Divine Feminine

She began to bathe his feet with her tears and dry them with her hair...

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

Untie the Strong Woman!

Today, December 12, 2017 is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  It often slips by me without my being conscious of it, despite the devotion for her that has been growing within me over the last few years.  Not today. 

She is and has been calling to me, from the time I began making trips to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey, a monastery in Pecos, New Mexico, in 1999.  She was instrumental in revealing the path of the Divine Feminine to me through my friend and colleague, Heather Neary of SHE (SHINE Heather Elizabeth).  She has made the archetype of the Black Madonna come alive for me through conversations with my beautiful spiritual friend from high school, Deb Shine Valentine, my Jungian studies, and the writings of Sue Monk Kidd, and Clarissa Pinkola Estes.  

Untie the Strong Woman is the name of Estes' collection of writings about the way Guadalupe's wild love for all of humankind has been revealed in our times, especially for the heart-broken and downtrodden, and especially for those who suffer because of the way the Feminine has been bound.   (Read on past her picture!)

The Strong Woman is most definitely being Untied!! 

I don't even watch, read, or listen to much news, but I can feel the rumblings that come with the revelations of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse that seem to just keep on emerging.  It is awful and wonderful.  It is disgusting and healing.  I am so humbled and grateful for the courage of all the women - and men - who are voicing these experiences.  We can no longer hide them from ourselves.  The truth is erupting from deep down.  

With these groans and cries that are ripping the blinders off of so many, comes not only exposure and witnessing, but also pain, anger, and grief.  I have had numerous conversations in the past 2 weeks with women - and men - on a healing path, whose own experience of sexual trauma have been triggered by what has been unearthed and spoken out in the media.  And I have it on my heart to speak to this.  With the help and support of Our Lady, Guadalupe.

Make no mistake - the voices of those who are speaking out are courageous and healing.  And the experience of anxiety, rage, disgust, flashbacks, overwhelming emotions, challenging though they may be, are part of the healing process.  Once something like this suddenly breaks the surface, when it has been buried or at least locked away for so long, it hurts!  Acknowledging it is only the first part of the journey of healing.  

So, if you are one of the ones who is remembering past sexual abuse, or feeling intensely about abuse you already knew was part of your past, or in any other way are being triggered by what the world is just now hearing, know you are not alone.  If you - or someone you know- is experiencing pain related to sexual abuse, the time is ripe for approaching that experience with compassion and caring.   

Here are some common responses when past sexual abuse is triggered:

  • Remembering, reliving, or even "watching" an incident of trauma over and over again.                                                                                   

  • Questions like, "Why didn't I tell someone?  Why don't I speak up about what's happened to me?  Am I to blame for not speaking up?"  (The answer is "NO!!!" There are SO many reasons why!)

  • An overwhelm of feelings of shame, guilt, disgust, rage;  or intense anxiety, not knowing what feelings are deep within, and if they can be handled.  (They can be!)

  • Sexually intimate relationships may become challenging.   

  • Increased irritability that seems out of context, increased use of alcohol or drugs, or other numbing or distracting behaviors.

If any of this is going on for you, reach out to someone you trust to share your feelings and experience. 

Click here to reach out to me, or contact another Healer who understands how to guide you through a process, to do the inner work of healing your experience of abuse.   My intensive healing program Becoming Your Heart's Treasure is designed just for this kind of situation.  The Independent Study/Healing program,Anxiety - Doorway Into Your Heart is not specific to sexual abuse, but can definitely support you through any emotions or anxiety that are triggered.

Call out to Our Lady of Guadalupe to guide you and be with you, either as a manifestation of the Spirit speaking to and loving you directly, or as that Divine Mother intercessor.  We all have different ways of connecting with her - consider what that might be for you.  Let her prayer wrap around you and bring you comfort:

 ...I am truly your merciful Mother, yours and all the people who live united in this land and of all the other people of different ancestries, my lovers, who love me, those who seek me, those who trust in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their complaints and heal all their sorrows, hardships and sufferings.                          Our Lady of Guadalupe

As I write this article, I am holding space and energy of love, of comfort, and of hope for the healing of all who have had an experience of sexual abuse of any kind.   I believe I can speak for Our Lady, Guadalupe, that she is also here with us, loving us, encouraging us, and supporting us.  The healing is happening, my companions and friends, it is here!  Let us participate with open and committed hearts!

gratefully - Alisa

Alisa Carr, Eye of the Heart

Spiritual Director, LCSW, DreamWorker and Contemplative