Mary Magdalen’s Rules for Conflict Resolution
Novelist Elizabeth Cunningham has created a feisty Celtic Mary Magdalen (also known as Maeve) who offers some amusing–and helpful–hints for getting along with others. Maeve’s rules may have been developed in the service of her holy temple of healing and prostitution at Magdala but they can work for your family or group, too.
Read words of wisdom from this splendidly outrageous embodiment of the Divine Feminine here:
Isis knows we did not set out to found a prototype kibbutz (though there is a kibbutz on the site of Temple Magdalen today.) We did not have strict rules or exacting requirements for membership. We were whores; we took all comers, whether they were suppliants seeking the embrace of the goddess or homeless laborers seeking work and shelter or sick people seeking healing. People came and went. There were seldom more than we could handle; for there was a built-in self-selection process: the censorious, the self-important and the humorless tended to leave in a hurry.
Our rules were simple if eccentric. “Worship whomever the hell you please” was one. Some of us sang hymns to Isis morning and evening, vesting and garlanding her graven image. All of us shared in a Shabbat feast with Judith presiding and reciting prayers in Hebrew. “Don’t say it: Sing it” was another Temple Magdalen tradition. When conflicts arose, as they must when two or three are gathered together, they were aired in song. Try singing the next time you have a beef with someone. (Recitative: I’m sick of washing the dishes you leave in the si-ink!) You and your adversary will probably end up laughing till you cry and fall into each other’s arms to keep from falling down. That’s what happened at Temple Magdalen more often than not.
And of course we discovered the magic of the axiom “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” millennia before Marx. Somehow there was always enough–enough help with the harvest, enough food to go around, enough people to mind the children or tend the sick. Maybe it was all the dancing we did on Friday nights after the Shabbat meal. Those who couldn’t dance clapped and drummed and sang wild, wailing Middle Eastern melodies. We were all in the rhythm, trusting to the ebb and flow, the waxing and waning of moon, sun, and seasons.
Mary Magdalen’s hints for conflict resolution–and successful group living–may be summed up as follows:
1. Keep an open mind. Refrain from judging others’ beliefs.
2. If you have an issue with someone, don’t say it, sing it! (This implausible-sounding hint really does work.)
3. As much as possible, allow each member to do what they do best in service to the group.
4. Create group celebrations whenever you can: eating and dancing and making rhythms together are time-honored ways of forming bonds with others.
Adapted from The Passion of Mary Magdalen, by Elizabeth Cunningham (Monkfish Book Publishing, 2006). Copyright (c) 2006 by Elizabeth Cunningham. Reprinted by permission of Monkfish Book Publishing.
Adapted from The Passion of Mary Magdalen, by Elizabeth Cunningham (Monkfish Book Publishing, 2006).