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Archive for the ‘tantrism’ Category

Today we are going to continue our discussion of the 13th century and courtly love, but we are going to go back in time a little bit to a person by the name of Guilhem in the 11th century, who was the seventh count of Poitiers and the ninth Duke of Aquitaine. He was the most powerful nobleman in Western Christendom and very influential in the development of this entire idea of courtly love which we are exploring.

He fought against the church doctrine that the fires of hell were stoked especially hot for adulterers. He apparently liked his ladies and he wrote love poems. He argued that love was an exultation, not an abasement of the soul. It was not a sordid sin but a divine mystery and the lady who offered that special gift was a goddess to be adored and worshiped.

He basically proclaimed that sexuality elevated the soul and what he was doing was bringing Tantric philosophy into the Western world. This is one of the first appearances of the sacredness of sexuality and it became a favorite theme of scholars, singers and poets.

Now remember this was during the time of the Crusades and the man of the house was gone. The ladies were lonely and they needed some way to spend their time so they wanted to hear love songs that were meaningful to them. And gradually a convention, or a script came into being, which was of a great lady who fell in love. She was loved by a romantic hero of the lower class and this romantic hero struggled to become worthy of her and win her love. In the end he did win her love. That story was repeated over and over and over in many variations through the centuries and it still is today.

It was a couple generations later, in the 12th century that the prerequisites of virtue and chastity were added to this mix. These songs and poems were acted out in the fashionable world of the nobility and they brought courtly love into existence.

It’s just like what happens today when Hollywood creates something and then the general population gets caught up in it and play make-believe acting it all out. That’s what was happening then. But it really caught on! Poets declared that elevating love to the immaculate plane of chastity cleansed their own souls of all carnality and left it free to soar, to lift them up high into the spirit realm.

This was different than the Arab world where a special place was created for women in the harem. But virtue and chastity became the European harem.

The basic story went like this. The heroine was a lady of high and noble birth who was married to a very powerful husband and somehow she was not satisfied. She was missing something in her life, and her lover, who was of a lower stature strove to become worthy of her and finally, at last succeeded in attracting her love. But it had to remain secret. It was a mystery that they both shared and set them apart from other people.

The interesting thing is the power that this theme had among the population because it is still popular today. But back then, the minstrels and the troubadours never sang of consummated love. They only sang of unconsummated love. The chaste love, the kiss, the embrace and modest contact with the nude lover was permitted, but not the final act of consummation.

These are such fascinating things that have metaphysical and Tantric implications. One thing is the love triangle. This is even such a powerful concept that the tarot card of the lovers has three people in it, not just one.

The man has to choose between the angel or the physical woman. There is something in this fantasy of courtly love that satisfied the needs of both the body and the spirit for generations. Even today the love triangle interferes with so many people’s experience of love.

Tantrism teaches about the power in the exchanges of sexual energies and not just about physical sex. An important part of it is talking about chastity, the embrace and the holding back. That’s how the energies develop and strengthen between two people, especially when it’s never allowed to be consummated.

Dion Fortune, the famed occultist, in England talked about the deliberate use of magic by building up those sexual tensions to an electrical point where they were almost unbearable and intolerable. Then they would use those magical energies in a conscious, deliberate way to work magic. This was not sex magic the way it’s commonly thought of. It was actually the tension that was created and not allowed to be consummated.

This tension of sexual energy that’s built up is actually what Tantric teachings are really all about. It is the sharing of these energies on the nonphysical planes, that actually develop the soul. They help to complete a person inside and they allow males and females to become more sexually balanced.

So this idea of courtly love went crazy within the nobility. This was the educated class. This was the higher class and they were tapping into this high form of tantrism even if it was not recognized as such.

But what was happening to the sexuality of the common folk? They were playing the same games, but they were a lot more undisciplined about it and sexuality ran rampant among the common folk. I mean they were just out there having random sex without knowing how powerful it was.

Sexuality was rampant among the entire population and the Church was having a very difficult time with it. It was happening in the monasteries and in the convents. It was happening to the nuns and to the priests and monks.

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We’ve talked about the Shadow and the Collective but what role do the ego, anima and animus play in human lives? If the Shadow and Collective are secondary personalities that need to be integrated what are the ego, anima and animus?

The normal ego is the bridge and mediator between the Shadow and the Collective when they are integrated. The Anima or Animus represent the opposite sex aspect of our own souls.

Males have a feminine aspect that is not developed and females have a male aspect that is not developed. We need to have a balance of male and female for our egos to develop whole and healthy. We need to be balanced to be a true partner to someone else.

We might say the Shadow represents everything we are not. This includes the things we dislike and fear. That is why the Shadow is seen as evil and Satanic. We project fears and distortions onto it.

The Collective represents the astral memory traces of the way things have always been. It represents what we call our destiny or pathway in life. In reality there is only the present moment and the collective only suggests what might happen if we continue our present course of action.

The anima or animus respectively represents those things we wish we were but feel we aren’t. The opposite sex aspect is what we find missing in ourselves.

