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Mary Magdalene – Healing the Patriarchal Wound of Christianity

Two-thousand years ago, a Jewish man fell in love with the mystical teachings of his faith – teachings about love, compassion, and oneness. In his love of his faith, he discovered an intimate relationship with the Divine who he called “Abwoon” – meaning all that is.  He felt the love of this Divine being as the love of a parent for their child – and even more so. In this love, the man found peace, contentment and joy along with the means by which he could experience “heaven on earth.” In his excitement of this discovery, this Jewish man did what every rabbi did before him; he sought to teach others what he had learned.

He taught where all rabbis taught – in the synagogue, in the courtyard of the Temple, in the fields, on the hillsides and near the shores of the living waters. He was invited to dinner in people’s homes and he taught there. He taught wherever there were those “with ears to hear.” In his wanderings, he attracted a company of women and men who chose to follow him so that they might learn even more from this man who knew and showed great love.

In this company of women and men, there was a very special woman, Mary, from the house of Lazarus. She along with her brother Lazarus and sister Martha, became Jesus’ devoted students, learning all he could share with them, while gaining insights and revelations of their own.  Mary took to Jesus’ teachings in a unique and special way.  Soon, Mary and Jesus became one. Mary understood the depth of what Jesus had come to know in a way unique from the others and in this, she too became teacher.

Lewis Williams, SFO

When Jesus was arrested, put on trial and murdered, Mary was there by his side. With the other women and a few brave men, they stood watch and offered prayers of support for Jesus as he suffered and died.  They never left his side.  When Jesus’ body was removed from the cross, Mary and the other women anointed his body for burial, wrapped it in linen cloths and offered the requisite prayers of burial.  When the stone was rolled in front of the entrance to the burial cave, the women wailed.  They cried.  The tore their hair and clawed at the ground.  In tending to their own grief and to the horrors of Jesus’ dying, they created space in which new life could begin.

And it did. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to Mary.  She saw and she believed. And then Jesus did a remarkable thing – he appointed Mary, now called Magdalene, “Tower of the flock.” Mary was ordained and sent forth to continue Jesus’ mission in his stead.  He did not give over his mission to the men who remained hiding in the Upper Room. He gave it to the woman who had the willingness to be emptied of all within her that might hinder her from knowing anything other than LOVE. He gave it to the woman who was free enough of ego to stand face to face with her greatest fear – the torture, suffering and death of her beloved and to have the courage to trust that even in this greatest loss, new life would emerge.

Mary was the new life.  Mary, now called Magdalene, went forth to share with the other disciples the good news and to continue what Jesus began – supporting the disciples and anyone else with ears to hear – in the mission of Love.

But then, patriarchy stepped in. Unwilling to let go of their fear of the patriarchal cultural norm and unwilling to set aside their egos enough to remember the equality that Jesus taught, the disciples rejected Mary’s message.  “This is the ravings of a woman.  Jesus’ could not have risen from the dead.  What does that even mean?”  Then Mary showed them.  She showed them how they could see Jesus and experience his presence, his guidance and his teachings.  They saw a glimpse, but they did not experience the fullness of what Mary described and then they became jealous.  They asked Mary why Jesus would appear to her and not to them.  How could he love her more than they?  Mary tried to explain, and Jesus through her.  But still the disciples could not accept that Jesus would choose her over them. So they cast her out.

Mary then went on her own way, with Lazarus and Martha beside her, the other women, along with a couple of the men who believed, and did what Jesus ordained her to do. She continued in the mission of Love.

The other disciples tell it differently. It is to Peter that Jesus gave the mission of building the new church (a church Jesus never spoke of building), and the purpose of this church was salvation.  Only those who believed as the disciples told it would be welcome into paradise at the end of time – totally forgetting that the only kingdom Jesus spoke of what the one right here in our midst when we are free enough of our fears to know Love. Sadly the Love Jesus taught was forgotten and replaced instead by fear.

