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War in Heaven and on Earth, page 1

A mighty strife had waxen great within the members of the sphere.                                                                                                — Empedocles

John Gray coined the phrase “Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus” in his 1992 best seller by the same name. The story line goes something like this:

Once upon a time Martians and Venusians met, fell in love, and had happy relationships together because they respected and accepted their differences. Then they came to Earth and amnesia set in: they forgot they were from different planets.

I’ve been enjoying revisiting Velikovsky’s trilogy on world cataclysmic upheavals and planetary collisions which he heavily  documents in Worlds In Collision, Earth In Upheaval and Ages In Chaos. In my last post, I wrote about comet Venus’s near collision with Earth and the havoc she wrought during the period of the Exodus of the Jewish Nation from Egypt and its forty-years of wandering in the desert under Moses’ leadership. In this post I will share a poetic blow-by-blow account of collisions in the heavens between Mars and Venus which took place about 750 years later, interestingly enough, concurrently with the Trojan Wars in the eighth century before the present era (700 BC). Men were waging wars on Earth while planet gods were warring in the heavens – or so were they characterized by the poet Homer in his story of the Iliad.

I am reminded of the phrase “The war between the sexes” that’s been around for some time now. Interestingly enough, the Trojan War was fought over a woman, Helen of Sparta, who eloped with Trojan prince Paris. Her jilted husband Menelaus got his brother Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, to lead an expedition to retrieve her. The story has the makings of a Greek opera. Nothing much has changed in twenty-seven hundred years in male-female behavior warring over power and control. In our day we are witnessing the “rise of the feminine” on the world stage; this after centuries of suppression by the male of our species — Mars Vs Venus.

Mars, the “god of war”

Mars was named and greatly feared as the “god of war” when it allegedly got knocked out of its orbit by once-comet-now-planet Venus and dove toward Earth in a fiery display of macho masculine warlike behavior.  Not that Venus’s behavior over a hundred years was anything close to ladylike.  She was a bitch of a threat to Earth and its inhabitants causing great cataclysmic upheavals and global destruction by fire, brimstone, vermin and floods. It took an actual collision with Mars to finally put Venus into a more stable orbit around our sun as a new member of the solar system.

Velikovsky tells the story with graphic details in Worlds In Collision. Venus and Mars had other names. Venus was called Athena by the Greeks and Mars was called Ares by the Trojans.

In this epic the story is told of the battles which the Greeks, besieging Troy, waged against the people of Priam, king of Troy. Deities took a prominent part in these battles and skirmishes. Two of them–Athene and Ares–were by far the most active. Athene was the protectress of the Greeks; Ares was on the side of the Trojans. They were the chief antagonists throughout the epopee.

At first Athene removed Ares from the battlefield:

And flashing-eyed Athene took furious Ares by the hand and spake to him, saying: “Ares, Ares, thou bane of mortals, thou blood-stained stormer of walls, shall we not now leave the Trojans and Achaeans to fight?” … [She] led furious Ares forth from the battle.”

But they met together again in the field; “furious Ares” was “abiding on the left of the battle.”

Aphrodite, the goddess of the moon, wished to participate in the war also, but Zeus, presiding in heavenly Olympus, told her:

“Not unto thee, my child, are given works of war; nay, follow thou after the lovely works of marriage, and all these things shall be the business of swift Ares and Athene.”

Thus the god of the planet Jupiter admonished the goddess of the moon to leave the combat that it might be fought out by the god of the planet Mars and the goddess of the planet Venus. Phoebus Apollo, the god of the sun, spoke to the god of the planet Mars:

Then unto furious Ares spake Phoebus Apollo: “Ares, Ares, thou bane of mortals, thou blood-stained stormer of walls, wilt thou not now enter into the battle?” …

And baneful Ares entered amid the Trojans’ ranks …. He called: . . . “How long will ye still suffer your host to be slain by the Achaeans?”

The battlefield was darkened by Ares:

And about the battle furious Ares drew a veil of night to aid the Trojans . . . he saw that Pallas Athene was departed, for she it was that bare aid to the Danaans.

Hera, the goddess of the earth, “stepped upon the flaming car” and “self-bidden groaned upon their hinges the gates of heaven which the Hours had in their keeping, to whom are entrusted great heaven and Olympus.” She spoke to Zeus:

“Zeus, hast thou no indignation with Ares for these violent deeds, that he hath destroyed so great and so goodly a host of the Achaeans recklessly? … Wilt thou in any wise be wroth with me if I smite Ares?”

And Zeus replied:

“Nay, come now, rouse against him Athene … who has ever been wont above others to bring sore pain upon him.” So came the hour of the battle.

Then Pallas Athene grasped the lash and the reins, and against Ares first she speedily drave …. Athene put on the cap of Hades, to the end that mighty Ares should not see her.

Ares, “the bane of mortals,” was attacked by Pallas Athene, who sped the spear [lightning bold] “mightily against his nethermost belly.” 

“Then brazen Ares bellowed loud as nine thousand warriors or ten thousand cry in battle, when they join in the strife of the War­god.”

Even as a black darkness appeareth from the clouds when after heat a blustering wind ariseth, even in such wise . . . did brazen Ares appear, as he fared amid the clouds unto broad heaven.

In heaven he appealed to Zeus with bitter words of complaint against Athene:

Remember that Venus was born out of Jupiter, who is given the god name Zeus by Homer.

“With thee are we all at strife, for thou art father to that mad and baneful maid, whose mind is ever set on deeds of lawlessness. For all the other gods that are in Olympus are obedient unto thee … but to her thou payest no heed . . . for that this pestilent maiden is thine own child.”

And Zeus answered: “Most hateful to me art thou of all gods that hold Olympus, for ever is strife dear to thee and wars and fightings.”

The first round was lost by Ares. “Hera and Athene . . . made Ares, the bane of mortals, to cease from his manslaying.”

In this vein the poem proceeds, its allegorical features being only too readily overlooked. In the fifth book of the Iliad Ares is called by name more than thirty times, and throughout the poem he never disappears from the scene, whether in the sky or on the battleground. The twentieth and twenty-first books describe the climax of the battle of the gods at the walls of Troy.

[Athene] would utter her loud cry. And over against her spouted Ares, dread as a dark whirlwind, calling with shrill tones to the Trojans.

Thus did the blessed gods urge on the two hosts to clash in battle, and amid them made grievous strife to burst forth. Then terribly thundered the father of gods and men from on high; and from beneath did Poseidon cause the vast earth to quake, and the steep crests of the mountains. All the roots of many-fountained Ida were shaken, and all her peaks, and the city of the Trojans, and the ships of the Achaeans. And seized with fear in the world below was Aidoneus, lord of the shades . . . lest above him the earth be cloven by Poseidon, the Shaker of Earth, and his abode be made plain to view for mortals and immortals . . . so great was the din that arose when the gods clashed in strife.

