I am the founder, owner of Authentic Freedom Academy and the Spiritual Director of the Order of the Magdalene and the Order of Melchizedek. Our mission is to provide education, community and support for those seeking to become self-actualized. Authentic Freedom (dot) Love is our learning community.
I have spent my lifetime coming to know myself. As an educator and counselor, writing has always come easy, but art has come as a great surprise.
When asked by a friend if I could do any kind of art, what would it be. The answer was easy: ICONS! If you came to my home you would understand why. My walls are plastered with sacred images of holy (and not so holy) people. I collect religious icons and the icon-esque work of Kelly Rae Roberts. I also have a collection of tarot and oracle decks – one of my favorites featuring the art of Robert M. Place and another with the iconography of Shiloh Sophia McCloud,
After responding to my friend’s collection, I suddenly found myself “writing” icons. But these were different – spiritual art with a universal message transcending the perceived separation of religion and belief.
Thanks to a butt kicking from a couple dear friends, I am now making my sacred art available to the public in a wide range of media – greeting cards, prints, apparel, journals, mugs and more. My art comes from my heart and has its own message for those for whom the message is intended.
Images below available as prints, on canvas, t-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, laptop and cellphone skins, journal covers, and more!
This past week I realized a grave truth. For my whole entire life, I have been punished for what I see and what I know. I guess this goes along with coming into this world with gifts the world does not understand, let alone honor or support. The result of this lifetime of punishment (as the punishment continues) has been that for the most part, I choose not to share the depth of knowledge I am able to grasp based on what I see and understand because I know the consequence of that sharing. People don’t really want to know the truth. I am also aware of a deep level of shame that has been heaped on me as a result of my gifts – the unconscious (and unspoken) feeling that there must be something wrong with me for all the times I have been punished for simply being me. As the gift and myself are One, not only is the gift “wrong,” there must be something wrong with me too – for having and (gasp) daring to share (or just being) my gift.
But here’s the deal, I have rarely “shared” my gift. I don’t walk up to someone and say, “Here’s what I know about you just by being in your presence.” I have found that I don’t have to articulate my gift for people to “feel” its presence. It is more a gift of presence and awareness than one that is shared.
Here’s the true confession: my gift is the uncanny ability to “read” people – a gift I have learned is 100% accurate. The best way I can describe it is that I have the ability (I’m not sure I can even call it an ability as it’s not something I can “turn off”) to see into people’s Soul. I see beyond the appearance of the person into who they truly are. In this, I am able to see their TRUE SELF, along with all they try to hide from the world. It is really less of a seeing than a feeling and hearing. I see/feel/hear their fears and secret motivations. I also see their deceptions – both the lies they tell the world and the lies they tell themselves. I know when someone is being authentic and when they are living a lie.
Rarely in my life have I given words to these feelings, but people almost always know they are being “seen.” This is what has gotten me into trouble and where the punishment has taken place.
Let me give you a concrete example:
I don’t know how I knew or what I saw or felt that told me this, but I knew there was something not right about my kindergarten teacher. I never said or did anything about that knowing. I was simply a regular 5/6 year old trying to figure out how to do this thing called school. But, for no reason whatsoever, my teacher HATED me! She essentially confessed this to my parents at conferences saying she didn’t know who had won at the end of the day, her or me. Apparently kindergarten is a battle? Because hindsight is 20/20, I now understand she hated me because on some level she knew I saw her. I saw her for who she really was – an emotionally unstable woman who had no business being in the classroom as she taped my mouth shut and locked me in a closet, and who threw another student into a fish tank which then shattered, exploding its contents all over the classroom! She was crazy and I knew it….and she knew I knew it. So I was punished both literally and figuratively by her hatred of me.
This punishment has been the theme of my life. Seeing the truth where truth does not want to be seen and then people hating me because on some subconscious level they know I see their truth – a truth they are either hiding from themselves or from the world. This punishment has been present in every single area of my life – with family, peers, teachers, in work environments, in the Church, etc. etc. etc. Me just being me (I can’t NOT see what I see) and people hating me because of it.
Admittedly, possessing this gift has made it difficult for me to be in and around people. I can’t shield my gift (neither would I want to) and apparently people can’t not feel themselves being seen. On a deeply personal level, being out in the world for me, is kind of like going into a war zone, never sure of what of other people’s feelings will be coming at me. The good news is that not everyone is afraid of being seen. For those who know themselves and who are comfortable with who they are in the world (who have nothing to hide), my presence is a gift. Under my gaze, they experience the feeling of being SEEN and this makes them feel good. So I’m careful. I go where I know I am safe and stay away from places where people hide (like in Church). I also spend a lot of time alone and am very careful with whom and how I share my space.
