What are the problems encountered by an ethnographer in describing
pilgrims influenced by recent reinterpretations of Mary Magdalene?
Which books do these pilgrims rely on in formulating their own ideas,
and what pilgrimage routes do they follow in France? Dan Brown’s
novel The DaVinci Code has popularized the idea that Mary Magdalene
was Christ’s wife and the mother of his children. Even before
the publication of this best-seller, however, pilgrims were making
their “energetic connections” in churches from Provence
to Burgundy. Their theories of the Magdalene, consisting of an eclectic
mix of Christianity and elements of the New Age and Wicca movements,
form a contemporary mythology and serve as the basis for ritual
practices. This way of understanding pilgrimage is both recent and
rapidly evolving, and a number of Catholic shrines in France are
now receiving a new type of pilgrim.