Wednesday, October 26, 2011

God, Man, Woman And Love...December 12, 2010... note to Edward Fudge

Suddenly The Clouds Spoke In Clear Images

During my spiritual/emotional development the past twenty five years I was drawn to various authors along the way. Much of this reading did not leave me with details I can recite but  remain alive and influential in my conscious activity and memory. I think they had even a deeper effect on parts of me that had lain barely or not conscious for the first forty years of my life. I doubt that I am unusual in that respect but my experiences made me sensitively conscious of such things. If I felt a harmony  with the ideas that came to me in my reading they became a part of my conscious value system. At least this is how it seems to me that much of my change/development has occurred.

But more profound than my reading was the advent of a different world, that of 'dreams and visions.' No theme was more central to my 'vision' experience than that of  'man and woman loving.' I can recall being utterly spellbound and fully alert for hours as every imaginable image of man and woman loving formed in the early morning clouds over my parked car in North West Houston. The couples had expressions of ecstasy on their closed eyed faces. There was a sense of total mutuality, equality and tenderness in every image. Preceding these vivid images A large 'Adam and Eve' appeared in the sky and passed over me. The couple was holding the serpent  between them and they were exercising some restraint on it. Following the 'love images' there was a repetition of large flying eagles. From that first experience for days and into months  I was being  astounded, impressed and entertained by a near continuous flow of images formed in the 'things' of nature. The images were continuously in the clouds, any fog or smoke that was available, the trees, grasses , rocks and also human made things. All of nature and the physical landscape were alive and communicating to me. I was connected with my total surroundings. There was no division between mind and matter , between spirit and nature. It was all one and all connected.  The images were nearly always available if I had the time and solitude to attend to them. I needed to be alone to do this for I was very aware that I would appear  'strange'  to any onlooker as I gazed into a fog or  focused on the grass of a field. I managed to keep living in a normal human way and my physical health was good. My verbal and intellectual capacities seemed  significantly stronger during the months I was experiencing  this sense of  'connection.'
Adam and Eve 1192 German Art

 Fortunately  I was quite isolated  at the beginning of this time in my life so could give much attention to the images. Early on a central image was a playful feminine personality who gave me an assurance that 'she' was a reliable friend. 'She'  was much more than human and had direct influence on what was happening in every continuous detail of my life but also of all the world about me. But she was also full of playful tricks and frequently led me in 'circles' whether I was in my car driving or attempting to do some task or errand. At some point I began to look back at my life and see how 'she' was behind many of  behaviors long before I was conscious of  'her' reality as a part of me.  'She' was definitely imploring me to trust her as a guide in every detail of life. I once asked aloud to her, “ Do you ever get serious?' At that moment three crosses with skulls on top of each appeared in the clouds and before I was done contemplating  on that a mushroom cloud formed and filled the space above.Early on I asked her, 'Is Jesus the literal Son of God?'  Her answer was an image of the head of a gorilla being gently pulled, as in birth, from a human  birth canal.
The Location Of The First 'Visions' -18 Years Later
I had spent the night before the first visions occurred on the streets of downtown Houston with homeless people, myself being temporarily homeless  I was presently without a formal job and extremely aware of the difficulty that my family was experiencing without my being physically present with them. I was a man in psychological suffering as I had never experienced it. My suffering was embedded in spiritual ecstasy and the uncertain psychological landscape between  conflicting  'polarities' including  'Eros and Chaos', 'freedom and destiny', 'spirit and matter', 'female and male','individuality and community' and 'heaven and earth.'  Only as a person having such an encounter with the archetypes of the Collective Unconscious(the ' Jungian opposites')  also experiences an integrating and uniting of them within can something  genuinely beneficial be birthed. Only with such a harmonizing of the opposites with both aspects informing and completing each other can a gift be received for both the individual and the community s/he is a part of. At age 40 then I had a reasonably well developed and growing personal theology that, though greatly challenged, provided some support.  No doubt the stress of my outer situation made me more susceptible to such a revelation from the Collective Unconscious. Any one of these 'visions' left me at first  with only two words to even try to convey what was happening: 'miracle and ecstasy.'  And these words had little personal  place or  meaning in my theology at that time. But these kinds of reality  occurred time after time for many weeks, even months and years  from when it first began.

