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TANTRA - Sacred Sexuality and Earth-Healing

Subject: TANTRA - Sacred Sexuality and Earth-Healing 

[from http://jblstatue.com/sacredsex.html ]

   TANTRA - Sacred Sexuality and Earth-Healing 
   
   At once the most sacred and the most mysterious path to higher
   consciousness, Tantra refers to the Divine Union of Opposites.
   Taoists refer to these energies as yin (from yoni, the active
   principle) and yang (the recumbent principle). Bly, Nin, and Jung
   tell us that each individual must achieve inner marriage of their
   masculine and feminine natures to encounter true equipoise.
   
   Hindu consort pair images epitomizing this psychic symbolism are
   superb representations of the social, sexual and spiritual
   interconnectedness of women and men. They include Shiva/Shakti
   (Yabyum), Laxshmi/Vishnu, Rhada/Krishna, Sita/Rama, Kali/Shiva,
   and Shiva Ardanariswara. A variation of this sense of sacred
   marriage was present in the ancient Western tradition. The images
   of Vesta/Pales, Freya/Frey, Morrigan /Dagda, Rosmerta/Lugh,
   Ariadne/Minotaur, and Isis/Osiros all express Tantra, human
   sexuality aligned with the fertility energies of universal
   creation.
   
   Kept secret by Western church fathers, Tantra promotes male and
   female coital energies in achieving emotional, spiritual, and
   physical harmony. Tantra images help us to extend this sense of
   balance out toward all of creation, both animate, and inanimate.
   Charles and Carolyn Muir offer an excellent discussion of
   practicing Tantric maithuna in love relationships. Their book, as
   well as a few select others is available from JBL. 
   
                     SACRED SEXUALITY,SACRED EARTH
                                   
   What would the implications be if our world today viewed
   sexuality as sacred? In fact, this condition probably did exist
   in late Neolithic and early historic times in Western cultures as
   well as Eastern.
   
   Ample archeological remains suggest that when the earth is viewed
   as sacred by an entire culture, sexuality figures at the core of
   religious ritual, and social structure is organized to highly
   respect the feminine. It is very likely that such systems
   prevailed in ancient Sumer, Babylonia, Canaan, Anatolia,
   pre-dynastic Egypt, Crete and Myceanean Greece.
   
   Let us imagine for a moment the outlines of how such a political
   and social system might operate in, for example, ancient
   Babylonia.
   
   The seasonal reproductive cycle of the Great Earth Mother would
   be venerated as the source of all love, all renewal, all creative
   growth, all that sustains human life. Large communal rituals to
   propitiate and re-sanctify Earth Mother's bounty would occur
   periodically. (Har- vest festivals that survive world-wide today
   are remnants of such celebrations.)
   
   In microcosm such earth-honoring cultures were matrifocal, with
   elder women in every extended family accorded the most respect,
   honor and authority. Male respect and authority would emanate
   from two probably channels: 1) as a result of relationship (as
   brothers, sons or other kinship ties) to honored women; and 2) as
   a result of accomplishments, especially those connected with
   agricultural skill or service to community.
   
   In such a world the most spiritual act an individual woman might
   engage in would be periodic (seasonal, and at least yearly)
   service as one of many priestesses in the temple of the Great
   Goddess. Among her priestess roles, none would be more important
   than re-enacting the Great Rite of sacred sexuality in order to
   keep the Earth Goddess fertile, receptive and benevolent.
   
   In like token, the deepest devotional offering of male
   agricultural workers would involve a seasonal tithing of first
   fruits to the Goddess. From such "tenth parts" of the entire
   society's harvests would come the source of material richness and
   comfort of the temple, its Priestess Queens, and the culture as a
   whole.
   
   Family lineage would be matrifocal, with children absolutely
   certain of their maternal ancestry and far less focused on the
   paternal. The exact father of a given child would always remain
   uncertain because sexuality would occur within the context and
   mystery of the sacred.
   
