Divine Intercourse

At the AMP conference last month, Michelle Tepper’s topic was “breaking the silence on love, sex and relationships.” Michelle trumpeted her success reaching college students, but I found her message uncomfortable. She relies heavily on Biblical rules in framing responses to the psychological needs of individuals.

So when I approached her afterwards, I began by suggesting that we sit down, bringing our eyes to the same level.

As I explained, if any of us were complete in ourselves, we would be God. He made us a duality on purpose. I expressed my concern that this aspect of the Biblical message was underrepresented in her teaching.

Having warned us in her presentation that we shouldn’t go around looking for a relationship that completed us, Michelle was hostile to the idea. I guided her away from reiteration of her message, observing that I have been advising youth on-line.

Then the conversation took a sharp twist. She asked “Do you think that Jesus was satisfied?”

I knew that she meant sexually, but I shifted to a large view of his life. “No, he wasn’t satisfied at all. He knew that his culture needed to change, with a passion that drove him to the cross.”

Michelle wasn’t to be deterred. “I meant satisfied sexually. I believe that he was beyond that need.”

Well, it was time to plunge right in. I shrugged. “Read the description of the New Jerusalem. It is a metaphor for the union of the divine masculine with the divine feminine.”

She was struck dumb, as were the onlookers.

I continued “Look, the Bible is all about men’s problems. The holy mother is in hiding, and it is time for her to be sought out and revealed.”

I know that I appear to be uptight and tortured as regard my sexuality. But the Bible describes the brutal beast of the apocalypse as possessing ten “horns.” This is an apt metaphor for the masculine approach to dominance: many men run around the world trying to stick their penis into it. The feminine beast in Revelation is red, suggestive of the menstrual cycle. The feminine beast uses sex to co-opt masculine aggression.

So the reason that I haven’t been “playing the field” (which would be easy to accomplish) is because all the women that I meet accept these conventions. They may not wish to personify them in their relationships (part of what makes me attractive to them), but they accept that bestial patterns of dominance define the world that we live in.

Being who I am, I am incapable of submission to any ethic that limits the domain in which love is expressed. So I choose not to have a relationship with any woman that brings that with her.

Sera Beak has been in my mind ever since I read “Red, Hot and Holy.” I believe that she showed up at MovinGround one Sunday after I filled out her online contact form. In that message, I suggested that if we were each who we claimed to be, that would be apparent only in relation to one another. She was clearly uncomfortable in my presence during the dance, and stood before me timidly afterwards. My thought was “Not yet.”

She lives in Texas, though, which is a hot-bed of Christian hypocrisy. Last year I felt her reaching out in concern, and I poured power into her spirit, trying to expand her range of influence.

Why? Read the book: Sera went all the way in with the Red Lady, and found wisdom waiting for her on the other side. That wisdom came from the holy mother.

Putting this all together last night, I reached out again, sending “It’s time for us to merge our powers.”

But what are those powers? What is the nature of love, and how is sex a metaphor for its operation?

Our exploration last night was complicated by pragmatic concerns, but it boils down to this: any act of love that preserves self involves penetration and yielding. A gift is offered, but room must be made for it to be received. As we are aggregates (both physically and spiritually), reception is consensual at many levels. Full acceptance requires communication of the nature of the gift, and adaptation to the perceptions of those smaller parts. That involves circulation, which is stimulated by withdrawal so that the gift of yielding may be repeated again and again until consummated.

Yeah. This is “White Hot” and Holy. This is why Jesus told the Magdalene “Do not cling to me.”

The visualization eventually evolved as a complex many-dimensional Klein bottle. A man penetrates a woman, the women connecting to the Earth that gives life to the man, the male penetrating the Earth as light from the sun, the light from the sun sheltered in the womb of space, and on and outward.

The Bible, being concerned with men, celebrates the masculine aspect of God. But that is only half the story.

Deeper, Yes, Yet Deeper

I spent the hour after lunch weeping at my desk, thinking about the panic I generate when I dance.

I don’t understand. Chris Tomlin sings (Good, Good Father, which I’m looping today):

Oh, it’s love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think
As you call me deeper still
As you call me deeper still
As you call me deeper still
Into love, love, love

Is that what it’s like for you when I dance?

The world calls for love, compelling a response, and energy fills the air as I arch backwards with my heart open to the sky. On the streets later people smile as though they know me, and I wonder what they expect. I can’t relieve them of the hole in their hearts that God meant to  be used as a gateway for love. I can only bear witness to the consequences of their neglect, witness etched deep into my disfigured face.

Oh, Woman! I don’t need the forgiveness of your beauty. I need a pair of arms to encircle my weary heart. I need someone to believe that I am enough, even as the tide of sorrows rises and our conventions surrender to heaven’s purpose.

