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Celebrate St Mary Magdalene's Feast Day

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St Mary Magdalene
St Mary Magdalene is the beloved patron saint of wayward women, hairdressers, perfume makers, pharmacists, penitents, and hermits. Her titles include 'The Penitent', 'apostolorum apostolar' ('Apostle to the Apostles'), and 'Myrrhbearer'.

Her story was conflated early with other women in the New Testament: a sinner from whom seven demons were cast out, the long-haired women who anointed the feet of Jesus, Mary of Bethany, and one of the women witness of the crucifixion and subsequent resurrection.

Since the early Twentieth Century, particularly with the release of the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln in 1982 and the later release of the book The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown in 2003, she has been purported to have been the wife of Jesus and bore children to him. These descendants emigrated to an area in what is now southern France to found the Merovingian line whose ancestress is said to have been a mermaid. The truth of this remains to be seen.

She seems to have become an icon for feminism, feminist spirituality and sexual liberation, regardless of the accuracy of her status as "penitent whore". She is also a symbol of feminine wisdom, perfect love, and sorrow.

The feast day of St Mary Magdalene is 22 July.

Attributes of St Mary Magdalene

This imagery can be seen in her stained glass windows, on prayer cards, and on the altars on her feast day.

She is commonly depicted as having long red hair and wearing red and/or green (in contrast to the blue of the Virgin Mary).

An altar to St Mary Magdalene

Consider setting aside a space in your home for some objects that help you focus on St Mary Magdalene. An altar can be as large or small as space permits. Start with a red altar cloth, then add items as you see fit. These items might include:

Relics of St Mary Magdalene

The purported relics are few and far between:

Novena to St Mary Magdalene

Blessed St Mary Magdalene, patron saint of the penitent, hear my plea. Intercede for me in the I might be filled with the love that spilled forth from your anointing of the feet of Jesus. Let nothing impede my return to a state of grace.

Help me to embrace the moment when you broke custom by releasing your hair from its binding, revealing its lustrous beauty. Reveal within our hearts your solemn bow as you bend to wipe His feet. Behold, before you is the Bridegroom of the World!

Amen.

This novena should be repeated for nine consecutive days. Publish in your local newspaper once your prayer is answered.

Further reading

You might also enjoy the following books:

14 Steps to Awaken the Sacred Feminine: Women in the Circle of Mary Magdalene 14 Steps to Awaken the Sacred Feminine: Women in the Circle of Mary Magdalene by Joan Norton (Bear & Company, 2009): A good guide to women-centric spirituality which focuses on Mary Magdalene. The beginning is a brief description of setting up for what is termed a "Magdalene circle" (not much different from a typical women's spirituality circle). Most of the book consists of prayers, poems, and pointed questions for journalling and meditation purposes. There is also a brief resource guide at the back. The book overall feels a bit short, but it also isn't intended as all be-all reference guide.   The Moon Under Her Feet The Moon Under Her Feet by Clysta Kinstler (HarperOne, 1989): A fictional account concerning the Mary Magdalene as a temple priestess. Speculative fiction, certainly, but thought-provoking. The author has an engaging, clear writing style that evokes the realm in which the characters live.
Mary Magdalene, Bride in Exile Mary Magdalene, Bride in Exile by Margaret Starbird (Bear & Company, 2005): This book was an interesting read with its references to both sacred geometry and the history of the hieros gamos within the context of early Christianity.   The Woman with the Alabaster Jar The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail by Margaret Starbird (Bear & Company, 1993): If you have any interest in the Grail legends, there is a lot of inspiration in this book. The author discusses links between the Gnostic gospels, the Grail, and "hidden signs" in traditional Tarot cards.

These books can be difficult to find since many are out of print. Some great places to buy used books online include:

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