THREE GAY THEOLOGICAL POEMS

These poems have been published at dates far apart on my McCleary’s Alternatives site, but for those who may never have visited there or who have but would like to see these related but very different poems together in one place, I am putting them on this much less busy site. The poems are entered in order of composition and publication and without the illustrations of the main site.  If I have been more generous with notes than one would normally reckon to be with verse, it’s because this is a poetry of ideas. The aim is to inform and open conversations not just to entertain, though hopefully it might do something of that too.

SONGS OF PURITANIA ON A GAY THEME

ALTERNATIVE WASTELANDS PRELUDE

O O O O it’s that American rag
It’s so inelegant, so unintelligent [1]
Here a sin, there a sin, everywhere a bit of sin
Original or otherwise, talk it till you make a din
Sounding off like cymbals and a tinkling of brass [2]

O O O O it’s that American rag
It’s so inelegant so unintelligent….
And full of belief in a very special covenant,
It makes for good fortune and also what doesn’t
Like we was Abram’s sons when you know that we wusn’t.[3]

O O O O it’s that Athenian rag
It’s so elegant, so intelligent….
When the men were handsome and the youths looked pretty
They fell for one another, for philosophy and art
And if you didn’t know it, that’s how culture got a start.

BOB

Stop that jazz…!
It’s time to start and listen hard to me now
Are you man enough for what I’m gonna say?
‘Cos it’s lust and what’s unnatural is the kind of stuff you do
Paul said it’s all degrading, you know that must be true [4]
He knew so many things and he always got ‘em right
Like women being covered up and keeping mouths shut tight. [5]
And Paul was all a man’s man, so he wouldn’t tell a lie
He says hell’s ready waiting for your kind when you die;
But if you’re not a reprobate, deliverance is sure
God and Exodus can help you find the way to perfect cure.
Only doctors, shrinks and cynics – and they are simply liars –
Would tell you there’s no way to be healed of your desires.

CAROL

Just as God wants us with guns to protect us
So we need laws against gays to correct us
But people who don’t accept six day creation
Can’t see that gay means plague and destruction.
My child is at risk and even my nation
From lies and legalized toleration
Of what they should know – it’s really no mystery –
Left Greece, Rome and everywhere nothing but history.[6]
On Sodom fire rained and also Gomorrah,
I’m praying real hard, but allow paranoia.
It was Hitler and gays brought the ruin of days,
There’s a stock market crash, it’s the curse on pink cash,
There are problems with mortgage, it’s all the gay marriage,
There’s been a tsunami due to gays in the army
Our climate is changing, but fags keep parading.
If you fear a tornado, stop their pride and bravado.
Homophobia’s holy, it keeps a roof on the home…
There’s nothing more sure or more certain than that
If you haven’t read Paul, there’s the TV and Pat.[7]
But if you still care for a heavenly crown
Prayer warriors arise, strike the gay evil down!

ALICE

Don’t say you’re born gay, for gay equals sin
My own fourth husband could not let you in
To our house, his walk is too close with the Lord;
And though I’m anti-abortion I give you my word
If our son turned out queer we’d wish him unborn
And throw him outside like best clothes when torn.
Gay is nothing at all but an evil that’s chosen
Not a mind, not an outlook, not an orientation.
What gays have and they are is a sinful lifestyle
True Christians would shun it by more than a mile,
Gay love and desire have no function or meaning
Such could not define you, they’ve nothing redeeming.

Don’t give me those lies about Hebrew and Bible
David and Jonathan “married”, it’s nothing but libel. [8]
The King James may refer to a “covenant” made
But speaking the truth, calling a spade a spade
Is what the Bible’s about; that pair had an agreement
It wasn’t love, that’s sick, it was really quite different.
And “raca” never meant pervert, the KJ says “fool”,
If Christ helped gays like that he’d be Satan’s own tool.
Remember the Lord was a proper man’s man
Not some pale and limp hippy outside of God’s plan
Eunuch means castrate not someone who’s different [9]
(Why it’s said some are born it, I’ll think in a minute).

TED

Let’s get it clear, you’re an abomination, [10]
That’s the bible’s very own proclamation;
But we’ll help you to struggle and right to the end,
I can’t quite accept you, but you are my good friend.

I don’t have dealings with fornicators
Or for that matter adulterers and masturbators
And you’re not a whit better than any of them
So don’t give us gays are God’s gentlemen.

Don’t press me too far to state who you are
It’s not like I’m talking to some movie star,
If there’s no bible term defines “homo” just right
Then I’ll use one instead – the word’s “sodomite”.

I’ll love you for Jesus, that’s to say if I can
As it’s hard, since you are an odd kind of man,
And I don’t care for singles in church anyway, really,
But pay us your tithes and we’ll treat you sincerely,
Though I pray you meet a fine girl and right early
She could cure you for good or at any rate nearly.

For the rest remain silent, be inactive as death
That alone pleases God who has given you breath.
Whatever’s outside of straight marriage is wrong
Don’t imagine gay “marriage” could ever belong.

I fancy you knew there was Adam and Eve –
Plain as day no room intended for Steve.
Eden’s model is law, a solid foundation
God can’t understand the word variation.

You can talk of revision [11] and argue the toss,
I’m not standing down from the old rugged cross
And plain truth of the Word. Say I’m a bully you may
But resistance will give God more glory today.

You can make me a martyr, to prison I’ll go
But declaring gay sin will help the faith grow.
Meanwhile we need to support propaganda
In havens of light like Cameroon, Uganda.
They aim to imprison and execute gays.
Being nearer to heaven and holier ways.

I don’t say I agree with Balboa [12] who threw
Gays to wild dogs, as I’m sure that he knew
We must love gays for God; but if people will sin
They are bound to accept what fate they fall in.

It’s not quite the same with youth suicide
But there’s no cause to blame us we do not provide
Counsel to those naturally young and unstable
When declaring the truth the best we are able.

Any choices gays make are entirely their own
There was never a right to make protest and moan
It was hard to find places of work or of dwelling
Those defying God’s laws must find they’re compelling.

It was right to reject them so they’d leave us in peace
Migrating to ghettoes where sin would increase.
Like Calvin we strive for God’s kingdom on earth
Let sinners go live where they build for God’s wrath.

Our concern is not with exception and difference,
What isn’t of family makes unhappy nonsense.
A person alone is soon led astray;
If people talked less there’d be more time to pray.

WISDOM

And for what is your prayer when belief has supposed
That justice and sense can be freely opposed?
The fact is, believers, your straight mind’s too small
You speak for a God you scarce know at all
And cite from a Bible swung and hit like a bat
With your mind so pedantic you render it flat,
No poetry left or ambiguous sense
So literally real it can finish quite dense,
Not to say often monstrous and merely unjust.
You’re unable to grasp that the same God you trust
Is both Logos and Wisdom, two sexes in one, [13]
Whose bride is two genders when history is done.[14]
Christ was male in his body but female in soul
In short he was gay to incarnate whole; [15]
That way he could speak for more persons and life
And offer examples to silence mere strife.
It’s the reason Christ sent homophobia to hell [16]
And blessed the centurion and made his boy well [17].
But science can’t tell you, it will not reveal
The spiritual laws esoterics conceal
Why some are born gay and others are straight [18]
Knowledge needs wisdom, the full truth must wait.

It’s not prejudice only, not tradition or history
Obscure truth, but mindsets closed to all mystery.
Of such you know nothing for shouting too loud
And insisting your customs stand hetero proud
With translations distorted to fit your poor vision
Which everywhere make for hate and division.
The facts can be proved beyond reasonable doubt [19]
But truth is precisely what you would cast out;
And though of Christ’s nature the matter is proved
You need to repent so your hearts can be moved.
Having too long delivered all gays to perdition
Your churches are left torn apart in confusion
So that enemies choose the terms of revision.
God is refusing your prayers, first learn toleration;
Aquarius comes, know the times and the seasons [20]
What’s gay is of God,[21] try to discover the reasons.

(Copyright Rollan McCleary, 2013.
The text of this poem has been added to a new edition of Puer Poems, See: amzn.to/11i5hkI )

NOTES

[1] The words echo T.S.Eliot’s “OOOO, That Shakespearean rag/ O so elegant, O so intelligent” in The Wasteland, but here the Wasteland is the one of confused American Puritan values.
[2] I Cor 13:1 If one speaks the truth without love “I am become as sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal” (KJ) though a modern version is: “I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (NRSV).
[3] The issue of homosexuality in American Christianity is often confused with controversial notions that America is a second Israel in special covenant with God, hence at special risk of divine judgement for even tolerating gays.
[4] Rom 1:24. To whatever and to whoever Paul precisely refers, and scholars dispute, it is thought he regards same sex behaviour as degrading. It is most likely his subject is Rome’s recreational bisexuality but his assessment of this and other sexual behaviour is coloured by not just moral but social values of his time that not even conservative Christians would accept if they understood them. Especially passive homosexuality was used as social humiliation. Thus masters had a right to use their male slaves sexually.
[5] 1 Tim 2:9, 1 Cor 13:44. Though much quoted on the silence of women, in fairness to the apostle he may not have meant much more than that in a typically gender segregated church women would not interrupt services shouting over to their husbands for explanations.
[6] William Lecky was the historian and eccentric tutor of Oscar Wilde who popularized a theory that homosexuality was the downfall of Rome and civilisation. Gays are only ever a minority and the fall of Rome was due to over extension of both wars and the system of slavery.
[7] Pat Robertson of The 700 Club, notorious for attributing hurricanes and disasters to toleration of gays in especially Florida.
[8] The word used for the covenant, b’rith, between David and Jonathan can be used for marriage in the bible. The pair were obviously what today would be thought bisexuals. Saul’s tirade against Jonathan (1 Sam 20:30) makes clear he thinks his son is a pervert bringing “shame” on the family for the love shared with David. On David’s bisexuality see my The Great Circle: Asia, David and God Consciousness.
[9] It is often said the Bible has no word for “homosexual”. In modern terms it doesn’t, but the nearest would be Christ’s word “eunuch” (Heb. Saris) in Matt 19:12. By his time the word no longer automatically designated castrate or even celibate, but could be anyone out of the family way. Raghnild Schanke, a Norwegian theologian, is one of those who have demonstrated the gay associations in ancient literature. The eunuch is the outsider and his outsider consciousness is something all believers “not of this world” somewhat need to be Christian to be at all. That’s one and surely a major way of understanding a difficult text.
[10 Many things are “abomination” (toevah) in the Bible, even proud eyes, but the primary meaning is ritual impurity and the prime reference in the Leviticus ban on male to male relations is to the ritual impurity of pagan sacred prostitution.
[11] Gay theology is deemed a branch of “revisionist” theology of which feminist theology is the main branch today.
[12] Balboa – Vasco Nunez de Balboa (1475-1519), a conquistador and notorious persecutor of Amerindian gays.
[13] Christ is referred to and represents the male as Logos (Word) and female as the Wisdom (Sophia).
[14] The fact that the Church as “Bride of Christ” is comprised of both sexes undermines and even denies the idea a marriage/union can only be between a man and a woman. Some medieval churches used to bless unions of brethren. What’s controversial about modern marriage equality movements, religiously anyway, is that it is based more on secularist demands for equality rather than rights accorded to difference as such. (It can also involve children adopted or acquired by IVF and notions of family beyond unions). St Aelred of Riveaulx considered Christ as though married to John the Beloved.
[15] The formula “a female soul in a male body” derives from earliest gay lib claims in nineteenth century Germany, but drawn as it first was from Jewish kabbalistic mysticism it has real meaning at a spiritual/”occult” level. It has importance for understanding Jesus’ identity and incarnation. Though my reasons and proofs are original, speculation on a gay Jesus is not original. It has even been espoused by Christian Jews like Bishop Hugh Montefiore and Canon Paul Ostreicher though neither they nor I, like some radicals, propose Jesus was other than celibate. Jesus cannot like the fallen angels cross orders to be involved with either female or male intimately, but that does not automatically imply as some maintain, that the imperatives of an exceptional role means the sole behavioural model for gays is lifelong celibacy on the basis Christians imitate Christ.
[16] Matt 5:21,22. The section of the Sermon on the Mount dealing with anger as a source of murder. It is never properly translated. The Peshitta version of the Eastern Churches realizes that Aramaic “Racah,(“thou fool”, KJ)’ is an insult like “faggot” or, “effeminate pervert”. Jesus opposes any rage of the homophobic, racist, anti-social kind against outsiders, here summarized and symbolized by the effeminate, which easily leads from exclusion to violence even the murder that damns. Since ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel to this day have practiced violence and attempted murder against gays, given a teaching that makes sex behaviour a capital offence (Lev 18:22) and which would thus sanctify rage and prejudice, Jesus’ attitude is tacitly undoing the law. The ruling looks originally to have been directed against Semitic sacred male prostitution with its cross dressing ( to lie “as with a woman”). It had never been consistently or literally applied and was perhaps symbolic law, since it’s clear from Deut 23:17 that Israel did not execute even its male prostitutes (Deut 23:17). The old law did however foster enduring prejudices in a society where fertility was a leading ideal with the result homosexuality in Israel works or looks more like bisexuality.
[17] Matt 8:5-13, Luk 7:1-10. Pais means boy or servant and the word frequent associations with “homosexuality” of the more aesthetic or “pederastic” kind. If the gospel’s boy was only a servant the master was unusually attached to him and centurions often had male lovers.
[18] The esoteric rather than biological factors behind homosexuality, which have a lot implications for spirituality and art and are a matter of soul before body, are considered in especially my Temple Mysteries and Spiritual Efficiency Chapter 10.
[19] Jesus’ “homosexuality” is suggested by the bible itself, especially notions contained in John’s gospel and then backed up by the eloquent birth data (see Testament of the Magi ) whose data people in and out of religion and publishing have never even wished to consider. Speculation about an essentially  gay Jesus is not new; it has even been espoused by Jewish Christians like Bishop  Hugh Montefiore and Canon Paul Oestreicher.
[20] Whether or not the coming or just dawning age of Aquarius is the apocalyptic Utopia of the Millennium itself, Aquarius is much associated with difference, the alternative, the utopian and the gay. It’s ruling planet is the gay associated planet Uranus. This age will accept homosexuality and more people are being born gay and feeling gay as it approaches whereas conservative Christians perceive only decadence of a declining era in the phenomenon.
[21] Meaning gay is not a result of the Fall, wholly contra naturam or an intrinsic imperfection. This is not to say all expressions of homosexuality are godly. One would say that a lot of, for example, S&M wasn’t, but then heterosexuals also practice it, it’s not gay specific.

 

A SAINT’S MISTAKE: A POEM OF ST PAUL

From birth those energies defining life
May be transformed but keep their force,
There’s limit set upon the chance for change.
The angry youth may live to father revolution
But, lifelong, yearning visionaries may never
Grasp all truth; the times, society, a weakness of
The vehicle determines where and how each will
May grow. Light can enlighten when not blind,
But sight may need what’s heard to truly see.
Let eyes be opened, ready for the sun
Of Truth, but still recall that Logos speaks
Across the universe of space and time
Through ages, not one age alone which ends,
As ours, its spiritual life enfeebled,
Lacking true prophetic view, even
Ignoring such as you, St Paul, wilful,
Doubting or perhaps confused, refused
The words of Agabus. [1]
Upon Damascus road met by great Light,
You saw, you gazed, you fell and then
Three days remained alone in darkness, blind,
Till, helped by human hands, scales fell like leaves
From off your eyes. But what was that your ears
Had heard? Your mind in shock no doubt turned much
Upon a sacred history, ancient Law,
The Lord, but had you in that solitude
Absorbed the fullness of the uttered words
And even when preaching soon the Christ as
Son, repressed and left unlearned what echoed
Through the flashing of celestial light?
Even God had seen you on the road
Not just as Jew devout to last extremity,
But kin to pagan Pentheus face set against
The worlds of women and of difference
And spoke to you the words of question and
Rebuke once given by Agathon’s lover to the god
Of ecstasy and the flourishing vine.[2]
Of this, though Christ alone is truly he,
The shadow also speaks to depths of mind for
In yourself and God a Gentile dwells as
In the Gentile there’s a Jew. To soul within
And world without your call was to a wider field
Than even you would quite allow, lands and lives
Not only to address with a new gospel
Of deliverance and transcendent Law
But in their essence to reclaim. Such would require
Not only persons of the Way not fall sad victim
To persecutions of your policy
But – what and who are more remote to
The conservative, devoted mind – also
Minorities, the outsider, the enslaved.
The stubborn ox resists the goad, so hard
It is for even the good to heed God’s voice;
But harder life then weighs on many more
If that same voice is disregarded or misheard.
It draws a canker to redemption’s rose,
It hid a poison in the new and good,
And justified whole centuries of harm,
Of inquisition, secrecy and dull despair
Of suicide, of souls denied the family home,
Of youth made objects of improper cure
Confused by a false loathing of the self,
Lives lived as though beneath a curse,
And so because you never learned, not even
From Jeremiah in his difference,
That never the leopard lost his spots
Nor did the Ethiopian his skin.[3]
The pedantry and prejudice of one once
Proudly Pharisee, stayed blind to what
In nature, art, and even just humanity
Might teach. You failed, as even great Luther
Later failed the Jews. [4]
Within a Roman world whose ruling might
Your angry will alone could hope to oppose,
Scarce noticing the slavery and pleasure
Taken in refinement of all cruelties,
You made a scapegoat and the symbol
Of most vice and sin, (almost the fall
Of this whole world and worthy of death itself),
Those whose eros and whose loves inclined them
To one side, their own, by this made
Enemies of a “Law” – transcended and fulfilled,
You taught – yet holding you still much in thrall.[5]
Not only was the scapegoat harmed but also
Spiritual lives identified most narrowly
With nature’s way. [6] Vague rumour, petty hate
In place of information or of love, worldly
Obsession with oppressive law and politics
Sometimes rank violence on the streets,
Such was and is the legacy to those
Whose loyalty is wholly to “God’s word”
And your authority, all ignorant
Of just how little the Spirit spoke
To you on the contested theme but
Rather echoes of Apocrypha, pressures
And customs of your familiar world.[7]
Like Peter struck with vision by the sea
But who denied the wisdom shown because
It seemed to oppose a written source, [8]
Likewise idolatry of tradition and of text
Chokes inspiration of the Living Word.
Oh Spirit who should lead to Truth and who
In your own being is the Truth, descend
Upon the human mind that thought
May rise to judgements on a higher plane,
Not timeless only but aware of time, its cycles
And those changes they intend. [9] Together let
Inspiration, scriptures and the kairos speak,
And not one source alone lest faith’s whole vessel
Run aground or sink.
No theory, no philosophy, no abstract
Statement of a rule will summarize
The Spirit’s truth whose will embraces
Situations and hurt souls as even
Holy Law was forced to do for daughters
Of Zelophehad.[10] Alas that Tarsus
Was the home not just of you, St Paul,
But to that Stoic thought defining
Nature, pleasure and a universal law
Too abstractly in the face of plain
Reality and human need. How hard
It was for you to accept the nature of
Even that youth, the gospeller Mark. [11]

11

These facts despite, the Good can redirect
And heal what harms. But wrong’s a wild weed
Reproduced and strong, and stronger still
When unacknowledged where it grows. Within
The fields of faith yet worse than choking weed
Stands visible and alone the bending,
Stricken tree of noxious fruit. It should
Be left to perish in its place, but those
Encircling it for its defence as though to guard
A relic’s power, and then their foes (seeing
More the persons than the tree), both these
Partake in what corrupts at root and branch.
Truth is feared and inconvenient to both;
Those who defend the tree will not admit
Beyond all claims of justice and of evidence
Their saint and scripture might be wrong – even while
They do not dare to cite them now on
Due obedience of slaves. They are themselves
Enslaved to Paul, so much they’ll even join
Their voice and vote with unbelievers in Christ’s
Name if only still to impose their way. [12]
Their mouths speak lies and foolish summary:
Difference becomes but “lifestyle” and a “choice”,
Let none admit it should exist lest youth be
Tempted to perversion; talk of discrimination,
Harassment can be ignored, just as indeed
They always were, the righteous mute before
While witness to a thousand wrongs, even
Approving marriages in name alone
(But these deemed holy – other kinds impure).
This way “the unnatural” could be simply
Punished or erased and heaven’s blessings,
Not its wrath, shower down upon a Pauline
World sore needing knowledge more divine
Of being and persons in themselves. For
Grace itself is para physin – Paul
Deemed it work against the natural. [13]

Those who attack tradition’s tree and tribe
Are but soul brothers of their tyranny.
They’re almost what was so long feared
Or banned or damned, emerged like hell’s
Own self to manifest in monstrous style
A beast conformed to worst imagination.
Revenge lends savour to its policies
And once again an abstract value – now
“Equality” – spreads widely a new chaos.
The sacred, soon a target for the secular,
The atheist and hedonist demand full
Equal rights for ceremony and employ
All places from the college class to
Altar’s rail. Appeals to conscience, failures [14]
To welcome well or grant request,
All can be deemed new forms of insult
Or discrimination, grounds to pursue
A case at law, if need be, ruin livelihoods
And lives. For now what’s spiritual seems only
False and what is ethical but relative
Though what is sexual can seem true –
Even honest as pornography,
Itself a model for new modes of life.
It’s why beyond love’s rights, sometimes
Demanded with fanatic zeal, too often
Lies what’s scarcely more than sex as sport,
And heartless exploitation of the young.
And while the theorist and the litigant
Hold forth, indifference meets the
Youthful homeless and perplexed. But then,
Beyond “acceptance” at all costs, what
Will the monster’s tribe provide for life
And health beyond its empty round of
Party revel or narcotic haze?

