In The Soul Comes First, I include Death among the forms of selfishness that the angels release onto Earth for healing. I characterize it as “which destroys utterly”, but I have realized that is unfair. It is how it appears to the rest of us, but the elements of a soul cannot be destroyed, only repurposed. No, it only appears to us that Death destroys the ones that we lose.
Death cuts a soul off from the dance of life. It enters in as a shroud around our spirit, and chokes off the links that tie us to others. We can no longer share ourselves. How is that selfish? Well, Death does not give up its victims willingly. It collects spirits, like insects in amber.
So how is Death redeemed by Love? Jesus’s resurrection proved that Love pierces the veil of death. That control allows lovers respite from the burdens of the world. They can withdraw and process the pain that they receive when healing broken hearts.
Through love, we can control the veil of death, and find peace for ourselves when we need. In love, we find ourselves always yearning to return to the dance of life with others, and so do not remain isolated.
Unless, of course, we don’t build links of love to others, and then death is a terrible and permanent isolation – which is why selfish people fear it so much.
I am astonished by parallels with the process of birth. A spirit separates from the chorus of heaven and enters into the mother’s womb to be bound to a body. The end of that process is a violent forcing out that can break the spirits of either or both participants. The spiritual cycle is almost manifested in the act of birth itself, and I believe that among a woman’s spiritual challenges is the essential intimacy of life with death.
What did this mean for the Magdalene? She was confronted with a glorious man who was committed to a confrontation with death! But his glory is a manifestation of the beauty of the spirits that choose to surround him, and what woman would not want the joy of bringing such spirits into the world? I see her almost swept away by this passion for the life of him, so he cautions her in the cemetery:
Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
He had not yet purged himself of the pain that had been forced upon him, and in clinging to him she was binding herself to that pain.
Among the Biblical commentators are those that see Mary Magdalene as the bride of Christ, but I hear in his words a caution to a woman swept up by events beyond her comprehension.
But there is another among Humanity’s pantheons who might understand, because her experience parallels that of Jesus. The Greeks tell of a goddess, Persephone, daughter of Demeter, who was given up as a bride to Hades to prevent his melancholy from consuming the world. The rest of the world found life in the sacrifice of the jewel of womanhood, foremost among Death’s treasures, whose grace fascinated his attentions. In Spring, she was released from Hades for a day, and life returned with her. If there are any among Death’s captives who deserve liberation, foremost among them is she!
Oh, Christ, bring her forth, and let her inspire us to protect nature, rather than destroying it so that we might profit! Bring us peace, not through death, but a lasting peace built upon the wisdom gained in our long struggle to master the Knowledge of Good and Evil!