The following post was submitted by Linda Johnson, one of the students of my course “Resurrecting the Magdalene.” (Learn more about the upcoming online course, Resurrecting the Magdalene HERE.) Linda was impassioned by the stories of Mary Magdalene and her anointing of Jesus and sought to learn more. What Linda discovered is nothing short of earth-shattering…at least to those brought up with the idea of Jesus as a celibate male. Could it be that Mary’s anointing of Jesus was in preparation for the consummation of their marriage?
I have been attending a wonderful group facilitated by Lauri Ann Lumby, exploring the richness of the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Not the false view of her as prostitute but her as disciple, follower, lover and partner with Jesus in a profound and deeply meaningful way, a template for Sacred Union.
Last week we were utilizing the texts Mark and John, the chapters in which Mary uses the jar of nard to anoint Jesus, in one telling, his head, in one his feet. I am fascinated by words and their symbols especially when reading scripture, as rarely is the meaning only in the words. There is great depth of understanding by knowing the history, circumstance, culture of the era and creating a larger tapestry with even more threads.
(Learn more about the upcoming online course Resurrecting the Magdalene HERE.)
When I read the text it seems obvious to me that the other disciples were present, Mary was likely the only woman there. In both texts she is the only one who seems to understand what is about to happen; she “feels” Jesus’ impending death. The other disciples seem clueless. She knows Jesus deeply and intimately. Pouring oil that is used for preparing the body for burial while someone is very much alive is unheard of. She understands Jesus in a way that no one else does. She has been “listening “to his message with her whole heart. I love how Jesus protected her by telling the others to leave her alone.
As I further studied nard, I learned the only other time it is spoken of is in Song of Solomon. The bride-to-be uses this in preparation for consummation of intimacy for betrothal as a sign to her Beloved that she is ready for union. She opens up her heart, spirit, soul and body for Divine Union with her Beloved. She is the one that indicates she is ready to receive.
The fact that the nard was in an alabaster jar is significant as well. Alabaster was a precious type of translucent marble; it was sealed with a wax until it was used for the specific tasks as mentioned. It occurred to me that Mary would have had to break it open or unseal the wax and this gesture was symbolic of coming together with her Beloved in both sacred union and burial, so great was her devotion and love as if the seal was the supernatural mystical hymen . Mary greatly adored her Beloved and clearly there was profound understanding between them. This was a costly gift on many fronts as she gave her full heart, soul, body, spirit in love not to mention a year’s worth of wages!
Mary Magdalene was at Jesus’ side when he was on the cross, the first to go to the tomb, the first to joyously share He was alive. This great love and what is implied gives me such hope and possibility. I feel there is a great truth in the text that can’t be ignored, a true model of Divine Partnership, that unfortunately we only have small glimpses of but nonetheless if we extract the meaning behind the words, the implication of mutual love and a special bond is palpable. We are hungry for this way, not the power oriented, patriarchal and patronizing view of masculine and feminine but that of cooperation, co- creating and completion of loving symbiosis.
It is time to use this model and allow the fragrance of this beautiful love to be poured out on us all.
Learn more about our upcoming online course Resurrecting the Magdalene HERE.