Image by Enrique from Pixabay

A theme of this book, Life Is a Song of Love, is loving and forgiving yourself in order to save yourself. In so doing we expand this love to everyone.

Many ancient and medieval women mystics personified this theme; however, the story of Thecla especially resonates in my heart. I knew nothing about Thecla until I read her story in Mary Magdalene Revealed by Meggan Watterson, so I did some research. Thecla’s story verges into myth holding divine truths.

Who Was Thecla?

Thecla is a Saint of the early Christian Church, even though the church fathers tried to discredit her and remove any written mention of her life. Thecla’s story is intertwined with the story of Paul the Apostle in The Acts of Paul and Thecla.

They both lived in the second century during the turbulent times of the early Christian church in which the followers of Jesus’ teachings continued to be persecuted. The doctrines of Christianity had yet to be fully formed, therefore women continued to hold positions within the church.

A few of these women’s names have survived, but we know little about them, as the written information was systematically destroyed. Thecla’s success spreading the word of the Gospel demonstrates one woman with a high and powerful position within the Christian faith. Thecla also urged women to withhold sex from their husbands and live chaste lives.

Women Banished from Leadership

One can easily understand why The Acts of Paul and Thecla were ordered destroyed by the church fathers in the fourth century. Tertullian, 155-240 AD, is called the father of Latin Christianity and early church doctrine. To discredit The Acts of Paul and Thecla, he was strongly opposed to women preaching and baptizing.

innerself subscribe graphic

In an effort to eliminate women’s role, The Acts of Paul and Thecla came to be considered an apocryphal story of early Christianity. Nevertheless, Thecla is still venerated in the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Catholic and Episcopalian Churches, and in Coptic Christianity.

Paul the Apostle

Paul the Apostle became a wandering preacher of Christian teachings after Jesus appeared to him in a vision. When Paul visited Thecla’s village Konya of Iconium in Turkey she was a young noble woman engaged to be married. For 3 days from her window, she listened to Paul’s teachings in the town’s square about worshipping only one God and embracing chastity, a condition barely beginning to gain favor with the church fathers.

Paul’s teachings of chastity were extreme and probably did not consider how this affected women. Claiming her body for herself rather than to serve her husband’s sexual needs was a radical idea that caught Thecla’s imagination.

Thecla’s Story

Transformed by Paul’s teachings, Thecla vowed to leave her fiancé and follow Paul. The appalled fiancé reported Paul to the authorities and he was arrested. Undeterred, Thecla visited Paul in jail to continue listening to his preaching. Her fiancé and the authorities were outraged, and had Paul whipped and thrown out of town.

Thecla, as a woman, received more severe punishment. She was stripped and tied to a stake to be burned. Yet she maintained her strong faith in God, and just as the fire was about to consume her, a heavy rain squelched the flames.

Thecla followed Paul to Antioch, where Alexander the King of Syria desired her to be his wife. When she refused, he tried to rape her. Thecla fought him off, tore his cloak and knocked off his coronet. Brought to court for assaulting Alexander, she was sentenced to death in the stadium.

Again stripped and with hands bound, she was led into the arena to be eaten by wild beasts. And again, she was saved when a lioness felt her love and faith, and thus turned on the other beasts to protect Thecla.

The women in the crowd, who were initially against Thecla, screamed for her release as they proclaimed her innocence. Thecla jumped into a pit of water in the stadium filled with wild sea lions where she baptized herself in the name of Jesus Christ, and saved herself with the love she felt from her union with God.

Thecla continued to travel with Paul, but eventually left to pursue her own ministry of preaching, teaching, healing and baptizing all—without the oversight of a man—until she died at age 90. Throughout her long life she was persecuted for her faith, especially because it implied that women had the equal spiritual authority with men.

In one story, as she was preaching in a cave and is about to be caught by her persecutors, she asks God for help: a new passage in the cave opened, then closed after she escaped, her faith in God saving her. Meggan Watterson wrote:

I think that the most threatening aspect of Thecla’s story is that she frees herself from any illusions that power resides outside of her...She began to go against expectations of a girl, considered the inferior sex in her time. She began to do what her heart was telling her to do. And this was the sacrilege to those in power. That she refused to obey or validate any authority outside of her. Even, and ultimately, Paul’s. She baptized herself because she realized she could. She realized that all along within her she contained the power to save herself. And so, she did.  [Meegan Watterson -- Mary Magdalen Revealed]

Contemporary Women Mystics

There are many contemporary women mystics, some known from their extraordinary lives, their art and their universal teachings like Mother Teresa. If you are reading this, you are probably a mystic and have likely encountered many mystics, both men and women, on your heroine’s journey of the heart and womb. We continue to grow in number all over the world as we reclaim the sacred feminine and become whole again.

There is a reason we chose to be a woman during this pivotal time of spiritual change. It is critical for women to dissolve the shackles of patriarchy, to fall in love with ourselves, and forgive ourselves for feeling victimized. We step into our divine power and radiate the Universal Mother’s unconditional love for absolutely every person.

We have to lead the way so men can forgive themselves for the suppression, denigration and domination of women. Only then will they welcome the feminine energy residing within and join with us to create Terra Nova. We are becoming the songs of our hearts. We learn truly that life is a song of love.

Surrendering to Love

Surrendering to the Holy Mother Father’s love flowing through everyone transforms every living thing and every object into the good, the holy and the beautiful. It unites all in Oneness so the metaphysical texts are no longer needed as we become fully human and fully divine.

Surrendering is usually joined with a burning desire for the sacred, dying to the false sense of self that is the separated ego. Women mystics have been tortured, crucified and burned at the stake for their heresy before a patriarchal god. We have deep within our carbon-based DNA a fear of fire, even while holding this yearning to throw all we know as false into the cleansing healing flames of the Divine Mother.

Copyright 2023. All Rights Reserved.
Adapted with permission of the author and publisher.

Article Source:

Book: Life Is a Song of Love

Life Is a Song of Love: A Woman's Spiritual Journey of the Heart and Womb
by Sally Patton.

For more info and/or to order this book, click hereAlso available as a Kindle edition. 

About the Author

Sally Patton, Ed.M. Child Development advocated and worked for children with special needs for over 35 years. Between 2002 and 2013, she wrote about and conducted Involve workshops on ministering to children with special needs labels in faith communities and on spiritual parenting of atypical children. She also offered private consultations for parents who were interested in exploring the spiritual questions that arise from parenting a child with a special needs label.

Since ending her Involve Trainings in 2013, Sally expanded her spiritual awareness through a deep contemplative practice. She now writes, consults and conducts workshops on women's spiritual and transformational journey to reclaim our divine feminine essence in order to dissolve and heal lifetimes and decades of patriarchal conditioning. 

Visit her website at    

More books by this Author.