My Journey to Stop Sex Trafficking: In Memory of My Sister, Joy
November 11, 2016
Mary Magdalene: Restoring Peace and Harmony in Our Broken World
July 22, 2016
Many faith-based organizations are working to end human trafficking and other injustices toward humanity. Most of these well-intentioned NGOs reference Jesus in their work to stop this horrific social injustice of our time, yet few have remembered to honor one of the most important women in the history of Christianity, Mary Magdalene. Some do, of course. The California-based Journey Out once called itself The Magdalene Project. Thistle Farms in Nashville, Tennessee was founded by the community of Magdalene. Women who have overcome lives of drug addiction, prostitution, and trafficking are finding comfort in places like Magdalene St. Louis and the movement is getting stronger each and every day. The amazing duo of Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn helped raise consciousness about the Magdalene in their PBS documentary, A Path Appears.
Since the fourth century, Mary Magdalene's good name has been tarnished, having first been called a sinner and a prostitute in the Gospel of Luke and then later tossed aside by Constantine. As I sat on the floor of the altar at St. Francis Xavier Church in New York City one hot July evening in 2014, I listened to the cry of the Magdalene from a group called It Was the Women Who Stayed. Like me, all the people who'd gathered for this Feast Day were fed up with hearing that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. (Thank you, Luke.) She was no sinner. She was the witness to the darkest hour in her beloved Jesus' life, staying with him to the bitter end, while the men ran away in fear, afraid that they, too, might be arrested.
The time for Mary's voice to be heard again and her reputation as Bride and Beloved of Jesus to be restored is now. With the denigration of Mary Magdalene, women have been pushed aside for far too long, suffering from social inequality and discrimination. Signs of the Divine Feminine returning are literally everywhere! Young girls like Malala Yousafzai are changing the world, demanding an education and the chance to be treated equally Thanks to the Girl Up movement, young girls are standing up for themselves, refusing to get married when they should be in school learning, and getting behind the wheel of a car in Saudi Arabia for the first time in their lives. None of this is an accident. No, this is all part of the Greater Awakening Jackson Browne speaks of in his song, The Pretender; it's a song that speaks of my journey.
The masculine energy that has ruled our world has created a real imbalance on our planet, Mother Earth. We have ushered in the Age of Aquarius, the time for the Divine Feminine to awaken with each and every soul - man, woman, and child - so that balance of nurturing feminine energy can now be restored. For far too long, we've allowed prejudices toward women and marginalized people like the poor and the weak to occur. Mary Magdalene represents the virtues of unconditional love, peace, kindness, and compassion. Her intuitive gnosis had always kept Magdalene going, even in the darkest of times. When the spirit of Jesus appeared to Mary on that Easter Sunday over two thousand years ago, he said, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? Go and tell the people that I am alive..." That was the message from Jesus, wasn't it? Somehow, though, many, many Christians have lost sight of the undeniable importance of this strong woman. And so began the work of Mary Magdalene as the first to evangelize Christ's message of the Good News of the resurrection.
In my personal quest to uncover my own authentic self, I have heard the call of Mary Magdalene and have answered it - without apology and without fear. I have traveled to Magdalene's beloved south of France twice and have had the privilege of being guided by several Magdalene mentors, Gloria Amendola,Henry Lincoln and Tim Wallace-Murphy, through the mysterious lands of the Languedoc where the Cathars, the Troubadours, and the Templars literally died for their belief that Jesus and Magdalene were beloved bride and groom. Many people even believe their child, S'rah, lived with Mary Magdalane in her beloved France after the resurrection, arriving on the shores of St. Marie de la Mer with her brother Lazarus, her sister Martha and others in 42 AD.
Margaret Starbird has done quite a bit of research on the subject of Mary Magdalene. Through her works, Mary Magdalene, Bride in Exile and The Woman With the Alabaster Jar, I have come to my own conclusions that much has been left out of the Christian story of faith as many people on this good earth know it.
What I personally love about Margaret Starbird is this: besides being quite witty, she ran for the hills when she first heard that Jesus might actually have been human enough to be married. She'd been asked to read a book by Henry Lincoln, Michael Baigent, and Richard Leigh called Holy Blood, Holy Grail, She put the book down, shaking, and ran from the library. She thought it was blasphemy. After all, she'd been a devout Orthodox Catholic all her life. She was an army wife and a mother of five children, and there was no way this could be true. It took a few more years before Margaret was ready to look at this story again.
After reading the book In God's Name by investigative journalist David Yallop, Margaret was ready to face the truth that had been hidden from her and so many by her beloved Catholic Church for so many years. After all, the book she'd just read was about the untimely death of Pope John Paul I, who"bit the dust" after only 33 days in office. You see, he was about to uncover a big bank scandal, and wouldn't you know it, he conveniently overdosed on his heart medicine on September 28, 1978. As Margaret Starbird says in this wonderful lecture, her hair caught on fire. For me, having climbed to the highest peak of Montsegur, where over 200 Cathars walked willingly into a bonfire set by the Vatican in 1244 for their belief in this sacred union, I, too, am a believer in this beautiful version of Christianity.
In her research, Margaret set out to answer the following questions: "Was Jesus so human as to have been married? If so, to whom? Whatever happened to this woman?" I have felt the loving presence of the Magdalene and have answered her call "to help the invisible children of the world to heal." When I took my first pilgrimage to France in the fall of 2014, I was told these children were not only meant to be seen, they were to be made whole. It took a while to figure out exactly what I was meant to do, but I was always sure of two things in my journey:
First, the invisible children were those who were hidden away and enslaved on farms, in factories, and in brothels. How did I know this? Like Mary Magdalene, I follow my intuition, the trail of breadcrumbs that lead me Farther On. I had been given a book called A Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison, and I held onto it, knowing I was meant to somehow help bring an end to this form of modern day slavery. It was all about the invisible crime of human trafficking.
Second, living next door to Newtown, Connecticut, my life was forever changed by the events of 12.14.12. Since that day, I've always known I was meant to somehow be a part of the healing process for families in my neighboring town who lost their children, parent, sister, brother, neice, nephew or friend, but I just didn't know what my role would be. As we like to say in our neck of the woods, Love is Louder Than Violence. And so, on December 14, 2015, I reflected back on the tragedy that took place that day, and from that blog I wrote, lots of amazing things have manifested. Surely, time will tell what's meant to be, but I have no doubt that the Magdalene is with me, guiding me along in this beautiful journey, and I do hope to somehow make a difference in the lives of those affected by gun violence, too. Individually, we can each shine our light and make a difference and create a ripple effect of healing for the world, and this is God's work through the Magdalene.
With that, I ask you to grab your Fair Trade tea or coffee and settle in for a great hour of wisdom from Margaret Starbird. Through art, lore, and legend, Margaret has pieced together the love story of Jesus and his beloved Magdalene. As Henry Lincoln and Margaret Starbird are so fond of saying, there is no marriage certificate. There is no proof that Jesus and Magdalene were married. What we do have is a trail of breadcrumbs, though, with lots of clues found in legend and in classical art that have survived for all these centuries and support the story of the sacred union of Christianity: