This week I had a gathering in my home of Magdalenes – women that I know in whom I recognize the gifts and the call of the Magdalene. I can’t describe exactly what that means except when I see them, I know them, and recognize them as a Magdalene. Many invitations were sent, and five came who confessed to having had an affinity with Mary Magdalene for as long as they could remember and of knowing certain truths about her (she wasn’t a prostitute or adulterous woman), in spite of what they had been taught by the Church. Without having embarked on twenty years of scholarly research on the topic, additionally each had come to the same conclusion – Mary was most likely Jesus’ wife and ministered beside him as his equal. (I too “knew” this, but I needed twenty years of research to be able to “own” it.) To say that a powerful energy was present within the room because of this gathering would be an understatement!
Mary Magdalene, as scholars now agree, was NOT the sinful woman she was proclaimed to be by Pope Gregory VI. Neither was she the adulterous woman the Church still lets us believe she was. Instead, she was foremost among Jesus’ disciples – the one who GOT his message – which was verified by the metaphoric description of the complete initiation and transformation she accomplished under Jesus’ guidance – “healed of seven demons.” The accomplishment of this level of wholeness was not attributed to ANY of Jesus’ other followers – not even Peter.
Not only did Mary grasp the full understanding of Jesus’ message, her knowledge of the love that Jesus proclaimed and her love of him, allowed her to remain with him during his suffering and death and stand beside him at the cross – a task none of the other disciples (except maybe John) could bring themselves to do. It was because of Mary’s devotion to Jesus that she was the first one to stand outside the tomb on that third day, and the first to witness the resurrected Christ. It might be said that it was only because of the level of wholeness that she had attained that she could be witness to such a miraculous event. One might wonder if it was because of Mary’s love that Jesus could be resurrected in the first place. Mary was then THE ONE sent by Jesus to tell the other apostles about the risen Christ. Of course, they did not believe her and had to see for themselves – which they eventually did (or at least that is what we are told).
Mary’s story doesn’t end here, however. While canonical scripture never mentions her again, many of the books that didn’t fit the political agenda of Constantine mention Mary and the ministry that she continued after the resurrection. The Gospel of Mary, in particular, singles Mary out as privy to continued encounters with Christ during which secret teachings are imparted upon her – teachings only she was able to receive. When she tried to share these teachings with the other disciples, they told her she was crazy and wondered why Jesus would share these teachings with her (a woman!) and not with them – perhaps because they had not yet achieved the Oneness in Love that Jesus had come to teach them. Mary, indeed, had.
What happened to Mary in the unfolding creation of Christianity is what has happened to all women:
- Like Mary, we have been silenced.
- Like Mary, our gifts and knowledge written off as the ravings of emotional women.
- Like Mary, we have been condemned as the source of original sin and abhorred as evil temptresses, prostitutes and whores. (ie: it is somehow our fault if we suffer rape.)
- Like Mary, our power has been suppressed and we have been forced into positions of subservience beneath patriarchal fear-based domination.
- Like Mary, our sensitivities and emotional natures judged as “weak,” maligning the natural expressions of healthy femininity.
It is not only women who have suffered under the burdens placed upon the Magdalene, however. When we reject the Divine Feminine (which Mary represents and embodies), we reject half of the potential beauty and magnificence of our human nature.
- When we suppress the natural sensuality and passionate sexuality of the Divine Feminine, a corrupted version of sexuality emerges (such as that which preys upon innocent children or looks to experience pleasure through domination and control).
- When we reject the inherent courage and strength of the Divine Feminine (think of the energy required in childbirth!), we become weak and helpless (think damsel in distress or milquetoast men).
- When the creative drive inherent in the Divine Feminine is repressed, it comes out sideways in depression, anxiety and panic attacks (the typical symptoms of perimenopause and the male midlife crisis).
When we reject the Divine Feminine, we reject half of who we are. We then have one of two choices – to take on the qualities of the Unholy Feminine (weak, helpless, empty-headed, mindless) or to claim the qualities of the Unholy Masculine (power, dominance, force, control). When we take on either of these qualities, we reject our original Divine nature and instead of living out of love, we live in fear.
Love is ultimately the reward in resurrecting the Magdalene and the Divine Feminine that she represents. When we restore Mary to her rightful place as co-equal beside her teacher and beloved, we reclaim the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine with it. Once the Divine qualities that are our original nature are restored to their rightful place and are fully integrated within us, our fear falls away and we are restored in LOVE. We can’t do this without Mary’s magnificent gifts, and this is why the Magdalene has inserted herself into our history – making her presence known and leading scholars and lay people alike to seek the truth that has been buried these 2000 years.
As Jesus came to heal the separation between ourselves and God, Mary comes to heal the separation within and between ourselves.
Isn’t it time we allow Mary Magdalene to step forth from her tomb and like Jesus, to be raised from the dead so that humanity may also be raised from the death in which we have been living?