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Friday, December 2, 2022

Twelve Days of Mary Day 2

 The Black Madonna and the Black Goddess is symbolic of the dark nightof the soul.  She can be seen as the alchemical stage of 'nigredo', the blacknessthrough which our soul substance is tempered and transformed.

Most traditions have a dark-night spirituality and the worship of the Black Madonna
is across all continents and all cultures.  In the Catholic tradition there is a powerful
meditation called 'The Cloud of Unknowing.'  In this meditation one
enters the path of unknowing and undoing, darkness and uncertainty.
And yet, the experience gained on any 'dark-night of the soul' tradition
is one of illumination and enlightenment.
When we enter the womb of the Black Madonna we enter the
passage of rebirth and She reflects the light in the darkness to us
as a glittering jewel.

When I created the shrine of  the Virgin of Guadulupe
in her sanctuary, the monastery of Guadalupe, near Cáceres, Extremadura in Spain
these images came to me

She is known as
Patronness of Extremadura
Queen of Hispanics
Our Lady of Silence

and reputed to be the first Guadulupe and that the famous
Virgen de Guadulupe of Mexico may or may not be a copy
of her or at least that these two melded into one.

She is the second VI card in the major arcana of the Mysteries of the Black Madonna.

In the Beloved, the colour black denotes Silence. The great silence of the absence of thought and manifestation in the mind of the initiate and contemplative. When one has been emptied out by the Black Virgin Mother and all ideas of self has been destroyed, Silence reigns.

Today is the second day of the Twelve Days of Mary and it also relates to the second day of the Epiphany of 27 December.

On our astro-colour wheel we are dealing the second card for 

Taurus (April 21 - May 22)

Colour orange

The planet Venus

The tarot card The Hierophant of the Mysteries (traditionally the Pope)
from the Mysteries of Mary
The Keeper of the Key
from the Mysteries of the Black Madonna

the second house of beauty and abundance

the sacral chakra; (orange)

and the spiritual center of the throat and the colour blue

The colour of the sacral is Orange, its complementary colour is violet
and its higher spiritual colour is blue

This card has bearing on  the time period of Taurus for your personal year in 2020
but also to the area of that house, the chakra, the spiritual centre etc.
If you have placed your 12 cards onto your wheel, turn over
the second card.

The Sacral Chakra

The sacral chakra is the seat of sexuality,  creativity and intuition.  It carries the wouinded emotions of fear, attachment, addiction, and the fear of judgement

The Hierophant of the Mysteries

Mary is the hierophant of the Mysteries,  The Path of Love teaches that the path is within oneself.
This card depicts an initiation into the deeper Mysteries of the Self.  Mary, as the Hierophant of these mysteries, will initiate you into uncovering your own deepest truth and you will be asked to follow the red thread instead of the dogma and belief systems outside of yourself.
Listen to the Voice within. You may be asked to make a 360 degree turn in your path.
A shift in attitude is the practical action embodying Wisdom.
Instead of fear, practise acceptance; replace the word sacrifice with detachment and a new gateway opens.
Instead of desire, practise peace and see which world you enter.  
                                                                            - from the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck

Keeper of the Key, Notre Dame de la Sarte of Huy, Belgium
She who reveals the sacred

She is ancient in appearance and her dress is covered in keys.
She is kept locked up in a side chapel of the church in Huy and it seems
impossible that I would be able to come face to face with her.
But when I arrived in Huy it was the Marian feast that takes place every seventh year
and the chapel was kept open for the duration of the feast.
Local women had placed sheafs of wheat on her altar as I walked into the chapel.
I lit a candle and sat down in silence.
After a few minutes, I got up to approach Her and as my eyes met Hers, 
the church bells started to ring above my head in the bell tower,  Loudly and piercing.
I felt gripped in Her presence.  It is as though a powerful beam of truth is shone
unto your self-awareness and you are compelled to reveal all.
In that moment I learnt that my self-protection of my true nature was only
to protect against my own inner critic.
Sacred knowledge of your own nature is Her key to the Mysteries

Meditation and contemplation on the second chakra (sacral)
and its higher spiritual centre (throat)

Love is sent forth from our being through our womb, our heart and
our words.  Love is the well from which all life springs forth.
It is the primal matter of the universe.  It lives within us within
the seed atom of perfection.  When we speak, our words carry our
inner light, love and power.  Light comes from within and darkness
precede the light.  We must have one with the other to truly know
and become Love.


