Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Join me in the sacred on a pilgrimage to the Three Marys in France







Pilgrimage to sacred sites across the globe has been an integral part of my spiritual journey.  For the past twenty plus years I have travelled to where I felt called.  The first pilgrimage that I took with the intent of uncovering and making sense of this calling, was the visit to the Feast Day of Archangel Michael in the tiny village of Monte Sant' Angelo in Italy.  This experience led to the next one and the next one and it led me directly to the Goddess Conferences in Glastonbury which I attended for many years. In 2008 I hosted the first International Goddess Celebration in South Africa.  You can read about some of these stories here or on my blog Cloister of the Heart :  http://pathofdivinelove.blogspot.co.za/p/sacred-journeys-pilgrimages-from-2000.html



Light rosary procession nightly at Lourdes



My visit to Lourdes in 2011 changed the entire direction of my spiritual journey and interpretation of my teachings and I started the Temple of Mary in South Africa.  My website is www.templeofmary.com.
In 2014 I took time off from teaching the Mysteries of the Temple of Mary and spent the next three years creating and publishing the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck and guide book.  The deck includes many of the places that I visited and the personal insights that I gained during these pilgrimages.

Now I am inviting you to accompany me on a small pilgrimage to the Three Marys in France.
The pilgrimage is still in the planning stage and the intended dates are





  
23 May to 2 June 2019

Starting in Marseilles and ending in Lourdes, France

We will meet in Marseilles and visit the Black Madonna of Marseillies, the Notre-dame de la Garde.

The bell tower of Notre Dame de la Gare
Marseilles, France


Sara la Kali and Saintes Maries de la Mer in the Mysteries
of Mary tarot deck

From Marseille we will drive to the seaside town of Saintes Maries de la Mer where legend has it that the small boat without sail or oars and carrying the three Marys landed.  Here Sante Sara, the black madonna of the Rom Gypsies, miraculously covered the ocean with her cloak and the women could disembark.  Annually hundreds of pilgrims arrive in the small town and for a week there is festivities, celebrations and wonderful processions carrying Sante Sara into the ocean.
We will spend three nights at Saintes Maries de la Mer to take in the wonderful vibrant
market, the wonderful food of this specific region, the daily opening of the town with the running of the white horses of the Camargue and to participate in the two main events of the pilgrimage :  the two processions on consecutive days of carrying the two Marys and Sante Sara into the ocean.  Similar to the Hindu traditions of Durga Ma, the water is blessed by the saint's immersion into the water and many pilgrims follow her into the waves.


Picture taken by myself of Mary Magdalene crypt in Basilica in
St Maximin la Ste Baume

This southern region of France is known for The Lady of the Blue Apples.
Here is the shrine from the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck which depicts the Lady
of the Blue Apples.

The Lady of the Blue Apples



One of the Mary Magdalene shrines in the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

The following three nights are spent in Saint Maximin le St Baume.  The town is situated around the magnificent Mary Magdalene Basilica and convent which is now a hotel in which we will stay, right next door to the Basilica.  The Basilica contains the skull relic of Mary Magdalene which is on display once a year on her feast day in June.  You will be able to visit the Basilica and Mary Magdalene crypt more than once and also to spend time there in prayer and meditation.
From here we will undertake a day visit to the grotto where Mary Magdalene spent the last thirty years of her life.  It is a bit of a steep walk up the side of the mountain, but it has carved steps and the walk is done as a ritual and a sacred pilgrimage, so no rushing!  We will drink water from the sacred spring in the Sanctuary
of Mary Magdalene.
St Maximin is known for its lovely markets and there will be personal time for shopping and exploring as well as a day trip to Arles and Aix en Provence known for quaint shops and restaurants


St Bernadette in the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck

Travelling from the south of France to Lourdes still to be finalised.