This fear is the patriarchal wound of Christianity.  Fear born out of jealousy.  When the disciples cast out the woman Jesus ordained to continue in his stead, they cast out all women.  No longer reflecting the balance between masculine and feminine that Jesus favored, the Church became the distortion of love.  Instead of being rooted in the Oneness that Jesus preached, the new Church was based in separation and fear, power, control and privilege. Like the patriarchal culture in which they were raised, the men created a hierarchical, patriarchal institution where those in power are lauded as better than the rest and where salvation was the privilege of the few who would obey their commands. What we have today is a sad and broken institution whose fear comes out sideways in gluttony, lust for power, wrath, envy, greed, sloth, and the worst of these – pride.  Here children are raped and the offender excused, women are denied their rightful place as teachers and guides, our humanness (including our sexuality) is demonized, and instead of people living in LOVE, they are cowering in fear.

Embracing Mary Magdalene changes all that! In place of fear we find love.  Instead of hierarchy we discover collaboration.  Instead of power over, we have power with.  Not because of Mary, now called Magdalene, but because of what she represents – the core of Jesus’ message which is LOVE.  But this message of Love is not even about Jesus – it is about the truth of our Source, our original nature, ourselves, all of creation, and that which some might call God.  Love is who we are.  Love is all there is.  When we remember as Jesus and Mary Magdalene remembered, then there will be peace and we will fulfill our mission as humans which is to discover heaven on earth.  So mote it be!  Amen!

Scholarly resources:  https://templeofthemagdalene.com/2018/01/16/my-mary-magdalene-reading-list/

 

Author:

I am a trained, professional Spiritual Director, Author and Hands-on Healer. I offer services, programs and classes that empower you to hear the voice of the Divine that speaks from within you. It is the voice of the Divine that leads us to our highest truth, to the discovery and cultivation of our gifts and to a life of Authentic Freedom where we know contentment, compassion and joy. Your truth will set you free!

6 thoughts on “Mary Magdalene – Healing the Patriarchal Wound of Christianity

  1. Ah, such a synopsis of the Gospel truth and a ringing reminder that all of us can experience the heavenly joy right here, right now.
    . The crumbing edifice of the earthly church based on the fear of equal power sharing with the feminine is testimony to the shaky, incomplete truth of its foundation. Truth demands a full partnership with the feminine and recognition of its inestimable value.
    . Why choose the way of fear? Your words, Lauri, lead us back and forward to choosing the full expression of the Gospel that Jesus manifested, the life together of masculine and feminine in One glorious whole, each essential for the other…..Dennis

  2. Dear Lauri,

    Excellent essay, as usual! Just a few comments.

    How can we have a relationship with God when it is based on fear? To this day, I still carry the wounds I received at the hands of other wounded souls who had been conditioned since youth to accept the judgment of a tyrannical god, often described as violent beyond human imagination.
    How can we trust or have an intimate relationship with such a totalitarian and ruthless monster? How can we feel safe enough to be vulnerable before such an entity?

    Sufis and Christian mystics, who have seen beyond the patriarchal and fear-based conditioning of the church, often call God “the Beloved”. Jesus instructed us to love God and our neighbor. We can only do this when our fears have been cleansed from our heart and replaced by love so that we can feel safe enough to stand naked before our Beloved, as we do before our spouse on our wedding day. I pray that I may be able to do this someday.

    1. Bob, you are doing this every single day! Cleansing your heart of fear, past woundedness, societal conditioning. We are on an eternal march toward ourselves/God and you are on the path. Diligent. Persistent. Open. Vulnerable. Humble. You are on the path and this is all that is ever asked of us. Jesus said, “Come and see,” and we accepted that call. You are love Brother – I have seen it, felt it, witnessed it. My prayer for you is that you know this to be true! <3

    1. Girija, THANK YOU for sharing this article. I had the great opportunity to study the works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother in grad school as my professor was a devotee. I believe as you do in the layer of “Twin Flame” which you reference and the dual avatar connection. I also think of Babaji and Mataji in this way. Jesus and Mary Magdalene, Sts Francis and Clare, Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. The Catholic tradition is rich with examples of this type – something I think is often overlooked in the Christian narrative – as the Magdalene/Christ connection has been overlooked.

      Thank you for bringing this to light and for sharing it here.

      Love,
      Lauri

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