Mary Magdalene's Secret

Was she a Benjamite heiress destined to carry on a sacred bloodline?

BY: Margaret Starbird

 

Continued from page 2

If our theory is correct, the child actually was born in Egypt. Egypt was the traditional place of asylum for Jews whose safety was threatened in Israel; Alexandria was easily reached from Judea and contained well-established Jewish communities at the time of Jesus. In all probability, the emergency refuge of Mary Magdalen and Joseph of Arimathea was Egypt. And later--years later--they left Alexandria and sought an even safer haven on the coast of France.

Scholars of archaeology and linguistics have found that place names and legends of an area contain "fossils" from that area's remote past. The truth may be embellished by changes, and stories may suffer abridgment through the years of telling, but traces of the truth remain in fossil form, buried in the names of people and places.

In the town of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in France, there is a festival every May 23 to 25 at a shrine in honor of Saint Sarah the Egyptian, also called Sara Kali, the "Black Queen." Close scrutiny reveals that this festival, which originated in the Middle Ages, is in honor of an "Egyptian" child who accompanied Mary Magdalen, Martha, and Lazarus, arriving with them in a small boat that came ashore at this location in approximately 42 C.E. The people seem to have assumed that the child, being "Egyptian," was dark-skinned and, by further interpolation, that she must have been the servant of the family from Bethany, since no other reasonable explanation could be found for her presence.

The name Sarah means "queen" or "princess" in Hebrew. This Sarah is further characterized in local legends as "young," no more than a child. So we have, in a tiny coastal town in France, a yearly festival in honor of a young, dark-skinned girl child called Sarah. The fossil in this legend is that the child is called "princess" in Hebrew.

A child of Jesus, born after Mary's flight to Alexandria, would have been about twelve years of age at the time of the voyage to Gaul recorded in the legend. She, like the princes of David's line, is symbolically black, "unrecognized in the streets" (Lam. 4:8). The Magdalen was herself the "Sangraal," in the sense that she was the "chalice," or vessel, that once carried the royal bloodline in utero.

The symbolic blackness of the Bride in Canticles and the Davidic princes of Lamentations is extended to this hidden Mary and her child. It appears that the festival of the Black Princess, Sara Kali, is in honor of this same symbolically black child. It is likely that those in later centuries who knew this legend and the identity of the Magdalen as the wife of Jesus equated her with the black bride from Canticles. She was the Sister-Bride and the Beloved. Her "blackness" would have been symbolic of her hidden state; she was the unknown queen--unacknowledged, repudiated, and vilified by the church through the centuries in an attempt to deny the legitimate bloodline and to maintain its own doctrines of the divinity and celibacy of Jesus.

Her blackness is also a direct reference to the deposed Davidic princes of Jerusalem: "Brighter than snow were her princes, whiter than milk . . . now their appearance is blacker than soot, they are unrecognized on the streets" (Lam. 4:8).

Fossils of truth remain buried in our symbols, our proper names of persons and places, our rituals and folk tales. This understood, it is plausible that the flight into Egypt was taken by the "other Joseph," Joseph of Arimathea, and the "other Mary," Mary Magdalen, to protect the unborn child of Jesus from the Romans and the sons of Herod after the crucifixion. The discrepancies in the story and the obvious generation gap can easily be understood in light of the danger to the bloodline--which required the utmost secrecy as to their whereabouts--and in light of the time that elapsed before the story was committed to writing. This seems to be another case of a myth being formed because the truth was too dangerous to be told.

In summary, the two royal refugees from Israel, mother and daughter, might logically be represented in early European art as a dark-skinned mother and child, the hidden ones. The Black Madonnas of the early shrines in Europe (fifth to twelfth centuries) might then have been venerated as symbolic of this other Mary and her child, the Sangraal, which Joseph of Arimathea brought in safety to the coast of France. The symbol for a male of the royal house of David would be a flowering or budding staff, but the symbol for a woman would be the chalice--a cup or vessel contianing the royal blood of Jesus. And that is exactly what the Holy Grail is said to have been!

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