Monday, August 20, 2007

Hyphenated Spirituality

terms/hyphenation
It strikes me that in order to be hyphenated as I am, I must start with an assumption of subjectivity. If I believed that a divine presence akin to anything Abrahamic orthodoxy celebrates (fears?) actually existed, then I couldn't play around with the concepts as I do. I'm a polythesist mainly because I don't believe in gods at all so I can play with their names at will. For me, its all about philosophy and pragmatism. Which belief system is most likely to lead to the most positive change in the least amount of time? Which one is most comfortable for me and is least likely to piss me off? These are the important philosophical issues. lol I have no patience for those with religious certainty because they are required to ignore or condemn others' realities. They frequently must ignore or condemn their own realities to remain "faithful." They become apologists--contortionists--- to maintain orthodoxy.
Nineteenth-century Spiritualism and contemporary eco-feminism interest me because they share an interest in exploring the self in relationship to the immanent numinous. God is fine, thought the Spiritualists of old, but too far away for me to prove. Aunt Edith is dead but talked to me yesterday. THAT I can grasp. In any case, I'm far more interested in the experiential qualities of spirituality that fall outside of God-talk. I experience connection with the universe I know as a spiritual phenomenon. I understand that this connection can be explained scientifically, but those answers bore me.
Now all this comes out of giving a speech at a secular humanist conference and being blown away by their certainty (and you'll recall I have no patience for certainty) and how remarkably similar to right-wingers they were. Now, I'd much rather hang with an atheist than a right-winger any day because at least we could discuss politics and science but still....I admit leaving that conference feeling shaken, and, to indulge my dh's sense of humor, not stirred. I found their certainty upsetting in that it discounted so much of my most profound experience and left me feeling that what they offered was not even all that interesting. That may be because I'm not the kind of person who is interested in questions like how or what or when. I always want to know the why of things. I could give a crap how something works (a car, a sunset, love, religion). I'm interested in why it works. What does it all mean? What gives it depth and what sets it into flight?
So... I'm looking for a word that means that I honor spirituality and sceptically entertain the notion of divinity but find it of secondary importance. I don't like agnostic as a term. It always sounds more like someone who just can't commit to atheism. While uncertainty is a good thing that pushes us toward greater learning, I long for a term that captures my unertainty but also also captures the potential beauty of non-theistic spirituality. I'm not whatever-it-is-I-am because I haven't found anything better, or because I'm just not ready to throw in my lot with the atheists. I'm this way because this is as authentic as I know how to be. I am right here in the center of my evolving relationship with the universe including all its uncertainties.
Anyway. There it is. Inelegant. Sloppy. *sigh* Oh well.

2 comments:

Karl said...

Hi Hystery - 'hope you don't mind a repost from another service.


I once had a professor call me in about a paper which was an epistemological and ethical inquiry into the purported mystical states which were reported by members of a sect of Chinese Buddhists, and how the Chinese govt. was persecuting them. My professor was concerned that I had used the words "paradigmatic-cognitive, "nomothetic," and "cocksuckers" in the same paragraph. The professor said that though HE loved it personally, it would not wash with the old school academics.

Another professor was an old school guy from Austria, and he HATED the interests held by many young American students. He could not abide hyphenated contrivances, particularly those which mixed cultures, religions, philosophies, and Native American's taken as a collective whole instead of centering on particular tribes only in themselves (i.e. "Indians in the South West believe...). He thought American students suffered from a mass scholastic disorder which he called "pathological eclecticism." He hated what he called "the Myth of Eco-feminism," and "the Star Wars myth." Finally, and most hated of all was "New Age beliefs" I slipped something like the following onto his desk as a joke. It caused a great disturbance in the Force.