In this battle of gods above and beneath, Trojans and Achaeans clashed together and the whole universe roared and shivered. The battle was fought in gloom; Hera spread a thick mist. The river “Crushed with surging flood, and roused all his streams tumultuously.” Even the ocean was inspired with “fear of the lightning of great Zeus and his dread thunder, when so it crasheth from heaven.” Then rushed into the battle a “wondrous blazing fire. First on the plain was the fire kindled, and burned the dead … and all the plain was parched.” Then to the river turned the gleaming flame. “Tormented were the eels and the fish in the eddies, and in the fair streams they plunged this way and that. . . . The fair streams seethed and boiled.” Nor had the river “any mind to flow onward, but was stayed,” unable to protect Troy.

Upon the gods “fell strife heavy and grievous.” “Together then they clashed with a mighty din, and the wide earth rang, and round about great heaven pealed as with a trumpet. . . . Zeus–the heart within him laughed aloud in joy as he beheld the gods joining in strife.”

Ares . . . began the fray, and first leapt upon Athene, brazen spear in hand, and spake a word of reviling: “Wherefore now again, thou dog-fly, art thou making gods to clash with gods in strife … ? Rememberest thou not what time . . . thyself in sight of all didst grasp the spear  and let drive straight at me, and didst rend my fair flesh?” [These “spears” are bolts of electrical discharge between the planets]

This second encounter between Ares and Athene was also lost by Ares.

He [Ares] smote upon her tasselled aegis …. Thereon blood-stained Ares smote with his long spear. But she gave ground, and seized with her stout hand a stone that lay upon the plain, black and jagged and great. . . . Therewith she smote furious Ares on the neck, and loosed his limbs. . . .

Pallas Athene broke into a laugh. . . . “Fool, not even yet hast thou learned how much mightier than thou I avow me to be, that thou matchest thy strength with mine.”

Aphrodite came to wounded Ares, “took [him] by the hand, and sought to lead [him] away.” But “Athene sped in pursuit …. She smote Aphrodite on the breast with her stout hand . . . and her heart melted.”

These excerpts from the Iliad show that some cosmic drama was projected upon the fields of Troy. The commentators were aware that originally Ares was not merely the god of war, and that this quality is a deduced and secondary one. The Greek Ares is the Latin planet Mars; it is so stated in classic literature a multitude of times. In the so-called Homeric poems, too, it is said that Ares is a planet. The Homeric hymn to Ares reads:

Most mighty Ares . . . chieftain of valor, revolvrng thy fiery circle in ether among the seven wandering stars [planets], where thy flaming steeds ever uplift thee above the third chariot.”

But what might it mean, that the planet Mars destroys cities, or that the planet Mars is ascending the sky in a darkened cloud, or that it engages Athene (the planet Venus) in battle? Ares must have represented some element in nature, guessed the commentators. Ares must have been the personification of the raging storm, or the god of the sky, or the god of light, or a sun-god, and so on.” These explanations are futile. Ares-Mars is what his name says–the planet Mars.

I find in Lucian a statement which corroborates my interpretation of the cosmic drama in the Iliad. This author of the second century of the present era writes in his work On Astrology this most significant and most neglected commentary on the Homeric epics:

“All that he [Homer] hath said of Venus and of Mars his passion, is also manifestly composed from no other source than this science [astrology]. Indeed, it is the conjuncture of Venus and Mars that creates the poetry of Homer.”

To be continued in my next post. 

 

 

 

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On Human Relations . . . . part 6: The Path of Romantic Love, page 4

My Chorale PicIn chapter seven of her powerful book MARY MAGDALENE – Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity, “Reclaiming the Path of Romantic Love,” Episcopal minister Cynthia Bourgeault paints a much different picture of the spiritual path Jesus walked than the one painted by Christian orthodox interpretations of the four gospels. Continuing from where we left off in the previous post, Cynthia speaks to the question “Were Jesus and Mary Magdalene lovers.” I will let you read directly from the final two pages of this chapter.

Having described Jesus’s spiritual path as being anything but celibate, an “enstatic” path of conserving pranic energy, Cynthia makes her case against traditional Christian concepts and beliefs to the contrary.

By contrast, the path that Jesus himself seems to teach and model in his life, and particularly in his death, is not a storing up but a complete pouring out. His pranic energy is quickly depleted; on the cross, as all four gospel account affirm, he does not hold out even until sunset, but quickly “gives up the ghost.” Shattered and totally spent, he simply disappears into his death. The core icon of the Christian faith, the watershed moment from which it all emerges, is not enstatic but ecstatic — love completely poured out, expended, squandered. In contrast to clarity, it is the arche­typal image of purity, the complete self-giving of the heart.

THE PATH JESUS WALKED

And right here, I believe, we come to the fundamental problem with these celibate models of transformation. It’s not merely their monochromatic viewpoint or the implicit devaluing of a whole other stream of Christian spiritual wisdom whose roots are in passionate human love. Rather, it is the fact that at key points they seem to be slightly out of kilter with the path of transformation that Jesus himself walked and taught. One might say that this model points us toward John the Baptist rather than Jesus: to­ward those ancient and time-honored practices of renunciation, asceticism, and self-concentration through abstinence, whereas if we really look closely, we see that Jesus himself seemed to be con­stantly pushing the envelope in the opposite direction — toward radical self-abandonment, reckless self-outpouring, and the trans­mutation of passion in complete self-giving.

But it is right there, at the center of that cognitive dissonance, that a window of opportunity opens up. Rather than trying to smooth it over and pretend it does not exist, as the church has done for nearly two thousand years, we need to tune in and listen to it very carefully, for it gives us exactly the tool we need to proceed.

Were Jesus and Mary Magdalene lovers? To date, nearly everyone seems to be trying to solve that riddle from the outside, like good investigative journalists. It’s all about finding new evi­dence: secret documents and societies, new gnostic gospels, purported lost tombs, hidden mathematical messages embedded in the lines of existent texts — some new piece of data that would settle the issue one way or another. Equally, those who are ap­palled by the very notion of a romantically involved Jesus build their case by recourse to doctrines and templates that did not exist until three or four centuries after he had left the planet. It’s all external logic.

But there is another possibility, which has been sitting there right under our noses all along yet so far seems to have been consistently overlooked. That is to evaluate the evidence from the inside, on the basis of the path itself. For Jesus was, after all, a teacher, and the teaching itself is there to be consulted. Once one has compensated for the negative set and drift of the celibate current, it is merely a matter of asking a single question: In the light of what Jesus actually seems to have been teaching, is there anything in the teachings themselves that would have precluded such a love relationship?

If Jesus were indeed walking the path of classic monastic brahmacharya, then the answer is obviously yes; celibacy is an essential requirement of this path, and to diverge from this requirement would violate his integrity and sabotage his spiritual power.

