Mary Magdalene Loves Jesus the Gardener

   In the universal story of the Divine Lovers, they always meet again after death in the garden, as life continues her cycles. In our Christian version of the story of Sacred Union, Mary Magdalene is weeping at the death of Jesus when he comes to her again, in the guise of a gardener.   John 20:15 "She, supposing him to be the gardener, ...."
    There are many paintings of this scene of Mary Magdalene and Jesus  meeting again in the garden.  Most of them concentrate on the  "Noli me tangere" interpretation of the scene, "don't touch me".  It would seem that as the Goddess' story of Sacred Marriage lost its standing as  a divine partnership story, the idea that Christ didn't want to be touched by a woman became more compelling. When you look at these many paintings you will see Christ leaning away, gesturing away, pushing away a longing Magdalene. He looks superior most of the time,  eager to get away to Heaven.
     How could it be an accident that through the eyes of the Sacred Feminine, the divinity of GodHerself, that Mary Magdalene saw a gardener  when he returned to her?  The theme of  Sacred Masculine as a "husbandman"  echos earlier tellings of the story  of Divine Love in the Garden of Life. Inanna speaks this way to her divine lover, Damuzi, "come plow my furrows". Great love is earthy love.  In her moment in the garden, Mary Magdalene is recognizing that Christ is the heavenly gardener on  earth, one who is in right relationship to earth, body, and Goddess. A gardener takes care of the garden and the garden takes care of the gardener. (thank you, Margaret Starbird for saying this) It's a relationship, not a separation and a superiority.      A gardener understands  interdependency of all things.  It's the Gardener Christ who we need  and that's the one who Goddess  first saw in resurrection. 
     There's one painting from 1581 by Lavinia Fontana called "Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene" that is very different from the others, showing a Jesus looking  fondly at Mary and gesturing in love, not warning. He has on a gardener's hat and holds a shovel and doesn't look like he wants to run away from her. She has her familiar red billowing dress, her sandels with the  "X" straps(heretic symbols), her long flowing hair, her alabaster jar, her look of love. The flowers at her feet are the same type as in the Unicorn tapestries, which have specific meanings in "the language of love". Images of the Sacred Marriage story. Behind her is the Womb/Tomb symbol of the Goddess.
    Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this artist from the 16th century was a woman, described as being very successful and "still had time to have 11 children".  You can see her beautiful painting of Jesus the gardener at , search "Fontana, Lavinia".

                    How can I feel bereft when I'm shown my Husbandman is here?
                    The One who protects the new growth.
                    The One who knows the ways of the Earth Herself
                    The One who lives within the cycles of Nature
                    The One who places himself in receptivity to Her



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  • 10/29/2008 7:29 PM KingArthur wrote:
    Very nice! Mary and Jesus very tender and sweet moment in the painting!
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    1. 10/30/2008 6:16 AM Joan Norton wrote:
      Thank you for your comment....Yes, everytime I look at this painting I see more tenderness and openess to each other.  We certainly need "Jesus the Gardener"  with us now, don't we?
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  • 12/12/2008 2:38 PM Sandra Pope wrote:
    Joan, I was meditating with the Magdalene Rosary and when I reached the Gospel Mystery, "Mary meets Jesus at the Tomb," I had a flood of understanding about that meeting.

    Afterwards, I remembered this post on Jesus as the Gardener.

    I have often been troubled by the "Noli me tangere" scripture and the interpretation of this command by some that sets the pure Jesus apart from the "impure" Magdalene.

    Much has been written about how the death and resurrection of the king/god is a cycle that occurs in other "myths." For example, it is part of the Osiris-Isis story.

    What is different about those other story cycles and in the Osiris/Isis story is exactly what the church fathers took away from the Mary Magdalene/Jesus story -- once Osiris was resurrected, a whole lot of touching went on, and according to some versions of the story, that's when Horus was conceived.

    I never believed Jesus would tell Mary Magdalene not to touch him because he had not yet ascended to the Father. Now the inner world confirms that.

    And somehow this new way of seeing that meeting with the Gardener makes the Sacred Union more accessible to me. It is almost as if Jesus had to go back to the Great Mother and be reborn as the Gardener and to be ready to join with Mary Magdalene, the Divine Daughter of the Sacred Feminine.

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    1. 12/15/2008 3:33 PM Jennifer Reif wrote:
      Hi Sandra,
      I like that idea, about Jesus going back to the mother. It feels right to me; the Tomb/Womb concept being true to earlier Pagan beliefs. The idea that Jesus' rebirth, within the tomb, came through the Mother-Spirit does make perfect sense to me.

      I also feel that this was a 'rebirth' in the sense that he had already been blessed by the Holy Mother at the start of his mission. First through the blessings of the Holy Spirit (The Hebrew word, "ruach," being the feminine holy spirit}.

      Gnostic scriptures have Jesus talking about the Mother-Father God, ideas that were perhaps edited out of the regular Bible. And the Gospel of Luke shows Jesus' influence by the Mother-Goddess. when the Holy Spirit is seen as female. This changes the meaning of Luke 3: 22: “And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him.”

      Much love,
      Jennifer Reif
      "The Holy Book of Mary Magdalene"
      Reply to this
      1. 12/16/2008 6:27 PM Joan Norton wrote:
        Hi Jennifer, thanks very much for your comments. You have the scholar's voice......and the poet's voice when you're in the mood. I like it when you share both voices here...thanks for contributing.  xoJoan
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