Yes, it hurts. It hurts SO MUCH! You were meant to see that wound, to guide the healing power of love to it. It’s not your heart to own! It is filled with waters for you to channel into life.

This purpose: why does it have to mean so much? Why does it have to exclude everything else?

My father tried to warn me: “Maybe we’re all waiting , Brian, for you to prove that love works.”

Corruption seeks power, and absolute love draws corruption absolutely. We fear ourselves, the candles that draw the moth to the flame.

Speaks to Me

The painters at the Sunday Art Walk in Santa Barbara have adjusted themselves to my visits. I don’t know whether my criticism is of value to them, or whether they benefit commercially  from the spectacle of a spirited discussion.

Of recent, I’ve been following three of the artists. I admire John Grandfield’s sagebrush landscapes, but I can’t afford the larger pieces that capture the spirit of the land. His combed acrylic landscapes are more affordable, and the first that I saw was perfect for the site header out at Love Returns. As well as suggesting the elements of the creation story from Genesis, the piece conveys my sense that the angels perceive through a veil – albeit an exquisite veil – the sensory experience of living creatures.

I’ve had rather longer conversations with Steve Richardson, whose oeuvre defies characterization. His original sensibilities appear to be present in his harmonious landscapes, reminiscent of the middle work of George Inness. He fights against that tenderness in landscapes that suggest the battle between fog, light and vegetation in the tidal sloughs around Santa Barbara. Steve also paints the local monuments with a painterly verve, the travels of the brush and palette knife laid bare for our examination.

I first resolved that I would purchase a piece from him when struck by a speckled oak tree. The effect was as though falling through the silhouette into spatter paint drops that could be both atoms and galaxies. I enthused that I had been wrestling with the idea that our material forms were metaphors for spiritual evolution. I left him to consider whether he could create the same effect in larger format, only to be told a month later that he was giving up the style for safety reasons (the drops are created by striking the brush, which can send paint into the eyes).SoulSails.png

When I stopped by today, I knew immediately that I would buy the piece anchoring the corner of his exhibit. It has the sense of light from above trying to pierce an oppressive indigo, with the complex and truncated response from the humans in the boats below. This is very much my experience of reaching up to join my intentions with those of Jesus’s “Abba.”

I wish that the photo conveyed the subtlety of the patchy sails.

I’ve also been following the work of Avril (a pseudonym, although as you travel the Walk you’ll recognize her work), a very French woman whose introduction was an aggressive demand for philosophical clarification of the phrase on the back of my Love Returns t-shirt. Avril is one of the few artists on the Art Walk that focuses on the human form. Her most popular works may be her sisterhood cartoons (multigenerational women fishing naked on the pier). She displays a number of linotype nudes, and is particularly aggressive regarding her abstract and collage work.

What captivates me, however, are the acrylic nudes, sinuous spines and generous hips set against abstract pastel tapestries. The figures are not delineated, but ensconced in a penumbra that bespeaks yearning for a caress. Having sublimated the responsive male desire for most of my adult life, I recognize now that I will never know the flower of a woman’s sensuality, that first innocent expression of sexual joy moderated solely by the wisdom that shelters its root in procreation. But it is a power that I need to engage – it is the only power that can heal the world.

Nude

So I bought this piece, a piece that Avril warned me would “talk at night.” I countered that I already have women speaking to me in the middle of the night, and would rather wake to beauty than suffer their drama without reward.

Love Returns Ministry

I’ve engaged LegalZoom to set up a DBA in California as “Love Returns Ministry.” The logo is in the final stages of jewelry design, which I’ll be taking around the gift shops to raise funds. I’ve reserved the love-returns.org domain through WordPress, but have to figure out how to get it transferred to a new blog (currently it will redirect to this home page).

This has been building for a while. Through my writing, I haven’t been able to engage intellectual or religious leaders, which means that they aren’t the people that need me. I encounter those that do while dancing or getting my hair cut or at the lunch counter. They are people hanging on to love by their fingernails, just doing the best that they can. They are courageous and determined, and they need reason to hope.

So I threw this together a couple of Saturdays ago:

MEN

Jesus proved that we have the power and strength to create a world ruled by

LOVE

Each of us has a part to play, but teams don’t win games unless they know the rules and their opponent, and share a strategy. Without that, we score two points and give up four. If you are a good man, you know that struggle.

THE BOOK OF REVELATION

Describes the love and strength that God has invested in preparing us to win the game. Now is the time to

UNITE FOR VICTORY OVER SORROW

And to create a safe place for

WOMEN TO HEAL US

Then last Saturday, I went out to the pier and my new friend Harold asked me “Are you a Christian?” I stopped, having considered this moment, and coyly replied “Well, I’m about as Christian a man as can be.” We started discussing points of theology, and I realized that everybody was listening to me speak. Struggling with hubris, I knelt on the boards, testified that “I need to humble myself.” Harold reached up to the sky and started offering praise to the Father for the teaching that I had brought to them that day.

