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 Grail.....show us the Way of the heart.