III

Enough! The false can only bring forth
Lies again. The conflict of inflexible minds,
Harms everything and everyone, disturbs
The life of faith and human rights alike
With argument too close to cavil and to kvetch. [15]
Both parties see repeatedly but
One another to their shame in that dark
Mirror of St Paul. [16] In him, amid
Deep revolutions for the mind and age
And strivings with a hostile world, what seemed
Like sordid issues round the few, bore little
Weight save something to dismiss, deride,
Though history would prove that wrong
Like any utterance on a theme
When one admits to “think”, not fully know,
Just what the Spirit of God declares [17]
Or by pure silence does not judge. Even so…

Unless to say it can be that the first
Are last [18], amid the sufferings and long
Martyrdom of life, let none too quickly
Judge the words of you, St Paul. For scarcely
Will the saint or sage (and others less)
Attain full knowledge with perfection.
Each soul needs a Damascus with its light…
Yet there, let even saints not only see
But hear what makes for life and should set free.

NOTES

[1] Acts 21:10. The prophet Agabus warns Paul against going to Rome and the Christians beseech him not to go but he goes anyway. It is not clear how much he believes the forecast and how much God is understood to give a choice in the matter through the warning, but anyway Paul remains adamant. He had always intended or wanted to go to Rome (Acts 19:21) though it is not specifically stated the Spirit told him to go there as opposed to Achaia.
[2] Jesus is self-described as the true vine (Joh 15:1) so by implication the vine god, Dionysius (whom Gentiles believed was the God of the Jewish Temple) is the false. However the archetype is still relevant. We now know even pious Jews attended the pagan theatre and there is reason to suppose both Jesus and Paul could have known the celebrated Bacchae of Euripides (“the lover of Agathon”, Agathon being one of Athens’ most beautiful men). In the play Dionysius manifests like Christ to Paul, to accuse Pentheus of disregarding and persecuting him…”a man defying god”. Although Acts 24:16 says Paul heard in Hebrew, the apparent quote from Euripides’ Greek is exact. It has unnecessarily kept the dramatist’s plural form of kentra goad/necessity (which would fit rather with a common proverb in the singular) that Euripides employs when Pentheus says, “You disregard my words…and kick against necessity/the goads”. Euripides has only pluralized to make his poetic metre go. It is also important to note that the necessity/the goad could have sexual implications which the KJV bible’s “kick against the pricks” accidentally reflects. Though I don’t accept theories Paul was a closet gay, it’s possible the conversion narrative contains a hint Paul needs to examine his sexual being and attitudes at deep levels, as otherwise they could affect his teachings, treatment of people and understanding of what Jesus himself is like.
[3] Jer 13:23, On the basically gay/queer character of Jeremiah see for example Chapter 8 of my Cosmic Father: Spirituality as Relationship. It is beyond present scope but contained in my writings that some persons do, or appear to make, at least partial change from their orientation. There are reasons for this but in most instances persons are what they are and remain what they are from childhood.
[4] Luther reformed much and lit a torch for liberty in Europe generally, but his record of anti-Semitic prejudice (he proposed synagogues should be burned down) left a legacy in Germany facilitating Nazi attitudes centuries later, a case of a great man making great mistakes.
[5] It could be that Paul’s famous/infamous Romans 1 describes male prostitution, paedophilia, recreational bisexuality or just blasts the extreme indulgence of ancient Rome. Practically however, this is rant influenced by the Apocryphal Wisdom of Solomon on sex and idolatry. But by referring to whatever precisely same sex as “degrading passions”, “shameless acts” “degrading of the body” etc “for which they deserve to die” this part of scripture works out as hate speech and a life sentence if not a hell sentence for anyone remotely same sex attracted. It is what makes for a great proportion of the homeless of America being gays thrown out of the house by “good” Christians. Christian rejection was the reason of the now eternally remorseful Linda Robertson’s son took to drugs and overdosed at eighteen. Romans 1 would have been better never written and it should be excised from our bibles for the damage it does. For vastly less good reason even the sola scriptura Luther declared the epistle of James “an epistle of straw” that should be censored from our bibles. At the same time, it must be allowed Paul and Christians past and present have a perfect right to maintain that “homosexuality” like heterosexuality can be the basis for excessive, immoral, decadent behaviour (such as really does exist in America as in ancient Rome) It is troubling that the defence of gay rights now so often today also seeks to indite all and any criticism of gay behaviour as “homophobic”, even an indictable offence. Queer theory doesn’t accept the notion of morality in any normal sense and there is much to legitimately question in the work of leaders of gay/queer theory.
[6] i.e. associating sex with nothing but reproduction like the pagan Stoics which is scarcely biblical – Paul seems not to have read or absorbed the Song of Solomon..
[7] Paul’s diatribe is owing to the Apocyphal Wisdom of Solomon and is not untypical of his society and times – numbers of pagan writers like the satirist Juvenal spit out hatred of effeminates or any male who seems “different” from some militaristic masculine norm. The subject was confused by various class and military factors that no longer apply today. Any male passive towards another male was disgraced, the reason sodomy was used on prisoners of war. Masters could use slaves sexually. Doubtless because so many non gay persons were made to function that way that St Paul confuses values to this day by talking about “and such were some of you” ( 1 Cor 6:11) still the scriptural basis for praying or exorcising the gay away.
[8] Acts 10:14. Peter wrongly rejects the vision given him (three times!) because it contradicts or modifies scripture.
[9] The point is little stressed hence unfamiliar, but that the Spirit is God as Truth is indicated by 1 Joh 5:6. It is suggested here that the Spirit oversees/interprets the ages and cycles of time which promote changes and the new which are meant to be accepted.
[10] Numbers 27 recounts how these women petitioned to have the inheritance laws changed. This would imply the Law, (apart from core covenant with its Ten Commandments), is not written to be and beyond questioning and negotiation. All secondary law is besides for organization of the society of the covenanted Jews. It is not presented as any universal prescription and it is controversial if St Paul (and various Popes and councils) privilege and universalize only items almost at random following generalizing philosophical principles which is what Paul does re laws even his Jewish contemporary Philo believed applied to sacred prostitution.
[11] St Paul did not get on well with the young John Mark, probably because his character was different in some way – perhaps gay/queer. Various controversies around Mark like The Secret Gospel, however heretical nonetheless likely reflect traditional suspicions around this gospeller’s character.
[12] In India minority Christians have successfully joined with Muslims (who elsewhere persecute their faith), to campaign for a recriminalizing of homosexuality laws against which were repealed in 2009. In 2014 conservative Christian pastor and politician Danny Nalliah who has been constantly opposed by or opposed to Muslims in Australia has recently supported them in opposition to gays.
[13] Paul fails to see the irony that at the same time as he will approve whatever is unnatural, God works against his nature (his perfection) in grafting Gentiles onto the tree of Israel and salvation. Rom 11.24
[14] Politically correct Gay/Queer rights are theoretically inclusive of atheist or libertarian gays having the right to teach religion classes or run church and university religion clubs etc or, in some radically liberal churches, to be priests without beliefs or usual moral standards. While religious people can be blinkered bigots,even the individual bigot may still appreciate and support a larger community sense of the sacred which the rationalist libertarian may not. A community should have the right to retain what makes for the sacred, and arguably the owner of property (such as a hotel) should have some right to set the rules which may include a preference against gay couples? Conscience should be educated rather than state coerced by laws, and where gays conspire to coerce Christians they are not better than those they oppose. Presently churches are just being split apart and charity services curtailed due to arguments and court cases over gays and their rights.
[15] kveth is Yiddish for ceaseless outlandish complaining, grumbling, blaming. It is suggested St Paul somewhat indulges this in Romans 1
[16] St Paul famously states we see through a glass darkly (1 Cor 13:12), a principle forgotten when writing on things and persons “unnatural”!
[17] 1 Cor 7:39. It seems controversial that in pronouncing on marriage and divorce St Paul can only say he “thinks” he has the Spirit of God on the matter. He should surely know in making rules so vital to people’s lives, though one could say it’s liberating in that it leaves the door open for alternatives and exceptions. But if he only “thinks” re divorce, how much more likely is it he would have “thought” what he claims about same sex loving and lovers about which even just humanly and socially he would know so much less?
[18] Matt 20:16

JEREMIAH’S LOINCLOTH: A POEM OF FAITH AND PHALLOS

Baruch had indeed been a blessing. (1)
In the calm of his secretary’s eyes
Their attentive, aware, knowing gaze,
What imaged futures, what revelations
Could not find reflection, not shine back
If with traces of more earthly wisdom.

Surely the Lord had granted him this. It
Was, he had privately felt, convenient
Being forbidden free choice among
Daughters of Zion.(2)  Most too easily
Turned aside to the wrong – a heavenly Queen,
In love with her and powerless idols (3).

Strong, firm, unyielding, bright as a flame
Mounts devotion to God. Woman will stray.
Her talk and her feeling imagines, suggests;
Naming, language and words were from Adam
His directions came first like an essence
Of action and order, not life’s adornment (4).

Yet even bound to and led by Law’s orders
And counsel, were any attached to the
Father Creator with genuine fervour?
Could devotion more purely or only ascend
To that sapphire of heaven, God’s floor (5)
Above limitless, testing bright sands?

Admit that beyond the desert of trials
And even by streams and waters of quiet
The holiest passions knew wrestle and
Struggle more fit to male circumcised’s will. (6)
Before love for his women the sweetest
Of psalmists could still rate a man. (7)

In Eden’s new symbol, the Temple, (8) near
The ark amid quiet flame and ascension
Of incense, peace like blue heaven’s repose
Might enfold such as he was, a priest, or
That Psalmist desiring to dwell there.
But where was rest for the many outside?

————————-11———————–

“Go”, said the Lord “and buy yourself linen”.
The linen was fresh as priests’ garments
And linen are pure. Its use was as loincloth  (9)
But not to be washed, worn only as sign.
Could a prophet complain? Isaiah was bound
To live naked, Micah determined the same. (10)

“Go” said the Lord and “in what you are wearing
Make way direct to the river Euphrates” (11).
Once arrived and removing the loincloth
There, as instructed, he had hidden his linen
In a hole to be dug in a rock by the waters.
The act was a mystery, no reason disclosed.

For long its purpose remained a deep secret
But during the interval sometimes he’d
Wondered, not least why unwashed, thus impure,
The cloth was a sign outside custom of Law.
Were not emissions by nature occasion
For dipping and corporal cleansing? (12)

Even so, might the intention be something
Of self to be gifted the rockface? –
The imageless Lord is imaged as rock.
Yet beside river waters, digging there
Had he enacted or seen something
Not of himself but other of Woman?

For was there not always a presence of
Lover, Wife, Mother, always emerging,
A something divine that’s also of Woman?
Surely God’s prophet Isaiah proclaimed such, (13)
And had not Elohim, that form of the
First name addressed to the Highest, implied it? (14)

Yes, water like flowers were blesséd, yet
For himself, for the height and depth of
His longings, did he not almost prefer
To see, touch and feel the rough naked rock
On which sun so fiercely beat down that day,
Elemental as he applied to the task?

Rock, stone, first and firm out of chaos
When all else was still waste and void! (15),
Primal, enduring, thrown up amid quake
And volcano, strong from the urge of
Creation and making! Clinging fast to
That rock was like love for God and the earth.

And the highest reaching of mind and of soul
Its purest, most undistracted direction
Was it not based on, did it not rise from
The pillars of earth and the root of himself,
Above and below joined in one psalm, one
Vibration, knowing praise of God’s force? (16)

Love moved and was where? At home, in the heart
In the heavens, with the children of men?
No matter where always with faith, its nature
Often departing from what was familiar
Taking the path of the rawly essential….
So, what had he learned beside a far river?

Long he mused. He’d returned but little conveyed
To Baruch. Sometimes we hold and desire
Secrets from even those dear. The relation
Of two may be helped by a third, spirit
And mind will sometimes demand it. Was not
Elohim the divine One as plural?

————————-111——————–

Many days having passed, the Lord said
“Go, return to Euphrates and what you
Once dug there and hid, now withdraw”. Yet
That seemed a hard labour for nothing
When the cloth emerged rotten. He was near
To complain task and sign must be worthless.

Except that all thought of the kind was not
Of the Lord, Who himself would declare
The linen was useless and as such, like
The prophet’s own people, prideful and
Evil in service of gods and of deeds so
Unrighteous they invited destruction.

 He was reminded his people were made
To be always distinctive, a house
Possessing a name, its function a praise
And a glory, its men – if only they
Saw it, if only they’d listen – bound,
Attached to their Lord like loincloth to loins [17].

The prophet knew and as well as the Lord
Jerusalem’s rebels would not grant
Him hearing. Yet the message left questions.
Which he addressed less to God than himself,
For a word once delivered and clearly,
The rest should be grasped through knowledge and faith.

Grasped no matter how novel or strange.
For now, no longer a serpent opposed to
The Lord nor a sword in conflict with life,
The member long hidden and shamed became
Symbol, with the priest’s rod that budded, sacred, [18]
Part with that all-self the Psalmist said praises. [19]

Being threefold in form it reflected
The powerful One of the plural
Elohim (20) and like prayer in its rising,
It joined with creation. Though of bodily
Form but one part and compact, its urgent
Desire might possess the whole frame.

Nor was it true, if folly compared it
With bodily features designed to allure,
Love’s member owned nothing of beauty;
In that is was closer to what is unseen,
Insubstantial, but sweet to the senses
Like incense aroma or notes of a harp

But raw too, kin to fires of God at the first.
Recalling the shaking and motion of
Earth drawn from chaos. Creation itself
Rose in explosion, foaming and violent
Darkness advancing to light and to order
Fierce and tender to nature emerging.

True, like nature, woman gave birth and helped
Finish creation; but though of its kind
Her own force was vital and flowing
As man’s, still it came after, was second,
More strong for response and reaction.
That much even the eunuchs could tell…(21)

Also one like the prophet barren of
Offspring and, wifeless. As such, why was he
Called to learn from the loincloth? Could he
See, sense or enjoy all the more strongly
The male side of God or even the female
But without bringing life to the world?  (22)

Yet even Isaiah, married with children
Spoke of a place that was higher, one
Reserved for the eunuch (23); and if for the
Regular man lost seed (because it spelled death)
Was impure, had not his own seed remained,
As though pure on his way to the river?

While some might be whores, he knew
That not all who were eunuchs were evil,
Though the Law refused them the temple (24).
Some were most righteous, God’s very own
Angels as was one who delivered him
Out of the well-pit when no one else would (25).

Of God or the most sacred urges what
Did these barren ones know? Though by law
No man could lie with a man, these did so,
Brazenly dressed and painted as women (26)
Shrieking and squealing , completely abandoned
In service of God or the gods, so they thought.

And they lived, for though Leviticus’ rule
Required execution, in practice (it might be
Because scribes endeavoured to change things (27)
Or even great Moses himself was unsure),
Deuteronomy let them to live but not
To give offerings to God from their wages (28)

And the same book excluded such men
From the list of those other ones cursed
For perversions (29). Perhaps some mercy
Had thought they arrived at their whoredom
As slaves or that, from birth little fitted to
Custom and home, in confusion they’d strayed.

Hardly he knew, though even he was aware,
Having taught no leopard will ever change spots,(30)
Major change was unlikely. At least
They were not quite the same as the violent
And greedy of Sodom, those who had lusted
Not just for women and men but for angels (31).

Yet they seemed, though Law had not added
Its curse, much self-harmed by addiction,
Disease or even by early decease
And – if they desired such – hurt by lack of
Relation for having too much, too long
Remained bound to their lives of sensation.

For unharmed, the body of soul could never
Sustain the effects of those many profane
And too meaningless couplings (32); and through
That same body it was, prophets knew,
Soul entered to different places and times,
Grasped more of earth and of heaven with God.

But then he recalled that dark time back when,
In anger with God and depressed, he’d charged the
Creator himself with great wrong: his rape (33).
Meaning what? So often in contact with God
His soul with its body was touched high and low
At base of the spine and the crown of the head (34).

Few lived or connected that way with life
Or the Lord. With or without the Creator
The regular man and his spouse, learned more
And were joined chiefly through body/soul centres
Of navel and heart as was, he could tell,
Israel’s wise king with the woman most loved (35)

It was why man and woman would always
Feel more materially owned by each other
Than prophets obsessed by God and addicted
Or those men in their shadow, the eunuchs,
For whom the life stream through body alone
Seemed like their only and dangerous truth.

When, reversing the order of female
To male, the Shulammite offered first of
Herself and her body, that way the
Male force was and could be contained;
And from there was the basis of pleasure
Prolonged, even savoured, not wasted away (36).

And so it should be, for indeed man having
Once entered the garden of woman, to her
He belonged and always – something of soul
Was absorbed to her being forever (37) Soul
Knew that, it’s why man could hate with great
Violence what he knew was great power.

Since divine grace and power are still stronger
Even two of same sex might  join as though one (38)
-The Psalmist assumed he could marry a man – (39)
But could that express the commonest way
Two men would know and enjoy who they were
Linked in spirit and mind but together distinct?

The eunuch, whether made or just born
Had more of man and of women together;
To appreciate, not to create seemed his role.
Bliss, nature or God through him all passed;
As witness he stood to lament or rejoice [40]
Or else with prophets enact and forth tell.

Not possessing but sharing, two persons
One teaching, one learning, (41) mind and will
More than body containing the life flow,
Such might be ground of attachment and not
Of necessity all and always forever (42).
When one loved without home, wife or child….

It was true that for him a man’s presence
And form might be a delight lower yet
Somehow akin to communion with God. But
How hard to admit such as prophet of all
That was pure in the land, a voice to
Recall his own people to keeping the Law.

The Law was imagined or wooed by some
As a woman, its rulings and words deemed
Adornment; but no, for him all pattern was art.
Law shaped, it fashioned a house, when it did
Not strip bare, returned man to nature and Adam,
Man unadorned, truth’s most beautiful form.

How much there might be to change and re-think!
But then, nothing was harder than what,
Quite apart from these musings of his, was that
Message revealed and to him quite uniquely,
How, in the heart and in people one day
A new covenant law would be written (43).

And dimly he thought he saw ahead to
That time a messiah regarded the eunuch
As symbol of difference and strangers
Of whom, to avoid hatred and violence
In self and more widely the nation,
It brought curse to treat with only contempt (44).

———————-IV———————-

Some of this he tried as he hadn’t before
To explain to Baruch. This proved rather
Hard and he failed, though being astute
Baruch half understood. He even laughed
Just a little, if lightly and sighed as
He sought for the words that wouldn’t offend.

“You are such a gloomy bear of a man,
Serious always! And I know it’s been
Hard for you, often quite lonely, but
I think you may now have found some new truth
With you as my teacher I’ll always learn more
And I knew you quite liked me – from that look
In your eye I’ve sometimes felt owned. Let’s not
Rush to conclusions, it’s no good idea.
But I too have thoughts I’d like you to hear ..”

NOTES

1) The name Baruch means blessing

2) Forbidden to marry Jer 16: 1- 4

3) Queen of Heaven Jer 7:18, 49:19

4). It is interesting that Adam names things before Eve’s arrival. According to theories of Écriture Féminine (Women’s writing) promoted not least by French Jewish writer, Hélène Cixous, language is phallocentric, forces woman to express a patriarchal worldview. She maintains in effect that woman is entirely a sexual organ who has feelings and impressions in numerous ways and directions that current language and writing do not express. Maybe and if so, one has to admit that the impression of this female alternative however suggestive and expressive would never make for an efficient organization of the world!

5) Reference to a description of heaven in Ex 24:10

6) A founding father, Jacob, wrestles with the angel at Peniel by the stream of Jabbok. (Gen 32:22-32)

7)  2 Sam 1:26. The love of Jonathan is rated as “passing the love of women”.

8) New studies of the Jewish Temple, especially from Margaret Barker stress the connection of Temple with Eden.

9)  Loincloth as sign, Jer 13:1-4.

10) Isaiah naked 20:2, Micah “I will go naked” (Mic 1:8). Originally prophets were often naked apparently fully as the story of Saul amongst the prophets would indicate (1 Sam 19:24). One might suspect not simply a sign as with India’s Jain monks of dedication and separation from norms, but unstated esoteric considerations (opening the whole aura to spiritual influences which clothing may prevent).

11) Tradition and this poem for convenience assumes Jeremiah went to the distant Euphrates 350 miles away indicative of the direction the future exile of Jews would take (and perhaps the direction in which Eden had lain) but the Hebrew is problematic. The prophet may as easily have gone only three miles away to the river Para and this might have better suited giving a sign to the people.

