Madonna in the Rose Bower, 1448, by Stephan Lochner

A lovely, lingering afternoon spent at the Musee national du Moyen Age, Cluny, in Paris, 2006, originally piqued my interest in the medieval Mary gardens. The concept of the Virgin Mary as the Hortus conclusus, or enclosed garden, originated with the beautiful Song of Solomon 4:12, in Latin:

Hortus conclusus soror mea, sponsa, hortus conclusus, fons signatus.

A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up.

“The flowers planted in a Mary garden all have a symbolic meaning, representing the virtues of the Blessed Virgin. The rose, the most frequently shown, symbolizes the Virgin herself, the Queen of Heaven. It should be emphasized that the favor granted the rose for its beauty is a constant factor in Western European culture and the emblematic flower of Venus passed with no apparent difficulty from pagan Antiquity to the Christian Middle Ages. The chaplets, wreaths and garlands of roses which were attributes of Venus, Bacchus, Cupid and the Graces were associated with the worship of idols rejected by Christianity. However, like many ancient religious practices which would have been difficult to eradicate, the Church preferred to maintain the outward display of such traditions while giving them new meaning.” from The Medieval Garden written and published by the Musee national du Moyen Age, Thermes hotel de Cluny, Paris, France.

Visiting the Mary Garden inspired me to design a series of candles based on medieval gardens. The Mary Garden is one of three, that can be purchased individually or as a set, along with The Love and Pleasure Garden, and The Simplers Garden.

A gently scented beeswax candle for anyone who needs mothering and nurturing, the Mary Garden is a sacred candle. Gently perfumed with precious Rose and Jasmine essential oil, it contains botanicals that would traditionally be found in a Mary Garden. Rose and violet petals, handmade flower essences and herbaceous floral waters, and a sprinkling of holy well water from pre-Christian and Christian wells of Ireland, France and England.

Light to honor the feminine, or Mother Earth, Herself.