But what if in fact he was walking a different path? A path difficult to identify because it was so close to its own headwaters that it was missed by nearly everyone both then and now? What if he was not an ascetic at all, but was in fact following a whole new trajectory, previously unknown in the West and with its own ways of understanding integrity and purity? Along this other trajec­tory, it might indeed be conceivable for him to be in a human love relationship, although that love would probably not look like what most of us are familiar with.

Let’s see what the teachings themselves have to say.

Thus ends chapter seven with a segue to chapter eight, and to the rest of Cynthia’s provocative treatise, for that matter. The title of chapter eight is “The Great Identity Theft.” Who was Jesus and how was his presentation of himself perceived by the world he came to save from itself?  There are two brief paragraphs midway through this chapter that speak to these questions.

In the Aramaic language of Jesus’s immediate followers, one of the earliest titles given to him was Ihidaya, “the Single One,” or the “Unified One.” In context, it speaks unmistakably of this state of inner oneness; it designates the anthropos, the fully realized human being: the enlightened master of Eastern tradition, or the monad or “undivided one” of hermeticism.

The “great identity theft” to which the title of this chapter refers is that in remarkably short order this term, which was so clearly intended to designate Jesus’s attained state of inner oneness, should come to be interpreted as “singleness” in the sense of being unmarried, “the celibate one.”

Jesus was not necessarily monastic nor ascetic, which leaves him available to a romantic relationship. Actually, according to Islamic scholar Ibrahim Gamard, monasticism was not mandated by the Koran. In a letter to the author in 1998, Gamard shared the insight that “in the Islamic tradition monasticism was disapproved of in the Qur’anic verse which states that the monasticism of the followers of Jesus was invented by them and was not something commanded by God.” As I said, this leaves Jesus with the option at least of having a romantic relationship with Mary Magdalene as his wife and partner in a shared service to Humanity: personal transformation via a path of romantic love.

I will leave it there for now and continue with “The Path that Jesus Walked” in my next post . . . . or not. This series seems to be complete, so I may let this be the concluding post to the series on Human Relations. We’ll see what the Current of Inspiration brings us for exploration. Thanks for sharing this consideration with me. As always, your comments are welcome.  Until my next post,

Be love. Be Loved

Anthony

Read my Health Light Newsletter online at LiftingTones.com for helpful information about health and wellness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Human Relations . . . . . part 6: The Path of Romantic Love, page 3

“Without the quicksilver of eros nothing transforms . . .”

My Chorale PicIn the previous post I presented and considered the first two of four propositions, or myths, that are all “firmly rooted in the soil of celibate spirituality–that together have subtly sabotaged our ability to see romantic love as an authentic path of spiritual transformation” presented by Cynthia Bourgeault in her boldly provocative book The Meaning of MARY MAGDALENE — Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity.  In this post I will present and consider the third and fourth myths and share some of Cynthia’s thought provoking views and commentary from her book — which I highly recommend to my readers.

Myth Number Three: Human love is inherently different from divine love

This is what has been handed down through Christian church teachings. Actually, it was Plato who classified love by types: agape and eros — although he didn’t attribute agape exclusively to divine love nor eros exclusively to human love. After all, the Greeks had their riotous gods who were capable of both human and divine passions. Rather, agape love to Plato was impartial, disinterested love and eros desiring love, which both the gods and humans were capable of experiencing. Plato’s delineation, non-the-less, set the foundation for such discussions for two-and-a-half millennia since, writes Cynthia Bourgeault.

It was a Swedish Protestant theologian in the 1930’s by the name of Anders Nygren who relegated eros to human desiring. His “monumental” three-volume work Agape and Eros, in which he writes “eros is man’s way to God; agape is God’s way to man,” had a powerful and pervasive influence on contemporary Christian spirituality. Cynthia writes:

According to Nygren, eros is by its very nature filled with desire and neediness, hence impure; by contrast, God’s way of loving is free, clear and impartial, motivated only by the goodness of the giver. With one deft stroke of the theological scalpel, Nygen essentially divided the core energy of love into two separate species and assigned to erotic love (the only love humans are by definition capable of) a permanent second-class status that essentially negates its value as a spiritual path. It is hard to escape the implication that if one is following a path of passionate commitment to a beloved, one is on an inferior spiritual track, or no track at all. This despite love’s unassailable record as the most potent force at our disposal to unify the heart and transform the soul.

Fortunately, the damaging pronouncements of Nygren has impacted only the modern era. Earlier generations of Christian teachers considered eros a “wellspring” of transforming energy that one simply had to learn to work with in one’s spiritual path. Cynthia quotes John Climacus’ sixth-century writings to exemplify this historical fact:

“I have seen impure souls who threw themselves headlong into physical eros to a frenzied degree. It was their very experience of that physical eros that led them to interior conversion. They concentrated their eros on the Lord. Rising above fear, they tried to love God with insatiable desire. That is why when Christ spoke to the woman who had been a sinner he did not say that she had been afraid but that she had loved much, and had easily been able to surmount love by love.”

The goal of “surmounting love by love” for a thousand years formed the heart of the Christian mystical program of transformation, culminating in the twelfth century in the magnificent “monastic love mysticism” of St Bernard of Clairvax and those following in his wake (and notice that whenever eros is mentioned in a text, the figure of Mary Magdalene hovers right in the background). To the extent that it still conceives of God as an object that one can “concentrate one’s eros” on, it ultimately falls victim of that same dualistic fallacy we have already seen in the first myth. But it is far, far better than what has been served up today in the name of religious and psychological health; a gutless, passionless numb “agape clone” that goes nowhere at all. Without the quicksilver of eros nothing transforms: a secret which I believe Jesus himself knew and worked with in his teachings in a profound way, only at a unitive rather than a dualistic level.

Now, of course, if you were fortunate enough to escape such indoctrination in your upbringing, then none of this serves you very much, excerpt perhaps as an educational piece at an intellectual level. I am intrigued by perspectives on historical events that shed light on the path I have traveled over the last seventy plus years. You see, I was born into a Catholic family, groomed for a priestly vocation — which was more my father’s desire for me than my own — and educated in the hallowed halls of Roman Catholic seminary. Only the halls of Catholic seminary were not so hallowed as they were hollow and empty of any transforming energy. Eros was a path to a life of mortal sin, the punishment for which was eternal damnation and separation from God. So, it thrills me to have someone like Cynthia Bourgeault articulate so eloquently some of the undercurrents that were churning beneath the turbulent and confusing terrain upon which I spent the formative and developing years of my life, as well as their origins in history.

