Preface: Our Love Letter
Dear Rose Pilgrims,
We open the prayer circle of this book, and invite you to take your seat. Red rose petals are scattered at your feet, and the harpist strikes a note. We have a tale to tell.
Mary Magdalene is a talismanic name--it has magic within it. Before we start our Quest, we should pause a few moments at the temple gates and really drink in the essence of this name. How much can fit within two simple words? Entire worlds it seems; a new dreaming, a renewed holy matrimony of the universe. A forbidden herstory of such magnitude it could melt entire worldly structures. This name is a deep, spiraling, serpentine power portal; play with it on your lips, feel its thrilling, enchanting, alluring, disturbing call. Mary Magdalene, Marie Madeleine, Miriam of Magdala. Miryai e Mara, Mary. Mary. Mary. The Magdalene. Maria. Our Mary. Mari. Maryam. This name is truly a secret and dangerous invocation; it belongs on hidden manuscripts of lost incantations and alchemical formula. It is a lost promise, now remembered.
Jesus gave his disciples and cohorts spiritual names that reflected the essence of who they were. He called Peter “the Rock,” he called Judas “the Knife”--and he called his beloved spiritual partner, Mary, “the Portal”--meaning mystic yoni gateway. Magdalene is a word of great feminine power: it derives from the Semitic ’ma-gadala, meaning “Great Mother,” as well as the Aramaic magdala and Hebrew migdal, both meaning “elevated, magnificent or tower.” In ancient Semitic, mag and dal are among the oldest primitive roots, signifying “great, powerful, magical” and “portal, doorway”, respectively. They are shared across other language families: the word maga is also the feminine version of mage--a magician. The Biblical Greek amygdale derives from the same roots, and means “almond” in the sense of a mandorla or “Magic Doorway,” portal of the Goddess. The name “Magdalene” at its origin means Magic Doorway of the Great Mother, the primordial Goddess, the Tree and Source of Life.
Even to this day, iconography of mother Mary is often held within an almond mandorla. This is a coded wink, “for those who know” that there is a secret “Mary Mystery” waiting to be revealed. This symbolism of the magdala encompasses both the sacred doorway of the woman’s womb, and the mystical womb of consciousness sought out by all the great alchemists, shamans, and initiates. This divine gateway was also symbolized by the rose, and those who followed the Magdalene Mysteries were known as initiates and priest/esses of the “rose line.”
This mandorla or “Mystic Rose” also suggests the amygdala region of the brain, the intuitive, feminine “feeling” center in all human beings, which is a portal to the cerebellar cosmic mother consciousness, and can initiate profound awakenings. Using this lunar wisdom the priestesses initiated others into the intuitive, visionary, divine love of the Christ Mysteries.
. . .The earliest shamans in the archeo-anthropologic record were shamankas; they were women. They were adorned in the color red, with mineral paints. Their figures were carved on cave walls with hands raised up in the orans and ka prayer positions of magico-spiritual invocation. Their vulvas featured prominently in paleolithic art, with “V” and “M” vulvic symbols engraved on stone and bone, later called “Witch Marks” in medieval times. Their womb-vulvas were considered the greatest source of their mana, their spirit power. Over time, this ancient lineage of womb shamans would gradually shapeshift into priestesses.
The first art or symbolic communication created by humans was an “M” engraved onto a sea shell on the islands of Indonesia, 500,000 years ago, showing us that the spirit of the Mermaids of Magdalene were with us from the beginning. The mysterious letter “M” is a doorway of primeval sea magic, our original mother matrix.
Mary is also a priestess name that means “beloved, honored and womb awakened.” And in the apocryphal Gospel of Mary Magdalene, Mary is described as “Magdalene Skywalker”--she who conquers and travels through space, which intuitively places her beside the ancient Dakinis from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, divine feminine deities and teachers who are described as cosmic “sky dancers”.
In the Aramaic of the Syriac tradition, to this day, the name for God is “Maria Alaha”, and in the byzantine Eastern Orthodox Church Mary is considered to be the fountain of life, the divine wellspring, the holy waters of life. Mary is the honorific title for the great goddesses of ancient Egypt, Isis or Ast, meaning the holy throne, and Hathor, the Great Womb.
Magdalene’s sacred colors were always depicted as red and green. Red was the symbolic color of a Womb Priestess, a witch-shaman of the feminine. Green was the color of the wild fertility of the forest and the Earth Mother’s body. These alchemical “color codes” reveal Mary Magdalene (MM) as an elemental witch, sexual maga, and herbal adept in the medicine path of Sophia.
There has been an underground stream of worship of Mary Magdalene for almost 2,000 years spread across the near-east, Egypt, and all across Europe, supported by secret orders of initiates. These occult left-hand path traditions often explicitly name Mary Magdalene as a priestess-shaman, and revere her as the Holy Womb--recognizing her as the wisdom-keeper for a lineage of female magicians and oracles, and the birth-portal of Christ Consciousness.
Rather than just modern “wishful thinking,” these secret teachings were clearly encoded in the middle-ages by famous artists, philosophers, and alchemists, often in “plain sight” for those who could “see”--and we can still peer through this magical mandorla, this doorway of wisdom, kept open by the alchemists, even today.
There is a revelation underway, as something lost and veiled is returning to us. Can you sense the fragrance of the lost rose-garden, calling out once again?