Sprint and the Flesh

Nepsis considers sexual issues from several perspectives. One is from the perspective and experience of a Catholic priest. Then, a complex of heterosexuality, homosexuality and abstinence is considered from a ‘chi’ point of view. That is, the flow and intent of psychic energies in the human body and the world. This is at least part of the basis of several major worldviews, such as Taoism and Buddhism—See the “Cemetery Circle” in any Tibetan “Uncommon Protective Mandala.” Sexuality takes on a completely different meaning in this context than it would in a more Occidental, clinical or critical evaluation.

In the Church, ‘celibacy’ is a technical term for the unmarried state. ‘Abstinence’ is a ‘yogic’ or ascetical practice—largely monastic in origin. In part, at least, abstinence is used to obtain certain “clear light” states of consciousness of great beauty and perhaps is necessary for ‘satisfactions,’ or salvation, otherwise unobtainable. ‘Chastity’ is the over-arching condition or ‘gift’ of vast beauty and spiritual power enjoined as a meta-characteristic that is at once the goal and means of access for the spiritual life. Chastity is the rule of Love enjoined upon all aspects of experience for the initiate. (See NEPSIS Sitemap for Nepsis Review August 22, 26, Sept 9th–and 11th, 2001!) It is possible, according to the Christ and others, that motivations such as lust, sensuality, adultery, or even ordinary biological function, though innocent in itself, may not arise as one is engulfed by these other states of consciousness. A rare, ideal condition seldom obtained, perhaps. But according to the pertinent lore, it is available and necessary to all.

This area of general interest and critical concern is also treated under such topical headings in NEPSIS as “Aborigines and the Nude” in the SATISFACTION essays of NEPSIS Section II, “Sex and Magic” of LETTER TO A BISHOP, NEPSIS, Section II, and as an anthropological imperative of initiation, in the essay, “Satisfaction”, NEPSIS, Section III.

The secular and scientific worlds do not ‘own’ sexuality– no one suspects a gynecologist of depravity, or crime in the normal pursuit their particular, rather narrow, ‘search for the real.’ Religion, which is the cohesive matrix that by its very nature includes everything, must also be free to explore and thus discover the truth of things, all things, including the nuances and powers of sexuality. That has not been my experience, however. (See A Priest’s Confession in NEPSIS Section III) Sexuality must be open to theological analysis beyond the categories of abstinence, marriage or sin, or scientific bias. From a theist perspective, God made all things innocent, including sexuality. Our essential, original or primal experience of it is always pre moral. That is not to say that sexuality cannot be considered as sacred, mysterious, powerful or culturally volatile such that our participation in biology does not benefit from guides and parameters of religion. (See in this regard, Mural of the Resurrection, #93a, and the mural painted for Sonoma State University, CA. Newman Hall, “Theopoeisis: Who Told You You Were Naked” #94.)

It is primarily in the novels of NEPSIS: Section II that I deal with issues of the spirit and the flesh. But this complex of topics also has been treated in such works as the Introduction to LETTER TO A BISHOP, “Memo to a Bishop,” “Interstate Reflection III” and in the conclusive prose poem HOW DIONYSIUS SAVED HIS MOTHER FROM HELL: Book III. (See NEPSIS: Section III, #8.)

The primal format one finds in study of shamanism usually divides the subject into two parts: Initiation and Practice. I believe that format still provides the best organization for the topics of interest here. In fact, most of the material here could fall under the heading of ‘initiation.’ There are also depicted here the beginnings of a ‘practice’ that at once describes actual events, as well as creating a liturgical metaphor for the wide spectrum of human activity, history and identity

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