mary magdalene

I am blending oils today, the Feast Day of Mary Magdalene.

Healer. High Priestess. Beloved Companion.

My feelings about Mary Magdalene are so personal they are difficult to describe.

My love and respect for her – not just the symbolic archetypal her – but the actual woman- is immense.

I feel it in my blood. When I think of her, there is an activation of heat in my arms and in my hands. It’s a sensation I recognize as her presence.

In a not so subtle way, it is Mary Magdalene who shepherded me to my church, to the place I am now in my faith.

She opened up doors for me, showed me my judgments.

She helps me bring down walls.

Which, it seems, is something she has always done.

His students grieved and mourned greatly saying:
How are we to go into the rest of the world proclaiming the Good News about the Son of Humanity’s Realm? If they did not spare him, how will they ever leave us alone?
Mary rose, then, embracing them all and began to address them as her brothers and sisters saying:
Do not weep and grieve nor let your hearts remain in doubt, for his grace will be with all of you, sustaining and protecting you. Rather, let us give praise to his greatness which has prepared us so that we might become fully human.
As Mary said these things their hearts opened toward the Good and they began to discuss the meaning of the Savior’s words. - The Gospel of Mary Magdalene

As Mary said these things, their hearts opened toward the Good.

As Mary said these things, their hearts opened toward the Good.

This is a true power. Gentle power. The power of love. This is true healing. To speak in such away the hearts of others are opened toward the Good. Toward God.

Mary Magdalene teaches us that love never dies.

She shows us the way.

In her devotion, she shows us who we are, the potential we carry.

Hers is a voice that ultimately can not be silenced because hers is the voice of witness, of truth.

And right here, I believe, we come to the fundamental problem with these celibate models of transformation. It’s not merely their monochromatic viewpoint or the implicit devaluing of a whole other stream of Christian spiritual wisdom whose roots are in passionate human love. Rather, it is the fact that at key points they seem to be slightly out of kilter with the path of transformation that Jesus himself walked and taught. One might say that this model points us toward John the Baptist rather than Jesus: toward those ancient and time-honored practices of renunciation, asceticism, and self-concentration through abstinence, whereas if we really look closely, we see that Jesus himself seemed to be constantly pushing the envelope in the opposite direction — toward radical self-abandonment, reckless self-outpouring, and the transmutation of passion in complete self-giving.- Cynthia Bourgeault, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity

I have been blending oils and now the scent is in my hair and on my fingers – rich, exotic, earthy, deep.

I am of this earth and of these heavens.

I am a student of love and I walk with Mary Magdalene. I listen for her voice.

Everywhere in the world right now there are women suffering, women who have suffered. There are women healing and women who have been healed. There are women speaking and singing and sighing and crying.

Everywhere in the world right now there are women being ignored, disbelieved, maligned.

And everywhere in the world right now there are women keeping the faith, being heard, transforming matter from one thing to another.

We, the women of this world, are linked together in knowing, joined at our hearts and at our throat.

Although the Gospels vary slightly about who was present at the empty tomb, they all agree on this point: women were the first to see the risen Christ. - Lindsay Hardin Freeman, The Scarlet Cord: Conversations With God's Chosen Women.

I think of her carrying her oils for anointing the body. Doing the only thing she knew she could do in that moment.

I think of her in the moment doing what she could do.

Woman, a power lies within you.

What you touch, you heal.

When we talk about the suppression of the female voice throughout history, we talk about something real. Tangible. There is no end to the evidence of it, women’s stories (quite literally, as with the Gospel of Mary), buried underground.

But today, I am thinking about different ways of knowing.

Ways of knowing that can’t be suppressed.

I am thinking about how women understand one another’s stories even when our lived experience is different. There is an understanding that passes between the eyes, the heart. It’s in the hands. I am thinking of how women carry wisdom in our bodies.

Mary Magdalene was a leader, a unifier.

Let us be that for one another.

Let’s refuse to carry forward, to carry into one another’s lives, anything but love.

Sometimes women forget what’s in our blood, what moves through us, why we are here.

Today, I hope we will all remember.