Woman’s liberation is indeed an important issue. Perhaps, one of the most important in the 20th Century. Certainly, as far as human rights are concerned. I’ll try to make that more clear as we go along. My con- cern is that it also has doubled the troops of those forces that are eating up the world’s resources and helping to destroy the very environment that sustains us. It’s an example of a great good doing great evil. “Good intentions pave the road to hell,” they say.
Simon had a different response to this whole question. People, who in the past were subjected to the experience of an underclass, often find quasi-liberation in taking on the traits of the dominant class. Maybe the opposite is also true. A formerly dominant class finds liberation in tak- ing on the traits of the underclass. Not just slumming, but deeply, as we’ll see…
Simon had several rides after leaving Virginia Beach. Nothing of note to comment upon in any of these. He was dropped off in Jacksonville, Florida, on the Interstate heading west—best route to take in the winter if you go by land. Especially if you are hitchhiking! It was late evening. He waited and waited for a ride. Nothing for hours. Then, he decided to get some sleep, so rolled out his sleeping bag behind pine trees and bushes that landscape that onramp. And soon he dreamed:
- In the dream, on a grassy hill there is a pavilion like tent. I approach. Through the tent flap, a young man, lying naked on a bed, legs dangling over the bedside, seems to be waiting for me. The situation is spread with attraction and danger. The young man lay on some softly lit, rich fabric covering the bed. A boy/man. I approach more closely—I nurse suckle the (energetic) milk from him as I spread further his muscular, no longer hairless, young legs.
- The scene of the dream shifts to a large procession. A group of aristo- cratic women in medieval or renaissance garb move from behind the tent toward a river below and distant mountains. A thunderstorm is building and threatening above and behind the mountains.
- The scene shifts again to the river’s side where I am trying to pull by rope, a heavy log, up, over the bottom branches of a large oak tree.
- A vast flood charges, dark and thundering down the river valley. Both the tree and I disappear in the powerful waters. Not as a rejection of the experience in the tent. There is a sense that the waters are destiny and great peace…
A most important and surprising point of this dream is that when he woke, he was flooded with an energy of enormous delight. Energy. For hours after I woke, sensations of ebullient joy flowed through me. Not just joy but energy. Flowing, endless energy. For weeks after, if he told the story or even remembered the dream, he would again be suffused in delight. What enabled me to evoke these levels of light-filled delight? The erotic elements in the dream? Not exactly. He came to believe that the dream indicated a shift between masculine and feminine poles in my psyche that engaged states of consciousness flooded with amorphous, trans- sexual delight (i.e., transcendent of opposites).
Simon seems prone to such states of consciousness. I have often mused that these might be the foundation of culture as well, since such dualistic (pluralistic) states and their resolution/transcendence are, I believe, the underlying content and construct of human perception. Homoerotic love, since it is able to evoke feelings in individuals as powerful as the heterosexual drive to procreate—the biological urge to propagate in any species, indicates a capacity to redirect major ele- ments of human personality. The homoerotic emotion indicates a con- dition free of otherwise inexorable biological logic. The feminine, the earth, and the storm are evoked here.
The homoerotic emotion is a catalytic strain laced through the psy- chic structure of human kind, perhaps the whole biological universe. It is a dangerous and invaluable alternative, the experience of which is fraught with endless social problems. If it were not very potent, why would people react so strongly to what really seems to be, otherwise, a minor issue? Only a few topics generate the level of vitriolic excitement that this issue manages to rouse. The prohibitions against it in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are vague in that they probably are reactions against flagrant practices in erotic religious cults of surround- ing cultures—the negative reaction thus being as much xenophobic as homophobic. After all, King David loved Jonathan “more than women.” Jesus Christ, who supersedes all previous God/World agreements, for Christians, said little about sex at all—but forgave the one caught in sexual sin—much less about the homoerotic emotion—except perhaps secretly… to St. John.
