A number of books have come out in the past decade about Mary Magdalene or in which Mary plays a prominent role. In fact, compared to the underground obscurity to which she was relegated for two thousand years, you could say that the atmosphere has suddenly become charged with “Magdalene particles.” There are reasons Mary has resurfaced. The discovery of new gospels has shed light on Mary and her relationship to Jesus’ other disciples. But beyond this, the universe seems to have cast Magdalene on the crest of a wave destined to sweep the globe in our lifetime—the rise of the feminine force.
THE RISE OF THE FEMININE
Let’s be clear on this. The rise of the feminine principle does not mean the feminist movement, women’s liberation, or the fact that we’ve seen the first American female presidential candidate. I’m not speaking about the prominence of women in the workplace or the fight for equal compensation. These things are corollary indications of an energy wave sweeping the world, what we might call the superficial manifestations of something deeper. I’m speaking about the feminine half of a force that resides in all of us, men and women. I could just as well say that the yin is rising to balance the yang, the negative is rising to balance the positive, or the cat is rising to balance the dog. It’s about polar forces coming into balance.
Part of the knowledge or gnosis Jesus revealed elucidated the fact that the entire world of appearances operates off of a yin-yang energy polarity that is best described as masculine and feminine in nature. This is also echoed in esoteric Judaism, which claimed that spirits are androgynous in heaven, but when they incarnated into materiality they were “split” into masculine and feminine. The masculine force was characterized by expansive, logical, rational, linear thinking that was more aggressive in relation to its environment. It was left brain oriented, verbal, unimaginative, and mind- centered. The feminine aspect was characterized by receptive, intuitive, feeling-based, elliptical thinking that was more nurturing in relation to its environment. It was right brain oriented, non-verbal, creative, and heart-centered.
But hold on boys, don’t get depressed. This isn’t saying that women have a corner on inspiration, imagination, and the artistic pursuits. It doesn’t work that way. Each sex, each person, has degrees of both male and female characteristics present within himself or herself. Nevertheless, the fact remains that as men and women, we remain substantially divided in our outlook and approach to life along these fault lines. The different outlooks between the sexes are readily observable in animals. Here is a simple human test: for any of you that have ever attended holistic events—and we’re talking about the big ones with thousands of people— you will notice that the attendees are 90-95% female. The subject matter of these meetings has to do with healing, psychic abilities, creative visualization, development of intuition, and other right brain domiciled activities. And we’re talking about weekend events, so the non-working, bored housewife excuse doesn’t cut it as a reason.
THE TWO MUST BECOME ONE
Jesus and the Gnostics spoke of the male and female aspects of God and explained how and why the feminine came to be dominated by the masculine in the material world. Jesus, in the Gnostic gospels, always proclaimed the “two must become one.” What he meant was that we must rebalance ourselves as human beings. An indicator of high intelligence is when a person integrates his or her right and left brains into an operating symmetry. Logic and science by themselves are not roads to true spiritual enlightenment because enlightenment is not an intellectual exercise. It is an experience that must be felt by the feminine faculties of intuitive imagination, and once internalized as a subjective experience, it can then be integrated into the logical, intellectual mind as a fact.
It was for this reason that Jesus and the Gnostics taught the necessity for internal personal balancing of these forces to become whole, actualized human beings two thousand years before, Jung, Maslow, and depth psychology. Jesus and Mary Magdalene were held to be the personifications of these forces operating in unison–the man and the women, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Word and the Wisdom of God, the revealer and the receptacle of divine knowledge.
TOWARD A NEW CONSCIOUSNESS OF BEING
The balancing of material, psychic, and spiritual awareness within each person will signal a radical shift in consciousness. The catalyst that has been lacking for this state lies in the receptive and intuitive feminine qualities. It has been a male-dominated world for a long time and in the field of religion, no less so. Even in the synoptic gospels, we can see Jesus’ radically positive orientation toward women, shocking for his time and culture. Jesus railed against the priesthood and the legalistic, dogmatic nature of Judaism, all left-brained, male fostered phenomena. He said the kingdom of heaven was within, and how do you find what is within you? By meditation, contemplation, and prayer, and it’s been proven that these are right brain states when truly achieved because they involve the intuitive and imaginative faculties. True prayers, at least the ones that get answered, come from the heart, not the mind. The mind can’t pray or meditate; it can only think about praying and meditating. So we see how cultivating these feminine qualities, once prominent in earlier history, is the key to the evolution of a new consciousness.
We may be in the early stages of the feminine resurrection, a phase in the evolution of people becoming superior, wholly integrated human beings using all the sleeping faculties available to them. A human being with feminine intuitive abilities using the male-directed thought to harness power of the interior spiritual/psychic world will become prevalent some day. The majority of people will discover the underlying unity of life and the interconnectedness of our minds and souls. War, poverty, and suffering will take a blow when that day comes. When we finally see our underlying connectedness, it will be harder to hurt others for we will truly experience the words of Matthew: “Verily I say unto you, In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
SO WHO WAS MARY MAGDALENE?
