Monday, September 16, 2013
I just listened to an interview by Karen Tate on her radio show "Voices of the Sacred Feminine" where she talked with an anthropologist from Italy who guides spiritual tours with Mary Magdalene as their focus. It was interesting to hear her speak from an academic view point and then describe the very emotional responses of her pilgrims.
I've been a pilgrim visiting the site they described. As I traveled alone in France, I went to the cave she described in the mountains near St.Baume. Karen asked about why the pilgrims were perturbed, but there wasn't enough time to go into the details. Well, I remember it well.
I came there on my research journey for "Rituals in Sacred Stone", and visited the cave after I had just been to the cathedral where her skull is displayed and had a profound experience there. My head was full of wonder over what I had seen and I felt her spirit very close, so I wanted to visit the cave as well and be further inspired. I was quickly shocked out of my reveries.
The landscape I arrived at was lovely with rolling hills and meadows, and surrounded with steep mountainsides, not too tall. You can see some buildings hanging onto the mountain and there is a well tended path to walk. As I walked the path, still in wonder of what I'd experienced so far, I was further inspired by old oak trees and a path that many pilgrims had walked before me. I came to some steps leading up into the mountain, nicely cut into the stone and I appreciated the fine craftsmanship. As I turned the last sharp switchback of the steps, I faced a life size crucifixion scene, complete with three crosses with twisted men on them. They were situated above the short stonewall flanking the stairs, right in eye sight from where you have to turn. I had been reflecting on the female side of God, on the life giving, nurturing, creative side, feeling hugged by Mary Magdalene as I walked. The brutality of the realism of the scene was shocking to my system. And why was it there? It certainly wasn't there when she used the cave, and not a memory she would appreciate to be faced with every day.
I had to pass right underneath the display and I felt the eyes of the dying men following my back as I continue to the top. There is a humble little church there and some other buildings. A monk walked between looking like he lived there. He did not greet me and looked annoyed that I was there. I walked through the church to get to the entrance of the cave and tried to be as respectful as I could even though I did not grow up catholic and don't know the motions.
The cave is huge and has many sections to it. You come in at the upper part and there is a staircase to the lower area. I saw several white marble sculptures placed somewhat randomly among the dark rock formations. You can't help but rest your eyes on them, they are so white in the darkness. I remember the typical theme of the reclining penitent, eyes upward, arms up along her head in total submission, bared breast to show that she can't help her flaming sexual desires. This is not the Magdalene I know and had met so profoundly earlier in the day. I walked down the stairs and at the lower level I had a better experience. There was an alabaster jar on display that looked ancient, but bigger and heavier that what I think she could carry around. In the back there was an altar and a stream of water was running down the side of the interior mountain wall.
The whole place looked staged to display the old view of the church, as if they had taken even this, the place she actually used and worshipped at, and turned it into a reminder of the overemphasis on the suffering of Christ and the penitent prostitute she absolutely wasn't. I left the place somewhat disturbed. On the way back to my car I was again renewed by the nature scene and the old oak trees. They sky showed me an unusual break through of light between some dark clouds, and I took that as a good sign.
I've heard that there is a place on top of the mountain you can also walk to, which isn't very far or strenuous. I didn't know about this at the time, so I didn't go, but I've heard of others who have had gatherings there and said that it is a powerful spot. It is devoid of church paraphernalia and connects to the consciousness she established inside the mountain, truly a power point.
I traveled in France to do research for my historical novel about Mary Magdalene. I had many profound experiences on the way. The book is not about my travels, though, it is following her throughout her life. I describe her education in Alexandria and Ephesus, her work next to Jesus in their few years in Jerusalem and her exile in France. In my book they are married and have three children.
In the radio program, Karen Tate mention Lynne Pinkett's work where she suggests that they knew the Isis-Osiris mysteries. In my book I describe the Journey of Osiris as an initiation Mary Magdalene knew how to administrate. Similarly to Shakespeare's Juliet, the initiate is given a potion, appears dead for three days and awakens on the third. This initiation was offered to Lazarus and was used for the crucifixion to achieve it's effect and satisfy the Romans. According to the gospels, Jesus was up there for a very short time. Usually crucified people were left to be eaten by the birds, but he was taken carefully down after no more than three hours and carried to a tomb. Nicodemus and Joseph of Aramathea brought 100 pounds of aloe vera to care for his body. Now we all know that aloe vera is extraordinarily effective in healing injured skin. It is not what you would use to prepare a body for burial. It is an herb supporting life, not used to honor the dead. In my story she stays with him in the tomb. As his wife, she's the only one who is supposed to handle his naked body. As his priestess, she's the only one who knows how to bring him back. As his closest disciple, this is the only place she wants to be.
So did he defy death? Or did he visit the other side and came back, the way the Egyptians knew all about how to accomplish? The apparent order of events would have been the same either way, but carry different interpretations according to how much you were prepared to understand. Those with ears to hear will hear.
I'm sharing all this because I will be on Karen Tate's radio program Wednesday September 18th. We will talk about my book, "Rituals in Sacred Stone", but more importantly we will talk about my research. Seven years of extensive reading and travels to Egypt and France went into this and I finally published the book with Balboa Press. I feel that my work gives a new controversial interpretation of a story we all are looking for more details on. I wrote this combining historical facts, connecting the dots in the story and by submerging my self profoundly in her life. My readers have given me great feedback as they connect with her spirit.
Please join me on Wednesday for "Voices of the Sacred Feminine" or listen to the program later from the archives. I would love to hear what you think.