For 2000 years, the lunar aspect of Christianity has been missing. Very early in the evolution of Christianity, the Holy Feminine was supplanted by the ruling paradigm of the Roman world which was patriarchal, hierarchical, rooted in fear, power and control. For 2000 years, the feminine has languished under the dominion of this unholy expression of the masculine (not to be confused with the Holy Masculine which Jesus represented, but not the religion that was founded in his name), but it has never truly departed. For 2000 years, the feminine has been hiding in plain sight waiting until humanity was at a place in its spiritual evolution when it would once again be ready for her gifts. Well, I think we can safely say: WE ARE READY!
The good news is that we don’t need to look very far to discover where the feminine has been hiding. The feminine has been hiding in what has come to be known as the “mystical tradition” of the Church (Nolan, A. 2008. Jesus Today – a spirituality of radical freedom). The mystical tradition is that which has been cultivated and then guarded by the monastic communities that emerged out of the Christian experience – the world of Sts. Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Francis and Clare of Assisi, Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich, Meister Eckhart, Teillard de Chardin, Therese of Lisieux, Ignatius of Loyola and Bernadette Soubirous. It is within these mystical traditions that we find the tools of the feminine – contemplative prayer, imagination, creativity, ministries of healing and teaching, a commitment to service, working for justice and the freedom of all. When we apply these practices to scripture, we discover the feminine there. We find a divine who is both masculine and feminine, and which transcends gender all together. We find the original compassion teachings of Jesus which transcend the patriarchal invention of doctrine. We discover that Jesus promoted the equality of women and that there were women who learned from him, travelled with him, supported him in his ministry and who even became ministers themselves. It is also through this lens that we discover the ONE woman who most fully understood and then embodied Jesus’ teachings, became his co-equal partner in ministry and maybe even his beloved wife. This woman is Mary, called Magdalene.
It is through the gnostic tradition and the recently discovered gnostic scripture texts that we get a glimpse into the true greatness of the Magdalene, and what has truly been lost – not just hidden within the Christian experience. In rejecting the Magdalene, the Church rejected all women with her. In rejecting all women, the Church rejected all that it means to be feminine. The most harmful way this wholesale rejection of the feminine has been expressed is in the way in which the Church has rejected sexuality – the very procreative drive which insures the continuation of the species and which is unique within our species as an act that provides pleasure. We need look no farther than the priest sex abuse scandal to see how this rejection of the feminine, especially the sensual and sexual aspects of creation are now coming out sideways, proving the Buddhist adage of “what we resist will persist.” All of this proving that if we only have the sun, all we are left with is a dry and barren desert, unable to bring forth life. With the restoration of the moon, the dry and barren desert is quenched of its thirst and is once again able to bring forth life.
If Jesus is the Sun, representing all that is external, intellectual, rational, linear, logical, masculine, pragmatic and proactive, then Mary Magdalene is the Moon. Mary, called Magdalene, represents the lost feminine in the Christian tradition – the esoteric, emotional, heart-centered, sensual, receptive, intuitive and creative. It is Mary Magdalene as the archetype of the feminine that must be restored to the Jesus story if Jesus’ true mission of love is ever to be fulfilled.