Thursday, December 1, 2022

Twelve Days with Mary Day One

Twelve days of a Virgin 

Twelve days with Mary 

Twelve days of Loving Lupita

Twelve days of Mother Love

I welcome you to the Hearth of Mary and this online pilgrimage of 
Twelve Days with Mary 
which has been happening across various of my blogs since 2010 when I first joined up with Rebecca of Recuerda mi Corazon

For these twelve days I will be celebrating and sharing with you some the stories
of the Lady of Love as shared in the Mysteries of Mary and the Black Madonna tarot decks 
This online pilgrimage will culminate on 12 December
on the feast day of the Virgin of Guadulupe;
known in Spanish
as Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
and Virgen de Guadulupe.
I invite you to walk with us here and on Instagram
@walkingwithmary with the hashtags #walkingwithmary and #twelvedaysofmary

I am also sharing on the Walking with Mary community on Patreon

The yellow flower blossoms

She's our mother

The goddess on the barrel cactus

is our mother

The obsidian butterfly

She, our mother

She, goddess of the earth

A deer's what she's become

There on the desert plain

- Song of "Teteo Innan', Father Fray Bernadino de Sahagun, Florentine Codex (Song of Tonantzin, the Aztec goddess, translated by the Franciscan Fray Sahagun.)

Tonantzin was revered in the same location where the Virgin of Guadulupe’s apparitions took place in 1531 and where the Basilica of Virgin de Guadulupe stands today. Tonantzin has been translated as 'Mother of the gods' or 'Our Mother' by Sahagun. The goddess Tonantzin demanded human sacrifice and the Council of Lima in 1552 ordered that all trace of her be destroyed. However, Tonantzin did not disappear; She was integrated or absorbed into the Virgen of Guadulupe
Unlike the blue cloak of many of Virgen Mary's images, Guadulupe is recognized by her turquoise-green cloak and red dress. In Aztec mythology turqouise is the sacred colour of the earth as well as the moon mother goddess Tlazolteotl; the water and fertility goddess Chalchutlicue (The One with a skirt of green stones) and the fire and war god of the south, Huitzilopochtli. 'The god was believed to be 'immaculately' conceived with a feather by his mother, the goddess Coalicue (Lady of the Serpent Skirt) - extracted from the book The Black Madonna in Latin America and Europe by Malgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba.

May she forge open
our hearts
so that we are
free to love and
embrace all
 La Nuestra Senora, 
Sacred Woman

My Twelve Days with Mary Love has always centered around art and sacred artmaking and especially the sacred art making of the Mysteries decks.

Similar to the Thirty Days of Walking with Mary we will create an altar, create sacred space and gather each day to build the sacred container of transformation and blessings.

For these twelve days I invite you to create a special altar dedicated to 
Our Lady of Guadulupe

I added a round loaf of bread and a container of water;  after the daily ritual and blessing 
I will drink the water and sprinkle it over my altar
I picked beautiful fresh marigolds from my garden as a special offering

Never underestimate the power of ritual and ceremony.
You only need a small table or surface on which to create your altar.
The ritual of preparing the altar, lighting candle and incense,
indicates to the subconscious and unconscious that you are now entering
sacred time and space.

Blessing of the Altar

As in all ritual there is a certain set of actions;
each one designed with a particular focus and effect in mind.  In these Twelve 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, hieros gamos or sacred marriage.
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.

Today we use the Santa Maria de Guadalupe mantra to open our sacred space and to bless the altar.
You can add this mantra to each of the twelve days, adding other prayers and invocations.


