Untainted Love


http://wodensfolk.org.uk/sexualmysticism.html

Note: Oh, I’ll grant at once that Wodensfolk isn’t the kind of blog from which a libertarian should be reposting and hope to remain in good standing. I probably shouldn’t even admit to following such blogs. I post this, however, to observe that I completely fail in any effort to take the article seriously.

So far as I’m concerned, marriage is largely about companionship and the procreation of children. Sex is an enjoyable adjunct to both. There are wider benefits to nuclear marriage, so far as small families encourage peaceful living between strangers, and so far as it limits the invasions of power. It is for this reason that I have no trouble with accepting the principle of gay marriage. There are no natural children, but the other benefits still follow. All this stuff about Jung and D.H. Lawrence and “mystical unions” has about as much resonance for me as art criticism must for a blind man. I find it silly to read about, and struggle to keep a straight face when people start lecturing me about it in person.

I’m a good writer of narrative prose, and have been praised for my ability to create believable characters. I’m also rather good at satirical verse, and might be better at it if we lived in an age when verse was more in fashion. I think, however, that I lack any sense of the transcendent. I do respond to certain kinds of artistic beauty – chiefly music and poetry. But the poetry I most like is bound by rules and is most to be praised for its technical excellence. As for music, I like Viennese classicism and its long aftermath. If I like Wagner, it is wholly for his music. His philosophy and his taste for tragedy leave me cold.

It may be that there is no real poetry in my soul. I was born lukewarm, and spent most of my formative years reading Hume and Gibbon and Voltaire et al. The result may be uninspiring to anyone soaked in German romanticism. On the other hand, I may not be wrong in believing that people who claim a deeper understanding of things than I do are frauds – on themselves, if not on others. I also suggest that a world in which more people thought like me and those who influenced me would be far less nightmarish than the one we have. SIG

“A man and a woman are one. A man and a woman and a blackbird are one.” Carl Jung was apparently besotted with this stanza from Wallace Stevens’ poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” This strange passage expressed, for Jung, something of the secret and intimate symbolism that exists within a relationship between a man and a woman. Within an erotic relationship between a man and a woman a sort of unity is achieved through the correct fusion of the complementary genders. And within this unity there is a secret, intimate language of symbolism, typified for Jung in Stevens’ symbol of the blackbird. The man and woman become reborn into a new world where they exist as a unified, and higher, personality which establishes a new symbolic language.

This way of viewing the sexual union between male and female may seem somewhat idiosyncratic but it has been hinted at by others. It was expressed with perfect mystical understanding by D. H. Lawrence in The Rainbow. In the chapter “Anna Victrix,” Lawrence describes Anna and Will Brangwen spending the first few days of their honeymoon in their cottage, doing nothing much but lying in bed:

As they lay close together, complete and beyond the touch of time or change, it was as if they were at the very centre of all the slow wheeling of space and the rapid agitation of life, deep, deep inside them all, at the centre where there is utter radiance, and eternal being, and the silence absorbed in praise: the steady core of all movements, the unawakened sleep of all wakefulness. They found themselves there, and they lay still, in each other’s arms; for their moment they were at the heart of eternity, whilst time roared far off, for ever far off, towards the rim.

This brilliant piece of prose captures the feeling of the individual self-contained persona becoming dissolved in a sense of timelessness through its deep connection with another, so that both are transcended to something higher.

In philosophic terms we might say that insofar as the individual remains a self-contained, discrete unit, then he is concealed; insofar as he participates in the universal, and transcends his individuality, he is revealed. In these terms, sex is a key to revealing the higher reality and participating in the universal. Precisely because it is able to achieve this powerful sense of liberation sex can be subject to a high degree of control. In Traditional societies the sanctification of marriage through a religious ceremony was a way of directing the purpose of sexual union to a higher level than the merely aesthetic and procreative. Sex would then be a method of revealing the universal. Indeed, for most people, sex is the only experience of Magick that they will have in their lives.

Whilst Lawrence described the dissolution of the limited egotistical self, W.B. Yeats described a different sort of dissolution: the breaking down of all order that has become characteristic of the Kali Yuga.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

The center cannot hold. This is one of the great spiritual truths of the age. All of us have become less self-sufficient, less autonomous, more contingent in modern times. We have all, at some level, become subject to the great, unconscious, centrifugal force that operates on the mass of humanity, and against which it is the duty of the higher types to rebel. This centrifugal force pulls us away from our connection to higher, supernatural, forces and allows entropy to set in. It is a force that tends towards decay and disorder; it impels the dissolution of bonds including the bond between man and woman. Whereas the movement described by Lawrence (and hinted at in Jung’s interpretation of Stevens) is one of dissolution of the lower, egotistic self, prior to transcendence in a higher union, the movement of the Kali Yuga, as described by Yeats, is that of dissolution of all ordered structures and creations in subservience to entropy. In the Kali Yuga oaths and bonds become meaningless and we become more and more attached to our own appetites, and thus further concealed within our limited, lower selves. The power of the sexual union of male and female derives from the fact that it uses nature to transcend nature.

