Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus’ most loyal followers and students; she was perhaps his closet companion and friend; and she was even named a saint. Still, she is most often identified as a prostitute, despite no evidence to substantiate the claim.
In many ways, Mary Magdalene is one of the clearest examples of a patriarchy that refuses to recognize and respect anyone but its own. We are so accustomed to the male perspective and energy being so pervasive that many believe it is the natural order of things.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
In the 200,000-year history of the human species, and the 4-plus billion years that earth has been in existence, there have been many times when the matriarchy has influenced our evolution. It is no accident that we call her “Mother Earth.”
For way too long, though, we have dismissed women — especially in the United States. We have paid and respected them less. We have subjugated them to the kitchen and role of baby maker while questioning the authority they have over their own bodes at every turn. We did not even give them the right to vote until 1920.
We glorify the Blessed Virgin but call Mary Magdalene a whore.
Our Declaration of Independence states that “all men [not all men and women or even all people] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It’s no wonder it took hundreds of years for a woman to be on a U.S presidential ticket.
The Bible says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” It is interesting that we have strayed so far from a view this broad and inclusive.
I couldn’t imagine a world filled only with images or reflections of stern old men with beards who hover over us in superiority. My image of “God” or the divine is much more gender fluid. It is masculine, feminine and everything in between.
The mystic poet Rumi says, “Woman is the radiance of God. She is not a creature; she is the Creator.” While that sentiment also is one-sided, it is sometimes necessary to be or think that way to come into balance.
The divine feminine soul and consciousness extends far beyond gender. It is a disservice to the source of all that is — and to each other — to make it otherwise. There are many men who possess a fair amount of feminine energy; and many women who possess way too much masculine energy for their own good.
Yet so many cultures glorify “male” power and energy through war, guns, rough-and-tumble sports, bullying tactics, jacked-up and souped-up pickup trucks that elevate their drivers to positions of intimidation and superiority, and more. The United States is a prime example of this kind of culture and influence. Just look at the "Proud Boys."
Again, this is not about gender. It is about a state of consciousness and being.
When Harry Styles expressed his feminine side on the cover of Vogue, it was women who reacted with the most criticism and disdain. I wonder if it is the result of being brain- and heart-washed into believing that men and women have distinct and separate places in society; women not wanting their own place usurped; or both.
At their best, men and women possess the divine feminine and the sacred masculine in equal measure. This is the true beauty and mystery of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
Jesus and Mary are mirror images of each other. They spiral around and dance with each other in complementary energies that cannot be separated nor denied without severe consequences: compassion and courage, vulnerability and strength, honesty and humility, and so much more that make us truly divine in their totality. It is the essence of love.
The last four years have shown us the kind of ugly and brutal consequences that result when we stray from the path of love. The patriarchy is being tested as perhaps never before.
It is not a matter of man versus woman, or which gender or sex will come out on top. It is an opportunity to change course together by being all that we were meant to be.
Someone in our weekend class asked what the world might be like if there had been a religion called “Magdalenity” that was as passionate and had as powerful a stronghold as Christianity does … if more people were invited to experience the full spectrum of masculinity and femininity that makes them true reflections of the divine.
I believe we are at a spiritual crossroads. We are beginning to witness a reckoning that has been a long time coming. We are seeing more women in positions of power and respect in religious organizations, the home, workplace and our government. We are seeing women being given permission to stand up for themselves and to tell their truth in a way that benefits us all.
We are seeing this monumental shift in Joe Biden’s vice-president and cabinet picks. We are seeing it in his commitment to ruling with both his head and heart — unlike his predecessor — and to not consider that kind of middle ground to be a sign of weakness.
Sigmund Freud perhaps said it best: “In human beings, pure masculinity or femininity is not to be found either in a psychological or biological sense.” I would also add in a spiritual sense. When we go against our true nature and deny the full spectrum of who we are, we disregard and disrespect all that is.
I look forward to seeing more gender fluidity … more lines blurred … more opportunities to move beyond our self-imposed silos to embrace and realize our full potential. When we learn to walk in the path of both Jesus and Mary Magdalene at the same time, we will change the universe … we will walk together in love.
My blessing for all of us this week is that we drop the labels and preconceived notions of who we are and walk in our fullness together.