The article is technical with regard to ancient Greek and Latin texts, but the gist is that the presence of “Martha” in John 11 and 12 is “unstable” in many of the earliest copies of the Gospel, suggesting that she was added in to the story of the Mary whose tears moved Jesus to raise her brother Lazarus and at the supper in Bethany where Jesus was anointed by the same Mary, the sister of Lazarus [and Martha].
I hope many of you will find time to read this article for the light it throws on the New Testament Gospel of John and the woman who was later identified with the title “the Magdalene.”
Here is a video where Libbie Schrader talks about raising money to make a music video of her Magdalene Song. She shows a few clips of her trip to France to secret Magdalene gardens, destroyed churches, etc.
Here is the Abstract of Elizabeth’s Master’s Degree Thesis:
This study examines the text transmission of the figure of Martha of Bethany throughout the Fourth Gospel in over one hundred of our oldest extant Greek and Vetus Latina witnesses. The starting point for this study is instability around Martha in our most ancient witness of John 11–12, Papyrus 66. By looking at P66’s idiosyncrasies and then comparing them to the Fourth Gospel’s greater manuscript transmission, I hope to demonstrate that Martha’s presence shows significant textual instability throughout the Lazarus episode, and thus that this Lukan figure may not have been present in a predecessor text form of the Fourth Gospel that circulated in the second century. In order to gain the greatest amount of data on the Fourth Gospel’s text transmission, I rely on several sources. Occasionally these sources conflict in their rendering of a variant; I have tried to make note of these discrepancies and look at photographs of witnesses whenever possible. Although this study is primarily focused on Greek and Vetus Latina witnesses, an occasional noteworthy variant (e.g., from a Syriac or Vulgate witness) may be mentioned when relevant to the subject at hand. The work of many established redaction critics, who have already hypothesized that Martha was not present in an earlier form of this Gospel story, will also be addressed.
Margaret Starbird writes: On my website under the Magdalene Rosary tab in the menu you will find prayers and “Magdalene Mysteries” for a rosary I developed in her honor—based on seven “heptads” of seven prayers each.
Here is the “Magdalene Prayer” for anyone interested in honoring her in this way:
May 24th is the celebration of St. Sara (the Egyptian) at the little town of Saints Maries-de-la-Mer on the coast of France. Legends about this dark saint differ, but one insists that she was pre-adolescent girl on the boat that brought Mary Jacobi, Mary Salome and Mary Magdalene, political refugees from Jerusalem, to France in AD 44. The oral tradition goes way back into forgotten origins, but the story has some very poignant hints about this little girl on the boat. Her name Sara means “princess” in Hebrew and she is said to have been the servant of her relatives….. (just like Cinderella—another “sooty-faced” princess,”lost” or “locked away” in our Western fairytale). In the little novella published as the Foreword to my “Woman with the Alabaster Jar,” I suggested that Sara was born in Egypt after the Crucifixion of Jesus and was the daughter of Mary Magdalene—who is proclaimed to have brought the “Holy Grail” (sangraal)
to France. The Old French word “sangraal” is misleading when it is divided after the “n”: san graal or “holy Grail.” When you divide the word after the g—“sang real”—it means “blood royal.” One does not carry the “blood royal” around in a jar with a lid…. it flows in the veins of a child of royal lineage, in this case, the daughter if the Davidic line of Israel’s kings. An interesting prophecy occurs in the Hebrew Bible in the book of Lamentations: “Then princes of Judah, whose faces were once white as milk are now black as soot. They are not recognized in the streets” (Lam 4:7-8). The darkness of this little princess, born in Egypt, may be symbolic of her status as a dis-inherited exile of her native Israel—obscure and hidden in the annals of Western history books….
Today the Gypsy procession in Stes. Maries-de-la-Mer will accompany Sara’s statue from the Church of Our Lady of the Sea to the Mediterranean beach, shouting as they go: “Vive Sainte Sara!” commemorating the story that says she is one of the boatload of Christians who brought the Gospel to Western Europe. The festival begins tonight in Stes. Maries with street dancing and gypsy concerts and culminates with the procession of the effigies of the two Maries (Marie Jacobi and Marie Salome) in their blue boat to the sea on the 25th. Various websites have photos of the festival and processions…. very picturesque!