Don’t worry for me, however, for the Church’s brain-washing, for some strange reason, seemed like water poured over a duck’s back. It didn’t penetrate the core of me. My guardian angel was apparently protecting me. However, I did not escape the damage to my human psyche and the spoiling of my physical enjoyment of a fully enfleshed life of healthy sexuality as a young man. That came later after awakening to the truth of love and of life.

But enough about me. Let’s look at the fourth myth, the one that lured me into the seminary and, ironically, disillusioned me at the age of 21 and sent me in search for the truth of love in human relations, both with the divine and with one another, a search that would last only seven years. Let me share some of her thoughts and perspectives right from her powerful book.

Myth Number Four: Celibacy is a state of greater purity.

The mistake here–and it is one commonly made in spiritual teaching — is to confuse purity with clarity. Clarity has to do with attuning the mind. Purity is about awakening the heart. The two can overlap each other, but they are not synonymous.

I enjoy her distinction between purity and clarity. She goes on to give a little history of the practice of celibacy.

In Hinduism, where the practice of celibacy as an applied spiritual technology (known as brahmacharya)  arose more than three thousand years ago, the objective has to do with conserving and concentrating prana, the vital energy or life force, so that it can be utilized for spiritual transformation. The modern Hindu master Swami Chidananda has restated the traditional wisdom by explaining it in this way: “Prana is the precious reserve of the seeker. Any sense activity or sense experience consumes a lot of prana [the sex act most of all, he claims] . . . The highest of all goals in life, spiritual attainment, requires the maximum pranic energy on all levels.”

For Swami Chidananda, the practice of celibacy harnesses pranic energy much like a dam harnesses the force of water for the purpose of turning huge turbines, and like a lens concentrates the rays of the sun to burn whatever they are focused on. Cynthia continues:

In the most ancient and powerful understanding of the practice, celibacy belongs among practices that can be classified as enstatic — those that have to do with conserving, collecting, concentrating. The positive side of this kind of practice is a significantly enhanced clarity — a relative freedom from the energy-consuming turmoil of the physical lusts and emotional passions and thus a greater capacity to stay present to the higher frequencies of spiritual energy.

For exactly this reason — that celibacy is a “storing up” process — its shadow side is avarice. One must be alert to a subtle tendency to withhold or “preserve”oneself, to hold oneself back from full engagement in the human sphere in order to have access to those higher realms of truth and light. Under all the aura of “selfless giving” with which the practice of celibacy generally cloaks itself, there can be a subtle spiritual acquisitiveness at work, betrayed in the very phrase “spiritual attainment.” Which “I,” one wonders, is this “I” who attains?

Cynthia gives her reader pause to consider what’s really at work in spiritual attainment. She then turns toward the life and death of Jesus in a most remarkable portrayal of him as being anything but enstatic in his public ministry.

By contrast, the path that Jesus himself seems to teach and model in his life, and particularly in his death, is not a storing up but a complete pouring out. His pranic energy is quickly depleted; on the cross, as all four gospel accounts affirm, he does not hold out even until sunset, but quickly “gives up the ghost.” Shattered and totally spent, he simply disappears into his death. The core icon of the Christian faith, the watershed moment from which it all emerges, is not enstatic but ecstatic — love completely poured out, expended squandered. In contrast to clarity, it is the archetypal image of purity, the complete self-giving of the heart.

Such is the character of unconditional love: “. . .the complete self-giving of the heart.” This reminds me of Jesus’s words to his disciples during his sermon on the vine and the branches: “Greater love hast no man than this; that he lay down his life for his friends.”  He was giving them all that he had to give, and for a truly selfless reason: “. . . that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:13)

The joy of giving fully of oneself is like no other joy.  It’s a joy that utterly sets one free. This, I believe, is what’s really behind the mad rush to buy presents for loved ones and friends at Christmas time every year. We do get much joy out of giving.  I’ve actually read of a tribal community where there is no word in their language for “Thank you.” Such is their awareness that the pleasure and joy of giving are the giver’s as much as, if not more than, the receiver’s. I love Cynthia’s portrayal of this great Teacher as one who spent himself fully during his three-and-a-half years of public ministry. It is the Jesus that I can easily hold as a hero and model of true manhood.

In my next post I will share Cynthia Bourgeault’s view of and commentary on “The Path Jesus Walked.” So, stay tuned for more inspiring posts on my Healing Tones blog.

Wishing for you a Happy New Year and a healthy and happy 2016!

Anthony

Read my HealthLight Newsletter online at LiftingTones.com.

 

 

On Human Relations . . . . . part 6: The Path of Romantic Love, page 2

My Chorale PicFar from keeping one earthbound, romantic love, not celibacy, was exemplified and touted by Jesus as the highest path to spiritual enlightenment and union with the divine. From the very Genesis we were created male and female so that through our union as one flesh we could bring forth life. That was the original template.  We’ve obviously altered and thwarted the original template for the creation of human beings and produced a species of human doings who put achieving ahead of being and compete with one another in a “battle of the sexes.”

I’m in my second reading of THE MEANING OF MARY MAGDALENE – The Woman at the Heart of Christianity, a most provocative book written by episcopal priest Cynthia Bourgeault, in which she weaves the scenario of a romantic human relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. That alone should give you a clue about its provocative subject matter. To write this series of posts I dove right into the book to share poignant excerpts from chapter seven: “Reclaiming the Path of Romantic Love.”

In my last post I left my blog followers and readers with four options offered by the author to consider and choose from. They are:

1. That Mary Magdalene was Jesus’s mistress;

2. That theirs was a politically arranged marriage, strictly for dynastic purposes;

3. That they were sexual consorts in some Gnostic Mystery religion, ritually reenacting the sacred hieros gamos, or union of the opposites;

4. That the whole story is purely archetypal, a great Sophianic myth depicting the integration of the masculine and feminine within the human soul.”

I chose the third option. Here’s what Cynthia offers:

Sex, power, cult, or myth: not a great set of choices.  I have yet to see considered what in a sexually healthy culture would surely seem to be the obvious possibility: that they were faithful beloveds, whose lives were joined together in a fully enfleshed human love which was a source of strength and nurturance for both of them; which far from diminishing their spiritual integrity, deepened and fulfilled it. Why is it so hard to go there?  Well, obviously: because that is the one possibility our celibate template will not allow us to consider.

The “celibate template” of which she speaks is the scenario handed down to us by a patriarchal church and its celibate priesthood that portrays Jesus as a celibate bachelor, who had a virgin birth, and who gave himself utterly and completely to God and his mission without the “distraction” and high maintenance of a human relationship. Obviously, human sexuality has been a problem for the church for the past two-thousand years.

In this post, I will present the author’s four “propositions” or “myths”– all “rooted in the soil of celibate spirituality — that together have subtly sabotaged our ability to see romantic love as an authentic path of spiritual transformation.” Handed down as “gospel truth,” these myths in fact have “little or no scriptural authorization in the teachings of Jesus himself but instead draw their credibility entirely from the circular logic of his presumed celibacy.”

