Mary Magdalene: Wife of Jesus, Mother of his Children

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.

Jesus and Mary Magdalene married with children
Was there a sacred marriage between Jesus and Mary Magdalene?


Sacred Partnership of Jesus & Magdalene

Magdalene anointing Jesus
Magdalene Anoints Jesus making him “the anointed one” aka the Messiah

Margaret Starbird wrote on the GoddessChristians forum:

When Pope Francis announced that Mary Magdalene’s “Memorial” on 22 July would henceforth be an official Feast Day of the Catholic Church, he commented that “She loved Jesus and Jesus loved her.”

I’ll be doing an interview with Kris Steinnes for “Women of Wisdom” on Friday afternoon October 14th (1-2 PM Pacific; 4-5 Eastern)–centered on the Sacred Partnership of Jesus and Mary Magdalene at the heart of the earliest Christian community. Please tune in here for the live broadcast or later archived segment:,16.html

In memory of Her—
“The Woman with the Alabaster Jar”

Margaret Starbird on Married Jesus, obligation for all Jewish Males Especially a Rabbi

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 hope this helps!

in memory of her—

Margaret Starbird on Mary Magdalene in the Four Gospels

Mary Magdalene Jesus Kiss OrdainedMargaret Starbird wrote the other day:

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.

In memory of her,
Magdalene, Bride in Exile”

Mary Magdalene – Lost Bride & Queen of Christianity

Married Jesus Mary Magdalene
Jesus and Mary Magdalene Married

My friend (and teacher these 20 years now!), Margaret Starbird writes:

I hope this finds you thriving in the light and enjoying the fresh greening of the land —

For anyone interested, I just posted a new blog article “A Timely Lesson” on my website: .  [Text included below in case the link leads to a newer article]
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!

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Magdalene Podcasts, Martin Luther, Married Jesus, Dan Brown, Mormons

Authors Joan Norton, Margaret Starbird and Burl Hall and the rest of us were discussing Martin Luther and the Sacred Feminine on our GoddessChristians forum.  Margaret wrote in as follows:

Among other strange opinions of Martin Luther, I stumbled into a quote of his from “Table Talks” to the effect that Jesus had affairs with three women: the women at the well, the woman taken in adultery, and Mary Magdalene.  I found this really interesting because it appears to me to be a “garbled” reference to Cathar beliefs that Mary Magdalene, the woman at the well, and the woman taken in adultery were all the same person (one woman–not three)…. But Luther was suggesting that Jesus had promiscuous relationships with all three! Pretty bizarre behavior, in my view!–in a time and place where people had strong taboos about promiscuity and were stoned for less….and from a rabbi who warned that to think lustfully about a woman was tantamount to committing “adultery in one’s heart.”

> VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – In the latest Vatican broadside against
> “The Da Vinci Code,” a leading cardinal says Christians should
> respond to the book and film with legal action because both offend
> Christ and the Church he founded.

Since Dan Brown derived his basic ideas about Mary Magdalene and Jesus from my “Woman with the Alabaster Jar,” I would like to say that when I wrote that book I was coming from the heart of the Roman Catholic Church and a charismatic prayer group that included two priests and six lay people to which I had belonged for about 15 years at the time. 

These people were encouraging me and praying for me while I was doing my research because we had been shown as a community that there was something important missing from the foundations of Christianity that had to do with the “denigrated Feminine.”

I gave my “Alabaster Jar” manuscript to my Roman Catholic priest/pastor–and to two Protestant ministers in 1991- before I ever dreamed of sending it to a publisher. All three of these clergymen knew me well and encouraged me to publish my book. In fact, the Catholic priest told me, “This could heal the Church.” I offered “Alabaster Jar” as a gift to the Church–one that would enable the patriarchy to embrace the “Feminine” embodied in Mary Magdalene and welcome her home with rejoicing! What a shame that they cannot see the healing that would inevitably flow from the “nuptials of the Lamb and his Bride.”

Carl Jung states in “Answer to Job” that it is incongruous to visualize Jesus embracing a church filled with people. He needs to embrace a woman… This image is beautifully expressed in the stained glass window from the Kilmore Church at Dervaig, a town on the Isle of Mull, (posted on my website) which shows Jesus and Mary “hand-fasted” (clasping right hands)–a symbol for marriage in the Christian liturgy…the “Bride” represents her land and people–as in the ancient metaphor of Yahweh’s undying love for his people….

There was never any intent to attack Jesus…. I was trying to “heal the wasteland” that ensues when the “Feminine” principle is denied and defamed, forced into exile and silenced….

In the triptych above the inner door at Mary Magdalene’s basilica at Vézeley, France, (the “Madeleine”), the left hand of Jesus is missing-probably vandalized, although it may have just broken off. What an incredible reminder that he can’t be “whole” without her! Since Judaism in the first century didn’t have a word for “bachelor” –and the word the Jews now use is “ravak”–“empty”–maybe we need to revisit the foundations of the Christian faith and restore the “lost Bride.”

peace and light,
“Mary Magdalene, Bride in Exile”


Joan Norton, author of Mary Magdalene Within, responded:

    Hi Margaret,

    I wonder if Martin Luther’s  interpretation of the three women as Jesus’ “involvements” influenced Joseph Smith’s Mormon revelations that Jesus had more than one wife?  I know they put the  ritual of the bridal chamber at the center of things, but with the extra added twist of more than one wife.