Peace and light,
“The Woman with the Alabaster Jar”
Question for Margaret Starbird
Posted by: “Pamela Lanides”
Date: Sun Apr 17, 2016
Dear Mrs. Starbird,
I have a couple of Jewish friends who will say that during the time of
Jesus, no rabbi would be accepted if he had not been married and so it
would be perfectly plausible that Jesus and MM were married.
However, some Christian scholars will turn around and state that there
were many celibate men at the time of Jesus who were considered to be holy
Is the latter statement true, in your estimation?
Margaret Starbird writes:
Dear Rev. Pamela,
My major source for believing that marriage was a “cultural imperative” for Jewish males is Dr. William E. Phipps, head of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Davis and Elkins College (West Virginia). Dr. Phipps wrote two books on the subject, “The Sexuality of Jesus,” and “Was Jesus Married?” A Jewish father in the first century had 5 duties toward his son:
1) Have him circumcised on the 8th day after his birth; 2) offer an offering in the temple on his behalf; 3) teach him Torah; 4) teach him a trade (so he could support himself and his family); and
5) find him a wife before his 18th birthday (20th birthday if the son was studying to be a rabbi). If the father failed to find a wife for his son, the community elders helped him! Apparently girls were not required to marry, but boys were!
Occasionally Christians suggest the the Essenes were unmarried, but when females were found in tombs in the cemetery at Qumran, they had to revise that assertion. What appears to be true is that Essene males would leave their wives and families for a period of training and then return to them. Life-long celibacy was not condoned. It was a breach of the first commandment God gave to Adam in Genesis: “Be fruitful and multiply.”
Christian exegetes occasionally mention Rabbi Akiba (2nd century) who devoted his life to studying Scripture, but the Talmud says in several other places that he was married and then divorced his wife so that he would have more time for his studies, so even his (often cited case for celibacy) is unclear.
If your Christian friends can name a 1st c. Jewish man who was unmarried, that would surprise me. A “beardless youth” is not yet old enough to marry and St. Paul, who claims to be celibate during his ministry, also asserts that he is a Pharisee, so he must have been either widowed or divorced. Divorce was really easy back in those times, so many men may have enjoyed that single state…. but they were not “life-long celibates.”
The Hebrew language did not have a word for “bachelor.” The word they now use is “ravak”—which means “empty.”
“I would like to ask how to return the Divine Feminine to Judeo-Christian religion. My background is Christian, but I find that traditional church is missing something. I feel maybe your organization may help me grow spiritually.” — Stuart, Alberta Canada
We received this inquiry the other day via our northernway.org website. I thought some of you might wish to offer Stuart some ideas, advice, point him in the direction of resources you know, etc.
Margaret Starbird answered:
Maybe Stuart could start by reading the Mary Magdalene page on your northernway.org website. That page introduces him to the “Lost Bride” who was once at the heart of the Christian story. Tell him that the first heresy in Christianity was the denial of the Bride….and that in silencing her, the Church fathers silenced women’s voices on the planet for nearly two millennia! Now, in the Year of Our Lord MMxv, we celebrate her return to our consciousness bringing wisdom, compassion, and celebration of life and the gift of our bodies as “vessels”—containers for the Spirit of God. Show him the “marriage window” from Dervaig, Scotland, where Jesus and Mary are “hand-fasted” (clasping right hands, as in the rites of Christian marriage)…. and if he wants more, send him to my website: http://www.margaretstarbird.net
In memory of Her—
“The Woman with the Alabaster Jar”
The First Step, of course, is bringing the Divine Feminine into your own daily life and daily devotions.
Returning the Divine Feminine to Judeo-Christian religion as a whole, is a tall order… and it’s just gonna take a lonnng time… and I’m meaning at least centuries.
What Yeshua once told me was, “Goddess must be elevated for a thousand years.”
He also once indicated that Goddess has to have a different language than the patriarchal religious language.
In Her Spirit we must bring forth different words, a different conceptual matrix rather than just copping-out on Her by carbon-copying the patriarchal language describing the patriarchal God and transferring that to Her.
The Second Step is that we have to be in genuine comm*union* with Her Holy Spirit… so that we are receiving Her Direct Guidance… for She’s the One who will know how to bring about the needed changes.. . She’s the One who can provide us with the phraseology of a variant linguistic and conceptual paradigm. We have to become extensions of Her Living Spirit, womanifestations of Her transformative Spiritual Essence into time. We have to become Her Living Hands, Her Heart & Mind & Spirit — rising like waves of Her Eternal Ocean of Spirit into this time.
