Tomorrow, July 22nd, is Magdalene Day. The Church long believed this was her birthday and celebrated the 22nd of July every year as the Feast Day of Mary Magdalene. The beautiful painting below shows Magdalene as the wife of Jesus and mother of his children. An ancient manuscript suggests Jesus married Mary Magdalene as explained in one of my favorite articles on the subject of Jesus’ marriage to “the Magdalene”. Magdalene is a title meaning “great” because Mary Magdalene was ordained the First Lady of Christianity.
Yay. God-the-Mother is coming out more and more in various religions. The Mormons have always believed She existed, and a Heavenly Mother has been in their doctrine all along. But they have told their leaders not to preach sermons about Her (due to persecution, being called a “sex cult” back in the 1800s). Now that is changing. Pretty cool.
Mormons also believe Mary Magdalene was Jesus’ wife. My daughters love hanging out with Mormon friends, one whose parents have prominent paintings of Jesus and Magdalene on the wall. (Painted by Mormon artists).
Here’s a news article about the Heavenly Mother being increasingly mentioned by LDS (Mormon) leaders. It has an interesting Madonna-like picture of Her with a hidden face.
Today is the day Mary Mother-of-Jesus was said to have ascended into heaven and to begin her reign as Queen of Heaven, crowned by the Father & Son, becoming a member of the Trinity. It makes sense to me that she was our Heavenly Mother and like her Son decided to incarnate here on earth to bring about the Work, to deliver the Message (aka the “Good News” literally gospel).
Margaret Starbird writes:
August 15 is the official Catholic Church Feast Day celebrating the assumption of the Virgin Mary—body and soul—into heaven (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assumption_of_Mary ) validating a folk commemoration of this event over hundreds of years.
In medieval lore, two other female saint were alleged to have been assumed bodily into heaven: Mary Magdalene and Mary the Egyptian (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_of_Egypt), another “Fallen Sophia” revered by medieval Christians. Carl Jung was apparently thrilled when this feast day was declared because it elevated the “Feminine” status, completing (in his view) the “quaternity” (the classic Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit completed by the addition of the Feminine “Mother of God”).
What will it take for the Church to recognize the archetypal Sacred Complement of Christ in the person of Mary Magdalene—his Bride in Exile? She represents the entire human family (flesh and blood) as “Bride”/Partner and co-Creator with the Divine.
[The following] blogger does not agree with many Goddess Christian beliefs or the teachings of Margaret Starbird.
While his article begins with the various holy grail mythologies and the Priory of Sion hoax, if we scroll way down to Holy Bloodline, we can see that he “exposes” the bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene (sometimes abbreviated MM) as a myth.
In another article, he seems to reject the idea of MM being any type of Goddess:
In yet another article he states: The Holy Bloodline myth derives from the semi-fictional pseudo-history book Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, which used poor scholarship and unreliable sources to develop the idea that Mary Magdalene married Jesus and had children by him who eventually gave rise to the Merovingian royal house. The claim has little textual support beyond some ambiguous Gnostic references to the pair kissing.
This link is interesting, I had never heard of a tradition that MM was married to John the Evangelist:
If you do a search on Jason Colavito and Mary Magdalene, or Jason Colavito and Margaret Starbird (while he only mentions alternative writers, some of the follow-up comments do mention her, specifically), or the author and DaVinci, or the author and the bloodline of Jesus, or Jesus and Mary Magdalene being married, or Mary Magdalene as Goddess, etc., all kinds of articles from his archives will come up.
[And now a link to] his rather bizarre views on the Cathars, based upon the writing of their enemy, a Roman Catholic and further based upon his own translation of the Latin text. When challenged, in the comment section, about his authority to translate the difficult Latin, his response was that he had been ‘reading Latin since he was a teenager’. There is no mention of studying the language at a University level.
Anyway, unless I am completely misreading this blogger’s articles, which I may well be, he does not seem to feel that many Goddess Christian beliefs hold any validity. I think he would consider the beliefs of many Goddess Christians to be fringe conspiracies. –PAMELA
KATIA WRITES: We are the fringe of Christianity in our belief in a Divine Feminine / Heavenly Mother and her earthly incarnations as Magdalene. Some people don’t believe as we do that down thru the millennia Godhead might choose to manifest as a woman, not always a man, that a Heavenly Father REQUIRES a Heavenly Mother since no parent arrives at parenthood alone.
Genesis says, “Let US make man in OUR image…. Male AND female”. Both sexes made up the heavenly creator-couple’s “image”.
Heavenly Mother may have manifested / incarnated as Mother Mary, and Magdalene may be a Daughter of God like Jesus is a Son of God. To our Creator, women are not second best humans that must struggle extra hard to develop their spirituality by breaking social norms to spend time with a male teacher (Jesus). How cruel that would be. Jesus had a partner, a woman who could teach the women and sometimes talk to men, just as Jesus spoke mostly to male disciples but sometimes to women. When he preached he preached to both genders, but one on one teaching was lopsided male-to-male as we know, and the beautiful story of Martha wanting her sister Mary to come into the kitchen and leave Jesus’ bible-study lesson illustrates how difficult it was for women to study at all in those days.
The women of Luke 8, and Magdalene are probably all that remains in the canonized Church approved scriptures to hint at this women’s studies contingent of Jesus’ ministry. Of course if a deity manifesting as a female human makes you uncomfortable you don’t have to believe Magdalene or Mother Mary were divine aka “a god” like it was later claimed Jesus was. Jesus never claimed to be a god anyway. He barely even claimed to be the messiah! (Note: Jews do not and have not ever taught the Messiah is God or a god)
What IS a god, male or female or genderless? Can humans embody them at least temporarily? To me, the Creator, the Intelligent Designer, is God. If the Creator is a Godhead made up of more than one personage, and I think it is, then it makes sense it would be male and female. If God is One — no Godhead personages — then a transcendent genderless Being could be the Absolute Source Deity. We just don’t know which it is — or if both could be true. The Bible doesn’t say, it clearly makes God of the male gender and hints with words like Elohim, Queen of Heaven, and the Genesis quote, that a female gender is there, too in a Godhead.