Four nights will be spent in an appart-hotel on the river, within walking distance of the main sanctuary and grotto of Lourdes.  These three days will be absolutely packed with magic and beauty.  We will attend the rosary of light procession every night;  visit the grotto every day;  dip rosaries and amulets in the healing waters;  take a bath in the healing baths, visit the incredible rosary basilica and immerse ourselves in the incredible energies of Our Lady of Lourdes.  There are also  and explore the life of St Bernadette in the many chapels and museums in the town.  And of course there are many shops for souvenirs, statues and more.


Depending on your own travel arrangements, you can travel back to Marseilles or Paris or stay longer in Lourdes.



Picture taken during procession at Lourdes
2015 pilgrimage



Sainte Sara la Kali in her many robes in the procession on the way
to the beach where she is submerged into the water and everyone
enters the blessed waters

You can read about my annual pilgrimages on my blog
Cloister of the heart at http://pathofdivinelove.blogspot.com


Join us for 11 nights and 12 days in France
on a life-changing pilgrimage and retreat
seen through the lens of Mysteries of Mary tarot and ritual




We will explore the three aspects of Mary in the stories and events of  Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection,  her journey with two other Marys in a boat to Saintes Maries de la Mer where they were miraculously saved by Sara la Kali, to the last days of her life in the grotto at La Sainte Baume and then we will travel to Lourdes where we will spend the final four nights of this pilgrimage. It will include three days at the Sara la Kali pilgrimage and gypsy festival  at Saintes Maries de la Mer  We will also pay a visit to the Black Madonna in Marseilles.



The focus of this pilgrimage is the Divine Feminine in the three aspects of Mary  Time will be spent immersing
ourselves in the sacred energies as pilgrims on these ancient paths;  a daily meditation circle and tarot work,
tarot journalling, ritual,  visiting the reliquaries, creating your own tarot card and collage, participating in the nightly light rosary procession at Lourdes, drinking of the sacred waters of the miracle spring at Lourdes, visiting the Basilica and enough personal time to soak it all up and to look after the sensual pleasures of life, such as market scavenging, eating local food and time to rest and integrate. And did I mention three days during the feast day of Sara la Kali and the sacred gypsy festival and pilgrimage?




The basilica in St Maximin la St Baume where the remains
of Mary Magdalene was found and the basilica was
erected on the site



Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck



Picture taken in crypt of Church of Saintes Maries de les Mer 2012

You can read about my previous pilgrimage to the festival
and pilgrimage of the Romani Gypsies to
Sante Sara la Kali here

Ave Maria!
An  unforgettable experience.
Read more about my many pilgrimages to Lourdes

Each morning will start with a sacred circle of focus and intent;  We will work with the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck in a deep and healing way - discussions will be personalised for you and for your own focus for the pilgrimage and spiritual journey.  Each pilgrim will receive a specially created tarot journal and images for the pilgrimage.  You will have time to journal and collage your entire pilgrimage and all work done with the tarot.  A workshop in which you will create your own personal tarot card compiled of insights and experiences during the pilgrimage.

Since planning these pilgrimages I have been creating the Amulets of Mary Blessing and healing sets based on the story of Lourdes, Santa Sara and Mary Magdalene.  I will include these into the daily sessions and I will share my insights and teachings on these ancient systems with you. 



A handcrafted Mysteries of Mary Tarot Rosary
for each pilgrim
www.hergracesacredart.com

Each pilgrim will receive :

*  a Mary Magdalene/Mary tarot rosary which can be worn to all sacred sites for blessing

*  a specially created pilgrim's tarot journal specifically for the Mary Magdalene pilgrimage

*  sheets of images and small items for your own tarot collage and tarot journalling - we will scavenge the village brocantes for additional material and visit the shops at the sacred sites for holy medals, etc.

*  a bottle of salts to be blessed and used in ritual

*a link bracelet for attaching amulets and holy medals along your pilgrimage

I will provide final details, a full itinerary and costs in June and bookings will open in June 2018
Only 6 persons can be accommodated
Final dates, details and prices will follow in due course.

