The traditional Feast Day of Mary Magdalene is July 22 and a wonderful day to connect with a Goddess that has been hidden and degraded for centuries. I first encountered the story of Mary Magdalene as the “lost Bride of Christianity through the beautiful and inspirational books of Margaret Starbird. Through her studies and writings as a pioneer of Magdalene research, Margaret has unveiled a story of love and partnership between Jesus and Mary Magdalene – a true hieros gamos (holy marriage).
From Margaret’s site – read the full text:
In ancient mythologies of the hieros gamos, it is the Bride who anoints the Bridegroom King, and it is again the Bride who meets him three days later resurrected in the garden. A similar archetypal story celebrating the eternal return of the Life Force is ubiquitous throughout the Middle East in the cults of Inanna, Ishtar, Isis, Aphrodite, Cybele. In the Gospels, Jesus and Mary Magdalene incarnate this “never-ending story” on the physical/historical plane.
Ignoring for a moment the syncretism of these pagan cults, I suggest we look to the Hebrew Bible for the source of Mary Magdalene’s distinctive honorific. In about 700 BC, the Hebrew prophet Micah recorded an amazing prophecy for the “Magdal-eder” (Micah 4:8-11).
The Hebrew word Magdal-eder literally means “Tower of the Flock” and refers to a hill near Bethlehem often used as a vantage point by shepherds to survey the surrounding fields. In this prophecy of Micah, the “Magdal-eder” is equated with the Daughter of Sion, the people of Israel, personified as “Jerusalem.” This prophecy sums up the fate of Mary Magdalene in four short lines and was, I am convinced, the passage that inspired the person who coined her epithet.
“And you, O Magdal-eder (“Watchtower of the Flock”)
Stronghold of the Daughter of Sion,
Unto you shall the former dominion be restored,
the kingdom of Daughter Jerusalem.
Now why do you cry?
Have you no king? Has your counselor perished,
that you cry aloud like a woman in labor?….
For now you shall go out and dwell in the open fields.
To Babylon shall you go,
and from there you shall be rescued….
Now also many nations are gathered against you.
They defile you (call you “unclean”).
This prophecy of the “Magdal-eder” provides the image of a woman, the personification of the nation of Israel, crying over her deceased king and counselor (rabbi, teacher), and then sent, defiled and defamed, into foreign exile, eventually to be rescued. Perhaps that time is now!
Mary Magdalene has always held a special place in my heart and she represents a renewal of the Divine Feminine within Christianity that many can fully embrace within the framework of their religion. She is also a Goddess that represents strength, compassion, love and has much to offer for those of us outside of traditional and patriarchal frameworks.
- Red and White candles.
- Eggs – particularly those dyed red.
- Flowers – go with your intuition.
- A bowl of water.
- An Alabaster Jar or representation of an anointing vessel- a representation of the alabaster jar that held the oil/unguent with which she anointed Jesus.
- Spikenard Oil – spikenard is the oil with which Mary Magdalene anointed Jesus.
- Frankincense Oil can be substituted for Spikenard.
- Lavender Oil
- Images of a Labyrinth.
- Elizabeth Cunningham evokes France with lavender (which may have been part of the Spikenard ointment as well in ancient times) and thyme in her poem for The Magdalene in the article below. Live plants/herbs are wonderful to add to an altar.
- Food offerings: Figs, Olive Oil, Honey, Unleavened Bread
- The Magdalene Rosary by Margaret Starbird
- Saint Mary Magdalene by Artist karmievarya on deviantart (as pictured above)
- Mary Magdalene Print on Etsy by Rose Raven Designs
- Mary Magdalene Statue from GoddessGift.net
For more information on Mary Magdalene, we recommend:
We had the honor and delight to interview Margaret Starbird on Goddess Alive Radio and you can listen to the interview here.
We will be interviewing Joan Norton (Co-Author on the 14 Steps to Awaken the Sacred Feminine with Margaret Starbird) on Goddess Alive Radio on August 2, 2014.
Margaret Starbird’s website is a treasure trove of information.
On Mary Magdalene by Gael Chiarella Alba for the MotherHouse
Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day – Celebrating Goddess Incarnate by Elizabeth Cunningham on Feminism and Religion
Out of the many books that have been written on Mary Magdalene – these are favorite recommendations:
Her latest work, co-authored with Jungian therapist Joan Norton is 14 Steps to Awaken the Sacred Feminine: Women in the Circle of Mary Magdalene. (to form your own Magdalene Circle)
The Gospel of Mary of Magdala by Karen King
I Remember Union: The Story of Mary Magdalena by Flo Aeveia Magdalena (channeled material and highly recommended)
The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity by Cynthia Bourgeault
**please note – the Amazon links and essential oil links are affiliate links. We only recommend what we love and use. The percentage from purpose is contributed to the running of the MotherHouse of the Goddess. THANK YOU!