Recently a neurologist I was seeing for a neck injury asked me out of the blue if I had read the book When God Was A Woman  by Meril Stone? I told him I had just completed it. We were both struck by the important historical information it establishes. I was amazed not only that he had read it but that he asked me if I had. That motivated me to  re read the chapter specifically on sexuality. It  regards those women who lived in the Goddess temples  of nearly all Eastern pre Hebrew cultures who were referred to as  'sacred women'. They are described as being involved in sexual worship there with 'strange men.' Sometimes after some years of  work for the Goddess in the temple they later married  to  become  very good  and reliable  wives. Any children born through this temple sexual expression  kept the mother's family name and she was their parent.   There was no dishonor in those ancient cultures for these women. Quite the opposite. Children were not  bastardized or likely abandoned  or abused who came from temple births.  These women were sometimes wealthy land owners. Such  sacred sexual practice was considered just that, not irresponsible unconscious, unremembered sex for sex sake. On first becoming aware of such historical realities the modern Westerner cannot fathom it and is likely to turn away in disgust at what was once deeply held and honored religious experience. What the 'stranger men' experienced was expected to be a passage into a deeper realm of spiritual reality and  responsibility to the community. This was religious experience that honored the place of living Eros in human spiritual development. Our culture has no such way or place to honor Eros and so this living god/human power goes 'underground', becomes unconscious, to arise in the modern world as unsacred pornography and or nearly socially arranged marriages as a way to 'control' it. Religion and State have cooperated in these unsuccessful and fear based ways of relating to Eros. I think my 'vision' experience was saying loudly that Eros must be returned to our culture. I most definitely am not suggesting we return to literal temple sexual expression but that the air and spirituality of that statement of Eros find a way to live in the hearts and responsible relationships of couples and lovers in the post modern age.  Our culture has instead created an ugly and nonspiritual  model of women and men's sexuality.  Only later did commentators take the word that meant then 'sacred woman' and translate it, with very negative intent, to 'temple prostitute', thus demeaning such women and the Eros of life they helped their culture to celebrate and connect with. 

The Hebrews, and other male centered cultures,  tried to drive all this out and created the first strong patriarchies in human history. Patriarchy lineage , unlike matriarchy lineage where the parent is obvious for it is the mother, had to be 'proven and kept protected' This became a task for the religious hierarchy, the Levitical Priests and law makers, for the Hebrew nation. Thus sexuality outside of marriage, no matter how loving or committed, was described off hand as sinful, base, low life and immoral.  The Hebrew law of Moses made this punishable by death for women. The Bible clearly shows there was no such strong law against  men for  there was no need to keep men from having sex with 'strangers'  or outside marriage to protect patriarchy lineage. Any woman a man secretly impregnated simply was put death. There was a constant message from Yahweh warning the  people to stay away from the 'groves' where the ancient feminine goddesses and matriarch religion  was still alive and Eros had not been turned into something evil. Often, the Levitical priests and the Hebrew prophets called for an all out assault on the native goddess religions of this land that flowed with 'milk and honey' long  before the Hebrews attempted to make it exclusively their own.

At all times for any surviving child, it was  known who its father  was. This  is what drove  the theme of the sinful nature of a woman having unmarried sex. The Adam and Eve story blaming woman making her character suspect put this into powerful mythical language that has more than any image shaped Western  thought about Man, Woman and Sexuality. The 'sexual laws' also had much to do with economics and keeping the wealth of a male run family in tact and under male control.  This  successfully totally shifted ancient cultures   from   a Female description of God to a totally male one.  From this Yahweh of the O.T. was born. The shamefulness of female sexuality, more than any mortal sin,  and the control and demeaning of women was sold eventually to all of Western society...first through Judaism and then Christianity(not with the help of any authentic view of Jesus' view of sexuality). So there is a good reason why a woman  has never adorned  most protestant  pulpits or likely even distributed communion until recent decades, why a man committing 'adultery' is defined as a sin against the woman's husband or father even if it were non consensual by the woman ....not to mention that a woman has never been a Catholic priest  or President  of the U.S.A. I should add that there are places in the Hebrew scripture and history where the positive aspects of Eros Love are strongly supported, such as the Song Of Songs at nearly the center of the Bible.