The full itinerary will be posted here

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I am on Instagram as @thefrenchmadonna


blessings
Hettienne







Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Mary Amulet and Holy Card Blessing Set



Blessing Amulets of Mary Oracle Set


The Amulets of Mary Oracle is a two-fold oracle, blessing and healing set incorporating various ancient traditions including the Benedicaria, the sacred path of the pilgrim and priestesshood in the Temple of Mary and the sanctification of the ordinary through the blessing way.



The Amulets of Mary Oracle and the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck are a culmination of my own conscious spiritual journey of the past 25 years.  It incorporates the practise of Sacred Altarmaking, the devotion of the pilgrim to sacred places, the use of holy waters and relics, the creation of sacred oils and elixers and my work as Diksha giver (Blessing giver) and Guru in the Shaktipat tradition of the Great Mother and my devotion to the Blessed Mary.

Recently, through various books (all listed in the Bibliography of the accompanying booklet) 
I learnt about the ancient tradition of Benedicaria and the work of a Benedetta.  Although I am not born into the Italian culture, my journey as pilgrim did start in Italy with the call issued by Archangel Michael to visit his grotto in Mont Sant’Angelo and I see myself as a modern Benedetta, continuously uncovering more.

The Amulets can be used with and alongside the Mysteries of Mary Tarot cards.




Benedicaria, the Blessing Way, is an ancient
Catholic and domestic folk tradition practised by the Italians in Southern Italy.  This tradition is fast fading from modern society, but many of its practises are still part of syncretic worship and devotion.

One who practices the Benedicaria, is known as a Benedetta, or a Wise Woman and a Benedetto, a Wise Man .  Benedicaria is a private form of practising your religion and it blends with many domestic practises, such as the blessing of animals and herbs, infusing oils and elixers, creating an altar, using flowers and holy cards for blessings and wisdom.


Benedicaria is predominantly a woman’s practise.  A Benedetta has much in common with the goddess archetypes of Demeter, Hestea, Bridgit and even Athena.   She is the homemaker, mother, herbalist, gardener, chef and healer.  This role is not regarded as of any importance in modern society, but for one who is spiritually aware and who undertakes these tasks with great intent, she understands the spiritual force that is being wielded.  The preparing of food is not only a physical act, but a spiritual one.  If this is done in love it will bless the family;  if done in anger and ignorance, it will curse the family.  The motto ‘cleanliness next to godliness’ means much more than meets the eye.  When you keep your spiritual space, ie the home clean, you also keep your spirit and its physical space clean.

The physical life and its objects are manifestations and representations of the life and existence of the spirit.  Taking care of our physical life is a sacred task and when performed with intent and awareness we realise that the ordinary is indeed sacred.



Every Benedetta will have a home altar and a personal altar.  The Amulets of Mary Oracle set can be placed on your altar along with the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck.

With the Amulets of Mary blessing set you will receive guidelines for
creating an altar, using coloured candles, how to use the casting cloth,
the holy cards and more.



The novena prayers are an important part of the Benedicaria.  A novena is a prayer that is said for nine days consecutively.  It is said that the first Apostles prayed for nine days between Jesus’ Ascension and the descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost.  The number 9 is a very powerful number in numerology (the science of numbers).  Usually a novena is accompanies by candles, rosaries and ritual such as sacred shrine making (see my blog http://pathofdivinelove.blogspot.com) for my art novenas to Our Lady of Lourdes.  The ancient novena prayers are used in conjunction with all of the above as well as an image of the Saint and those who you are praying for.
It is also practise to include the colour of the Saint or Holy One that you are asking for help.

The Amulets of Mary Blessing set consists of a blessed casting cloth, a set of 45 charms in a small bag, nestled in a tin;  a set of holy cards in a linen scapular bag;
an accompanying spiral bound guide book; a small statue for the altar and other options.
Each set is completely unique and one of a kind and cannot be replicated exactly as I use vintage charms, hand cast silver charms and vintage holy cards amongst others.

