(written on March 25, 2018)
Mary Magdalene, the Anointer - let's say Anointress!
This is the layer of The Magdalene that I want to talk to you about today...and it is a potent and powerful day to be talking about her, for a couple of reasons. I will get to those a little later...
What it took me many years to recognize is that there are different stories in the canonical scriptures about a woman anointing Jesus. The first one, in Luke, I already talked about. It was of a Wild and Wounded Woman, who experienced healing and transformation, pouring out her love and gratitude towards her Healer.
The stories that appear in Mark and John are not that at all. In Mark, the unidentified woman anoints Jesus's head. And in John she is actually named as Mary. Both occur just before Jesus is arrested. Here, she is the Anointress, who prepares Jesus for the final leg of his journey on the earth, in his physical body.
Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair.
She prepares him for what he is called to do.
She anoints him for his mission, for his purpose, for his Work.
She knows exactly what she is doing, for it is her role, as his Beloved.
This is where the Christian story and the story of The Magdalene that comes from the esoteric traditions of the Goddess, as well as Greek mythology meet. Mary Magdalene knew and practiced the healing art of anointing, some say, connected with a lineage from the Egyptian Goddess, Isis.
The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
The story of the King being anointed before a significant event or task is found throughout the mythologies in both Greece and Egypt. It is the role of his Queen to do the honors.
There are two big transformational pieces here for me - and possibly for you too.
The Magdalene - Anointress
...a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head.
One is that of Mary Magdalene as performing the ritual act of anointing prior to the biggest and most challenging experience of Jesus's life - his Initiation into the Mystery of Love being stronger that Death. Sealing him as a symbol of her love, her wisdom, her support, and whatever else she had to offer to him as he set forth down the path he had to walk. The Magdalene, the Anointress of Initiation.
I love ritual - for just this reason. It places a seal and an intention in a powerful way. As I have grown in my own journey of healing and spiritual growth, bringing life challenges into my awareness as part of my Initiatory process, helps me embrace every aspect. (I have my Sister and Goddess friend, Heather Elizabeth to thank for a lot of this learning about what exactly is "initiation"!) Creating or practicing rituals makes these life initiations even more sacred and meaningful. Mary Magdalene models just this on a grand scale!!
...she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial...what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.
The other piece, as I began to mention in my last blog on The Gospel of Mary, is that Mary Magdalene acts as a partner with Jesus. It blows my mind and heart wide open to consider a human partnership in which the Most High/Creator God/dess incarnates Him/HerSelf!!
Of course there is the obvious - that a woman could participate in that Holy Purpose is quite "thrilling," to use Cynthia Bourgeault's word.
But what is equally as hopeful and expansive is that our intimate relationships could be such a crucible for the Divine to work through! To know this (for I DO know it deep in my Being) makes all the hard work of relationship and communication; working through conflict, and listening to each other; honoring and loving both ourselves and the ones we connect with and commit to - it makes all that really MATTER!!
Not just for the sake of being kind and loving our neighbor, but for the sake of birthing new life over and over again. For the sake of Living in Love!
So what makes today, Sunday, March 25, so special to talk about Mary Magdalene? In the Christian tradition, it is Palm Sunday today. Traditionally we haven't included this amazing story in our liturgies (I wonder why not??!!), but the Wisdom Teacher, Cynthia Bourgeault calls us to do so, since it is such a pivotal and profound part of the path toward Easter.
I have found a spiritual community that does! If you are in the Austin area, and would like to experience it for yourself, please come for the service of the St Hildegard Community this afternoon, beginning at 4pm. We meet at the Trinity Methodist Church chapel on 40th St and Speedway. All faiths, beliefs, and traditions welcome - the only requirement is Love and Respect!
And on the Map of Synchronicity calendar - the Dreamspell calendar created out of the Mayan tradition, today is a day "guided by" the archetype of the White Mirror - Mary Magdalene being the Divine Feminine Being connected with it! (Please click here for Heather Elizabeth's webpage where you can learn more about this amazing synchronometer!!)
Anointress. Healer. Initiator. Mary Magdalene.
Thank you for reading!
Alisa Carr/Eye of the Heart