In the present age the spiritual union of man and woman, sanctified by sexual union, has become an anachronism, tolerated as a lifestyle choice, rather than compelled as the foundation of spiritual awakening. All sorts of sexual relations, all manner of perverse desires are encouraged. Men dressing as women, women dressing as men, both acting like children; children dressing like prostitutes, homosexuals adopting children, children having “gender realignments”; everything is permitted, nothing is forbidden. All of this is encouraged by the government; in fact, resistance is often illegal, due to “hate” legislation. And however much spokesmen for the establishment might bleat about “rights” and “tolerance,” we should view this state of affairs for what it is: a direct attack on our ability to presence the numinous in our daily lives. Those who support the degradation of the modern world are severing us from our gods and selling our children for profit. This is all necessary and inevitable, just as night follows day.

The excesses of the present time are all beginning to come home to roost. As we fall deeper there will be further excesses and a greater sense of emptiness lying at the heart of it all. This feeling of emptiness will create a longing for meaning; a yearning for something more. When the time is right this yearning for the meaningful will outweigh the desire for sensory satisfaction, and the wheel will turn again. In such a context the Avatar is expected to appear.

These are the end times, the days of the Kali Yuga, foretold centuries ago. In the Voluspa, the Seeress foresees “mighty whoredom” in the days preceding Ragnorok. The older Vishnu Purana says of the Kali Yuga: “passion will be the sole bond of union between sexes . . . and women will be the objects merely of sensual gratification.” These are the times we are living through now. For many of those who do not live in Traditional societies (e.g. nearly all Westerners) sex has become a form of entertainment, divorced from the concepts of childbirth, fidelity and responsibility. We are encouraged by the media, advertising and peer pressure to see sex as a merely aesthetic pastime. Here, it is worth remembering that the word “aesthetic” refers to sensory perceptions, which are shared by all animals. The higher, human, purpose, reaching toward the numinous, as described by Lawrence is now forgotten. When this purpose is forgotten chaos ensues.

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7 responses to “Untainted Love

  1. Skipping past the article, my own view on Sean’s preamble is that mysticism is a good thing, but one must indulge in it with the simultaneous awareness that it’s bollocks. That is, with a kind of suspension of disbelief.

    Rather like watching a play. You know they’re really actors. It’s just a set. But you indulge in it anyway, because it’s nice.

    I’m rather emotionally fond of cod-paganism. Witchery and shouty heavy metal and standing stones and all that, and I really get a spiritual pleasure from wandering around some ancient prehistoric temple site (or whatever the henges are; we don’t actually know). But I do so in the suspended knowledge that it’s also total bullshit. I think a little spirituality does a fellow good. Too much tends to cloud the mind though. And, atheist as I am, I find old churches strangely comforting places to be. My local one (only a few yards away) is 13th century. I like to stand outside it, imagining mediaeval folk marrying at the door, and so on. Well, until the police move me on, anyway.

    Being in love is just a bunch of hormones, that evolved to make us procreate, and utterly irrational. But it sort of ruins it to think of it in those terms and not indulge the myth that it is in some sense spiritual; I suspect we may need such imaginational indulgences to keep ourselves sane.

    I suspect none of what I just wrote made any sense. That might itself be the point.

  2. “Sex” – or rather “the joy of sex” (sic) is the physical reward that suvival-machines (animals’ bodies) have been given, evolving co-temporally as they do and did) by their genes, as the pay-off for a successful attempt to pass on the same genes that demanded being passed on, and proferred the reward for so doing.

    Since it’s mostly the “male” (but see cladistics and modern molecular-phylogenetics for different definitions of what is “male”…in birds and therefore dinosaurs, XY is female and the default-sex, XX, is male, for example) at least in mammals that has to do the chasing and the active shagging, the “reward” must necessarily fall to the “male” survival machine for being able to “get a female” and “pass its haploid gametes into said female”.

    What happens to the male “partner” thereafter is of no account… which is why we roll over and just go to sleep. Trying to shag a modern educated woman in a highly-industrialised civilisation is exhausting enough, God knows…

  3. So the choice so far seems to be (and nothing personal in saying this) clod, miserabilist(sic) or philistine–errr thanks.

    ‘’Tis down in yonder garden green,
    Love, where we used to walk,
    The finest flower that ere was seen
    Is wither’d to a stalk.

    ‘The stalk is wither’d dry, my love,
    So will our hearts decay;
    So make yourself content, my love,
    Till God calls you away.’’

  4. I don’t really understand this sort of stuff, being a libertarian-conservative-minimal-statist-liberalist.

    I’ll have to read it in more detail, and then comment in a day or so, in the best ways I know how and in the light of what the scumbag-formulas say that they say.
    So there.

  5. I must dissent and say that I felt an immediate understanding of what the author is driving at. The language and concepts used are extensions of those that are integral not only to the heart of religious experience but also form much of the indigenous myth and legend of the West, as you would expect from a Traditionalist. At worst – but not here – this train of thought leads to meaningless New Age platitudes. At best, it leads not only to striking images but to images that draw upon something that is integral to our common cultural consciousness – a very Jungian concept. The imposition of meaning that is characteristic of Romanticism is part and parcel of an epistemology that offers an alternative to the reductive nature of rationalism, but that as a modification of historicism is an epistemology nonetheless.

    • The allegation of fraud is loosely made, and so I withdraw it. But I repeat that I am sceptical about claims that there is a higher reality that may be perceived other than via the senses and understood in non-rational terms. The odd experiences I sometimes write about can always be explained away within a rationalist framework.

      • “I believe, like most people, not that of which logic can convince me but what my nature inclines me to believe. This is so of nearly everybody.” – Quentin Crisp