There are various sets available :  some are dedicated to a particular saint or saints; others to Mary and Her apparitions or a specific apparition, etc. 
You will find more information on the various available sets at The French Madonna on Etsy.com or on my blog.



The casting cloth has been blessed by touching it to the second and third holy relics of Mary’s sacred chemise and roses from St Terese’s sacred garden, as well as roses from the garden of St Francis and other holy relics.  It has also been sprinkled with holy water from Lourdes and Ngome.
On the casting cloth is a hand drawn diagram.  

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
Bestow your Blessing upon us
Now and Forever


Blessings
Hettienne


The French Madonna
www.etsy.com/shop/thefrenchmadonna


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sutras of the Divine Mother

All images taken by Hettienne Grobler
in the various shrines in my garden


Before the Word, the Cosmic Mother rests in all her Glory
In eternal stillness in the black void.

Then Love stirs within and the desire arose in Her One Heart
And Her One Mind.




And the Heavenly Virgin conceives from within Herself.
She, who is the Immaculate Conception.



Through the song of Her Heart, she became the sacred womb
Filled with heavenly milky waters,
Swirling to create the marias, the seas and the oceans
As She descended as the Virgin of the Sea.



The oceans churned and churned and the milk and water
Became frothy and mixed with the
Red drops of the Heavenly Queen’s Desire
And She arises from the waters





And Her Love incarnated as the most beautiful woman,
Earth, Hertha, Gaia, Durga and Isis.





From Her hair grew the running rivers of life, the Nile
And Gangaji, Shakty and Saraswati

And amongst the mountains of her breasts, rooted in the
Heavens, grew the Tree of Life.



The Heart of the Mother of All, the great Isis-Maria-Sophia
Desired once more.

She desired light so that she could see the face of Her Beloved,
The incarnation of Love


She desired to see the reflection of Herself
She desired a celestial mirror

At dawn, the brilliant rays of the Sun God, Ra, the Father
Of the Heavens, was born from Her, the Black One, the
Mother of All.




As the day grew in stature, the Sun climbed the heavens and
Crowned Her in all Her glory
And sky sang to the Queen of Heaven.

The Sun became weary and descended into the blackness of
The night.

In the distant sky two horns of the sacred cow appeared
And grew into the silver disk of Ma, the Moon


The Black Madonna, IX Vessels
Mysteries of Mary tarot deck
www.hergracesacredart.com


A metaphor.  
In choosing the path of the Mother as a set of keys and images to illuminate, interpret
and apply the deepest Wisdom within ourselves, we are reminded
that thinking in terms of a metaphor will unlock many doors.

If you are seeking the sacred marriage within yourself and you wish
to experience the Cosmic Kiss of Unity, then follow the metaphor.
Look past the literal arguments, the discourses on the why and what for;
put your critical ego-mind on the back seat and open your ears
and eyes to receive the eternal song of Love which pulsates
in the metaphors of the Madonna and Her Beloved.

This extract from my sutras of Isis-Maria-Sophia is a reflection
of your own journey of the light of your consciousness.
Your consciousness rise within yourself, cloaked as stirring desire and passion to
experience the 'other'.  

This stirring and rising and descending is also the kundalini, or kundalini Ma
or Devi, Shakty or Divine Goddess, Ma and by many other names.
Knowledge and understanding of the kundalini has become hidden and enveloped
in mystery and riddles and ritualistic practises and often mistaken
for sexual mastery.  
You are told that you need
'another' to ignite the spark within (and usually this will ask the sacrifice of money)

Yes, it will ask for sacrifice, but it is the sacrifice of time, energy and attachment and
identification with ego.  Sometimes our attachment is ripped away from us in a
powerful way through disease, loss, an accident, a betrayal or disappointing oneself.
But the good news is, that none of these are a pre-requisite for awakening.

The light of consciousness is within you.  The spark of the Divine Mother
is resting in your energetic system and behind your mind and its
many defences.  She is waiting for your desire to find Her
and to come to know yourself as the ultimate fufillment of your dreams, in order
to wake up.  You must have seen the cartoons of a snake charmer playing to
the snake who becomes mesmerised?  Who or what is your snake charmer?
Are you allowing the world and all its amazing entertainment to charm your
energy into distraction and mostly fear and anxiety and false beliefs?