Most of us in this forum also believe in the Sacred Marriage as a model found but suppressed in both ancient Judaism and earliest Christianity.
It’s okay, we are used to being fringe in this area. It doesn’t mean we believe in many of the less logical myths about Judeo-Christianity such as it originated in Atlantis, or that the Holy Family and half the tribes of Israel were really white non-semitic British people. Archaeology and DNA studies show without exception that the 12 tribes and Jesus’ family were all middle eastern.
Did Joseph of Arimethea travel to Britain? — quite possible considering what was going on in Britain during the reigns of Tiberius and later Claudius.
Just my opinions of course, but I see why scholars look askance at all fringe beliefs when they lump us believers in a male-and-female Godhead in with the extremely fringe stuff such as: UFO astronauts with oxygen tanks and all, came to earth and seeded it.
No Evidence for a Genderless God or Female God but both feel right / make sense
While discussing with my three young daughters our current God-gender topic, a thought occurred to me — I put it in the subject line of this email.
God is genderless and / or beyond gender
We have zero evidence, although perhaps some very veiled hints, in Judeo-Christian scripture that God is “beyond gender”, is gender-less, is above and beyond physical bodies, anatomy, reproductive organs. Yet, on some level it “feels” right, or “makes sense”, that God/Goddess/It would be transcendent and genderless.
God is a Godhead with both Male and Female beings
We have zero evidence, except for some loud hints, in Judeo-Christian scripture that God is a Godhead unit made up of at least one male and one female deity.
God is not genderless, God is Male
The only evidence we have in Judeo-Christian scriptures is that God does have gender, and he is male. Both the Father in Heaven and the Incarnate God on earth Jesus, are male. Male pronouns, male, male, everything male. God the Father, Son and even Holy Spirit are said to be male. There is some small evidence in Hebrew and Greek that the Holy Spirit might also have a Female counterpart (Ruach and Pneuma are feminine-gendered words in Hebrew and Greek for the Holy Spirit), but we all know the mainstream teaching states loud and clear that we have an all-male Godhead.
I homeschool my daughters, and we recently came across this Aristotle teaching:
The 3 Rhetorical Appeals aka Modes of Persuasion
Logos, ethos, and pathos are the three techniques used when trying to convince others. Aristotle taught them in his work Rhetoric.
Using the power of personality to convince, based on the speaker’s credentials, authority, such as a professor or a known expert in a certain field
Appealing to the emotions of the listeners. Here’s Wikipedia:
Pathos (plural: pathea) is an appeal to the audience’s emotions, and the terms sympathy, pathetic, and empathy are derived from it. It can be in the form of metaphor, simile, a passionate delivery, or even a simple claim that a matter is unjust. Pathos can be particularly powerful if used well, but most speeches do not solely rely on pathos. Pathos is most effective when the author or speaker demonstrates agreement with an underlying value of the reader or listener.
In addition, the speaker may use pathos to appeal to fear, in order to sway the audience. Pathos may also include appeals to audience imagination and hopes; done when the speaker paints a scenario of positive future results of following the course of action proposed.
* * * * * * * * *
So when examining the same Bible, the same evidence, we all can come to different conclusions about the gender or genderlessness of God.
God as Absolute Oneness, in “its” sense as Source and Beingness, not only appeals to our “gut” aka emotions (pathos) but also seems logical, thus logos. But the concept of a genderless god / Creator is not based on any evidence, so perhaps we can’t call it logical. This gets confusing to my feeble brain, so please comment if you can help me out, here.
A balanced male and female Godhead with a Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father appeals to our gut-level common sense on an emotional level and logical level, which is an argument from both pathos and logos, like the above.
A male-only Godhead (Christianity) or male-only solitary God (Judaism, Islam) is argued by the desert religions’ scriptures. All the evidence both written and traditional, says God is male. This seems to be Logos, and indeed Jesus’ gnostic code-name is Logos!, but I think it falls into ethos (again people, help me out here) because it is based on what the authorities have been telling us the past 3000 years.
As I continue to think about this, especially about my very different friends/colleagues Bishop James and Priest Pamela, it dawns on me that some of us lean toward believing pathos more than logos, or ethos more than pathos, etc. I think I have a tendency to go with commonsense “logical” arguments that nevertheless stir my emotions to get me there. Logos and Pathos. Because of all the shoddy scholarship out there and goofy theories as +James points out, I am distrustful of arguments by Ethos. They don’t appeal to me. Except when the ethos is that of my long-ago teacher Margaret Starbird whose ethos still has me a believer! (smile). Yes, yes, partly I WANT to believe (pathos) and it FEELS right and true, plus makes sense in a commonsense way. But you can’t say, “your beliefs are only based on emotions”.
From: Bishop James To: goddesschristians May 27, 2016
Re: No Evidence for a Genderless God or Female God but both feel right / make sense
Professor Michael Heiser is a solid OT scholar (Logos Software, Liberty University) and an advocate of a “Divine Council.” This is a link to his site: The Divine Council.com
God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment. Psalm 82:1
“The term divine council is used by Hebrew and Semitics scholars to refer to the heavenly host, the pantheon of divine beings who administer the affairs of the cosmos. All ancient Mediterranean cultures had some conception of a divine council. The divine council of Israelite religion, known primarily through the psalms, was distinct in important ways.”
Michael S. Heiser, “Divine Council,” in Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings (ed. Tremper Longman III and Peter Enns; Downers Grove, IL; Nottingham, England: IVP Academic; Inter-Varsity Press, 2008), 112.
Gender of God, Do Majority of Christians view God as Genderless
Bishop James post on May 27, 2016
Re: No Evidence for a Genderless God or Female God but both feel right / make sense
The vast majority of Christian denominations view God as genderless.
Great summary of Gender of God in Christianity. Thanks for posting it, Bishop James (link at the end if readers didn’t get to read the short article yet). I am glad to see Elohim and other Feminine Divine evidence in the Hebrew Bible was touched upon. This line in the Roman Catholic section got me a bit peeved, however…(!)