While I can guard my interactions with the world, the place I cannot is with the people I care about. It’s one thing to see that someone I hardly know is not the person they are pretending to be, it’s another thing to see and know what is happening in and around the people I love. For those closest to me, no shielding is required as we have cultivated the kind of relationship where we are able to be honest with ourselves and honest with each other. There is a mutual transparency and respect that allows space for us to call each other out on our crap (because there are times we are all guilty of not living our truth or taking responsibility for our unhealed wounds and fears). But for others, this is not the case. Couple this with the knowledge that we are all here to walk our own journey and it is not my job to interfere with a lesson someone needs to learn. I can’t really walk up to someone I know and say, “Hey, I’m not sure this is the person you want to marry,” or “if you continue along this path it will end in disaster.” Yeah, I could tell them, but either they won’t really hear me or they will hate me for telling the truth. In addition, who am I to deny someone of the lesson that relationship or experience will provide?
So I’m quiet. I watch. I wait. I’m honest when asked. But ultimately, I leave people to their own devises. And I do a LOT of self-care. The biggest piece of self-care I am invited to right now as it relates to simply being me is FORGIVENESS. Intellectually, I know there is nothing wrong with me for possessing these abilities. It is not my fault that many people don’t really want to be seen or that my presence triggers the unconscious shame they feel for living a lie. Neither am I doing anything wrong by just being me. I can’t help what I see and I know and I couldn’t turn it off if I tried (and neither should I). On an emotional level, I am aware of the pain of being hated for simply being me. It hurts to have people hate me just for being me. It is here I am thankful for the spiritual practices and tools I have that allow me to heal myself of this pain. Tonglen and Ho/oponopono have both proven especially helpful in the journey of healing as it relates to owning my gifts and transforming the pain that has arisen out of simply being me.
For the past nearly 20 years, I’ve been terrorized by Oshkosh’s own (self-appointed) Inquisition. They have bullied me, hounded me, harassed me, made horrible claims against me and more. Even after I left the Church, they continued their harassment. Watching my every move and reporting everything I do to the local bishop. A local priest and a former monseigneur (who has since been promoted to bishop.) have also been involved. A ban has been placed on me and my work. 20 years of harassment and my subsequent decision to leave the Church has contributed to my PTSD and its related symptoms.
Today I took my power back (actually I’ve been actively taking my power back while healing the wounds of these attacks since they first began). This is how I did it! (PS it works on ex’s too!) :
Beyond the trappings of pop-culture commercialization, the Kabbalah is an ancient and sacred system of mysticism firmly rooted in Judaism, whose origins may truly precede the culture which embraced and then formalized it. Like the mystical beliefs and contemplative practices of Christianity, the Kabbalah has been guarded for centuries by those who could comprehend and responsibly employ her teachings and practices. The Kabbalah is at once a theology (a study of and discussion about the Divine), a cosmology (an articulation of how the universe is ordered), and a developmental psychology (the study of human nature and how to support its development). The purpose of the Kabbalah is to support us in coming to know ourselves through our intimate understanding of and relationship with the Divine and to support us in becoming our most authentic selves. In this, the Kabbalah is at once a guide and a tool.
Unfortunately, human beings have twisted the meaning of the Kabbalah as something to use for their own personal gain – to get what they want by using the Kabbalah as a tool of magic. This was and has never been the intention of the Kabbalah. While the Kabbalah can be thought of as a system of and for the purpose of magic, this is true only when we understand how magic is defined in the authentic Kabbalistic system. The magic brought about through the proper study of and engagement with the Kabbalah is Union – Union with the Divine, Union with ourselves, Union with each other and Union with all of creation. In this, our true Divine nature becomes fully embodied and fully engaged in our human form. The earthly goal of the Kabbalah is Malkuth – what Jesus referred to as “the Kingdom of God.”
Kingdom of God, however, is an error in translation. Being feminine in form, Malkuth can more accurately be described as the Queendom of God – or more accurately, The Bride. The fulfillment of the Kabbalah is the revelation of the ineffable Source (Keter) through The Bride (Malkuth). It is only in knowing and embodying The Bride that the Source can be known and fulfilled. In the passion play lived out through Jesus and Mary Magdalene, Jesus was the Son (Tiferet) and Mary Magdalene was the Bride.
Mary Magdalene and her beloved Jesus provide the archetypal examples of the fulfillment of the Kabbalah. Through diligent study of the Kabbalah and applying its principles in their lives, they ascended beyond the ignorance of the human condition to discover their true, Divine nature. They then brought that Divine nature into their human experience through the process of descent. Through the process of descent, they faced their demons, unhealed wounds, past traumas, unacknowledged fears and societal conditioning so that they could fully embody LOVE, thereby fulfilling the mission and purpose of their Soul. Mary Magdalene and Jesus both became fully Divine and fully Human which is the goal of the Kabbalistic process.
