The Hidden Writings of Mary Magdalene
Updated: Dec 17, 2021
It is revealing to explore our old stories from an astrological basis. Just four days before Christmas, we celebrate the Winter Solstice when the earth's poles are at their furthest tilt away from the sun resulting in the shortest amount of daylight and a long period of darkness. We can follow the patterns of the orbits of the planets and stars, and their influences, throughout our stories. Our ancient tales can be decoded to reveal deeper mysteries.
A Sun 'Standing Still'
Most notable is the relationship between Mary Magdalene (the divine feminine, the moon) and Jesus (the divine masculine, the sun.)
The following quote by writer Bill Donahue demonstrates the movements of the sun as it arrives at the furthest end of its elliptical orbit for three days beginning on the Winter Solstice (21st December) culminating on Christmas Eve, before being 'reborn' on Christmas Day.
The word Solstice comes from the Latin words sol ("sun") and sistere ("to stand still") due to the way the sun appears to pause as it reaches the northern or southern limit before reversing in direction.
Three Days, Three Nights
"The reason we have selected December 25th as the birthday of God’s son is because it has always been that way. God’s sun is truly born again on December 25th. Again and again.
After being born of the Virgin Virgo in the 9th month of September, the sun descends downward to the point of the constellation Crux, the southern cross.
After passing through the cross, God’s sun is in the tomb of the winter solstice three days and three nights. December 22 23 and 24. The darkest days.
Then on December 25th God’s sun resurrects from the tomb of the solstice. God’s sun is literally reborn on December 25th and then ascends to sit at the right side or East on June 21st.
The longest day of the sun.
Born of the Virgin Virgo and then born again from the dark tomb." Bill Donahue
From Da Vinci's 'Last Supper'
We see a similar story unfold between Mary Magdalene and Jesus during his resurrection at the tomb since he finally arose on the third day after his crucifixion.
12 Apostles and the Zodiac
Some believe that the 12 apostles represented the different zodiac signs and Jesus stood in the centre of these signs, representing the sun in Da Vinci's famous painting, the 'Last Supper.' Jesus as the sun and Mary Magdalene as the moon can also clearly be seen in a mosaic from the 6th century Monastery of Lady Mary in Beit She’an, Israel, which also contained the Greek names of the twelve months - another zodiac.
This dance between the sun and moon is essential for life on our planet. The sun radiates light and warmth and gives us life, whereas the moon is magnetic and reflective - she gives us our rhythms and patterns - she creates the tides, menstrual cycles and our lunar months. The sun represents the divine masculine and the moon represents the divine feminine - and collectively we are currently embracing bringing these two energies back into balance in our understanding, since both are essential.
Hidden Scrolls of Mary
Likewise, in our society, we have spent a lot of time celebrating the birth and Ascension of Christ, Jesus or Yeshua - yet the history and spiritual journey of his divine counterpart, Mary Magdalene, has largely been erased from our collective libraries. Yet in 1945, an amazing discovery was found in the desert at Nag Hammadi in Egypt and hidden writings of Mary were found in a clay jar which had escaped the book burnings of the ancient Roman Empire. In this newsletter, we will celebrate the life of this mysterious lady.
It is a burning question - what exactly do we know about Mary based on the evidence and what did the hidden writings of Mary reveal?
There are two different sources containing the earliest references to Mary Magdalene: these are the canonical Gospels of the New Testament and the second included writings which were rejected by the Roman Catholic Church known as the Gnostic Gospels. These gospels were suppressed and many executions and book burnings commenced within the Roman Empire - yet some texts remained, having been hidden over the years. In 1945, a clay jar in the desert at Nag Hammadi, near Phou in Egypt revealed texts which became known as the Gnostic Gospels, including the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. This fragment of text dates from the beginning of the third century but it's thought that the first edition would have dated from the second century, making it one of the founding texts of Christianity.
'Penitent Magdalene' by Domenico Tintoretto, between 1598 and 1602.
After reading the Gospel of Mary Magdalene (translated by Jean-Yves Leloup) for the first time I sat back in quiet absorption - amazed by the lucidity and clarity of the words and the energy that was conveyed. It was clear to me that Mary and Jesus or Yeshua had shared a deep bond.
1 Peter said to Mary:
2 "Sister, we know that the Teacher loved you
3 differently from other women.
4 Tell us whatever you remember
5 of any words he told you
6 which we have not yet heard."
Mary shared with Peter about the vision of Yeshua she had received at the tomb in which he had told her:
15 'You are blessed, for the sight of me does not disturb you.
16 There where is the nous, lies the treasure.'
This line has also been translated differently in other versions, with the word 'heart' used instead of 'nous' which is a Greek word meaning divine reason or mind.
The Teachings of Christ
Mary continued to share with the brothers about the teachings of the resurrected Yeshua which he had imparted, yet Peter found it hard to believe that his Teacher had revealed all of these divine secrets to a woman. This was an era in which women were forbidden from studying the esoteric wisdom of the Torah or even reading its script:
18 Must we change our customs,
19 and listen to this woman?
20 Did he really chose her, and prefer her to us?
Yet Levi spoke up in defence of Mary in an era where women were not treated with equality:
8 "Peter, you have always been hot-tempered,
9 and now we see you repudiating a woman,
10 just as our adversaries do.
11 Yet if the Teacher held her worthy,
12 who are you to reject her?
13 Surely the Teacher knew her very well,
14 for he loved her more than us.
'Penitent Magdalene', by El Greco, (1576–1578)
The text is a beautiful discovery, although unfortunately many pages are missing. So what do we really know about this enigmatic yet elusive lady?