12) Any seminal emissions involuntary or otherwise occasioned a brief ritual impurity which required cleansing (Lev 15:1-3).

13) Isaiah is only one of those prophets who introduce female imagery to the predominant male imagery of deity. For Isaiah God can be a woman in labour (Is 42:14), a woman who has nursed her child (Is 49:14-15), a mother comforting children ( Is 66:13). This is necessarily, logically valid if both male and female are said to be created in the divine image (Gen 1:27). It is just (as per note 4) that in some fashion and way whatever the male force is, though it need not be superior it is still “first” in order and thus perhaps better or more spontaneously images the Creator.

14) Elohim, the first name of God is a uniplural word. Eloh is feminine singular while im is masculine plural.

15) The prophet had a vision of a world laid waste and void Jer 4:23

16) Especially Ps 103:1 but in anticipation of later claims regarding the soul which for David is the nephesh or animal soul which sustains the whole body, not the para-intellectual spirit..

17) Jer 13:11.”for as the loincloth clings to one’s loins, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the Lord…”

18) Num 17:1-8. Though potency and fertility are not the prime consideration in the story of Aaron’s rod, obviously in an episode involving authority that kind of symbolism attaches to it as it did for D.H.Lawrence, author of Aaron’s Rod

19) Again Ps 103:1 “Bless the Lord O my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name”. Soul (nephesh) has implications for soul body or aura while all within me is all of the body the soul sustains.

20) In Henry Miller on Writing (New Directions, NewYork 1964, p. 88), the pornographer declares, “before me always the image of the body, our triune god of penis and testicles…” The point might be obvious and even profound as a possible basis for more mystical treatments of sex, but being neither religious or mystical Miller gets it theologically, kaballistically and almost any way wrong. He identifies the penis (which would need to be the Creator, Keter the Head) with the Spirit. It is Son and Spirit who proceed from the Father/the Head and together they are like the Ying/Yang that realize and carry creation and thus would be beneath and symbolized by the testicles. In numbers of books and articles I take the position that the Eastern churches who insist that both Son and Spirit proceed directly from the Father represents the authentic, original  quasi-subordinationist Christian belief, not the Augustinian western formulation which makes the Trinity mathematically equal while claiming the Spirit proceeds from Father and Son).

21) The word “eunuch” is used rather loosely in this poem and thus more in the way of Jesus’ time than Jeremiah’s, namely as covering for anyone, often gay, who is different and apart from family rather than only a castrate.

22) Masters and Johnson research found gays seemed to enjoy or manage sex more than straights who could be bumblers by comparison. Assuming gays are more adapted in some ways to sex, (even if this might be linked to other energies more esoterically), how much should gays be denied it? St Paul controversially advises heterosexuals it is better to marry than to burn (1 Cor 7:9) but doesn’t advise this for gays. Christian therapists with experience of gay cures have other perspectives. For a critique of St Paul on maybe “homosexuality” (a word he didn’t use) see the poem and notes at http://wp.me/p2v96G-yS  However, if sex somehow pours through a person without procreative  aim, this must say something about libido as something larger, “eros” an energy which is somewhat its own justification. That gays can be  channel pleasure but not be merely addicted to it seems implied by some exercises of the Erospirit variety in which gay men once brought to “full body orgasm” (which has something in common with woman’s orgasm), addictive sex seems overcome.

23)  Favour to eunuchs Is 56:4,5 “in my house….a monument and a name better than sons and daughters, an everlasting name”

24) No eunuch admitted to the assembly Deut 23:1

25) Jeremiah delivered by a eunuch Jer 37:7-13

26) Lev 18:22 The first century Jewish philosopher understood the celebrated Leviticus ban as most essentially a ban upon what is technically called “sacred” prostitution. The difficult even corrupt Hebrew of the text is hard to understand outside that context. (After all, how could a man lie with a man as with a woman, which is hardly what most guys would care to do, unless as often occurred in ancient prostitution for heterosexuals, the role of women was taken by men in drag?). It is most likely the aim was to avoid association with the idolatries of surrounding peoples. In ancient times sex was always a religious statement of sorts. Whether execution was ever literally intended and commonly applied in early times is debateable. A lot of ancient codes ruled execution in unlikely cases probably just codifying by it what was deemed unacceptable.

27) Jeremiah accused scribes of tampering with scripture (Jer 8:8) and it is hardly sensible of fundamentalists not to perceive at least some elements of editing and development in the Torah. Not all need be deemed tampering either but just updating. After all, the individual is supposed to reason with God –  “come let us argue it out (Is 1:18)” . The core covenant was essential but at the margins change was possible as it was for the daughters of Zelophehad who questioned revealed Law on rulings as regards female inheritance and got this changed (Num 27). One could say Yahweh is an absolute ruler who is also democratic.

28) Male prostitutes not to give offerings of  their wages. Deut. 23:18

29) The twelve curses of Deuteronomy (Deut 28:15-26), though they include upon incest and bestiality do not include same sex activity, though conservatives always like to lump the latter together with them. This looks like development in the attitude towards same sex issues.

30) That leopards don’t change spots nor the Ethiopian his skin is affirmed Jer 13:23. In ironic contrast,  religious conservatives today are convinced no one could be born gay and change therefore must occur although even Jesus affirmed some are ‘eunuchs”, i.e. gay, from birth (Matt 19:12). Extremes of extraversion and literalism cannot envisage homosexuality as any mind state or world view but only a series of sex acts.

31) Although even a modern translation like the NRSV will speak of the men of Sodom as pursuing “unnatural lust” (Jude 1:7) which makes it sound like another terror text for gays, as a footnote concedes, the Greek literally says they pursued “other flesh” or “strange flesh”, meaning angels. Along with gang rape and general violence, lusting after angels is what the story of Sodom is much about.

32) The soul (Heb Nephesh), the aura, subtle body of esoteric traditions is assumed here and also common views as regards its damage and pollution through promiscuity. Nowhere is the doctrine explicit in the bible but it seems everywhere assumed especially among the prophets and through the different words covering notions of spirit and soul. The notion a soul body that departs the body at death is perhaps most explicit in Christ’s parable of the rich fool: “this night your soul is required of you” (Luk 12:20), a soul independent of the dying body..

33) Jer 20:7. Scholarship is divided and translation likes to be discreet using words like “overwhelmed me”; but a strong case can be made for the prophet accusing God of seducing and raping him like a woman – the vocabulary echoes Deuteronomy on such matters. This is more explicable if one assumes a gay psychology and inbuilt cultural fears of the period of the disgrace of being shamed and disgraced as a man and then factors in the esoteric factor (see next note ), then it all makes sense.

34) An esoteric objection in world religions to sodomy, especially as rape, is that it can interfere with the lowest, base of spine chakra, which some systems, notably the Buddhist, won’t even deal with in meditation. It is a powerhouse for the rest of the soul body (aura/subtle body), primal, elemental, animalistic yet linked to the highest chakra to. Some may be born with automatic connection to this and controlled it allows great power, but if this region is blown open uncontrolled it can open to all kinds of imbalance, obsessions, addictions, bad kundalini trips, possession states etc. (We have hints of this in the classic gay poet Cavafy’s poem Terror, an appeal to Christ against the stalking demons who know his secrets.

35) Heterosexual sex is less potentially multi-dimensional and complex (straight, straightforward!) than gay eros and does not usually include highest and lowest but the mid range of the soul/body connection. Rather emphatically so as in some imagery of Solomon’s Song with such as “your navel is a goblet”…   Song 7:2.

36) Prolonged, savoured…. suggestions that Solomon’s way is at least partly tantric see my Solomon’s Tantric Song: Questions of Spiritual Sexuality http://amzn.to/14aa5Qe

(2012) To achieve real satisfaction beyond obsession and violence heterosexual sex may need to absorb something of the kind. Note that the poem having earlier indicated that woman comes second, suggests in sex she does and should be first and the energy flow reversed.

37) Early Israel did not even have formal marriage ceremonies. Marriage was sealed by no ceremony but intercourse. The assumption always was and remains, (as when St Paul speaks of believers marrying prostitutes I Cor 6:16)  that a male is married to whoever he has sex with. The notion seems meaningless outside of more universal esoteric traditions embracing doctrines of soul bodies which blend whenever full penetrative sex takes place. Therefore each partner joins with and imprints the soul. This would explain why the varieties of “fornication” (originally meaning prostituted sex) and divorce without good reason risk exclusion from the kingdom. Casual partners can be at variance representing different spiritual fields and beliefs like Corinthian prostitutes attached to other deities. Chastity seems less a matter of purity than safety and observing boundaries!

38) It is possible for same sex partners to become one. See my A Special Illumination, Equinox, London, 2004 which includes alleged revelation from Jesus to Christine Troxell see pp 117/8 about this. One can dismiss this as heretical private revelation but not only did enormous sincerity surround the reported experience but arguably the Davidic experience supports the notion.

39) King David made a berith (covenant but a word that can be used for marriage) with a person of same sex. While undoubtedly the biblical ideal and norm of marriage is one man and one woman, it is to ignore the fluidity of biblical thought when conservative literalism insists biblical tradition teaches only one norm and never could or should envisage exceptions. This position’s only real claim to authority is Jesus’ single reference to an original Edenic (“in the beginning”) ideal (Matt 19:5), and Eden is not the world we live in. While believers can hope to realize that ideal, they still do not have automatic authority to impose it on all.

40) In the ancient world eunuchs had ritual functions being employed especially in lamentations. It is quite clear that at the other pole gays are good at celebration; some would seem to wish to be at perpetual dance!

41) A suggestion that something nearer the Greek model might suit some gays. Also that anything like “tantra” (gay tantras have been theorized) might more intellectually than physically “contain” the energies involved, but that any arrangements need to recognize difference. The gay marriage movement is the product of American desire for equality and social sameness, whereas what is significant about gays for themselves and society is their difference rather than sameness. Keeping to and developing gay “unions” might have better reflected and served that. Like gay activist Ken Mills in Ireland who opposed the nation’s marriage equality referendum, some gays have realized the new drive has almost more significance for children and family, adoption, surrogacy etc (things some gays like Dolce and Gabbana and actor Rupert Everett don’t favour), than simply marriage.

42) Stress on difference might better illuminate ethical issues. If the sexual and psychological basis of gay relations are different, should one expect the same kind of contracts and values?

43) Jeremiah is known as the prophet of the New Covenant,  Jer 31:31-34

44) Matt 5:22   In the Sermon on the Mount’s section on anger, it is forbidden to dismiss anyone as “fool”/worthless person. This is almost inexplicable in context unless one realizes racah  could function as Aramaic slang for something like “effeminate pervert” or “faggot” (according to the Peshita Aramaic bible). Cursing persons for a faggot then appears to be symbolic of all and any angry dismissive rejections that risk generating violence in self or others towards  outsiders, sexual, social, racial or whatever.

PRECIS/ ARGUMENT

The poem begins with suggestion of a possible more than business feeling between Jeremiah and his secretary. J, forbidden to marry but not unhappy to be so, suspects some connection between male impulses in establishing attachment to the Creator (the poem implicitly questions contemporary theories of “woman’s writing” where such as religion is concerned). God soon imposes on his prophet the task of a mysterious sign with a loincloth. J wonders about its meaning, not least since not washing what he must wear seems to run against the purity laws. Despite himself, and even while performing the sign of hiding the cloth beside the Euphrates, J recognizes something feminine in God but for himself instinctively still prefers the “masculine” side of God and himself and nature. He also wonders about love. Its demands can separate (as he had to do from Baruch to go to the Euphrates) as much as join. And again even love seems to him somehow elemental, raw and male. He also realizes true love between any couple might require something like love on the side to survive – a love affair with God? Later with the loincloth gone rotten the prophetic sign seems valueless but God agrees about the negativity. The sign was about a faithless Israel needing to be as attached to God as loins to the loincloth. J doesn’t interrogate God about the revelation but realizes that among other things the penis is assigned new dignity and symbolic meaning. It also appears to certify his intuition of the role of the masculine in the roots of spirituality and life organization, but if so it still makes no sense that a celibate should realize it. The revelation makes for questions about sex and its expression , especially given that for Israel sex is about reproduction. But there is the further problem  that J had himself once accused God of raping him. What did that really mean, why would he even think it? The secret lies in the hidden (esoteric) features of sex which could include heightened awareness of male or female energies or both within the self and relative to God through reception of divine energies/eros but through different parts of the soul body (aura). The idea is unfamiliar so  the prophet can only look at the case of the eunuch and/or male temple prostitutes as any point of comparison. Truth about them then proves to be more grey biblically and socially. Their unsatisfactory lives could nonetheless be influenced by mismanagement of inborn tendencies that engage different parts of the soul body that the prophet himself naturally intuits. As J has always taught the leopard doesn’t change his spots, likewise the relevant impulses would need less change than recognition, use and proper management distinct from heterosexual sex and its organization. As had been in the case of Solomon, the latter might ideally be quasi-mystical or tantric to be fully successful. The role of the born eunuch type by contrast was more (angelically) about vision and praise than reproduction, family or exclusive bodily possession on the material plane. If it was to be expressed at all, (and the “eunuch” role seemed natural and necessary including for clarity and inspiration itself), its own form of relating might be more akin (by implication) to the Greek teacher/pupil relation  than the regular marriage by whose standards it could not automatically be judged (an implicit critique of modern marriage equality as universal panacea). Not that the prophet, who does not seek to justify simple licence of relations,  is quite sure. He is left with much to consider. He nonetheless acknowledges he is designated prophet of “the New Covenant”, so new views of life and sex could be included. He looks towards a future Messiah’s declarations. He can’t explain his many thoughts to Baruch who proves a bit coquettish,  conceding in response he was always aware J rather fancied him.

WHAT GAYS WANT AND NEED (Beyond Marriage Equality…PART TWO)

GAYCOUPLE

In the first part of this essay I put considerable emphasis on simple identity – who is gay and why – and not least because it’s harder to establish values, meaning and “vocation” (life direction) where identity is not reasonably well established. We can now turn to what gays may want and/or need.

It’s true that for some gays and those who observe them the answer to what’s wanted might seem as simple as just the party and celebration to which undoubtedly the “ecstatic” kind of gay is inclined. Beyond eventually hitting it lucky with a special someone, gay males whom I have described as “Uranian”,  may want little more than the greatest range of Uranian excitement and stimulation plus an assured sense of being different sufficient to give life the savour of meaning. Gay porn caters to nothing if not general excitement and, given that a diet of porn is an aspect of quite a few gay lives, sex may not signify much more than a general state of arousal akin to the masturbation which any dictionary of astrological symbols will give to Uranus (along with homosexuality as though the “gay wanker” jibe was not wholly false!). However, obviously this isn’t or can’t be all, or not without risk in the long term from addiction and boredom.

It has been claimed that there are more passive than actively inclined gay males (and absolutely that in S/M circles there are more masochists than sadists), but imbalance of the kind may simply indicate that what many gays want is touch, attention and being object in the way straight men don’t particularly desire or even hate as an emasculation if directed on them. And since Uranus will not cover for every need, this more “feminine” desire to be object and have attention may combine less with conventional, heterosexual, “Venusian” urges than more “Neptunian”, oceanic ones closer to the Indian concept of rasa, a prolonged savouring and mystically merging with the essence of something.

And here a paradox enters. Not only will the Uranian impulse need to be toned down to allow scope to the other more generalized, wider urge-to-merge feelings (much sexual dissatisfaction or insatiability can result from mismanaging this via artificial means like drink and drugs at dance parties), but gays will want to savour the pure essence of something. This will be what is male, (and/or youthful in the case of gay males), what’s female (and/or maternal in the case of lesbians).

I can’t speak for lesbians not being one and because I am not informed either of experiments of the gay tantric kind for lesbians; but for gay males it seems that, paradoxically, what is really aimed for, what gives satisfaction and which can even limit or cure previous sex addictions, is enjoying the essence of the partner or just one’s own sexuality via prolonged arousal, erection and “full body orgasm” cultivated in gay tantra of which presently. This however will still be more akin to the orgasm of the heterosexual female. In light of this discovery I would surmise that some of the most dangerous and degraded practices some gays may submit to in the style of Joseph Sciambra (see below) mark a Dionysian effort to dissolve the self and all normal barriers in order to achieve an elusive super-orgasm which is also a kind of “female” surrender.

The gay is the ecstatic male, one who needs to be totally abandoned like a fully orgasmic woman or the highest visionaries (one thinks of St Teresa’s celebrated Bernini swoon). But tantric orgasm, (often and ideally multiple orgasms), can be and often is dry. This gives it some kind of connection, especially as it is helped along by breath control, to experiences of the modern charismatic variety. One gay Catholic of my acquaintance once decided he didn’t want to get drawn into a welcoming charismatic circle because it struck him as too weirdly close to dry orgasm phenomena he felt uneasy about.

Anyway, there is again something in the tantric findings with affinities to early modern gay theory with its female soul in the male body, but also to those claims that we have sex as much and more with the soul than with the body. And it should immediately be said that the core problem of religion with promiscuity, gay or any other, is not simply that it can mark a betrayal of trust, a hurt, an insult, a theft (the level at which infidelity is mostly experienced in the possession world of heterosexual relating), but that, esoterically, something of soul can be given away with a variety of consequences depending upon the individual make up. Asian and theosophical systems sometimes speak of the muddied, dull coloured aura of the promiscuous person, and before proceeding it is appropriate to turn to this question of potential spiritual consequences to any sex life.

SEX AND SPIRITUAL CONSEQUENCES

Quite simply, if one accepts there is a soul force at all, it is precious and not for any mindless sharing around; it belongs primarily to the unique self and to God. It was because his aim was very much ultimate sexual experience and what he called in rather tantric style “phallic consciousness”, that even D H Lawrence believed marriage should be indissoluble because truly ultimate experiences could not be divided up.

The aura can need cleansing and even some gay pagan theory will speak of the need for gays to abstain from intercourse for a substantial period before taking up with a new relation in order that the soul body has some chance of recovery from overload! Short of absolute scientific proof for the aura, arguably one of the strongest cases for its existence and capacity to be “marked” is from the almost lifelong wound that child sex abuse can inflict. If intercourse were just some friction, a purely material event, could a child feel quite so violated and dragging pollution and evil about inside them? We may need to take the soul dimension more seriously than we, and perhaps especially Christians do – gay churches like the MCC stress grace and self-affirmation so strongly they can overlook the spiritual problems possibly attendant upon the multiple partners. They may also ignore along with this the effects of kinky practices on which (Californian) MCC churches have even conducted seminars as though kinky sex were only to be expected and always completely OK.

A radical and much criticized witness to the assumed dangers of spiritual pollution through promiscuity, prostitution and S/M practises is the unusual and disturbing case of the returned Catholic ex-gay porn star, Joseph Sciambra, as recorded in his Swallowed by Satan. The articulate Sciambra is almost a subject in himself, though there are others like porn actor “Jake Genesis” who trace something of the same faith story less extremely.

Sciambra who seems to have done and experienced just about everything and at one stage was a practicing warlock deeply involved in the occult, inevitably courted opposition and incredulity when he declared that sodomy is so beloved of the devil it almost births evil itself and draws down the demons. While I am neither a Catholic nor endorse all that Sciambra (who is rather flamboyantly Italian Catholic) maintains, and emphatically not that gays are merely socialized into being gay, this much should be conceded. Sciambra exposes a dark and vicious side to America’s gay world where youths, often already abused and rejected at the family level but seeking love and acceptance, are hideously exploited and in a way and to a degree that the gay establishment’s anxiety to present well to the world suppresses or even denies, (even if and when it casually endorses porn).

Any conservative wanting endorsement of St Paul’s reference (in the old KJV translation) to such as “abusers of themselves with mankind” will have ample confirmation in Sciambra’s record that homosexuality can be so expressed, even if today that idea will still seem a one-sided way of perceiving homosexuality. (It is, alas the only side that, for example, African churches allow themselves to see).

As to Sciambra’s talk of birthing demons, it is not so unique it can be dismissed as totally meaningless for wider gay experience. Not only do I recall from researches of over a decade ago being appalled at how some morbid S/M masters actually promise their minions that they will bring them the demons, but even so distinguished a gay voice as the Greek poet, Constantin Cavafy, is witness to a crisis of the demonic. In a little known and cited poem Terror, he beseeches Christ to deliver him from (exorcise?) tormenting creatures and spiritual beings that obsess and follow him – “they wait for me/as if studying the detestable times/perhaps when I was dragging myself with them”. Interestingly too, the prohibition of same sex relations in Zoroastrianism (which has a passage so close to Leviticus (Lev 20:13) questions are raised whether the Leviticus ban got added to the Torah in some final post-Exilic edit) is justified by the notion those involved are devil spirit worshippers. The idea long persisted in western occult circles where gays were almost never welcome because of the ease with which they supposedly drew in the dark spirits.

So questions are raised,  no matter how much one might be concerned, theologically and otherwise to supply more and different perspectives. And we should certainly take into account that Sciambra was molested when young, that he seems to have been introduced to porn at an early age (albeit through hetero material starting with Playboy), and he early manifested addictive tendencies. Altogether it all sounds like something to do with the kind of “Neptunian” problems mentioned in Part One.

