As with everything in life, the point of view is critical. Four people standing on the four corners of an intersection will not see the same thing when viewing a car wreck that happens with in that intersection. Something that is clear to one person on one corner will be obscured to the person on the opposite corner.
The same is true of those who are viewing events from a mystical perspective. When Pope Gregory declared that Mary Magdalene was also the Mary (a prostitute) that wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair, I do not believe he was purposely trying to degrade womanhood as a whole.
OK, everyone take a breath!!!! Let’s look at the reasons why Pope Gregory would assume such things.
In the mystical realm, there are dual Spiritual Powers: Grace & Passion.
Bread, rain, the cup or grail, light, and lightning symbolically represent the Power of Grace. The snake or serpent, the sword, the phallus, and the wine symbolically represent the Power of Passion.
It is also important to note that Grace is like a down escalator and always falls down, while Passion is like an up escalator and always moves upwards.
From Pope Gregory’s viewpoint, the spiritual system worked in an up > down method. First Passion rose up, once the ego was burnt out of the soul, Grace would fall and fill the space with light and Peace. This is spiritually beneficial for men or animus-based personalities.
Men who experience Passion first, followed by Grace are penitent. Joseph of Arimathea is the prime example.
And likewise Joseph also stepped out and said to them: Why are you angry against me because I begged the body of Jesus? Behold, I have put him in my new tomb, wrapping in clean linen; and I have rolled a stone to the door of the tomb. And you have acted not well against the just man, because you have not repented of crucifying him, but also have pierced him with a spear.
—Gospel of Nicodemus. Translated by Alexander Walker.
It was not until today and the psychological understandings that Carl Jung forged that we now realize that there is a difference between the processes of men who are for the most part animus-based personalities and the processes of women who are for the most part are anima-based personalities.
The creative or anima-based personality needs to traverse the Power of Grace first, then Passion in order to have a beneficial spiritual experience. When the Dual Powers occur Passion first, followed by Grace in a woman or creative personality type they become crazed or as the Bible tells us possessed by seven demons. The Hindu tradition calls this Kundalini Overload. This condition is known throughout all civilizations and is characterized by the Goddesses of Wrath – Kali, Sekhmet, Pele, and Medusa.
Why would Pope Gregory have deemed Mary Magdalene to be a penitent? Because she had experienced Passion first, followed by Grace. Remember all men who experience this progression are penitents.
Why was she a prostitute? Well, because in the next line a “Mary” was performing a ritual that no decent and upstanding women would perform. Pope Gregory assumed that that must be the reason she was penitent. There is no other explanation in the Bible as to why Mary Magdalene was filled with demons.
Pope Gregory did not take into account that Mary Magdalene was a woman or an anima-based personality. The actual experience of an anima-based personality when Grace cools their enflamed soul is an attitude of extreme gratitude and joy, not penitence. This is why Mary became a follower of Jesus after he removed the demons.