     I put up a new podcast meditation today called “Beloveds in the Garden” at    and I don’t mean Jesus and three Beloveds! (chuckle)


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And author Burl Hall wrote in with the following intriguing thoughts:

You say it all, Margaret.  In my work, I have come to the opinion that the wasteland we have created in the environment (endless wars, ecological destruction, sensationalist medias, etc.) is a mirror to the wasteland of our minds. I talk somewhat of the surface level ego mind, or empirical/rational thought as surface level with deep thought, the Feminine, lying underneath. By underneath I don’t mean this as a power relationship.  Indeed, Tehom, the Depths of Genesis 1:2, is Feminine and is the foundations of the Universe and ultimately the Mother of Light (Manifestation).  Furthermore, it is She that becomes this world.  As the Hindu Ramakrishna puts it, “The Unmanifest (Being…Tehom…Brahman….Yahweh…Marie…Tao) shines forth as Shakti (the Goddess, Divine Energy, Sophia)…and Shakti takes form as this entire universe.”

Sometimes when I close my eyes I watch images dance in my mind.  They tend to shapeshift and will often play with me as if I were an external being.  They are so much fun. And, they appear aware of me as much as I am aware of them. … When I watch these images dance (they do indeed have a life of their own that is beyond my controlling ego) I realize they are the creation of something deeper…furthermore, I realize that the power within me that is creating this wonderful display is not separate from that Power that births, supports and dissolves the cosmos.  To “see” that Power, I go behind the images and into the Darkness, the Darkness upon the face of the Deep.  (Mary or Marie also means Ocean as per the terms Marine, Marina, etc.).

So, when Sophia (the Agent of Becoming, the Holy Spirit) came upon Tehom as the Holy Spirit in Genesis and the Holy Spirit moved upon Marie in the New Testament, are we perhaps repeating the same story?  “The Unmanifest (Marie) shines forth as Shakti (Sophia) and Shakti is simply the luminous darkness of the Unmanifest,” Ramakrishna says. Or as Paul McCarney says, “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me.  Speaking words of Wisdom, Let It Be.”  Mary and Sophia are akin to water and wetness, they are not two.  McCartney may not have been consciously aware of this….but, hey, Sophia speaks beneath the ego.  Anyhow, the way I see this relation of Mary the Magdeline (She of the Temple Towers is a definition?) as Wife and Mary the Virgin as Mother.  These are not, from a non-historical perspective, two Women.  From a mystical dimension, the birth from Marie is reflective of Motherhood of Woman while the Fate function of Woman is reflected in the Magdeline as Wife or Bride.  I look at this as the Goddess as Mother and the Goddess as Fate.  One is birth from Woman, the Unmanifest, the other is the return Home, to the Unmanifest.  Women in their physical bodies mirror this cosmic power of birth, maintanence and fate or dissolution.

This too speaks of Jung with his notion of the Feminine as the Unconscious.  I do not see the Feminine as Unconscious as much as suppressed.  When I think of Sophia, I think of Her in my body and think, “Now I don’t know how my heart is beating or how fast, yet She is in my body monitoring all of this and through a complicated system of communications is making changes.”  This same intelligence is worldwide and, indeed, universe wide.  Earth is an integrated system every bit as much as our body.  Furthermore, the surface level intelligence doesn’t know how to listen (which manifest in the words of many women who say that men don’t know how to listen…this is true for how we relate to women AND our inner worlds, which are suppressed at worst or at best turned into media propaganda (e.g., advertising…this is one reason we have created a wasteland).

Suppressing the Feminine externally is the suppression of the Feminine internally.  I recall as a child how many artists, true artists, were ridiculed as being effeminite. Why?  Because they are able to tap into the wild, unruly and surprisingly rebellious or evolutionary Feminine Intelligence.  Deep Femininty is a danger to the status quo for She is the agent of change.  As the Book of Wisdom says, “She renews the world.”  All things change and transform in accordance to Sophia.  This is why the Feminine scares us.  It means dissolution of the old and the birth of the new. 

Anyway, you probably weren’t looking for all of this in a response.  Its the prozac!  Thanks for your post and your work.


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I posted some thoughts about the Vatican saying Magdalene and Jesus being married is an insult, a blasphemy against Christianity and that Christians should rise up and riot, bring lawsuits, etc. against those who believe these harmless (and inspiring, if you ask me) things.  I wrote:

Yeah, notice how they are quick to say Christ and the “Church he founded” have been gravely insulted by the suggestion he may have been a full man with a woman and kids in his life yet, yet, YET, they do nothing when those horrible paintings of someone urinating on the crucified Jesus, or defecating on him or Mary are displayed prominently in famous NY (and other city) art galleries.  That is one reason to call a “Christian Fatwa” if you ask me and is similar in theory (altho not degree!) to the Mohammed cartoons.  Just imagine if urine and feces had been done to Mohammed.  They freaked when the pages of a copy of the Koran might have been used as toilet paper when Muslims (and others) burn Torahs, Bibles and flags all the time.

Don’t get me started…. but rock on Margaret for tellin’ ’em like it is — the Church needs the “denigrated Feminine” RESTORED and it ain’t an insult to nobody, least of all Jesus/Yeshua.