In this case however, since Sciambra, (born 27th June 1969), doesn’t seem to be actually or potentially bisexual, we suitably find less Neptunian affliction than a sort of overload of influence from a Neptune in aspect to a conjunction of enlarging Jupiter and powerful Pluto, and (since the moon was in late Scorpio that day) probably conjunct the author’s difficult Scorpio moon too. Since moreover Sciambra’s identity-giving sun sets up stress square in one direction to gay Uranus while being in easier aspect to restrictive and often guilty, conventional Saturn in another, there is precisely the difficulty we might expect in being able to seeing and acknowledging oneself as gay at all. Sciambra feels being gay is something he shouldn’t admit to and is only sin like all this rest Which is a sad illusion.

THE MENTOR AND THE SOUL MATE

Reverting to the less extreme, more regular ways that gays relate and mature, what, we may ask is the general relevance of the greater emphasis upon appreciation as opposed to possession which will always make any gay ethics border on elements of aesthetic theory?

Whereas there is something psychologically and almost physically inbuilt (rather obviously so as regards virginity) that for straights makes the possession issue a perennial almost unavoidable theme beyond all social trends, the gay person arguably needs to arrive at authentic relation by another route.

As I have said, the individual of same sex orientation always chooses their condition in at least the sense they accept a destiny rather than just suppress it or pretend it doesn’t exist. And obviously that choice is rather momentous. It involves a re-assessment of self and society, and even today under changed laws and attitudes there is still nothing like the freedom and endorsement the straight person enjoys as a matter of course. Short of risking major misunderstandings and possibly even an aggressive response, the gay person can’t simply introduce themselves and compliment a person of same sex, still less make a pass, at whoever might interest them.

This means that despite the increase in rights, the gay person is too often still vaguely ghettoized, often forced into places like bars or discos of agreed gay interest but not necessarily the best places to socialize and establish meaningful connection. Many are left to hope a hook-up will prove lucky and take them somewhere. If and when fortunate connection doesn’t strike one may even get the kind of tragi-comic reactions like that of the youth of 15 recommending the egregious Michael Brown’s writings on Amazon and declaring he has given up the “gay lifestyle” (though he still has urges and struggles that Jesus is dealing with!). Given up at 15? What sort of “lifestyle” was he leading, even granted a modern sexual precociousness? And what does he even know about gays beyond what Brown will hasten to inform him?

What the young gay will often need is someone akin to a mentor or gay parent to guide them and help negotiate the world they have entered. And some actually do want and need little short of a substitute parent. I once heard a talk by gay anthropologist, Will Roscoe, who lamented the harm done by the post liberation stress on a union of sames, on egalitarian same age relations (not to say also problems from public fears about sex abuse), to what was almost the most fundamental, traditional form of same sex relating since the Greeks. This was normally one between an older and younger man. Roscoe acknowledged gay men can be positively father hungry. Heterosexual fathers can consciously or just unconsciously withdraw from sons they suspect are gay, deny them needed touch and feeling.

However and practically, a mentor/parent if they can even be found is not necessarily for ever. If the age gap is too large and anything like marriage or union was ever envisaged, the younger partner could be left half a lifetime as just a carer. That’s unless, as does seem to have sometimes been the case in ancient Greece, the older partner, a kind of father substitute (and Greek fathers were often absent from offspring as soldiers of state) was not a whole generation older but senior by more like five or ten years to his adolescent partner. He was also not supposed to engage in full penetrative sex (sodomy) with the youth, not least because under existing values this would have been socially degrading, a sort of femininizing such as the ancient world practiced on prisoners of war.

Whatever…..it follows that at a bare minimum, given the common need for mentor and soul mate, a gay life is liable to want or need at least two major relations. And  to the extent marriage and children are not part of the lifestyle one can further argue this dual partnership (and indeed a few more partners) ought not to matter too much anyway. The variety could be regarded as all part of the eternal learning experience of the gay person and character (archetypally and psychologically dominated as it tends to be by Jung’s ever-questing Puer). Natalie Barney, once called the Pope of the Lesbians and deemed a bit of a female Don Juan, had numerous partners alongside her permanent fixture, the artist, Romaine Brooks. In all seriousness Barney believed she was acting as some kind of nurturing mentor, which just sometimes she may have been, but plainly wasn’t always given the jealousies and even attempted suicides that might surround  her (along with Miss Brooks’ periodic fits of depression). So there are limits to this line of thinking even if one discounts the question of subtler spiritual consequences touched on above.

At the same time it is fairly apparent there is only a tiresome “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” attitude to almost anything gays do where moral and religious conservatives are concerned. Anything beyond strictest monogamy is “fornication” but then the existence of gay marriage which could avoid “fornication” (a term originally applied to consort with prostitutes) is said to defile all marriage! Even so, the question of multiple gay relations (often today a serial monogamy) is not entirely irrelevant for any form of homosexuality that seeks to be ethical and spiritual, especially if the question of soul and auric effect are to be included. (Some acts could belong in a grey area – for example if a couple employ a dildo, in what sense if any is that a sexual act that true intimacy or penetration?) , but for esoterics when there is full penetrative intercourse with orgasm the aura is “jolted” out of its place temporarily merging with that of the partner. (It is this full orgasm that contemporary rabbis as opposed to more generalizing Christian conservatives seem concerned to warn against).

PROBLEMS WITH GAY CELIBACY

Faced with complications and warnings, those of very idealistic temperament may decide that celibacy is the best option, the only viable solution. But here we encounter something like a double bind. One might actually need to be “marked” in some way of another as gay by relation and experience or there only arise problems of another order!

I don’t seek to denigrate those who opt for any ideal and celibate paths in or out of relation, but even when such can be sustained there are other problems that need to be recognized – and I don’t only refer to the charges against cure therapies that too many would-be ex-gays have dutifully abstained and then (in truly “Uranian” style!) suddenly exploded when they hit the town. Something like Paul’s “better to marry than to burn” arguably needs the gay application it doesn’t obtain. Yet even where a personally sustainable devout and quiet celibacy is concerned, there are still problems to which two millennia of church history surely bear ample witness.

The celibate risks finishing without clear identity whether for themselves (they may never quite recognise what their desires are so that everything gets lumped under the head of temptation to the point of paralysis) or for the society within which they risk near invisibility. This leaves them somewhere between ignored and unappreciated when not suspected as far as any good and useful work is concerned. A largely hidden self-denial then becomes the only positive expression of a whole often colourful and creative mindset. In past pre-Uranian, pre-democratic, more monkish centuries when individuality was little prized but self–sacrifice was much respected, that nullity may have seemed satisfactory for all concerned, but it is not really sustainable today.

Instead of consciously directing the libido (a subject touched on presently somewhat in line with Rabbi Boteach’s claims) towards a meaningful contribution to life, the ex-gay but still somehow “different” person is sent to the religious community’s too hard basket. They fall into the category of spiritual misfits, those who should redouble efforts at prayer and bible study in furtherance of a lifelong struggle against base nature when in fact they are likely to make more personal and spiritual progress if they are working with their own kind rather than striving to please and appease heteronormative guardians and advisers. The latter are besides more likely to be tolerant regarding any failures among their kind for whom the attitude is often just cosi fan tutte.(thus do all or all women)

For the likes of the admittedly extreme Janet Mefferd, gay celibacy is not one wit superior to gay marriage or permissiveness, it’s all rebellion against God, a blasphemous refusal to admit the wickedness of a God-cursed “homosexuality” whether in act or just thought. To suffer this kind of condemnation with its erasure of one’s essential being is the reward that pious avoidance of any Uranian “out” and independence-geared response at worst bestows upon gay celibacy. It’s the kind of bind that makes Christianity and Christians loathsome to gays. We need not doubt God intends more than a life of in-closet repression and confusion.

All this is without considering what even St Paul had to say about celibacy. Often ignored amid traditional elevation of sexual purity and sacrifice, is just how rabbinically pragmatic the apostle’s treatment of this subject is as in 1 Cor 7:25-38. Celibacy is good because it can release people to more religious work and devotion or is simply wise in dangerous times (the church was persecuted). The single person is less trammelled – which as a general rule they are, though persons with very high energy levels may still express their genius and vocation. (Notoriously there is Bach who wrote more music, most of it religious, than almost anyone alive while producing a brood of twenty children who apparently did not disturb his labours). If you cannot allow the apostle the authority of the generalization he will seem simplistic on a theme so sensitive and complex.

It is also evident from the apostle’s counsel to the married that, again in pragmatic rabbinic style, he did not approve couples overly abstaining “do not deprive one another…” (1 Cor 7:5). If we can take it that a general rule is being stated (something fundamentalist style literalism commonly refuses to do), the message seems to be that if people have strong sexual impulses (but not all do), these urges should normally be satisfied within a proper framework if they are not to cause trouble, including by STDs. Paul probably refers to these in Rom 1:27 when speaking of the dissolute “receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error”. Social diseases would of course loom as a much more serious issue in pre-scientific times when no cure was possible.

If strong urges should be contained rather than denied, the principle should certainly be applicable to the gay situation and not on pragmatic grounds alone. Although philosophers and apostles inhabiting a very different ancient world framework of thought would not have seen the point, if unlike Aristotle we admit homosexuality exists within nature rather than is simply against it or unknown to it, then the desire ought to achieve some appropriate expression.

The traditionalist of course still wants to argue same sex urges should be suppressed because they were never any intended part of nature, but if we assume they were and that like Job’s ostrich created unnatural, God intends some exceptions, then it could finish absurd or cruel to refuse the impulse some outlet.

Though it wouldn’t represent most gay people’s first choice, (especially after the extra difficulties of getting through adolescence and coming to terms with an orientation),        on the positive side the gay celibate offers if nothing else a kind of reminder, liable to be resented but perhaps needed to the those who wrongly assume that life is a party, that it is actually possible to go without gratification. Because the reality is that sooner or later almost everyone has to be celibate to a degree. Gay celibacy is not gayness as productive relationship but it is gayness of sorts as independence – provided it is understood that it is gay and not the refusal of an inherent disorder.

TOWARDS THE NEW AGE

Reverting to celestial symbolism, I believe there is some helpful significance in the dual rulership of Aquarius by the Uranus and Saturn energies. We are presently on the verge of the Aquarian era itself “ruled” by these energies – it is one reason homosexuality and its rights has become finally unavoidable and that even sexual style is becoming more androgynous (Aquarians whether gay like Ellen DeGeneres or straight like Princess Stephanie of Monaco often even look more androgynous than the average person).

Until quite recently when we border the Aquarian age, expression of homosexuality was “Saturnian”. By this I mean it was muted and all of suppressed, furtive, censored and guilt ridden, or else it was established in the right, usually upper class circles but, since Saturn rules age and experience, as a kind of mentoring, wisdom of the elders relation along vaguely classical lines. Classical haunts like Capri and Sicily were even favourable places for its indulgence.

Only since the sighting of Uranus and as we near the new age has gay relating become more open, individualized and democratized (equalized). But arguably contemporary homosexuality also engages a kind of instability through its almost too open and egalitarian expression with almost no Saturn in sight. To work, ideally homosexuality should combine features of both mature Saturn and youthful Uranus, of Saturnian self control and Uranian exuberance and spontaneity and in the future hopefully it will do so and even in some respects become in doing so a model for straight sex.

There will always be some need for Saturnian mentoring and socialization. The latter could well help initiate and develop some new rules of encounter to facilitate genuine relating (as opposed to sex sometimes employed as almost a handshake of introduction!). But Saturnian energies almost certainly need to take on another dimension in meaningfully channelling Uranian impulses. I am thinking especially in terms of gay Tantra which is the subtle control of sexual energies.

THE TANTRIC DIMENSION

Like yoga and more so, tantra is a rather large umbrella term for a variety of practices some strictly religious and cultural, some desacralized and more secular but which, as in yoga, employ quite a lot of concentration and breathing work. Though pleasure and sometimes insight to the point of enlightenment are aimed for, at its core instead of being controlled by sex, tantra aims to control it. In some respects the system is “feminine” to the extent it accepts rather than combats or suppresses sex urges. It could thus be considered the inversion of the masculine and Martian approach to eros.

My book Solomon’s Tantric Song (amzn.to/N6EK1I) never suggested that the famous biblical song was a work of tantra as such, only that elements within it had affinities for the Asian system and that the biblical poem can be read with greater consistency and often profundity of meaning if that is once grasped.

In the same way, gay tantra, which is modern and owes quite a lot in America to the Jesuit trained Joseph Kramer and in Germany to the former Benedictine monk, Armin Heining, has its own form and aims that are modern and in some respects outside of tradition. Enlightenment with realization of mystical oneness with the Hindu All or the Buddhist Void via an opposite sex partner are not the projected aim. Instead it mostly pursues refinement and prolongation of safe pleasure with good orgasms which are ideally the full body kind, often but not necessarily dry and which at once satisfy and can stop or limit mere sex addiction.

From a certain point of view the system might seem almost an unintended gift to religion or at least to those gays who want or need to combine religion with the sensuous and come to terms with and love their erotic selves they had mostly experienced as disapproved. Since orgasms can be dry and mental imagery, especially porn imagery, is discouraged in favour of something closer to pure feeling and a rather Buddhist emptiness at the same time as it is possible to touch and associate sensuously with others without having full (penetrative) sex with them, there isn’t much even the most traditional religious concerns with spilled seed or lustful imaginations could fault. Unless of course the same parties that regard anything gay whether celibate or sexual as sin, I suppose any such concessions to eros could be dismissed as fornication and uncleanness by another route, especially if and when the tantric work is done nude as it usually is.

Practically however I should say if there is a problem, it might lie rather with what could remain unstated or implied regarding techniques used and energies aroused or venerated. Might this operate like the mantras of the theoretically religiously neutral TM which unbeknown to western practitioners often employed mantras to evoke specific deities? Rabbi Boteach who is not concerned with specifically gay tantra but has produced a book Kosher Sutra which outlines some tantric practices in a Jewish context, stresses the need to divest the system of its “pagan” accretions.

In the DVDs of the so to speak demythologized tantra of Heining who trained under Margot Ananda (the French pioneer of western Tantra, the Sky Dancer Tibetan influenced system), demonstrations are made in a room with a Buddha head in the background. Is that for style or is a certain Buddhist “emptiness” tacitly aimed for?

Actually and rather interestingly, Heining states in one video that despite his own penchant for tranquillity meditation (a taste first acquired in his monastic career in which he was disappointed not to have found God), he has not so far pursued courses in tantric meditation for gays. He has found most gays don’t want it – they are not in his opinion good at concentrated meditation, a situation which to the extent it’s true – and I do question it – I would attribute to the Uranian factor. Where spirituality is concerned this may desire something closer to the excitement of ecstatic/charismatic religion which some find to have affinities to dry orgasm but from which obviously gays otherwise are or feel themselves excluded. And note that Uranus “rules” in an air sign and breathing is crucial to much gay tantra.

“MINDFULLY DOING EROS”

I don’t know whether “Blue Tyger”, one of the devotees of the practices of “Erotic Engineering”,  a branch of gay tantra which can be found on the net, was a reject of specifically charismatic Christianity, but he attests through his practices to achieving the love and acceptance of himself his church couldn’t give him. That he had previously locked himself away in darkness for a fortnight in the hopes of finding Truth, is the kind of thing has always convinced me gay spirituality is not lacking in its own intensity despite Heining’s doubt.

Be that as it may, Blue Tyger and “Erotic Engineering” will demonstrate “mindful masturbation”. The name is however redolent of Buddhist mindfulness meditations which ultimately aim to dissolve the illusion of  an individual self. Yet in one clip Blue Tyger self-nonetheless identifies with blue lily Nafertum, an Egyptian phallic deity, while his mentor in the brotherhood of masturbators, Bruce Geitner, author of The Golden Phallus, has things to say about masturbating with one’s ancestors, surely a sort of invocation of the spirits. (I am reminded of beat poet Alan Ginsburg who felt his inspiration derived from the masturbation which gave him a revelation from William Blake).

In an interview for Erotic Engineering, gay spirituality writer Toby Johnson (yet another ex monk!) has plenty to say about the Tibetan compassion deity, Avalokitishvara. He regards this figure as a model of androgynous compassion for gays and almost, one feels, makes a gay deity out of this member of the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon who has perhaps more to do mythologically with sex change and transexualism than homosexuality. The Californian based cult of Antinous as a gay god however wildly eccentric can at least claim to be specifically gay.

The first major voice of Gay tantra was the Jesuit trained Joseph Kramer, but his Erospirit movement seems to have evolved towards teaching a more general “sexual yoga|” for all orientations that will bring participants to “body wisdom and insight”. Practitioners may even achieve “astonishing erotic trance states” through prolonged genital stimulation.

Kramer’s talk of a “body electric” looks back to words of America’s first gay poet Walt Whitman and his (Uranian) ideal of creating an erotic community and “the love of comrades”. Kramer’s gay exercises are in fact done in controlled group contexts.  These exercises are eclectically indebted to tantric, Taoist and Native American examples. Unlike Heining’s techniques, I have not observed any on video for purposes of comment as it seems one needs to be enrolled on Erospirit courses to have access to the relevant library of videos.

I recall once reading an interview with Kramer in which he recorded being moved by the response of one participant in his rituals whose ecstasy brought him to a vision of Christ and the angels. One would however need to know precisely what the ritual was and the beliefs and feelings of the person concerned or one might be forced to say here was a good example of where prolonged erotic trance states had prompted more illusion than revelation rather as inebriation caused Chambers to hear God.

There seem to be less danger of this with Heining who though apparently able to deliver on what he promises, keeps the aims modest. He seeks to reduce the tensions inherent in our conflicted dual mindedness and to heal gay woundedness and to heighten pleasure and simple efficiency by channelling the libido. As far as he is concerned, you may for example be a good singer, singing from the heart (chakra) but you will sing differently and more effectively if you can raise some of the raw libido energy that resides in the lower chakra. Redistributing the corporeal and chakra-based energies are dependent for Heining upon fairly energetic breathing exercises and calmer massage and stretching techniques directed upon everything from just the skin to more exotically the penis and prostrate, but not upon explicit meditations whether on Buddhist emptiness or Hindu deities.

The potential for idolatry and unintentionally contacting the spirits of other faiths might not concern any but Christians (and a few committed agnostics who don’t want to be taken for a ride). But on a more positive note, the question arises whether, even if  unbeknown to themselves, Christians might in fact have a key to the entire question of sexual energies that other systems don’t have, and thus need and are able to work towards something like a new yoga.

RELIGION AND RETHINKING THE GENITALS

On a personal note I only looked again into the question of gay tantra quite recently and after many years. I had been alerted to what I felt might be its significance about fifteen years ago when I was researching gay spirituality. But back then I couldn’t take things too far given available material and the requirements of my doctoral researches, but this year I had a reason to think about some of the implications more freely and personally.

In 2015 I suffered from and was operated upon for prostatitis (not prostrate cancer). It was an unpleasant experience not least because it required some weeks of catheter use. The catheter somewhat focuses attention upon the penis and perhaps very psychologically, especially as the necessary TERP operation runs some risk of leaving the patient without potency and sexual feeling for the rest of their term. So, if like myself you’re born under Scorpio which in medical astrology since ancient times is the sex and phallus sign, that it is not irrelevant to your experiences. I shall be speaking presently about the Scorpio rabbi, Shmuley Boteach and his book Kosher Lust: Love isn’t the answer which I suppose is about as Scorpionic as it gets in its understanding and proposals.

A lot of thought about the penis in the various religions has been very negative, especially since another Scorpio, St Augustine, decided its unruly, irrational nature along with the whole idea of erection was symbolic of mankind’s rebellion against God. He moreover assumed that sex must be intimately related to the Edenic Fall and inherited original sin. In reality, and rather as with homosexuality, there is nothing especially biblical about this as Milton (who assumed the primal pair enjoyed sex in Eden before the Fall) and others familiar with their bibles have realized. If anything, Augustinian notions have a lot to do with certain pagan and heretical Christian influences upon the philosopher bishop prior to his conversion.

It could be a revelation to some to think by contrast of the Bible as rather penis positive, a claim I set out to highlight in Jeremiah’s Loincloth: A Poem of Faith and Phallos (http://wp.me/p2v96G-Hm) which I composed while successfully but slowly convalescent. The penis, curiously personalized in the symbolism of one of the prophet’s enactments, can represent the males of Israel who should attach to the Lord as the loincloth does to the penis (the loincloth was a form of ancient pants or underwear). The idea is like an extension of the call in Psalm 103 to let everything of the person to praise God (Ps 103:1). Though there’s no explicit scriptural declaration to the effect personal eros is involved, we can take it by the second order of scriptural reading according to the rabbis, Remez, that something of kind is included and implied.

THE SACRED MALE EROTIC

Though obviously the genitals like anything else can be misused, they are not accursed and fit only to be despised. Instead they should be accepted and thought of as a channel for the realization and expression of the sacred and of pleasure – both.

