Mary Magdalene's Cave

     "Dear Mary Magdalene, love incarnate, Sacred Vessel, Holy Grail, Chosen were you from all women, And blessed is your union with Jesus. Dearest Bride and Beloved of Christ, Show us the Way of the heart."  Margaret Starbird wrote that prayer. 
    The "Legendary Mysteries of Mary Magdalene"  tell us that after the three Marys and the princess Sarah  came to Gaul, and after Mary's time of teaching and preaching in Marseilles, she lived in prayer and contemplation in a cave in the Sainte-Baume mountains nearby.  This place in France  is full of caves and caves are the most ancient places of worship of the Sacred Feminine.  Caves are the place of birth and rebirth and ceremonies of worship. "The story of the great primeval Goddess is told in caves," say Baring and Cashford in The Myth of the Goddess.  Before there were churches there were places of holy veneration in caves and grottos.Stainte Baume is like that. 
Holy water, healing water, springs from caves where  people go to share in the healing ability of Mystery.   From the womb-cave we come, and to the tomb-cave we go.  A cave is  the great cathedral vessel in which to honor rites of transformation into  greater  Light and greater happiness. 
     Legends say that  when Mary Magdalene lived in prayer and contemplation in the cave at Ste. Baume, every day a band of angels carried her high above the cliffs so she could commune with her Beloved Jesus. For you and me this may be a metaphor for what happens inside us in prayer and contemplation. Our consciousness is elevated to the realm of  Oneness, the inner place of blessed balance between sacred masculine and sacred feminine, head and heart.  But for Mary Magdalene, after her severe trials and tribulations and a life of teaching the Way, we certainly feel happy for her to be united with her real Jesus. Legends can give us in story the truth of what happens inside us in most personal ways.  
     The Magdalene cave is surely real in the physical world, however, as real today as then. A friend I met on Facebook, Cintra Reeve, was there recently and told the story of the priests trying to keep people in an  orderly fashion when they're in the cave-altar-church of Ste. Baume, when may of them want to circle a  holy stone behind the altar.   The "Cave Mother" will have her way, won't she? She wants us to connect our Magdalene with the great rites  of earth and stone and water and fire.  She wants us to put back on the mantle of the Queen of Earth which the Magdalene was surely meant to wear.  A ritual in a cave might be a good place for that to happen. 

    Another legend of the cave tells that Mary Magdalene and the other holy women she was with began to emit a mystical light  by which they moved through the labyrinthian corridors. Of course people would bring their illnesses to this cave  , and many were said to be healed. Who wouldn't expect that of a woman who knew the Light?  And what a beautiful symbol it is to see a much honored cave....and then the Light.   That's what it looks like inside your mind when you are meditating/praying and your third eye "sight" opens up, the inner light within the cave. In the Gospel of Mary  she says Jesus told her, "there where is the nous, lies the treasure."   Nous is the place in your brain where spiritual light shows itself, the place of inner sight and spiritual intuition.  A light in the cave, spiritual sight in the body. Peter had asked her to share words of the Teacher and what she shared was His approval and support  of her visions. Peter never did learn to get over into his right brain, did he?  He stayed with "the Word". We know today that a capacity for visions, intuition, feeling, and  dreaming is what carries people forward spiritually. It's hard to get there on words alone.

     "Mary  lives out her life in prayer in the cave of Ste. Baume" can be understood  as  the natural ending of  Mary Magdalene's holy life on Earth, a time  in which she is in Sacred Union with God; in prayer and contemplation of return to God. It can also be understood as the story of the time in Everywoman's life where she retreats to privacy and contemplation in expectation of renewal. She's in the cave, in the womb or the tomb of the Sacred Feminine, eyes closed and waiting for the Light. Hopefully she will have a vision or an intuition or a feeling which will carry her forth.  When those who wrote the gospel stories were careful to craft the word "Magdalene" in  their spiritual language to mean the Sacred Feminine Herself, the title included the mystical abilities of the cave as well as the deep earthy love of the cave. Mary Magdalene,  Sacred Vessel, Holy us the Way of the heart.


What did you think of this article?

  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

  • 6/9/2009 3:43 AM sheila wrote:
    Hi Joan, ... I love the way you describe the spiritual light area of our brain where we gain spiritual intuition and inner sight.. Jesus and Mary surely wanted us to be aware of this.. can any of us imagine the reputation the "cave" Mary inhabited had? Imagine there might have been times heaven had to place angels at the entrance the same as the garden of eden, to prevent the crowds from invading her privacy that were seeking healing and "understanding".. we are all so blessed to have this knowledge..blessings...sheila..: )
    Reply to this
    1. 6/9/2009 6:32 AM Joan Norton wrote:
         Hi  Sheila, 
           Yes, it's so interesting to me that we now have science describing how to  maintain  good brain functioning by using methods recommended by  Mary Magdalene (and others I'm sure)  in her Mysteries. "Thus Mary turned their hearts  toward the Good...".   Science now tells us just exactly how much we need to do that in order to  increase well being, alter our perception of reality for the better, suppress anger and fear, and increase feelings of compassion.  12 minutes a day of focused prayer/meditation or repetition of specific words . Like rosary prayers.  Why didn't Mary Magdalene  put  the 12 minutes part in her Gospel? ( just kidding) . This comes from the book I was talking about,  .How God Changes Your Brain   by New berg and Waldman.
        The image you shared of  angels guarding the entrance to Mary Magdalene's cave of contemplation is a wonderfully evocative one...thanks for giving it to us.  The thought that came to my  mind is that it takes very intentioned protection for a woman to practice her prayer life or her contemplative methods of inner journey.  Working with women over the years I've seen that sometimes the only place we're alone is in the bathroom!  Good thing hot baths are so good for contemplation.   Seeing angels placed in protection of  our  private contemplation time is a great idea.....  wonder which ones and what they'd look like.
        Thanks for your imaging mind, Sheila. xoJoan

      Reply to this
  • 6/16/2009 5:53 AM Jen Reed Murrell wrote:
    Hi Joan,

    This was such a lovely entry. I love the light in which you put womb and tomb, as sacred caves, portals through which we travel into another stage of being. When you mentioned Cinta's experience, it made me think of how sterile mainstream American society attempts to make birth and death. How ordered and pristine the Church attempts to make worship. Hmmm.

    With continued admiration for your work, Joan. I send you much love.

    Reply to this
    1. 6/16/2009 6:23 AM Joan Norton wrote:
      Hi Jen,  That's so true about the ordered and pristine  worship style of alot of denominations. It's as if there's no body in them. Marion Woodman wrote a book about  this problem  as a psychological condition, it's called Addiction to Perfection.   In general, when the "living presence" of the feminine is left out,  things become sterile.   We have a great and glorious Catholic cathedral here in L.A. that has a very pristine style, lots of open space and "clean lines",  and the tapestry of Mary Magdalene looks like a child. The pose of devotion is there but there's no  sense of the  spiritually mature love necessary of a "sacred partner" to God, one's own soul life, or a love story.  
        Thanks for being there..  xoJoan

         Here's the tapestry     

      Reply to this
Leave a comment

Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.


 Email (will not be published)


Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.