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  • Maria Vandenburg

Walking in Mary Magdalene's Footsteps

I have just returned to Seattle from a two-week trip in devotion to the study and teachings of Mary Magdalene with Dr. Sue Morter and a group of amazing beings.






For context, I have been struggling for the last few months. I left a job and a company I loved and am working on finding my grounding at a new company, truly feeling safe to be seen and allowing myself to shine. Throughout the process, a TON of anxieties have risen. So much so that I was allowing the anxieties to overtake every single aspect of my life, and judging myself pretty consistently throughout the process. This was so strong, I almost did not go on this particular journery. Now that I am back, I am so glad that I pushed back and allowed. I capture what I learned below


6 Things I Learned While Walking in Mary Magdalene's Footsteps


1. Connection can be found in the most subtle of moments.


Me sitting upon one of the hot spots at Montsegur
Me sitting upon one of the hot spots at Montsegur

This came up for me over and over again. At the start of the trip, I found myself really sad. I would walk into a beautiful cathedral or basilica and find myself overwhelmed with sadness by my own judgement and expectations (even though I went into the trip trying to not have any). Why wasn't I experience the depth of the others around me? What was wrong me? What this was activating was one of my core childhood wounds of being abandoned and "left behind". When I allowed the sadness, I dropped in more deeply into my own body and realized how loved I am. I didn't need a profound experience to reconnect to it. I just needed to slow down and breathe into my heart and the love emerged from there


2. Meaningful Moments don't need to occur at Sacred Sites, they are Available to Us at All Times.


Dr. Sue Morter and Finbarr - in the Grotto at Saint Baume
Dr. Sue Morter and Finbarr - in the Grotto at Saint Baume

Some of my most powerful moments on this trip weren't a result of walking into a grotto or incredibly beautiful church or walking up a trail, they were found in deep and meaningful conversations with those around me. Moments where I opened and shared my vulnerable truth (that I felt scared and separated and "not enough") where I was met and held by others who consistently reminded me that I am not alone.


Another thing Dr. Sue asked us to do is to anchor in (which means feel where in the body we are experiencing the emotion and do some central channel breathing to anchor, recognize and become more conscious of the experience in the body - not the mind) the moments of elation and inspiration. Which I (again) realized did not need to happen when I am deeply inspired by a stained glass window. It can be happening right now as I am experiencing joy from the act of writing this blog



Stained glass brilliance in Carcassone
Stained glass brilliance in Carcassone


3. "Loving The One Who"



A beam of light that appeared after our meditation at Mount Bugarach
A beam of light that appeared after our meditation at Mount Bugarach

I wrote about this a few posts ago when I talked about a question I was brave enough to ask Dr. Sue at a lineage retreat in Sedona. For some reason, before I actually ask whatever question is on my heart, I have to release fear to get myself to speak. About half way through the trip I spoke of my own internal judgement (what I opened this particular blog post about) and Dr. Sue's answer deepened my own sense of my own love. She asked me to shift and realize there is nothing "wrong" with the part of me that is judging myself. She used the analogy of loving that one and it deepened for me. I'm still moving through how to understand how to love the one who is scared and doesn't feel like I can do it, vs. getting attached to it, but I felt a huge sense of letting go of the story that there is "something wrong with me." - I also experienced this while walking the Labyrinth at Chartes Cathedral.





4. My Concept of What Love Means Deepened.


Mary Magdalene panel at one of our first stops in Saint Baume
Mary Magdalene panel at one of our first stops in Saint Baume

It can be so subtle. It can be a softening of the heart, it can be a releasing of the breathe. It can feel like being held. I have been so caught up in my mind my whole life that I had often missed the subtlety in the energy of love. When I feel the quickening in my body, that's love. When I feel my breathe slowing down and my mind relaxing. It's love. Dr. Sue said something quite powerful that evening during one of our course work sessions she said (and I am paraphrasing here) the mind can not understand what is going on. I felt a release as I realized I'd been consciously trying to process something beyond my conscious perception, and in doing so missed feeling what was surrounding me. I am learning to tune more deeply into my body, recognize its signals and listen to them, deepen more into knowing myself as the energy of love. Another favorite quote of mine from Dr Sue: "The soul talks to the body, the body talks to mind, the mind often doesn't listen." I am happy to say that I am truly leaning how to listen.


5. My Understanding of what Masculine and Feminine Energy means Deepened as well.


Cathedral of Mary Magdalene in Paris
Cathedral of Mary Magdalene in Paris

To me, Mary Magdalene represents the feminine aspects of Christ Consciousness. What does that mean? She represents the divine feminine that all of us have within us. Masculine energy is the assertion, the action, the forward movement. Feminine energy is receptive, subtle, this is why this particular trip was so meaningful to me, because intellectually I understood these things but now I am beginning to have a more embodied understanding of what they mean. How to embrace the subtle without expecting a more assertive experience


6. That I am Always Exactly Where I'm Meant to Be.


Photo: Catholic News Agency (but the feeling was much the same as this photo evokes)
Photo: Catholic News Agency (but the feeling was much the same as this photo evokes)

Our first night in Lourdes, I was tired, I was also caught up in a story but my body was exhausted so I decided to opt out of the group dinner and rest. While I was laying in my hotel room working on allowing full expression of my emotions (something I'm still moving through, what's the healthy balance of that allowance with out getting caught up and attached to how I am feeling in the moment and inventing/believing that I am or will always be in that particular emotion or story as well as not judging my experience as "bad" or "wrong" or not enough and loving the aspect of me that is judging). Anyway, eventually I felt the pull to get up and I wandered down to the grotto and two things happened.

🌟I arrived RIGHT as the evening session in devotion to Morther Mary began

🌟I ran into my group shortly after my arrival just as they got to the same place


None of this was planned, but it just reminded me that I am always exactly where I'm meant to be and experiencing what I need to in order to evolve, grow and embody my next state of consciousness. I am and will always be a work in progress, but I will forever be grateful to this trip for embracing compassion, forgiveness and a deeper embodiment of the divine feminine.

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