I hesitate to say men should learn to “love” the penis as a fundamental step towards healing and self acceptance, but surely many do need to do so seeing we are witness to everything from the ghastly mutilations that feature in the morbid photography of Mapplethorpe to the use of the penis as virtual weapon in acts of alienated rape violence. And there are persons who evidently just think of the genitals as “unclean”. Like a pioneer in the realm of sex change, Jan Morris, transsexuals sometimes report feeling cleansed following removal of the genitals.

I remain to be convinced that even the average gay quite loves the penis he may appear to some to be obsessed with. If he did, there might for a start be more acceptance of male nudity along the lines of ancient Greece for whom the penis was profoundly symbolic and almost a lucky sign, (herms were often displayed outside homes). In fact gay nudists can be driven to the sidelines, almost the last to be admitted to gay parades which can parade the highly suggestive and even pornographic.

Parade and party gays instead seem to wish to heighten the erotic, as is quite possible to do and commonly is so among heterosexuals, by making the genitals the forbidden fruit when not despised as a less “beautiful” feature of the body. (The latter is an attitude which arguably ignores that in both sexes the genitals bespeak less beauty than point towards what transcends or precedes it – an elusive potency, a Plutonic mystery like that which D. H. Lawrence constantly circles, tries to catch and define but which evades the summaries of vision and word. For Lawrence Pluto is suitably in the sex sector of his natus!)

Whatever, if we propose sex is what can be regarded as both sacred and enjoyable, we run up against big issues, not least the train of thought begun by Augustine, that renders pleasure in sex sinful and “fallen” because sex exists solely for reproduction and is something never properly subject to will. The chief (religious) question which I think one must ask is, by contrast, can lust be meaningful and good (the word is pejorative in English though in German the same word can do service for lust and just pleasure). If it is positive, what is there in sex which could be deemed negative and has given sex its reputation for the shameful?

THE RABBI APPROVES LUST

This is where certain ideas of Rabbi Boteach come into play. His recent book Kosher Lust: Love is not the Answer is self-described as revolutionary which in some respects it is, though that hasn’t made it one of his bestsellers. Boteach regards libido, its recognition and management as crucial. Though gays don’t come into his purview, his claim that some people are almost without all vitality lacking adequate release of libido, recalls testimonies I have read of gays lacking all proper connection to life including spiritually (some unable to believe in God) until they could realize themselves as gay. What Boteach refers to reminds me of D.H. Lawrence maintaining that what he tried to describe as “phallic consciousness” was essential beyond just sex to relating to nature and life itself.

Despite the current over-sexualization of society that Boteach doesn’t hesitate to critique, as a heterosexual marriage counsellor this rabbi became convinced that inadequate or no authentic libido in relation is what leads to marital breakdown because love has far less to do with successful unions than imagined. Love and even spirituality, can’t easily thrive without it. Israel and the soul are supposed to “cleave” to God as a wife to the husband; but biblical sexual love turns out to be much like Greek Eros, with a strong component of hungry curiosity. It wants to know and biblical intercourse is always and only defined as having knowledge.

For Boteach, modern Americans, Christians and feminists who all imagine marriage can be a best friendship, a wonderful partnership, the fulfilment of pure “love”, are in serious danger of marital breakdown and divorce. Love is warm but lust is passionate and it’s what keeps things going (even the universe by implication, says Boteach, if we observe the forces governing sub-atomic physics and electromagnetism). What a woman most desires from a man is to be intensely desired, “chosen”, something only lust can offer – lacking it is why so many liberated women incongruously adore fiction like Fifty Shades of Grey.

One of the more effective parts of Kosher Lust is its explosion of the myth that men usually stray from a desire for variety and more sex…. and here there is an indirect link to tantric theories of the need for inner healing through proper direction of eros rather than a multiplication of experiences. Boteach argues that if men really needed just variety, we wouldn’t find them so often unfaithful like Tiger Woods with the same kind of women they are married to. The problem is more deeply psychological and can involve masculine need for acceptance, approval etc they don’t necessarily obtain in relation. Boteach also reminds us Judaism assumes it’s women have the strongest sexual passions (one could ask is this why female-souled gay males have such strong desires?!). Female need is the reason the Jewish marriage contract includes that the male must give the woman her rights in this area.

I will digress to observe there is a purely Jewish dimension to the rabbi’s arguments which might confuse Christian readers and cause them to dismiss some important things he says. He maintains the Torah doesn’t even state God is Love, it only allows God to be source of love. This is correct enough, the point being the God of the Torah is essentially God as Creator and Law Giver, not Christ as any exemplification of the divine. Also, St Paul’s celebrated Corinthian love hymn which Boteach opines reveals as much the limitations as the possibilities of love, is about love as compassion and friendship and extended to anyone anywhere, it’s not about marital love. It can however be conceded that with the NT’s extension of love outwards, there is a sometimes over-ascetical Christian assumption that all you need for marriage is love when in fact you may need rather more.

Boteach makes his case for lust in marriage and the love/longing for God from Talmudic and Kabbalistic rather than scriptural sources which I find oddly unnecessary. As I realized when writing Solomon’s Tantric Song, the case Boteach makes for a “lustful” relation to the divine is already present from the Psalmist desiring God with his body “my soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you” (Ps 63:1) he thinks of God on his bed his bed by night (Ps 63:5). To the lovers of Solomon’s Song  are within the fires of Yahweh. Even in the NT and with Jesus the commandment is to love God, with heart and soul and strength and mind (Luk 10:27), But Soul and Strength have a few implications for the body.

A NECESSARY SENSE OF THE FORBIDDEN AND SINFUL

According to Boteach, unavailability, mystery and a sense of sinfulness, (principles he derived from especially the way the late Steve Jobs uniquely marketed Apple products!) are essential to lust. At once interesting and odd is inclusion of the sense of sinfulness. If lust is good, should a sense of the forbidden be attached to it? For Boteach Jewish law and tradition supposedly provide this by forbidding intercourse for part of the month, namely on the days surrounding the menses. At this time intercourse may be desired but it cannot be had or is had with guilt, the woman becoming as it were a temptress, a situation supplying an edge to desire and greater fulfilment when union is resumed.

Actually it seems to me that a strange suggestion of “sinfulness”, or at least of the prohibited, is conveyed by the traditional Jewish marriage rite itself. The way that traditionally (and as echoed in Jesus’ apocalyptic parables) no one except the father knows when the groom will depart to suddenly take the bride who is, at it were, snatched away from the celebrations and community, has an air of the unexpected, of rape or theft about it. Jesus the groom of the apocalypse is even described as suddenly arrived like “a thief in the night” (Rev 16:15). What is going on here and in what sense is sex sinful, even attractively so?

Again I must have recourse to the symbolic grammar of the astrological. Sex and marriage for straights is a Mars/Venus thing, though even for straights there is at least implicitly and necessarily a transcendent/spiritual dimension. Sex enters the house of being almost like a thief or alien, crosses borders however hard to pin down and define, and for anyone but Milton’s prelapsarian inhabitants of Eden, it can all feel paradoxically very natural but also unnatural, exceptional and beyond oneself too and thus “sinful” even at its most pure.

The shock and surprise of intercourse, especially the first, is quite Uranian, the jouissance of it is Neptunian and the meanings and results of it can be Plutonic in terms of surrender (and in many cases procreative too). Accordingly it is terribly correct if a marriage rite suggests an element of disruption, a transgression of the known and normal.

So far so good or at least coherent. Yet if it is true everyone and especially those of the Judaeo-Christian tradition are meant to incorporate lust into their intimate relating including with God, where does this place persons in relation to systems like tantra, and what does this also do to all the insistent “ascetical| references from especially St Paul about a lower nature or “flesh” that strives against the spirit?

First of all it must be said that even Boteach defines three types of lust, namely material, emotional and spiritual and admits the material kind is negative. Impersonal, material lust  is directed upon objects whether possessions or persons and thus sets up nothing but an insatiable repeating mechanism that leads to nothing and nowhere but frustration because it can never be truly made at one with. (Soul and mere object don’t mix).

Also Christian tradition has tended to identify lust, especially sexual, with the visual sense (and today with the pornography) that tantra mostly seeks to downplay and avoid. While plainly sight is a fast route to impersonal objectification, it is possible for Christians to overemphasize sight as comprising all that Paul’s celebrated “flesh” (sarx) implied. This is encouraged due to the rather startling statement in Matthew’s gospel (Matt 5:28) to the effect whoever looks upon a woman to lust has already committed adultery with her, a saying which in parenthesis needs to be understood.

Not only does one commit adultery with someone already married so that not all women are implied (if they were Jesus might be accused of a morals system that suppressed natural desire and even helped create gays!), but the text with its blepon is more like whoever sees to or has a mind to, commit adultery (intends or plans to commit it) may as well have done so; this person is not more innocent than the person who is able to to carry off the deed. He has coveted even if he hasn’t succeeded. This would be consistent with Jesus’ emphasis upon a need to interiorize the Law, in this case its prohibitions of adultery and coveting and of course we are in the realm of that sex as possession theme I have mentioned as more heterosexual than gay.

So….if “the flesh” or “lower nature” needn’t be unduly defined by what is seen so that the erotic is not evil per se, what will definition of “flesh” be?

I think it would be fair to say it is whatever in self and soul is or makes for chaos, as against whatever makes for order and design in life. Whatever is base of the flesh will often be whatever makes for excess, a point I think we must accept even if we suspect that Christian perception of an orgiastic excess that threatens everything owes something to the fact Paul originated from Tarsus, a major centre of Stoic philosophy and who later in life wrote to and visited Rome, the theatre of imperial decadence and every excess.

One key to the idea that lust – not just its romance but its animality – has its place within religion is suggested by the fact that through marriage two souls become one. And these souls are sarx or the equivalent of nephesh, the animal soul, the soul that links us with all life, the animal realm and the whole of nature. Admittedly the NT position is that nature itself is fallen and awaiting redemption (Rom 8:22), but then it’s also the NT position that at very least the marital bond is sacred (Heb 13:4). So the sacred and the so-called lustful can and should combine.

SEX AND GOD AND GOD’S NAME

Accordingly then, perhaps the most crucial question should be, what exactly is anyone touching and savouring in erotic experiences whether of the marital or more alternative kind (as in, say, the mentioned tantric masturbatory kind of Soloving?

In this area it is not possible for Judaism or Christianity or Hinduism and Buddhism to ever give the same answer. I am nonetheless controversially prepared to affirm the Christian answer is to some degree God is touched, but only impersonally and more especially so in the absence of the Spirit – on the basis that the Cosmic Christ, an alien concept to Judaism and also to the Asian faiths, upholds and fills all things and is therefore what Boteach would call the “glue” behind cosmic and sexual desire alike. Perhaps everyone suspects it, the reason why so often the exclamation upon climax is “Oh God!”

But as it happens, I do have what I maintain is a special proof, even if many would never accept it. I have long insisted that I possess the true birth data of Christ found in radical extension of the claims of two notable astronomers. I couldn’t possibly have arranged that this data which works for Christ’s life suitably registering Christ issues to this day. The natal pattern shows a conjunction of Venus (regular love) with Neptune (oceanic, agape love) with the asteroid Eros and all in the sign of raw sex, and creation, Scorpio. (Even Uranus is involved by fortunate trine to these). And then asteroid Lust, falls on Mercury, ruler of the whole chart and powerful on what’s called a critical degree. Put together these are very much signatures for a cosmic Christ and the association with raw eros or what Boteach calls Lust.

The fact that in some sense we touch divine energies as we contact eros, is even a reason that Pauline Christianity can be so down on promiscuity. There can’t help but be some misuse of the divine itself. Will you join the indwelling Lord to a prostitute? St Paul surprisingly asks the Corinthians (I Cor 6:15). The assumed divine indwelling of the believer means the body (or rather body/soul) is given away to become one with the prostitute. The larger Pauline assumption is that whoever the individual has full intercourse with they have effectively become one with, a notion which makes no sense outside of some kind of implied esoteric doctrine but not accepting which makes the whole teaching seem more like an arbitrary don’t do list – albeit there would still be moral and health reasons why it is not good to engage sex for hire. Corinthian prostitutes may have been sacred ones besides which would complicate things at the religious level.

There is a line in gay theology well represented by Bernard Kelly in Seduction by Grace which holds and in line with certain western mystics of the so-called negative school, that God, though unnameable and unknowable, inflames our desire by briefly appearing and as soon disappearing. This vision of “God”, at least to gather from a lecture of Kelly’s I once attended, can even colour and justify fleeting relations because connecting with someone and then letting them go becomes like a mystical and compassionate exercise in its own right apart from conventional morality. Queer theology inclines the same way because its notion of God is akin to its notion of the (gay) human – identity without essence. There is nothing we can say about God unless by negatives.

I nevertheless hold that God in the Judaeo-Christian and biblical tradition is eminently nameable and at least to some degree knowable – the entire trajectory of the biblical narrative is towards declaring that. Mystical claims otherwise are simply pagan notions that have slipped into Christianity via the neo-platonism that gained kudos because especially Augustine and some Greek fathers were influenced by it. Accordingly…. to let Eros be nameable as Christ is only consistent with biblical tradition even while it raises new issues pastorally. While one might ecstatically thank God for certain erotic experiences, I am forced to agree even with my bête noir Michael Brown, in being opposed to the extravagant sexual experiments of the originally Jesuit Robert Goss (now of the MCC church) who made a practice of imagining sex and in all manner of ways with Jesus – anyway rather preposterous when you can’t have a clear visual image of Jesus to go on in the first place!

NEW REFORMATIONS

Matthew Vines’ God and the Gay Christian has been much praised by the more open-minded among evangelicals and also much criticized by conservatives, including because it is only a popular rehash of what some of us have been pointing out against opposition for years. But there is some originality in the author’s feeling if nothing else, and I like the emphasis upon the gospel statement of Matt 7:17 about the good tree bringing forth good fruit and the bad tree bringing forth bad. I don’t think this point as it applies to the church’s gay issue could and ever should be ignored. Vines wants a New Reformation where gays are concerned and it would be hard to dismiss the value of that idea.

It is no good keep pressing the authority of the Bible (as you interpret and understand it) if and when it’s all too clear it has caused and still does unacceptable levels of harm. The fact that some Christian attitudes can be observed to regularly cause depression, suicide, homelessness, bullying in schools, confusion under treatment, just isn’t good enough. And it’s profoundly ironic besides when it’s realized just how many priests and people in religion are, (whether they are “out” or not about it), in fact gay. St Paul didn’t anticipate that development, still less suspected how much religion generally has a great deal to do with the gay mind! But fact and experience must count for something in life and we must respond accordingly.

Repeating familiar bible texts isn’t enough. One wonders would the likes of Michael Brown, who can only see what the bible, especially the OT says about “homosexuality”, care to restore say, a Torah literalism on the marriage of raped women to their rapist or call for execution of rebellious sons, (something which neither scripture nor Jewish record gives instance of ever being carried out, such odd laws being almost certainly Utopian, the pre-philosophical society’s way of indicating principle, defining what was unacceptable, indictable behaviour)?  Such scriptural precedents belong rather in the category of words from Jesus in Aramaic idiom about cutting the hand off or plucking the eye out, something he didn’t literally mean and no believers have ever done (albeit something is meant by this in the way mentioned presently).

Some things in the bible have to be dropped, soft pedalled or re-interpreted, and St Paul on whatever or whoever precisely he referred to with regard to same relations belongs to that. If Luther could call for the dropping of the far more meaningful short epistle of James from the bible, excising or ignoring Paul’s Romans 1 would be a far less serious business. But it really all comes down to how one reads a Bible. Extreme fundamentalist literalism, especially on sex, will always be problematic. The fact is that unless one is prepared to take generalizations as generalizations, much of the Bible on especially sex is going to seem incoherent. Nothing quite fits and there is a strong degree of culture bind.

The curses of Deuteronomy Chapter 28 on forbidden sexual unions do not include the same sex relations banned in Leviticus 29, in fact the same book rules the male prostitutes (who would need to be executed under Leviticus) must not give offerings to the Temple from their hire). Leviticus bans incest which has much to oppose it yet Moses and Aaron in truly Egyptian style were the offspring of such forbidden relations. Jesus does not include desertion and serious violence as a ground for divorce along with infidelity, but one may imagine it was just assumed as it would be in Jewish tradition. Jesus is endlessly quoted by conservatives as declaring marriage was between man and women (which is undoubtedly the norm), but we find no criticism from Jesus of such as the polygamy of his forebears, and historically it was only an extreme of opposition stopped Luther from instituting polygamy in cases of permanent illness and childlessness in the spouse. Was he really so wrong?

The simple fact is that the Bible sets down ground rules and makes generalizations. It does not address every possible life situation so that we may need to follow Luther and declare, “The Just shall live by faith”. Exceptions and some flexibility must be allowed in the light of faith and good conscience. Outside the Ten Commandment of the core Covenant, Christians cannot keep citing regulations of the Torah as an absolute. Even in its own foundational times it was never fully observed. Though David is judged for his particularly deceitful and murderous liaison with Bathsheba, neither he nor Bathsheba was executed as the Law would strictly require, in which case the likes of Pastor Kevin Swanson in America today hardly has biblical grounds for his “kill the gays” suggestions!

It would not be unreasonable to go further and propose that for Christianity “to live by faith” today could entail a whole new approach to sex whether inside or outside the Bible. There is some need to exchange an exclusively masculine/patriarchal approach to the subject for, broadly speaking, a more feminine or “tantric” one. Instead of the Martian treatment which simply fights desire in self or society like the enemy (sometimes as in evangelical America less discussing issues like homosexuality than tackling them in the style of the late Gerry Falwell like a bar room brawler!) the subject should be accepted…. But not uncritically. Rather there should be more acceptance with the aim of transforming what is accepted 

Granted that in the realm of ethics not everything can ever be quite so treated. If you had a compulsion to steal or murder obviously that must be radically fought and “the right hand cut off” as Jesus has it. But in the case of life-feeding libido, where possible it is better to transform desire lest something in the life force itself may be cut off. 

Homosexuality anyway can’t and won’t be abolished however much conservatives may still hope and pray for that; but in its present expression there’s much about it that could be improved, whether as regards the merely pornographic and exploitative kind of lifestyles that Sicamabra exposes or the kind of silly (in fact more queer than gay) and sometimes quasi-fascist activism that not without all reason troubles the hetero obsessive Michael Brown who still wants to turn tides.

SODOMY, SPIRITUALITY AND MORALITY

I am going to finish with some hopefully meaningful and unexpected thoughts in relation to sodomy which for long centuries is what church and society were falsely confident defined what anything like “homosexuality” was about. Homosexuality is of course about a lot more than sodomy and there are prominent gays like Stephen Fry who would maintain it isn’t anyway what they do or want. However, I consider it does hold a certain importance, even represents a kind of secret we cannot avoid and which it may be helpful to better know and understand.

This is how the Catholic Jerusalem Bible translates Jeremiah 20: 7-9

Yahweh, you have seduced me and I am seduced,
You have raped me and I am overcome….

The prophet is then so offended or outraged he doesn’t want to think or speak of God further but then admits or relents,

There seemed to be a fire burning in my heart,
Imprisoned in my bones.

Other translations are a little less direct, but it is generally accepted something of this strange and extreme kind is indicated and what is conveyed would seem to be owning up to a great deal in a few words. But just what do these difficult lines mean for Jeremiah and what might they imply more broadly for religious experience?

For a start it belongs to a profile of Jeremiah that, as I first indicated in my Cosmic Father and more recently in my poem Jeremiah’s Loincloth: A Poem of Faith and Phallos, is a definitely gay one with all the problems that raises. It also belongs with certain assumptions of the Jewish scholar and former rabbi, Howard Eilberg-Schwartz, whose controversial work on God and sex (God’s Phallus and other problems for Men and Monotheism) I hadn’t read at the time I wrote Jeremiah’s Loincloth – I only read Schwartz because I had written the poem. The author maintains the Bible is a work at pains to cover up the homoeroticism or homoerotic possibilities of its own text, a homoeroticism implicit and inevitable in a religion in which divine imagery is predominantly male and divine attention directed upon especially males (in harmony with the patriarchy of the Age of Aries astrologers might add).

As briefly as possible I had better throw out a few ideas that emerge from Eilberg-Schwartz’s study some of whose “problems” around God are like quite a few that theologians have. These are unfortunately linked to the old problem of ignoring the astrological symbolism as they inevitably apply to Jewish revelation within the Age of Aries-Libra, which is to say the age, as far as body symbolism is concerned, of the head (Aries) and the back(side) (Libra) which is all, if anything God is liable to show to Hebrew visionaries and – some would say – as images of God’s presence and absence.

Judaism forbids idolatry hence, by and large, the image. How, then, will God be shown? His head is equal to and can mean “presence” but for the rest culture considerably affects what will be seen and/or be interpreted. Patriarchy of the era regards the patriarch’s nudity something he must himself choose to show as when offspring swear oaths on his genitals, but it is demeaning if he is accidentally seen as in the case of Noah’s sons where eyes should have been averted in a situation in which he was besides particularly vulnerable (and was perhaps sexually abused by a son). It follows any prophet would feel obliged to avert the eyes from God’s genitals if such existed to be seen. It could be anything from presuming to homoerotic to be concerned about them (which I would suggest Jeremiah was – Schwartz admits it was “highly erotic” of the prophet to suggest Israel might cling to the Lord as a garment to his genitals). But how can one not be concerned with divine sex and gender when relationship is involved?