   Picture the priestess at night in darkened temple rooms offering
   her body, with the most sacred, respectful and tender motivations
   imaginable, as a representation of Holy Mother Earth herself.
   Picture the farmer, his heart and his senses perhaps stimulated
   by droughts of sacred barley beer or wine. He enters the
   pitch-black chamber, and with a reverence at once primevally wild
   and mystically celebratory, he plants his seed, with Hossanahs of
   both physical and spiritual ecstasy, in the very body of his
   beloved Mother Earth.
   
   Imagine the rich variety of feelings and concepts that would be
   central in such societies: storms, passion, changes, seeds,
   cycles, cleansing, renewal, fertility, power, softness,
   creativity, wholeness!
   
   For many millennia, and across cultures, children were born out
   of these penultimately sacred rites. Their very conceptions a
   result of holy ritual, imagine how they were cherished and cared
   for within such cultures!
   
   Circa 5000 BCE a paradigm shift occurred wherein herdsmen,
   skilled in the use of sharp blades for animal slaughter,
   infiltrated and took control of agriculture-based societies.
   First among their objectives would be the justification of their
   methods for power-grabbing.
   
   Ancient scriptures and rituals venerating the Great Mother would
   be re-written. Cain and Abel-type myths would demonize
   agriculture- centered systems and sacralize animal slaughter as
   the politically correct invocation to a newly masculinized
   concept of the Divine.
   
   Over the next 6000 years the process of "taking dominion over"
   the earth would replace the concept of sacred stewardship of a
   Holy Mother. Sexuality would evolve from a sacred, venerative
   function into a power/ownership-of-children function.
   
   The profound psycho-emotional gifts of the feminine would become
   captive also. And the vibrant, celebratory, and periodic sexual
   energies of women would become associated with temptation, shame
   and uncleanliness.
   
   Thus the genesis of some false myths we today have inherited.
   Because the serpent is the most ancient and widespread archetypal
   expression of feminine wisdom and sacred sexuality, it became the
   central image for condemnation and eradication.
   
   By 3600 BCE, as the new myths came about, the sexual and serpent
   energies of woman were associated with guilt, unworthiness and
   deprivation of access to the Divine. In the Near East,
   priestesses of the sacred Goddess were re-mythed as prostitutes,
   Great Whores of Babylon.
   
   In the Mediterranean the triple goddess of feminine power and
   wisdom was re-mythed as serpent-haired Medusa. The fact that her
   fierce glance turned men - not humans, but males - to stone is
   nothing more than the literal admission, within the myth itself,
   both of outrage at the violation of the old earth religion and
   the accompanying numbing of emotion required of the men engaged
   in that violation. In this sense Goddess Medusa is an archetype
   whose return in our own times is vital.
   
   Of course the generative powers of Mother Earth could never be
   fully appropriated by patriarchal culture; well into historic
   time rituals, shrines and pilgrimages to the goddess were
   maintained. As recently as the Dark Ages however, male St.
   Patricks have driven serpent energies out of cultures. Medieval
   St. Georges have slain the very dragons which, ironically, were
   among the objects of sacred mystical quests by generations of
   white knights, longing to re-unite with the fruitful and
   balancing energies of the sacred feminine.
   
   The demonization of sacred sexuality is with us still, yet we are
   finally shaking free of its repressive yoke. Let us restore the
   wisdom of Tantra, the sacred kundilini serpent of our own inner
   divine flame, to the center of our daily life, finding ways to
   teach these mysteries to our children and to venerate the
   archetypes that give expression to these forces.
   
   Central among these archetypes are: Inanna, Ishtar, Astarte,
   Asherah and Baal, Isis, Horus and Osiris, Ariadne and Dionysos,
   Cybele, Frey and Freya, Morrigan and Dagda, Shiva and Shakti,
   and many others re-created in clay by JBL.

EOF

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