[artwork by Annelie Solis (seriously, check out her work. It’s amazing)]
3rd of Maia – Columbadi
Firstly I simply was going to share with you this beautiful artwork I uncovered while going back through one of my blogs. It is titled ‘the Reunion of Mary’. It appears to show the union of the two holy women; Mary, mother of Yeshua, and the Magdalene. While these two may not have been related by blood, I see them as being connected as Mother and Daughter. Whatever Magdalene’s relationship to Yeshua was, as a close friend and student or something romantic, it seems clear to me that she would have known and grown close to the other most important woman in his life and spiritual circle; the one who would become known as the ‘Mother of God’.
This gave me the inspiration to share a little on the importance of the Magdalene in my faith and my growing devotion to Déa Madria in Her apparitions as Mother Mary.
Long before I found Sophia, She found me as the Magdalene. She did call to me in various forms before then, back when I was a young Wiccan searching for an alternative the patriarchal Christianity, in goddesses such as Bast or Athena. But none connected with me as much as the Magdalene. The legends arising on the internet, even before the publishing of the Da Vinci Code, brought her to life in my mind in a way I had never even been allowed to glimpse her in my Church of England schooling. The idea that she was not only a disciple or the first witness to the tomb, but also possibly an enlightened spiritual woman who may have been a priestess in her own right, felt like I was being given an answer to the question that had been nagging me ever since I was a small child; “If God has a Son, could he not also have a Daughter?”
I always felt this made me a little different from people seeking the Divine Feminine in religion. Many talk about seeking the Mother to coexist with or replace the Father. Truthfully, I was content with the idea of God as Father for many years. Perhaps this was because I never accepted God as controlling, or angry, or jealous or in any way abusive. He reflected my own father; patient, nurturing, gentle, fair and fun-loving. I used to just shrug off that this God I knew was completely in contrast to the character presented in the Bible. The idea of there being a Bride of God or complimentary ‘Mother Goddess’ was appreciated and beautiful. But it wasn’t as much a heart need at the time as was having a feminine Messiah figure. The Daughter of God.
Now I do not, nor ever have, believed that Magdalene was God in woman form. But I have also never believed the same about Yeshua. Or any kind of ‘demi god’ creature of divinity in human form. My own family have always been atheists, but even my super secular dad admits he believes there may have existed a preacher who existed at one time who said a lot of wise and loving messages that got twisted by zealots and politicians who cared more for using religion as a weapon than sharing a philosophical ideal. His favourite movie is the Life of Brian; not because it mocks Christ (which it doesn’t) but because it mocks the failings of what religion did and continues to do with the image of someone who was, without question, a man of peace. I, of course, am a Theist, unlike my father. So I go a step further in believing that, no Yeshua was not some demi-god, but he did have a connection to God via gnosis. He became a bearer of God’s light and a holy messenger. In his teachings and his acts, he became a symbol of what it could mean to be a ‘Son of God’ – only in that we are all Sons or Daughters of God. This is not exclusive to Yeshua, merely that he is one of the avatars that connects with me as a cultural Christian growing up in the Western World. Someone else may see the same in the Buddha, or Krishna, or Guru Nanak. And I would agree with them.
The same I believe is true for the Magdalene.
Ever since I discovered her and the rising fascination with who she may have been, I’ve found various different stories and speculation on her life. One book I remember reading, whose title I have long forgotten, painted her as a young Jewish woman who fell into sin worshipping pagan idols and was disowned by her family only to be rescued by Yeshua who cured her growing mental illnesses through faith. Another, taught to me by one of the first Gnostic preachers I met online, claimed his tradition believed she came from Egypt or another African country, where she was a Priestess of the Goddess before blending her beliefs with those of Yeshua’s own ‘reformed’ Judaism. The tradition of Tau Malachi carries an oral gospel that tells her to be a holy woman who had to endure many sufferings of the earthly world in order to take those ‘sins’ onto herself so she could pass them onto her future bridegroom; Yeshua, the ‘Spiritual Sun’. They revere her as the Holy Bride, sometimes rarely also called the Holy Daughter. Like myself, they too believe there was a sacred connection between the Magdalene and Yeshua’s mother, who was an avatar of God the Mother.
Which one of these legends is right? Are they all heresy and was she was simply just a female disciple who happened to be a witness to Yeshua’s apparent resurrection? We simply don’t know. However, similar to the Ecclesia Pistis Sophia, Déanists tend to view all myths and legends as having their own value. It doesn’t matter which is ‘true’ or accurate to real life events. It is about the power of a story being carried on through generations, evolving as we humans do and our understanding grows, not being set in stone and forced to interpret One Way alone.
