Making up the details about Mary Magdalene and Joanna

I am so enjoying this NaNoWriMo. Nothing like revising history and religion to suit my subversive preferences. Who says Mary Magdalene didn’t teach and preach at Jesus’s side? And what about Joanna, one of “the women” who followed Jesus, but were remembered as official disciples. In non-canonical sources she was said to have “renounced the marriage bed.” We don’t have details about these women, so we have no choice but to make them up.

I apologize to readers who are here for the monsters. There won’t be very much monster sex in this book.

I, too was a teacher. I sat beside Jesus sometimes, others I would go off with the women and share the teachings for women only. When I bled, I would take all the other bleeding women and we would spend a day in a secluded place by a river or stream, where we could bathe freely as we desired. “The body is holy, not just the male body, but the female as well. Without the female body, there would be no male bodies, and our flow connects us to the river of life. This is a gift of the goddess, and whatever separates us from our divinity must be separated from us. If men do not wish us to touch their meat when we bleed, then we may leave the men to feed themselves, and we are relieved of the duty. But never believe that it is because we are unclean. Jesus will tell you that no food is clean or unclean, but I tell you that this is also true of our bodies.”

“Also, if you are feeling the pangs of bleeding, do not think that this is penance asked of us. Jesus is not here to teach us to sacrifice or to suffer, but to relieve our suffering. And if the pleasures of the body bring relief, it is a gift from the goddess for us to gladly partake of. If no man will partake with us, then surely we can find a sister who will.”

Joanna and I both bled with the moon, so we were in the women’s group together, though she did not always pay regard to the dictate of men that we avoid them when we bled, and she would go among them, as close as she would at any other time. She was of slight build, and in a loose shift and a shawl, she might be mistaken for a man. She did not have any fondness for men, and if a man did not wish to assist her with the pangs of bleeding, it was not a loss to her.

“How do you tolerate them?” she asked. 

“I do not find them on the whole less agreeable than women. Each sex has its advantages and disadvantages,” I replied.

“What are the advantages of men?” she asked, incredulous.

“In general? Well, they are not all the same. Some are more kind, some work hard, just like women. I do enjoy … their parts.”

She made a sound of disgust in her throat. “The only man I can tolerate is Jesus. His teachings are admirable, and I believe the world would be far better if more people adopted them. I can be at ease with him and with his followers, which is not the case in the rest of the world, but I would not wish to be exposed to his parts.”

I laughed. “If that is how you feel, then I am sure you do not need to worry about it happening.”

“Indeed,” she said, “and that is what I like about him.”

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