Ceremony, Ritual, and Mary Magdalene
I'm reading, Mary Magdalene Revealed: The First Apostle, Her Feminist Gospel & the Christianity We Haven't Tried Yet, by Meggan Watterson. The description on Amazon explains that "this gospel, as ancient and authentic as any of the gospels that the Christian bible contains, was buried deep in the Egyptian desert after an edict was sent out in the 4th century to have all copies of it destroyed. Fortunately, some rebel monks were wise enough to refuse-and thanks to their disobedience and spiritual bravery, we have several manuscripts of the only gospel that was written in the name of a woman: The Gospel of Mary Magdalene."
Meggan Watterson does a beautiful job of sharing what Mary's story means and asks question that challenge us to imagine what life could look like today if her story hadn't been buried in the desert.
"It made me think of how our concept of god would be so different if all along, from the time of the Venus von Willendorf period of prehistory, roughly 30,000 b.c.e., to right now, we'd never swung around and done a 180 from worshipping the goddess to just worshipping a god. Think of the sermons! The rituals! The ceremonies! Think of how much they would change if we were equally hearing from both sexes about what it's like to find god in the body."
As I read this paragraph, I started to think about ceremonies and rituals - all that has been lost and literally wiped from our history. How do we reclaim these, and redefine what they mean for us? Where do we even start?
I sat with this question and came up with another that I'm carrying with me and putting into practice as I move through my day. What if we can move into ceremony and ritual at any and all points during our day? What if ceremony and ritual is simply noticing what is wanting to move through us, and honoring that awareness, honoring what is percolating and trying to come to the surface?
For example, I was sitting at my computer with quite a bit of work to be done, and felt this urge to be outdoors. At first, I let the thought pass and kept working and then I stopped and paid closer attention to what I was feeling in my body. I made the decision to honor what was moving through me, what I was feeling on a deeper level. Could that be the ceremony and ritual we need to reconnect with? Could it be returning to the flow that aligns us with all living things?
This for me is an enticing experiment. Something that I'm looking forward to putting into practice. It will, of course, be impossible to drop everything we are doing at all times and honor what is moving through us. But maybe by noticing and being aware of what is asking for our attention and nurturing, we can begin the process of reconnection and remembering. Maybe by honoring the deeper awareness present within us all, we can reclaim what has been lost, and set a new path.