Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Learning to Honour Their Body and Blood : pilgrims on the Path of Mary Magdalene

Anna Fedele


This article describes the beliefs and some of the ritual practices of a group of female pilgrims visiting places in France and Catalonia that they associate with the figure of Mary Magdalene. It pays particular attention to the pilgrim’s process of learning ways to relate to her own body and to her menstrual cycle. Drawing elements from neo-paganism these women reinterpret the meaning of Christian symbols and places. They consider Mary Magdalene both as a forerunner of feminism and as a model for independent women. Performing a ritual of offering menstrual blood to the earth, they establish an intimate relationship with what they identify as the “Mother Earth”. Theories used to justify the beliefs in the sacrality of menstrual blood are largely derived from anthropological texts.

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