(written on March 17, 2018)
Have you ever started reading a book and thought to yourself, "has this person been walking around in my head, or what?" because the words on the page paint a picture of the ideas, beliefs, and concepts that have been dancing around in your own mind? I've had this experience a few times, but maybe none so powerfully as when I began reading Cynthia Bourgeault's words in The Meaning of Mary Magdalene.
I share this with you as another layer in my relationship with Mary Magdalene. I was introduced to this work in 2010/2011 through a book study at my church. My Mary Magdalene pump had already been primed by the healing and emotional connection I experienced with her in the traditional scriptures, and intriguing scholarly books I had begun to explore.
She decided to next show herself to me through the sacred text that has been named for her.
Cynthia's translation of and reflection upon the Gospel of Mary, the document found in Egypt in 1898 and included among the treasures now referred to as the "Gnostic Gospels", contained phrases like "organ of spiritual perception," "eye of the heart," "imaginal realm," "path of conscious love." What I read here reflected what I was experiencing and intending in every aspect of my life!
The Gospel of Mary depicts Mary Magdalene as having a unique relationship with Jesus, in that she understood the deep truths he was trying to convey in a more complete way than the other disciples, that she had "become fully human." Since she "got it," she could be open to receive even more.
The Gospel of Mary conveys that the path that Jesus was teaching was an internal path, a path of transformation, a path of shadow work and inner healing. It portrays Mary Magdalene as having a connection and communication with Jesus during those three days between his physical death and resurrection, as a witness and even a grounding presence for Jesus as he journeys beyond his body.
As a psychotherapist who could never quite separate psychological healing from spiritual growth and opening more and more to the Spirit within, the Indwelling Christ, the Drop of the Divine, I felt like I had hit upon a jackpot of Truth!! I was seeing the inner work I was doing with myself and with my clients as I read Cynthia's interpretations.
I had been inviting clients into what I called "imaginal exercises" - a type of guided active imagination that was helping them heal deep wounds, and release long held fears and anxieties. A significant portion of the Gospel of Mary appeared to take place in a similar space: Cynthia called it the "imaginal realm."
What my heart's eye began to open to is that Mary Magdalene was a partner with Jesus in the guidance through and teaching of deep mysteries. To consider this pretty much blew my own mind wide open - it had to catch up with what my heart already seemed to know!! In a way, I felt like Mary Magdalene had already begun to teach me, and I just hadn't been aware that it was her!
Not only had Mary Magdalene been showing me how to have deep and intimate relationship with Jesus, she was also partnering with him to show me how to do deep and healing inner work - the calling I had received years before. What I read in those pages of The Meaning of Mary Magdalene affirmed and confirmed that call, and the way my work had begun to unfold. But the guidance was 2000 years old!
I write this in the early hours of the morning. I finally turned the light on to put some of these words that were tumbling around in my head "on paper," so to speak. But before I fired up the computer, I checked a message on my phone - a friend notifying me of the new film Mary Magdalene , which came out yesterday. It is a depiction of the Gospel of Mary! The synchronicity is not lost on me!
Mary Magdalene is not only a Feminine Spiritual Being who guides me in how to give and receive love, she is also a Disciple and partner of the Christ, who invites me to walk alongside her so that I can do likewise. She opens up the Feminine aspects of healing, anointing, relationship. She show us that partnership with the Divine is not only possible, but necessary. And she shows us that doing our inner work opens us up to being more "fully human."
Alisa Carr, Eye of the Heart