This is a "once upon a time" story ... in a land, far away, a long way from here. A long time ago, and what many call the "olden days."
Take a breath with me in this moment, settle deep into you and be comfortable. This is a story that my heart really wants to share with you today.
I know that Tobias told the story of a "once upon a time" framework of Mary Magdalene, but mine is a different story of Mary Magdalene. My story comes from the inner core of me where my Soul loves and chooses to share.
There was a little girl named Mary, born in the town of Magdala, in the country called Israel. Her father owned a fishing fleet in the Sea of Galilee. At that time Galilee was a sizeable sea of water. In this fresh water were, and still are, very small fish that were very delicate, and considered extremely delicious. These fish were highly sought after.
The Romans were ruling the area and the Romans had wealth and were willing to pay for these delicacies. Mary's father had a nice income for the family. They lived comfortably. Mary didn't have to work and was trained in reading and writing, which was uncommon in those days. They lived a very comfortable life.
As the time went on, it became time to pay the standard Head Tax for all Jews. They were a devoted Jewish family and active in their faith. So it came the time to go to Jerusalem to fulfill some religious duties and to pay this Head Tax. And the entire family had to go to prove the amount of tax to be paid.
Since they were a rather affluent family, they didn't want to leave without the cooks, the caretakers for the children, and so forth allowing comfort to be the primary concern. It took many tents and animals. It took a lot of happy doing to go to Jerusalem. Magdala was very far away from Jerusalem. For that time, it was a big excursion.
Mary was thrilled to get to go visit Jerusalem. Off they went, camping along the way in their comfortable camping for their era, for their time. Many would have called it luxurious camping.
On the journey home from Jerusalem, Mary's bedroll was laid out upon the earth, as was the practice every night. As she lay there, she noticed something was poking at her from under her blankets and things. She thought: "I must have a rock so I shall move them aside to find the rock." However much to her surprise, as she dug down in the dirt, she found a small statue, a small statue of a lady, the most beautiful lady she had ever seen. Her heart sang with joy. "What an exquisite statue!"
For if you know much about the Jewish tradition, you do not have statues, they are considered works of the devil. Statuary was the work of the Romans. It was about false gods, idols, those kinds of things. It was forbidden. But Mary looked into the face of this beautiful statue and she was enthralled. "What beauty!" She knew it must have been one of the Roman Goddesses, but it was so beautiful.
She decided to keep it through the night, let it sleep with her and talk to it, share stories with it, all of the fanciful imagination of a little girl. "What fun to have this new friend. And I shall give it to my father tomorrow for I know it is against the teachings."
But the problem was her heart kept singing, singing in the presence of this statue even though her head said: "I do know the rules". Sometimes a little girl is led by her singing heart more than the rules.
So day after day she hid it away in her things so that the caretakers, and her maid would not find it. For if anyone found it, she knew they would give it to the father who would destroy it. She couldn't bring herself to do it.
Soon she found she was talking to her friend, her new friend, all the time. What fun! Talking to her friend, a special friend to tell her secrets to, things that no one else wanted to hear. Eventually she realized her friend was talking back to her. How amazing! She could hear the voice. Her friend talked to her, she talked to her friend. How wonderful! Life was truly good.
In time her family began to notice Mary seemed to be talking to herself a great deal. The father was very alarmed. "This can't get out in the village. It must not become known that Mary talks to herself or hears voices. We won't get her a husband if that word gets out."
So they took her to a distant city, to a Rabbi they had heard about who could cast out demons. Since she is hearing voices she must be possessed. "She needs to be fixed. Whatever you need to do, do something," were the cries of the father. So the Rabbi did his ritual and sent her home. But behold, Mary still talked and heard voices.
The father decided: "We better do something quickly before this gets out so I'll tell you what, I'll send the word out right now. We will find her a husband right away. She's a bit young but it's o.k. She's old enough. I can pay a good dowry. I can find us a good son-in-law for her. I've got all this wealth in the fishing boats. I'll take him into the fishing business. It will be a good enticement."
They had no trouble in finding somebody to marry poor Mary. Luckily, on day one, an acceptable suitor stepped forward. The guy didn't realize that she talked to herself and heard voices. To the family's dismay, eventually it came out.
Mary gave birth to a child, a little girl, a little girl that she adored. She loved her daughter, with a new capacity to love that she had allowed and discovered from her love of the lady statue. The voices and the talking became more pronounced. Even the village now became aware. "Poor Mary," was what the villagers continually said amongst themselves.
Mary's two brothers really did love her for they knew she was a very, very kind, gentle and loving sister. About this time, they heard of a man coming through the area. He was renowned for being able to heal people. His name was John the Baptist. John always seemed to stay in a river or a stream, telling: "I shall baptize you and wash away your sins."
"Who knows what that means, but perhaps John can get rid of many of her sins that are causing the voices. We shall take Mary to see John the Baptist and leave her child at home with the husband and the father." For as you know, they all lived in the same compound together, as was the custom of the day. Mary happily went off with the brothers to have her healing at last.
When they got there, much to their surprise, there were easily a thousand people. They did not expect that. They had thought they'd go see the Rabbi and come right back. Didn't work out.
So they had to camp out and wait their turn. While waiting their turn another group came. While this group was waiting, this Rabbi was doing some teaching. And Mary could hear his voice and knew that she had to follow, and listen more carefully. His teachings were enthralling, and the sound in his voice, the sound in the voice called to her from the depths of the core of her. His name was Yeshua. He came for a baptism also.