The Divine Feminine in Christianity, at this point in time, is mainly represented by Sophia, Mother Mary and Mary Magdalene.
Margaret Starbird’s books on Mary Magdalene are an important resource… relative to the Divine Feminine Bride of Yeshua Christ.
There is some measure of Marian worship in Roman Catholicism… but it’s highly doubtful that it’ll ever be “legitimatized” by the patriarchal stranglehold over that denomination.
When talking about Judaism and Christianity, the most helpful book by way of a Major Resource (that I’m aware of) relative to the Sophia of the Bible is WISDOM’S FEAST: Sophia in Study and Celebration by Susan Cole, Marian Ronan and Hal Taussig. Two of these have been in the Methodist ministry; one is Roman Catholic in background.
Of course you’re gonna get a lot of flack from conservative Christianity… so those seeking to help return the Divine Feminine to Judeo-Christian religion need to be well-versed in all the segments in the Bible that reinforce the Divine Feminine perspective and Sophia (as the Holy Spirit) specifically. Tho they won’t be of any use to you, relative to conservative theological lock-ins, it is also best to be well-versed in all parts of the ancient Gnostic scriptures that reveal more about Sophia & the Divine Feminine in general.
For example, it is very important to realize that when Yeshua spoke of what we have translated into the English words “the Holy Spirit” that he was always referring to Her with feminine pronouns, not the masculine pronoun as is falsely translated in the Gospel of John, chapters 14 & 16. The Hebrew word for spirit is ruach… and the Aramaic word for spirit is rukha (there are variant English spellings of these two words)… both of which are feminine nouns. I think it is also important to know that in “The Gospel of the Hebrews” Jesus actually called the Holy Spirit his Mother! Jerome — who, to my understanding, translated the entire Bible (including the intertestamentary books — which Protestantism expurgated from their Bibles — thus deleting major revelations about Sophia — “Sirach” chapter 24 and “The Wisdom of Solomon”) into the Latin Vulgate also considered “The Gospel of the Hebrews” sufficiently spiritually legitimate that he translated it too! Roman Catholicism did not include “The Gospel of the Hebrews” in their canon — and only quotations from it have survived in some of the Church Fathers’ writings… but maybe a complete copy if it will eventually be discovered and we’ll be able to determine why it was excluded from the canonized scriptures — and (possibly) learn much more therefrom relative to early Christian beliefs and actual further teachings of Yeshua that didn’t survive otherwise.
In the Nag Hammadi Library, works like “The Gospel of Philip”… “Thunder, Perfect Mind”… “Trimorphic Protennoia”… and “The Apocryphon of John” (and others like “The Hypostasis of the Archons” and “Upon The Origin Of The World”) are important resources relative to awareness of Sophia & the Divine Feminine as it existed in the early centuries of Christianity… and the return of neo-Gnostic denominations of Christianity, as they florish across centuries ahead will surely be utilizing these… along with more contemporary revelations of and from the Divine Feminine… for, of course, we’re going to get lots of future texts being written across the centuries forthcoming by many who are “in Her Spirit”.
It’s going to be exciting!
Besides contemporary Gnostic groups (like those of Tau Malachi and Tau Rosamonde Miller) incorporating the Divine Feminine in their services, there are a few contemporary ministers in the mainline Christian denominations who are devoted to the Divine Feminine, too. Foremost, to my knowledge, is “herchurch” (ECLA Lutheran) in San Francisco, California.
I think it also Of Value to read some of what the opposition to the Divine Feminine are writing… so that one is aware of what kind of criticisms / attacks one needs to be equipped to respond to for the sake of the borderline sorts (one is hardly going to convince the “hardliners”).
The only major Christian denomination (that I’m aware of) which recognizes Goddess, is Mormonism — but you’ll hardly find that out from the most of what they’re saying! — for they pretty much “keep Her in the closet”… and (it appears to me) that the voices of the women who want to promote Her are being suppressed by the Mormon patriarchy. One writing friend (who is Mormon) at a local writers group a half a dozen years ago, when I asked him about it, said that Mormons don’t broadcast Her Existence because She’s too holy to them to beget circumstances where unbelievers will be profaning Her. Another Mormon who came to my door about six months ago — when I brought up the subject to him — said that Mormons are condemned to hell for so many of their doctrines, already, that they didn’t want to be adding more fuel to the fires of other denominations condemning them as not being Christians by publicly advocating Goddess, too — for of course that gets labelled as being “paganism” by Christians who condemn the Divine Feminine.
