Mary the Wife of Jesus

The Bride

“For I am the first and the last.
I am the honored one and the scorned one.
I am the whore and the holy one.
I am the wife and the virgin…
I am the barren one, and many are her sons.
I am the silence that is incomprehensible…
I am the utterance of my name.”

The above poem – musings from the Divine Feminine – is excerpted from “Thunder, Perfect Mind,” one of the 52 Gnostic texts discovered at Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1945. The image (above left) is of Gabriel Rossetti’s “The Beloved,” his artistic rendition of a theme from the Canticle of Canticles.

From the Gospel of Philip, another Gnostic text:

“The companion of [the savior] is Mary Magdalene. But Christ loved her more than [all] the disciples and used to kiss her [often] on her [mouth]. The rest [of the disciples were offended] … They said to him, ‘Why do you love her more than all of us?'”

Companion in this context means wife.

The version of Christianity that has filtered down to us today is quite different than the Gnostic version, which dates to the second century when both versions were nascent. Orthodox (“straight-thinking”) Christians and Jews regard God as “wholly other” and distinctly separate from humanity and creation. The Gnostics, however, believe in the “intuitive knowledge of Self,” which, in fact, is the definition of gnosis. They regard knowledge of Self and knowledge of the Divine to be one and the same; to know thy Self is to know the Divine that dwells within.

Separatism, particularly in monotheistic religions, is expressed using terms such as us and them, with them often being marginalized, and even demonized. Holism, particularly in Gnostic and Eastern religion, is expressed in terms such as one and all where everything in the cosmos, both matter and spirit, is seen as being interconnected and interdependent, including the Divine pleroma, the totality of divine emanations. Martin Buber’s expression “wholly other” becomes starved of its meaning.

The Gnostics spoke in terms of enlightenment and of the illusions of the world, not of sin and repentance. The Gnostic Jesus was a human being, “a guide who opened access to spiritual understanding,” wrote Elaine Pagels in her seminal work The Gnostic Gospels. (Highly recommended!)

5 - Divine Child
In the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, Jesus says: “If you bring forth what is in you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is in you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

This sounds somewhat like Jungian shadow work: “Until you make the unconscious conscious it will direct your life and you will call it fate,” wrote Jung.

The message of our androgynous Divine Child, and Chrysalis Tarot’s overarching theme, is that we find the important answers inside us. They aren’t “out there” somewhere. Tarot decks like Chrysalis that honor the holistic, interconnected worldview of the Gnostics “bring forth what is in you” by assisting with spiritual growth and by increasing self-knowledge via tarot’s Hero’s Journey, and by encouraging use of active imagination and intuition.

Like Gnosticism, the Chrysalis worldview does not hold sacred a parroted catalog of “correct beliefs” (dogma) that passively lead to salvation. We hold as sacred spiritual practices that lead instead to pathways of self-discovery, self-knowledge and empowerment. In addition to tarot, such spiritual practices might include yoga, chakra work, meditation, holotropic breathwork, reiki, or any number of other modalities that actively promote healing, self-knowledge and spiritual transformation.

We don’t need to be saved. We need to be transformed.

For this piece, I purposefully did not choose a well known painting of Mary Magdalene. Far too many of them picture her holding an alabaster jar, a symbolic reference to Luke’s unnamed sinful woman (prostitute) who washed Jesus’ feet. That was not Mary Magdalene! (Jesus washed the feet of the disciples on Maundy Thursday, which by the way is celebrated today, March 24.)

This tawdry injustice to Mary, a misogynist theological fiction, can be directly traced to a sermon delivered by Pope Gregory in 591. His error confusing Mary Magdalene with a prostitute was eventually acknowledged by the Vatican in 1969, although a lot of preachers and filmmakers apparently never read the press release.

Our Mary Magdalene is an enlightened Alleluia woman, both emanation and exemplar of the Divine Feminine that dwells within. She is the “honored one and the scorned one.” 

Our Mary Magdalene is the beloved wife and disciple of Jesus Christ.

mary davinci.jpg

Still from the film, The Da Vinci Code.


Spiral Awakenings

21 - PsycheAccording to Spiral Dynamics, a mere 1% of the world’s population can legitimately claim to be in an Awakened state of second-tier consciousness. It’s the goal of Chrysalis Tarot to help boost this percentage. Before delving into how we all can accomplish that together, allow me to present a brief overview of the concept of Spiral Dynamics. I believe all Chrysalids (that’s what I call us) should be familiar with the concept.

Simply put, Spiral Dynamics identifies eight memes that detail the ways we think (our worldview) by assigning arbitrary colors to eight ascending waves of a spiral vortex listed below. Incidentally, the Chrysalis Suit of Spirals was named after this revolutionary theory. The first six are known as first-tier memes (memes, as opposed to genes, are cultural DNA). By way of explanation, I include a few main characteristics or attributes for each meme. This maze falls neatly into place as you move along.

