How do you know what Mary Magdalene looked like?

mary magdalene, legacy, julie de vere hunt

Well I don’t – no one does! All we have to go on is art, which was heavily influenced by cultural context and what was fashionable at the time.. Only Mother Mary has been depicted more in art than Mary Magdalene over the last two millennia.  

The covers of ‘Apostle to Mary Magdalene’ and ‘Mary Magdalene’s Legacy’ were both sourced by designer Ruth Sutherland from the following paintings:-

mary magdalene, Jan van Scorel
Jan Van Scorel (1495-1562)
mary magdalene, legacy, julie de vere hunt
Frederick Sandys c1859


Pope Gregory’s homily in 591 placing emphasis on Mary Magdalene as a repentant sinner whose sins were distinctly sexual, had a profound influence on the art which was produced for the next 1500 years. She would often be portrayed as a weak and tearful woman, in varying degrees of undress.

Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene in the Cave, Jules Joseph Lefebrve 1876


In a world where only the most educated could read the Bible, art was a crucial tool for the Church. It would not be until 1969 the Catholic Church retracted this statement, but the damage had been done – Mary Magdalene had permeated our consciousness as the fallen woman, whose path to salvation was only achieved through years of repentance living as a recluse. 

Sadly, this served the Catholic Church in their patriarchal oppression of women. No male saint has ever been treated this way!

Fortunately, artists were creative and ‘hid’ characters in their art – only ‘those who had eyes to see’ would perceive the symbolism.

Mary Magdalene, Leonardo da Vinci
The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci


Take the famous painting of ‘The Last Supper’ by Leonardo da Vinci. The apostles are identified by name from a manuscript, The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, found in the 19th century. The twelve apostles are depicted in groups of three, Yeshua is sat in the middle. From left to right,

Bartholomew, James son of Alpheus, and Andrew; Judas (in green & blue), Peter & John (?); Thomas, James the Greater & Philip; Matthew, Jude Thaddeus & Simon the Zealot.

Surely, John is a woman we are looking at? The tiny, graceful hands, the pretty elfin features, the distinctly female bosom and the gold necklace. This person is also wearing garments that mark her out as special. They are the mirror image of Yeshua’s; one wears a blue robe and a red cloak, the other wears a red robe and a blue cloak in identical style.

My cellular memory tells me this is Mary Magdalene!  In ‘Mary Magdalene’s Legacy’, John was her first pseudonym – she wrote the Gospel of John, and the Secret Gospel of John was her first transmission at the Lake Mareotis community. 

Da Vinci was alleged to be Grand Master of the Priory of Sion, an ancient secret order set up to protect the Merovingian kings in France, who in turn claim to have heritage from Mary Magdalene…

In June 2019, I was attending a bio-energetic meditation retreat in Ireland and visited the Knock shrine on our way to the airport. 

Knock, Mother Mary statue

In August 1879, Our Lady appeared at the gable of the church with St Joseph and St John the Evangelist. A Lamb stood upon a plain altar. Some saw angels hovering above the Lamb. The witnesses prayed for over two hours in the pouring rain, although the gable was dry to the touch. 

After reading notes by the witnesses, these three figures were carved by Venetian sculptor Professor Lorenzo Ferri in 1960 to commemorate the miracle.

My friends and I sat in the front pew immediately before them and meditated. Immediately my eyes started to flicker and I ‘saw’ a large pink heart. My friend Suzanne saw the same.. I immediately thought of ‘The Way of the Heart’ – it is always pink to me – Mary Magdalene!

So I believe the figure to the right of Mother Mary is not John, it’s a woman, Mary Magdalene. The book in her left hand represents the gnostic gospels. Her right hand is performing a mudra, which she would have learnt about in the Mystery school in Alexandria. A mudra is a hand gesture that channels your body’s energy flow. She is practising the  Prana mudra; prana is the vital life force within all living things – she is awakening both her personal prana and the prana around her.

My cellular memory tells me the figure to the left of Mother Mary is Joseph of Arimathea, her half-brother, not her husband Joseph. In ‘Mary Magdalene’s Legacy’, it is Joseph of Arimathea who is entrusted with the care of Yeshua’s mother and Mary Magdalene, the mother of his child. He arranged for their escape from Judea to Alexandria.

I wonder where else she is hiding? 

Why do I call Jesus Yeshua and Mary Mother Mary in ‘Apostle to Mary Magdalene’ and ‘Mary Magdalene’s Legacy’?

