Mary Ann My Great Great Grandmother Speaks

In 1850 Thomas Carter, the Anglican chaplain of the Liverpool Borough Gaol, admitted that ‘our town has been acknowledged to be one of the most unhealthy towns in the kingdom. It is certainly notorious for being (so far as the criminal statistics show it) the most immoral.

When my paternal Great Great Grandmother, in 1850, at just 16 years of age, was sentenced for repeated petty theft, it is almost certain that she had been living in Liverpools slums. There is plenty of material about the squalid living conditions people endured and, in a comprehensive paper about living in the Liverpool, Alastair Wilcox documents what life was like. Living conditions were appalling.

Obviously I do not condone petty theft but it defies belief that someone could be sentenced to seven years in a colony, on the other side of the world, for having stolen a shaw and umbrella. It is a tribute to this young girl, who was separated from any family, who endured the journey on one of the notorious convict ships and lived through a lengthy of period of incarceration that she eventually married and went on to lead a respectable life in Victoria, raising a family of ten children.

As a part of family healing work I decided that I wanted to communicate with this stoic pioneer. I quietly asked her if she would speak to me through my Tarot cards, carefully smudged the beautiful Mary El deck and simply asked what seed she could give me to plant during the final phase of my life.

Through the Knight of Cups and Mary White’s words, Mary Ann told me that seeking the Grail is the meaning of my life. “Your heart, not only the physical heart but the spiritual one as well; it is the centre of your being and the source of life, strength and sustenance”. It is your reason for being. I gave thanks and take the seed, repaying the spirits by offering home made food for the wild birds who enjoy my garden.