I praise those who are working within the established denominations, trying to “return the Divine Feminine to Judeo-Christian religion” — but, overall, I believe it’s going to turn out to be a heart-breakingly futile attempt. (I’ll be only happy to be proven mistaken in this assessment! I believe there are several in the ministry who would love to incorporate Her in their services, but are very well aware that they will either lose their positions… or lose most of their congregation — especially the conservative ones who make the larger monetary donations.)
I think, in largest part, those capable of doing so are just going to have to start up their own separate denominations… just like Methodism, Lutheranism, Christian Science, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormonism, Unity & the Jehovah Witnesses all had their own beginnings (or, more anciently, Valentinism, the Sethians, the Barbelites, etc. did) — only these new denominations will totally incorporate the Divine Feminine, eliminating the distortions and still-faulty mythology of many of the ancient Christian Gnostic sects. And they will be bringing forth “The New Wine of Her Spirit”.
I personally have had good experience with the Unity Church, a very metaphysical Christian denomination. They allow Goddess to be mentioned in childrens’ Sunday School — She is not suppressed! Unity Churches are in most cities. — Katia
Margaret says: Although this author, Dr. Margaret Merisante, does not site my work, she could have. I discussed the connection of Mary Magdalene with Isis, the original “Sister-Bride” of a sacrificed Bridegroom-King in my Woman with the Alabaster Jar (published in 1993). I’m not an expert on Egyptian funerary rites, but I recognized the connection of the anointing of the king as an ancient rite from the Hieros games cult in which the marriage union of the “Beloveds” is followed later in the liturgical season by the assault, mutilation, death and burial. This connection of Mary Magdalene with Isis is strong—based on the “Song of Songs” where the fragrance of the “Sister-Bride” spreads around her Bridegroom at the banqueting table. The “Canticle” (Song of Songs) is known to be a a liturgical poem from the cult of Isis and Osiris. The Bridegroom speaks of his beloved as “My sister, my spouse”— which I believe was the epithet given to the wives of Jesus and his apostles, the “sister-wives” Paul mentions in his letter to Corinthians (1: 9-5).
I’m so thrilled that others are finally seeing this connection and are willing to research and affirm that Mary Magdalene is indeed, the “Goddess in the Gospels“.
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.
I hope you’ll pass this on to anyone you know who might be interested in sharing these thoughts from my on-going “quest” for Mary Magdalene, the Lost Bride of the Christian story.
peace and light,
copyright 2014 by Margaret Starbird. All rights reserved.
A Timely Lesson
In 1983 Ann Requa, a dear friend since my college years at the University of Maryland, told me about Holy Blood, Holy Grail, that she thought I needed to read the book, and that I could probably find a copy in my local library. A few days later I looked the title up in the lubrary’s card catalogue, found it listed, and discovered it in the stacks. The front cover said Holy Blood, Holy Grail, as expected. But the back cover asserted that Jesus was probably married and that his wife and progeny survived the Crucifixion and fled into exile as refugees in Gaul. At the time in 1983 I was still “singing in the choir” and teaching catchism classes for the Roman Catholic Church, and I was definitely not inclined to accept any notion that I perceived as so clearly blasphemous.
For two years I did not read the book my friend had recommended, but, radically disillusioned after reading “In God’s Name” (an exposé of the Vatican Bank scandal and alleged assassination of Pope John Paul I by David Yallop), I returned to the library in 1985 and checked out Holy Blood, Holy Grail. I read the book from cover to cover, still reluctant to accept the fundamental premise of the marriage of Jesus to his “consort/companion” Mary Magdalene. I asked myself agonizing questions: How could we have lost the Bride of Jesus? How could the Church have hidden such a momentous secret for so many centuries? Surely the Church fathers would have told us if Jesus were married with children! I’ve recorded details of my quest for the truth of the Magdalene “story,” published in The Goddess in the Gospels in 1998. Numerous synchronicities and Scripture passages that confirmed the sacred partnership of Jesus and Mary Magdalene at the heart of the Christian story made their way into that book, so I won’t repeat them here.
But some important illuminating incidents didn’t make the “cut” for that book, including one I didn’t fully understand at the time, but which has grown on me over the years and has become a very important key understanding of the tragic consequences of the “Lost Bride.”