What I am considering at this point is the homoerotic emotion, not Gay culture. That is a different discussion. Here we merely discuss an important, powerful element in human perception.
It is my belief that if there is a problem with increasing homosexual- ity in our culture it is because there is a proportionate problem in the heterosexual population. The problem might be in the deeper construct of culture. Many peoples in the past 10, 000 years, since the develop- ment of civilizations and empires, have been so characterized by mas- culine domination, as to be trapped in their own pathology of willful aggression. It is a situation increasingly, violently, out of balance. As the corporate, universal order of the world subconsciously tries to balance itself, individuals respond in the most remarkable ways. Perhaps Gay culture is such a response. I believe the more universal, homoerotic emotion certainly is.
SPECULATION: The dualistic powers that govern the biosphere might be called upon to save it. These opposite elements are but an expression of the inexpressible Godhead. Poisons become elixirs, in the right circumstances, with certain personalities. Sexuality and violence are closely related reactions that inherently seek the Eden of union, bal- ance and radiant beauty in all things—sometimes they just react, arche- types with intentions of their own. …the natural world is reeling from traumatic blows being struck against it by militant profiteering and commercial technology. Profit and security are the motives now that dominate the dominant value structures in the world: Security in a world increasingly insecure. Profit in a world increasingly bereft of nat- ural resources, as vast populations, dazed by suffering, mourn their own fruitful increase.
Is there a way to respond to this sad demise of the natural world, our deep spiritual relationship with it—perhaps eventually all of the living world? Is there a way beyond the rational sanctity of humanist virtue and religion that has so far failed to save us from the raging human heart?
Cat muses (rather like she was giving a college lecture):
We had both gone off to different schools. He on the west coast. Myself on the east. We wrote a lot of letters, since we couldn’t afford big phone bills. But my opinion about such topics as homoeroticism was changing.
Let me provide some background, since this is such a hotly contested issue. This is what helped me understand what was going on with Simon. So, I didn’t cut him off entirely. And this information is impor- tant for later on.
The value of such persons capable of the homoerotic response is well displayed in Walter William’s book. The Spirit and the Flesh. According to the anthropology in some of this research, the homoerotic capacity in an individual is an ability gifted by the divine Spirit to reflect its own nature that contains the image or ideal of all things, masculine, femi- nine, light, dark. This individual is protected by spirit familiars. Those who harm this one, suffer. The Flesh and the Spirit, clearly indicates well founded, alternative attitudes in many cultures that reveal the Judeo-Christian bias regarding this topic and therefore a strong bias in the West generally. Let me explain:
A model of the homoerotic sentiment can be found in the relationship between Herakles and his young friend, Hylas. Herakles (Hercules) was a ‘Goddess priest’ who often wore the robes of the priestess to per- form her rites. This transsexual theme figures largely in the history of the self-identification and god-identification found in many world reli- gions. The suggestion is merely that certain of such sexual elements are catalytic in the esoteric action of this story. The sexual issues here evoke connections to Tantric practice and cosmological themes as well—i.e., all is essentially pure, created good. Sexuality can be a means of divine realization and enlightenment. In magical practice it is used to re-chan- nel power. The sacrament of sexuality is not only the modern sacra- ment of self-fulfillment in relationships, but it is, from antiquity, the metaphor of divine/mundane union—best practiced by ones with, at least, the celibate’s dedication. This is true for both heterosexuality and homosexuality.
In many Shamanistic traditions, the tradition of the [old] Navaho for instance, homosexuality is viewed as a metaphoric gift, emulating the bisexual Godhead. (Bisexual because everything in the world comes from God, including the two sexes.) In the realm of the psyche, the androgen,—a person who is sexually balanced, maintaining both poles of sexual orientation—is the gatekeeper between worlds— between this world and the world of the Spirit. This was/is an ability to be prized. Not everybody can do it. It might be a gift necessary or at least valuable to culture and cosmos. (It should be noted that not all Shamanistic people hold this view. And many contemporary Native Americans are influenced by the dominant culture in this.)