La Guadalupana Tepeyacac, Santa Maria de Guadalupe

We are doing a 12 card spread for these 12 days. 

This tarot layout is based on the astro-colour* wheel. The astro-colour wheel is the twelve astrology signs, the twelve houses, the colours of the twelve chakras and the corresponding tarot cards and their archetypes.

In this spread each card represents the house and area of your life,  the chakra as well as the spiritual center that it will impact throughout the year.  It can become quite a layered reading as time goes on, so I suggest that you keep a journal.

Shuffle your deck and place 12 cards in a circle starting with the first house  and moving around anti-clockwise to the second house and ending with the twelfth house.

You can keep the cards face down and turn the applicable one over each day.

Today is the first day of the Twelve Days of Mary and it also relates to the first day of the Epiphany of 26 December.

The first card represents Aries (March 20 - April 21); 

The colour red;

The planet Mars;

The tarot card Emperor or The Good Father

the first house of 'self'; or soul and life purpose

the root chakra;

and the spiritual center of the 'head'

This card will be applicable for the time period of Aries for your personal year in 2023

Turn your first card in the wheel over; take your time to listen to what it has to say to you in the position of The Good Father,  

- How does it relate to your own inner father? 
- Do you need more air, water, fire or earth in your relationship with the inner father? 
- How does it relate to the way you see and relate to the Divine Masculine?  
- How does it relate to the way you see and relate to your own personal father? 
- And how does this affect the way you view the patriarchal world? 
- Does this card show you the wound or the gift of the Good Father? 

You may come back to this card later in the journey

Prayer to close the sacred space

Dios te salve, María, llena eres de gracia

Hail Mary, Blessed Mother of All
I enter your sacred hearth and suspend my mind
and all disbelief
I open my heart to receive your blessings
So be it



Sunday, November 27, 2022

Mysteries of Mary tarot deck pre-orders


The Mysteries of Mary tarot deck is now available on pre-order. The listings are available on my website www.hergracesacredart.com

Only a limited number of decks will be available.

The Mysteries of the Black Madonna tarot decks will be available on pre-order by the end of November.


Sunday, July 17, 2022

Mysteries of Mary tarot deck


The Mysteries of Mary tarot deck and guidebook is finally back in stock but only a small number of decks are available.

All my decks are printed by a small boutique printer and one of the first accredited neutral carbon printing companies in South Africa.

You can buy the deck sets on my website

There are two listings on the website - the first one is for a payment plan to help with the purchase price

Imaging Pilgrimage: Representations of Sacred Space in Contemporary Art

by Kathryn Barush published by Bloomsbury Visual Arts 2021

In her book Imaging Pilgrimage, Kathryn Barush brings together the study of medieval representations of pilgrimage to a number of contemporary art that is created after a pilgrimage and intended to act as a catalyst for others to experience, grace, healing and contemplation.  I am so honoured that she included my work with sacred altars and pilgrimage into this beautiful and enlightening book.


The Spirit of Tarot : The Search for God's Picture book is an exhibition at the Graduate Theological Union, in Berkeley California from 28 October 2021 to January 28, 2022. At the moment is it only an in-person exhibition, but it will probably become an online one next year, according to the exhibition archivist David Stiver.

A selection of 12 tarot decks were chosen for the exhibition, reflecting an inter-spiritual, intercultural spectrum and both the Mysteries of Mary and the Mysteries of the Black Madonna have been included. According to David Stiver, the exhibition is done in a circle with each display facing the centre. My decks are flanked by Vicky Noble's Motherpeace and Paul Foster Case's Bota tarot deck.


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Mysteries of the Black Madonna tarot deck sale


On Friday 22 April I am making available 20 Mysteries of the Black Madonna tarot decks at a reduced price.  

I printed the Mysteries of the Black Madonna tarot deck during the drastic Covid19 pandemic lockdown.  Many printing companies had a shortage of paper and staff. 
Companies were under pressure to produce as fast as they could to make up for backlogs.  This experience was part of the Black Madonna initiations that went into the spiritual and creative process of creating this deck.  I used a total of 6 printers before I found one that ticked all the boxes.

