52 Goddesses – On Mary Magdalene

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52 Goddesses - On Mary Magdalene by Gael Alba MotherHouse of the Goddess

Mary Magdalene at the Feet of Jesus – Artist Unknown

Having grown up as a good Catholic girl, throughout my youth I lived the embodiment of soulful contact in the best sense of the word – loving, kind, spiritual, open-hearted. Still, I was always bothered by the stories of the supposed “bad” girl called Mary Magdalene, who Jesus publicly forgave for her sins – at least that was the way she was positioned at the time.

Somehow I felt that I knew her, and when I read between the lines, she seemed a lot like me. That was confusion to be sure.

It was never clearly stated why Jesus spent so much time with her, but we all know he did.  Was he being kind to sinners? Tolerant of ones best efforts? Perhaps Mary was just the Biblical shill to show how forgiving Jesus was. We were taught that he was the archetype of love, but what about Mary?  Mary Magdalene is one of the great women of the Bible, yet attitudes toward her in the Church and in art, history, and society have wavered between veneration of her as a saint and curiosity about her sinful past.

Magdalene by Richard Stodart

Magdalene by Richard Stodart

In Mary Magdalene, author Ingrid Maisch stresses that reflecting on Mary means not only looking behind the history of the influence of the woman from Magdala, but also inquiring about women in general, for the image of Mary Magdalene in every era is an indicator of the image borne by women at the time.

Walking with Jesus into town as an equal must have been frightful given the times.

We see her being shunned – being ridiculed for being a woman – for sexuality – for service – for resourcefulness – for her drives – for her wisdom – for her very nature.  In much of the “forgotten” or buried materials related to Mary, we can also see she was maneuvered right out of being the 13th apostle, silenced and written out of the Bible, denied as the wife of Jesus – a helpmate – an adviser – a teacher of teachers and a protector of all.

What a powerful archetype she is for women, and what woman has not played her role? Since we live in a world that has a long endured a history of suppression, which of us has not been suppressed? I recommend reading the work of Swedish researcher Berit Aas and her Techniques of Suppression to truly grasp how insidious and unrecognized it can be when the power of the feminine is systematically overlooked.  When we routinely misinterpret love for sex and sex for love, which of us has not been misunderstood?   When we see a loving passionate child labeled “black sheep” when it is the family itself who lacks understanding to devotion and truth, which of us has not been a black sheep within the family of mankind?

Perhaps if we see Mary Magdalene as the symbol of all that is feminine that has been misunderstood, demeaned and forced into the background throughout time, we can recognize a symbol of enduring strength relating to power-with rather than power-over.

I look at the above rendition of Mary kissing the feet of Jesus, and I wonder how many of us see it as a depiction of submission, or one of enduring power and strength.

I recognize I am at my most powerful when I am serving without ego. She is me when I sit at the foot of my son’s hospital bed while he is on life support, a mother guarding her young for weeks on end.  She is me when I am the unpaid caregiver to my elderly uncomprehending father during his last days.  She is me when I serve my Mother as she navigates dementia and failing strength. She is me when I serve humanity. She is me when I serve.

I quote Marianne Williamson who reminds us

“It is not our darkness we fear most, but our light…”

We are a mass of contradictions when we don’t get this straight, with anger the final boundary in protecting the ways in which we serve. We will be angry and perceive ourselves as powerless in the larger world unless we ourselves recognize deeply the value Mary brings. Embracing the darkness we must, as Anna Fedele beautifully illustrates in her book Looking for Mary Magdalene. We can see her as a symbol of forgiveness, along with Black Madonna’s in all their wildness, and the Crone in her knowledge of strength, vulnerability and death. We can give a name and a face to what is most dark in humanity, but I am left to wonder what might we gain by embodying the Light??  A giant inside out from what we’ve been trained to experience as power into a pure recognition that it looks like us. It starts this day with recognition in me.