Overall, biblically God may be said to have gender without sex. One can only appreciate his sex by his face – it is commonly face and genitals define sex. However the divine face itself can be veiled and, interestingly, nowhere in the bible (OT or NT) does is anywhere state that God has a beard to define a male face despite all the popular images which owe something to Daniel’s Ancient of Days. Is God disembodied and not “really” male but sex transcendent, which if so would, says Schwartz, only tacitly work to privilege male abstraction and images of perfection? As it is, God appears sexed enough to be portrayed as the opener of the womb, even in some imagery as in Ezekiel one who impregnates a female Israel.

The imagery of Israel as feminine perhaps emerges as a result of males necessarily becoming “female” to the potent God they must avoid seeing too distinctly at the same time as, on the cultural level, misogyny develops because males are potentially superfluous to such a potent deity who closes or opens wombs regardless of the earthly male. Or perhaps God is celibate and all his creation is through the mouth – is God not called the Word, a development of Christianity foreshadowed in some OT thought? The fact that God “opens the womb” can make him seem almost a rival to male procreative powers, or a rival to women who can easily replace his intimacy with God by her greater receptivity. Some later prophetic images of God as wife or mother may soften a type of male anxiety but what do they really teach about God. The problems, the potential contradictions and homoerotic potential keep multiplying. I nonetheless think that as regards specifically the divine phallus something is getting overlooked to which I return presently.

But even as it is, years ago in A Special Illumination I proposed that in some respects Christianity is the most gay spiritual of the world religions in its affinities. That idea might need to be extended into the view that before Christianity monotheism itself has considerable affinity for certain gay spiritual tendencies and may have required their input however officially covered up or opposed. There could be more than the immediate reference to the situation of eunuchs in Israel in Isaiah’s declaration about the eunuch’s spiritual status. Despite the Torah’s exclusion of eunuchs from the temple the eunuch gets rated potentially higher than the heterosexual person’s (Is 56:4,5) at any rate it seems their eternal reward can be higher and more lasting.

A GAY MONOTHEISM?

In line with what was said about greater gay access to what is symbolized by the outer planets, there is an at least potential higher gifting, or insight such as Jeremiah represents in his role of prophet. Early in my Jeremiah poem I hint at the homoerotic quality of monotheistic feeling, the necessary impulse towards it and its preservation if need be against women as in Jeremiah’s times would tend to be the case. 

Strong, firm, unyielding, bright as a flame
Mounts devotion to God. Woman will stray.
Her talk and her feeling imagines, suggests;
Naming, language and words were from Adam
His directions came first like an essence
Of action and order, not life’s adornment…

Since in the ancient world to be sodomized was a fate of prisoners of war while to be or seem feminine was to be disgraced (though it was less demeaning for an adolescent youth precisely because he was “only” young and inferior like a woman), Jeremiah would feel disgraced to be object to anyone human or divine, to be seduced and raped…. if he had been. But surely he was neither?

The secret here, beyond the fact the prophet would feel sensitive round his orientation which Yahweh had already catered to by denying him the obligation of marriage and supplying him a suitable companion/secretary, is the esoteric one. No other explanation will make as good sense or any sense of what Jeremiah claims he experienced and what it means for religion and people more generally.

Given his Uranian and thus potentially very spiritual orientation, Jeremiah has undergone some kind of charismatic experience that has launched and guided his vocation. Uranus and Neptune are associated with the higher chakras but Pluto with the base or root chakra on which the soul body depends (in Hindu traditions it is the Muladhara chakra). It is situated at the coccyx or base of spine near the perineum which is to say near but not in the anus. Its fiery energy is akin to that of the unconscious and like the unconscious its energies need to be recognized and brought to light. The best way to understand Jeremiah’s peculiar reference to rape is in relation to unexpected violent spiritual experience which may have been both blissful and painful but which because he tries to deny or go back on them in days of persecution and stress, confuse him and create tension.

THE ROOT CHAKRA

We may further speculate, especially as some esoteric systems like the Buddhist discount or ignore the base chakra (rather as Buddhism atheistically discounts also God), that on the basis gays are differently wired at the soul/body level, some kind of intense visionary experience might affect the base chakra more strongly than the average prophet. Experiences like Jeremiah’s are not heard from the other prophets strange though those experiences, especially Ezekiel’s, could be.

Pluto is associated with creation and destruction. In bodily terms the anus, to the extent it is associated with excretion, has affinity for destruction; but the root chakra itself has more to do with raw energy and creation and indeed creative fire. It links to both the heart chakra in the centre of the system and the highest chakras which it may be said to fire from beneath. Note Jeremiah feels trapped by his distressing experience of the divine because there is fire in his heart and his body to the very bones.

Although it’s important to stress that in Christianity, the Spirit is portrayed as a fire entering the head (and in charismatic experience is said to descend from there often resting in the solar plexus region), in Asian religions a serpent energy, the kundalini rises from the base chakra to the head.

Kundalini experiences as in the case of Gopi Krishna who brought the experience to modern western attention, though they may be blissful can also prove very disturbing and painful and needing a great deal of management – Gopi Krishna passed many tormented years trying to cope with the effects. There seems to be a demonic dimension to these experiences which I suspect is why some gays if they engaged in sodomy only promiscuously and recreationally may, like Sciambra, suffer troubling effects. The whole soul system is in danger of being disturbed.

Interestingly and in what was once considered the most controversial chapter of D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, (Chapter 16), there is what is believed to be a description of the effects of anal sex. Although among heterosexuals sodomy has historically been sometimes resorted more especially the Latin countries as a means of contraception, Lawrence is unusual in exploring this in a kind of Plutonic, mystical way. It is a final breakthrough for understanding, and even what will truly unite the couple to one another and to nature – Lawrence didn’t favour divorce and felt some experiences marked and joined people for ever of which this was plainly one. The uniqueness of feeling and effect created something that couldn’t then be duplicated and shared about. To the extent the mystical forces of the key lower chakra are engaged this may have some meaning.

It was mentioned earlier that among gays there are more passive than active partners. For gays sodomy, though a potential health hazard, can even become addictive for the passive partner because of the extreme pleasure (even if a truly Plutonic pleasure/pain combination) that can be triggered through the contact with the male g-spot of the prostrate. However as observed by Michael Kelly in Seduced by Grace which has an essay on his experiences with tantric exercises of the Body Electric kind under Chester Mainard, average sodomy is often just a lusty game that paradoxically prevents those involved from reaching the more vulnerable states of seeing and feeling that conscious work on the anal zone requires and rewards.

PLUTONIC SEX

This would seem to be true and even agrees with the Plutonic symbolism I would apply. A standard porn image of sodomy “game” is of activity that emphasizes and exaggerates a certain male roughness, violence and perhaps sense of danger in male owned places like the garage or factory lot. This is Plutonic sex not just in its maleness but as it leans to the destructive side of the creation/destruction polarity. What should and could be be Pluto’s chance to transform and create out of swirls of energies that attach to the base chakra, comes to the dead end. It can foster what can be the darker fantasies of leather sex, if it doesn’t lead to the kind of torment, illness, even death which is the province of Sciambra’s record, not to say the whole sex/death history of AIDS in modern times.

It is possible that sodomy has been long taboo in and out of religion because it is too upsetting, something at least potentially and powerfully sacred in a special way. The “fires” of love and truth that illuminate heart and mind, especially for those not heterosexual, cannot quite avoid the stimulation of the key chakra to which they are connected in terms of energy.

As said, it looks as though Jeremiah was stimulated in the soul body in a way that lit divine fires by which he was indelibly marked and from which he could not safely and easily retreat. It reaches not just his centre, the heart, but his inner being, his bones. His historical situation and then his personal situation sexually were nonetheless so difficult he could hardly process the core experience. Accordingly he temporarily collapses into pain and/or shame, blaming God. The unusual element of revolt against God in a chosen prophet again bespeaks something Uranian/hysterical in the psychological makeup.

Reverting to the sort of questions raised by Eilberg-Schwartz about God and the phallic, just what might Jeremiah’s experience mean within the larger picture of things as it affects our understanding of God and sex? The subject is major but for present purposes I would draw the following conclusions.

THE DIVINE IMAGE

There has always been debate in especially Judaism about whether the claim we are created in the divine image means something more anatomical or spiritual. Whatever one concludes, it is surely most essentially through possession of spirit and soul that humanity is most linked to the divine and thus the spirit body or aura is always of crucial importance.

Within the material realm, the sphere of which God is transcendent, the genitals are primarily for reproduction. God, we are told, can create if need be through speech (vibration?) alone which means, especially as spirit and word are so connected, not that that God is beyond sex but that he can realize eros alternatively at a “spiritual” level.

Adam and Eve, both created in the divine image, are perhaps most like deity when Adam is alone in the garden and creating order through naming things while Eve is present but within him as abstraction only becoming herself materially by a divine act of fission. Up to that moment Adam and Eve are like God as visible “presence” and invisible “absence”, just as one could say the male genitals have symbolic affinity for God (and Christians might say Trinity) manifest and the female genitals as God veiled but present through all existence. The genitals are almost what is most symbolic in the whole bodily system as opposed to essential.

For Queer theology the body is of supreme concern because in Queer’s world of “identity without essence” the corporal substitutes for, or is the nearest thing to, the essence of gendered anything. For a gay theology eros can be permitted a wider range of application and potency rather as Elijah and Elisha’s so-called “erotic resurrections” of dead youths (they stretch themselves out on the boys) is like sex but isn’t though it participates in a related energy field.

It is significant that when, after a fashion, so exceptionally Ezekiel does see God and even God’s loins, his gaze is directed (or averts itself) above and below the loins. I suggest the prophet has to do this because arguably God, even when human in appearance, doesn’t really have a phallus. For the male the phallus is like “a point” or focus of eros and is only a symbol of the divine rather than summary and possessor of all eros, the divine above and below together, its ying and its yang which exist in God so many proto energies.

Even if God actually possessed the elusive single phallus after the manner of the one divine face of some visions, it would probably not be fully seen nor fully interpreted. I note that some persons claiming to have died and seen Christ report his face keeps slightly changing as you look at it. Which makes some sense. No matter how eternal and unchanging God may be, since deity cannot be fully grasped by lesser beings, the divine fullness will make it seems deity is always changing, becoming and always slightly different in the course of recognition. What is most knowable about God is less what is seen than what is interiorly felt, the divine emotions and energies which include the erotic.

One could speculate, and it is not impossible (at any rate not against nature which produces wonders like fish which can change sexes) that Jesus, as that part of God that manifests, is male faced towards humanity and as though female faced towards God as biblical imagery of the feminine divine Wisdom perhaps hints . True or false, what is more vital to assimilate, is something that could hardly even be so theologically or otherwise before modern times. It is only in modern times that finally male and female came to be perceived as a complimentary pair, not a variation upon a single sex within a rigid hierarchy. But this difference allows us to see how God can hold as it were the reins of the dual sexual energies with which he can touch the spirit body of either sex or whichever orientation.

From within his hyper-patriarchal Arien era where male and female bespoke hierarchy, Jeremiah experienced an energizing of the root chakra as virtual rape and hence abuse (or a violent feminizing of him in warrior society terms) that disgraced him at the same time as perhaps it betrayed the gay secret of his inner being. (It is incidentally interesting that gay Michelangelo made a self portrait of himself as Jeremiah)

The prophet failed to realize the possible privilege and opportunity of his “overwhelming” in terms of heightened potency for everything in life. For really Jeremiah, and perhaps any spiritual gay man, could be thought of as kin to Adam alone with God in the garden, anything feminine contained within him, unconscious, but, simply as he is, able to bask in the life, including the eros of God, not needing specifically the feminine for company on the material plane. The potential for this more direct and naked confrontation with God, a vision that so to speak does not strain to avert gaze from any phallus whose ultimate ambiguity and higher meaning it can assimilate because it has already accepted its own phallus, this could be how and why Isaiah perceives something superior in the figure of the eunuch.

EROTIC DIVINE LOVE AND RESTORING GAY DIFFERENCE

I don’t greatly like what theologian Theodore Jennings does in Jacob’s Wound with Eilberg-Schwartz’s already provocative theories about God and sex – Jennings is a heterosexual who aims to “queer” biblical texts in a way that would strike many as sometimes trop voulu and just profane. (Does he really have to speak of prophets as “God’s Groupies” and so on?). But I cannot deny the basic validity of the direction he takes and the idea of God as kin to the Greek Erastes, the teacher/lover. Despite everything it would seem to be unavoidably and undeniably correct that divine love and vision are experienced by such as (bisexual) David and the ( imo homosexual) Jeremiah in some measure and sometimes as the force of an erotic divine love. Human sexual intercourse imitates something in things divine, and not the other way around. To protest that Bernini’s famous The Vision of Saint Teresa sculpture, “really” depicts a woman in orgasm is to miss the point and in a very heterosexual way. God as Lord also of Eros is something religious doctrine and psychology still needs sufficiently to absorb and which the struggle of gay understanding helps to do.

Specifically any issues of straights with religion would not seem to be the place to leave this essay even though I somewhat started with it. But it is perhaps unavoidable because now gay marriage is a revolution not just for gays and not always a happy one for everyone when it doesn’t understand itself… Whole tracts of psychology and theology have been brushed aside and ignored while on the secular front there has been a rush to change laws. Especially with theology still finding its way (there is even the argument of gay and queer theologies for the understanding of God and human nature) for the peace of society and most churches, it might have been better if instead of driving to achieve gay marriage at all costs, the movement had stayed at the level of gay unions which, where religion is concerned, clergy could then have blessed at their discretion.

Rationalist democratic sentiment and perhaps inferiority complexes would however stop at nothing less than full equality. Apart from putting society increasingly under the influence of unprecedented levels of political correctness and potentially discriminatory anti-discrimination laws just to cope with the insisted on novelty, the result has been to risk also obscuring the fact and even vocation to gay difference. This is a difference of all levels but as regards most obviously sex, it is still possible to overlook how much as regards even sodomy, (though not exclusive to gays), there may be different psychological and spiritual effects. (Especially now that gay marriage is an accomplished fact, there is a case for regarding this form of sexual practice and its potential mysteries as something that should belong within the life of committed partners only).

Conservatives protest that wherever it is accepted gay marriage can only undermine all marriage. It is hard to see quite how this automatically follows, unless perhaps where gays desire the marital status (as perhaps some do) merely to make a point that they can have and do anything. Such could happen if they seek to be married only to engage open marriages in effect indistinguishable in character from single life. This kind of non-relating would among other things be harmful for any natural or adopted offspring, the too often ignored equation in the marriages of both gays and straights today. It is nevertheless the question of offspring which means straight and gay marriage can never be perfectly identical no matter what any law or person does or says.

Gay consciousness is born and develops in an outsider consciousness which can never be expected to go away entirely, there is quite simply a difference and even a very meaningful one. But to the extent gays become accepted into society no longer suffering pariah status, they have in turn to re-negotiate heteronormative society’s rules. It’s even the unavoidable challenge since, unless one is an anarchist, with rights come also duties. With gays now increasingly “inside” society, their values (which for some never went much beyond managing to party hard though the skies fell) are now up for review. Yet no matter how important that process is, unless and until the question of identity is itself better settled there is the probability standards will remain confused in ways this essay has attempted to deal with. The ancient principle “Know thyself” has never been more important.

 

BEYOND MARRIAGE EQUALITY, QUEER FANTASY AND CHRISTIAN DISINFORMATION, WHAT DOES BEING GAY TODAY MEAN? (Part One)

DAVID

…………………………….PART ONE………………………….

WHAT DOES BEING GAY MEAN?

The international drive to marriage equality satisfies something in especially American gays and larger society that craves precisely equality along with a neighbourly “inclusion”. This concern can however ignore or confuse, as can likewise the often jargon ridden unreadable queer theory which owes more to bisexuals than gays, issues like “what are homosexuals for?”. This was a leading question that founders of the gay movement like Harry Hay asked but contemporary liberated gays don’t usually answer.

The drive to marriage equality tends, perhaps wants, to bury in acceptance issues around homosexual difference as gays (though far from all or even most), disappear into the crowd to pursue the American domestic dream and even, with a little help from their friends, to play happy families. And all this ironically at a time when marriage has never been less popular in the West.

Unreassuringly for society and sometimes gays themselves who can be in denial about it, what some call the “third sex” does in fact often see things differently and is different, something which needs to be more  fully recognized.

Gays represent a good deal of what western culture and its innovatory, democratic contra naturam civilisational impulses are about, a point highlighted some years ago in Camille Paglia’s Sexual Personae study of western literature and art. Gays don’t birth children but they do often birth ideas, visions and revolutions, their particular wisdom fostered by an outsider rather than an insider consciousness.

As regards art, supposedly everyone at least knows that both Michelangelo and Leonardo were gay. They happen to have been so in if anything the style of two of the commoner expressions of gay orientation across time: ruggedly masculine and artily feminine on the physical plane, sometimes disturbingly prophetic and challengingly aesthetic on the psychological. Between them this Renaissance pair raise the question of what within the life of society any gay “genius” might be and why notable genius figures in especially the arts, figures such as Milton and Wagner, though certainly heterosexual, would often be thought gay and because their attitudes and behaviour displayed at least some gay characteristics.

Quite simply gay is a distinctive psychology, an outlook on things, even a state of soul. It is these things before and without their expression in any overt sexual activity. It’s the reason so many know they are gay, or at any rate distinctly “different”, long before adolescence, though even then they may feel pre-adolescent attraction with love (that half forgotten word in the modern equation) towards the same sex. With maturity many gay males will find even the conversation of straight males boringly impersonal. Women may serve them better for conversation at least!

OPPORTUNITY AND ESSENCE

Being homosexual can be full of opportunities and unresolved difficulties. In a recent book, which unusually for anything out of America in several places happens to cite me as a gay scholar, Raymond Rigoglioso’s Gay Men and the New Way Forward, paints in its first half a picture of marked gay difference and the many expressions of it. This includes what might strike moralists as a nightmare of permissive variations; but in the second half, almost unconscious of the contradiction, we read how in effect gays are undermined in especially their core relating by the same permissive flexibility.

It would seem evident that the post-liberation gay world could use something like a few rules of encounter (etiquette) and values (ethics) and this could well be a or the truest way forward. Yet just here stands some of the greatest challenge.

This wide-ranging, two part essay will be considerably taken up with the issues of identity and the closely related but under-treated theme of ethics – behaving certain ways because of who you are. Sometimes I am dogmatic but some of my  views, especially in Part Two, will be more like suggestions for further discussion. Some of the ideas will seem original and may come as a surprise. But without doubt the difficulty where consideration of any values is concerned, is the point of departure in the question of identity. Almost nothing remains more contested about and among gays.

Including because race is almost a taboo word in academe and media, a word associated with concepts of essence (like a Platonic essence that’s more theorized than scientifically proved), notions of homosexual identity tend to be dismissed among intellectual elites because of the savour of precisely essences. The swinging gender identities of some individuals touched on later is often taken as sure proof no essences of self exist while popular democratic feeling would like to believe that the social and human freedom, however disconcerting, to be just anything or anyone was possible. Queer as opposed to gay theory will speak of identity without essence.

Albeit the gay gene theory is making a more scientifically nuanced comeback and may eventually win the day given the new evidence, no amount of science will explain just everything when so much in psychology, culture and ethics affects the subject; but not much will be resolved with regard to the problems and opportunities of gay orientation unless and until for practical purposes something “essential” about its nature is recognized and worked with. This is moreover something which religion, by which I mean here especially Christianity, is quite able to do for reasons to be given. Instead, too many of its spokespersons still cheerfully embrace a form of disinformation that amounts to lies and makes for widespread confusion and disillusion.

THE PRIME CHRISTIAN LIE

Among at least conservatives, the prime Christian lie, along with the shocking libel of the association of any gayness with paedophilia, remains precisely the refusal to acknowledge homosexuality in any essential terms whatsoever – unless weakness and sin, an effect of the Fall itself. Almost everything will be referred to a “gay lifestyle” as though gays were describable solely in terms of parades, bars, orgies and pornography (which in ghettoizing, group-led America the ill-informed might be led to think).  Thus homosexuality is deemed a “choice” only – much as ironically and unhelpfully is also widely assumed in bisexually influenced Queer theory. The latter philosophy denies an essential self and dismisses ethical questions almost completely. (It’s beyond present scope but there are now even legal wrangles in America with padres and pastors threatened in their jobs if they insist upon telling anyone from students and soldiers  to prison inmates that homosexuality is “an evil lifestyle“, “a sinful choice“. The pastors then feel persecuted because of their treatment of a subject they themselves seem determined to obfuscate  with sometimes psychologically  damaging effects. These effects, though they can be serious, secular authorities  perceiving opportunities to stir the pot, have in turn almost too eagerly protested against. It’s a sensitive, difficult situation which now challenges the most fundamental notions of democracy and freedom of conscience).

