Mary Magdalene, acrylic on canvas, Cat Charissage (c) 2017
Mary the Magdalene Cat Charissage, May 2017
The stories say that you lived for 30 years in a cave, afterwards.
This rings true to me.
After the loss, and finding, and then a different kind of loss,
a soul needs a sojourn to a new place, and
a cave of memory, of healing, of wonder and contemplation to nestle into,
brooding over the waters of tears, floodings, overwhelm, and renewed life.
What can be birthed now?
What eggs might hold promise, possibility?
Every spring you remembered all that had happened with your Beloved . . .
How he had participated, both willingly and reluctantly,
pleading that this cup be taken away,
yet following through on his life’s integrity with persevering peace and dignity.
You were there, faithful, like his mother, when he was murdered,
both of you forever changed by those events, that horror, then such prodigious hope.
His mother moved afterward to Ephesus, living near the ancient temple of the goddess.
You went further, to a new land, a new life
Chewing on, swallowing deeply, fully digesting all that had happened.
And it did bring such life, such joy, such radiance.
Teach me, dear Mary, you, the Magdalene. Teach me.
Hello dear friend,
Happy full moon, here in the Easter season. In the past week I have seen spring return; on Sunday I went into my study and noticed the size of the fledgling leaves on the caragana bush outside my window. By the time I went back upstairs at the end of the day (after painting the entire afternoon —- mmmmm!) the leaves on that bush had grown to twice their morning size! All around I’m surrounded by green leaves exploding into view. And I’m grateful.
This year while pondering the Easter/Resurrection/Spring/Renewal of Life story, I’ve been thinking about Mary Magdalene. I’m not all caught up on the legends of her life after the Gospel stories, except to know that there are a lot of them, and almost none are historically verified. Yet these legends also speak, at the least, of a psychological truth that certainly resonates in the hearts of so many of us. One of the legends is that she travelled to the south of France and lived in a cave for the last thirty years of her life. As “Apostle to the Apostles”, she continued to teach and lead others in their spiritual lives, for the rest of her life. I decided to explore this in image and word.
I started with using colors that I don’t usually put together, pinkish red and golden yellow. After writing my intention of being open to what I might learn from Mary Magdalene’s story (underneath the first layer of color), I storyboarded some of her legends and meanings to me on the right side:
Without thinking too much, I followed the brush:
Her cave, and an egg appeared. Then more yellow connected her in time and across dimensions to now (welcome to my painting corner!):
Finally she appeared, along with these pods. They seemed full of treasure to me, though I’ve never painted anything like this before:
Here she is with her shimmering golden pods of possibility, already in red
After a few more days of sitting with her, the words of her poem came together. (It’s the one at the beginning of this blogpost.)
What is this Spring budding for you? What new energies, possibilities are emerging?
With much love,