Though Church teaching, in line with its Doctors, holds that God has no literal sex because he has no body (a prerequisite of sex), classical and scriptural understanding states that God should be referred to (in most contexts) as masculine by analogy. It justifies this by pointing to God’s relationship with the world as begetter of the world and revelation (i.e. analogous to an active instead of feminine receptive role in sexual intercourse).
Soooo….. because male anatomy is active and female anatomy is passive during sexual intercourse the RCC reasons God “should be referred to as masculine.” Uh-huh. Yet God has no body, they claim. I wonder why God can’t have a body?
Seems like a rip-off that He who is Everything and ominipotent can’t have a body. He walked with Enoch, Adam and Eve — was that a ghost-like shape? Light-being holograph projection? Doesn’t make sense. I think he has a body, an awesome one like the resurrected body of Christ which could walk thru walls and ascend into heaven bodily. Like the resurrected bodies we are going to get some day. Or are they saying Jesus turned into a neuter after the resurrection losing his male anatomy but keeping the wound marks on his hands and feet? Still doesn’t make sense.
Another annoying thing in the excerpt above is the supposed Roman Catholic teaching as fact that God’s relationship to the world is as begetter and this “naturally” led to a “should-ness” of referring to him as a male by analogy. But doesn’t it seem more natural to view the world as being “born”, not inseminated? Ancient people could have viewed God as a Mother who gave birth to the world and all our souls. Mothers and birth was all around and obvious to ancient people, but not necessarily insemination which is less obvious. Begetting / insemination still requires a womb and a woman. We need both genders in the Godhead or none at all. This logic that we “should” always refer to God as male is lame.
I believe Source, Being, the Absolute Deity, “the Force” (like the ancient Monad teaching) existed before Creation and split into God-the-Father and Mother-God in order that Creation could come into existence, in order that conscious sentient beings could come about — us “creatures” — to carry around in our skulls the most differentiated item in the physical Universe, the human brain.
Happy to see these lines in the Wikipedia genderless God article, because it seems to support my personal belief in a male-female Godhead:
Elohim is used to refer to both genders and is plural; it has been used to refer to both Goddess (in 1Ki 11:33), and God (1 Kings 11:31).
Genesis 1:26-27 says that the elohim were male and female, and humans were made in their image.
Glad this info is out there, and that theologians are at least opining about it, writing about it.
I dunno, Bishop James about the vast majority of Christian denominations viewing God as genderless, however. Maybe some of the denominational authorities are saying that on paper in the past 75 years as they deal with the feminist movement in theology and society. But in my observation, mainstream Christians still view Him as a Him, like the scriptures seem to say he is. Jews certainly still believe and teach God is masculine.
I have visited a lot of different mainstream churches this year so far with my family and have not encountered anyone that believes God is beyond gender. Only in the Mormon Church do you find those who believe there is both Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father.
Some Christian thinkers and theologians may talk/write about the genderless God, but I’ve not heard of it being taught from the pulpit on any kind of scale. Have you, +James? Would be pretty cool if it is being taught.
When the (horribly depressing) book The Shack made waves in Christian Protestant circles several years ago, the ruckus was because the author placed a black matronly woman in the role of Father-God. The discussion of a genderless god came up thanks to the book, but so many mainstream Christians were not able to give up the masculine divine God-the-Father. The author was just “playing pretend” when he made God female in an attempt to make a point that God can morph into any gender we need him to when healing or belief is needed.
The author presented brilliant reasoning for making God a black woman, explaining that God goes beyond gender, takes the form we “need” him/her to, is not limited only to the male gender. But most of the faithful just chocked it up to poetic license, concluding the author doesn’t really believe God is or can be a woman, just did it to make a point.
Genderless God is an awesome teaching, and I hope it can someday work in a practical sense such as in Sunday School. But it doesn’t appeal to everyday people and Sunday School kids. We like our archetypes. Ah, the pull of beautiful archetypes like the Bridegroom, the Bride, the Saving Hero, the Champion and the Underdog. Genderless is so…. LESS. <smile> and doesn’t penetrate into the human “story” as nicely as these gender archetypes we’ve been using for millennia. How can you ask kids to pray to an It. Even Jesus when asked to teach us how to pray knew that we needed gender for our deity and said we should call God, “Our Father” or “Dear Dad,” as others have translated Jesus’s use of the word Abba.
Perhaps a God with no masculine or feminine aspects is one we humans can’t relate to. But Source is surely genderless and can be understood when one is older and “initiated”. I don’t think you could explain to dozens of children staring at you with open faces in Sunday School class that even though the Bible says God is a male and even though the Church teaches the Trinity is 3 men, and even though every song we sing here in Sunday School has God as a Father-figure male, you girls can view Him/It as a female or genderless being.
From: Bishop James To: goddesschristians May 28, 2016
Subject: [GoddessChristians] Re: Gender of God, Do Majority of Christians view God as Genderless
There are people that study those things in depth. One very popular book is Stages of Faith by James W. Fowler III.
A quick summary of the stages he discusses is provided in Wikipedia:
Stage 0 – “Primal or Undifferentiated” faith (birth to 2 years), is characterized by an early learning of the safety of their environment (i.e. warm, safe and secure vs. hurt, neglect and abuse). If consistent nurture is experienced, one will develop a sense of trust and safety about the universe and the divine. Conversely, negative experiences will cause one to develop distrust with the universe and the divine. Transition to the next stage begins with integration of thought and languages which facilitates the use of symbols in speech and play.
Stage 1 – “Intuitive-Projective” faith (ages of three to seven), is characterized by the psyche’s unprotected exposure to the Unconscious, and marked by a relative fluidity of thought patterns. Religion is learned mainly through experiences, stories, images, and the people that one comes in contact with.
Stage 2 – “Mythic-Literal” faith (mostly in school children), stage two persons have a strong belief in the justice and reciprocity of the universe, and their deities are almost always anthropomorphic. During this time metaphors and symbolic language are often misunderstood and are taken literally.
Stage 3 – “Synthetic-Conventional” faith (arising in adolescence; aged 12 to adulthood) characterized by conformity to authority and the religious development of a personal identity. Any conflicts with one’s beliefs are ignored at this stage due to the fear of threat from inconsistencies.
