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Agape/Love Feasts/Passion

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From: tyagi@houseofkaos.abyss.com (Hsi Wang Mu)
Newsgroups: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick.order,alt.magick,talk.religion.misc
Subject: Re: Agape/Love Feasts/Passion
Date: 1 Feb 1995 08:53:52 -0800
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[from thelema93-l: me (left this forum out the first time I posted! Sorry)]

49950126

Do as you please, for that is my Law.

[excerpts, some removed for privacy's sake]

[My friend wrote that Agape was considered by the Greeks to be a
 'brotherly' or 'platonic' love, devoid of sexuality/sensuality.
 I responded this way]


Let me quote you something:

"One of the best documented of the sensual heresies was that preached by
Carpocrates, an Alexandrian neo-Platonist (familiar with the *Symposium*,
of course), and his son Epiphanes.  Mosaic law, Carpocrates & Son
contended, was the invention of some rather dubious angels who had created
the world -- the physical world, that is, which is to be escaped by the
initiates in favor of a spiritual realm.  Jesus, as they told it, was
-- despite his Jewish upbringing -- one of a select crowd of notables who
had caught on to how things *really* stood.  He occupied a place in a
distinguished pantheon that included Pythagoras, Plato (of course), and
Aristotle, among others.

"The route to salvation of the Carpocrations was, predictably, 
'experience.'  The believer had to experience *everything* before he could
make the break from the world of the flesh and, if he didn't manage to
get it all in one lifetime, he'd go on being reincarnated until he did.
Now, *everything*, if we discard the limitations imposed by Moses' decalogue,
can be construed to encompass literally a multitude of sins, and Carpocrates
wasn't one to blink this fact aside.  The logical extension of his doctrine,
as reported by his orthodox watchdog, was Carpocrates' claim that 'he would
combat lust by enjoyment of lust.'  Shades of *sakti*!

"After that, the egalitarianism preached by the Carpocrations only accents
the correspondences between Christ's teachings and those of the matriarchal
cults.  All things under the sun were equal: man and woman, rich and poor,
even man and animal.  And -- a recurrent theme in Christianity, as we'll
see -- communism was to be practiced, not only the sharing of property but
of mates as well.  Clement of Alexandria, the Church's resident agent, was
particularly incensed that their love feasts included both sexes.  He knew
what *that* was bound to lead to -- and he was quite right.

"The best description of a Gnostic variant on the Christian Agape comes
from another Church father, describing the rites of a sect called the
Stratiotici:

	They serve up lavish helpings of meat and wine, even if they
	are poor.  Then, when they have had their drinking-party and
	so to speak filled their veins to satiety, they give them-
	selves over to passion.... The husband withdraws from his
	wife, and says {to her}: 'Rise up, make love with the brother.'
	... When they have had intercourse out of the passion of
	fornication, then, holding up their own blasphemy before
	heaven, the woman and the man take the man's emission into
	their own hands, and stand there looking up toward heaven.
	And while they have uncleanliness in their hands they pray
	... offering the natural Father of the Universe that which is
	in their hands, and saying 'We offer thee this gift, the body
	of Christ.'  And so they eat it, partaking of their own shame
	and saying: 'This is the body of Christ, and this is the
	Passover; hence our bodies are given over to passion and
	compelled to confess the passion of Christ.'  Similarly with
	the woman's emission at her period, they collect the menstrual
	blood which is unclean, take it and eat it together, and say,
	'This is the blood of Christ.'
	
	...And while they have intercourse with each other they 
	forbid the bearing of children.  For this shameful conduct is
	pursued by them not for the bearing of children but for the
	sake of pleasure....

"Fifteen hundred years before Abbe Dubois!  And Christians, not benighted
Eastern heathens.  There were, quite obviously, those who saw in Christ's
words meanings startlingly different from what has been passed down to
us.  This vein in Christianity by no means ends here."

_Tantric Sex_, by Robert K. Moffett, 
	Berkeley Medallion Books, 1974; pp. 63-4.
__________________________________________________


[more deleted]

My impression is that this must be compared with the Bhakti yogins
and placed within a very specific context of devotional ekstasis.
The object of the courtly love was quite specifically someone OTHER
than to whom one was married, for example.  I.e. it was never
'consummated' in a physical sense, and yet it was driven to the
heights of madness.


...what we take today as 'platonic love' or the
'platonic relationship' is not properly considered to be asexual.
Neither, in this light, is the feeling of agape exclusive of sexuality,
though it may sublimate it to deeper connection.

Consider the possibility that what we see of 'Platonic thought' is but
a crude reflection of the original.  I suggest that if we have taken
for our own a conservative translation and interpretation of the
classics then we are perhaps deserving of our cages.


...My understanding is that [free love] experiences, especially when

engaged diligently, intentionally, and, largely, in a ritual context,
are conducive to just the sort of loving experience of [the agapic sort]

...the cultural filters of time and circumspection may have
made the view of agape passionless.  I don't think it has always been so,
and to the extent that Crowley and others like him associate with the
tradition of Gnosticism, surely it is not the case when we begin to
speak of the Gnostic 'Agape' or 'Love Feast'.


I don't think that one best focus upon the result (greatness, nothingness,
etc.) or upon the particulars (the love coursing at the direction of will
or the will providing direction) but instead upon that perceived entity
which is bringing it *forth* as magician, ONESELF.  Thus does one attain to
the Summum Bonum, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness, yea, thus does one
attain to the Great Work, verily.

Free love, right now!

Hsi Wang Mu
tyagi@houseofkaos.abyss.com

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