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Palm Sunday and the Great Mother







Even when there’s just us two, my beloved Stephen and I always celebrate the profound significance of Easter. This year, on March 24, to mark the dramatic event of Jesus Christ’s entry into Jerusalem riding on a young ass, we read the four different gospel accounts. To my surprise, worship of the ancient Mother goddess slipped into my mind and lingered there. The reason would become clear to me. To get to that I’ll need to backtrack.


Esoteric teaching tells us that the gospels come from different mystery traditions. I always resonate with John’s version. Known as ‘the spiritual gospel’ for its mighty vision of the incarnation of the Logos or Word, it is also the gospel of humanity’s true individuality or I AM, and with an appropriate personal touch there’s a story involving three individuals close to Jesus, members of a family from Bethany at the foot of the Mount of olives. We learn that Jesus loves them – love founded on a deep spiritual connection.


Six days before the Passover Jesus and some disciples are eating supper in Bethany with the family. We have met this family already in the powerful story of the raising of Lazarus, ostensibly from the dead although in reality from a death-like sleep of Initiation. His sisters Martha and Mary witnessed all this. Now Lazarus sits close to his teacher, united in consciousness with him. Martha, who understands now who Jesus is, lovingly serves the meal. And Mary? It’s a bit shocking what she does (to some of the men). She brings in an alabaster jar of fragrant oil and kneeling anoints the feet of Jesus. Then loosening her hair, with its long strands she wipes off the excess. Such an act of anointing is described differently in all four gospels. But only in John is the woman named.  

 

We can understand that Mary also knows that Jesus is the Anointed ('Christos’), and she performs a conscious ritual act of preparation for the road he will walk. He affirms that she is indeed preparing him for his death. John’s is the only gospel connecting Mary's anointing directly with the ‘triumphal’ entry of Jesus into Jerusalem with the people singing ‘Hosannah’ and waving palm fronds which Palm Sunday commemorates – and the sacrifice that follows.


About the women

John’s gospel is inclusive of women in a way the others aren’t – indeed women play significant roles that break through patriarchal thinking and culture like those dear friends Mary and Martha who recognized the reality of Jesus the Christ. The mother of Jesus has a significance beyond natural motherhood at the very beginning and at the end of his ministry. Then there’s the Samaritan woman in an extended conversation with Jesus (a female stranger and a Samaritan - scandalous in Judaic culture of the time); the three women standing close to Jesus at the cross; and Mary Magdalene, the first to see the risen Christ.


The Christ event was a culmination and fulfilment of all the old mysteries or spiritual paths, which essentially had been preparing the way for this new universal mystery to enter the earth realm.

I realised on Palm Sunday that the very earliest mysteries were included, when the Great Mother was all powerful and worship was gynocentric and matriarchal. This deep mystery, at the very beginning of humanity’s religious consciousness, was also preparing for the Christ. That was forgotten with the coming of thousands of years of patriarchy.


But John, aka Lazarus the beloved disciple understood the need to value the feminine and to raise the women up, even to their presence right at the foot on the cross. He was there. No other man was. And he recognized that the feminine spirit had to be reclaimed – She who is the Great Mother, wise soul of the earth, and who is also heavenly Wisdom, Sophia, ever present as the Logos descended to earth.


The ancient matriarchy prepared the ground, and in Wisdom the earth soul waited for the Christ. Long ages she waited for this mighty spirit of love to unite with her. Mary Magdalene, whose heart was open, was the first to perceive something of what was taking place. 


Today when divisions are tearing the world asunder, love calls to us: there is no ‘other’, no them or us, for love is undivided. The message of the Christ resounds down the ages. We too must be undivided.          

        

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