Mary Magdalene and Jesus
Two thousand years ago, we lived in a world of God’s and Goddesses. Today, we live in a world solely of God’s. Women in most cultures have been stripped of their spiritual powers.
The Divine Feminine, and the true role of the feminine throughout our history, has come to be greatly marginalized and downplayed by our society, some religions, and by most of the mainstream public. We no longer have any clue where we came from, but we live today based on rules set out in ‘the past,’ and we are quick to judge and condemn each other accordingly, often times regardless of any particular faith or religious background.
I recently began to research goddesses and past historical female figures. It was not long before I realized that I needed to do extensive research on each goddess and/or prominent historical female I felt drawn to exploring, the reason for this being that if you venture to look, you will find at least half a dozen different portrayals of the same entity or person and their lives in circulation. Everyone and every faith group seems to have their own version of what each deity and female figure accomplished, represented, and what kind of standing they held.
Each one of us is influenced by our own thoughts, emotions, personal experiences and ideas, and our systems and religions operate in much the same manner. Each one ‘sees’ the same individual and the same experiences in a different light.
Each religion has been built and upheld by our hands through the ages.
How have we chosen and decided upon what is fact and what is fiction?
Who decides what will be taught to our children as fact?
How has the feminine being downplayed through history come to impact our relationship with and between the masculine and feminine today?
These are just a few of the questions I began to ask myself.
I also noticed quickly that we literally fear our own bodies and sexuality in comparison to what I have uncovered about previous ways of life, cultures and times, and that we have also downplayed the roles of these things throughout our history.
Again, you must look into several outlets to ensure that you are getting a clear picture of anything, and even when you seem to have a clear picture, what you find you have is a web of opposing views and stories that will cause you to either decide on one facet, or to weave together your own understanding however you choose, whether you wish to empower one facet over the other or choose to simply let your previous understanding and idea’s fall away with no clear answer with which to judge yourself or others.
How have these phenomena’ come to affect our views of the feminine and masculine bodies, our self-images, sexual and mental health and development and our overall comfort with sexuality as a whole in our society?
Why exactly are we placing limits upon ourselves that were not even required from the great and ‘holy ones?’
Why do we not ask more questions as individuals, instead of following and believing and persecuting ourselves based on what we are told so blindly?
Why are we not seeing the totality of our feminine power and influence, and the true importance, equality and sacredness of the masculine and feminine forms?
Why do we fear sexuality so damn much?
Again, I was left with many questions swirling around in my head.
One fantastic example of both of these issues would be Mary Magdalene, and her somewhat vague and changing role within our religious and spiritual history and texts, as well as the relationship she held with Jesus.
There are some who would have you believe that she was a ‘prostitute.’ She is mentioned less often in The New Testament. Her role is downplayed in Christian texts. There also seems to be some sort of idea perpetuating that Jesus was celibate in some way, or that he took no wife.
This is not how the story went in Gnostic versions, which placed Mary Magdalene as the divine wife of Jesus Christ, and not merely just one of his disciples. Jesus is believed to have taught Mary Magdalene more than any other. It is been speculated that they shared a child, although there are reports of both a boy and a girl, so again there are two separate facets of just this one thread and theory.
It is also somewhat silly to think that Jesus would not and did not take a wife, since men were considered incomplete within the Judaism faith without the union of marriage; however, this seems an idea that has surfaced and sustained itself regardless. Bear in mind that Christianity was originally a Jewish spiritual movement, and Jesus primarily taught Jewish individuals.
Would it not be more likely that students would follow and accept teachings from a leader who was able to sustain a spiritual union?
So where exactly did this idea come from?
Could it be that in Christian texts, it was the intent to somehow bar women from spiritual standing and wholeness?
It is said that it was a group of three women, one of which being Mary Magdalene, who were present for the crucifixion of Jesus, which seems to also embody the idea of the mother, maiden, crone having been present over the populace of men who were said to have locked themselves away. It is also said that it is to Mary Magdalene that Jesus appears upon his resurrection.
It is referenced and recorded that the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene seemed to cause jealousy, even in her male disciple counterparts. The following is an exert from The Gospel of St. Phillip:
“The Lord loved Mary Magdalene more than all of his disciples, and kissed her on the mouth often… they said to him, why do you love her more than all of us? The savior answered: Why do I not love you like her?”
Jesus, in Gnostic texts, seemed to take a completely different approach overall to the divine feminine when compared to the male counterparts of his time. It is we who have seemed to slowly change their standing in his heart and life. He often bestowed healing and blessings upon women, and this is still clearly set out in ancient texts. He shared his teachings with women and was said to have delivered a woman from a death sentence for adultery. He healed a woman considered unclean from a twelve-year illness and even raised the young daughter of Jairus from the dead. It would seem that he was working to restore a balance between the divine feminine and masculine.
Mary Magdalene embodied the hope, faith, strength and courage of the Sacred Feminine, and she was a sexual being who held an intimate relationship, no more or less than is available to us in the present day. Jesus did not lose spiritual or religious standing because he held an intimate relationship and union, on the contrary, it exalted he and Mary Magdalene all the more.
I will leave everyone with a fantastic article I came across about this specific subject, which explains in more detail the Gnostic teachings and Sophian perspectives. It was the best I have come across thus far in my research. I am hoping to write about my findings surrounding Sophia, the great mother goddess of wisdom herself in the coming weeks, so please stay tuned for more on the Divine Feminine.
You can find the full article by Tau Malachi here: http://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/659
“If the idea of Jesus as married seems strange or offensive, or the idea of the inclusion of our bodies and sexuality in our spirituality sounds outrageous, then there is certainly something within us in dire need of being acknowledged and healed. Quite frankly, the idea that our bodies and sexuality must be excluded from our spiritual life and practice, or are in some way opposed to enlightenment or God, is a strange and unnatural idea that makes very little sense (at least from a Sophian perspective). After all, our bodies and lives are part of God’s creation. So is the drive of creatures to the joy of procreation and our own recreation in our human experience of love and sexuality. If this is true, then the whole of ourselves and our lives is inherently sacred and holy, assuming we open ourselves to embody something of the Divine within them. Isn’t this the true message of the myth of the Divine Incarnation central to the Gospel: that the human being is meant to embody something of Divine Being? Such embodiment of Divine Being implies a complete integration of the Divine into all aspects of ourselves and our lives. This must necessarily include our body and sexuality also; hence the celebration of hieros gamos on all levels.
To the Gnostic Christian, the belief that Mary Magdalene was the wife and divine consort of Jesus does not diminish him as the Christ-bearer. Rather, this Gnostic view includes her as Christ-bearer also, so that in the sacred marriage of Jesus and Magdalene we have an image of Christed manhood and Christed womanhood—supernal or Messianic consciousness embodied in male and female form. To speak of the enlightenment and liberation of all human beings, but to reject the idea of an enlightened woman does not seem to make much sense. How would Christ-consciousness be different whether embodied by a man or a woman? Why would women be isolated from it? These are certainly questions Sophians would ask, and questions that are integral to the Sophian view of the Gospel.
There is a plethora of myths and legends in the oral tradition of Sophian Gnosticism, including various myths concerning the Holy Grail. In the Sophian Gospel, this holy relic is not created by Joseph of Arimathea, but by St. Mary Magdalene. While some stories speak of the Grail as an actual cup in which Mary caught some of the blood and water flowing from the side of the Savior, others clearly speak of Mary herself as the Holy Grail. This idea plays out in a number of different ways.”