THE WOMAN WHO KNEW THE ALL
Beloved Disciple, Gnostic Teacher, Sophia, and the True Companion of Jesus.
Like Edgar Allen Poe's "Purloined Letter," the Christian Goddess has always been right before our eyes, a little shabby, more than a little mishandled, but there nevertheless. It's taken years for us to notice her simple hiding place—at the side of Christ where she was ever meant to be—but bit by bit, year by year, into one eye after another, she shines brighter and brighter until even the Papacy cannot stop her spilling forth in all her Glory.
As taught by many early mystery religions, most especially the early Gnostics, Mary Magdalene was and is Isis, the Alpha and the Omega. She is Sophia who is Wisdom who is Spirit who is the Divine Feminine who is Shakti who is God manifest—she is the Goddess. As God is Source itself, the Goddess is the Emanation or the Play of God—in other words, the Dance of Creation. The Goddess is the World.
Mariamne Magdal-eder was knowingly, or to be generous, perhaps unknowingly, taken from Gnostic teaching, as well as the entire godman tradition of the dying and rising savior, and used by the early Church Fathers to suit their own purposes—purposes which very much included the suppression of women. For countless years before the birth of Christianity and for many years after, many women knew power in the competing mystery teachings that everywhere surrounded the new and jealous "Fathers" in their new and jealous church: Pythagoreans, Epicureans, Cynics, Therapeauts, and most especially, Gnostics held women in equal regard.
But that power waned with the unceasing efforts of the new and very masculine Church as it rose to pre-eminence over the hearts and minds of Western civilization. And with it waned the power and truth of the Magdalene.
The "story" of the Magdalene is ancient. It was told by the early Gnostics, and before them the Egyptians, and before them the Sumerians…for surely this story goes back to the dawn of human self-awareness. Like all great stories, it asks eternal questions which are the very same questions we ask today. "Who are we?" "Why are we here?" "Where is here?" "Why" is here?" And: "What happens to us when we die?" These must have been the very first questions asked by the very first humans gazing up at the ancient stars.
Every society on earth from the beginning to now has tried to answer these questions, and almost every society on earth has come up with answers that then become cemented in a formal tradition.
The early Gnostics answered them in this way: before the Beginning of the World there was nothing. The Egyptians called it the "dazzling darkness" or Absolute Mystery. Gnostics called it "All That Is." It was pure unmanifest Consciousness—and it was aware.
But aware of what? What would a conscious No Thing which is No Where be conscious of? Plato said the first principle (stemming from All That Is) is intellect whose only function can be to think, and the only possible object of thought must be itself.
At some point, All That Is contemplated itself into a First Idea, named by some: "Logos." The First Idea is that it knew itself by becoming both that which is known and that which knows, witness and experience. It became the One Soul of the Universe that is conscious through all beings. And from this sprang the Many…meaning the World and all it contains. (Physicists still call this The Big Bang, because they are telling the same ancient story in their own rationalist way.)
The evolving cosmology of preChristian Gnosticism taught that from All That Is (having neither gender nor being), emanated pairs of Aeons, or paired lesser beings which are divine powers or natures emanating from Source to play various roles in the operation of the universe. Together these Aeons made up the Pleroma, or "fullness of Consciousness." The lowest and the last of these pairs in the hierarchy was Sophia, which is Greek for "Wisdom," and Christ, which is Greek for "Savior."
Those who wrote the first gospels, both canonical and Gnostic, gave the name Yeshu (Jesus in Greek) to the Christ Aeon and the name Mary Magdalene, or Mariamne Magdal-eder, to the Sophia Aeon.
Sophia was the original female principal, the Goddess. She came first and she came alone. And so soon as She discovered Herself to be separated from Source, Sophia grew fearful and full of anguish. She felt she'd been exiled. She was certain She was lost in this lower, lesser, place...a "copy" of Pleroma. Plato thought this copy benign, but the Gnostics thought it hellish. Wandering through the world of matter created by her own dreadful fear and confusion, Sophia was subject to all the pain and horror the world of matter can and does supply...and all those she met treated her shamefully—most especially males. She became in both meanings of the term, a "fallen woman."
Sophia was exiled for years beyond counting and during those years she endured tribulation after tribulation, always longing to return to All That Is. Eventually, She grew so sorrowful that All That Is took pity on Her and sent out her "other half," her Platonic Double, Her paired Aeon, so that she might once again "see the light." As her paired Aeon and savior, Christ rescued her from the physical world. He gathered Her up into Gnosis (meaning knowledge of the divine) so that she might "remember herself" and return to her home in the "Pleroma."
Sophia's story is a tale of our mortal selves seemingly doomed to wander alone and lost through the world of matter. We don't know where we're going. We don't know why we're here. We don't even know who we really are. We are frightened. We feel abandoned. We push ourselves even further into matter to escape the terrible feeling that we have lost our Home. We do whatever we can to distract ourselves from this fundamental uncertainty.
But Sophia, who is Mary Magdalene, is the Goddess who not only created matter, she lived in it to show us we are not alone in our suffering. And Christ, Her partner and equal, is Gnosis, who comes if we call. He comes so that we know we are much more than we think we are, that we are, in fact, eternal and loved and filled with Spirit, and that we can all go Home again.
It's a beautiful story, a profound story—and it is completely misunderstood by those who "borrowed" it from the Gnostic teaching.
All Pagan godmen have a female Consort who resurrects Him from the grave. Osiris by Isis. Attis by Cybele. Tammuz by Ishtar. Christ by Mary Magdalene. There is always a female divinity mourning a slain god and seeking his body for anointing…and this part of the story is as old as human time. It's very much a part of the myth of the Goddess and speaks of the true worth of the feminine and her part in the dance of reality.
The Christians hid the Consort. They could not lose Her entirely because they themselves did not understand the story they were trying to tell. But they degraded Her. They made her into a penitent, serving only to show us how forgiving Jesus was. They took away Her divinity as they've tried to take it from us. By so doing, they have unbalanced the entire world...because ideas about reality move the entire world.
To Gnostics, none of this is "true" as in literally factual. Sophia's story is a parable for the plight of the lost human soul seeking Gnosis—or God consciousness. Sophia is the soul. Christ is that which enlightens the soul.
Mary Magdalene is the "Woman Who Knew the All."
She is Sophia, symbolic of our quest for Christ / The Kingdom of God / Gnosis / Enlightenment /
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