Mary Magdalene in A Coruña (Spain)

What did the artists of previous centuries know about Mary Magdalene? Was she depicted as the woman at Jesus’ side more often than we suspect – and symbolically coded very deliberately? These and similar questions I ask myself time and again when I enter a church where I see a Mary represented with long red hair and in red-green garments. All are hints at the fact that this is not intended to be Mother Mary but Mary Magdalene, just like in the small church Santa Barbara in A Coruña, ca. 80 km north of Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain.

In this specific case she is shown sitting next to Jesus on a cloud, which is indicative of his mother at a first glance. Maybe the commissioner only wanted the glass window to show Mary’s admission into heaven and did not know that the artist painted Mary Magdalene instead of Mary? Or maybe he instructed the artist to depict “Mother Mary” with long red hair in green-red garments, knowing well that he made Mary Magdalene sit next to Jesus by doing so? This always comes to my mind when I see depictions of this kinds in churches.

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In 1749, the Spanish Franciscan padre Junipero Serra (1713-1784), who had been born in the small village Petra in the northeast of Majorca and there had been trained for being a padre, went on a missionary expedition to the New World together with some fellow brethren. He went by ship from Cádiz to Veracruz, today’s Mexico. There he founded a number of missions, learned the language of the Native Americans and taught them – in a today highly controversial way – how to make vast tracts of land arable and how to work them. The pictures show his place of birth Petra, where a museum was built in his honour and other memorials were erected in a more or less artistic way.

For more photos click here!

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Mary Magdalene on Lanzarote (Spain)

It was a big surprise for me to find paintings of Mary Magdalene in a small 200-year-old church in the village of Tinajo (Lanzarote – Canary Islands/Spain), which only has 3,000 inhabitants. I did not expect to come across illustrations of Mary Magdalene on Lanzarote – the Spanish mainland (e.g. Barcelona) and the adjacent South of France (e.g. Marseille) are located about 2,000 kilometers from the Canary Islands – because the island’s inhabitants seem to be committed to upholding old traditions and are closely linked to the conservative direction of the Catholic church. Nevertheless, there appeared to have been people over the last few centuries who have had a close relationship with Mary Magdalene.

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In the footsteps of MATILDA of TUSCANY

Those of you who have read ‘The Book of Love’ by Kathleen McGowan are familiar with the book’s protagonist. I am referring to MATILDA OF TUSCANY, a marchioness who approximately lived between 1046 and 1115 in Tuscany and the region around Mantua and played an important role from a historical viewpoint. In the novel of Kathleen McGowan she is considered to be a descendant of the bloodline of MARY MAGDALENE who was given an education that befitted her rank in Florence.

Quotation: „… Mathilda had also not had any real spiritual education for almost two years, critical years in a child’s development . … would relocate to Florence, where the Order (of the Holy Grail) had a base, a monastery at the edge of the river Arno, whch had been named for the Holy Trinity, SANTA TRINITA. A secretive and somewhat mysterious community of monks with ties to the Order had built a monasterythere in the tenth century, under the patronage of Siegfrid of Lucca, Mathilda’s legendary great-great-grandfather. The monks were not only sympathetic to the origins of the Order, some of them were descended from the most powerful bloodline families themselves and were sworn members.“ (from „The Book of Love“ by Kathleen McGowan, p. 147)

Most of the people who visit this church admire the numerous other masterpieces and wait in a line so that they get a chance to take pictures of them. Hardly anybody takes notice of Mary Magdalene. I brought back some photos of her statue, which was created in 1450, from my stay in Florence.

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Mary Magdalene in Florence (Italy)

Florence is a paradise for art enthusiasts! At every turn, they come across unspeakable treasures and rarities from earlier centuries, the density of which seems to be an Italian idiosyncrasy. Many of the churches are decorated with the works of old masters, which usually are only to be found in museums.

During my preparations for our ‘Spiritual Journey through Tuscany’ next autumn, I also visited the church Santa Maria Novella, which is noted in many guidebooks. The atmosphere of the church, however, is rather suggestive of an art gallery and I was unable to sense any special energies. Nevertheless, there was one piece that impressed me considerably, namely the scene of the entombment, which can be found in an inconspicuous alcove inside the church. Immediately, the following question forced itself upon me: which one of the women is MARY MAGDALENE?

The Magdalene is usually represented in the colours red and green and another remarkable feature is her long, red, flowing hair. The person at the far right in the mural painting doubtlessly represents Jesus’ ‘favourite disciple’, whose clothes are red and green as well. Could this be an allusion to Mary Magdalene, who actually is Jesus’ ‘first disciple’ and follower?

The woman to the left of Mother Mary wears the colours red and green too. Could this be Mary Magdalene or Mary Jacobe or Mary Salome? If so, who is the lady in red with the headgear? Doesn’t she look like a queen? Martha, Mary Magdalene’s sister, is frequently represented in red, but still I do not believe that Martha is portrayed here.

Mary Magdalene, who is considered to be Jesus’ wife in old writings and whose rank thus is tantamount to a queen’s, would soonest live up to this role. …

The truth – once again – is in the eye of the beholder.

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Maria Magdalena in Los Angeles

“Los Angeles” means “The Angels” in English… and you not necessarily expect to come across them in the Californian metropolitan city. Nevertheless, also in this city one can find spiritual places, at least if you look for them specifically or if you let yourself be guided by your intuition.

In the “Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels” I not only discovered beautiful angel figures (which I will show to you elsewhere), but also Mary Magdalene: Depicted very modernly and appealingly on a huge wall tapestry – and on glass windows and wall ceramics in the basement. If you are rambling about L.A. and can spare some time, you should absolutely go to see it!

>> more photos

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The castle St. Hilarion in Northern Cyprus

In Cyprus we visited a beautiful spot in the Turkish northern part of the island: the magical castle ruins St. Hilarion. This saint, who is declared to be an Ascended Master nowadays, allegedly was buried there and a small Byzantine monastic church erected above his grave. In the 8th century a castle was built in this strategic place, which seems to merge with the rocks at first glance. Even nowadays this place is so romantic that it served Walt Disney as a model for his movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. After all, some people still claim that the castle once belonged to a sorceress who charmed her visitors to sleep in a secret garden and afterwards robbed them. We couldn’t feel that, but we were able to sense the energies of Hilarion in the region of the former church all the better.

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