Yeshua, Mary Magdalene, Julie De Vere Hunt

Well the name ‘Jesus’ did not exist at this time, as it was derived from the Greek word IESOUS. The letter ‘J’ was not added to the English alphabet until the 14th century.

Yeshua is a shortened version of the name ‘Yehoshua’ or ‘Joshua’ and is the Hebrew word for ‘salvation’.

 Around the time of his birth, the names ‘Yeshu’ and ‘Yeshua’ were not uncommon. Aramaic was used in everyday language, but Hebrew remained the holy language . They are as similar to one another as Italian is to Spanish – both used the same alphabet.

Yeshua was a direct descendant of King David through both his mother Mary’s and father Joseph’s lineage. When Yeshua read from the scroll of Isaiah in the synagogue he read in Hebrew, not Greek or Aramaic. 

It doesn’t matter what you call him, he will answer to both, but I prefer to call him Yeshua as that it was he was called in his lifetime.

Mother Mary and Yeshua, Isle of Barra, Outer Hebrides, Scotland
Mother Mary and Yeshua, Isle of Barra, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

Which brings me on to his mother Mary, called Mother Mary, the Virgin Mary or Our Lady. I refer to her as Mother Mary in my books. I took this photo earlier this year when we were touring the Hebrides in our campervan. I love it. 

Many of the founders of the world’s religions, Yeshua or Krishna for example, are said to have been born of a virgin birth, i.e, their mother and father did not physically mate. In Luke 1:26-39 the angel Gabriel was sent by God to Nazareth to bring news to a virgin named Mary. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus (Yeshua). He will be great and will be called the son of the most High..”

Many people struggle with this concept (I am sure Joseph had some questions..). But virgin births occur all the time in nature. Insects, rodents, reptiles, plants, trees..

A female bee can give birth a male bee without mating with a male bee. However, if she wants to make a female bee, she must mate with a male. So the male bee needs only a mother, but the female bee needs both father and mother.

The scientific term is parthenogenesis, a natural form of asexual reproduction in which growth and development of embryos occurs without fertilization.  Or immaculate conception, as the mother does not have to be a virgin.

Mother Mary was a virgin when she conceived Yeshua, but she went on to have other children (the Gospel of Mark (6:3) and the Gospel of Matthew (13:55-56) mention James, Joseph, Jude and Simon as brothers of Jesus, the son of Mary).

The Church refers to her as the Virgin Mary or Our Lady. 

The Church does not accept that Yeshua had a relationship with Mary Magdalene, or fathered a child.

So the two principal figures of the Church are a virgin and a celibate unmarried male. Sex has been removed from the equation. 

Virginity and chastity were considered by the Church the most desired state. Sex was frowned upon, even within marriage!

The Egyptians believed it was through sexual energy that divinity and even immortality could be reached. 

I will return to this under ‘Egyptian Mystery Schools’ which I believe both Mary Magdalene and Yeshua attended..

Angel Reading at Watkins Bookshop, Covent Garden

Having written two books in 16 months, I am now a travelling saleswoman, phoning and visiting independent bookshops to see if they will stock my books. Publishers do not have time to do this, and there is not much point writing books if no one reads them… 

Watkins Books in Cecil Court, Central London is J D Rowling’s favourite bookshop.

It is now also one of mine. 

Wendy Erlick has written a book called “The gift of an Angel: A Guide to Integrating Spirituality into everyday Life” which chronicles her life journey and how she met her own angel (we all have our own personal one) – a surprisingly down to earth read.

Wendy sits in the window of Watkins on Tuesdays and gives angel readings. After reading  her book two years ago, I decided to go and see her to see what she had to say. She said a few generalized things which could apply to anyone (you will shine your star..) but at the end she did say I would be a great writer and she would like to come to my book signing. 

So when I finished my first book, ‘Apostle to Mary Magdalene’, I emailed her and reminded her what she said and asked her to endorse my book! Bless her she did.

I went to see her again last month for an update and to see if she could introduce me to the buyer at Watkins (gosh I sound pushy!). I showed her my second book ‘Mary Magdalene’s Legacy’ and she said “You should go and talk to Mike downstairs – they will probably stock it”. I asked her if I could mention her name and she replied “You can if you wish but I don’t think you need to”.

We had a little chat about poor sales on Amazon and she offered me her list of UK New Age shops. She then paused to listen to her angel and wrote down the following:

“Do not be anxious  Allow the soul of the book to fly where it needs to fly  Julie it serves you to come for the position of serving. The purpose of your book is to assist people to reconnect with the Divine and to be held by the Divine Mother.                                                                                      They need to be of a vibration to receive you. You are served by not taking anything personally                                                         Draw back. Most fortunate because you are resourced! Now all that is needed is a concrete practical plan                                                             Know that you have done well. Understand you are blessed!”