MYTH NUMBER ONE — Celibacy is the preferred means of giving oneself entirely to God

This myth as been promulgated and fostered by the church almost from the beginning of priesthood and monastic life.

Like so much else in church’s teachings on human sexuality, its scriptural origins lie in Paul’s oft-cited admonition, “The unmarried man cares for the Lord’s business; his aim is to please the Lord. But the married man cares for worldly things; his aim is to please his wife; and he has a divided mind” (Corinthians 7:33). Clearly this is a highly effective recruitment tactic for the religious life. Virtually every Christian monastic I know has entered upon the vocation espousing some variation of Thomas Merton’s impassioned outpouring: “I want to give God everything.” Of course, from an operational standpoint Paul is quite correct: being in partnership makes the logistics of spiritual discipleship a good deal more complicated.

But the theology underlying this principle, if you really consider it, is monstrous. In fact, it seems to be saying that the wholehearted love of God and the wholehearted love of another human being cannot coincide; as our love for a particular human being increases, our love for God is proportionately diminished. Not only is this a theological nightmare; it is also a flat-out contradiction of Jesus’s own dual commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind . . . and you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). Whatever the difficulty in juggling these sometimes contradictory demands, collapsing the tension between them is not an option.

I love her articulate way of stating the obvious in her writing style.  What she writes next, and the way she turns the usual perspective on its head, sends a delightful burst of sunshine into my heart:

The real solution to this paradox, I believe, comes in the gradual discovery that one cannot love God as an object. God is always and only the subject of love.  God is that which makes love possible, the source from which it emerges and the light by which it is recognized. Thus, “love of God” is not one love among others, not love for a particular “one” to whom my saying “yes” requires that I say “no” to another. Rather, God is the all-encompassing One who unlocks and sustains my ability to give myself fully to life in all its infinite particularity, including the excruciating particularity of a human beloved.

. . . God is the divine giving, who flows out and through our human expression to manifest love in all its fullness.  And so the way to give oneself fully to God would be to give fully of oneself

MYTH NUMBER TWO — Love divides the heart

The notion that erotic love divides the heart is so deeply engrained in monastic spiritual formation that renunciation becomes not only the imperative course of action but even a spiritual opportunity: the direct route to spiritual wholeness. The modern Jesuit John S. Dunne reflects this traditional view when he writes: “If I set my heart upon another person, then I cannot live without that person. My heart becomes divided. On the other hand, if I give my life to the journey with God, then my heart becomes whole and I can be whole in relationship with another.’ [Dunne, Reasons of the Heart].

. . . And yet the question remains: does love divide the heart? If God is considered an object of one’s love vying with other objects, then the crucial premise on which this theology hangs is true: yes, love would divide the heart. But if God is the subject of love, the place from which love emerges, then one could more reliably claim—as poets, mystics, and lovers have claimed throughout the ages—that love does not divide the heart, but is in fact the sole force strong enough to unite it. What divides the heart is not the love relationship itself but the passions: the strong emotions and shadow side that are always present when love runs strong. But these are not grounds for renunciation; rather, they are grounds for purification.

This story Cynthia shares next my wife and I can personally relate to, as she has spent the larger part of this year undergoing chemo therapy for breast cancer. Our hearts have been opened wider by this crisis so that we have been able to easily and gratefully give fully of ourselves to one another in a mutually loving and caring way. We have both been transformed in this challenging crisis so that we don’t see cancer as an enemy to fight against and conquer. Rather, by embracing it, the tumor has become a messenger bringing us an opportunity to grow spiritually and more intimately together in life . . . as well as to realize how many wonderful friends we have surrounding us and holding us in their love and prayers.

In closing this consideration, Cynthia writes:

What this purification might look like is captured with wrenching power in the memoir “Grace and Grit” by the contemporary philosopher Ken Wilber. In this remarkable autobiography he shares the story of his own love and transformation as he and his wife . . . wage a five-year battle against her ultimately fatal breast cancer. As their ordeal intensifies, one watches them each being melted down and refashioned in the refiner’s fire of their love for each other. Egotism, clinging, resentment—and other, darker shadows—rise to the surface and are released. Particularly in the last six months of [her] life, Wilber writes, “We simply and directly served each other, exchanging self for other, and therefore glimpsing that eternal spirit which transcends self and other, both ‘me’ and ‘mine’”

If this sounds like something you recall Jesus saying in the gospels, you’re right.

I do enjoy Cynthia’s style of writing and her bold expression of truth in the face of her own congregation and of the larger religious field in which she ministers. Fearless is perhaps the appropriate word to describe her writing. She is clearly in love with love leaving no room for fear of criticism and sanction.

The next two myths: “Human love is inherently different from divine love” and “Celibacy is a state of greater purity” I will leave for the next post. See you in a couple of weeks. Until then,

Be love. Be loved.

Anthony

Read my Health Light Newsletter online at LiftingTones.com. 

On Human Relations, . . . . . part 6: The Path of Romantic Love

My Chorale PicAn intimate, romantic, and sexual relationship with another human being, far from distracting one from spiritual attainment, can open a fast-track path to spiritual transformation: the path of romantic love.

This path is cluttered with signposts bearing moral Christian doctrines that warn of a sinful destination for those who seek erotic pleasure in natural sex drives that were designed to bring couples into a state of ecstatic union, along with the function of propagating the human species — sex solely for gratification not withstanding. The church is solely responsible for the degradation of sex from sacrament to sin in human relations, using Jesus, the celibate divine redeemer, and Mary Magdalene, the human “sinful prostitute,” as models upon which to base its thwarted and therefore false premise.

I’m in my second reading of Cynthia Bourgeault’s profoundly insightful and thought-provoking, if not controversial, rendering of  “The Meaning of MARY MAGDALENE – DISCOVERING THE WOMAN AT THE HEART OF CHRISTIANITY.”

This is unequivocally the most powerful book I have yet read on the story of Mary Magdalene and her role in the life and ministry of Jesus. The author, an Episcopal priest, literally plumbs the depth of my soul and awakens dreams of a “perfect world,” almost to the point of disturbing my default inner peace by arousing once again that painfully familiar longing for a seemingly unattainable state of “singleness” as a whole human being — ironically, a singleness that can only be obtained, according to her insight and perspective, in the state of holy matrimony. Cynthia’s Jesus came to “reclaim the path of romantic love” and to uplift marriage between a man and a woman to its original state of “one flesh” that no man can “put asunder”– and he walked his talk. He was not celibate by any connotation of that word. Nor did he recommend celibacy as the higher path to spiritual transformation. His was a life fully “enfleshed” as a whole human being, and that’s what made him such a powerful magnet and lightning rod. The people loved him for his authenticity. The governing religious leaders of that time hated him for the same reason.  Actually, in their gross darkness, they simply did not comprehend his light, and it frightened them and threatened their self-serving authority.

