What do the Aquarian Age and the Virgin Mary Have in Common?
What do Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the Aquarian age have in common? More than you might think. Mary’s story has some surprises in it.
No matter your religious tradition, you’ve probably heard of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Most of us have some sort of picture of Mary, whether from art or history or our own traditions.
The normal picture folks tend to have of Mary is summed up in the traditional hymn title, “Gentle Mary, Meek and Mild.” If this is your picture of Mary, you are not alone. However, it’s only a very small part of the picture.
Let’s take a closer look at the Mary that emerges from the story itself.
Gentle Mary, Meek and Mild?
The story begins when God sends an angel or messenger (Gabriel) to Mary, a young woman from a small town in Israel, Nazareth, who was engaged to a man named Joseph. The angel tells her she’s going to have a baby, and that the baby will be the anointed one (the meaning of Messiah in Hebrew) — the one for whom the Jews had been waiting for hundreds of years.
Often, people have interpreted Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel’s invitation as unquestioning obedience and humility. Hence the “Gentle Mary, Meek and Mild” picture.
Yet if you listen closely to the text itself, the picture of Mary that emerges is very different from that portrayed in art, music, and culture. Far from being “meek and mild,” Mary was actually a prophet. More than that, her message was radical.
First, she questions the angel: “How can this be, since I’m a virgin?” Few would dare to question an angel. This is the first indication that she is not the meek, submissive person often portrayed.
Even better, Gabriel answered her, and didn’t leave until she had spoken her words of acceptance. What most people tend to overlook is the courage it would have taken to say those words.
To many of us, reading or hearing the story of Mary is like reading or hearing a story which we already know the ending to. We know that Joseph is not going to abandon her, and that she is not going to be killed.
You see, the penalty for an engaged young woman becoming pregnant by a third party was death. We don’t take that on board because we know everything is “going to be all right.” Yet she didn’t know that. When Mary says yes, it is an act of supreme courage.
But this story doesn’t end there either.
The Surprising Mary
Mary visits her aunt, Elizabeth, who, it turns out, is also bearing a miraculous child. When Elizabeth sees her, she is “filled with the Holy Spirit” — a phrase used of prophets in the Hebrew tradition — and speaks a blessing to Mary.
Mary’s response is the well-known Magnificat. You may have heard various musical renditions of this response, coming from different centuries and traditions. Often people listen just for the beauty of the music, and/or listen through the filter of seeing Mary as meek and mild.
Every time I preach about Mary and her song, people are always surprised. They hadn’t a clue. So what is it about Mary that’s so surprising? What’s the part of the story that you yourself may have missed? Hint: look at the actual content of the song.
Have you ever actually read her words? It’s not just a beautiful, submissive song. No! Instead, she’s talking about reversing the way things are: the poor will become rich; the rich will become poor, those in high places will be brought low and the those who are low will be raised up. This is the new world that her son Jesus will bring in to being. She foreshadows Jesus’ actual message.
What struck me about her story this year was how much her message — and her very being — are illustrations of what’s happening in this larger shift into Aquarius. I’ve written a lot about the archetype of Pluto in Capricorn – the shift from top-down, big gov’t, big corporations and such – and the unraveling that is taking place as those old structures crumble.
A reversal is happening on a grand scale right now. Pluto’s shift into Aquarius will help move us even deeper into the Aquarian age, with its focus on shared power structures, collaborative organizations and more.
Mary and the Aquarian Age
What’s more, Mary is an example. She was a woman who wasn’t afraid to ask questions of an angel. She also wasn’t afraid to speak a radical message in uncertain times (her story takes place when the Jews were being ruled by the Romans).
Mary’s example also resonates with the Aquarian age shift. Part of this shift is moving the planet out of the old patriarchal structures and toxic masculinity and femininity into a new healthy balance between masculine and feminine.
The feminine has been suppressed, oppressed and more. In some ways there has been an ongoing war against women, particularly against strong women. What’s more, that war has gone on for so long that there is a huge need for healing of the feminine in all of us, whatever your gender. Because of that, we need more strong female role models.
Perhaps we can claim the Mary of the gospel of Luke: the one who wasn’t afraid to question an angel; the one who had the courage to say yes to a new order and a new way of being; the one who announced to the world that her son would upend the status quo and reverse the old top-down structures.
Whatever your tradition, this Mary has much to offer us as we move into a new age ourselves. May her example help you embrace a stronger and more healthy feminine and sacred feminine.