In the week following the Resurrection and Mary Magdalene’s encounter with Jesus in the garden outside his tomb, the disciples held a gathering at Bethany. There Mary Magdalene, in response to their request, told them of teachings she’d received from Jesus. Peter rejected these teachings.
Anne Baring relates the next phase of Mary Magdalene’s life:
Eleven years after this, Mary had to leave Palestine suddenly because of the assassination of King Herod Agrippa, the ruler of Judea in AD 44, for which the Nazarenes or followers of Jesus were blamed. It is highly likely that when she embarked for France, she took with her precious texts relating to the teachings that she and Jesus had shared with a close group of disciples, possibly the text of The Gospel of the Beloved Companion.
Mary Magdalene travelled to France with her sister Martha, her brother Lazarus and Mary Salome, Jesus’ sister, who was married to Lazarus. Mary travelled widely in Provence and the Languedoc and taught there for nearly 20 years until her death in AD 63. Legends about her abound in this region and there is a village called Les Labadous near Rennes-le-Chateau in the Languedoc where she is said to have lived for some years in a cave on the Sainte Baume Mountain, named after the precious oil she used to anoint Jesus. Her brother Lazarus buried her in a small church called Saint Maximin-La-Sainte-Baume and to this day the Basilica of that name holds her relics, including her skull, in a shrine devoted to her memory. These were guarded for many centuries by Cassianite monks who were devoted to her memory. In the twelfth century a great abbey was built in her honour at Vezelay.
Anne Baring speaks of its importance:
It fills in the vital pages of text that are missing from the version of the Gospel of Mary that is already known to us and that is also in the Nag Hammadi Library. He also calls her the Migdalah or the Tower, saying that her tower will stand by his in time to come. It was astonishing for me to find, following everything I have written about the Shekinah and the feminine gender of the Holy Spirit, these words of Yeshua: “My words are the Way, the Truth and the Life. For my words are given of the Spirit, and no one comes to the Kingdom except through Her Teachings.” (35:12)
Anne Baring adds: “In this new gospel we can at last hear the missing words that Mary spoke to the disciples when they had gathered in her house at Bethany a week after the crucifixion – words that conclude with this vision:
“I felt my soul and all that I could see dissolve and vanish in a brilliant light, in a likeness unto the sun, and in the Light, I beheld a woman of extraordinary beauty, clothed in garments of brilliant white. The figure extended its arms, and I felt my soul drawn into its embrace, and in that moment, I was freed from the world and I realized that the fetter of forgetfulness was temporary. From now on I shall rest through the course of the time of the age in silence.”
Anne Baring tells us: “I have no doubt on reading this Gospel, that Mary Magdalene or Miryam, as he called her, was the beloved companion and consort of Yeshua and possibly the only one of the Apostles who truly understood and transmitted his teaching.”
Moreover, Anne speculates that if their union had been celebrated by the Christian Church:
We might have been spared the disastrous association of sin with sexuality and the misogyny and mistrust of and contempt for women that affects our culture to this day. We would have had a living image of a sacred marriage right at the heart of Christianity. It may not be too late to restore the relationship and undo the harm that has been done by its absence.
The image above shows shows Jesus with Mary, His Mother. Anne Baring suggests it could also be “seen” as representing the Sacred Marriage between Yeshua and Miryam.
Anne Baring assures us: “We need to know that each one of us, male and female, carry the Divine Light within us that is called Christ Consciousness. Jesus and Mary Magdalene had each experienced that Light-Consciousness. Through their union and their love, the sacred marriage was enacted and the First Temple tradition of Love and Wisdom restored.”
“It may be” Anne concludes, ”that the Soul of the Cosmos has waited aeons for us to reach the point where more than a handful of individuals could awaken, as Mary Magdalene did, to awareness of the Divine Ground that animates and supports the whole of our existence. This is her message to us. This is the sublime message that is carried in the image of the Black Madonna and in the stones, sculptures and glorious rose windows of Chartres which together manifest the Presence of Divine Wisdom and the Holy Spirit.”