Old Stories, Reclaimed Truth: Awakening Feminine Soul Power
As the sun sets on Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day, I’ve been musing all day on her power and how her story shapes us via culture. Regardless of your spiritual tradition, her story impacts women: our spirituality, sexuality, empowerment and leadership.
Even if this not your tradition, here’s something to consider.
Sometimes (dare I say, often) women are portrayed in history in a way that isn’t true. Over time, the mis-truths get embedded as Truth in the minds of millions.
With Mary Magdalene the lies have lasted over 1500 years! How and why does this impact you all these years later?
And sadly, art—which has been a powerful method of teaching when many couldn’t read—has been a tool of our dis-empowerment. Read on.
Most contemporary interpretations of ancient texts identify her as a woman of independent financial means, closest to one of the most powerful and influential men in western history.
Apostle to the apostles, anointing kingmaker and heiress to their spiritual movement. Whether married or not, they were tight.
Certain men in authority, then and now, did not want people to know her true identity, their relationship and teaching partnership. So they changed the story.
At the time they lived, her role was unthinkable. and not something they could tolerate.
From Priestess to Prostitute?!
So the men in power made a classic move: veiling her in a false identity of sexual shame. Needing her to be hidden, they cast her a negative light.
So they turned her from “priestess” (teacher, leader and apostle) into the worst thing they could imagine, a “prostitute”! The old bait and switch move. Don’t look here!
From there, since seeing is often believing, art was commissioned for hundreds of years of to back up this false story. A lie used against that woman and against all women, to dis-empower feminine authority and use sexuality as a tool of shame. Through art the minds of millions carried this false belief.
So much of how we learn and what we digest is through imagery. Art impacts us on subtle and deep structures of the mind. Sometimes, too often, a woman is portrayed as other than how she was and is. And in so many paintings the Magdalene is shown repentant, as if she has something to be ashamed of.
Even though the ‘lie’ was rejected hundreds of years ago, (and again in the late 60’s in Vatican II proclamation, and yet again last year in Pope Francis’s elevation of this Catholic Feast Day) many still believe these falsehoods about Magdalene to this day. (Believe me, I hear the questions, still.)
Yet how different would it be if she was portrayed, leading with arms raised in teaching or prayer?
The images of the feminine portrayed by the media do not support women as leaders, as a whole. Let’s pay attention to this in our lives, and in our culture.
This pattern is reflected through religion, politics, healthcare, law, education fashion, and sadly, art. It shows the feminine as not how she truly is, yet is used by all the major systems in our world.
Art and story are used as a tool of power telling a very different message: female subjugation.
What do we absorb as women through these teachings of our lower status, our chaotic, emotional imbalance, reinforcing our sinful nature? I believe it has great power, unconsciously.
Regardless of your spiritual tradition and beliefs, all women are harmed by Magdalene’s mis-story, which re-enforces the doctrine of sin and infamy of a greater fallen woman, Eve.
What is done to one is done to many.
So many women I work with struggle with issues of self-worth, feeling invisible, unrecognized and unheard. Women who chronically over-work and over-give due to feeling not-enough. Women misunderstood and misrepresented as something they are not.
How many brilliant women have had their work or ideas stolen by men? Talked over or down by men? Bypassed for leadership or promotions? Too many.
We know otherwise and create images that reflect the empowered feminine. Many works of art are now being revealed that show just that, women in positions of power.
This is a big reason why I make art that centers women–and guide other to do the same. Beauty is all colors, sizes and shapes.
It’s why my experiences invite women to make art: to create new imagery of life and wholeness.
We are uplifting the face of the feminine by telling a new story. One that is more true and aligned with our sovereignty. As we reclaim the truth of the Magdalene, we remember our Truth as Divine Feminine beings of light.
In honor of the Magdalene and all her daughters–who we are–and the Truth we carry, blessed be!
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