Too many American Christians appear (rather like atheistic existentialists) to be of the belief that people are what they do and nothing that they are in themselves. The talk of a gay “choice” is really a misreading of the simple fact that since any sense of having a gay orientation is outside the mainstream, it cannot fail to be “chosen” by those involved….chosen in the sense that it must be recognized. Like an unusual talent it must be adjusted to or worked with if it is not to be wholly denied, repressed or just lied about. But as gays almost invariably attest, the condition itself is not chosen but innate (except perhaps in some cases of child sexual abuse which imprints certain patterns).

The refusal of religious conservatives to acknowledge anything essentially gay along with the emphasis on a “lifestyle” is the reason why, despite all social and legal changes and the inclusion of gays by some churches, especially Christian gays may still periodically suffer accusations, dismissals, slurs, with warnings from at any rate  Evangelicals and Catholics. They will told they should change their orientation, (deemed an illusion, an objective disorder if not a demonic possession), that they  lack faith in divine power to change if they don’t change, that they risk their eternal salvation, that they are undermining marriage, society etc. The objections multiply and there are writers like the prolific Dr Michael Brown who have by now got a virtual cottage industry going in the production of material critical of homosexuality on a religious basis. His latest offering is Outlasting the Gay Revolution.

It is the latest and sometimes absurd revival of argument around gay choice in the wake of the publication of ex-gay Alan Chambers’ mea culpa of My Exodus: From Fear to Grace, that is one of the factors prompting me to write with hopefully a few new and original perspectives on a variety of gay themes following years of absence from it at the scholarly level. (What was a world first doctorate on gay spiritualities from any religious studies department was published in 2004 as A Special Illumination: Authority Inspiration and Heresy in Gay Spirituality   – http://goo.gl/b7mPCu –  and though groundbreaking and critically endorsed, since I am not an American it would be largely ignored). It also concerns me as a human being that the highest proportion of homeless in America (40%) are gays, often victims of ongoing conservative Christian prejudice, a situation which betrays the hypocrisy and self-delusion behind the talk about hating the sin and loving the sinner. Not just laws but something ideological and theological needs to change. But they need to change in practical, accessible ways, not in the sometimes exotic,  needlessly provocative style of some current gay/queer theologies.

Amid the ongoing embarrassing war of words, which from conservatives may even include silly expositions of how bodies are not formed for homosexuality (arguments which could as easily support the view no one should kiss because mouths were made for eating!), churches continue to be damagingly weakened by the fallout. Churches are being split  over what has effectively become an entire culture war around gays, while secular society, increasingly disillusioned with Christianity itself unfortunately now stained by the far more serious issue of child abuse allegations, observes this and perhaps contributes to some ultimately democracy-undermining moves by new laws and secular elites.

In the wake of America’s Supreme Court’s decision for gay marriage, new laws and attitudes would sometimes cheerfully silence, fine or jail Christians who don’t want to bake gay marriage cakes or sign for gay weddings. It is no credit to gays if in pursuit of rights they are prepared to exploit this situation, especially when they and secularist allies (who will use almost any cause to weaken religion) are not pursuing such as Muslim cab drivers who don’t want to carry notices to gay events (or Muslim truck drivers who don’t reckon to transport alcohol). Democracy isn’t served by persons with just revenge on their minds – which towards Christians now looks to be the case.

NATURAL LAW AND UNCHANGING BIBLE

The prime Christian lie, one which would deny all essence or positive features to gayness, for Catholics is based on notions of “natural law” through Aristotle and St Thomas Aquinas, (notions of which the Bible knows little or nothing), while for conservative Protestants, at issue is a particularly rigid and absolute concept of biblical authority, one that the Bible itself cannot fully support. But no matter what authority is cited in opposition to homosexuality, for all practical purposes it’s rather a case of the dogs bark but the caravan passes on if only those involved could honestly see that and try to achieve some sense and peace in relation to the situation.

Say what they will, the truth of the situation is no one ever really prays the gay away (though they may pray and counsel away sex addiction). I would argue they are not even meant to pray it away. To do so can finish more unnatural than anything the prayer opposes and is to forget that God also works against nature (grace itself is described as such a work! Rom 11:24). The tiny fraction of gays who either claim religious cure or devote themselves Matt Moore style to lifelong to perceiving their every gay feeling as sin, comprise a special case that can be considered later. The fact is that society would be a less colourful, meaningful place without some gay input.

In any essay this length there is no point pursuing the error of natural law doctrine based on scientifically false Aristotelian notions that “homosexuality” does not even exist within nature (there is ample evidence it is present there). Unless by the most abstruse philosophizing, natural law theory is scarcely defensible today. Even centuries ago it left the church doctor, Aquinas, finding rape less sinful than sodomy because it can have the natural effect of producing foetuses.

Likewise I cannot delay on the Protestant evangelical position which is always selectively literalistic on a variety of themes, not least sex. That the revealed word, “God’s word”, by which conservatives seek to judge absolutely everything, is not beyond question and not meant to be on difficult subjects, is proved by the way the daughters of Zelophehad (Num 27) are justified in their challenging of Moses’ law regarding women. We also see that the apostle Peter is forced to accept a vision of new truth from God, one he wishes to deny because as he rightly declares it is against existing scripture.(Acts 10:13).

But even taking scripture just as it is, (i.e. at face value which is how fundamentalists read it though rabbinical tradition allows up to four different levels of reading), the same biblical tradition which invites people to argue with God (Is 1:18) affirms that some things and people, whether for good or ill, don’t change. The leopard doesn’t change his spots nor the Ethiopian his skin according to Jeremiah 13:33 while in Job it is even suggested that God makes the ostrich unnatural (Job 39:16). That general laws exist and are divinely intended doesn’t mean exceptions never can or should. Themes are permitted variations.

Ironically, and it belongs with the disinformation and delusions of two opposed parties, both the religious conservatives and gays (whether Christian or secular) remain under the illusion Christ never  said anything about homosexuality. It’s true he never used the word since as said the word/concept didn’t exist, but he virtually referred to it on at least two occasions  (one being in the Sermon on the Mount where reference to violence and cursing people with racah  – Aramaic for effeminate pervert or “faggot” – can hide the matter in plain sight due to a long tradition of bad or interested translation), and there are at least two more indirect references to homosexuality through incidents in the gospels.

It is moreover important to note against the proponents of gay cure and change, that Jesus accepts born fate in his statement about eunuchs who are such from their mothers’ wombs (Matt 19:12). By Jesus’ time the term “eunuch” was broader than solely either castrate or celibate (realistically men aren’t notably born either!) but it could mean out of the family way, infertile, different (something all believers are called upon to be), and the word could even function as something like the modern “homosexual” word for which no term existed.

Jesus’ native medium of Aramaic was full of violent expressions, but certainly he didn’t mean his disciples (whether gay or straight by modern definition) go and castrate themselves. When two centuries later the church father, Origen, actually did so he later repented of it as a real sin. (He possibly even decided it was sin including because it was too pagan – devotees of Cybele castrated themselves for her). So while scripture is allowed to have more than one meaning and (heterosexual) celibacy ideals have long attached to Jesus on eunuchs, practically the more general meaning for believers would seem to be they should be prepared to live outside the norms, be willingly different as in many areas of mission to this day they are required to be against existing law and custom. True Christians in countries like India, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia today are the odd ones out.

THE EVER CITED ST PAUL

Written about by myself and others elsewhere, to conservatives the foregoing claims seem merely bold and heretical because if valid they could run counter to St Paul’s strong line in Rom 1 and 1 Corinthians against….well precisely who and what as regards sex? In recent times more ink has been spilled on this than I can hope to summarize because there are considerable problems of translation, terminology and context of saying as regards Paul on the same sex question. One relevant word, malakos, could mean a person, weak, cowardly, immoral, a masturbator (like “wanker”) passive partner, male prostitute.

And that is before one even considers whether the apostle’s words, themselves in Romans largely influenced by an apocryphal source (The Wisdom of Solomon) rather than dictated from heaven, should enjoy the degree of authority as “God’s Word” conservatives accord them – selectively. After all, conservatives don’t insist with St Paul on women covering their heads and keeping silence, nor did their forebears consider the American revolution a denial of Paul’s clear enough words about respecting political authority!

Since the homosexual/homosexuality words don’t clearly feature in his discourse, one can argue that in Romans and Corinthians Paul on same sex is referring to anything from male prostitution and paedophilia to chosen, recreational bisexuality of the Roman decadence (the latter idea favoured by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams); but despite everything, the clincher  for the advocates of gay orientation change remains Paul’s remark to his converts (supposing it referred to gays) that, “so were some of you” (I Cor 6:11).

Even if by that the apostle meant by some had left “homosexuality” as they had left theft, it is advisable to recall that in the Roman empire in which slaves, orphans and runaways were raised to male prostitution against their will and inclination, what is referred to could be as much escaping the sexual underworld as any cure of an orientation – something that Paul, like most ancients but unlike Jesus, would not be inclined to assume existed. Only a variety of acts, some odder or less natural than others, existed as did classes of persons like slaves and prostitutes who existed to render certain services.

LIVING WITH UNCERTAINTIES

The fact is that, short of new and special revelations from heaven, we can’t be perfectly sure about some elements of the gay issue in the New Testament, nor  further back as regards the originating OT Leviticus ban (which the Alexandrian Jewish philosopher Philo understood to refer to cult prostitution) and the iconic Sodom and Gomorrah story. When the latter is not about ancient hospitality it is about aggressive bisexuality or occult sex, not homosexuality – Lot would hardly offer his daughters to homosexuals and it seems the Sodomites desired congress with angels!

Yet in a way we have revelation, and even from the NT’s beginning in a mystery conveyed by words of Jesus to Paul that theologians have never been able to explain but which I have maintained in several places, most recently a poem (A Saint’s Mistake at http://wp.me/p2v96G-Hm) is an indication Jesus would never fully approve Paul on matters which the ardent apostle, an inspired guide to many things, made a damaging problem for too many lives across history.  The problem of Jesus’ “Euripidian” question to Paul whom he evidently sees a kind of Pentheus,  is virtually inexplicable without reference to some unresolved sexual understanding. We should, I think, take it as virtual revelation, the Remez or second order of scriptural interpretation according to the rabbis via the implied meaning.

There is in fact even some irony in the way that Saul who became Paul when writing in Romans about degrading passions among men (Rom 1: 24,25)) sounds uncomfortably like his namesake, the OT’s bullying King Saul who rages against his son Jonathan calling him the son of a perverse, rebellious woman who chose David to his shame, the implication being that David and Jonathan were perverts (1 Sam 20:30). I don’t think there’s much question and for more reasons than the famous attachment to Jonathan, that David was a type, a rather high minded type, of the spontaneously arty bisexual.

Conservative scholars won’t see this and many another relevant point not just because they are conservatives but because they are scholars who don’t reckon to bring much literary and psychological analysis to bear on whatever they comment.

Imagination and not just scholarship must sometimes be brought to bear on texts, even while it must be admitted that currently some gay/queer theologians have imagined as much and more than traditionalists have been ignoring. However, even if we concede a point or two to anti-gay conservatives like Drs Robert Gagnon and Michael Brown who press their negative cases amid blizzards of biblical and classical citations to arrive at the colourless conclusion (in Brown’s case) that the bible is “a very heterosexual book”, it is all-apparent that what is most vital at the practical and pastoral level is still missed. A single example from history may help explain why.

If the bible is (superficially at least) “a very heterosexual book” then it is also a very aniconic one too, even to the point that, sadly, we don’t even know what Jesus looked like. The bible is opposed to images and so were the Christians iconoclasts of the Eastern churches. We can allow the iconoclasts that a refusal of images does have some value in terms of spirituality. Some superstitions and idolatries might have been avoided if Christianity had not favoured images; and if he had been asked one can imagine that St Paul as a former Pharisee would have opposed them by automatic reflex.

But like ISIS and Al Qaeda vandalizing the Middle East and Afghanistan should Christians today abolish all art from what we see in cathedrals to children’s illustrated bibles with their Jesus images? Obviously not, and we would be the poorer for it. Time moves on and as the saying goes, one can’t unscramble eggs. Hopefully we are less superstitious and idolatrous having learned something from the original ban we no longer observe. Likewise knowledge and society have changed, and as a result of that homosexuality is more understandable and is here to stay, just as it was always present but often viciously suppressed. The more vital question is how persons and societies of any justice can best now manage it. For ethics homosexuality will perhaps always present a grey area requiring careful treatment, but a grey area is not automatically a forbidden one.

OUT FROM EXODUS BUT MAKING LITTLE SENSE

As mentioned, charges against Alan Chambers in the wake of his closure of the cure organization Exodus International and publishing his story My Exodus: From Fear to Grace was a factor prompting me to write this essay. Between the opinions of Chambers and one of his arch fundamentalist critics, broadcaster Janet Mefferd, one seems to be listening in on a colloquy of the eccentrics that threatens to help nothing and nobody.

Before My Exodus was ever written, Mefferd had been accusing Chambers of lacking all proper repentance and faith in God because he no longer believed homosexuality could be cured. Even the celibacy of such gay Christians as Wesley Hill or the Justin Lee that Chambers mentioned can be dismissed by Mefferd as immaterial. Not to have repented of calling the condition of “homosexuality” sin-in-itself was sinfully to disbelieve God’s Word which through St Paul had declared “homosexuality” damnable. (One wonders how this fanatic woman deals with Christian cancer sufferers whose prayers for healing have not cured the disease. Are they also a kind of sinner bound for the everlasting bonfire?).

But with Chambers’ memoir out, Mefferd’s criticism did acquire a little more point and one could well wonder how Chambers ever became head of Exodus in the first place. During pre-adolescence and more like a transsexual than a gay, he had thought he was “Alice” trapped in a boy’s body and at nine years he had been molested like his once homeless father before him. Upon adolescence Chambers realized he was male though gay with it, but oddly only started attending gay bars and having experiences after starting therapy with an early branch of Exodus.

Chambers also early acquired a drink problem. Once when he was inebriated, what he is “pretty sure” was the voice of God told him “if you choose to stay here [in gayness apparently] for the rest of your life I will love you” and “what you think is good is enemy of my best”. Chambers, who eventually married and had children, took this to mean that he should rest in the Lord, neither struggling against being gay, nor accepting it either.

Bolstered by his divine revelation and some kind of Southern Baptist superstition that salvation is irrevocable no matter what one does, (something which neither the gospels nor Paul can be used to support), Chambers would teach gays the unlimited grace of God. He would do so until he decided God had further told him to close Exodus down and that God was “cool” with gay marriage. Whether he heard God on the subject of closure, aware of the massive hurt and confusion Exodus is known to have caused many, let’s at least say there was some courage and integrity involved in Chambers’ controversial decision.

Of course Mefferd saw red on reading My Exodus, but in my own way so could I. And I do so even though unlike Mefferd and American evangelicals I believe that precisely because God does speak, one is not meant to be guided exclusively on all subjects by Bible texts but more prepared to hear “what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev 2:11). This witness, provided it doesn’t deny the entire sense and spirit of scripture, must be allowed some development or variation upon it. Even so, I do not believe God’s rare and special revelations on major issues are granted to the inebriated, and Mefferd is correct enough to point out we are meant to test the spirits to see if they are of God (1 Joh 4:1).

She is also right to protest against Chambers’ remarkable claim that if one were to find oneself in bed with someone whose name one didn’t know (something of a gay post party situation) one should repeat to oneself as Chambers apparently had, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ”. Whatever one may call that in religious terms, (and some might call it bordering blasphemous), the situation sounds too close for comfort to just using people for sex and even just lacking sufficient manners approaching them in the first place, an example of the false or absent  values that even the optimistic Ragoglioso fears undermines the gay community and its members’ relating capacity!

Yet really I wasn’t so surprised by Chambers’ testimony. My response to his history of confusion was to go to a book to find a fact about him that I was ninety to ninety five per cent sure I was going to find and did. But of this crucial fact presently because something else that adds to the riddles one attempts to resolve should be recorded in counterpoint.

AN ALTERNATIVE REVELATION

As mentioned in my A Special Illumination (2004) and reported in  Larry Kent Graham’s Discovering Images of God, Christine Troxell, an Afro-American, self-described Christian activist, had taken her problems with sexual relations to God. Unlike the inebriated Chambers, in serious distress she had fasted and prayed to if possible extract some message from Jesus given her history of abuse (a victim of rape), her painful failed relationships with men and her same sex preference.

Finally God (I think she means Jesus) had asked her to honestly state what it was she preferred, which was her own sex and she was told she could express that; but in consequence of her alleged experience she has since taught the importance of relationship for gays and fidelity (which last mirrors something in God’s own being) because she has also been given to understand that, mystery though it is, there can be a one flesh relation of same sex couples as of heterosexual couples.

One can of course question the undoubtedly sincere Troxell just as one can question the broken but surviving Chambers; but assuming for argument’s sake Troxell did have her gay positive revelation (and she is not unique in this), what would this mean? How and why would it ever be possible for two gays to become “one flesh”?

Actually it would be possible because what is joined is less what is biblically called the body (soma) of the person than sarx, an equivalent of Hebrew OT nephesh or animal soul upon which the body depends and which leaves the body at death. In esoteric traditions worldwide this is what is understood to be the animating aura, subtle body or body electric. (The existence of the aura is nowadays said to be proved by Kirlian photography but while this is inevitably disputed  possibly the stronger case will always be the way in which lifelong some amputees can still feel the presence of long severed limbs, apparently because the limb is part of or reflects some other body).

As opposed to the spirit, soul is precisely animating and animal and shared with the animal kingdom. Biblically animals have nephesh/soul (it’s the reason they could be used in substitutionary sacrifices), it is perhaps why we can empathize with animals and they with us and why they may, like Balaam’s ass, be able to  “speak”. Biblical tradition seems to imply that at some remote, pre-lapsarian time a fuller communication with animals was possible. Regardless, the soul is what is said to be “lost” and sins and dies (Ezek 18:20). The soul’s damage or dimming in Eden must be assumed to be how the primal pair could be thought to have “died” as was forecast they would if they listened to the serpent and also why they suddenly think of themselves as naked at all, something no one ever ceases to be as far as God is concerned (Heb 4:13).

Since unless they are particularly sensitive or psychic most people cannot see auras, it would seem we have no guide or measure in this area. And this is problematic if one is to propose the root issue of gayness could be a soul/auric one and that, as the first nineteenth century gay liberationists maintained, the gay male is female soul in a male body and the lesbian a male soul in female body. But in fact we arguably do have some guide. One is involved with what I was looking for with regard to Chambers and a subject that ironically enough was also troubling Troxell.

I don’t know if Jesus gave Troxell any answer regarding it, but he didn’t apparently forbid her to pursue the astrology she was troubled to have been told like gay relations was sinful. Since astrologers came to Jesus’ birth it is unlikely to have been the biblically forbidden subject Christian conservatives have made it out to be.

Astrology wasn’t forbidden as far as Talmudic rabbis or the Essenes of Jesus’ times were concerned, and the star gazing that OT prophets disapproved was anyway what is called omen astrology – looking at the skies and uttering oracles rather than measuring or empirically studying anything as in the astrology of the Magi which developed in centuries after the prophets. If the heavens would never be able to offer real information about existence, why would the Psalmist propose the night skies were able to “utter knowledge” (Ps 19:2)?

THE CELESTIAL, STELLAR SECRET

We may now return to what I was looking for in relation to Chambers. I had immediately guessed, and without even casting the chart that would require knowing his time and place of birth, there was a ninety five percent likelihood I would find something very distinctive from a day ephemeris alone. This I duly did. I suspected I would find the so-called afflicted Neptune pattern that proved to be quite notably present.

On 21st February 1972 we find Chambers’ Piscean Sun at 1 degree conjunct Mercury (thought and communication) at 4 Pisces square (i.e. at approx 90 degrees of separation) from Neptune at 5 Sagittarius, the latter the sign of any organized religion too. (Any 90, 180 or 150 degree aspect, give or take a few degrees, could amount to an “affliction” for Neptune).

Every planetary force or symbol has a positive and negative potential, but under affliction the negative is far more likely to manifest unless strong conscious effort is made by way of resistance. In its negative expression Neptune is addictive, it can be a warning sign for drink and drugs problems and/or for any hazy view of truth, victimhood and guilt complexes. Also, because Neptune transcends, breaks down (floods across) boundaries, it repeatedly appears in patterns for gender defying bisexuality and indulgent, permissive views generally (Lady Gaga, Rimbaud, Madonna, David Bowie, Marianne Faithful, Miley Cyrus not forgetting also Freud who introduced the questionable notion that everyone is born “polymorphous perverse” or bisexual).

Afflicted Neptune seems almost to be the basic building block, even the necessary condition for all other possible indications of bisexuality that astrologers have ever found relevant. It also seems relevant, especially at the close of our Piscean era that Neptune “rules” that all movements towards such as pan sexuality and trans-sexualism because these represent a final burst, an extreme end of cycle breaking down of familiar boundaries are assisted by the seas and floods of Neptunian imagination sometimes to the point of fact-phobic delusions.

