Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Feast of the Magdalene

According to Jordan Stratford's work, Living Gnosticism:An Ancient Way of Knowing, one of my favorite "Gnosticism 101" books and still my primary resource into the Gnostic liturgical calendar, July 22 is the Feast of the Magdalene. In his book, on page 81, he states:
The identification with Mary Magdalene is extremely popular among contemporary Gnostics. As the first of the apostles to witness of the Resurrection, she is seen as co-equal with Christ and the first to truly understand the post-incarnational aspect of the Logos. In this role of initiated initiator, she is celebrated as an aspect of Sophia Herself.
 Poor Mary Magdalene. She has gone through so much in her history, ever since she was equated with a prostitute, not by the Bible itself, but by Pope Gregory the Great, in the sixth century.

But then, when the Gnostic scriptures were discovered, It turned out that there was a Gospel, the Gospel of Mary, dedicated to her, which revere her as Christ's most beloved. Indeed, many now believe that the "beloved disciple" in John was originally a reference to her before being edited by patriarchical scribes later on. And of course, books such as The Da Vinci Code brought to public eye, the view that she was married to Jesus and that they had children, something that I personally have no trouble believing in the possibility of.

Now, in many Gnostic circles, as mentioned in the above quote from Stratford's book, Mary Magdalene is seen as a sort of Christian Goddess, an incarnation of the Sophia, along with Isis, Asherah, and others. The concept of the Goddess is something that has been in my mind lately, and will likely be the topic of an upcoming blog.

So, in celebration of today's liturgical holiday, I close with the Gospel readings from today's meditation in The Gnosis Archive. From the Gospel of Luke:

And behold a woman in the city, which was a harlot, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisees house brought an alabaster box of ointment. And she stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. When the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself: This man if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him; for she is a harlot. And Jesus turned to the woman, and said unto Simon the Pharisee: Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet; but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss; but this woman hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint; but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee: Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much.

And from the Gospel of Phillip:
The Sophia whom they call barren is the mother of the angels. And the consort of Christ is Mary Magdalen. The Lord loved Mary more than all the disciples and kissed her on her mouth often. The others said to him: ‘Why do you love her more than all of us?’ The Saviour answered and said to them: ‘Why do I not love you like her?’ There were three who walked with the Lord at all times, Mary his mother, and her sister and Magdalene, whom they called his consort. For Mary was his sister and his mother and his consort.

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