In any case, this more tolerant view seems to be a better appreciation of talents available to human access. It is a poignant fact that this toler- ance among Native Americans, that might be considered progressive today, was one of the major excuses Europeans used for exterminating or enslaving the indigenous peoples and cultures of the New World.
Robert Graves’ book, The White Goddess, provides an analysis of the priest/poet/hero figure, such as Herakles (Herakles is Greek for “Glory of Hera”), in mythology in relationship with the Goddess. The two are insep- arable and perennial in human perception. This topical reference starts with the sacrificial priesthood of the Great Goddess from around the Mediterranean. In this construct, the hero/sacred king/priest/son/consort is adulated for a time, then sacrificed to become divine. His initiates would often eat his flesh and blood in communion with their deity. This function of the mediatory priesthood, hieros or hierophant, extends to the priest- hood of Jesus Christ in the order of Melquizedek.
Beginning with the cultural and individual phenomenon of Shamanism, rooted in the early Stone age, we can see a complex of par- ticular insight and practice… [characterized by] a group of radical techniques: Transsexual trauma, terror, torture, alcoholic inebriation, use of sacred (psychedelic) substances, humiliation and sickness. All are “ingested” in combination with mythological belief patterns and per- haps used in combination with more moderate practices such as medi- tation, pilgrimage, and other traditional practices. The danger is initiation of psychological unbalance or even death. Some young Eskimo shaman novices, when forced into a transsexual experience, commit suicide, others adjust. (Eliade, Shamanism, p. 258) The positive effect perhaps, with certain individuals, is to disorient one enough, or to separate one enough from one’s personal or cultural context to discover access to fundamental elements from the sub-strata of consciousness, the instinctual “stuff” of personality; i.e. Knowledge, Powers, and Transcendence arise. Jung might refer to this as “figures” or “powers” that arise even spontaneously from the Unconscious. (Jung’s Introduction and Commentary, Secret of the Golden Flower, p.120.)
One can discover the use of such techniques simply by reading Casteneda, or by more laboriously doing comparative religious study. A male might be exposed to the archetypal feminine and thus display in one’s life [transsexual] behavior that loosens the vice-like grip of “ordi- nary” consciousness. This might allow for other extraordinary arche- typal experiences. For another example: Through experience of extreme alcoholic inebriation, one does not just come to understand perceptive faculties that are not apparent when one is “in control” but one experiences these faculties in such a way that integrates and empowers one both in the extraordinary world of the archetypal psyche and the ordinary world of “daytime” consciousness.
This is not to claim that simply getting drunk or getting high or hav- ing unusual sex will do this for you, but in certain circumstances with certain individuals, unusual phenomena pertinent to this story—and Simon’s condition—sometimes occur.
(I would give you a similar presentation on heteroerotic and tantric practices, but maybe you already know about that. I’m a little rushed. Perhaps you will simply take my word that these practices are the natu- ral product of the encounter between this world and God, leading to extraordinary powers and experiences, even onto enlightenment and salvation itself.)
Well, that’s Cat. Very authoritative. Or, she will be. And we all talk to ourselves, don’t we? Being free of that would be quite a liberation, wouldn’t it? She seems to be able to lock into various persona quite nat- urally and play it convincingly. That will be important later on as our story displays its weblike design… Women seem to have taken on many traditionally “male” characteristics. Some are superficial, like wearing pants instead of dresses. But some are deeper, like domination and aggression, and more worrisome. It was bad enough when only half the population was encouraged to behave like that. But maybe there are also new defenders raised up from their ranks. (In this, I do not deny the jus- tice of the movement, at all. But here I am focused on related, but very different considerations.)
Simon seems moved to respond on deeper and deeper levels, as does Cat, to the meaning and purpose of their lives. Not very typically American at all in this regard.