I am still sitting with a number of imperfect decks that I am offering to you at a discounted price. These are perfect decks in every other way and I paid full price for them. These cards are covered with a matte laminate covering which gives it a sturdy and somewhat thicker feeling.  I was unhappy with the line of the die cut across the top and bottom edges of the cards.  Please see the pictures.

The cards are printed on 380 gsm with a soft matt laminate layer, thicker than the varnished cards that I sold a year ago. 

There are no die cut lines on the long sides of the cards

The die cut lines are on the top and bottom edges of the cards

Unfortunately, due to the problems with the postal services, I can only ship with DHL Courier Express, efficient, safe and fast, but expensive. Delivery is within 10 days.

The post office still cannot guarantee nor track international delivery.  I ship from South Africa worldwide with DHL Courier Express.  The cost is included in the price of the deck set.

I ship the decks as printed matter which means that in the US no custom tax is payable.  However, under the new EU custom tax law changes, all contents have to be declared and it is taxable.  The shipping costs are not taxable.

This is a unique deck based on the mystical path of the Black Madonna and it is designed to be used as a tool on the spiritual journey.  It has been five years dedicated to research, pilgrimage, ritual, ceremony, and the creation of 79 shrines.  This deck is a book of altars, opening the door to a deeply sensual experience of the mystery of She Who wears the Black Cloak of the Night Sky.  Here you will discover little known names, long forgotten rituals, and a fragrance once known.  My vision is that this book of sacred altars will become a flowering and fragrant offering on many altars dedicated to Her, and that you will experience her direct gaze of wholeness.

It is also obvious that the art and iconography of the shrines, sanctuaries and statues imbue a certain sensitivity which connects with that most authentic, unveiled part of oneself. It is not the merit of the art that is most evocative to the pilgrim, but rather the pure devotion and worship of the believers who created the iconography and iconosphere of the shrines, which evoke a deep sense of being 'at one' with the sacred in the beholder.

When you enter the iconosphere or sacral space of the sanctuary, you enter into a profound ritual relationship which changes you. Your visual interaction with the sacred icon transforms you from tourist into pilgrim;  your visit becomes a ritual pilgrimage and you enter into a sacred relationship with those who have worshiped here before you and you become a devotee, even if it is only for the duration of your visit.  You are alchemically transformed from a passive visitor, who came to see the shrine, into an active participant in something far greater than ordinary life and its struggles.

Shrines and sanctuaries in their representation of the miraculous event, apparation or sacred story that took place there, are an intrinsic part of the ritual and relationship with the sacred.  The statues and other iconic works of art that are created to embody the apparition or miracle of the sacred being, are believed to be and has proved to be full of power.  Copies of these icons and shrines are also believed to carry some of the same power as they represent the sacred event and physical embodiment through the iconography.  The small souvenirs which include holy medals, ex-votos and especially the smaller replicas of the holy icon, are also an important part of the sacred relationship and serves an important ritual function in the personal devotion to the Mysteries.


 I have shared the context, research and creating process of the Mysteries of the Black Madonna tarot deck on Temple of Mary on Patreon.

I also share the pilgrimages and The Way of Mary as a spiritual path of freedom, with shaktypat, diksha, mantra and prayers.

I am currently working on the Mysteries of the Red Madonna, the Passion of Mary Magdalene and am sharing the visions and dreams and spiritual understanding on which the deck is based.

I also share on Instagram - @walkingwithmary


Hettienne Bhaktyma

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Mysteries of the Black Madonna tarot deck sale


The Mysteries of the Black Madonna tarot decks were printed during Covid19's highest lockdown in South Africa.  All businesses, except essential services, were closed down for a couple of months.  This, together with the collapse of international freight, minimum staff at Customs, and on and on, had a disastrous effect for the printing of a relatively small batch of cards.  I had to face challenge after challenge for the printing of both the decks and the books.  Businesses were in survival mode and there was no re-printing or tweaking of cards. 