To learn more about the Kabbalah and it’s connect with the Magdalene/Christ story, check out The Order of Melchizedek Alchemist Training created and facilitated by Lauri Ann Lumby.
“Tell me what you think about the possibility that Mary Magdalene was the actual author of the Gospel attributed to John (and thereby the other writings attributed to John)?”
I love this question because it is quite possible that the writings that made it into canonical scripture were in fact written by Mary Magdalene, or at the very least were penned by one of the members of her community. Of course there is no possible way of researching, let alone proving, this theory. And yet, there is circumstantial evidence to support its possibility:
The gospel attributed to John:
Is unique among the gospels in the way it presents the Jesus story, offering stories and teachings that are not present within any of the other canonical scriptures. Rather than a semi-historical narration of the life and teachings of Jesus, John represents a reflective history, one clearly based in a deeply intimate and mystical experience of Jesus and the Christ.
John is the sole gospel to include the stories of: The Wedding Feast at Cana, the Samaritan Woman at the Well, the Last Supper Discourses, Jesus’ teachings on Oneness, The Resurrection of Lazarus, Mary Anointing Jesus, all of which figure prominently in the archetypal images related to Mary Magdalene “the Bride.”
The Book of Revelation, also attributed to John, is a genre unto itself, presenting an allegorical story of humanity’s journey toward liberation and the key to that inner liberation. Again, Mary Magdalene, (as The Whore of Babylon, The Woman with the crown of 12 stars with the moon under her feet and clothed in the sun, The Bride) plays a symbolic and starring role.
The Letters attributed to John are perhaps the most beautiful exhortations on the profound love of God and the relationship we are invited into the Love of God with Christ as our guide.
Finally, it is John who places Mary Magdalene is the singular, starring role of not only facilitating but also being witness to Jesus’ resurrection, and then being commissioned and ordained by Jesus to carry the good news of the resurrection to the other disciples, and to continue his ministry of love in his stead.
If Mary Magdalene did not pen the writings attributed to John, it is highly likely that their author was very close to Mary and to the ministry she continued after Jesus’ death, for according to the non-canonical Gospel of Mary, she was the one who understood the fullness of Jesus’ teachings, especially his teachings on Oneness.
Don’t take my word for it, however. I invite you to read the writings attributed to John and decide for yourself.
My whole entire life, there is only one thing I have ever wanted from you…and that was to be heard.
To have my needs heard so they could be met.
Not just the basic needs for food, clothing and shelter…
But the deeper needs:
The need to feel loved.
The need to feel safe.
The need to feel seen and accepted for who I really am…..all of me.
The need to feel supported in all I hoped and dreamed for…especially my vision for the world.
To be heard beyond the physical hearing to the deepest levels and to feel held and supported there:
when I was afraid but too afraid to speak it.
when I was feeling alone but dared not admit it.
when I felt abandoned, rejected, condemned but thought I might die for revealing it.
When I was puzzled because I didn’t fit in, for the simple “infraction” of daring to speak the truth.
To be heard beyond that which is carried by sound:
when I felt the excruciating pain of being an outsider and the loneliness of always having to find my place in another new world.
when I was poor and in need of help.
when I was excruciatingly alone in those years of abuse, where I was silenced and scorned …and when it frightened me to death.
during the many nights I cried myself to sleep knowing I was completely and utterly alone with not one soul to help me, but myself.
during the decades of existing in this world only by the sheer force of will.
during the dark days when it took every force of that will to pull myself out of bed to face another dark day.
when I found the courage to choose another path, but was terrified nonetheless.
In those fleeting moments of joy when the world stood still and for just that single moment all was right in the world and I could shout to the world that the words he spoke really were true and that everything was indeed made of love.
During the excruciating heartache and loss that nearly broke me a second time…but which against all odds I survived….and after that loss, having to find a new path with absolutely no map to guide me, in a world that was unable to hear the voice of a woman who spoke only the words given to her which were the words of love.
But now, centuries have past and I find that my desire still remains. In a world that is deaf to the call of love, seeking only words that flatter and praise, in a world that has turned its back on the intuitive sensibilities of women, preferring the warring talk of men, in a world that seeks after the material, condemning anything that might speak of sacrifice so that the needs of all might be met, I find still all I really want is to be heard:
To be heard for who I am.
To be heard for the gifts I bring into the world
And to be heard for the message of love that was once shown to me and that I was asked, in the most painful moment of my life, to carry forth into the world.
Will it be in this lifetime that I am finally heard or will humanity perish because of its inability to hear?
Read more of Mary Magdalene’s secret teachings in my book Only Love. Click on the image below to learn more.