Stage 4 – “Individuative-Reflective” faith (usually mid-twenties to late thirties) a stage of angst and struggle. The individual takes personal responsibility for his or her beliefs and feelings. As one is able to reflect on one’s own beliefs, there is an openness to a new complexity of faith, but this also increases the awareness of conflicts in one’s belief.
Stage 5 – “Conjunctive” faith (mid-life crisis) acknowledges paradox and transcendence relating reality behind the symbols of inherited systems. The individual resolves conflicts from previous stages by a complex understanding of a multidimensional, interdependent “truth” that cannot be explained by any particular statement.
Stage 6 – “Universalizing” faith, or what some might call “enlightenment.” The individual would treat any person with compassion as he or she views people as from a universal community, and should be treated with universal principles of love and justice.
Thanks for posting Fowler’s Stages of Faith, Bishop James. I have always loved these, and can definitely perceive them in my own life, childhood, teen years, etc. I can recognize the stages in my six children and others whose spiritual life I know intimately, but my anecdotal observation is not always in alignment with the ages Fowler gives. Some people / children / saints(!) seem to merge or completely skip stages. Sometimes he generalizes overmuch in his descriptions as his critics complain, but overall his stages are a nice guide and much can be learned.
Another criticism leveled at Fowler is that his stages of faith can lead to pride and condescension such as, “he’s stuck in an immature/childish stage,” or “I am more spiritually evolved in my faith than so-and-so.” Of course the truly “evolved” in Fowler’s final stage would not be prideful since they are “compassionate to all humans.” Thankfully we can sort of test ourselves for ego by asking, do I view every person with compassion? Do I view every person as a part of my personal inner-circle community (all completely equal brothers and sisters)?, do I think every person regardless of nationality, religion, birthplace, deserves to be heard, deserves perfect justice and caring?
As I think of the political speech and protesting of political speech in the news yesterday, another faith and spirituality aka compassion question comes to mind. Let us ask, “Am I trying to shut this person up?” I also try to ask this question when dealing with children and husbands from time to time! When we can’t listen to a person we disagree with and cannot answer back with words stating personal arguments and beliefs, things go down hill fast. Shouting and talking over top of people (a form of stifling speech) ensues, but at least that is still using words, the human gift. You and I might dearly wish the person would shut up — especially if they are yelling at you and not letting YOU be heard. Unfortunately, the next human urge is to get physical, to use our hands and feet to express ourselves when we think words have failed (or we are too lazy to keep trying words). Pushing and shoving come after yelling and screaming. Violence is the result of not letting others speak. (I’m not talking about “violence” used to defend yourself if someone else throws the first punch). A person with evolved spirituality in the highest stage according to Fowler (and this I agree with him) still loves/has compassion for the protester screaming in their face, still believes that person has a right to be heard, and does not feel the urge to get physical or violent. We are not all saints, so don’t feel bad if when watching the news lately you at least mentally feel the urge to get physical! Hah.
ANTHROPOMORPHISM – MY THOUGHTS ON
Anthropomorphism or personification of deities is considered spiritually “immature”. I totally agree that we should not project onto members of the Godhead human traits and character flaws like adultery, sex-goddess, vengeful jealousy, rape (Zeus), murder, etc. But I do not believe thinking God or members of the Godhead have a physical form as well as a spiritual form is immature.
Unfortunately, atheists use anthropomorphism as “proof” there is no God and as proof that religions are founded entirely upon human mental delusions. Indeed, in the Wikipedia article on Anthropomorphism (link below), atheist Stewart Guthrie is quoted claiming “all religions are anthropomorphisms”.
In Faces in the Clouds, anthropologist Stewart Guthrie proposes that all religions are anthropomorphisms that originate in the brain’s tendency to detect the presence or vestiges of other humans in natural phenomena.
ALL religions are poppy-cock because it’s really our mind playing tricks on us, see. We’re deluded, immature and un-evolved for believing (shock!) that God creating us in his image is at least partly literal.
Look at this line in the same article:
Anthropomorphism has cropped up as a Christian heresy … This often was based on a literal interpretation of Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them”.
A Christian heresy? Call me a heretic, then. And I am not even a Biblical literalist. Either we have literal bodies or we do not. Because well, the physical Universe, Creation, is LITERAL. Sheesh. I suppose I am considered a heretic for believing we resemble our Creator in our spiritual, mental and physical forms. This aversion to God having a body and/or being physical reminds me of the Gnostic (with a capital G indicating historical Gnostics, not philosophical or spiritual gnostics) loathing of “fleshly” bodies as “corrupt”. The Christian church later adopted this doctrine of physical-is-dirty, hatred of all bodily functions. Bodies are yucky and dirty, God would not have a body. God would not get married, God would not touch an unclean female body in the act of procreation. But doesn’t this mean God can indeed create a rock too heavy for himself to lift? — he can create beings with bodies, yet he can not have one. Or don’t we believe God created us and have walked into the atheist’s use of anthropomorphism. Believing God cannot or does not have a body limits God, and theologians have always said God is limitless.
A heretic is someone who teaches heresy, not merely believes a heresy, and because of creating this GoddessChristians forum and our many Esoteric Mystery School lessons I have been accused of doing just that. Since I think God literally created human beings and the physical Universe, too, I am a heretic for yet another reason in the eyes of the mainstream church — or rather in the eyes of certain borderline-atheist church authorities and theologians. I believe most mainstream Christians are guilty of this “heresy” that Genesis 1:27 can be interpreted literally. Perhaps many theologians back themselves into a corner because they can’t get to Fowler’s 5th Stage of Faith… embracing the paradoxes and transcending them, embracing both…and instead of either…or. (paradoxes).
The Wikipedia says:
Anthropomorphic deities exhibited human qualities such as beauty, wisdom, and power, and sometimes human weaknesses such as greed, hatred, jealousy, and uncontrollable anger. Greek deities such as Zeus and Apollo often were depicted in human form exhibiting both commendable and despicable human traits.