Eventually I found a printer that could deliver, but only after I had received 300 decks from various printing company.  Some went straight into the recycling, but some I kept.

The Mysteries of the Black Madonna decks are sold out but I do have two boxes of decks that have minor imperfections.  I am planning to put these up for sale at a reduced price. 

Each deck will be accompanied by a handmade black velvet pouch lined with gold, the guidebook and the deck of cards.

The imperfection is the very noticeable die cut mark on the top and bottom ends of the cards. These cards are also laminated with a waterproof matte layer which makes the cards thicker and sturdier than the ones that I have been selling.

I will share more clear and in detail pictures when they go up for sale in the online shop at www.hergracesacredart.com

 I will also offer the option to purchase one of a variety of miniature Mary statues.  These are not available as a purchase on its own as the postal shipping is totally unreliable and there are still countries that are not open for mail from Africa.  Shipping is only offered with DHL Courier Express which is a direct delivery by courier.

Patrons of The Temple of Mary on Patreon always receive first choice and the date that the decks will be dropped in the shop with everyone else will be shared here on this blog and on my Instagram feed @walkingwithmary. 



Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Black Madonna of the New Dawn

An extract from an exclusive post on Patreon during the Novena to Our Lady of Living Fire

Nine days of images, art, contemplation and prayer

 Our Lady of the New Dawn sacred altar available

on www.hergracesacredart.com

It is a soft dawn sprinkled with the drops of birdsong.
In the sky the new moon is hanging just above the rising sun. I ponder my statue of Mary, placed in the most eastern corner of my garden, directly in the light of dawn during the astrological new year. 
Cloaked in the haze of the morning light, intense bliss rises in me, both tightening and releasing my heart and chest simultaneously and I hear the voice of Mary.
'You are not who you think you are.  It is not necessary, and at times quite pointless, to hang on to your weaknesses, foibles and strengths with such intent and focus.
Your nature may not always please you, or suit your idea of who you are.
The more you resist what is happening in your life and the more you resist your nature, the greater the wall which is blocking the light.
Only the warmth of the Light and its spiritual qualities of acceptance, compassion, understanding and peace, can bring life back to the barren wasteland that lies behind that wall.
Those who seek do not realise that it appears to them that they are making free and liberated choices, but this is very seldom true. You are a compilation of impressions, feelings, reactions, memories, half-felt emotions, fleeting desires and wishes and unexplored and half-lived dreams.
You carry within you the memories of all time.
At times you may appear to be a book, its pages the Keeper of all stories ever told and at other times you may feel like the blank pages, ready to be written onto. 
Both of these ideas may drive you to frustration, and into trying to become either or both or even 
to transcend the human experience by side-stepping the creative dance of creating and destroying.
But you are so much more than all of the above.  Within you lies the Holy Seed, dormant, waiting on the Kiss of Light.  Only the mind, with its ideas like clouds in the sky, is obscuring the Light from awakening the Tree of Life within you.
A mind locked down with ideas and concepts and beliefs of how you should be, is like concrete poured down onto a pavement.  It is only with the wearing away of time and weather that cracks can form, through which the tendril of a soft new plant can grow.  This tiny plant has the potential to become the beanstalk that will take Jack into the heavens of the giant.
A mind concretized with set ideas and theories, is the greatest obstacle to peace and ongoing blossoming and fruiting.

 That moment of absolute alignment with the Spirit within, is the kiss of the Light.

And all you need for that to happen, is to drop everything.
By that I mean that you can let your mind and its many doors and passages and rooms, drop away.
Over and over.
Every day
Every time

You are standing in the Light and each moment that you open your heart and you accept yourself and your nature and the many selves that you have created, you will receive the kiss of Light.
And I ask you to share your love with everyone, as we are all the One.'

- Our Lady of the Living Fire

Full article is availabe on Patreon