Apart from Chambers one of the most vocal and published ex-gays is Joe Dallas (25.10.1954) who  shows Neptune afflicted to both Jupiter and Mars. A victim of sexual abuse as a child he lived a virtual bisexual and narcotic filled early career including apparently everyone from a pastor’s wife to female prostitutes. He nonetheless declared and believed himself gay for years during which he was involved with the gay MCC church which he finally left to assure gays no one is born gay because he could leave his so-called “homosexuality”  behind.

In some respects Chambers, who in childhood thought he was a girl called Alice and who today is married with children, has almost more in common with the psychology and soul life of transsexuals and bisexuals than with gays. Also, as quite often occurs with his kind of pattern, he permissively blurs religious imagery and ideas rendering the agape/compassion element of Neptune (itself often identified in religious contexts by astrologers with Jesus) accepting of everything and everyone indiscriminatingly. (Witness the claim that being in bed with someone you don’t even know is a time to tell yourself you are the righteousness of Christ, or believing he would receive messages from God while inebriated!).

It is this bisexual potential that has allowed the married Chambers to teach gays they can change or suppress their special orientation and indeed that is how and why some will sometimes appear to manage it. I suggest that most alleged “cures” that Christians report simply represent troubled, addicted persons choosing for or working at one side over another. And without having seen charts for the few claiming cure, the fact that over the years I have noted personal histories of narcotic and alcoholic addiction, not to say sexual abuse, seem to attach to the success testimonies, betrays a Chambers style profile.

It is also lesbians rather than gay males who seem to report change and if so that fits not only with how women are more sexually flexible with partners but with the fluid nature of Neptune able to adjust itself like an actor sometimes by sheer acts of imagination rather than fundamental changes of character. I note that without any religious interventions or known addictive problems, celebrated anti-feminist feminist Camille Paglia (sun opposite Neptune) has declared herself bisexual rather than as earlier lesbian, though she remains perhaps more lesbian than anything.

THOSE WHO PROTEST TOO MUCH

The plot thickens and we can take this further. A deluded and even rather dangerous fanatic when it comes to issues around gays and toleration (he has caused much trouble in especially Africa) is Scott Lively (Dec 14th 1957). Here again we find afflicted Neptune that doesn’t see things normally or in clear light of day (for example Lively’s book The Pink Swastika which makes out fascism was a gay phenomenon is a tissue of discredited lies). This time we find Venus in sex sign Scorpio at 4 degrees in affliction to Venus at 5 of shocking Aquarius. Moreover Lively’s natal sun sign happens to be suitably in the religion sign, Sagittarius, and it’s conjunct Saturn for discipline and the political hard line (Lively has been in politics) on anyone and anything, even himself.

It is possible that with the Venus affliction to Neptune, Lively who has a lesbian sister, has just enough bisexual potential to regard gays as a threat to society and/or himself. Similar might be said of Messianic Jew, Michael Brown who before conversion to Christianity was drug addicted and has been earnestly writing books against gays and gay theology convinced he loves gays greatly though his support for repressive Ugandan laws requiring lifelong incarceration if not the death sentence for gays, his attempts to influence South American politicians against gays and their rights and the delight he has brought to Putin’s Russia with his ideas hardly supports the contention. He is simply an iron fist in a velvet glove. In his natus we find Neptune suitably afflicting Uranus by square and the natal sun by quincunx. It’s a recipe that encourages a degree of self deception and wrong thinking of the kind (since Brown weeps over gays) that declares “this hurts me more than it hurts you”.

In effect, from beginning to end, it is bisexual feeling that is a great part of the problem around the management of homosexuality in and out of religion, academe and society, blurring distinctions, confusing values and denying essence and often, like Miley Cyrus, an originally religion-associated Sagittarian at the opposite pole from Lively, promoting freedom to the point of permissive decadence.

It is certainly possible, if difficult, for bisexuality to achieve satisfactory expression – I even believe that it would be correct to regard at least two major biblical figures, David and Isaiah as at heart bisexual. But not least because there is no such thing as a 50/50 level of attraction but rather a bias to one side, the orientation works best if one sex is chosen for the expression of eros and the other for romance. .

Even at that the danger is that partners of the bisexual person can still suffer horribly, and it has been my observation that like David with his rejected wife Michal, the bisexual can be strangely hard on women in a way gays mostly aren’t. Charles Dickens, another of the afflicted Neptune types and plainly bisexual or he could never have written anything like the sheer “romance” between David Copperfield and Steerforth, was full of a Neptunian agape that enlarged his famed (Aquarian ) reformist humanism, but he was nonetheless horribly dismissive of the wife he deserted.

Every natal pattern shows some measure of affliction from some factor. Life would be easy and perfect otherwise and some affliction can even spur action, but by contrast to the usually negative or difficult signatures for bisexuality, it is quite possible for gays to have positive chart indications for their orientation, one in which an afflicted Neptune does not feature. But then what is a gay pattern anyway?

GAY CHILDREN OF AQUARIUS

In the ancient world under the super-patriarchal age of Aries which was extraverted and saw only acts regarding which they joined no dots nor perceived any psychology, apart from Jesus it was mainly astrologers who assumed some people were born the equivalent of gay.

The sort of celestial features ancient astrologers observed need not detain us, especially as they had were still ignorant of the most important factor, Uranus, which today shares rulership affinity with Aquarius. This is the sign that has regularly produced “out” expressions of homosexuality, most notoriously in the Roman world through the Aquarian Emperor Hadrian who divinized and imposed an absurd imperial cult of his lover Antinous, something which understandably helped seal Christian dislike, even fear of homosexuals and homosexuality since he also destroyed Christian sites in Jerusalem, a city which in his hatred of Jews he destroyed and renamed.

Though Scorpio was always raw sex and enjoyed some association with same sex as far back as ancient Sumeria accordingly, Aquarius has always been the sign of independence, variation, surprise and rebellion. Despite this or because the sign’s path of resistance was deemed naturally difficult, Aquarius was judged to be in affinity with and ruled solely by Saturn. That was until Uranus became visible around the time of the French revolution. The latter, a revolutionary Uranian event in itself, changed everything birthing the modern world along with its individualism and sense of human rights – Tom Paine author of The Rights of Man simply had to be an Aquarian.

Astrologers soon realized quite empirically that Uranus belonged with Aquarius and that was before it was even clear they had some astronomical factors on their side. Uranus is doubly curious. It is the only planet in the solar system to have rings like Saturn at the same time as it spins on its axis in contrary motion to all other planets. The latter is a wonderful symbol of Uranian contra naturam characteristics; among the planets it is like God’s ostrich created unnatural.

When a planet is sighted, something already existing becomes more conscious. Uranian consciousness which empirically is so freedom but also gay associated, began to feel itself to be more distinctive, purposeful and deserving of rights, began to insist it was something more than just the sodomy of sodomites according to earlier blanket dismissals and discriminations. And the joint Saturn/Uranus rulership and symbolism of Aquarius proves rather crucial here. It agrees with a tendency among gays to be both revolutionary  and  unexpectedly conservative at  the  same  time.  (Author and journalist Douglas  Murray is a good example today).  It tells us much and is relevant to the ethical question of which presently.

In any given pattern planets are multivalent for meaning and application. Positively and in religious contexts Uranus, which is male/androgynous, is about excitement, sudden lightning inspiration and change, difference, genius, electricity and eccentricity. It is now more or less accepted it can symbolize spirit and theologically the Holy Spirit in any religious contexts.

Despite its male name (which is all part of its mystery) Neptune is female/androgynous and is the dreamer and poet so well evoked by Holst’s The Planets. In its highest expression it is also the principle of agape, oceanic compassion, unconditional love (as opposed to the conditional loves of its lower octave Venus) and thus the forgiveness Uranus doesn’t deal in. Pluto which is more or less male/female depending is about raw power, procreation, life and death, hell and radical transformation. In religious readings it can be God as Creator and Destroyer or Judge.

GAY SIGNATURES

But there are other levels of reading and connection to these planetary energies and these are sexual. Uranus is relevant to the gay male and the radical butch kind of lesbian, Neptune is related more to the lesbian and the arty or effeminate gay male and the mentioned bisexually inclined. (Although a very “out” or activist lesbian will show Uranian input, overall Neptune is more conspicuous for lesbians than gay males and lesbians risk some of the drinking problems of the bisexuals accordingly). Pluto bears relation to those of the gay underworlds like leather, S/M and bears. Amusingly, the founder of the gay MCC church Troy Perry who doesn’t own a very obviously gay pattern, (having been married with children he is closer to a bisexual’s chart) does nonetheless reveal Pluto conjunct sun and he has been called “the old leather queen” for some of his preferences and alleged adventures in the gay underworld.

The androgyny of these three energies which are simply more biased towards one or the other sex than specifically embodying them, chimes with theories of the kind that speak of a female soul in a male body and the male soul in a female body.

Astrologically, then, any notable difference from sex and gender norms demonstrate a heightened connection of the inner (visible) personal planets to the outer invisible, more impersonal mystical, generational planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. The outers either aspect the inner planets or are somehow highlighted such as being angular or most elevated planets. That gay males often show moon in connection to Uranus is well known (separative Uranus separates or disconnects from woman, the moon).

Gay connection to the so-called “generational” outer planets is moreover why, historically, homosexuality is so fashion formed or forming, throwing up different styles, sometimes more masculine, sometimes more feminine or just androgynous in different periods. It’s a variation which again causes such as queer theory to suggest there could be no gay essence and that everything in gender and sexuality is merely constructed and chosen. It isn’t. The close and extreme connection of planetary cycles, particularly of the outer planets to major events and thought trends historically has been magisterially demonstrated in culture historian Richard Tarnas’ Cosmos and Psyche and it is between tragic and scandalous that modern knowledge systems remain hostile to even considering these. (I am pleased to see a film is in the works that will help popularize this needed knowledge).

Gay connection to the outer planets is also linked to the distinct religiosity, spirituality and even prophetic urge among many gays, something found in everything from the art of Michelangelo to the devout poetic reflections of such as gay Catholic Dunstan Thompson.

By contrast heterosexuality is a predominantly Mars/Venus thing. For straights Mars and Venus are more likely to be in aspect to one another or to the other inner planets. Those heterosexuals who may, like gays, show stronger emphasis upon the outer planet connection tend to be involved with homosexuality in some fashion through work, family or friends. They might be negatively connected in the role of homophobes like Scott Lively (who has a lesbian sister) or anti gay theologian Robert Gagnon who has a strong Uranus; or like Wagner or Milton they just get called gay, and have at least a few characteristics more commonly associated with gays.

If one only reads the data inflexibly one might demand that, say, screen actor Brad Pitt sport a Hollywoodish Mars/ Venus aspect (he does have them agreeing in the same sign but not conjunct) rather than his Mars trine Uranus like many gays. However….for long Pitt oddly insisted he would never tie the knot until gay marriage became law and it is said his now wife Angelina Jolie is or was bisexual (she has an interesting Sun opposite Neptune square Dark Moon Lilith).

Some people show a strong Uranus because, like some gays, they are just fiendishly clever like the tragic gay inventor of computers and code breaker, Alan Turing or like writer Vikram Seth they can produce a whole novel in sonnet form.

Some patterns however are just confusing in harmony with the confusion that surrounds the individual like disgraced evangelical pastor, Ted Haggard, who has been called all of completely heterosexual, gay and bisexual. I should judge, as he himself belatedly suspected, he is probably bisexual – there is if nothing else an out of sign square formation between Uranus and Neptune – but really I feel the chart is more about just excitement and excess.

My point is that while interpretation of planetary symbolism cannot be rigid, real and sufficient generalizations can be made because exceptions to the rule prove meaningful rather than arbitrary if only astro-sceptics are prepared to wait around to see the point. Something else to absorb is that, in line with recent studies which show leading artists of all stripes have minds akin to that of schizophrenics, we should expect gays linked to outer planetary energies to be less stable than the norm. They simply have more to manage but perhaps also more to give. As  regards at any rate Uranus, gay wiring and its movement to a different drummer can be sensed by almost anyone in just the  nervy, edgy quality of the seventies’ disco beat that  was mainly gay invented and celebrated.

It is misleading to claim with Sciambra (see below) that any instability in gays is itself somehow proof of the intrinsic evil of their condition. Yet such things get said and believed. It is striking that one of the better known ex-lesbians, former gay activist, Charlene Cothran speaking to You Tube, feels herself delivered from the life of lies that maintained being lesbian would make her happy. Americans raised to positive thought theories haven’t absorbed and don’t wish to absorb that the life, especially of any outsider, is never a bed of roses. How many great artists have ever been happy? Even Jesus declares “blessed are those that mourn”. It’s true one shouldn’t become abject like Sciambra, but to judge whether people were intended to be gay following some happiness ratio is absurd.

This notwithstanding, if one is prepared to take the data into account, it is quite possible to observe some easy, flowing or fortunate aspects to Uranus among gays suggesting it is a sufficiently natural condition for them in the way it is less possible to affirm for afflicted Neptune as described. Thus in the case of Matthew Vines, author of God and the Gay Christian, one suitably finds his writer’s Mercury in what’s called opportunity sextile to Uranus (Mercury 9 Pisces to Uranus 9 Capricorn) while Neptune at 14 Capricorn is unafflicted to his Sun at 18 Pisces, but instead close to fortunate sextile aspect to the sun.

In fact, between these positive aspects and the traditionalist, pragmatic Capricorn input to Vines’ natal picture, rather unsurprisingly he is at home with both acceptance of his homosexuality and promoting the conventionally inclined if still religiously controversial ideal of marriage equality. I can leave the esoterics of astrology for the moment having tried to stress that being gay is a fate and natural condition as Jesus knew and the heavens reveal.

THE MARRIAGE EQUALITY PROBLEM AND WHAT IS MARRIAGE?

Arguably what is most socially and theologically controversial about the current gay marriage trend is not the union as such, which to follow such as Troxell God would be unlikely to disapprove if the same sex pair really can become “one” as notions of Christ’s marriage to a church composed of members of both sexes  would tend to imply.  But beyond the complimentarity of male and female within marriage that many seek to retain, there are problems with what’s in the small print, things like child adoption and surrogacy.  These attach to the modern deal because marriage equality requires equality with what straights are doing even if that is in its own way controversial. (It would be politically incorrect today to suggest that heterosexual childless couples should adopt only and seeing the vast numbers of orphans seeking homes other arrangements are selfish; but under existing laws and values if straights can deal in surrogacy so can gay couples).

One of Ireland’s gay activists, Ken Mills, led opposition to the now celebrated Irish marriage equality referendum because of the implications for offspring, a point about which many gays agree though their leaders easily ignore it. Notable gays like fashionistas Dolce and Gabbana and actor Rupert Everett have voiced their scepticism and distaste for gay parenting, but it is almost only ever the politically active who drive gay issues. Almost all the rest of us, no matter how qualified to speak, get controversially ignored or dismissed – there was even talk from LGBT leaders of boycotting Dolce and Gabbana for presuming to express their views!

Conservative Christians oppose gay marriage because of an alleged threat to the integrity of the family and of morality more generally. They will observe (albeit rather ignoring the fantastically high divorce rate among straights!) that gays are prone to treat relationships and now marriage lightly. Gays don’t seem to understand fidelity, they don’t settle down.

There is some truth in the charge if not as much as maintained (long standing unions, like famously that of Australia’s former Chief Justice Michael Kirby with Johan Van Vloten, do exist but are just not usually begun in and associated with “the scene”). Moreover only in relatively recent times have gays emerged from the criminality status which for centuries fostered a culture of fleeting, often furtive contacts of the kind which with increased social acceptance may be gradually expected to decline.

But to the extent gays can seem or actually be flighty in connection, obviously that is not particularly helpful physically or psychologically and if they are not to suffer a lonely old age or meet only discrimination among the young and beautiful they need to practice and acquire what makes for stability earlier rather than later. At the same time it must be asked, and we can turn to this next, what is it gays really need. Also, if they are indeed “different”, one can ask whether different customs, values and ethics should apply rather than that they be invariably judged against certain heteronormative standards to which marriage and monogamy belong.

It must immediately be said that the kind of marriage and monogamy ideals currently almost trendily promoted by Vines, Justin Lee and other gay Christians is a bit of a tour de force and not simply because fidelity can prove difficult whether for gays or straights. At this point in time the idealism arguably risks insufficiently taking into account who and what gays are in terms of relation and need. And any Christian analysis of this may need to weigh counsels of perfection against a few pragmatic imperatives. In dealing with heterosexuals St Paul was quite happy to declare “better to marry than to burn”. Against a background of different times with their different, values and information, would it not be appropriate to extend something of the same pragmatism to gays?

HETERONORMATIVELY….

The heteronormative relating pattern, or at least romance, is typically a story of a battle of the sexes, indeed a very Mars/Venus encounter and resolution. Even disregarding the not inconsequential matter of offspring – and before the contraceptive era this determined a lot of heterosexual relating – there is a sense of possession involved that homosexuality can never quite duplicate, if only – though there are likely further reasons – because homosexual psychology is founded from the outset upon a (Uranian) independence, an outsider consciousness and individualistic mindset just to get going. It is so even at the same time as paradoxically it contains a strong group orientated impulse which does not automatically encourage exclusiveness in relations. (Not for nothing do we find it is the more Neptunian lesbians are more interested in marriage than gay males). For heterosexuals adultery is not just a breach of trust, it can involve a sort of theft in harmony with the possession theme. (It’s coveting your neighbour’s wife).

A good deal of gay sex pleasure is pleasure with someone rather than the enjoyment of (having) someone, and of course until quite recently moralists disapproved the gay emphasis upon pleasure without purpose or ties, albeit that is most relevant where contact is almost wholly anonymous as in much, especially pre-liberation, cruising.

Male heterosexuality also implies a degree of control and self control, the reason that although it’s well known over 90% of males masturbate, they don’t necessarily approve themselves or others doing so and hence the slur that gays or any weak person is merely “a wanker” bespeaks the contempt involved. There is a feeling that masturbation like homosexuality is not “real” sex, and may imply inability to fight (Mars) for a partner or to combat one’s own urges. It’s true the practice is not about either heterosexual possessing or reproducing.

The bible itself as read by St Augustine and his followers is even said to condemn masturbation on account of God’s punishment on Onan (whence onanism) for spilling seed in Genesis 38, but that is to misunderstand what his story is about which involves refusing to reproduce for continuation of the tribe.

I would also point out in passing and can return to it later, that specifically heterosexual asceticism is itself pictured in terms of a battle and often too, at least for Catholics, as giving one something like possession of or greater access to the love and attention of the Virgin.

Partners to a marriage joint own a relation and perhaps land, property and goods too. Even though there is no longer a dowry system nor any counting of goods in heads of cattle where marriage is concerned, material issues remain. The love planet also symbolizes for cash and property (Venus rules in Taurus, sign of the cow, and with an appropriate sense of the archetypal we speak of cash cows). Love is rarely free (unless in aspect to precisely such as Uranus or Neptune). From prostitution to divorce Venus is very much about money.

Because Pluto is about power, there is a kind of Plutonic gay relating that is found especially among the leather set that is about relating as total possession and/or obsession. This apart, because Uranus can separate while Neptune includes everyone, much gay relating ends up, as many will admit, with a more friendship/tribal quality which as easily dismisses persons as embraces and includes them. Obviously this can provide a basis for some very promiscuous, free-wheeling, semi and conditional relating patterns. Moreover Uranus likes to experiment and explore, so even just kinkiness and the queer philosopher Foucault’s “invention of new pleasures” may prevail.

THE BODY CONSCIOUSNESS IMPERATIVE

The sometimes limitless exploration is linked to the fact the body can assume inordinate importance for the third sex. Looked at from outside the interest may bespeak nothing but lust and its excess, but at least part of the reason is because growing up and still sometimes in adulthood the body may seem somewhat alien. It is felt to need more exploration, validation and exhibition than for straights – and almost necessarily so if there is any truth in claims the aura or body electric is at gender variance with the body (and thus with Mars/Venus urges as conventionally realized).

The body in that case can hardly be sufficiently stressed to validate identity, to assist consciousness of the self and grounding in what one at least appears to be. Where homosexuality is denied all essence or (as in Queer theory) gender is made to seem fluid, if the gay person really is only biased towards one sex rather than another, the body is used to affirm the self as are also clothes, uniforms, leather gear which can even exaggerate gender types and be a form of drag in themselves.

While modern gay relating, like relating in society more generally, might be thought to be over-dependent upon the image, in a world of film, digital photography and internet porn, despite this and more perennially, gay relating is considerably about appreciation and acceptance of the other person or partner’s image than their outright possession.

The partners validate, even encourage one another in their singularity, in the growth and flourishing of it. Simply a willingness to be with and alongside someone can itself be love which is why gay relating is often considered in terms of friendship rather than love, though I think can be limiting. The partner is enabled to be their own alternative, vulnerable self within an implicit ethical system based almost more on aesthetics than anything practical after the manner of straights. If the pair do become one as Troxell insists is possible, it is, I think, still to realize an independence within the unity.

Which leads to the question, what do gay partners want sexually and what might they hope to have in what is ostensibly a union of sames rather than opposites?

END OF PART ONE