This book has a Voice. One that speaks from out of the ancient past, spanning time from the “beginning”– the Edenic origins of Man and Woman — up to and including the life, public ministry and death of Jesus the Nazarene, only not the Jesus introduced to us when we were children and foisted upon the Christian world since the fourth century Council of Nicea.  Cynthia’s Jesus is a whole human being who “emptied” himself fully of both his humanity and his divinity, leaving no part of his soul and body unused in service to his heavenly Father and to Humankind. And it was his intimate relationship with Mary Magdalene to which Cynthia attributes the fulfillment of his mission and purpose for incarnating on the planet when he did. I should say the fulfillment of their shared mission and purpose.

That said, I don’t think that I can do Cynthia’s book justice in a blog-long book review. So, with the thought in mind that my readers may be inspired to read Cynthia’s book to fully enjoy her viewpoint on these timely issues, I will simply share a few passages from her book that moved my soul to the point of shouting “YES! That rings so true!” I will share and comment on them as they come up in my second reading. Enjoy and be blessed.

I will start at the beginning of Chapter 7, “RECLAIMING THE PATH OF ROMANTIC LOVE,” just to give you a sense of the tone of Cynthia’s voice, along with the context in which she writes. Here she speaks to the issue of celibacy in a priesthood supposedly modeled after Jesus and his celibate apostles — or were they?

NEARLY TWENTY YEARS ago, long before The Da Vinci Code uproar broke, I was serving as parish priest in a small Episcopal congregation in Colorado. When the gospel appointed for one particular Sunday in August was Luke’s account of that anonymous “sinful” woman with her alabaster jar, I decided to take the risk of breaking open some of the insights that even back then were beginning to emerge from a growing spate of Mary Magdalene studies. My parishioners were a bright and intellectually curious bunch, so why not? During my sermon, I gently presented Margaret Starbird’s assertion (in her book The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, named after this very gospel passage) that the anointing of Jesus’s hands and feet described in the text was not simply a random act by a penitent woman, but an exquisitely symbolic ritual enacted between two lovers about to be separated.

The fire storm was predictable.

I had tried to pave the way as carefully as I could. My point in raising those issues, as I made clear both in the sermon itself and in the discussion that boiled over afterward, was not to argue the case one way or another, but rather to get at some of the attitudes underlying the way we Christians do theology — and more important the way we do love. “How do you feel about the possibility that Jesus had a human beloved?” I asked these parishioners. “Does it make you feel uncomfortable? Why?”

The responses were pretty much what I expected: “But if Jesus had sexual relations with a woman, he couldn’t be sinless.” “If he loved one in particular, he couldn’t love us all impartially.” “How could he be the son of God unless he gave himself completely to God?” The overwhelming consensus was that if Jesus had known erotic love, he could not possibly have also been the full embodiment of divine love. It would somehow disqualify him as the divine redeemer.

I could hardly blame the congregation for feeling that way.

After nearly two millennia of reinforcement, these assumptions have become so much of the landscape of Christianity that they appear to be part of the seamless structure of revealed truth. But in fact, assumptions are what they really are — not core tenets of the faith, not anything that Jesus himself taught, but superimpositions of a male, celibate, priestly theology which for nearly two thousand years has been the only game in town.

The complicated history of how this situation came to be could fill a book in itself (and in fact has several times over). The short version is basically this: during those first four centuries of Christian life, as leadership moved from a charismatic eldership model to the threefold sacramental ministry we know today (bishops, priests, and deacons), part and parcel of this evolution was an increasing tendency to view both Christ and his apostles through the prototype of celibate priesthood. This is of course a flagrant anachronism in light of the unambiguous scriptural references to Peter’s mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14) and the only slightly more ambiguous allusions in Luke to the other disciples’ “companions.?”

But counterbalancing the testimony of the gospels themselves was a growing discomfort with conjugal intimacy, a discomfort whose roots probably lie in the extreme Essene asceticism out of which Jesus himself most likely emerged (we will be exploring this topic in greater detail in the following chapter). Beginning as early as Paul, this unease was magnified in each succeeding generation by a chorus of Christianity’s most influential thinkers including Marcion, Tatian, Jerome, and Augustine. The consensus grew stronger and stronger that sex and the sacraments simply didn’t mix. By the fourth century edicts were in place forbidding married priests to have conjugal relations with their wives. Not long thereafter married priesthood itself dropped astern in Western Christendom, and celibacy became the entrance requirement for admission to the power structure of the church.

It gives one a bit of a start to realize that for the better part of two millennia, Christian theology has been written, shaped, formulated, and handed down almost exclusively by celibates talking to other celibates. In that respect, it is extraordinarily monolithic. And from this exclusively celibate template emerges the only image of Christ our tradition has allowed us to entertain: of a celibate renunciate whose “sinless” purity would necessarily entail sexual abstinence.

At the age of twenty-one, this very requirement barred my own entrance into the Roman Catholic priesthood after seven years of seminary life, during which I tried in vain to suppress my body’s natural erotic urges and my soul’s longing for a feminine soul mate.  Cynthia goes right to the heart of the highly emotionally charged premise that in addition to all the roles attributed to Mary Magdalene — apostle, visionary, healer — “there is still one remaining to her, which may just be the most important of them all: soul mate.”

Were Jesus and Mary Magdalene lovers? Were they secretly married? That, of course, is the claim laid out in  The Da Vinci Code and a number of other books and documentaries and which the church angrily refutes.

The question would never have a fair hearing in Christian circles, she goes on to say, where the “mote” has not yet been cast out of our own eyes while we dare to pass judgement on those who entertain a different view from our own.

It is one thing to argue the case for reclaiming Mary Magdalene as apostle and wisdom-bearer, purveyor of a sorely needed feminine presence in the church; it is quite another to tie this claim to the theologically taboo subject of a romantic involvement with Jesus. Two-thousand years of dogma and tradition have left the field so thoroughly land-mined with negative assumptions and stereotypes that it is virtually impossible to see anything other than red, like my congregation that morning. The question will inevitably be heard as an attack on Jesus and as an act of sabotage upon the Christian faith itself.

After two-thousand years of programming that celibacy is the highest Christian way when compared to the second-rate path of committed spousal love, “it is hardly surprising that our Western anthropology of human sexuality is abysmal.”

In the secular version relentlessly foisted upon us by contemporary culture, it’s all about pleasure, performance, gratification. In the bedroom of the faithful, it’s still all too often about duty and shame: a begrudging debt to future generations which, even when carefully managed, is still tainted with carnal sin. Mention “erotic love” and people will immediately hear “sex,” then immediately thereafter, “dirty.” The idea that there could be anything holy about this kind of love is too alien to even consider. That’s simply the way our ears have been trained to hear it; we are all children of a cultural stream whose vision of human love  has been shaped by the shadow side of celibate spirituality.