I feel very blessed indeed….

Yesterday, The Henge Shop in Avebury ordered 12 of my books and have asked me to do a book signing on December 15.

I know one person (and her angel) I will be inviting…

Why Mary Magdalene?

mary magdalene, julie de vere hunt

The two questions I am asked most frequently are:

  1. “Are you religious?”  and
  2. “Why Mary Magdalene?”

I was a church going Christian for several years, I even helped run the Alpha course in our local town. Then I began to feel constrained by the ‘script’, and reincarnation was not part of the ‘dogma’. I met Simon, who had spent +20 years in a Christian monastery, who told me about a spiritual practice which was stronger than anything he had come across (well he didn’t get out much..) . Simon told me there was a 5 day retreat in Dorset in November 2004 and suggested I went. When I met the leader, Ratu Bagus, I literally saw God in his face – I had never seen such unconditional love. He taught bioenergetic meditation, which seemed strange as a newcomer, but listening to the other students, a few of whom had experienced ‘miraculous’ healings, I was keen to learn more and travelled to Ratu’s ashram in Bali In April 2005. I have been going ever since – I have been blessed with too many gifts to list – needless to say I am eternally grateful.  

Ratu respects all religions; he often talks of Jesus, Krishna, Buddha in the same sentence. Bali is mainly Hindu, and Ratu has been made a Brahmin priest, not for himself, but out of respect for the Balinese (who believe in black magic).

Some of my local church members did not like me going to Bali. As my respect for Ratu grew along with the suspicion from my Christian community, I felt I had to make a choice. I stopped going to church.

Why Mary Magdalene?

I feel she chose me, but I have no idea why.. If she is trying to get a message out it would have been better to choose a successful author rather than an Oxfordshire housewife ‘who always wanted to write’ (apologies for the cliché..)

In November 2017 when I was on the ashram, a Dutch student called Claudia came up to me and said very matter of factly that Mary Magdalene was standing next to me while I had been meditating that morning. I am accustomed to unusual events occurring on the ashram but was still a little taken aback. I asked her what she looked like and she said a ‘dark pink energy’. She also suggested I visit Glastonbury as Mary Magdalene had been there.  

In January 2018 I was assisting the late Susanne Prabhuta at a heart meditation workshop in Avebury. Avebury is known as the heart of England and believed to be older than Stonehenge – it is also free, so if you haven’t been put it on the list. I took this photo – see the pink oval shape around the orb? (see ‘Apostle to Mary Magdalene’ for an explanation of orbs). I didn’t twig straight away, but when I showed it to my friends they all asked what the pink oval shape was. Then I remembered what Claudia had said.

My writing began in February 2018, experimenting with automatic writing. I would look at ‘The Flower of Life’ image for a few minutes and just start writing. This is the beginning of my book ‘Apostle to Mary Magdalene’. I felt guided to go to Glastonbury; we parked in Magdalene Street outside St Mary’s chapel.. I picked up two books on Mary Magdalene in a bookshop. We climbed the Tor and visited Chalice Well gardens – nothing amazing happened but a great day out.

 I devoured the books I had bought felt guided to write an A-Z on Mary Magdalene in an accessible, dip in and out, format for both experienced and less travelled spiritual adventurers. I included other spiritual phenomena to ‘explain’ my sources. 

Since then I have not stopped writing…I am on my third book of the series which will come out in 2020.

When the doubt creeps in I take comfort from the words of Albert Einstein (1879-1955), one of our most brilliant scientists:

“I have no special talents, I am only passionately curious”.

New bookshops

The Mary Magdalene Books are available now in bookshops in Edinburgh, London, Oxford, Glastonbury, Marlborough, Burford and Wantage.

Bookshops in UK


Avebury, Wilts Henge Shop

Devizes, Wilts Devizes Bookshop

Christchurch, Dorset Bookends

Glastonbury, Somerset Chalice Well Bookshop , Labyrinth Books

London Watkins Books, Cecil Court

Marlborough Whitehorse Bookshop

Oxford, Oxon Blackwells

Burford, Oxon Madhatter Bookshop

Wantage, Oxon Madhatter Bookshop

Southsea, Hants AristiA

Totnes, Devon Arcturus Books


Westport, Co Mayo Tertullian Books

Castlebar, Co Mayo Castle Bookshop


Edinburgh Blackwells

Glasgow 23 Enigma