Mother Mary – Mari of BasqueCoven of the Goddess
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Long ago in a rugged mountain area between what is now Spain and France, I was worshiped as Mari, also known as Mari of Basque, Mari Urraca, Anbotoko Mari (“the lady of Anboto”), and Murumendiko Dama (“Lady of Murumendi”).
From the beginning my mysteries were held sacred and passed from one Elder to another without change. Basque was and is today a paradise. Its terrain of low mountains, dense forest and heavy vegetation make it a safe haven from outsiders. Its small reserve of precious metals leaves the area less tempting of plunder from invaders. Basque was and is a land of uninterrupted traditions. It was a holy sanctuary of my worship being preserved and as the oldest surviving people continuously inhabiting a particular location it is easy to see it is the origin of my aspect as Mary.
As Mari of Basque I was celebrated as a Trinity of Earth, Sky and Sea. I lived in a cave that reached deep down into Mother Earth. As a beautiful woman I moved from one mountain to another on the back of a fire-breathing dragon in a brilliance that was seen as the sun. The sea I created to hold the land and nurture the people as milk nurtures the child.
The Basque people held in high esteem home and tribe and gave blessings to me for this abundance. Their clans lived in peace and help one another to prosper in life through communal crops and work. Even in death they were buried in tombs that reflect the lineage of the family clan. To this day it is still of great importance to the people of Basque their home and the lineage of their clan is posted by name on the doorways of their homes.
Through the centuries there were many Gods created by my people of Basque to be my consort, son or sibling. Gods that my people saw fit to do the deeds of survival I was to esteem to do. Mari, Mother to call upon when one had need; Mari one to appease that life would be fruitful and Mari Mother of Gods. Far and wide the name Mari spread to the people, my name changing and merging with the different cultures and languages. The people of the lands outside the paradise of Basque readily embraced me as they faced enslavement and constant battle from one power-hungry king after another. The rape and pillage of my land became the history scribed for thousands of years. It is here the lesson of my evolvement continues.
In what is now considered the ancient Holy Lands, the city of Jerusalem and the country of Israel, I was worship as a part of Pagan life. It was a city long before the Jews fled their enslavement from Egypt and King David was only one of many Kings to fight for and rule Jerusalem. It is in the lineage of King David that Christianity of today begins and in that same story my people held tightly to their Goddess.
With the Jews came God Yahweh. Yahweh was held as the one true God and to worship the old ways was to deny Yahweh. Once again my people could only hold me in their hearts and worship me in the privacy of home and tribe. And live I did for within the Jewish people themselves were the classes of the haves and have-nots. The noble men held tight to the beliefs of and teachings of Yahweh and only married and mingled among themselves. The lower class Jews became entwined with the Pagans of the land in their daily life of survival. Families merged as did their beliefs. There would also come a new king at this time, Solomon son of King David of the Jews.
King Solomon embraced the Devine Feminine and as King took liberty to appease the people. A great temple was built, the First Temple of Jerusalem. While this temple was built to honor the God Yahweh, there was the presence of Goddess within its walls. Solomon himself claimed 700 wives and 300 concubines, mostly Priestess of the Temple. They were of the common people, parents who dedicated their daughters to the teaching and work of the Temple. They were my Priestesses for long had it been Pagan tradition for the men of high position to lay with the Virgins of the Temple. A Temple Virgin meaning “She of Sacredness of the Goddess” not one absence of sexual intercourse.
Ah but the peace was not to last as many more conquest would claim the Holy Lands and the Great Temple of Solomon would fall. Again I would survive the suppression of one King after another as my people named their many daughters Mary in my reflection. It would be so for hundreds of years until the great Empire of Rome would rule the Holy Lands. The Empire of Rome was unstoppable. What are now 30 countries was then the Empire of Rome. Jerusalem would be no different. Under the Romans the Jews were allowed their worship of Yahweh and a second Temple of Jerusalem was built. Again the line between the nobles and the peasants clearly defined and the Temple it’s self a pivotal point of controlling both. The Priest still preached of Yahweh as they lined their pockets and the pockets of Rome through the heavy taxation of my people.
It was during this time, I Mari; Mother of God was dedicated to the Temple of Jerusalem at 3 years of age. I was to be a Temple Priestess of high esteem as my Mother’s blood line traced back to King David, King of the Jews who originally united the 12 original Tribes of Israel. I was there and it is my truth that will be told now. As I grew into a woman and upheld my role within the Temple walls I can tell you things were not as the Christians would tell it today. Yes we were still the Sacred Virgins of the old religion but we were used by the biddings of whatever favored noble man held King Herod or the Priests favor of the moment. While we tried to hold on to what was sacred as taught to us by our mothers, we still had to survive. Once of age I too was assigned marriage.