"SEMINAL" INDIAN SEXUAL ECSTASY WORKSHOP -For couples only. Coming this summer to Sedona, Arizona. Our Native American sex therapists are Jimmy Rutting stag Donahoe, Julia Swift deer Flynn, and Billy Karl Fast buck Bushisderteufel. They are descended from Delaware, Cherokee, and Seneca Tribes respectively on their intuitive, maternal sides, which has helped them to reconcile their mad dog Irish and Prussian militarist paternal legacies. With their combined extensive experience in Indian ways and East/West (TANTRIC/Jungian ) psychology, they have developed a workshop which integrates Left Hand Tantra with the sexual values, beliefs, and practices of several American Indian nations. The result is the Moksha Maithuna koroshka - THE INDO-CHEROKEE TANTRIC WORKSHOP; a workshop which will teach you techniques for sexual pleasure enhancement, health improvement, chakra balancing, and spiritual transformation.


Indians know well that whites do not understand their sexuality on a practical or spiritual level. The white men in particular have repressed half the totality of their sexual self-hood by denying their feminine nature. Jung was told by his Indian guides that such repression and denial would be outwardly manifested as a patriarchal penchant for domination over women and everything associated with the feminine principle. Patriarchal groups developed tools of production and tools of war as penile extensions to rape the Earth Mother, and to subjugate technologically less sophisticated cultures.


What is the legacy of this misdirected drive? War, crime, pollution, and the destruction of Native Peoples and their environments on a global scale. In their covetous desire to wrest the power of fertility from the Earth Mother, the white patriarchs have only succeeded in spewing their own spoiled half-seed upon a ground which they have rendered infertile.


Can the solution to such a mammoth problem possibly be contained in an Indian sexual ecstasy workshop? Absolutely!!! It is not by malicious design that the patriarchal plutocrats have polluted our planet and oppressed other cultures.. It is because they have forgotten that the Earth mother and the Great Spirit are one, and are absolutely inseparable. The Male and Female Principles are co-equal co-creators which are constantly at work in the world and in our collective consciousness. As we think, or as we dream new worlds into being, we also are co-creators with this principle. The only problem is that we have forgotten our Divine Nature which is our natural state of being - a state which the Navajo refer to as "walking in Beauty".

The function of the workshop is to utilize the sacred gift of sexual union to propel us to the Core of Creation, an undifferentiated state of Total Being.
Billy Karl, a Florida resident,recently conducted a workshop along with Julia Swift deer and Jimmy Rutting stag at the Micanopasookee Seminole Reservation. This was the first workshop of its kind to be allowed at the Reservation, and the Seminole hosts were quite apprehensive, but when they saw the earnest participation and cooperation of the thirty middle class white participants, their fears were allayed, and changed to awe and amusement.
Seminole onlookers watched in amazement as bare skinned yuppies underwent rigorous tribal sexual exercises which produced profound psycho-spiritual changes in just one weekend. The enthusiasm and energy of the workshop group was so intense, that the white participants only took brief breaks to replenish their vital energies with a special ceremonial tea*, made from sacred, boiled mushrooms, which had been provided by the good natured Seminole hosts.

Eventually, the hosts joined in the activities. Fun, and spiritual illumination, was had by all . Copious quantities of the Spring Pasture Mushroom Tea, combined with the enthusiastic whoops, chants, and drums; produced visions on an epic scale. Everyone experienced the Great Spirit and the Earth Mother intertwined in ecstatic, undifferentiated Union.

When the workshop was over, the former yuppies realized that they were more than just the sum of their jobs and their possessions. Sex was no longer a reward for material achievement. Instead, sex had become a tool for spiritual realization and self -actualization. They all agreed that they could never remain Republicans.

The Seminole hosts were overwhelmed by the White's changed attitudes and financial generosity. Many similar workshops are planned to be held there in the future, after the new Reservation casino is fully chartered by the state.
* The Spring Pasture Mushroom Tea is now available through our Transcendental Medication herbal apothecary under the brand name Apalachee Cola.

Coming this winter: ARCHETYPE AND METAPHOR COURSE - "CASTRATING THE ANIMUS WITH A TWIN-BLADED AXE" - A Neo-Jungian anger release program for women.

HysteryWitch said...

Karl, Thanks for the comment. I love it! I agree with your Austrian professor. We Americans are hopelessly hyphenated. :)