I have just returned from my trip to Provence where I attended the celebrations in honor of the feast of Mary Magdalene. I am still incredibly humbled by the experiences I was fortunate to behold while I was there. For the very first time, I stayed at the Hostellerie at the foot of the Sainte Baume mountain where Mary called Magdalene is said to have spent the rest of her life after the crucifixion. It’s funny because I would choose a simple, monastic cell over a five-star hotel room any time. There is a special feeling in a room that is devoted to prayer and meditation. It thrusts you into your inner world, into a whirlwind of calm where we can finally meet with our soul and catch up to its guidance.
I recently had a conversation with a fellow devotee about Mary Magdalene on her emotionality and grief. I started to ponder on the emotional world of Mary Magdalene, a theme that continuously winds itself through the various narratives of the Magdalene as both synoptic and gnostic gospels relate several instances of Mary Magdalene weeping. As my interlocutor believed Mary did not experience grief from the crucifixion, I descended into my heart and examined what I knew.
In Luke 7, we can see Mary Magdalene embrace the feet of Jesus with her tears. She kisses his feet and washes them with her hair as She weeps, and her tears fall upon the feet of Jesus. She was so overwhelmed with emotions that she “bathed his feet with her tears.” She was not withholding how She felt, she did not seek to hide her emotional state nor her tears. She presented them as an anointment, as a gift that would highlight his Messianic calling and nature.
Her tears announce what is to come as the “Anointed One.” It ushers His mission, offering a prophetic recognition of the King. As she was initiated into the mysteries, she now becomes the initiatrix. She enters her inner dimension to commune with the best part of herself: her strong and unapologetic heart.
Until we clear the inner dome of our heart from emotional fog, we will see the external world through that fog.
Let’s also remember that tears serve a physiological purpose as well. A purpose that continues the healing process, the externalization of that emotional fog: tears contain stress hormones and toxins as they remove the stress and toxin buildup. Tears represent the flow of the heart pouring out of its source — the heart — to cleanse its conduit and allow the power of the heart to move through without obstruction. We too often underestimate the tremendous cleaning power of water: it washes inside out, and tears are no exceptions to its cleansing purpose.
In her gospel, Mary weeps when Peter accused her of making up the teachings she just shared with the apostles: “How is it possible that the Teacher talked in this manner with a woman about secrets of which we ourselves are ignorant? Must we change our customs, and listen to this woman? Did he really choose her, and prefer her to us?
Then Mary wept, and answered him:
“My brother Peter, what can you be thinking? Do you believe that this is just my own imagination, that I invented this vision?”
In John 11, we see Mary the Magdalene weeping for her brother Lazarus of Bethany when she meets Jesus right before he heals him back into life. Again, she is not embarrassed to display her grief. She is One and whole in her state. She does not worry what others will think and how inappropriate it is for a woman in first-century Israel. Later on, in the same Gospel, Mary weeps again. This time, Mary stands at the empty tomb and they have taken her Rabbouni. She faces the empty cave as she faces death: without fear. As the feminine archetypal figure, Mary is not afraid of the darkness of the tomb, of the emptiness, of the other dimension after death.
To strip Mary Magdalene from her tears, her grief, her emotional depths is to decimate her feminine aspect once more. It deprives her from her very strength: the wholeness she embodied as an “Anthropos” or complete human being. It is the very act that led many churches into the dark hole of the ego through the loss of the heart-centered mystical aspect of their establishments.
The repression of emotions and of a heart-centered spirituality is the repression of inner knowing, of the most sacred intimacy with the divine within the walls of our heart. Mary Magdalene knew that her emotions were powerful vehicles that could move and remove psychic energies that blocked the presence of Christic light and love. She knew she had to keep her inner state clear and fluid to stand as a watch tower and carry the message she saw Jesus teach. I like to believe that she only rarely left his side.
As a bona fide teacher of the Way as instructed by Jesus, Mary the Magdalene knew that bypassing, repressing her emotions would only obscure her inner world and her spiritual sight. Mary Magdalene taught that we could truly use everything for the purpose of our our spiritual development, even our deepest grief.
To learn about my journey in Provence discovering Mary Magdalene and Her spiritual teachings, watch my lecture on Mary Magdalene and the Divine Feminine here.
In love and devotion,