by Elizabeth Cunningham
The Maeve Chronicles

My name is Maeve. It rhymes with brave, cave, wave. (I am not going to go through all the rhyming possibilities; some are not as flattering.) I am not going to tell you much about my life. Eliz (as I call her) has already written it down in some detail in The Maeve Chronicles.

Eliz refers to me as her imaginary friend. My stories are fiction, but many people want to believe they are true. Lots of people have asked Eliz if she channels me. She always says no. It is more like a partnership, a collaboration. Eliz has told many people the story of our meeting. I have never told it from my point of view. Well, there are certain mysteries I can’t reveal. I will just give you the broad strokes as you may have heard them from Eliz.

I first met her as a line drawing (a scribble really). But my bodacious nature and lush body were apparent even then. In this sketch I was sitting naked in the kitchen drinking a cup of coffee. (It has always been very hard for me to stay clothed; check out the covers of The Maeve Chronicles.) Eliz had turned to drawing because she thought she had run out of words after writing The Return of the Goddess. But I hadn’t run out of words. I was just getting started. Soon she had to include speech balloons in every sketch. I told her my name was Madge. My hair color was fiery neon orange (her medium was magic marker or Madge-ick marker). I lived in the same time as she did then (the late 20th century). I was a painter. I invented the whole-body-no-holds-barred school of art. I supported my art by working as a prostitute. I had my own peculiar approach to theology, too. Eliz was enchanted and invited me to be a character in her next novel. One of her ideas was that I should be a retired prostitute living in a small town– Hold it right there, honey, I said. I am not ready to be a retired anything. You make me a book of cartoons first, then we’ll talk.

And so Eliz worked on The Book of Madge all during the first Gulf War. It became our witness for peace. I had a talking orifice that became a kind of oracle. When I had something to say to George the First, I squatted and said: Read my lips! Perhaps this book of cartoons will one day be available in a limited edition.

When she completed the book, she found herself talking about Mary Magdalen one warm moonlit night in February. It struck her forcibly that Madge and Magdalen shared many of the same letters. Since I am a fiery redhead, the great what if (that begins all stories) dawned on her: What if Mary Magdalen was a Celt? Then she asked me: Would you be in that book? Would you be in a book about the Celtic Mary Magdalen. I smiled into that warm moonlit darkness, and said, YES! And the rest is history, mine. Four volumes of it, a work that took Eliz and I twenty years to complete. She misses me now that it’s done. (She wrote a rather touching poem about that.)

But lo, I am always with her, as I am or will be with you, when I become your real imaginary friend.

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Maeve (aka Mary Magdalen) on the Papyrus Scrap – Elizabeth Cunningham | Author Poet Counselor June 5, 2020 - 12:42 am

[…] Maeve has been impatiently waiting for interview requests from The New York Times and other major media since The Times published that article about of a scrap of papyrus. You know the business-card size scrap in which Jesus makes a reference to (feel the shaking of the church’s one foundation) “my wife.” The press has been slow on the uptake, so Maeve has deigned to grant an exclusive interview at this blogsite.   Interviewer: So Maeve Rhuad (aka Mary Magdalen) I suppose that Jesus might have had a wife comes as no news to you.  Do you feel a little insulted by the furor over a scrap of 2nd century papyrus when you have been trying to state the obvious for over two thousand years? Maeve: Maybe bemused rather than insulted. People do tend to get more excited over ancient bits of papyrus than recently published novels—unless they are by Dan Brown. That the article made reference only to Dan Brown omitting many other (sorry Dan and thanks for publicity) more accomplished novelists is the insulting part.  Interviewer:  Why do you suppose the existence of Jesus’s wife (which is to say your existence) has been so suppressed all these centuries? What’s the big deal about a Jewish rabbi having a wife? Maeve: Many people have speculated about my existence and there have been various heretical traditions about Jesus’s marriage among such sects as the Cathars. But if you want to know the real dirt, it’s all in The Maeve Chronicles. Readers will recall that I got off to a bad start with Peter. When I met him, I was running a holy whorehouse, and his wife came to us to …let’s just say resolve fertility issues. Even so, Peter and I had our rare good moments. But things fell apart when he laid siege to Temple Magdalen to try to take my posthumous daughter by Jesus. We finally cut a deal: I would keep my baby and disappear from the story. I got off to a bad start with Paul of Tarsus, too, and with Jesus’s brother James. There was one moment in my misadventures when I had those three church fathers, so to speak, tied up and held at knife point. I could have nipped church’s long, bloody history in the bud, but all I wanted was information about my daughter—whom they had kidnapped at the age of twelve! So the deal is off, as far as my disappearing from the story is concerned. By the way, in case you’re wondering, Sarah gave her kidnappers the slip, stowed away on a ship and later became a pirate.   Interviewer:  The scrap of papyrus also refers to a female disciple. Many people assume she is the same woman as one he calls wife. Would you care to comment? Maeve: Yes, I would, on my own behalf and on behalf of my friend Mary of Bethany who really was a disciple and who fought for the right of women to be not only disciples but leaders in the ecclesia. As for me, I am simply not disciple material. Jesus knew that, and that is why he finally broke down and proposed marriage to me. He was overwhelmed by his following. He needed someone who loved him passionately but was willing to tell him off—which I did from an early age and continued to do to the point of throwing figs at him in the Temple of Jerusalem after he blasted the fig tree (which I restored to life, by the way).  I never converted to Judaism or Christianity—though I did become a whore-priestess of Isis when I encountered that goddess during my sojourn as a slave in Rome.   Interviewer: In addition to controversy over whether or not you were married to Jesus, there has always been speculation about whether you were a whore, for which there is no scriptural evidence. Many people now insist that casting you as a whore is a patriarchal defamation of your character. Would you care to set the record straight? Maeve: Far be it from me to defend the patriarchy, but you see they cast me as a penitent whore, and that I never was and never will be. But yes indeed I was a whore, and so would you be if you were a young woman (or man) captured by a Roman slaver and sold on the block, which is what happened to me. When I finally won my freedom (an exciting tale included in The MaeveChronicles) I continued to ply my trade—but on my own sovereign terms at Temple Magdalen—the holy whorehouse I mentioned earlier. My biggest hesitation in marrying Jesus was the prospect of leaving Temple Magdalen and going on the road with The Twelve (though it was usually a lot more than that). Interviewer: One last question. Can you tell us briefly what it was like being married to Jesus? Maeve: If you really want to know, read the last part of The Passion of Mary Magdalen. In brief? It was no bed of roses. Jesus is supposed to have said “the son of man has nowhere to lay his head.” Well, he had my breasts, thank you very much! And I had only his less sumptuous chest. We did not have a typical married life. We never had a home together. We always had a lot of other people around us. Our child was born after he died and rose and disappeared (though lo he is always with me). We had a major rift towards the end of our marriage (see blasted fig tree) but we made it up when he saved me from being stoned as an adulteress. What was it like being married to Jesus? Blissful, agonizing, sweet, short.  Brief yet momentous. A mustard seed, a hazelnut, a scrap of papyrus. Elizabeth CunninghamJesus's wifeMary Magdalenpapyrus scrapThe Maeve Chronicles 3 comments 0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinTumblrEmail […]


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