the mystery of Mary as Virgin
Archangel Gabriel, divine messenger,
gives her the news that she is the chosen one,
the Godbearer.  This is a pivotal moment in
Mary's life and her response changes the course
of the world.

I am Thy Handmaiden

 Archangel Gabriel is standing on 
two vessels.  The vessels are mainly used for
water or wine and here they are  symbolic of
the living waters of consciousness .
And indeed Mary is to become the vessel
of the Holy Son.
We are reminded of our own individual roles
as vessels of consciousness and our own
birthing of the new, be it art
or hope or inspiration or consciousness.

Each one of us is called to become the handmaiden of the Holy Mystery

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; 

be it unto me according to thy word.

The fiat of Mary is Mary's consent to the divine plan.
Her acceptance and consent
has created a new world of grace and
it is within the potential of each one of us
 to birth such love and grace.

Down the side of the card are tiny forget-me-not flowers,
one of Mary's sacred flowers and the white lilies
in the background.

The flower garland on Mary's head shows
that she is a virgin. 
It is also predictive of her future
state as Theotokos and
Queen of Heaven and  Earth.



Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Walking with Mary Day 23 December 2020

 Welcome to day 23 of Walking with Mary

The Mystical Rose

When we read that the Radiant Lady at Lourdes stands over the wild rose bush
and that she has golden roses on her bare feet, we realise that she is deeply identified with roses, as was Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

The rose just seems to be the most easily recognizable symbol for the flowering of differentiated consciousness or the unique divine spark. 

The Lady of Guadalupe brought forth roses in cold December and wrapped them tenderly in an ordinary tilma worn by an old Indian peasant. This is an image of wrapping consciousness in the outer cover of our human body, something that a mother does when she conceives a human life. It is something that the earth does when she provides us with the material for a human body. Or, another way to look at it, is that creation itself – the material world – is a wonderful cloak that covers the radiant divinity.
Juan Diego had something in common with the Lady who came to him on the hill of Tepeyac. They each had a cloak that was made of the fabric of created reality. She gave him a visual aid in order to teach him and us about this. She imprinted her picture graphically so that Her cloak – the entire cosmos – can now be seen upon his rough one.  This Lady is not interested in dogma or ideologies; she interfaces with us to teach us about our personal rose – our inner divinity – which is trying to become incarnate here.

The woman at Lourdes refuses to give any other name but to say "I am the Immaculate Conception." She does not say, as the Church would have Jesus' mother say, "I am the virgin Mary who has been immaculate from the moment of my conception." (conceived and born without sin of any kind) She says that she IS the Immaculate Conception. The Lady of the Grotto is the embodiment of the cosmos speaking to us as an aspect of God’s own Being. She shows us the breathlessly beautiful immaculate plan – God’s conception of materiality. She is telling us that she is an image of our created, material nature, which is nothing less than a cloak that covers divinity. She uses every means available to communicate to us about who we are and what will help us.

Handmaiden of the Suit of HolyRood
Mysteries of Mary tarot deck

In conjunction with Lourdes, it is necessary to speak more about Queen Isis whose lore is still embedded in the Christian mythology from its ancient roots in Judaism while it lingered in Egypt. The Lady of the Lourdes grotto asked specifically for processions. Queen Isis loved grottoes and processions. Processions to the goddess are as old as recorded history. What child of the pre-Vatican Catholic Church does not recall the May processions and the joy of strewing flowers in the path of the statue that represented Mary? It was a way of showing our deep devotion to our “Queen of Heaven.” She was “Queen of the angels and Queen of the May!” Bernadette referred at times to the Lady as  “The Queen of Heaven” or “The Beautiful Lady.”

We have an account, still extant, of an apparition granted by Queen Isis in ancient times that further points to the identity of the marvelous woman still appearing today. It comes from the book “The Golden Ass” written by Apuleius, an initiate of Isis, the night before he walked in her procession in 150 A.D. Here is his testimony that records the words spoken by the apparition that stood before him then:

“I am she that is the natural mother of all things, mistress and governess of all the elements, the initial progeny of worlds, chief of the powers divine, queen of all that are in hell, the principal of all that dwell in heaven, manifested alone and under one form of all the gods and goddesses. At my will the planets of the sky, the wholesome winds of the seas, and the lamentable silences of hell are disposed; my name, my divinity is adored throughout the world, in divers manners, in variable customs, and by many names.

For the Phrygians that are the first of all men call me the Mother of the gods of Pessinus; the Athenians, which are sprung from their own soil, Cecropian Minerva; the Cyprians, which are girt about by the sea, Paphian Venus; the Cretans, which bear arrows, Dictynian Diana; the Sicilians, which speak three tongues, infernal Proserpine; the Eleusinians, their ancient goddess Ceres; some Juno, others Belonna, others Hecate, others Ramnusie, and principally both sort of the Ethiopians, which dwell in the Orient and are enlightened by the morning rays of the sun; and the Egyptians, which are excellent in all kind of ancient doctrine, and by their proper ceremonies accustomed to worship me, do call me by my true name, Queen Isis." (Occidental Mythology, p. 42-43 - from The Masks of God series).

 When she appeared to Apuleius she was crowned with the headdress of the moon and two vipers, with corn stalks woven in her hair. Her multi-colored robe was woven with flowers and fruit, and her black mantle embroidered with stars and the moon. There is much similarity between the vision of Apuleius and that of Juan Diego, the visionary of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The mantle of Isis is covered on the outside by the night sky – by stars. Like Our Lady of Guadalupe, she is dressed in the cosmos itself as if it is her robe. 

 Spirit "wears" materiality like a garment. 
This garment is Earth's physical nature –  her Body. 
She/we are the Immaculate Conception!

Sutra for today :

I enter the Underworld as you pull me into your embrace, 
in every waking moment of living.
Contemplating on your Presence in the world,
opens me up to the poignant beauty and suffering
of all life in order and my  heart breaks open
over and over, over flowing with compassion.  
As my rigid mind dissolves in your
presence, all boundaries between myself and all living creatures
and the earth disappears and we are all one.
Ave Maria

Om Jai mata Mary Ma
jai jai ma