My 'visions and dreams' regarding human sexuality are not proposing a return to temple sexuality nor is their purpose to demonize Judaism, Christianity or Islam. Such confirmed historical  information about human sexuality and images of God means we need to UNDERSTAND the human spiritual path that has been trod in leading up to our presently internalized meanings of God, man and woman, the very fundamentals of life. We must take responsibility  for the effect that these historical movements have on our present sexual identity. We need to acknowledge this all has indeed happened and shaped us.  Then we can take more responsibility for what we really value  from it all and experience that famous quotation that  'you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free..... If the son sets you free you shall be free indeed.'  Jesus did not invent these timeless truths but he surely with expanded consciousness was aware of them, believed them and no doubt experienced them as central to his human life.

This basic information of When God Was A Woman, firmly documented even by the most conservative archaeologists,  is mind boggling, and if assimilated by many Westerners would change in amazingly positive ways  what it means today to be woman and man. The most profound implication of this information is central to the very first and most indelible 'visions' I had in Houston. I do not think it likely many , if any, Western men are  close yet to loving a woman as men and women are capable of loving. The only way a man could begin to more fully love a woman is for him to have had the internal experience of 'God being woman' just as strongly as he has experienced God being male. Until that reality becomes more conscious a man cannot possibly bring  the spiritual and psychological levels of agape and certainly not phileo  and Eros to their fullness in  relating to a woman. This is most astounding  but also very encouraging. It surely would threaten and anger many men to hear this now but it brings with it the possibility of a man experiencing loving a woman in an ecstasy and  innocent intimacy that has only been a painful dream for him up to now.  He can theologically return to the Garden and be with Eve, not in dreaming innocence but with a full knowledge of good and evil(transcended as reflected in the image of the couple holding the serpent)!!   I do believe this. The historical facts I think are bearing it out. This archetype of   When God Was A Woman  has lived eternally in all our Collective Unconscious.  I wish the book by that title would receive an ever larger reading by men and women.  And it is a corollary of all this that  also women, who have not had some experience of God really being feminine, cannot fully appreciate themselves and love others, including men and children, to near their human potential. So if women and men could have a clear outer, logical fact based, and inner archetypal  experience of  God As Woman, it  would propel a level of love in a culture to a new evolutionary level. The New Testament  appeal for humans to 'love one another' would be realized to a level that has likely not happened since  Jesus, or one of his elevated consciousness,  personally loved a woman, perhaps even Mary Magdalene. To me, and I trust many others,  God is just as much woman as man.  To a significant level I've been blessed with that experience, both outwardly and inwardly. I do not know why this has been my experience but it has. I don't know if I am to be blessed or somehow burdened by it. Up to now it seems to have been both. I know I highly value it either way for I believe it is a truth sorely needed in a spiritually drifting world.  Blessings,  Jim

P.S. Some years ago I read  The Sacred Prostitute by Nancy Qualls  Corbett which I literally stumbled across. She is the wife of the late Gene Qualls.(Gene was my Birmingham Jungian therapist during the summer of '85. I  was able to get back to him three days after the 'vision' experience described above began. That was also the last time I got to meet with him. It was as if he had helped me give birth to this 'new world of oneness.' Within two weeks I was teaching Jr. High math and back at home with my family.  I'm sure my life would have shattered if I had not been able to get back to my family environment but my 'vision' experiences, though less intense, had only just begun. Being home and interacting with family kept my feet on the ground and was a continual essential reminder of the mortal person I was.)  I'm confident Nancy Qualls Corbett  must have referred to this work When God Was A Woman?  I have a hard time fathoming  how a woman steeped in the culture of  North Alabama, the same as me, could have written such an astounding chronicle on this subject. She must have had a profound  experience of God as Woman?  I wonder which was first drawn to  leaving Dr. Gene Quall's medical practice and becoming Jungian therapists, she or her husband?   I was not drawn to Jungian thought out of conscious  intellectual curiosity but out of emotional and spiritual survival as a human being. These things are not matters of interesting curiosity to me. They have been and are matters of living and dying at many levels.  Blessings, Jim Hibbett

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