Hair Colour, Ointment & Skull
"In reviewing art from books and tramping through museums around the world, we have been fascinated by several recurring symbolic interpretations: Magdalene is often painted with red or golden hair, she is repeatedly associated with a jar used for anointing; and many times she is depicted in the presence of a skull." 'Gospel of Mary Magdalene' (translated by Jean-Yves Leloup.)
'Mary Magdalene' by Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys, c.1858-1860
Her association with a skull in art could symbolise her deep connection and acceptance of the processes of death and rebirth and the various realms of the Otherworld.
"Her appearances with special oils to use in anointing Jesus Christ place her in the tradition of priests and priestesses of Isis, whose unguents were used to achieve the transition over the threshold of death while retaining consciousness. Jesus accepts and encourages this anointing, explaining to the other disciples that she "helps prepare me for my burial."" 'Gospel of Mary Magdalene' (translated by Jean-Yves Leloup.)
'The Penitent Magdalen' by Georges de La Tour, (ca. 1640)
The Error of the 'Penitent Whore'
"Mary's identity as a prostitute stems from Homily 33 of Pope Gregory I, delivered in the year 591, in which he declared that she and the unnamed woman in Luke 7 are, in fact, one and the same, and that the faithful should hold Mary as the penitent whore." 'Gospel of Mary Magdalene' (translated by Jean-Yves Leloup.)
Yet no where is it mentioned in the Gospels that Mary was a prostitute - the Greek word for sinner which was used in Luke and which Pope Gregory was referring to did not mean a prostitute. We also know from the Gospels that Yeshua healed Mary by freeing her from seven demons (Mark 16:9, Luke 8:2.)
"Unfortunately, the fact that Mary Magdalene is freed from the possession of seven demons has resulted in greater focus on the perceived stigma of her past as interpreted in Homily 33 than on her cleansed state after this healing. Only in 1969 did the Catholic Church officially repeal Gregory's labeling of Mary as a whore, thereby admitting their error - though the image of Mary Magdalene as the penitent whore has remained in the public teachings of all Christian denominations." 'Gospel of Mary Magdalene' (translated by Jean-Yves Leloup.)
'Mary Magdalene' by Perugino (c.1500)
Companion of Christ
Yet these hidden writings discovered at Nag Hammadi seem to confirm another story - that Mary was in all likelihood the lover of Yeshua and this can be seen again in another text discovered, called the Gospel of Philip:
"And the companion of the [...] Mary Magdalene. [... loved] her more than [all] the disciples [and used to] kiss her [often] on her [...]. The rest of [the disciples...] They said to him, "Why do you love her more than all of us?" The Savior answered and said to them, "Why do I not love you like her?"
Another version translated by Alan Jacobs reads as follows:
"Of all his disciples he loved
his companion, Mary Magdalene,
the most, and kissed her.
The disciples asked,
"Why do you love her most?"
He answered, "When a blind and
sighted man are both in darkness,
they are equal.
When a light dawns, he who can
see will know the light,
he who is blind will stay in the dark."
From these writings, some clear details have emerged about Mary: we know that she was healed by Yeshua from seven demons, and that she was at the foot of Yeshua during the crucifixion along with John, Mother Mary, Mother Mary's sister and Mary, wife of Clopas. She also carried a container of unguent (ointment) on the third morning after the Crucifixion to visit Yeshua's tomb.
An altarpiece of Mary Magdalene by Carl Crivelli, dated to circa 1480-1487.
"The evangelists John, Mark, and Matthew all relate this first appearance to Mary of the risen Christ. The brief verbal exchange that then occurs between Christ and Mary as related in the Gospel of John has spurred much debate. When she understands that the man she has assumed is the gardener is actually her teacher, she speaks the intimate word rabboni, and reaches toward him. Jesus Christ responds, in the King James version (John 20:17), "Do not touch me." The Latin translation is "Noli me tangere." These words have been interpreted as confirmation that Mary Magdalene still carries some of the taint from her sins. In other words, some perceive Jesus Christ's words as, "Stay away from me, you soiled woman."...If we look at Christ's words in the original Greek, the meaning translates a little differently. "Me mou aptou" uses the imperative mood of the verb (h)aptein, "to fasten." A better translation would then be, "Don't hold onto me" or "Don't cling to me." Now for the full line: "Do not cling to me, for I am not yet ascended to the Father."...When we let go of the emphasis on Mary Magdalene's rejection that some hear in Jesus' words outside the tomb, and see this instead as a teaching about the other worlds in which we can exist, we can then understand that these words may indicate her very special role. She is the one - perhaps, because of her purified state, the only one - who can deliver Christ's message: "Go to my brethren and tell them I ascend to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God."" 'Gospel of Mary Magdalene' (translated by Jean-Yves Leloup.)
This teaching or transmission that Mary received from the resurrected Christ at the tomb is contained within the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, which is the primary source of this teaching she received.
Beyond these writings it is not known what happened next to Mary and how these teachings were imparted. The disciples of Christ dispersed after his Ascension to many parts of the globe. Yet legends in Southern France spoke of the belief that Mary Magdalene had journeyed there with a small group of followers of Christ where it is thought that she lived in a deep system of limestone caverns.
'Mary Magdalene Sleeping in a Grotto, A Hilly Landscape Beyond,' by the anonymous Master of the Prodigal Son, c.1530-1560
'Saint Mary Magdalene Penitent in a Landscape' by Bernardino Luini, 1540~1550