Use the charms of the metaphor of the Blessed Mother's path to
cast the light and shadows of love, peace and bliss onto your path.*
The tarot cards of the Mysteries of Mary deck, for instance, has many
charms in the images.  These are there to assist you to read the cards
and the world in metaphoric terms.  When we look at the metaphor, rather than
the literal, we see behind and beyond the illusion that the mind is creating.

Once you have created a distance between the ego-mind and its attachment
to its reality, the dance is on!!

Through regular and deep meditation, trance dance, surrendering to the creation of art and poetry and spending time in nature, the Mother within will answer your call for awakening.  

She will rise and lead you into confusion and chaos : all
designed to shake off the stifling mind and all its many taboos and
punishment.  Once you have tasted the nectar of the bliss of pure
consciousness, no sacrifice will be too big.

One step at a time, allow Her to guide and steer you, listen to your heart
and your feelings, and you will not fail to dance in the sky of Her cathedrals

blessings

Hettienne


*I am working on a set of charms to accompany The Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck and
will share here when I have some available

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Guru Within



The Divine Inner Child is  our unique authentic Self beyond all masks and personas.
We have so many names for this part of ourself which really create a sense of separation whereas it is actually our most unique and vulnerable and innocent self.
It is that part of yourself that is unconditionally true to his/her feelings;
 the one whom expresses joy and sadness alike, without feeling shame;
 creative, spontaneous and free from the critical self!

Unfortunately this part of the self is rarely or only fleetingly experienced,
and it takes awareness and a level of skill, to allow the child to emerge.
It is necessary to create a safe space for the child to reveal itself
and that is where your role comes in.

One could say that the inner child is the golden, magical child of Self.
Not magical as in magical thinking, but magical as in alchemy.
When an alchemical shift takes place within oneself, it seems almost
magical and certainly supernatural. 

One could say that the perfect child of the Divine that lives within you is innocent and pure.
Not innocent and pure as in religious ideas of sin and being free from sin, but
in being free of inner negative criticism and judgement.
I use the word perfect here in its spiritual sense :  that which is exactly as it
should be.  It does not imply the mind's idea of perfection.  It also
does not mean transcendence nor beyond flaw.
I would say that it means that it is unique, authentic and whole.
Wholeness implies that it includes both sides of the polar
opposites in our world of duality, also called the Sacred Marriage between
soul and body, ego and soul, Spirit and Self.

Within ourselves, behind our masks and acquired personalities, 
we have this authentic Self, the Golden Inner Child or children as this
is neither only masculine or feminine.   When we
tap into this part of ourselves we feel alive, energetic, creative, free, joyful and fulfilled.

Through the conditioning process of life, most of us learn to stifle, suppress, repress or 
deny our Inner child. The Inner Child also knows sadness and anger
and the full range of human emotions, but its foundation is a state
which I term 'fullness of heart'. 
When this vital part of ourselves, the Golden Inner Child is not nurtured and allowed freedom 
of expression, a false or co-dependent self emerges.  Authors like Carolyn Myss
has done extensive work on the different types of inner children that
develop due to your conditioning, your childhood experiences, pre-verbal
experiences (those that took place even before you had the mental
capacity of language to describe the feeling) and through your responses.

A great deal of time and effort has been put into creating an 
acceptable and powerful persona.
 Indeed, this is necessary for your primary survival 
and as a way of functioning effectively in the world.  And the Self will
always require a persona or some form of ego to effectively
deal with the world.  This is a journey of both choice, circumstances
and divine destiny.

But this sense of power is not authentic, 
and it will not hold up to stress and stressful situations. 
In fact, the safe place that you have created for yourself, becomes your jail.
 For instance, as you defend against being hurt, you cut yourself off from 
your vulnerability and your real heart feelings. 
Eventually, you cannot feel sadness and pain, but you also cannot feel ecstatic joy.