The Christian religion tells of my immaculate conception, other myths tell of my love of a young Roman solider posted at the Temple and then there is my use in service as a Temple Virgin. It matters not for I was with child and my son was my blood, blood of the One Great Mother from which we all are born. As corrupt as the Temple was it was also a great time of seeking the religion of old by the people to be saved from the iron clutch that held us all. The old ways that granted the people a Goddess or God of love and compassion. This voice came from a man they called John the Baptist.
His preaching’s gave the people hope to recognize their own divine nature and perceive their place in the world. No longer did they need the intercession of a priest to connect them with their Spiritual inheritance. He preached the old ways, he preached of me even if he called me God not Goddess.
My son Jesus stood at my side along with all the people who came that day. One at a time they went into the water to be cleansed of suppression and be filled with hope. It was that day Jesus my son dedicated to preaching this hope. While he had always embraced my teaching of the old ways this was the inspiration of the new. It was hope restored and hope that Divine would deliver us all.
It was also at this time Jesus met and wed Mary Magdalene, a dedicated Temple Priestess and a Priestess of the old ways. What an entourage we were as we travel across the land bidding our people rise in faith that we could be delivered in peace by the Goddess and God of our lands. How quickly the word spread of Jesus and why would not word spread of Jesus oppose to the Priestess of Goddess that accompanied him. To speak of a loving God was not so far removed from Yahweh but to speak of Goddess in public would never be tolerated by the Romans.
Needless to say the Romans were still not pleased as preaching by the river bed did nothing to contribute to the taxes that were collected by the Temple when my people came to worship. A threat, any threat was dealt with harshly by the Roman guard as is the testament of the 20 thousand Jews crucified. How easily it was left out of Christianity the truly gruesomeness of the crucifixion they celebrate. That a man or woman would be stripped naked in humiliation and nailed to a cross to die then left for the dogs to eat was a punishment a Roman citizen was spared. It was only the common people who were treated as the unworthy. It was a dark time for my beloved people and they did what they had to do to survive.
It came the time of Celebration of Passover and my beloved son decided to travel to Jerusalem for the celebration. I knew what was to be, the prophecy of renewal had long been taught to me and the story flashed before my dreams and vision again and again as we all prepared to travel with Jesus. On our arrival it was as I knew, the Temple covered in the darkness of greed as the money changers charged all who entered taxes in the interest of Rome’s pocket-book. It was unbearable for us all but it was Jesus who cried out in pain and rejection. Just as quickly he was arrested and taken away.
Quickly I look for Judas, for in my dreams and visions I too saw his betrayal of Jesus. Judas wanted Jesus to raise the people in arms to revolt against the Romans and reclaim our land and our Temple through war. When Jesus rejected his idea Judas went in secret to warn the Priest of the Temple who in turn warned the Romans. Judas painted Jesus as a self-proclaimed King of the Jews ready to lead the people in a revolt. By his blood line to King David the Romans took the threat seriously.
My dreams and vision was to be forefilled and my beautiful son crucified the next day. I gathered with Mary Magdalene at his feet and bathe him in potions to ease his suffering and worked Ritual of old to light his passing. I watched my son die on the cross and return to the Holy Essence from which he was born. Christianity will tell you Jesus rose from the cross and I will tell you this is true but not as a man of flesh but as spirit. Christianity will tell you he is the son of God, this I will tell you is true as we are all of God. We are all of God who is of Goddess, we are all of one and the divine is within us even as mortal. Goddess is not separate and the aspect you seek in your worship of me is an aspect of you.
The next day I along with my family, Mary Magdalena and my grandchildren from my beloved son were set a sail in boats upon the Mediterranean Sea to choose our destiny. Banned from Israel we sailed for Basque and the paradise of Mother. There had been enough suffering and we all long to be held in the arms of the paradise of our roots.
Israel would again face hundreds of years of unrest at the hands of many different rulers before it fell once again under Roman command. While under the command of the new Roman king, in a tax motivated reason to reunite the people, Christianity was legalized. After all Rome was desperate as it Empire stood upon the edge of collapse and without a united people there was not the tax to support Rome. After hundreds of years of persecution by the Romans and now under the direction of the Romans, Christianity was merged with the old religion till the myths of both became one and Catholicism was born. And I Mari remain still. Suppress by those who do not know the truth and worshipped by those that do.
Sacred Virgins of my Temple, Mother and Wife, do what you must do to survive but do not let my light extinguish within. There will always be a story of a power that seeks to suppress you but remember my beginning as Mari of Basque and let the richness of home and tribe be your measure of success and happiness. As Mary Mother of God let endurance be your strength and courage.
Do not hate Christianity as Christianity once knew the pain of suppression as we as pagans are suppressed today. Look for me within the Temples built to my son and embrace the truth of me Goddess Mary. Know my truth and keep that truth alive.
Know that endurance and patience empower you along with the wisdom to know when to fight and when to hold silence. I have been with you from the beginning and I will be with you at the end of your paths spiral. The moments in between are to be cherished, the tears along with the laughter, the joy along with the sorrow for truly life is to be experienced in all its emotions for one to truly honor home and tribe.