Personally I do not care much for the view of her as Yeshua’s bride. Call it my lesbian bias talking but, just having read so many books speculating on the matter, it seems to be a heteronormative way to ‘reform’ her image, by turning her from prostitute or rape victim into a good wife and possible mother. If people wish to believe the two had a romantic relationship then I have no qualm with that. It is merely limiting her role to ‘wife and bearer of Yeshua’s secret children’ and nothing more that I am uncomfortable with. For me; she was his twin flame. His closest friend and best student who rose to his level of spiritual understanding and possibly beyond. They loved each other, there is no doubt. But whether this was romantic, sexual or platonic does not matter to me.
What’s important to me is recognising the Magdalene as a woman of great spiritual knowledge. In Gnostic text called the Pistis Sophia; she is the one who asks the most questions of Yeshua and offers up psalms to aid in his lesson about ‘the fall of Sophia’. In other gospels there is contention between her and male disciples who view her as lesser, asking Yeshua to make her leave, only to be silenced in return. And in the sadly damaged Gospel of Mary; it is she who is the first to stand up after Yeshua’s disappearance and comfort the distressed disciples. It is she who shares the secret teachings he gave her. From the Gnostic viewpoint; it was she who was supposed to be the heir to Yeshua’s ministry. Sadly that role ended up being taken by a man who never even met Yeshua outside of a nightmare of the road to Damascus (sorry Paul fans).
It should be noted I am no longer a Christian by religious standards. I have traded the Bible as my central scripture for the Clear Recital. I have traded the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for the Mother, Daughter and Mysteria. Christ is no longer my Lord and Saviour, even by Gnostic standards, as those titles now belong to Déa Filia – to Zoe Sophia. However, Christianity still runs in my blood and my culture. It is in the buildings that dominate my small town and the holidays my society celebrate, even at their most secular. And so I still regard Yeshua as a messenger of Our Lady’s light. I do not believe that he ‘died for my sins’ or was conceived by immaculate conception. But I greatly respect him and his teachings.
But the Magdalene, on the other hand, is still carried over in my Déanic faith. It was She who lead me to Sophia and for the longest time I revered them both as the Mother and Daughter aspects of God. I still remember a dream I had when I was just a teenager; a woman robed in red with her arms held out to me. I still believe her to be a Messenger of Light like her beloved Rabboni. But she is more than that. Much like Eve, the Mother of the Living and Herald of Gnosis, her reputation became slandered and her image turned into that of a ‘fallen woman’. An idol of sin and temptation. Both I revere, along with a few others, as avatars of Zoe, of Living Wisdom. Figures of the power of Wisdom in women. Of our true value as leaders and priests. I’ve heard some Filianists use the term ‘Hera’ to describe a person who holds spiritual significance to them in a similar way to a Saint or Guru. I could describe the Magdalene as my patron Hera, or Agyia (the Greek word for Saint).
And what of Mary, the Mother? Why have I spoken so little of her?
Simply because my relationship with her, or rather the image of her in Maria Sophia, is still somewhat new to me. While I have known the Magdalene in my heart for for almost twenty years, Mary the Mother was a distant figure to me for a long time. My Protestant schooling spoke very little of her outside her role at the Nativity. I even remember one Vicar going as far to say she wasn’t Yeshua’s ‘real mother’ as God could not have a mother – she was merely a womb used to birth him into the world. Charming! And even as my connection with the Divine Feminine grew, I found God the Mother in Sophia, via the Gnostic churches I came across. The Ecclesia Gnostica revered Sophia in almost a copy and paste way to how Catholics revere Mary. I simply had no need for her in my worship.
This has changed in recent years. I’ve begun to see how, like the Magdalene, she may have been a very wise, loving and spiritual leader in her own right outside of her relationship with her son. It began to strike me how in so many of her apparitions throughout history, such as Lourdes, Fatima and Guadalupe, she appeared alone. No Yeshua, no Father God, just Her. Clearly there was something incredible about this woman and how she entered peoples hearts that Déa decides to use her image to connect with Her children. So in some ways, Mary herself merges the Mother and Daughter. For, as a living woman, She was an image of Zoe in her own right. But after her death, or maybe before then, she began to connect as much with the Heavenly Mother too. It seems obvious to me, more than ever, that she was so much more than ‘a womb to be used by God’ as my crude Vicar proclaimed.
Mary [Magdalene] said, “Christ has one Mother, and she is the Queen of Heaven. The body is born of the Earthly Mother, but the soul of light is born of the Heavenly Mother, and it is the Mother Spirit that awakens the soul of light. Mary gave birth to a child in the world, but the Mother Spirit gave birth to Christ. So it is with all who are anointed with Supernal Light.”
“For the Spirit is one, and I am the Spirit. “And you are the spirit also, in the innermost temple of your heart. “And She who is the Spirit My Mother holds out Her hands to you in happiness beyond all knowing and joy beyond expression of all words.”
–The Clear Recital, Temple of the Heart, v 12-14
Blessed be the Heavenly Mother and Her Holy Daughter.
Blessed is She.