One Monday afternoon in 1986 while I was doing my usual chores, I sent out a special request—asking God to have the mailman deliver something to my mailbox that would confirm or deny the assertion of Holy Blood, Holy Grail that Mary Magdalene was the “Bride of Christ.” I had no idea what I would consider a proof or denial of the theory—but I asked for it anyhow.
When the mailman had passed, I ran to the box to see what he had left there. To my befuddlement, the only item in the box was a small package, about 7” by 10”, from a company that advertised ant farms. Opening the container, I remembered having ordered the item weeks before so I could teach my children about the almost legendary work-ethic and industry of ants. The advertisement for the “farm” stated that viewers could watch the community of ants through the plastic walls of the box — tunneling and moving food particles through the network of tunnels the worker ants would create. I was sad that I hadn’t received an answer to my prayer for the confirmation or denial of the “married Jesus” hypothesis, but I decided maybe my request had come too late — probably the mailman had already packed his bag and started on his rounds.
When the kids got home from school, they were excited the ant farm had arrived. They bent their heads together over the instructions and unpacked the package to set up the ant farm. There was a narrow box with clear plastic panels on each side, a package of sand and a small packet containing the live ants! Carefully we assembled the project, added the ants and watched as they began scurrying to and fro digging their first tunnel. Sure enough, over a period of hours, the ants built tunnels and started carrying food particles from place to place. The kids watched with fascination for a few minutes, then went on to other activities, returning at intervals to see how the ants were doing with their project. As advertised, the ants continued to scurry around behind their plastic walls tunneling and carrying food particles.
At breakfast the next morning, the kids inspected their ant colony performing its activities — and rushed in again after school. For several days the ant farm was a magnet for attention. Neighborhood children were invited in to watch the ants. Everyone was enjoying observing ants busily scurrying around inside their plastic box, tirelessly tunneling and carrying food particles hither and yon.
But by the end of the week activity gradually slowed and then finally ceased. The ants had apparently worn themselves out and one at a time had begun to die off. After another forty-eight hours, we sadly agreed that the experiment was over and that it was time to trash the ant farm. We had gotten the message that the ants were an industrious community, but somehow they had failed to thrive. We carried the plastic box out to the back yard and dumped the experimental ant farm onto the ground, hoping any survivors might find a new colony and home outdoors.
Much later I realized that I actually HAD received an answer affirming the “sacred marriage” in the mailbox that Monday afternoon. The meaning was clear. The ant community had failed to thrive because they had no “organizing principle” at the heart of their “farm.” The goal of any community, its “reason for being” is the continuity and nurturing of life. They had no Queen and therefore, no reason for their labor, no progeny to nurture, no “vocation.” All their activities were ultimately just “busy work”—and wasted.
I believe the earliest Christians established their community with the partnership of Jesus and Mary Magdalene at its heart — modeled on the “Song of Songs,” where the devoted relationship of the “Beloveds” was a mirror of God’s passionate love for his people. While Jesus represented Yahweh as “Bridegroom,” (an epithet confirmed in various Gospel passages), Mary Magdalene represented the people of Israel, the “Daughter of Sion,” as Sister-Bride and Beloved. Their union was celebrated at all levels of human experience, exemplified in the “Sacrament of the Bridal Chamber,” in early Christian communities.
In his letter to Corinthians 5:9, Paul states that Cephas and the brothers of Jesus and the other apostles all “travel around with their sister-wives.” Where did Paul get that phrase, if not from the original Christian community that modeled itself on the “Song of Songs,” derived from an ancient rite of “sacred marriage,’ where the Bridegroom frequently refers to his Beloved as “My sister, my spouse: “You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride” (SoS 4:9); “a garden enclosed is my sister, my bride” (SoS 4: 12); and “I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride” (SoS 5:1).
English translations of Paul’s letter invariably call these sister-wives “Christian sisters” even though the phrase in the original Greek does not contain the word “Christian” at all.
Why did the Jerome and later translators of the Greek Gospels wish to obscure the knowledge that the closest associates and kin of Jesus traveled with their “sister-wives” as missionary couples, bearing the “Good News” to the farthest outposts of the Roman Empire? When he sent them forth “two by two,” Jesus was apparently sending couples, not pairs of males, according to Paul, the earliest witness to Christian practices.