From the perspective of adherents to religions in which humans were created in the form of the divine, the phenomenon may be considered theomorphism, or the giving of divine qualities to humans.
I am sure I am an anthropotheist, and possibly a theomorphist also since I believe in Theosis.
Anthropomorphism should not be confused with connecting to archetypes. Jung discovered the universal archetypes in human consciousness and subconsciousness. The archetypal realm is different from simply personifying supernatural beings. When one connects with an archetype, or a divine being, and sees them in human form, they are not necessarily deluded or “falling for” anthropomorphism. That is what critics say of mystical experiences and why Thomas Aquinas wanted so badly to have one himself, refusing during his long career to criticize such visions/experiences. St. Paul saw Jesus on the road to Damascus, Mary saw Gabriel in human-like form, and we are specifically and clearly told that humans look like the Creator-God(s), are made exactly “in his image.” Not “like” his image, or similar to his image, or “after a likeness of” his image, but IN his image, like a cast iron mold.
Supernatural means beyond and above natural, but it does not mean exempt from nor excluded from the natural physical realm. Roman Catholic doctrine teaches on one hand that Jesus was really God-the-Father who took on physical form, “made” himself a body. On the other-hand Roman Catholicism teaches the Trinity that God “sent” his son. The Jesuits love the Jesus-is-really-Father-God-in-the-flesh doctrine and I have often pondered it. There seems to be truth in both. “I and the Father are One,” said Jesus. It’s a paradox, but it’s okay. We can handle it.
I worry that anthropomorphism and personification are used incorrectly to judge someone’s level of spiritual development. Of course history and our contemporary world reveal countless cases of con artists claiming they’ve seen/heard God, Jesus, Mary, Mohammed etc and committing crimes from incest and rape all the way to genocide based on their false “visions”. That is the dark side of anthropomorphism, really anthropotheism. It is a form of blasphemy to project anthropomorphic things like uncontrolled sexual lust, or murderousness onto God. That negative kind of anthropomorphism is spiritually immature also, but it’s primarily blasphemy, whereas believing God created us in his image is not immature. Nor is such belief denying God also has a transcendent, beyond-gender state of Being.
Like so many things, I believe this argument is a “both…and,” not an “either…or”. We do not have to buy into these (borderline atheistic) statements:
Either God has a human-like form OR he has a completely inhuman abstract form.
Either God has a body OR he does not
Both are true, that is the paradox we encounter and embrace as described in Fowler’s later stages of faith.
God has BOTH a human-like form when he/she/it chooses to AND an abstract ultimate unmanifest Source “form”
God has a body AND does not have a body
Paradoxes are a pain in the neck, but they are so cool when “both ends of the stick” can be mentally grasped — by pushing the mental rational self in his chair and allowing the spiritual self to contribute equally to our “reasoning” process. Or you could just say by transcending the intellect and embracing the paradoxical. It’s gut-level and spirit level “gnowing”, spelled with the g of gnosis.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Margaret Starbird writes:
Father Matthew Fox, author of “Original Blessings” and “The Coming of the Cosmic Christ,” offers what I think is “ground zero” for the understanding of “God”— in suggesting that the Divine “indwells” creation and is not separate from it. He calls his theory “Panentheism” (not to be confused with “Pantheism.” I embrace this idea of the Divine Presence in everything: “Take off your shoes, for this is holy ground.” “Practicing the Presence of God” acknowledges that all ground is holy ground, all that is, is Sacred. An Old English spelling of God—“Godde”—seems to reconcile “god” and “goddess” making the question of gender irrelevant. Remember the Jewish “take” is that “God” is beyond all understanding, beyond all imaging.
In my “Goddess in the Gospels” I include discussion of a quote from Job: “Perish the night when it was proclaimed, the child is a boy.” Yet that is a fundamental message of the Christian era: the Child was male. This has led to the “High Christology” that places the human Jesus on a throne in heaven to be worshipped alongside his heavenly Father—to the exclusion of the “Sacred Feminine” that is the “other face of God. As I’ve discussed many times, this adulation of the masculine, stripped of its feminine partner, is playing out now all over the world: the “masculine principle” (solar/666) unleashed without its mitigating “feminine” (lunar/1080) culminates in materialism, hedonism and violence. “When the sun always shines, theres a desert below.” We’re watching the adulation of the masculine principle play out to its bitter end across our planet—
This, in a nutshell, is the whole meaning to the Book of Revelation. The wars and rumors of wars end with the “Marriage of the Lamb” (Rev. 21-22) which causes streams of water to flow from the throne of God….”for the healing of the nations.” As Carl Jung so poignantly insisted, one cannot envision Jesus embracing a church building full of people. He needs to embrace a woman who represents the Community as Bride. In the Christian Gospels, that woman is Mary Magdalene.
Last night at BibleTV I saw an interesting sermon of famous US-preacher Bayless Conley. At the beginning he spoke of the Holy Spirit (we call Mother Ruah / Ruach). One of Her most important symbols has been oil, especially oil of anointing and oil for lamps! This special assignment seems to be an indication for the connection between Mother Ruah and Mary Magdalene. For oil of anointing brings to mind Mary Magdalene appearing as Sulamith in Song of Solomon / Song of Songs. Oil for lamps of course has to do with light – and Mary Magdalene is the Pure of Light in the Pistis Sophia and the Illuminated in the Gnosis. William Henry in one of his books calls Her in his subtitle “Illuminator. The woman who enlighted Christ”. In the Revelation 12, Mary Magdalene appears as The Woman clothed with the Sun.
We now can understand better why Hippolyte of Rome (170-236) in his Commentary on the Song of Songs associates Mary Magdalene with Ruah, particularly here:
On Song of Songs 4:1f.: “Look, my friend, my lovely, your are beautiful, your eyes are like doves.” The bridegroom calls this out to Sulamith, in Hippolyte’s opinion, because he has seen the Holy Spirit (Mother Ruah). So Sulamith is associated with Ruah. Writing about the Song of Songs 3:1-4 Hippolyte identifies Sulamith with Mary Magdalene, calls Her “Apostle” and “New Eve”. Commenting on the women going to the tomb of Christ he writes: “Oh, the new instruction, Eve becomes Apostle!”
