The Mysticism of Mary:
The Ancient Feminine Force of the Catholic Faith
Mary, Queen of Heaven
When considering the three largest organized religions in 21st century America, namely Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all three are at their core “androcentric” faiths, meaning each religion is male dominated with an overall structure that is led by males of various levels of high ranking status. Taking that thought an interfaith step further, none of these religions worship any kind of female deity nor do women comprise the higher structural levels within each faith as High Priestesses, etc..
That’s quite a lot of theological testosterone when considering roughly 248 million Americans subscribe to any one of these big three religions which is 76.14% of the U.S. population overall.
But within the vast number of 240 million Americans who consider themselves “Christian”, 5.4 million or 22 % of them are members of a particular Christian denomination that has a prominent female figure established within its foundation that unbeknownst to many represents the mystical force of the ancient feminine, namely the Catholic Church and its devotion to Mary, the Mother of Christ.
The Mysticism of Mary
Mysticism deals with that which is irrational, intangible, and most especially, that which is uncontrollable. Anything considered mystical also cannot be easily defined or categorized or even clearly explained. Throughout its history, the Catholic Church has done its utmost to suppress and even vilify anything mystical that fell outside the parameters of its dogmatic principles.
This is not surprising when realizing the hierarchical structure of the Catholic faith is made up entirely of men.
Humanity’s history has consistently shown anything of a mystical nature was best channeled or expressed by women. This is not to say that men are forbidden or have no access to that which is considered mystical, quite the contrary. However women have consistently shown better ways in dealing with mysticism if for the simple reason they tend to not have an immediate need to control or squelch that which their rational minds can’t initially comprehend and are inclined to be in better touch with the part of themselves that is non-rational, namely their emotions.
That which is mystical will not be controlled and the Catholic male hierarchy has attempted to exert as much control over its congregation since its inception right through to the dawn of the 21st century.
The mysticism of the Catholic Church lies mainly through the workings of the Blessed Mother. Throughout the Church’s history Mary has been a point of contention where some have said the woman who bore the mortal manifestation of Christ is inconsequential and still others have equivocated devotion towards the Blessed Mother to the worshipping of a pagan goddess.
The Blessed Mother may have begun life as a mortal being but her role in the Catholic Faith is to embody and sustain that mystical force known as the ancient feminine. This in turn elevates Mary’s status well beyond being merely a mortal woman who gave birth to the Messiah. As the force of the ancient feminine Mary serves as Catholicism’s fiercest defender of faith by being its most powerful form of protection against the forces of darkness and pervasive evil. Additionally, Our Lady sustains the importance Catholicism still holds for humanity as the 21st century unfolds through her institution of the power of prayer.
Mary – Marked Beyond Mere Mortality
Like most of the foundational rituals and holidays in the Catholic Religion, Christmas most especially, devotion to Mary has its origins in both paganism and astrology but the mysticism of the Blessed Mother elevates her beyond mere mortal status. Throughout Christian history, no other mortal’s life was marked with such directly powerful instances of divine intercession in both birth and death as was the Mother of Christ. In fact, the only other person throughout all of Christianity who had the Hand of God so actively involved with the beginning and end of their mortal life on this plane of existence was Christ, Himself.
The Immaculate Conception – It’s not who you think
Say the term “Immaculate Conception” and nearly every Christian and non-Christian alike will assume you are referring to the mystery of a virgin conceiving a child and giving birth to a Savior, or in other words, the birth of Christ.
“Immaculate Conception” deals with Christ but indirectly and only by association. The term refers to the conception of Mary by her mother, Saint Anne. In order for the Son of God to manifest Himself to this plane of existence, He had to be birthed by one who was not “stained with the sin of Adam”. In other words, Catholics believe Mary was born without something the rest of us who come into this world naturally have that is removed upon receiving the sacrament of Baptism – Original Sin.
Mary’s date of birth is believed to be September 8th and the Immaculate Conception is celebrated exactly 9 months preceding Our Lady’s birth on December 8th.
More on the Virgin being born during the sign of the Virgin a bit further on…
The Assumption – The Ascension Mary Style
The foundation behind Christianity as a religion is the belief in the Resurrection, where Christ suffered an earthly death but was brought back to life or was “resurrected” on the third day following his passing.
And just because Christ was brought back to earth did not mean he was going to stick around forever. After 40 days of repeatedly answering “Yes I did die, but now I’m back.” Followed by “No, I am not in jest. I am the same Jesus who died and like I just said, now I’m back.”, Christ departed this world not by dying a 2nd time nor even by being buried, He ascended straight up into Heaven with his body fully intact.
With Mary, replace the word “Ascension” with “Assumption”. Catholics believe the Mother of God did not suffer a physical death but like her Son she too ascended straight into Heaven with her physical body fully intact as well.
Many Protestant sects broke with the Catholic Church precisely over the concept of The Assumption claiming that only the Son of God could be exempt from a physical death and that Mary must have physically died before her body ascended into Heaven.