Let’s be honest about one fact. There are so many gaps in the historical Jesus and Magdalene that we can never say for certain what the actual facts of their lives were. But it’s clear that the Bible has played down the role of Mary Magdalene when contrasted to the recovered gospels of the Gnostic Christians. The Da Vinci Code portrays Mary Magdalene as the Holy Grail, the receptacle of Jesus’ children or bloodline. With due respect to Dan Brown, a possible Jesus/Magdalene bloodline has no practical importance to humanity. It also trivializes Magdalene’s crucial role in the Christian story, at least from the Gnostice standpoint. By contrast, in Pope Annalisa, Mary is also revealed as the Holy Grail, though she is the receptacle of something far more universal and important: the gnosis or hidden, sacred teachings of the Christ.
THE EXILE OF MAGDALENE AND THE FEMALE CHURCH
It’s quite suspicious that one of the women always by Jesus’ side and the first to see the risen Christ was relegated to such a shadowy role in the Bible. Some very cogent theses exist stating that the beloved disciple of the Bible was really Magdalene and the Gospel of John was originally the Gospel of Magdalene. This would represent a pattern of editing women out of the Church and the scriptures as outer Christianity evolved and eventually married the Roman Empire, adopting its hierarchical and patriarchal character.
But the other main branch of early Christianity, the mystical Gnostics, retained esoteric traditions and gospels that exalted the place of women and the role of Magdalene until they were exterminated and their works burned by the orthodox state Church. This completed the suppression of Jesus’ attempt in the ancient world to revive feminine wisdom in Western spirituality. But a true spiritual force can only be suppressed, not eliminated, because it is a truth that springs from the innermost recesses of the soul. The Gnostic/feminine wisdom kept resurfacing in differing forms (see the Gnosticism section of the popeannalisa.com website).
Why did orthodox Christianity discard Magdalene and the entire female character of the early Church fostered by Jesus? The outer or public version of Christianity became one of the religions competing to be the state favorite of the Roman Empire. It was a highly patriarchal world back then. Having so many female leaders and a femininely oriented message was an embarrassment. It’s highly probable that women were gradually pushed aside to the point where the Emperor Constantine selected Christianity as the favored state religion with a creed defined by exclusively male bishops. The crass likelyhood is that, as in most mainstream religions, spirit took a back seat to politics and power.
MAGDALENE AS AN ARCHETYPE
Though historical data is sketchy about Magdalene, and even the entire Christian story, its importance can never be obscured because it transcends history in its archetypical meaning for humanity. We can piece together what documents we have and use our own intuition and critical judgment to extract what is universal and spiritually significant. I do not claim that my version of the Magdalene story is the “truth” in a historic or factual sense. I do feel that there is an archetypical significance attached to the figures of Magdalene and the Christ and that is the more important truth I try to extract in my books.
The historical accuracy game is circular when it comes to the Bible. Biblical stories may never be proved or disproved, but they have tremendous value for those who seek to decipher their wisdom and secrets, for they are signposts to universal spiritual truths. To paraphrase a very astute statement from the novel, The Secret Magdalene — that the story is true is not what is important; what is important is the truth in the story.
That is the spirit in which I, and ancient writers of the once lost Gnostic gospels, revive the story of Mary Magdalene. Good evidence exists that women were prominent leaders of the early Church and Magdalene was probably foremost among them. The Gnostic gospels certainly portray her in that way, and many Gnostics believed her to be the full spiritual counterpart of the Christ, Jesus’ foremost disciple, and a living archetype for the intuitive human. Some even held her to be an incarnation of the Holy Spirit herself. Several of the male disciples, notably Peter, were shown as being antagonistic toward her because she continually demonstrated the ability to grasp the esoteric message Jesus taught orally and privately while Peter and many of the men struggled to understand.
The real story of Magdalene and her resurgence in the popular mind is the evolution of humanity toward a new consciousness of being. The next step in that evolution is, in the words of Jesus, that “the two must become one.” Anyone can notice how women are increasingly entering into the mainstream of everyday life. What you may not have noticed is the strong movement in literature, psychology, the arts, and religion to resurrect and recover the lost feminine spiritual legacy, the Goddess, some call it, not to supplant the male force, but to merge with it and transform us in ways we can only now imagine.
When the qualities of love, mercy, intuition, and acting from the heart seep in to become a more common part of our lives, we move closer to the divine. The activation of these right brain faculties will allow us to follow the path of the sages, to perceive as God perceives, to act in a manner that will flow from the recognition of our unity with all things. One day, these perceptions will be open to all, not just a few sages, and they will be real experiences, not just intellectual propositions of the mind. Mary Magdalene will become a major focal point in this grand movement of our evolution. It’s in the air. It may well be written in the heavens.