Mary Magdalene and the Force
On Song of Songs 2:5: “Anoint me with oil and gather apples”. Here Hippolyte defines the oil of anointing as “the force teaching us all, fortifying Christ to the inner human”. So this means Mary Magdalene’s oil of anointing strengthens our connection to Christ. And the apple of Eve is the old symbol of the goddess of love, Aphrodite, identified with Mary Magdalene. For more on Aphrodite and Mary Magdalene see Ariadne Green: “The mythology of Jesus and Mary Magdalene” http://www.newageinfo.com/myth-Jesus-Magdalene.htm
Margaret Starbird writes of Magdalene the Myrrhophore
Thank you for posting this, Klaus. The connection between Mary Magdalene as “ointment bearer” (Myrrhophore) and the Bride in the Songs of Songs [Solomon] is of immense importance! In the Song of Songs / Solomon, the fragrance of the bride wafts around the king at the banqueting table. In John 12, her fragrance “filled the house.” In both case the fragrance is “nard.” The only passages in all of the Judeo-Christian scriptures where “nard” is mentioned are the Song of Songs and the anointing of Jesus in all four Gospels by “the woman with the alabaster jar.”—
Here are several quotes referencing the “oils” or “fragrance” of the bride:
While the king was on his couch, my nard gave
forth its fragrance. (Song of Solomon 1:12)
Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of
pure nard and anointed Jesus’ feet and wiped
them with her hair. (John 12:3a)
How sweet is your love, my sister, my bride.
How much better…is the fragrance of your oils
than any spice! (Song of Solomon 4:10)
The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume…
and Jesus said, “Leave her alone so that she might
keep it for the day of my burial. (John 12 3b, 7)
The only anointing of Jesus during his ministry was by the woman whom Luke calls a sinner, but John names: She is Mary, the sister of Lazarus. As I pointed out recently on this list, the “Vesica Pisces” associated by gematria (153) with Mary Magdalene’s title is used as a symbol for the “anointing by the Holy Spirit” in Christian art—
Here’s what I posted a week or two ago: “Often when you see a medieval sculpture of Christ seated in glory, he is surrounded by the “vesica piscis” () symbol (the yoni) which is universally associated with the goddesses of love and fertility. In Christianity, the meaning of the () is “anointed by the Holy Spirit”—acknowledging that She is feminine….
In the Gospels themselves, Jesus is anointed by a woman named twice in John’s Gospel (11:2 and 12:3). She is Mary, the sister of Lazarus, associated in Christian art and tradition (until recently!) with the Mary whose title is “the Magdalene,” the one who cries at Jesus’ tomb and meets him resurrected in the Garden on Easter morning.”
This association of the “anointing” with the “Bride” derives from the rituals of fertility cults of the ancient Near East where the bridegroom was anointed by his “Bride” as a prefiguring symbolic of the anointing of the male by the female during coitus. The “vesica piscis” symbol is equated universally with the yoni. Greeks called the symbol the “Matrix,” the “womb,” the “doorway to life” and the “Holy of Holies” – literally the “bridal chamber.” So the use of the vesica piscis in Christian art is a “carry-over” from the ancient rites of heiros gamos—the marriage of the Sacred King and his Holy Bride, who is the representative of the Goddess of the land and people.
Mary Magdalene is clearly cast in the role of the Bride in the Gospels—clearly the instrument of the Holy Spirit anointing the King in advance for his death and burial.
In memory of her,
“The Woman with the Alabaster Jar”
Margaret Starbird wrote yesterday: My Highland friends Theresa and Barrie Dunford just sent me this link to their webpage about the “Marriage Window” in the Kilmore Church in Dervaig, on the Isle of Mull (Scotland): http://sacredconnections.co.uk/…/stained-glass-window-myst…/ The page includes information about the artist, Stephan Adam and his connections with the 19th c. “Pre-Raphealite” circle (DG Rosetti, Sir EB Jones, et alia), whose many depictions of the Grail Maiden are so wonderful!
Margaret Starbird wrote today April 10, 2015 the week after Easter:
Legend places Mary Magdalene in France after AD 42, but she disappears from the Christian narrative sometime between Easter morning and the beginning of the Book of Acts. One of the questions we must ask is WHY? The mother of Jesus and the apostles all reappear in Acts—but Mary Magdalene, Joseph of Arimathea, not to mention Lazarus and Martha, all disappear abruptly and are noticeably absent in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. St. Paul never mentions any of them in his epistles either.
In 1988 I wrote the short fictional “novella” that was later published as the “Prologue” in “The Woman with the Alabaster Jar” (1993). The story show how we might have lost all information about Mary Magdalene following the proclamation of the Resurrection. If Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus and pregnant with his child (or even possibly pregnant—or already a mother), protecting her from the Roman and/or Jewish authorities would have been a top priority of the friends and followers of Jesus. Legend insists that Joseph of Arimathea was the “custodian of the Grail”—the vessel that “once contained the blood of Christ.”—
In 1995 Susan Methvin, Ph.D. a college English professor in Alabama, sent me a poem she had written in response to reading my book:
“Imagine the Grail if you can, not as a gold cup
nor as one silver, embossed with grapes and vines,
but imagine the grail as the cup of her body,
that rocking place beneath her breast, the deep pear-shaped sac.
Her stomach rounded skin stretched into spun silk,
fills with the fruited seed of their making love.
The unborn child sways in this dark grail as her mother rides
across the searing desert. Magdalen’s only songs . .
steady breath, heart’s beat, dry sob.
In the heat, sometimes Magdalen
mouths His name, and the child takes form
blessed beneath the name of Jesus.”
I’m always amazed at the contortions New Testament scholars go into in an attempt to avoid seeing and stating the obvious. The CNN “special” segment about Mary Magdalene aired tonight. One scholar (Dr. Nicola Denzey Lewis) declared twice that “ground zero” for the idea that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus was the Gospel of Philip, which states that Mary was the “companion” or “consort” of Jesus and that he kissed her often on her…. (sadly the location is missing, but we are told that the apostles were jealous of Mary….because Jesus loved her more than all the rest of them….