I’m struggling with logistics still. The DBA will take a week or so. The announcement needs some graphic design to attract the right people. My color laser printer is on the fritz. I need to get the new blog up, and figure out how to organize the material logically, rather than by date.

But in between I’ve outlined some of the discussions, focusing on the nature of love and sin; the nature of the heavenly realm; the reconciliation of Darwin and the Bible. I have this vision of an open Socratic discussion, myself doodling on a flip chart to explain the science and philosophy and history of the Human journey, and realizing that people seeking answers have every reason to trust what I have to say.

In those visions, I feel their brokenness reaching out to me, and responsive power moving through my heart from the Father.

He loves us. We are strong enough. Come to Him.

The Serpent’s Usurpation

In reflecting on my spiritual work here, I try to honor my unique perspective in relating my experience to others. In considering how to relate recent events, I keep on coming back to St. Perpetua, the early Christian martyr who surrendered her newborn and was mauled by lions in the forum before impaling herself on a sword held by the centurion sent to administer the coup de grace. Before her martyrdom, she was granted a vision of a field filled with bronze ladders. Men and women climbing those ladders towards heaven were dragged down by a serpent below.

After writing Love Works back in 2005, I visited a number of spiritual book stores, looking for venues to talk about the work. One of the stores had opened recently, and I was the sole attendee at an event held by a spiritualist. She took a good look at me, and shared that I had a four inch gap in the flow of prana between my hips and rib cage. When she asked if she should fix it, I said “that’s the business of a woman that I haven’t met yet.” I considered that it was a useful characteristic, in that it kept people from using sex to get into my heart and mind.

Of course, it has its negative impacts as well. I have trouble grounding myself psychologically, a weakness that has been exploited over the years by domineering intimates both in my personal and professional lives.

Having become conscious of the problem, I did try to manage it. My first attempt was to close the loop by routing the healing energy arising in my heart upwards through the crown chakra and then down into the earth before closing the loop up into my root chakra.

I first gleaned the sense that the gap was not entirely self-induced at the Buddhist Geeks’ Retreat in Rosemead in 2009. The kick-off speaker on Friday night spoke on the characteristics of the avatar that would usher in the era of peace foretold by all the world’s great religious. He cited compassion, all-embracing meditative focus, and out-of-the-box thinking. Hoping that I had finally encountered someone that might appreciate my experience, I went up after the talk to offer my insights. Upon receiving my assurance that the time was close, he looked up at the outside of my head and affirmed “I can see that it must be so” before turning his back to address a question.

On Sunday morning, having found their event to have been somewhat co-opted by my presence, from among that senior teachers an attractive little pixie stood forward to denounce me, saying that “my energy was completely out of control.” I won’t recount the rest of the conversation, because what was significant was my strong intuition that she was interested in managing my purpose. In the middle of her harangue, she leaned forward with desire in her eyes and wrapped her arms around a band of energy that cocooned my lower torso, a band centered on the gap seen by the spiritualist.

Something was pinching off the flow.

I first confronted this presence back in 2014 when – during a Dance of Liberation Workshop led by Parashakti at LA Ecstatic Dance – I tunneled down into my reptilian brain. In the vision that followed, I walked through the spiritual dislocation of the dinosaurs that culminated with a vision of their avatar sitting in the seats of military and political power in the modern era, feasting on the constructive energy generated by human compassion.

That survey of the human condition was not directly related to my personal infestation. The connection was only made recently, after Peter at Peace Place Massage had worked on me one Saturday night. Where Asia, my regular therapist, has a distinctly feminine healing touch, Peter just stirred things up. I went home that night and laid with my arms stretched across the bed and my heart open to the sky. Seized by a strong intuition, I found myself rubbing my hands down along my ribs, wriggling them under the spiritual bands around my waist, and sending energy along my fingers into the tissues of my abdomen.

Since that experience three months ago, I’ve been fighting tension and pain in my waist. Stretching and yoga helped, but I felt as though I was just chasing the problem from place to place. To a colleague at work, I actually used the words “things are really moving around.” I was focused on the pain and tightness, but the words expressed an important intuition.

We’ve suffered a lot of dislocation at work, and my supervisor has come under intense scrutiny as engineer after engineer disappears on short notice. He adopts an unusual posture in conversation with others, feet spread wide on the floor. I have a strong sense of energy flowing up into his pelvic floor. We continue to have our arguments, and as we discuss the consequences of decisions made in the past on the survival of the company, I find it hard to avoid bringing up ancient history. My association with him seems to drive me into remembered experiences of weakness in his presence.

