Mary Magdalene is an important saint in the Catholic religion and her feast day is the 22nd of July. Growing up as a Protestant in rural Australia I knew very little about saints and their symbols. I had learned something of heraldry and royal symbols from my family, and in this research learned that saints’ symbols are something like heraldry. The symbol for Mary Magdalene in religious art, as most people know it, is her enigmatic jar, which identifies her as the woman who anointed Jesus head and feet with perfumed oil and her tears in the Bible.
“36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. 37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.” Luke 7 King James Bible
In Luke 8, Mary Magdalene is identified as one of Jesus’ female followers who supports his ministry from her own financial means.
1 And it came to pass afterwards he travelled through the cities and towns, preaching and evangelizing the kingdom of God: and the twelve with him: et factum est deinceps et ipse iter faciebat per civitatem et castellum praedicans et evangelizans regnum Dei et duodecim cum illo
2 And certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary who is called Magdalen, out of whom seven devils were gone forth, et mulieres aliquae quae erant curatae ab spiritibus malignis et infirmitatibus Maria quae vocatur Magdalene de qua daemonia septem exierant
3 And Joanna the wife of Chusa, Herod's steward, and Susanna and many others who ministered unto him of their substance. et Iohanna uxor Chuza procuratoris Herodis et Susanna et aliae multae quae ministrabant eis de facultatibus suis. Latin Vulgate Bible
Magdalene jars decorating the dome of Ignatius Church, overlooking Haight Ashbury San Francisco.
The fleur de lis is another symbol for Mary Magdalene, but a lily alone doesn’t signify Mary Magdalene. There are other classical symbols for Mary Magdalene, such as towers, roses, harps, unicorns, jars, grapes, doves, trees, shells, and apples. When I see several symbols together I see Mary Magdalene or a descendant.
Also when I look into the life story of the artist, such as if they were freemason or protestant etc. Some scholars say that Mary Magdalene was the true prophesied Messiah who brought Christianity to the world and birthed a lineage of blood royal families of Europe.
But her jar is the main symbol, when the jar is there you know it has something to do with Mary Magdalene.
(Draft chapter except from upcoming book) More on http://www.facebook.com/codedhistory