About Gael Chiarella Alba

7 Responses to “52 Goddesses – On Mary Magdalene”

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  1. Beautiful Gael. I cried from the time I opened the article until the end. Something in your words and the archetype of Mary Magdalene speaks to me powerfully. I feel a recognition inside that “Of course I feel safer being small and behind the scenes.” That’s where women have been both safe and told is their place for centuries. Thanks for bringing this piece to the light. When you say “She is me…” there is one thing I want to add. “She is me when I am inspiring my clients and being very well paid for my work.”

    • Kimberly - Priestess & Founder says:

      Kassandra – it is amazing how beautifully and simply that Gael revealed an archetype that speaks so strongly to all of us! Thank you for the visit and the comment! :)

  2. Thank you for this beautifully written article about Mary Magdalene. She is, indeed, a guiding force in my life, as I move forward on this journey. I was awakened on 11.11.11. rather spontaneously and in the most frightening way, but it was my call to action, for I am a lightworker and a twin flame, one who’s meant to help raise the vibration on the planet to a place of unconditional love, peace, compassion, and healing for all of humanity. I heard Magdalene’s call and made my first pilgrimage to Rennes Le Chateau and the Languedoc in October of 2013. I cried, and cried, and cried, knowing I had come Home. I cried before I even got on the plane in New York,

    The memories of my lifetimes in France came flooding back to me, and it was a very powerful second awakening for me – of the heart and solar plexus chakras. When I hit the ground in France and was driving in the back seat of the car, the message came to me over and over again that I was there to receive the light of Christ, that this journey was all about helping restore the Christ consciousness to this good earth. St the end of the trip, I received specific instructions from the Magdalene. She calls me the Little One: “The Little One is to work with children – children who have been invisible to the world, who must not only be seen, they must be made whole. This is a time of the children carrying the new ray of light that is entering into your world.” The message continued, letting me know I’d recieve signs along the way that aI was on the right path. Who knows? Perhaps you or one of your readers are meant to help me in doing this work? I leave that to the universe, for everything does, indeed, fall into place according to Divine perfect order.

    As I have begun to tell my very unique story in my blog, http://www.the-little-ine.com, like the Magdalene, I have faced much judgment, especially from those who are not yet awakened.Yet, like Mary, I soldier on, for I know I’m meant o be the light and to shine very, very brightly for all the world to see. I pray that Magdalene, Jesus, and all my heavenly and earthly angels are with me, helping me to accomplish their mission here on earth. I thank the many, many women in my life who have been helping me – those who I have known for a while and those who have just recently come my way.

    Believe it or not, there was one woman who wrote to me, saying her angels had sent her to me, and I believe that. The women who are “finding” me are also experiencing Magdalene awakenings, deep soul mate relationships, and are answering the call to restore the balance of feminine energy to the earth. We are ALL in this mission together, and it’s a beautiful thing, as hard as it is for some days to stand in my truth and face judgment from so many. Thank you for giving me the strength to continue in my journey, in the name of the Magdalene. Have a wonderful Easter weekend. Blessing to you and to all of your readers…may you feel peace and love in your hearts during this season of light and hope.

    Thank you,
    Dorina Leslie aka The Little One ;)

  3. gael says:

    Kassandra thank you! yes, our service is by no means confined to unpaid offerings. Wonderful bringing that to light to be sure! May we hold a bigger space for comfort in all ways in stepping out front. Blessings to you!

  4. Thank you Gael for this moving and beautiful expression of your experience of Mary Magdalene, which a friend forwarded to me recently. I am writing, as you also ask what it may mean ‘to embody the Light’. I don’t know if you have come across my book ‘Golden Shrine, Goddess Queen: Egypt’s Anointing Mysteries’ (Northgate Publishers, Rottingdean 2008), but in this I connect Mary Magdalene with the little-known anointing tradition of ancient Egypt and the solar Eye goddesses Hathor-Sekhmet. It may be of interest to you. Warmest wishes, Alison Roberts

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