The human psyche thus experiences the onslaught of these two powerful opposing forces at all times. 
On the one hand you have your True Self, 
Whom has only your highest good as a focus. 
The True Self, however, does not adhere to the laws of this world
, but it adheres to the Divine Law of One.

The ego or projected self, on the other hand, understands 
that it is the vehicle and the instrument to keep your body safe.
 It is not interested in the True Self’s purpose – it is only interested in keeping you safe.
 This is indeed an important function as your body is 
the vehicle of expression for the True Self and when the body no longer exists,
 your true self is incapable of expressing itself in this world.
 However, through its defensive and attacking modes of safe-keeping,
 the imposter actually kills off your life force, and your physical body becomes sick
and deteriorates fast. 
It is obvious therefore, that the interests of the False Self and the True Self could never meet
without a real intervention. 
This is the dilemma facing those who wake up to a life
which they no longer enjoy nor desire.

In order to discover what it is that you, as personality, want and expect from life,
 you need to uncover your personal unconscious. 
This is often termed as shadow work as
 you uncover all your hidden and suppressed aspects of self. 
Once you have uncovered your personal unconscious you are able to deal with it. 
You have the power of choice and free will as to
 whether you want to keep or discard these suppressed values and feelings. 
You learn to grow this process using discernment as opposed to judgement
 and the challenge is to live with the tension of the known as well as the unknown at all times.
 You cannot eradicate certain aspects of your being
 and you have to learn to use these to their highest potential.
 In this part of the journey you decide what it is that you value and you build a strong sense of self which will serve as a powerful and healthy vehicle for the True Self.
 This work is done on all levels of being, spiritual, mental, emotional and physical.

As you access aspects of yourself from the personal unconscious,
you will access aspects of the collective unconscious. 
You will uncover the beliefs of your culture, your ancestry, your gender, your faith, and so on.
 Often we live symbolic sacrificial lives because of keeping an archetype
 alive in the collective unconscious.
 Once again, you have the power and choice of freeing yourself from the collective unconscious to the degree that you need or should choose to. 
At this part of growth, spirit and matter meets. 
It is to discover what it is that I want (ego as masculine self) and what it is that I want (soul as feminine self). This is where you will truly feel the power of the opposing forces 
and it is your challenge to find a sense of balance and integration, if this is possible, of course.
We are co-creators and therefore never completely in control.




The True Self does not judge. It acts from the premise that all is innocent.
 It is free of hostility and defensive attitudes and
 behaviour based on negative experiences of the past.

The False Self, comprising of the various voices of authority and conditioning, judges everything. 
The False Self believes in the premise of separation (divide and conquer).

As the True Self develops through the different stages of the personality and physical self,
 it becomes stunted at specific ages. 
Our Inner Child therefore never matures and heals. 
Unless you become conscious and aware of your own actions and reactions, you will not realize that you are nursing a wounded inner child.

The ego will rationalize and justify the actions of its wounded inner child, 
and in fact, many childish behaviours are quite acceptable and, in fact,
part of the norm of our society.

The Real Self feels vibrantly alive – it does not matter 
whether the feelings are those of guilt, anger, irritation or joy, but it FEELS.
When you are in your true self, you are present and aware and you are in the moment,
regardless of what is happening and what you are feeling.

One does not have to do anything in order to connect 
with your Self – it is to allow your true self to emerge and show itself and not to contrive or act in a way of should, ought to or must.  So one could say that you have to un-do
more than do.  You have to enter the labyrinth of the psyche and the brain
and un-do the entrainment in order to allow new neurological pathways
to form.  Similarly, you have to change your perception, your beliefs,
your automatic reactions, your attitude and your habits in order to
undo the granthi (the knots) in the energetic system of the body in order
to allow kundalini ma (the Blessed Mother of God) to flow
freely through your body and soul and to give you unconditional
access to the living waters of life.