Christian doctrine tells us that Jesus saved us through his dying and rising, transmuting the “sin” of humanity through his sacrifice, thereby eliminating the separation between humanity and God. Whether or not we literally believe this to be true (personally, I have another idea of how Jesus “saves”), it is a metaphor that has informed and formed the development of Western civilization and that of any other culture touched by its influence. As a culture that has embraced sacrifice and death as the way to salvation, we have entirely missed the point of the human experience – the point being the human experience itself. In focusing only on sacrifice and death, we have forgotten how to live.
If Jesus saved us through his sacrifice, death and resurrection,
Mary Magdalene saves us through her living.
Enter Mary Magdalene. If Jesus saved us through his sacrifice, death and resurrection, Mary Magdalene saves us through her living. She lived the fullness of the human experience and unlike Jesus, was not released from her suffering by death. She suffered the pain of abuse, rejection, condemnation, ridicule, trauma, loss, homelessness, expulsion, banishment, and every other form of human pain. Death did not relief her of her suffering. Instead, she had to find a path through the suffering and to the liberation that was waiting on the other side of the challenge. In finding her way through the suffering, Mary was healed and transformed, growing in strength and courage because of her ability to find her way through the suffering. Mary Magdalene provides for us an example of human resilience. We do not worship her for her martyrdom, for she did not die for anyone’s sin. Instead, we see in her the way to make it through the inherent challenges of the human experience while paving the way for others to do the same.
Saving the World through Our Living
This is the call of the Magdalene – especially for those called into her service. We are not here to save others through our death. We are here to save ourselves and provide an example for others while transmuting the very path itself. This is the “magic” of the Magdalene priesthood. When we allow ourselves to be fully present to the challenges that life will hand us and use the tools we have been given to find our way through those challenges, we are strengthened, we grow in courage, we are healed of our wounds and we are transformed. In this transformation, we are better able to enjoy the sublime moments of life – appreciating the beauty and wonder, finding joy in the simple things, embracing the ecstasy of love, reveling in the banquet of life. We learn how to love, how to find peace, contentment and joy. And we are changed. As we are changed, and so are all those around us – our friends and loved ones, our family, and every single person we meet along the way. Through the example of the Magdalene and the tools she left behind, we learn how to live and in learning how to live we are saved and the whole world with us.
Suddenly it seems everyone wants to get on the Mary Magdalene bandwagon. This is good news in the sense that it is getting Mary Magdalene’s name out there and attention is being drawn to the first woman of the Jesus movement. For the first time in two thousand years, we are beginning to grasp the truth that Mary Magdalene was not the repentant whore – but was the first witness to the resurrection. Much of what I have seen beyond that, however is limited in scope and does not even begin to scratch the surface of who Mary Magdalene was and what she represents, not only to Christianity, and not only to women, but for the world. Mary Magdalene wasn’t just the first witness to the resurrection and she wasn’t just Jesus’ wife (as Dan Brown et. al. would have us believe).
To understand who Mary Magdalene was and what she represents, we first have to understand Jesus. But to understand Jesus, we first have to take him off the pedestal he was placed on by institutional religion….and then we have to take him off the cross. Jesus was a man. He was a man who was uniquely gifted and called to remember his original nature as One with God (Jesus’ God was so much more than the “Old Man in the Sky God” Christianity has given us). In this intimate connection with God, Jesus came to know his Divinity – what he called “the kingdom of God.” Jesus understood that he was Divine in Human form and in this was able to manifest the fullness of his giftedness which included the gifts of healing, teaching, leading, pastoring, and prophecy. In having attained this level of self-actualization, Jesus was afforded the title of “High Priest in the Order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5, 6, 7). Not to be confused with the high priests of Jewish temple worship, this designation placed Jesus in the company of the great mystery schools of the primordial tradition. When Jesus had mastered this within himself, he went out to teach others what he knew and how they too could know “the kingdom of God within” and manifest their own unique giftedness in the world.
As the only one of Jesus’ disciples said to be “healed of seven demons” (symbolic language for the completion of an initiatory process leading to self-actualization), Mary Magdalene embodied the fulfillment of Jesus’ teachings. Like Jesus, Mary came to understand her Oneness with the Divine and allowed that Divinity to find its fulfillment in her Human form. In this, her own unique gifts were revealed and unleashed, giving her the strength and courage to be with her Beloved through his suffering and death (where the other disciples were not); and to be the first witness to the resurrection. But more important than any of this, in becoming self-actualized (High Priestess in her own right), Mary Magdalene was empowered to go out into the world, leading and teaching others in the truth of Oneness – the same path of salvation that Jesus had taught before her. Mary is much more than Jesus’ wife. In teaching and leading us on the path to salvation, like Jesus, Mary Magdalene is Savior.
Embrace your own Magdalene calling through the Magdalene Priesthood Training: