By Arthur Versluis
The 1st publication to bare the heritage of Western sexual mysticism
• finds the key sexual practices which have been used due to the fact historical Greece to accomplish mystical union with God
• information the sects and people who transmitted the novel sexual practices that orthodox Christianity by no means thoroughly silenced
• Distinguishes among sexual magic and sexual mysticism
Beginning with the traditional Greek secret traditions, Gnosticism, and the practices in early Christianity, Arthur Versluis uncovers the key line of Western sexual mysticism that, just like the Tantra of the East, seeks transcendence or union with God via sexual practices. all through antiquity, and correct into the current day, sexuality has performed a massive, if mostly hidden, function in non secular traditions and practices. This comprises not just Christian but additionally kabbalistic and airtight alchemical currents of sexual mysticism, many mentioned jointly right here for the 1st time.
In the secret culture of hieros gamos (sacred marriage) and the Gnostic culture of religious marriage, we see the potential of divine union during which sexual union is the central signal or image. Key to those practices is the interior or archetypal union of above and lower than, the intermingling of the revelatory divine global with the mundane earthly one. Versluis indicates that those mystery currents of sexual mysticism helped gas the increase of the troubadours and their erotic doctrine, the esoteric teachings of Jacob Böhme within the overdue sixteenth century, the 19th-century utopian groups of John Humphrey Noyes and Thomas Lake Harris, the unfastened love move of the twentieth century, and the trendy writings of Denis de Rougemont and Alan Watts.
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Extra info for The Secret History of Western Sexual Mysticism: Sacred Practices and Spiritual Marriage
Through the time Gichtel was once residing in Amsterdam—the final 3rd of the 17th century—he had colleagues in England who have been operating in a similar way, in what could good be known as a lay hermitage in or close to London. between those British theosophers used to be Dr. John Pordage (1608–81), whose visionary reviews all started in tandem together with his spouse, whom he married accurately as a result of her psychic sensitivity. therefore, given this tandem operating, it really is probably no longer as outstanding to discover that just about the entire later theosophers who trace at sexual alchemy cite Pordage’s works. John Pordage’s internal Alchemy we should always bear in mind, at this juncture, that during Asia itself, Tantra is expressed via a multifold “twilight language” whose complex symbolism continuously bargains more than a few meanings, and that accordingly it may infrequently be outstanding that if whatever even remotely like tantrism have been to exist in Europe, it's going to most likely even be expressed very not often in written shape. If it have been in written shape, it'll probably be expressed purely via allusive and elusive symbolism, rather given the fierce or even lethal outrage that it will most probably galvanize one of the dogmatic moralists. hence we're not stunned to discover that once, in “Philosophic Epistle at the real Stone of Wisdom,” John Pordage writes approximately non secular alchemy, he does so utilizing conventional alchemical language to consult the human physique. Pordage starts off through elaborating at the “equipment” or skill precious for alchemy, in particular that [t]he inward oven, which the philosophi carry as a excessive mystery secret, was once your Balneum Mariæ, a glassy phial, during which your materia is made a substance and essence extra important and value greater than the entire international. this can be locked and sealed with the Sigillo Hermetis lower than lock and key in order that not anything of the ability of the materia will evaporate, nor may well a few unusual materia penetrate into it. This holy oven, this Balneum Mariæ, this glassy phial, this mystery oven is where, the matrix, or bearing-mother and the Centrum, in which the holy Tincture wells forth, boils up, and has its starting place. 18 the place does this tincture good up? where or the nation there the place the Tincture has its residing i don't imagine it essential to at once identify, yet really exhort you just to knock at the floor. Solomon tells us in his music that your internal living isn't really faraway from the navel, and is sort of a around cup that's jam-packed with the holy liquor of the natural Tincture. 19 “Not faraway from the navel” . . . “like a around cup”—surely those words confer with the stomach, or what in eastern is termed the hara, the distance lower than the navel that's the “seat of meditation. ” The “oven” close to the navel is heated by way of a different hearth, that being “the philosophers’ fire”: the hearth of the philosophers you might want to be aware of; this is often the main that continues to be mystery: for this reason you need to think and be aware of that the certainty of this hearth is the main to the mysteries, which unlocks all issues, and makes the paintings itself attainable; in order that the artist is needed to do not anything except be diligent and watchful.