  1. Beige – Basic survival needs. Distinct selfhood is practically nonexistent. Individuals gather into groups to sustain life. Beige represents probably less than 1% of the adult world population; remnants of early human societies.
  2. Purple – Magical, Superstitious and Animistic. Good and evil spirits roam about the Earth and determine events. Perhaps as much as 10% of the population, located mostly in developing countries, are Purple. Note: These percentages are only estimates; there’s no database.
  3. Red – Power Gods. The first emergence of the ego-conscious self and of capricious archetypal gods and goddesses who meddle endlessly in human affairs to achieve both good and bad ends. At least 15% of the population.
  4. Blue – The Mythic Order. According to transpersonal psychologist Ken Wilber, a leading expert on Spiral Dynamics, “Life has meaning, direction and purpose with outcomes determined by an all-powerful Other or Order … with absolutist and unvarying principles of right and wrong.” We call this “religious fundamentalism.” The Blue meme represents a somewhat scary 30% of world population.
  5. Orange – Scientific progress. “Truth and meaning are sought in individualistic terms.” This Orange meme is, like religion, rigidly dogmatic. It is also rigidly materialistic and mechanistic (linear cause and effect). The Orange meme worships technology and advocates “Mankind’s dominion over all the Earth.” It is characterized by secular humanism and makes up 25% of the population.
  6. Green – The Sensitive Self. “The human spirit must be freed from greed, dogma, and divisiveness; feelings and caring supersede cold rationality; cherishing of the Earth, Gaia, life.” This meme probably represents around 10% of world population, but 20% or more in the West. Many of us probably identify with the Green meme.

These six memes represent first-tier worldviews. From time to time, we all think and act in terms of more than one meme, but only one best represents those core beliefs that form an individual’s worldview. It’s important to note that first-tier thinkers stubbornly believe that only their worldview is the correct worldview. Indeed, they feel quite threatened and become downright belligerent whenever their cherished beliefs are challenged.

Second-tier thinkers, on the other hand, recognize that all waves of the spiral must exist in the world simultaneously and in harmony (think the Ma’at card), and that all stages of consciousness are important to the overall health and well being of humanity’s Global spiral. In this regard, the eight memes behave kind of like brainwave frequencies; all are necessary because at different times we all think and behave differently.

spiral-dynamicsKen Wilber goes on to point out that as each wave transcends its predecessor, it carries forward some of its core beliefs. Each successive wave, therefore, adds to and expands upon the wave that came before it, as the spiral suggests. As humanity ascends the spiral, memes grow in complexity and consciousness.

Here’s an example: as Green transitions to Yellow, the “cherishing of the Earth” attribute is carried forward while Green’s selfish, ego-driven unwillingness to abide “big picture” solutions remains in place. By definition, second-tier memes require a modulated, healthy but selfless ego. In Chrysalis parlance, the morphology of second-tier consciousness is what Jung called psychic death (think the Phoenix card).

Chrysalis engenders second-tier thinking and encourages growth both in knowledge and cognitive awareness of the next wave up the spiral. Dr. Clare Graves, originator of the theory of human development that inspired Spiral Dynamics, referred to the emerging worldview as a “momentous leap,” where “a chasm of unbelievable depth of meaning is crossed.”

wisdom14The next two (second-tier) memes are called Yellow – Integrative, and Turquoise – Holistic. Combined, they account for a mere 1% of world population! Seems the West is not as advanced as we’re led to believe.

When we designed Chrysalis, we felt that we must transcend some of the stalwart characteristics of first-tier consciousness prevalent in tarot. These included Purple: superstition and esoterica; Red: monotheism and hierarchy; Blue: dogmatic authoritarianism (civil, religious and scientific), and Orange: power-driven institutions and militarism.

Therefore we felt it necessary to say godspeed to emperors and empresses, queens and kings, devils and demons, knights and swords, Judgment Day and death, and to archaic first-tier archetypes such as the hierophant and hermit. We also bade farewell to Green political correctness, value ranking and egalitarianism. Instead, we reintroduced nature-oriented goddess spirituality (Gaia, Storyteller, Green Man) as a scientific fact (as detailed in the new companion book). Note that goddess spirituality doesn’t tilt the scale toward the feminine, it balances the scale by deifying Nature.

Moreover, we renounced the pernicious illusions of duality and Cartesian separation between matter and spirit, and instead embraced the connectivity of all things in a Living, Conscious Cosmos. With Chrysalis as our handy telephone, calls to the divine realms of transcendent consciousness are local calls where no priestly intermediaries are ever required. As one member of the Chrysalis Study Group on Facebook put it, “I embraced my inner shaman.”



In a follow up piece, we’ll dote on the characteristics of the all important second-tier Yellow (Integrative) and Turquoise (Holistic) memes, colors celebrated in the Sun card, and explain why we believe it’s vitally important for a creative minority of Earthlings to transcend first-tier consciousness yesterday.