My counter-reformational rebuttal to that religious point of contention is: The last thing Heaven would need is the headache of where to put a newly dead corpse that wasn’t properly disposed of in the first place.
By virtue of the beginning of her life being marked by Immaculate Conception and her end of life taking place without Death’s presence, it’s more than clear Mary isn’t just your average mortal whose placement in the earthly manifestation of Christ is merely inconsequential.
The Astrological Mary
The astrological “glyph” or sign symbol for Virgo.
“M” is for Mary as in the Virgo Mary.
The origin of the Zodiac goes much further back before the birth of Christ but it’s no coincidence the religious and historical lady known for being a blessed Virgin was herself born beneath the sign of the Virgin otherwise known as the Earth sign of Virgo.
As previously mentioned the day traditionally referred to as the birthday of the Virgin Mary is the 8th of September, which takes place near the exact mid-point during the sign of Virgo and Mary’s actions as we are first told of in the Bible are thoroughly of a Virgoan essence.
The Blessed Mother’s existence is first made Biblically known to us in the New Testament’s Gospel of Luke. Not only is Mary first introduced to us in the Bible as a virgin, in Luke she is visited by the Archangel Gabriel in a time period known as “the sixth month”.
“And in the sixth month the Angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” – Luke 1: 26-27
In modern times, the “sixth month” would technically mean June, but when approached astrologically, Virgo is the sixth sign of the Zodiac. We are first told of the mother of Christ as being a virgin with her name not being said until the very end of the chapter. Along with the obvious implications with the word “virgin” meaning a person who has never had sexual relations with another, the word also symbolizes one who is “pure”, a state of mind and living that is the Virgo’s highest of hoped for aspirations.
Along with Pisces and Scorpio, the sign of the Virgin is known as one of the 3 “karmic signs of service” where the energies of those born beneath any of those signs are best used whenever they are in service to others. Virgo is the earthy side of service because they feel they are at their best when they can produce detailed work that is as close to perfection (or for a better word, purity) as possible. Virgos love being appreciated for their detail-rich work but shun the spotlight of attention. Thus, when a massively winged space alien-like creature such as the Archangel Gabriel descends upon a teen-aged Mary in her humble abode, he addresses her with the loftiest of salutations:
“Hail, Thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with Thee; blessed art Thou among women.” -Luke 1:28
At the moment of being told she is exalted in the eyes of God, where most teenage girls would be giddy and reveling in the moment, Mary is not only made immediately uncomfortable by the Archangel’s praise, the ever-practical Virgo proceeds to do what their sign does best – Worry.
“But she was greatly troubled by the angel’s words, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.” – Luke 1:29
If there was ever any Biblical text your author would like to see revised, it would be the preceeding passage from Luke. Although my proposed change would be minimal, it would not be thoroughly appropriate, since I feel the moment would be better encapsulated by putting quoation marks around the word “greeting”. This would emphasize how Mary’s Virgoan thoughts are racing towards pure panic given that as this divine event is unfolding before her Mary dares to question the integrity of the Archangel’s visit by over analyzing the situation with excessive worry.
And even when the Archangel fills Mary in on the divine game plan, revealing that she shall bear the world a Saviour, the Virgo then proceeds to revv her worry into practicality overdrive!
“And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?”
– Luke 1: 30 – 34
Other Biblical interpretations such as the King James Revised Edition plainly and boldly give away Mary’s earth signed sensibilities by wording the end of Luke 1:34 in a more overt Virgoan manner:
“And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be since I am a virgin?”
– Luke 1: 34
After short circuiting with worry, Mary accepts her mantle of divine responsibility with utter Virgoan humility by stating she is dedicated in her service to God by being His servant or “handmaid”.
“And Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word.” And the angel departed from her.” – Luke 1:38
The Archangel’s words are made truth when Mary goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is advanced in years and long thought barren, but when the Virgen arrives, she sees that like herself, her cousin is with child as well. In her joyous state, Mary then summarizes both her divine purpose along with the Virgo’s inherent gift for their focus to the slightest of details through her use of a simple, yet powerfully beautiful word – “magnify”.
“And Mary said, “My soul doth magnify the Lord,” – Luke 1:46
In Franco Zeffirelli’s masterpiece film about the life of Christ entitled “Jesus of Nazareth” the Archangel Gabriel’s visit is at first received with terrorized fear by Mary, played by Olivia Hussey. The mystical event known as “The Annunciation” is relayed only through Mary’s responses, we do not hear the Angel and his presence is made known only by a heavenly light that shines upon the handmaid of the Lord through an open window.
Part II of this series will analyze the Blessed Mother’s role as Catholicism’s force of the ancient feminine as seen through the various forms Mary has been traditionally depicted in iconography throughout the ages.
*Brad Kronen’s book “Love in the Stars” published by Llewellyn Worldwide, Inc. is available for purchase at your local book seller or online at amazon.com at the link listed below.