From the gutter, the view of the gossip and speculation around Mary Magdalene and Jesus in various studies is less than holy and rather “scandalmongering,” Cynthia writes.

We are really presented with only four options:

1. That Mary Magdalene was Jesus’s mistress;

2. That theirs was a politically arranged marriage, strictly for dynastic purposes;

3. That they were sexual consorts in some Gnostic Mystery religion, ritually reenacting the sacred hieros gamos, or union of the opposites;

4. That the whole story is purely archetypal, a great Sophianic myth depicting the integration of the masculine and feminine within the human soul.”

With that, I will leave you to ponder these options for yourself and return in two weeks to compare your choice of options to Cynthia’s in my next post as we continue to explore romantic human love as a path to spiritual transformation. I will present four “propositions” or “myths”– all “rooted in the soil of celibate spirituality — that together have subtly sabotaged our ability to see romantic love as an authentic path of spiritual transformation.” Until my next post, then . . .

be love ~ be loved.

Anthony

Read my Health Light Newsletter on-line at LiftingTones.com.

 

 

 

On Human Relations, part 3, page 4: Man-Woman Equality

I think what we see here is more about cosmic energies, driven by love, seeking a balance in human relationships and affairs and equal partnership in co-creating a beautiful world.

My Chorale PicIn my last post, I offered my perspective and take on the seemingly phenomenal explosion of same-sex relationships. Much of the “explosion,” however, seems to be more about public awareness due to social media than actual increase in terms of numbers. Homosexuality has likely been around since the separation between man and woman in the Garden of Eden. Biblical references abound in both Old and New Testament scriptures. I think what we see here is more about cosmic energies, driven by love, seeking a balance in human relationships and affairs and equal partnership in co-creating a beautiful world.

As I understand their nature, cosmic energies are both positive and negative, or masculine and feminine, and that is by divine design in order to foster Creation itself. It is the Law of Love at work. Positive energy is by nature radiant, a masculine characteristic, and negative energy is by nature responsive, a more feminine characteristic. Creation involves equal partnering between masculine and feminine energies.  It is governed by the Law of Balance, which Walter and Lao Russell wrote so eloquently about in their books I’ve been reviewing and referencing in this blog series. If that partnering is prevented between men and women — as is surely the case in today’s male-female relationships where the man lords it over the woman yet in a social order that denies women equal privilege, pay and participation in decision making and governance — then these cosmic energies, which obey only divine order and the cosmic laws of Creation, will rise up to partner in same-sex relationships. Ideally, these co-creative energies seek to partner in a balanced way in each individual human being, where they are equally operative, and will do so as the individual pursues and completes a spiritual path that leads to true Self awareness and activation.

Mind you, these individuals are “same-sex” only in physical appearance and not in spiritual or vibrational essence and reality. These energies have no persona, no respect of person. Nor do they have ego, either male or female.  In other words, they are not the person. They are cosmic energies, pure and simple, and they belong together bringing forth Creation as equal partners in a balanced relationship.

The problem arises out of our insistence on identifying with them. Our correct identity is as a Human Being. I am a Human Being incarnate in a male form. My wife is a Human Being incarnate in a female form. We were drawn together by Love, as are most couples. It has been our conscious choice to find a balance in our relationship and to learn what it means to partner in life. This “Work” is an ongoing process.

This balance is obvious between Walter and  Lao Russell when you read their writings. They worked at it and succeeded in achieving man-woman equality. Jesus and Mary Magdalene established the pattern of spiritual intimacy and equality that manifested itself in their mental and physical relationship. They were full partners in their shared ministry — and it was a shared ministry, as I will write about when I review Cynthia Bourgeault’s timely and provocative book The Meaning of MARY MAGDALENE — Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity

But let’s read a little more from Lao’s chapter on Man-Woman Equality. At the end of this chapter, Lao takes an action step toward creating a movement in the USA that could change the status quo.

In her own words . . .

Portrait of Lao Russell

Portrait of Lao Russell

Our present unbalanced civilization is scientifically impossible to endure. It is fast disintegrating even now and its decay has accelerated very dangerously since 1900. It is so badly unbalanced in so many departments and institutions that any attempt to balance all of them simultaneously would not be effectual, besides which there is not time to do it that way. The most necessary and the most hopeful one of the unbalanced conditions is man-woman equalization.

This essential to world happiness could become a living flame which would illumine the whole world with a new light if every woman started immediately to “do something about it,” aided by every man who believed in it. Such a movement can succeed only if organized into strength of numbers. One alone can do but little but if everyone joined together in a multiple ONE UNIT of twenty millions or more before the next election, it might be quite possible to make the first great step in that direction by electing many women senators and congresswomen, and even the Vice President for the next Presidential term. Such a world innovation adopted in this country would arouse the whole world of women in other countries where such an innovation would be impossible at the present time. This country should lead the world in this respect as it has in so many respects.

The way to do this speedily and powerfully is for you and every woman everywhere, to call a few friends to gether and form themselves into a unit of the Man-Woman Equalization League. It must be started by
women but every man who is in sympathy with the movement should become an equal member of it. Every truly great man will immediately realize its import and become an enthusiastic working member of it. That UNITY is its very purpose

The League never got off the ground. However, one can go to the Foundation website and find there ways to participate in various programs and projects. I will end this excerpt with a few final words from Lao.

The appeal for this organization is so strong that its growth would become millions in one year if every woman would but realize that women have the power to save the world from another chaos by merely asserting themselves as equal inheritors of the earth and of the business of managing all earthly affairs equally with men. . . . 

When women once realize this saving power which is theirs, and the responsibility which is theirs, this movement will become the mighty crusade which it ought to be. . . .

It is hardly necessary to call your attention to the power which is vested in so many million votes.Unless something of this nature is initiated at once we shall go farther and farther into the chaos which a man-made world is so fast falling into. It is scientifically impossible for peace and happiness to come to such an unbalanced world as this is, where the physical values are so preponderant over spiritual values. We have either got to balance the FatherMother basis of Creation or perish over and over again until we dobalance it.

I therefore say to every woman who reads this book: Will you start today to dedicate yourself to this world service? And I also say to every man: Will you help woman to give birth to this man-woman equalization movement for world unification and peace, and become a member of the Man-Woman Equalization League?

I will leave you with this video interview of Lao Russell.

You can also view it at : Lao Russell Interview PM Magazine  https://youtu.be/mTCQf3iVssQ

Reference: “GOD WILL WORK WITH YOU BUT NOT FOR YOU” By Lao Russell.

