The Bride in the Passion Crucifixion and Resurrection

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St. Mary Magdalene is present at the Last Supper and, with the women disciples, she prepares the sacred space, lights the lamps, and invokes the divine presence and power, opening the way for what is to transpire. According to the Sophian Gospel, both men and women partake of the sacred meal. When the male disciples accompany Yeshua to the garden of Gethsemane, Mary holds a vigil of prayer and meditation with rhe women disciples throughout the night.

At dawn Martha (some would say Salome), Mary Magdalene, and Mother Mary go out to Golgotha and are met by St. John, the only male disciple to attend the Crucifixion. Thus, there are the images or the maid, mother, and crone at the Crucifixion in the Sophian Gospel along with one of the men who accepted the divine feminine as cc equal with the divine masculine. Something of the Mystery of tht Crucifixion is reflected iri this image, as much as the image of the Christ-bearer on the Cross. In conjunction with this image of the three phases of the divine feminine, womanhood, and life itself, Sophians are quick to point out that, because of the Resurrection, the tomb becomes the womb of the Divine Mother from which the Risen Savior emerges. In this sense, the empty tomb is as much a symbol of the Resurrection as the Cross in Sophian tradition.

The Cross itself proves an interesting symbol in this light, for in the Sophian tradition it represents the union oi Logos and Sophia— the Bridegroom and Bride. The vertical axis is Logos and the horizontal axis is Sophia. Instead of the Cross of wood, Sophians point to a Cross of light and Spirit. It is not the physical Cross, but the spiritual Cross that is important among Gnostics—hence, attainment of a state of divine illumination and transcendence of the need for material bodies.

According to legend, Lady Mary brings with her the cup used at the Last Supper. At the conclusion of the Crucifixion, when the Roman centurion pierces the side of the Lord with his lance, Mary collects some of the water and blood in the cup, thus consecrating the Holy Grail. She becomes the Lady of the Holy Grail, and it is said that later she taught the rites and mysteries of the Holy Grail, the sacred trust of which she gave to her inmost woman disciple and to her son, St. Michael. Although teachings and rituals based upon the legend of the Grail appear in Sophian Gnosticism, ultimately, St. Mary Magdalene herself is viewed as the true Holy Grail, into which th;' Risen Savior poured himself out in full. Thus, the Grail that is said to heal all wounds, both physical and spiritual, is truly none other than the Holy Bride:

Although St. Mary Magdalene was completely aware of the great Mystery transpiring and expectant of the Resurrection, yet, as any human being having lost her lover, she mourned deeply. Eveiy day she held vigil at the tomb, both in sorrow and joy. It is said that, in the days between the death and burial of the Lord and his Resurrection, she experienced the stigmata, becoming the first stigmatic, and experienced incredible beatific visions, as well as visions of immeasurable sorrow, suffering and horror. Thus, she shared in the experience of the Crucifixion fully, simultaneously having full confidence and faith in the Resurrection that only knowledge, understanding and wisdom can give.

The Gospels accepted by orthodoxy tend to portray Mary as taken by surprise at the appearance of the Risen Savior, but that is typically not the view found among Gnostics. On the morning of the Resurrection, she went with great joy to wait upon the appearance of her beloved. Thus, the stories surrounding this event are quite different in the Sophian Gospel than what appear elsewhere. Essentially, the two angels that appear to her are her escort to the Risen One. Encountering him, she is taken up with him in divine rapture through the seven heavens into the supernal abode, and she witnesses the unification of the Son and the Living Father. There, she is ordained the first apostle. It is said she speaks a vow to continue to incarnate in a woman's form in every generation until the time of the Second Coming. It is from this experience that she goes and finds the other disciples, not only announcing the appearance of the Risen Christ, but also communicating the deeper Mystery of the Resurrection, in this action, she becomes the apostle to the apostles and the matrix of the apostolic succession.

In the Sophian view, it is as though Lord Yeshua is the light and Lady Mary is the prism of light through which the light passes, becoming rays of rainbow glory. Each ray is a different grade of the light-transmission, and each apostle receives the ray of the light-transmis-sion that corresponds to his or her capacity to receive and impart. Thus, there are outer, inner, and secret levels of the light-transmission and various grades of the apostolic succession. All arc embodied in Sc. Mary Magdalene and all of them flow out through her.

This is reflected in stories told about the Day of Pentecost. According to the Sophian Gospel, St. Mary Magdalene, along with other women disciples, is present in the upper room with the men. The men inquired about teachings Yeshua might have given to her in secret that he did not give to them. An argument broke out among the men concerning whether they should believe her or not. At that moment, the fire of the Pentecost descended upon her, and from the great blaze above her head, tongues of fire divided off and came to rest upon the heads of all the disciples who were present, both upon the men and women alike. While the men were driven out of the upper room to extend the blessing and light in the world, the women remained with Lady Mary keeping a vi6;.l of prayer and meditation, maintaining the matrix of fire and light in secret. In this, we gain some insight into the dynamic balance between the masculine and feminine energies in the light-transmission as envisioned and experienced among Sophians.

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