In the midst of these two struggles, I was listening to praise music one night, a series of songs from WOW Worship that encouraged the faithful to surrender their hearts to God. A vision came upon me, a masculine presence that focused my attention to my pelvic floor with the words “You need to find my throne.” In response to that, I began poking at the base of the hip bone with my fingertips, until a point begin to glow.

This event was followed by a series of visualizations in yoga, visualizations centering myself around my pelvic floor, and building power around the point that I had discovered. This came to a head last night. I had a unsettling series of experience yesterday, either of co-workers claiming initiative on projects that I had instigated, or attempting to make me responsible for bringing closure to projects that I had heretofore been pointedly excluded from. I have been struggling to sleep at night due to the pain in my abdomen, and I was knocked off-balance psychologically.

Yoga was a struggle. Throughout the opening standing series, I felt weak, off-balance and beset by negative psychic energies. As we entered the balancing poses, I sharpened my focus to identify specific personalities, and tried to ground myself in my root chakra. Reversing the flow of energy leaking into them, I began to build power in the postures, with a new-found focus on the pelvic floor. Finally, in balancing stick pose, I arrayed them around me, one at my fingertips, one at my toes, and one on either side of my hip. They attempted to wriggle away, shifting and substituting others, but I just kept on pulling them back, using them as anchors for the pose.

The rest of the practice was a breeze.

But the spiritual and psychological shift was more significant. All of the personalities that I engaged are domineering. I have previously identified one in particular as “the tip of the spear” for the whole pattern of control that we struggle with as a society. As we wrestled spiritually, I had a strong image of him sitting on a throne, a throne nestled in my hips. Pushing him aside, I focused on the throne itself, and discovered a kaleidoscope of personalities shifting on it, until finally I broke through and discovered the dragon that rules them all.

Sunday Heat

While Amtrak trains have air conditioning, the stations don’t always. That may just be my stops: I’m riding along the coast from Oxnard to Santa Barbara. It was getting warm this morning when I left, so I just puttered along on my bike, hoping to keep from arriving at the station as a walking swamp. I did all right, but still found myself hiding out under the Highway 1 fly-over. All that concrete made the air cooler than in the station.

One of the best parts of taking the train out to Santa Barbara is having the chance to put on my noise-cancelling earbuds and really let the praise music I’m listening to work its way through me. Listening at work during the week, I’m just cancelling mental noise – the music doesn’t really sink in and produce meaning.

I found myself looping over “Draw Me Close to You” by the Katinas. I kept on tearing up on this passage:

You’re all I want.
You’re all I ever needed.
You’re all I want.
Help me know you are near.

I finally realized that it would be natural for Christ to feel the same way about the flock that seeks for him. I was picking up that reflection.

Santa Barbara was pretty hot – 87 F when I got off the train at 10:20.  I went past puttering to dawdling. Even so, I got to the Dance Tribe early, and enjoyed those first ten minutes with the dance floor nearly empty – those that entered with me still needed to warm up their muscles. The early numbers are also meditative, allowing me the freedom to vary pace and attitude as spirit moves me. When the second piece finished, one of the organizers caught my eye and shared “Wow. Great job.”

And then the frenzy. We had fun – I’ve been in attendance long enough that the improv group recognizes me as a trustworthy partner. I got caught up in a couple of multi-person scrums, although in one case I ended up crying out “Squish!” from the bottom of a pile of bodies.

The tempo began to wind down in the last half hour, and I made a really joyful discovery. I’ve been struggling with left-right imbalance in yoga for the last five years, and on Thursday I finally got into full locust posture with a sense that I was pulling into the center of my body, rather than listing to the right. I was working that into my dance when suddenly I realized “My wings are back.”

For the last couple of months I’ve been a little sad that, as the music winds down, I haven’t been able to find a lady to dance the last number. This time I decided that I was just going to claim someone. So I walked through the middle of the floor until I caught her eye, and started leading her through some travelling ballroom dance turns. When we finally locked together, I took her up into some rotating shoulder lifts.

Then I began to listen to the music: it was a plea for forgiveness from Great Spirit. I tried to fight it off, but she felt what was going on and just stood still, encouraging me. I ended up making two windmill sweeps through the air with my right arm, just pulling in all of the sorrow emanating from the natural world while choking out “Oh, God! Oh, God!”

When I opened my eyes, I found that she hadn’t run away – in fact, she had stepped closer. We ended up winding ourselves together and rolling onto the floor, she eventually inside my body as I went up into a shoulder stand. She surprised me by continuing to curl through into a reverse somersault.

God, I’d forgotten what that was like: to be affirmed by a woman’s touch as I do the work that seems to be mine.

So I’m exhausted tonight, but it’s a good exhaustion.