This is the first year that I have offered a weekend retreat, The Magdalene - Wounded Woman, Anointer, Beloved: A Retreat for Wisening Women. When listening in to what the theme would be, I experienced a strong call toward Mary Magdalene. This isn't that strange, since I am all about her!! I want to start sharing a little about Mary Magdalene and me! She has captured my heart these last 12 years or so!!
I have come to learn that Mary Magdalene has also captured the hearts of many others, even many who don't proclaim to be "Christian," as that term has come to be understood in the past fifteen hundred years. This was a surprise to my born and raised Episcopalian self!
I am very grateful to Mary Magdalene, and the way that she has been presented to me through the writings of Cynthia Bourgeault - The Meaning of Mary Magdalene, and Margaret Starbird - The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, for being an integral player in my second spiritual awakening, which began in 2010. I have come to believe deep in my Being, that we, in the Christian tradition, only had part of her story, and thus, only part of Jesus' story. With the study of the Gnostic gospels, particularly Thomas, Philip, and Mary, our view has broadened. Not to mention the teachings from several other esoteric traditions! But that for another time...
Before being introduced to all of that, though, my connection with her came through the canonical scriptures. (Continue reading below this icon of Mary Magdalene)
The Magdalene is known as the woman who anointed Jesus in the Gospels. In some of those stories, she is anointing his head, and this action precedes, and prepares him for, his capture, imprisonment, torture, and death.
In the Gospel of Luke, though, the woman is not named, except to be identified as "a sinful woman." Luke also refers to this Mary of Magdala, as the woman out of whom Jesus cast seven demons. There is much discussion among the scholars, as well as in the Divine Feminine camp, about why she may have been presented in this way - possibly to silence her voice beyond the resurrection, possibly so that the "master story" wouldn't be threatened. All of that makes a lot of sense to me, but, nonetheless, we have these stories of Mary Magdalene being in need of healing.
I feel her here as the "Wild and Wounded Woman."
At the time when I began to engage with these scriptures in a deep and personal way in 2006, I, too, was in need of healing. I, too, felt like an outsider - too religious for some, not religious enough for others. Wild and Wounded fit me perfectly.
I resonated with the words "inappropriate," "unacceptable." I had not yet found my voice fully. I had not yet vanquished a great degree of shame I lived with. I was just discovering who "Alisa" really is; just beginning to play with the idea that I needn't apologize for her.
You see, in the story in Luke's gospel, Mary Magdalene is not invited to the party. She sneaks in and washes and anoints the feet of Jesus - with her tears and her hair and with her costly perfume - to the shock and horror of the prestigious men who hold the dinner party. (You can read the whole story here, if you like.)
It is such an intimate expression of love. I could imagine being that woman. I wanted to be that bold with my love for Jesus, and for others. I desired such unabashed intimacy. It was out of her deep love and gratitude to Jesus for bringing her to herself, her healed and whole self, that she could pour out her own love for him.
I found Jesus as an intimate friend, and even as a Lover, through Mary Magdalene. I felt a door open up for a deeper connection with Holy Divine, by my connection with her. She showed me how to receive love and healing. And she showed me what it looks like to give love and healing. I'm still working on opening myself up so I can let it flow as freely as she could.
I will continue sharing stories with you about how I have come to know and love Mary Magdalene. Let me know what, if anything, they open up in you! Look for the stories on Facebook on my Eye of the Heart page or send me an email with your thoughts!
I am grateful that you have taken the time to share in this sacred journey. Keep coming back here to read more of how my relationship has unfolded with Mary Magdalene!
with gratitude, and love, peace and healing! Alisa