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On Human Relations, part 3, page 3: Man-Woman Equality

My Chorale Pic

In GOD WILL WORK WITH YOU BUT NOT FOR YOU, Lao Russell writes to the inequality between man and woman in high places where women’s spiritual nature would offer a depth of perspective that would help bring about a balanced approach to decisions that impact both men and women, such as decisions about war and environmental issues. It is not enough simply for men to see women as physical objects for his comfort and pleasure and for the purpose of procreation, child rearing and homemaking.

(Clearly, society’s view of homosexuality and lesbianism has undergone radical transformation since Lao wrote and published these words in 1955. This was just prior to the sexual revolution of the 60’s. Bear this in mind as you read this first paragraph.)

Lao Russell

Lao Russell

No great achievement of world import ever comes from countries where women are openly denied any approach to equality with men and they stand still for centuries. Physical interchange with women, unaccompanied with mental interchange, holds a nation to a physical level, just as it does with an individual. Neither individuals nor nations ever progress through physical interchange alone. Miscegenation ruined Greece. Thallic worship ruined many cities and countries while homosexuality, which resulted from such unbalanced conditions, created many a Sodom and Gomorrah.

My take on this view of homosexuality is, first of all, that it is outdated, but nevertheless based on historical and Biblical rocord. In the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, man had devolved to a lower animal nature, having lost sight and experience of his spiritual nature. Over the eons of time, man has evolved from his purely physical identity to a more integrated sense of identity.  In other words, physical man has given birth to Spiritual Man during the current phase of our evolution and awakening in consciousness to the multi-dimensional nature of the Whole Man. What we as a race of Human Beings are experiencing is the integration of the masculine and feminine energies in both men and women — along with the imbalances that appear in the evolutionary process. Let me elaborate on what I mean by imbalances.

Spiritual Man is both male and female, made in the image and likeness of the Creator.  Form notwithstanding, whatever sexual energy is dominant in an entity will determine the individual’s sexual orientation. There will be confusion and incongruencies in form until Spiritual Man fully emerges as a Light Being. These human bodies are temporary, substitute forms and they are giving way to the emergence of our original forms for incarnation. These were spiritual forms made of pure light. Evolution is leading to the restoration of our true state of being as co-creators with God on this physical plane. In the transitional phase, which we are currently undergoing and have been for some time, imbalances are experienced. This necessitates a non-judgmental state in our hearts and minds. We cannot judge what is emerging.

This was the original condition we were given in Eden if we were to have access to the Tree of Life: that we not judge the Creative Process that brings forth good out of evil–or evol, if you will.  The Tree of the knowledge of good and evol is the Creative Process, and that tree belongs to the Creator. We were told not to eat of its fruit lest we should die. Of course we disobeyed the Creator and ate of the “forbidden fruit”—which is simply judgement. The rest is history — or his story; the story of the rise and fall of the man-made, mind-made world. As I said, this is my take on these matters of very current concern, considering the recent Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage.

Lao writes with a woman’s understanding heart about the primary and pivotal imbalance in this man-made world.

Within the last fifty years, countries like Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Iran and Japan which gradually added to the status of woman by giving her greater dignity, progressed very rapidly from almost static levels. The countries which have risen to the highest levels in culture, invention, science, industry and engineering are the ones in which its women interchange mentally with men as well as physically. Middle Europe and the United States have given almost all of the world’s great
achievements to the world, while the Slavs, Mongols, Arabs, and other Asiatic and African nations have given practically none of it. Whatever scientific, engineering, industrial or inventive advancement has come to Slav countries has been subsidized from Anglo-Saxon countries.

The advancement of women to mental esteem has been encouraging but there has been too little of man-woman equality in high places, such as industry and government. In these important departments of life the world is still a man’s world, made by man for man, and in man’s image. It is not a peaceful world, or a united one in any of its many departments, and it never will be as long as it is a man’s man-made world. Until women become the acknowledged mental equal of man and share with him the executive management of industrial and national responsibilities, it will be impossible to have an enduring civilization of happy, peaceful, successful people.

An unbalanced civilization is as operatively impossible as it would be for a man to continually walk and work while even three degrees away from perpendicular. Wherever one sees world and national affairs being discussed and weighed for decisions which affect all peoples, both men and women, you see great rows of men occupying the seats of judgment as to how the world must act. Everyone is familiar with pictures of man-groups in such high places as Senate and Congressional gatherings, the great conferences of The United Nations, the international assemblies at world conferences, the English Parliament or the cabinet of the President of the United States. With but few exceptions here and there all these managers of world affairs are men, all engaged in making a man’s unbalanced world which is as divided against itself as Man and Woman are divided against each other in a home where man is “master in his own house.”

I am quite sure that present-day man has not given serious thought to this man-woman equality in high places—especially here in the United States where men revere their women so highly. I feel that those thinking ones who read this book and remembering the great import of their wives in their work will do all in their power to commence what could be the greatest movement the world has even known. This action would be the spiritual rebirth the world is seeking and which all thinking men have been desiring to come into being to save it.

Our present state of world affairs is not in harmony with God’s One Law. That means that the whole human race is endeavoring to build a civilization by working against God instead of working with Him. It is a defiance of God’s command which Nature will not tolerate. Man alone can never manifest His Creator. Every creation of God or man springs only from unity, not from separateness. Creation stems only from united Father-Mother-hood. Man can no more create an enduring civilization without woman than he can create a baby without woman.

All ideas of the Mind, as well as all created bodies which manifest Mind, must have a mother as well as a father. The great error of man in this respect lies not so much in selfishness and ego as it does to the hold-over of his pagan memory of woman’s value to him as being purely physical. Until man and woman can equalize their mental relations and work together for spiritual unity, a balanced civilization is impossible.

We have long heard the hackneyed phrase that woman’s place is in the home. To organize, beautify and manage a home requires a great deal of executive ability which women perform with great credit when they must do it alone, but gloriously so when mates work together. Women have been called upon in war emergency meassures and asked to fill places unfamiliar to them, places which none but men have ever filled. They not only did the work with equal skill and merit but very often with greater efficiency than men.

When women fought for equal suffrage, one of the most familiar criticisms used to ridicule the idea of women as voters was the claim that they would vote for the man who had nice curly hair rather than the one who had brains. Then there was the ridicule of woman as statesman or as industrial director. “What would a woman know about government? What would she do in a conference of trained diplomats?”

Looking upon the results of our all-men world conferences since the end of World War I is it not fair to ask if the present dreadful plight the world finds itself in could not have been avoided if the balancing influence of women’s spiritual nature had been present? Every man and woman must realize that it is not in woman’s nature to kill, for her purpose on earth is to give life, not take it.

That alone is crucial to the survival of the human race. Women would find a more civilized way of settling issues between nations than war. Indeed, there would likely be fewer issues to settle between world nations if the feminine nature of Mankind was given equal place at the table of governing bodies.  More on this in my next post.

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