It’s a good thing Noah didn’t misunderstand God’s instructions about bringing the animals into the ark “two by two” as the early church fathers apparently misunderstood the instruction of Jesus to preach the “Way of the heart” in a couples’ ministry!
I’ve told you before, Margaret Starbird has been one of my most powerful influences, and I consider her one of my spiritual teachers ever since I met her in 1999. That was the same time our Mystery School with its Order of Mary Magdala was going online. I had read her seminal work, The Woman With the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalen & the Holy Grail in 1993 when it was first published, so in a way she became my spiritual teacher even before I started following her around the country attending workshops.
Our Esoteric Mystery School study programs use her inspiring books about “the Goddess” hidden in the New Testament, aka Mary Magdalene.
Margaret posted the following yesterday to our GoddessChristians forum. Margaret responds to this short quote about the Holy Grail never existing:
Speaking of the Holy Grail –“its religious significance didn’t arise until medieval legends entwined ancient Celtic myths with the Christian tradition of the Holy Chalice used by Jesus at the Last Supper.
“The Grail legend is a literary invention of the 12th century with no historical basis,” Carlos de Ayala, a medieval historian at a Madrid university, told the AFP news agency. “You cannot search for something that does not exist.”
Margaret Starbird writes: As some of you already know, I don’t believe that the “Holy Grail”– “sangraal” in Old French — was “the Holy Chalice used by Jesus at the Last Supper.” Describe it another way as “the vessel that once contained the blood of Christ.” Now, rather than a cup of gold or silver, you have the hint of an “earthen vessel” — in fact, a woman, bearing a child of whom Christ is the father. If you divide “sangraal” before the “g”– you have
“San graal” — encountered in the “Grail” stories about a “cup” or “chalice.” But if the same word is divided after the “g” — “sang raal,” it means “Blood royal” in Old French. You don’t carry the “blood royal” in a jar with a lid!
In medieval legend, Joseph of Arimathea is almost always the “custodian of the Grail” — sometimes shown in medieval paintings holding a chalice under the wound in Christ’s side as he hung on the cross. But there are also medieval paintings that show Mary Magdalene holding the chalice to catch blood dripping from the wounds of Christ, so both Mary Magdalene and Joseph of Arimathea are associated with the “Grail” myth. My own pet theory is found in the 20-page fictional Prologue of my Woman with the Alabaster Jar, called “Miriam in the Garden” (published in 1993 — the book that launched Dan Brown’s research for The DaVinci Code).
Realizing that Mary Magdalene is nowhere to be found in the Book of Acts, despite her prominence at the cross and tomb in all four Gospels, I asked myself, “Why did she disappear so completely?” The only logical answer I could imagine was that she was perceived to be in danger and taken to a place of safety when rumors of the Risen Christ began to circulate in Jerusalem. This scenario would have been extremely likely if she had children or was pregnant….making her “the vessel that once contained the blood of Christ.” You don’t carry the royal blood around in a jar with a lid…
Please check out these articles posted on my website about the “Grail” in Leonardo’s “Last Supper” — and the webpages about my books Alabaster Jar and Bride in Exile if you haven’t already!
Spent yesterday with Bishop Carol Parrish, one of my spiritual teachers from the 1990s. She was consecrated an Independent Sacramental (Catholic) bishop a couple of years ago not long after my own consecration. The ISM is still the only “catholic” movement allowing woman-bishops and priests, although the Anglicans finally have a few. The amount of female bishops is growing in North America, even if it is not in the rest of the world. Now if only my other favorite teacher, Margaret Starbird, would let us make her an Independent Sacramental Bishop…. hee hee. Time to join the episcopate, Margaret!
I often long for a feminine form of the word bishop we could use (just like I long for more feminine vestments and especially miters for us!). In the Greek Bible the word for bishop is episkopo, right? So episkopa would be woman-bishop?
One of many things we talked about yesterday was the Gospel of Mary Magdalene by Jean-Yves LeLoup which +Carol is currently reading. It was a significant study for me and my own formation as a woman priest when I read it in 2004 — suggested by Margaret. +Carol is just now discovering his work and says she really appreciates the way Leloup answers any naysayers and critics by putting the original text on one page, and the translation on the facing page. His translation and commentary are so inspiring. I am going to have to go dig out my copy right now.
Bishop Carol is teaching a workshop tomorrow at the Temple of the Living God in St. Petersburg where she’s been coming every year for the past 40 years, which is basically most of my life… She really is amazing the way she keeps on working decade after decade.