Sacred Stories Series: seasonal psycho-spiritual checkpoints to share our history & remind us to pause.
Today is the feast day of Mary Magdalene, traditionally, this is the time of year that people celebrated everything from redemption and devotion to the Divine Feminine. She’s been ascribed to the archetype of the sacred prostitute and named Apostle to the Apostles.
Whether you are Christian, pagan, agnostic or atheist, if you live in the western world, you live in a society shaped by and saturated in these sacred stories.
I am afraid I missed the whole Mary Magdalene conspiracy/renaissance movement.
(I have read a Dan Brown book, but I recall almost nothing.)
It was so ‘fast paced’ and ‘thrilling’ reading it felt like running down a steep hill on a bright day. I was moving so quickly, it was exhilarating and exciting but I wasn’t sure I could stop, even if I wanted to. Sunlit sky and blurring ground shatter together and after such a sprint, I know it’s all going to end in an exhausted heap at the bottom. Which it did, I raced through the book, collapsed and recalled little afterwards.
But that’s ok because we are looking today at the old story, the deepest story of Mary Magdalene and how her sacred story is relevant in our lives and worlds today.
Listen to me read the sacred stories of Mary Magdalene
Read the sacred stories of Mary Magdalene
(transcript of the audio above)
Hello, and welcome to sacred stories with Mary Magdalene and moving into trust with Grace Quantock.
I’d like to share with you today my own recollection and understanding of the story of Mary Magdalene.
It is a long, old, (often argued over) and contentious story. But I’d like to share with you the way I understand it today.
This is the story of Mary, called Magdalene. It is said that she is the woman with the jar of alabaster. And she carried the jar into the house where Jesus was. She opened the jar and took out the costly oil within. The scent of the oil made it’s way through the whole house, the scent permeated everywhere. Some say the oil within the jar was spikenard, a very strong, costly powerful oil and some say lavender. But the oil of nard was in the jar and she anointed Jesus Christ’s feet with the oil and wiped it clean with her hair and washed his feet with her tears.
And while this was happening other in the house were criticising her, they said why is she doing this? She could sell the oil and give the money to the poor. Why is she in here? And in the time to have the hair unbound was said to be a very unusual thing to do, she was said to be and archetypes with the sacred prostitute, with many aspects of repentance.
When we first see Mary Magdalene in the Bible it is said that Jesus was travelling about from one town and village to another. The Twelve Apostles were with him, and women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases and Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out – and Jesus had done this. And she was now able to be a support to him of her own means.
And some say this shows that she was a sinner and some say it shows that she has suffered a great deal and that she found peace, a path, the Divine, a calling.
Where we really hear a lot about her is in probably one of the darkest and most difficult times in her life. So at the time of the resurrection, Mary Magdalene is mentioned many more times in the gospels and is specified by name as a witness to three key, transformative, powerful events.
She is witness to the crucifixion, the burial, discovering the tomb is empty and is sometimes said to be the sole witness to the resurrection. And because she was there and said and asked for her Lord when she saw what she thought was a gardener.
She saw the tomb was empty and asked, “Where have you taken my Lord?” and asked three times; again and again and again. It was revealed to her that it was Jesus who was risen, (this is what the Bible says and what is believed).
And the joy this woman must have felt to see her Lord, her saviour, her beloved there. She ran to him and he said, “Do not cling to me” because he’d still only just arisen and was between life and death. She saw on him the marks of the crucifixion.
She was able to go to the apostles and inform them of his resurrection and because of this, she is called the apostle to the apostles.
And later on it was said, (you may have seen pictures of her with a red egg), she was at a court and was proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus and the Christian gospels and she was laughed at. They said that is as likely as that egg you are holding turning bright red, and it did. And this was called a miracle and Mary Magdalene went on proclaiming the gospels.
This is a very special day, not only as her feast day, not only as a day celebrating women, the Divine Feminine, Mary Magdalene, the power within us, the power of speaking, asking, proclaiming, loving oneself, and finding what works for us even if we have seven wounds or more.
This is a special day because it’s the first year the church is celebrating Mary Magdalene’s day as a feast day, on par with the other apostles.
It’s beautiful and it’s exciting, I’m so grateful to you for listening to this sacred story with me. I hope it lands with you, resonates and brings you some support, some insight and even some more understanding of the society and culture you may be living in.
With love and blessings to you.
I believe in seeking to find what’s really happening in our heart and minds.
You may have your own takeaways from this story, but I have some reflection questions for you too:
- What is most sacred to you about this story?
- Where do you feel it? In your heart, your feet, your stomach, your mind, or not at all?
- How can you bring the trust Mary Magdalene showed in her resurrected God into your own life?
- What would honour the trusting, the sacred, the sacred in you today?
- How can you go forward to live and love wholeheartedly?
Shiloh Sophia McCloud classes:-
Magdalena: a Sacred Journey into Art History, Ritual and Legends (I’d LOVE to take this one, it looks amazing.)
What do you hear in the sacred stories of Mary Magdalene? What’s your favourite sacred story?
P.S You might also like to read how to connect to what you are craving, a restful prayer for your week and finding focus: insights for exploring our divinity.