The Good in Good Friday

The tomb is one of the most powerful archetypes in the Easter imagination. This year I have found it extra-ordinarily  ‘fit for purpose’  for my contemplation in this holy week . The very nature of tombs implies death, depth and void. The structure of tombs, often naturally formed caves cutting  into the earth create a threshold space in me.   And there – the tomb symbol opens like a portal to the state of mind where I feel renewed by an intuitive sense  of death that is a birth, of how darkness can be  radiant, and how emptiness can be full of presence.

Which brings me to the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. This week I have read and reread the  tightly described but highly dramatic journey of the soul passing through  four inner ‘climates’. In each climate there is an encounter with powerful energies  that one way or another intend to subvert the journey and  cut the soul off from the source of life.  And  in each encounter is a transforming dialogue.

To burn Mary Magdalene’s  soul map into my mind I re phrased the journey as the passage through four ‘shadow-lands’ – four countries each with their prevailing culture.  It is I fully admit only a broad brush poetic impression  - but it reminds me of why Good Friday is said to be ‘good’ and Easter morning is a joyful celebration of freedom.  And a call to journey.   

Watching and waiting in the dark

Miriam says what she sees

and tells those who want to hear

of her Beloveds descent  

through the shadow-lands.


‘I see souls stumbling on

a zigzag path cutting this way and that

through the first country of Darkness

where the landscape is a no-where place

and voices from the void keep whispering.  

But see, my Beloved walks there

and the emptiness is full of presence.   

I see souls gaining entry through the gates

to the second country, the land of Craving.

The air is thick with demands and complaint,

every breeze is hot with desire to possess.


But see,  my Beloved recognises fear

and claims  the freedom to simply walk by.


I see souls crossing into the third shadow-land,

the country of Ignorance and culture of refusing to know.

Strident voices repeat themselves ‘I never knew ’

the softer face of ignorance  mumbles  ‘I prefer not to’.


But see,  my Beloved stops to ask wilful ignorance

Do you know who you are? Do you remember?


Then I see souls barely moving through a dense climate

in the most hostile land of all, occupied by violent Wrath.

I see dominant powers without limit, that cannot be satisfied;

the force of lethal jealousy and the havoc of addicted bodies.

I see fools dressed up as sages, blind drunk or power mad.

But see here, in this most gripped place of all  

Here I see my Beloved rising by

raising, holding, returning all powers

all knowing, desiring and remembering

returning all to the Good.’