They each had their baptism in the appropriate time. But Yeshua continued to speak and teach of many things that Mary's heart sang to. He knew the voices she heard were not evil, were not signs of the devil but were in truth the very miracle he heard within himself.
In time it was important for Yeshua to leave and go his way. And he said: "One day, I will journey through the area again. When I come the second time, if you choose to follow me, you will know."
Mary went home with her brothers but she could not stop thinking of the young Rabbi and his teachings. She had been touched in her soul, because his words were the words that she heard in the depths of her.
Sure enough, in time, he came back through. He came to the town of Magdala where she lived, announcing: "I am here, the time is now."
She told her father, she told her husband, she told her family: "I must go with Yeshua now. I must study with him. He is teaching such amazing things, I must go." Much to the shock of her family, she did go.
He called his disciples to him and they travelled from town to town. Mary was now travelling with them, listening, learning. But all the while, he spoke words to the disciples and yet Mary always heard beyond the words. She heard what his heart talked, what his spirit sang. And so it became as the words would start, the heart words would finish, continually in the same rhythm. Mary would sing inside with delight… yes, yes.
When the time came, Yeshua said: "Now this piece of our work is done. I want you to go home and say goodbye to your families. If you choose to come the rest of the way with me, you must say goodbye to your families now. For we are going to Jerusalem for this next piece of our work."
Mary went home to see her daughter, to see her family, to tell them of this amazing teaching, to share with them about the thousands who were coming. What a gift to be a part of all of this. To her surprise, to her shock, to her horror, when she got home, the doors were barred. All doors were locked. She continually called to them: "It's me! It's me, Mary, your daughter, your wife, your mother! I'm home, let me in."
Finally one of the servants came. "Your father says you must leave. You're never ever to come again. You can never see the child who is yours. For in the Jewish wisdom, it is known, a woman who travels with men that are not her husband is indeed a whore. You shall be branded a whore from today forward. You will never see the child again."
It took Mary some time to believe this. "This pronouncement could not be, could not be. My father loves me. His heart will soften to me, I know it will," were the words she repeated to herself continually. Day after day she lingered. No one opened the doors to her.
Finally in great despair, she left and returned to find Yeshua and the disciples. It was time to finish the journey to Jerusalem for the rest of the work that Yeshua had promised. She told him of her heartbreak at not seeing her child. She told him, in pain, of her father's words.
He saw into her heart and soul and knew the gift that she was bringing to his teachings, his work, the purity of the passion of her love for his teachings, the price she paid to follow. Compassion welled upon him for her, for others who would follow his teachings, as never before. It was the birthing of a compassion that would serve him the rest of his time.
So as he continued his teachings, the journey and the story unfolded. They went to Jerusalem and fulfilled the things that he had said would occur. Always Mary knew the fuller teachings of his heart. The disciples heard the words; she received the full teaching.
When the time had come for the end to be accomplished, he said to Mary: "You are the one I will call when the death space is done, I will call to you to come, to be the one to make the announcement of my return."
And so one day, suddenly, she heard his voice saying: "Mary, it's time now. Come, come Mary." She ran past the guards, to the space where he was entombed and as the story says, he was gone. Soon she noticed: "Here he is. He's here. I see him. I feel him. He's here."
And so, as she had promised to do, she ran to get the others. "Come look, he's here, he's here, he's not really gone. He wants to speak with you, come." The disciples did not see him right away, but the love and the joy that Mary shared, allowed them to be aware. "Yes, yes, he has come to accomplish the rest of his teachings."
Long after he was gone, Mary would try to fill in for the disciples where they thought they had understood it all but didn't. Their jealousy was as obvious as it had been while Yeshua was alive, for they were sure Yeshua played favourites and told Mary things that he did not tell them. It made them very jealous. Remember, humans know how to play many fear things, even the followers of Yeshua knew the game of jealousy.
So in time, it was very clear and very important that Mary followed the rest of the instructions. She had made a promise to take the mother of Yeshua away from Jerusalem. She would be hunted by the authorities, sought after like the disciples, to be destroyed. They were all a threat to the leaders of the Old Teachings.
And so the uncle of Yeshua, James of Armathea, who was very wealthy, took Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother to England. They owned some land there and could make a new home and a new life. They could stay and live without being a threat to religious teachings in Israel.
In time, the mother passed on. Mary Magdalene chose to go to southern France, and lived the rest of her days, while she continued her teachings. She saw that it was important to do her teachings in a secluded way, only for those who came to hear her in person. She did not go out and about, she did not preach. She only worked with someone who might come and have their heart open. In time she passed on.
Mary's daughter had grown to a young woman, living her life as a traditional Jewish woman. But before the nursemaid died, she brought to the daughter a stack of letters that she had collected and hidden away from the father, hidden away from the husband. She said: "These are from your mother. Your mother wrote very regularly. No one would let you have them but I saved them."
As the daughter read the letters to discover: "Who was my mother? This strange lady who would go away?" And the letters were filled with the passionate teachings of Yeshua, of all that Mary was learning. All that she was enfolding to discover, she wanted to share with her daughter.
So as the daughter read letter after letter, she knew she must go to France to find Mary. She had to meet her, she had to see her in person. But much to her despair, she found that her mother had passed away.
And so in living, loving memory, as a tribute to a lady who dared to follow her heart, her passion, the daughter had a statue built, dedicated to the owner of the truth of Mary Magdalene.
She became the breath of compassion that knew the words even before Yeshua spoke them.
I share this story to shed another light upon the journey of a lady who still frightens many humans, for she did not stay in the typical role of what was decided for females, for women… And so… even today she excites people's courage, compassion and love affair with their own Soul.