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On the day we celebrate the Feast of Miriam of Magdala, which we always do on the Sunday closest to the 22nd of July, I usually admit into the communion of the tradition of M.M. those that feel a strong resonance with the feminine principle in any of the many names by which she has been perceived, especially that of Mary Magdalene. This is not an ordination to the priesthood. Men and women are admitted into this mythological communion and united with all of those that were, are, and are to come. What this does is acknowledges in this short ritual (which is done by covering the head with the mantle or veil I wear at the time of communion) the candidate's internal knowledge of belonging in her lineage.
This is not a membership to anything (we do not have "members" in the Sanctuary either) as we acknowledge each sentient being as an embodiment of the divine spark and, therefore, already part or "member" of the Divine Body. The teachings received are those that come directly through the gateway in the heart of the seeker, subject to varying degrees, to their own interpretation. This interpretation derives from the body of beliefs that the person carries and of their own cultural conditioning and socially and religiously imposed values. The less conditioned the person is by their beliefs, the more clearly they can commune with the gnosis of the Divine Presence. Gnosis wild, meaning totally untamed by interpretation, culminates in that complete and unconditioned union that, in our symbolic language, we call "the bridal chamber," when lover and beloved become one. This is one of the mysteries represented in the dance of Jesus and Mary Magdalene or Logos and Sophia.
We do not endorse any "doctrine" or "dogma." Beliefs are not important. In fact, it is easier to be open to that touch of Grace in our hearts when we approach it totally empty, naked with the lights on. When we allow it to teach us directly we end up amazed about how different this is from our loftiest and cherished preconceptions that until then seemed so real. There is a beautiful passage in the Gospel of Thomas where Jesus asks his disciples to compare him to someone and tell him what he is like. Simon Peter replied that he was "like a righteous angel." Matthew's answer was "like a wise philosopher." Thomas said, "Master, my mouth is wholly incapable of saying whom you are like." Jesus said, "I am not your master. Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated from the bubbling spirit which I have measured out." Then he took Thomas aside and told him three things. Later, Thomas was asked by the rest of the disciples what Jesus had said. Thomas answered, "If I tell you one of the things which he told me, you will pick up stones and throw them at me, and a fire will come out of the stones and burn you up."
What Jesus said to Thomas represents the direct experience from Divinity to heart and its secrecy stems from its incapability of being framed into concepts or any previous frame of reference. That's why God is called "Unknown" or "Unknowable." For it can only be known directly, without filters or explanations. Any concepts stemming from religious experience or, worse, any that are framed into doctrine have already corrupted the original experience. Later Jesus said, "Whoever will drink from my mouth will become like me. I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden shall be revealed to him."
Whether we call the source Jesus, or Mary Magdalene, or Sophia, or God, or The Source, the origin of the "secret" teaching is all one. To be open to the gentle but insisting voice of Miriam of Magdala, to be driven to seek greater relationship with her, is the response to the Divine Presence. It is inviting us to pursue that union, courting us to consummate the mystery for which the universe came into being.
It is only necessary to receive once in a lifetime the mantle admitting you into the Holy Order of Mary Magdalene. However, there may be times when you desire to feel again that welcome and remind yourself of the powerful spiritual connection you have in this lineage. An example of this is if you feel intensely troubled and need or want to draw strength and support from this communion. This support and strength is always there, it is never lost or weakened; nevertheless sometimes we may feel the need to be reminded of it in a ritualistic manner. If you have had an important breakthrough, you may want to celebrate your joy and gratitude by feeling the touch of her mantle upon your head again. You alone can be the judge of when and why you ask for it. If you desire this ritual again, just say your name when you come to communion (even though I know it, but you are not saying it to me, you are presenting yourself to Her altar) as follows, "I'm N______, and I wish to be put under Her mantle," or words to that effect.
© Feast of Miriam of Magdala, 1999, Rosamonde Miller