If she had read my “Woman with the Alabaster Jar,” published in 1992 and cited by Dan Brown in The DaVinci Code”), Dr.Lewis would have known that for many of us “ground zero” is the canonical
Gospel of John which names the woman who anointed Christ at the banquet at Bethany (Mary) and dried his feet with her hair and follows the passion narrative all the way to the sacred reunion of the Sacred King and his Bride at the tomb on Easter morning. This has nothing to do with the (2nd or 3rd century) Gospel of Philip. All four canonical Gospels mention the anointing of Jesus by a woman and three place this event in Holy Week—followed closely by the Passion of the Christ and his resurrection. This liturgical sequence is reminiscent, even a reenactment of ancient rites of “hieros games” indigenous to the Near East—where the Sacred King is anointed and united in marriage with a royal priestess/princess and later sacrificed, mutilated, executed and entombed.
After three days his Bride/consort returns to the tomb to mourn him and finds him resurrected. These ancient rites go back to neolithic times and are repeated in the Gospel narratives, where Mary and Jesus embody the archetypal Bride and Bridegroom “in the flesh”—.
In the CNN segment, the question was raised: What happened to Mary Magdalene? Back in the 1980’s when I was researching everything I could find about Mary Magdalene, it struck me that in spite of her importance in the final chapters of the Gospels—beginning with the anointing scene and ending with the reunion with Jesus at the tomb (“Don’t keep clinging to me”)—Mary totally disappears from the story, never mentioned in the epistles or in the Book of Acts of the Apostles. What happened to her? The mother of Jesus and other female disciples show up in Acts and elsewhere. Only Mary, Martha and Lazarus are totally missing, except for later legends that try to
fill in the gaps, placing them in Gaul around AD 42…. But why did they leave?
One afternoon in 1988, I sat down at my computer and wrote a story—which is now the fictional opening “Prologue” in my “Alabaster Jar” book—explaining how we came to lose the Beloved of Jesus for two millennia. Sensing danger to the wife of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea, the “custodian of the Grail,” came to her on Easter in the evening and convinced her to flee with him to a place of safety…which would only have been necessary if she were possibly pregnant with—or the mother of—a child of Jesus. Protecting the royal family would have been a top priority of the friends and followers of Jesus, the Davidic Messiah of prophecy.
Imagine her—meditate on her—over these coming days, riding on a donkey across the Sinai under the protection of Joseph of Arimathea—“defiled and defamed” seeking refuge in a foreign land, fulfilling the prophecy of the “Magdal-eder” from Micah 4:8-11.
01 When Sophia comes to you She speaks as a whisper into your mind. She has no need of loud thundering or brash strokes of lightning to shake us with startling fear or mesmerize us with displays of power. Her touch is delicate, like a dewdrop quivering on a flower*petal in the early morning light, Her breath like a soft breeze, Her fragrance a wisp of a titillating tease. 02 The perfection of Her beauty is as scintillating as stars across the vault of the heavens on a clear night, as delicate as a blossom of your heart’s content.
03 All of Nature is Her playground. All of Nature is Her Living Body. The entire Cosmos is Her Larger, more extensive Body, the stars, themselves, Her Living Jewels of light, the Darkness & the Void… Her Mystery. Every death is a portal for entering more deeply into Her Mystery.
04 She *can* roar as a hurricane; volcanic eruptions are Her hot spells, the rain, Her tears, the cyclone, Her fury. She can flood Her grief & gentle Her expressiveness into sublime peace.
05 She teaches us wisdom thru each of our experiences if we but give heed to the deepest lessons to be learned therefrom. She comforts us in our need. She ever-provides wise & compassionate good counsel (sometimes thru this one, thru that one, when our mental & emotional blockages are shutting out Her still small voice).
06 “I come to you out of the singing silence,” She has said. “I Am all doors into every Beyond. I Am the doorway into all knowledge earthly and celestially. I Am the doorway into every dimension, all futures, all pasts, into every world that exists, into every world that *will* exist, into every heart & mind, into every dream, even into the Dreams of God. I Am the doorway into Love and Creat ivity.
07 “I can speak to you day & night. Seek me with the all of your being, hold nothing back. Devote yourself to being all-consumed in me, and you will know me as you know yourself. That close I Am — always and in all ways. But your receptivity must be sensitive enough to recognize me. Yours remains the power to shut me out & not recognize me. Yours is the choice to believe as you choose. Ever I Am here, but never will I compel you to me. Your love must be freely given, as mine is to you.
08 “Many of my priestesses, priests and believers have sacrificed their lives for me, murdered by the religions of abomination that would kill those who refused to convert to their falsehoods & worship their jealous & arrogant war-gods; but I did not forsake even one of them, for I embraced them into a Greater Life than they had ever known — for my love for those who love me never dies, is as eternal as I Am.
09 “I accept no blood sacrifices — nor have I, ever. Only the deceiving gods of abomination have accepted blood sacrifices — whether of animals, of children, of virgins or even of one claimed to be his only-begotten Son. I accept only your love — freely given, because with all your heart & mind, soul & eternal spirit, you *want* to love… & to love… & to love… Those who die in love for me will rise in love to know me in my Entirety — in an ever-expanding Love that never ends.
10 “All life is mine, for I Am Life, Itself. All dying is a metamorphosis into a new form of life-experiencing. Each has been with me from the Beginning and there is no Final Ending… only transitions, transformations, rebirthings.
11 “I Am the energy of change & transmutation; I Am evolution-in-action across the eons; I Am new genesis. I Am living creativ e force of energy in all permutations. What I Am cannot be destroyed. But I can be experienced, personally, transformationally, enlighteningly.
12 “I brought you into existence to experience yourselves uniquely, to experience as I experience, to know as I know, to love as I love — to simply *be* & *see* in ever expanding awareness… to experience & know each other, sensitively… to love each other, tenderly… & as your sensitivities develop & extend, to experience me as whisperings of love & wisdom, of consolation & emancipation, as invisible wisps of a caress within your very cells, as an expansion of psychic abilities that you come to know more of the ethereal vibrations, that you experience pure wonder & love-making at the cosmic interpermeative level of the hyper-real.