You must unlearn what you have been ‘programmed’ to believe from birth. That software no longer serves you if you want to live in a world where all things are possible. ~Jacqueline E. Purcell


Loki’s Prophecy

Loki-brood-serpent-cultLoki's brood; Hel, Fenrir and Jörmungandr. By Emil Doepler

The painting above is titled Loki’s Brood, by  Emil Doepler (1855-1922), a German artist, art nouveau illustrator and teacher. The young lady in the center is the Norse goddess, Hel, Loki’s daughter. She lives beneath one of the roots of the Yggdrasil tree, pictured below. The monstrous wolf is Fennir, son of Loki. Fennir is said to have bitten off the hand of the war god Týr, for whom the day Tuesday is named. Appropriately, we pen this piece on a Tuesday. The serpent is  Jörmungandr, which means “huge monster.” She’s the World Serpent and middle sibling. Their mother, the giantess “who brings grief,” is Loki’s wife Angrboða, who is seen in the background.

Why this piece? It evolves from a lucid dream I had over a 3-night period last week. A lucid dream is one in which the dreamer remains conscious of the dream and is able to exercise some control over it. Everyone who has lucid dreams will experience them differently, although there are many commonalities, i.e. all are interpreted and informed by the Third Eye. Lucid dreams occur in what is known as liminal space, a threshold or portal between the world of the senses and the world beyond the senses. In Chrysalis Tarot, we refer to realms beyond the threshold as the Otherworld.

Piecing together a lucid dream isn’t as difficult as interpreting a more typical dream. In my case, it usually involves arranging the dream’s storyboards, or salient points i.e. recognizing patterns and connecting dots. No communication from the Otherworld can be repeated verbatim because it is filtered through the expectations and biases of the dreamer’s cultural conditioning. If a young Catholic girl, for example, has a vision of the Great Mother, she likely will interpret it as an apparition of the Virgin Mary. If a Jungian psychologist has the precise same vision, she or he will recognize the archetype as the Cosmic Woman, Shekinah or Divine Feminine. Both are valid interpretations.

Like virgin olive oil, no communication from the Otherworld can be 100% purely comprehended. It is always dirtied by the filter (seer). The best one might hope to attain is 99.9% on the virgin meter, and few prophets ever come anywhere near that mark. If they do, you can bet the prophecy was historicized after the fact.

Another reason or two for this blog in addition to my dream, and in addition to the fact that it’s Tuesday, have to do with the current state of affairs in the world. Also, I watched “The Avengers” last night. I had the dream last week but wondered if there were signs in the film of art imitating dreams. There were, although as mythologist and mystic Caroline Kenner told me, “I try to avoid Loki. I had a bad experience or three with Him. But His wife is lovely, I am close to Angrboða.”

Caroline, who developed the Chrysalis Tarot app for Fool’s Dog, went on to explain that Loki is not a run-of-the-mill trickster god. “I wish I could communicate this to people who think Loki is a sexy Tom Hiddleston. Loki frightens me.”

I read this morning in the Washington Post that women and children were tear gassed yesterday at a border crossing between Greece and Macedonia. These innocents are refugees fleeing Syria and other parts of the war-torn Middle East to seek asylum in northern Europe, home to the Asgard pantheon. Asgard is the realm ruled by Odin (Woden) and his wife Frigg, for whom Wednesday and Friday are named, respectively.

1-Ravens Amazon HRI mentioned these name correspondences because too many of us have neglected or entirely forgotten the Norse gods and goddesses. It is they who I believe are most active in today’s world, for it is they who are tasked to avenge the destruction of the Old Ways, which was done in order to clear a path for the monotheistic dream of humanity’s “Dominion over all the Earth.”

And then there’s Baba Vanga (1911-1996), another dot. Bearing in mind that prophets can only aspire to fully comprehend complex deities like Loki, “the blind Macedonian mystic predicted that Muslims will invade Europe in 2016, and there will be widespread destruction by extremists, which will go on for many years until the continent ceases to exist. She had also predicted that a Great Muslim War will begin in Syria.”

I believe now may be the ideal time to get to know the Norse gods and goddesses beyond simply citing the days of the week. (Sincere apologies to Thor – Thursday.)


Book recommendations:

How to Master Lucid Dreaming: Your Practical Guide to Unleashing the Power of Lucid Dreaming, (Kindle edition 99-cents for a limited time) by Sean Kelly.

The Love of Destiny: The Sacred and the Profane in Germanic Polytheism, (Kindle edition $5.99) by Dan McCoy.

“We’re all familiar with the pop culture depictions of Norse mythology that are shallow and trite at best, and often downright misleading. They owe far more to puerile fantasies of being a macho superhero than they do to the ways in which the pre-Christian peoples of northern Europe actually thought of themselves and their spirituality.”