Mary Magdalene and the Garden of  Mystics:

A forty day journey towards Easter through art, history, music, contemplative practice and online community

February 22- April 2, 2023 

A deep and rich forty-day online journey heading towards Easter as we reclaim the essential role of Mary Magdalene as Apostle to the Apostles and celebrate her legacy of wisdom as passed down through the Christian mystics. Hailed as "a life changing and empowering revelation"  this program consists of a hybrid program, of written posts, video recordings and live online gatherings of contemplative practices and community circle discussions with a feast of art, music, poetry and questions for contemplation to guide you to your own journey of inner discovery, creativity and inspiration.

Imagine what might shift in our collective psyches if our journey towards Holy Week could be experienced from the Biblical persepective of the women who were closest to Jesus: Mary Magdalene and her companions? How might your own spiritual life be deepened by connecting to the mystical thread of  the contemplative tradition that traces its roots back to her?

The Bible tells is that Jesus was anointed and prepared for his death by a woman. He is companioned every step of the way on his journey to the cross by Mary Magdalene as she leads a community of other women of courage who remain steadfast in compassion until his dying breath.  While the male disciples have fled and hid, Mary Magdalene cradles his broken body in her arms when he is taken down from the cross. She arrives on Easter to anoint his body at the tomb. And then, she is the first to witness the Resurrection-- whereby she is commissioned  by Jesus himself to go and preach a message of hope to  the other disciples. She becomes the Teacher of Teachers, the Apostle to the Apostles, the First Witness- indeed, the First Christian.


  How might it change your life to imagine standing steadfast in courage and compassion as you witness the suffering of the world but find the courage and conviction to share your heart's truth and affirm that joy is still possible? This is the Magdalene pathway that mystics across the centuries, from Julian of Norwich to St Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila and Therese of Lisieux have followed in their own inner awakening.


Mary Magdalene by Barohona Possollo

In this forty day series that will guide you from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday, you will come to know the story of Mary Magdalene and the way she has emboldened the hearts of those who claim her as their mystic mother. Beginning with the texts of the Bible itself, we will come to know Mary Magdalene as the loyal and faithful witness present in the Gospels of Matthew, MarkLuke and John. We will then explore the Gospel of Thomas, a very early Christian text rediscovered in Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945, where Jesus says he himself  will lead Mary to become Anthropos, a word that means "Fully Human". We will dive into the Gospel of Mary, where Mary is revealed as a spiritual teacher the other disciples turn to when beset by fear and confusion, and how her message urges us to return to the roots of goodness and to find Christ in the depths of the silence of our own hearts.

Mary Magdalene and the Myrrhbearers, Orthodox Icon

We will discover how Mary Magdalene has inspired centuries of artists, poets and composers as we learn her symbols and feast on the astonishing beauty of works created in her name, and we will learn about spiritual practices and liturgical rituals of Early and Medieval Christians that can awaken our own spiritual connections and imagination.

5 Monastery of St. Michel du Var: Mary Magdalene and Saints

The rhythm of each week:

You will receive five email posts or videos each week with essays and images to tell the story of one aspect of Mary Magdalene, woven with bibliographical references and links to listen to music and learn more if you want to dive more deeply.  On three Saturdays from 10:30 am - Noon PST (February 25, March  4 and April 1)   we invite you to gather for  the Mystic Garden and Convivium, a live zoom sharing session where Kayleen will offer a teaching on "The Garden  Path of Virtues" described by John Cassian and  Dante before turning to more contemporary examples of the Virtues of Compassion,Resilience and Transformation: Brother Roger of Taize, John Newton, Harriet Beecher Stowe,  Josephine Baker and Etty Hillesum. We will follow this with a half hour discussion in small break out groups to share our questions and responses from the week's reflections.  

 On Sunday evening ( 5-6 pm PST- also recorded to watch later if you cannot join us), we will share in Compline, a  contemplative service  where we will learn a chant of Hildegard of Bingen and then explore lectio divina through short passages from the Gospel of Mary and the Gospel of Thomas.  After a period of silent meditation, we will sing Taize and other chants together and  conclude with singing one of the great Gregorian  Marion antiphons for Lent, Ave Regina Caelorum.


Our Live Zoom Sessions are as follows (all times are PST): These will also be recordeed for later streaming if you are unable to join us:

Wed February 22, 10:00 am- 11:30 PST: Ash Wednesday with Mary Magdalene

Sat February 25, 10:30 AM- Noon: John Cassian, Dante and the Garden of Virtues

Sun February 26, 5-6 pm : Sunday Vespers with Robin O’Brien

March 4, 10:30 am: Garden of Virtues: Harriet Beecher Stowe and John Newton

March 5, 5 pm: Sunday Vespers

March 11, 9 am- 10 am:  Convivium: Community Discussion

March 12, 5 pm: Sunday Vespers

March 16, 10:30 am- Noon: Montsegur Day (webinar)

March 19, 5 pm: Sunday Vespers

March 26: Sunday Vespers

April 1: Garden of Virtues, 10:30 am-Noon: Closing Circle

April 2: Palm Sunday Compline, 5 pm


The 40 Days with Mary Magdalene and the Mystics Program includes:

- 22 written posts of art, history, scriptural study and prayer with musical links- each only about 15 minutes to read, but with resources for a lifetime of exploration

-6 Zoom Compline Services weaving together the music of Hildegard of Bingen, Gregorian and Taize chant  led by Robin O'Brien with  guided meditations by Kayleen Asbo on the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary (filmed if you cannot attend live)

- Three 90 minute Saturday zoom classes with Kayleen Asbo on John Cassian, Dante and the Garden of Virtues, 10:30am- Noon PST,  filmed if you cannot join live

- Bonus video material on Mary Magdalene and the Mystic Tradition

- Opening and closing sessions of ritual for Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday, folllowed by an opportunity to share your reflections  with pilgrims from around the world in small  break out groups

Forty Days with Mary Magdalene and the Mystics is available  on a sliding scale. Choose the amount that is right for you based on your circumstances.

$300.00: Patron (self + partial scholarship for another)
$220.00: Standard tuition 
$120.00: Reduced tuition for those in financial need
$40.00: Scholarship rate. For those needing scholarships, all we ask is that you send a letter of gratitude to the patron underwriting your scholarship which we will forward anonymously. Just email us at and we will be happy to connect you with an anonymous donor.

Mary Magdalene by Sue Ellen Parkinson


Past participants in Mythica's Magdalene series have lauded this as a "life changing, mindblowing experience that will ignite your own inner creative fire and offer you a lifetime of inspiration" and " a profoundly moving and healing journey".

Will you walk towards Easter with us as part of a global online community as we "turn our hearts to the Good" ?