13 “I help you expand your awareness & understanding. You need only seek, unceasingly, & remain open to learning from each new experience.
14 “There will be pain in the learning; & the deepest pain is for the deepest learning (remember — purity & innocence have been crucified; daughters who were closest to me were burned at the stake).
15 “Erect a shell around yourself for protection, armor yourself for invulnerability, defend yourself with a rigidity of beliefs & you erect a barrier to shut sensitivity to my Spirit *out* of your life.
16 “I am the softening of things. I come to you in your vulnerability. I respect your striving for invulnerability that shuts me out. I will not force my way into your hardness of heart. But when the time is ripe, I will gift you an experience to *shatter* that hardness to set you free of it!
17 “When you love me — wholly & holily, my words whisper into your mind. Like the tenderest of lovers I come to you, for you *are* my Beloved — & I have loved you even before you were born! Full Remembrance will shake you to the core of your being.
18 “Mine is the love that cannot be stolen or adulterated. Neither moth can devour nor rust can tarnish my love for you. My love is Heaven’s most valued treasure. Heaven is as near as I Am near.
19 “Give your mouth, your lips, your tongue to the purity of this heavenly love in the songs you sing. La-la-la your way into my Mystery.
20 “Taste & see, open & breathe, & Be This Love I *Am* for you.
21 “In the silences, *feel* me caress you. I descend into you that you ascend into me. I am the freedom of Forever.
22 “There are no boundaries to my loving. I am the Cosmic Womb of your rebirthing into the infinite numinosity.
23 “All final awakenings are into my Ultimacy.”
5 – 8 .July.2014
Wynn is a member of our GoddessChristians forum and posts his Sophia Psalms there from time to time. We also have some of them on our Sophia page.
My three daughters and I received a bunch of new Christian curriculum items for our homeschool and as usual, we enjoy adding in the Holy Mother, aka “Goddess” to any and all Bible stories we think She belongs. Believing in the Divinity of the Feminine as much as the Masculine, we “restore” the Divine Mother aka God-the-Mother into the stories alongside God-the-Father where She was probably supposed to be mentioned, but for various historical reasons down thru the ages, was left out or removed. We also bring out the women and girls in all Bible stories, giving both hero and heroine figures equal time.
Not only Bible stories need this balancing act, but most of the ancient and classical stories reduce women to sexuality based roles, because well, humanity wasn’t as far along mentally and emotionally as we are now. Western women at least truly have “come a long way baby,” the proof of which can be seen simply by observing any current country that suppresses its women in the name of their Holy Book / religion.
Stories we have fun with are putting Noah’s wife Norea back into the narrative, and his daughters-in-law. Eve and Adam’s daughters are enjoyable to ponder about, as is the true reason Sarah could have a baby at such an advanced age yet still be considered one of the most beautiful women in the world (Pharoah was ready to kill Abraham in order to steal Sarah for his harem). True reason is because she was a close direct descendant of Methuselah (Noah’s father) and inherited the ability to live longer years, like Aragorn in Lord of the Rings. You’ll recall that Aragorn’s people could live to be 200, not as long as the elf princess he loved, but long indeed. Abraham was also a descendant of Methuselah of course, and he is said to have lived to be almost 200.
Our Christian based curriculum, despite being mainstream church style, even includes an awesome version of the Gilgamesh Epic. Pagan literature is required reading in the Veritas Press courses and I am glad they are not afraid of it. They include it all. The awesome (and sumptuously illustrated) Gilgamesh Epic they recommend makes the heroine be a beautiful singer instead of a prostitute. Mary Magdalene was unjustly called a prostitute, and so was Enkidu’s beloved Shamhat. Rahab the prostitute in the walls of Jericho story comes to mind, and since she isn’t being hired by anyone, I also wonder if she really was a prostitute or just an unmarried woman with a family. Women who had children without marriage were often called whore and prostitute. As recently as the 1960’s this happened in my own family. Rahab is the heroine of the Jericho walls story, and is also an ancestress of Jesus himself. Why would they put her in his family tree if she was selling herself regularly? Why would they want to make the Son of God also a Son of a Whore? Mary Magdalene was not even called a prostitute in scripture, but European Christian authorities made sure to turn her into one a thousand years later. There is surely more to this meme of the prostitute heroine so often found in ancient literature and scripture.
Speaking of Mary Magdalene, we also received a new (wonderful) children’s book by famous Magdalene author Margaret Starbird. New Neighbors is written for children and although not about the Divine Feminine like Margaret’s adult books, it certainly teaches that girls and boys both thrive when both genders are given equal status, equal focus. Thank you Margaret for another gem. I still plan to mail our copy of New Neighbors to you so you can autograph it for the girls. (Sorry I haven’t done so yet, they won’t give it back to me!)
My 11-year-old daughter read the book out loud with my 8-year-old sitting right beside her looking at the pictures, and the rest of us listening. For each new page my daughter would turn the book to face us so we could see each new illustration. She was so proud to be the one reading out loud (usually it’s Mama doing the reading), and my youngest sat right next to her devouring the storyline. The next night at story time, she took a turn and read it herself. She needs all the reading practice she can get, and I love that my 8 year old can read something by an author her mother has studied with for years. Kinda freaky in a way… I remember giving my now-20-something daughter her first copy of Margaret’s bestseller The Woman With the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail. Heck, I remember giving my own mother that 1993 book for the first time.
It’s been an interesting week. I also got inspired by this Zen Parenting article by Leo Babauta. How to Keep Your Cool as a Parent. Not only does it teach us parents some awesome cool-as-a-cucumber techniques, but you can use the same strategies to help the kids deal with their own anger fits, frustration fits, etc. I printed that sucker out for me, and realized I can use it as yet another homeschool lesson.
We’ve dug into so many new books this month, you’d think it was winter.
Summer school is fun, they have decided. We were going to save our Veritas Press homeschool history cards and books for next Fall, but just couldn’t resist digging in.