Mary Magdalene - The Female of the Faith
Updated: Jul 23, 2022
Today is Mary Magdalene’s feast day. Mary was the female disciple of Jesus, and an apostle carrying his message. Early scriptures name her as the woman Jesus loved above all other woman and some suggest she was in fact his beloved. I have not always felt a strong connection to Mary Magdalene energy. My interest has grown since I started to live in Avalon and connecting with Roses as medicine. Why do I feel so compeled to celebrate Mary Magdalene? Personally its because I feel there is a shifting and an unearthing happening that needs to happen. That is growing in momentum. The remembering of women and their power in community and in spiritual roles. I am interested in the different faces of spirituality yet I am not religious. I’ve always had a connection to wisdoms ways from other cultures, but not the European spirituality in front of me presented in Christian based religion. In Christianity all the woman seem to be shown as meek, sinners, whores or pregnant virgins. Yet I feel obliged to look at my culture, understand its origins, the spiritual creation stories that we have in Europe (or lack of) and find a connection with the forces that have shaped the culture I live in (and that have shaped me as a person). I don't want to be running away from my western heritage - I want to meet it on the staircase and not run in chase.
Breathe.. How do i write a short blog about this when its such a huge huge topic I wonder? So let's make this a quick tour.
In many ways when I look around at British culture today, I see the remnants of old times, I see the ship sank and try to piece together what part belonged to where. But like a sunken ship, everything is moved by the seas of time. What I am looking at is a post conquest reality - one where the native practices of England and other European places have been adapted, sometimes deformed, broken or hidden away. It's easy to see the history of Christianity as a major part of the problem.Especially if we mourn the loss our indigenous wisdoms. But it is not ever that simple and hidden within Christianity too are also many splendid truths, energies and wisdoms. For some time Christianity was actually the under dog, Jesus was a preacher who was killed for his radical words and connection to the ‘kingdom of heaven’. Early Christainity that emerged from that time was not allowed, it was punishable by death, (just like with the Pagans later on). From AD 64 Christianity was growing. Under the Roman empire being a Christian was not easy - you’d have to practivce in secret often and if you were caught , you faced death for your worship. But the faith was growing and it was growing among a large population. Killing Christians not working and in AD 313 the Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal, and allowed to openly workship. Churches grew throughout the empire and despite earlier hatred of Christians by AD 391 Roman Empire adopted Christianity. With this they also banned the worhip of any other gods, and Christianity became the Religion of the state. Up unitil that time it is believed that Christianity sat alongside many faiths. So old Faiths and new Faiths were incorporated into pantheons. This was later banned and created the one faith. One could argue that the Roman Empire did not adopt the original spirit of Christianity, and that they founded a version of the faith that was a religion with political foundation and adorned itself with false feathers? One wonders - where was the feminine within this faith? Who knows what role Mary Magdalene held in the early Christianity. But it is only recently that the church is recognising her. The feast day in honour of Mary Magdalene only started in 2016 when Pope Francis' decree put Mary Magdalene on a par of importance with the other apostles. This came slowly - and it had been in 1969 when the Church formely accepted and rolled back centuries of labelling Mary Magdalene as a sinful woman who Jesus saved. Eastern Orthodox Christians never depicted her as a prostitute - this depiction was only present in the Gospel of Luke, this narrative started in the 6th Century. This is centuries after years after Christianity had become widespread and it could be possible that in fact early Christians were in fact very aware of the Gospel of Mary , and she was in high spiritual status. Earliest histories of Christianity in the UK point to Glastonbury, where its teachings could have been woven and connected to the existing faiths of the people at that time. In true spirituality Gods are rarely in competition. Studies by William Malmesbury in 1130 reveal Glastonbury's ancient ‘brushwood' Church that was suggested to be founded in AD 166 by early christians and later interpretations of his studies suggested even earlier to the time of Jesus’s apostles. Perhaps even Joseph or Arimethea Jesus’ Uncle came to Glastonbury AD 63. In Glastonbury there is still a the Ladys Chapel on a very old site - which has been preserved all these years even after Henry VIII knocked down the Abbey. Perhaps this is a place where the feminine aspect of Christianity has been highly reveered for a long time. The devotion to the Feminine never actually went away- it has always been there- hidden in plain site. But maybe now its safe to say it again?
Gospel of Mary You could say that Mary Magdalene has been betrayed, much like other woman in history and myths. Lillith, Eve, and all those accused as witches. Yet in the fullness of time, helped by the discovery of the Gospel of Mary, which highlights a pre- conquest version of the spiritual teachings of Christ that she shared after his death. It is said that she preached and escaped persucction by fleeing to France. That a lineage of devotees has continued underground , and that she held much knowledge and connection that still reverberates today. The gospels of Mary are ancient writings that record her teachings. These were hidden and burried in Eygpt in a niche in a wall of Christian burial site and painstakingly recovered in the late 1800’s but only very recently has the Church started adjusted their telling of Mary Magdalene. In short - Mary magdalen has been cast in many differnt images via the Church, and depicted in ways that have supressed or reduced her significance to be less than. However she is far older than those interpretations, those man made interpretations. And they have now discovered and unearthed her importance especially since the discovery of the Gospels, writen down when traditions moved from spoken to written word, and these where buried for safety at the time when Christians were being prosecuted. Scholars now hold her in a very differnt light than she had been cast. The Gospel of Mary depicts her as a visionary who received secret revelations and knowledge from Jesus.
Mary Magdalene seems her time has come again - today there is a whole stirring of consciousness and of a pilgrimage to the heart, of recovering stories, of writing new stories also where the masculine and feminine energies are woven in balance. Where culture has banished the voice of the feminine, also we have treated the Earth in similar blind ways. But if there is any power in the story of Mary Magdalene, it is the hope that the spiritual essence of those who went before who had wisdom, love and freedom in their souls - do stand the test of time.
To end i leave you with a quote from the Gospel of Mary “Be on your guard so that no one deceives you by saying, “Look over here!” or “Look over there!” For the child of true Humanity exists within you. Follow it! Those who search for it will find it. — MARY 4:3–7”
Inspired by this? I am devoted to connecting with our selves in deep and nurturing ways and have created the Rose School for women who resonate with the desire to find ones voice, power and beauty in this lifetime. To heal wounds and blossom.
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