According the legends that abound in Southern France, Mary Magdalene with Mary Salome and Mary Jacobe, arrived in the coastal town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in the Camargue, which takes its name from the event. It seems they arrived by boat having escaped the persecution in Israel following the Roman invasion. With them came a dark-skinned girl named Sarah.
Volumes have been written about Mary Magdalene and even today her very name arouses fascination. Did she really marry Jesus and bear his child? Among the somewhat confused speculation, the dark-skinned Sarah is sometimes named as the offspring of Christ himself, while at other times she is merely portrayed as an Egyptian servant.
Today, Mary Magdalene is revered in France more it seems, than Mary, mother of Jesus, while the name of Sarah, known as Sara la Kali, is the patron saint of the Gypsies and her image is carried into the sea in a ceremony once a year on May 25th.
According to the legend, Mary Magdalene ended her life in a cave in Sainte Baume, a semi-recluse, wild and naked.
Excavations carried out in 1448 under King René d’Anjou revealed the bodies of two women and several human heads in the form of a cross. With them was a marble stone dubbed the Saints’ pillow. The bodies were said to be those of the two Marys, and the remains were placed in reliquaries in a chapel over the main altar of the church built on the site while a statue of Sarah resides in the crypt.
There is a suggestion that the women who arrived in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer filled a place in the souls of men and women of that region which resonated with the past. A Celtic threefold water goddess was venerated at a holy spring known as Oppidum Priscum Ra. Later, under the Romans, a temple dedicated to Mithras was raised on the same site. Apparently, in the ninth century, the church superseded the temple and later became a place sacred to the Gypsies.
Sarah is venerated as the Black Madonna, or the Black Isis and it is said that the Gypsies see her as the Indian goddess, Kali.
Are these the women who followed Christ? Are their lives consistent with those of the early disciples, or did something else take place in France?
There are answers to these questions. Read my novel, Nimrod Twice Born for the full story.
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