July 21, 2017
“A ministering priestess with a deep understanding of the thresholds of the spirit world.”
Jean-Yves Leloup, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene
My first conscious awareness of Mary Magdalene was in 1971 with the debut of the rock opera, “Jesus Christ Super Star.” Shouldn’t it have been about Mother Mary instead? I mean, a prostitute gets a starring role in the life of Jesus? Little did I know that two years before that the Catholic Church quietly deleted references to Mary Magdalene as a prostitute, probably because it’s not mentioned anywhere in the Bible. In 1969 she was restored as Saint Mary Magdalene. Where was the fanfare for this monumental shift?
Fast forward two decades. At that time I was in my first year of ministry studies. I recall the teacher of our metaphysical bible class speak of Mary Magdalene in a new light. In the Gospel of Matthew, “…a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.” The apostles were appalled, saying the money could have been given to the poor. To which Jesus replied (Matthew 26:13), “Why are you bothering with this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Those last four words found me speechless – IN MEMORY OF HER. I have shared that bible verse with many others who have been equally stunned. In memory of HER? Yes, that’s what the bible says. HER!!! Look it up.
About that same time I was introduced to Margaret Starbird’s ground breaking and controversial book: The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalene and the Holy Grail. A staunch Catholic and military wife, Starbird set out to prove that all the hoopla around Mary Magdalene was false. She was a prostitute. No way was she married to Jesus. It didn’t take long for Margaret’s research to reveal just the opposite. It is her belief, and mine, that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, and that Mary Magdalene was the Holy Grail. Consider the following:
- Bible scholars call Mary Magdalene the Apostles’ Apostle. That implies that she had an elevated position, closer to Jesus than the traditional apostles we know about.
- It was Mary Magdalene who first saw the resurrected Christ. It took convincing for the other apostles to believe her.
- Within the four gospels-Matthew, Mark, Luke & John-there are only five nearly identical passages. Four of them are about Mary Magdalene being the first to encounter Jesus post-crucifixion. Given the patriarchal writers of the bible, it tells us the she must have been very important in the life and story of Jesus.
- It was Judaic law that young Jewish men must be married. Jesus remained a Jew, therefore he would have had to follow the law.
- At the time of Jesus, only a High Priestess would have had the power to anoint, especially for burial. Perhaps Mary Magdalene was later called a prostitute because men would come to her in order to encounter the Goddess. These were holy rituals, not sordid encounters in the back seat of a car.
- Take a long look at da Vinci’s famous image of the Last Supper. Who is that feminine figure sitting to the right of Jesus?
- Look up Song of Songs in the Old Testament. The passion and erotic love component has been attributed to Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
- In 1896 a papyrus book was found in Cairo. It contained what is believed to be the Gospel of Mary of Magdala. Her message affirms the teachings of Jesus to be a path to inner spiritual knowledge. In 1917 another 3rd century Greek fragment of Gospel of Mary was found in Egypt. In 1955 the first printed edition appeared in German. Her gospel is empowering, reminding us that we are all children of the one God.
With the traditional Christian hymn, “In the Garden,” the writer imagined that he was present with them (Jesus and Mary Magdalene) in the garden. More than a million recordings and printed copies of it have been sold. Here’s just one version.
Joey+Rory – In The Garden (Live)
I find it interesting that both of my parents requested that this song be sung at their funerals. At the time I imagined them walking with Jesus in the garden of the afterlife, although neither parent was religious. It was only later that I heard In the Garden as a love song between the lover and the beloved, Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Metaphysically, each of us is the lover and the beloved. Divine Union is trying desperately to emerge. Perhaps that’s a reflection of the discord with our current administration’s approach to women. The last vestiges of patriarchy?
Saturday, July 22, is the Feast Day of Mary Magdalene. What does her life and ministry mean to us today? I suggest that she, with Jesus, is modeling the union of the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine. Together they are birthing the second coming: The Christ Consciousness. By that I mean honoring and following the principles modeled by Jesus. Love, compassion, respect, acceptance, forgiveness, connection, etc.
On this Feast Day of Mary Magdalene, I will walk in my own garden in the company of like-spirited women. We will wear red and carry with us an egg, both symbols of Mary Magdalene. The woman who will channel Mary Magdalene will anoint us with spikenard oil, what Mary Magdalene anointed Jesus with. We will do all of this In Memory of Her.
Interested in reading more about Mary Magdalene? Or perhaps host a book group in your home and learn about her in the company of others? Email Rev. Kathleen for suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org