The Shadow and Collective as secondary personalities are both alien entities to our normal ego. We don’t miss them because we don’t consider them a part of us.

Astral energy is generated at the cellular level by our physical bodies. It can be either male or female depending on our own gender. A male physical cell can not generate female astral energy because it does not have an XX Chromosome. A female physical cell can not generate male astral energy because it does not have an XY Chromosome. This is basic biology.

The needed opposite sex energy has to come from an opposite sex partner in some manner. This is the spark between people in love relationships that attracts them together and allows their souls to grow as their energy combines. This might also be the spark that brings friends together.

Relationships can be romantic, sexual, or platonic. There are many types of male/female energy that can be shared. There are many types of love. male/female energy can even be transmitted through internet lines as many are finding out. This male/female energy can be spiritual, mental, emotional, sexual or physical. All types of energy need to be explored and it is unlikely that one person can supply them all.

Through the development of the relationship male/female energy is shared and the part of us that is missing becomes developed. We become able to find in ourselves what we were looking for in others. At that point of wholeness and completeness the spark dies and the relationship moves on either to explore new energies or it dies and you move on to find a new partner. Once we find in ourselves what we were looking for we no longer need the other person in the same way. The relationship changes and the feelings change as well. The other person is not longer special in the same way.

We may have become balanced in that energy but our unbalanced energies will act to destroy the relationship. Our partner doesn’t have the required energies this time.

This is why love sparks in relationships and then later dies in some relationships. That energy was used to create astral bodies complete with psychic sensory abilities created out of a particular type of energy. The energy of love creates a healthy human ego in both people in one of the 118 possible elements. Good work! There are only 117 levels left to develop.

In actual practice and in tradition we seem to have seven great loves and not 118. We each have a soul mate partner to develop the seven chakra centers. When all seven astral bodies have been developed our ego is balanced and complete. This is the lessor work. When we are done our ego is strong enough to integrate the Collective and the Shadow. Only after all those things are done can we be healthy enough and balanced enough to find our true mate, our equal. We find them not out of need but because we are healthy enough and ready to be an equal partner in all ways.

Relationships and love do make the world go round.

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The Queen of Wands is related to other cards in the Tarot. She contains the essential elements of THE MAGICIAN, THE HIEROPHANT, STRENGTH, THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE, and JUSTICE.

The Queen is related to the ACE of Wands, ACE of SWORDS, TWO of Wands, TWO of SWORDS, THREE of Wands, and THREE of SWORDS. Her Element is Fire. She controls the magnetic forces of attraction and repulsion. She has the ability to withstand great conflict and stand firm in her convictions. She has a very spiritual tolerance of others and of life’s difficulties. You will like her or you will hate her. There is no middle ground for the Queen of Wands. You probably know someone like her.

This lady has a strong connection to plant and animal life. She gets illuminations while working in the garden or with her many pets. A natural healer, she is able to listen and give wise counsel. Talking with her helps others to sort things that are emotionally painful and gain objectivity. She does this through the ability to distance herself from emotional pain. She can rise above the raw passions and emotions and not be pulled under by them.

She has strong bones and teeth and will rarely need to see the dentist. An eternal student, she is constantly getting rid of old outmoded ideas and replacing them with newer more successful ideas and beliefs. She can easily change her mind and learn from her mistakes letting old behaviors and experiences fall away. Her mind is filled with happy colorful ideas and thoughts and she brings energy into the room when she enters.

In love she is all or nothing and has the tendency of becoming obsessed with her partner and forgetting about other things. In love and romance the sparks really fly.

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Today we are going to start talking about the 13th-century and courtly love. This will take probably two or three posts because the subject is quite intensive, so bear with me.

Courtly love or the age of chivalry ran historically from the 12th century to the late 16th century and is a notable time in the history of women and the beginning of feminism.

At the beginning, women were basically despised not only by men but by themselves. They were hardly treated like people.

I have to backtrack here, back before Christ and back before the invention of reading and writing. Over 4000 years ago, women ran the place with goddess based religions and these goddess based religions had females playing the prominent role. This was because it was the females that brought life into this world and they were also held responsible for death and rebirth.

So the whole focus way back then was around women and the important role they played in bringing life into this world. Gradually the male became more powerful and more empowered and it was around the time of the invention of reading and writing that the tide turned for the male.

Well, it was during this time, during the age of chivalry, that the tide began to turn back in favor of the female. Now the beginnings were small but they led to a lot of the things that are happening in the women’s movement today. At the end of the 16th century, women were respected and admired and this set the stage for the modern women’s movement.

Now back during the goddess religions of ancient times civilization was matriarchal and dominated by women. They failed to consider the males growing importance until it was too late.

In this time men were so obsessed about living in their heads that they indulged the women and let them do what they wanted. So women began taking over the running of things. This especially happened during the Crusades when a lot of the men were gone and the women were left home to take care of routine business. The women began to realize that they had a head for running things.

Now, one of the important consequences of the Crusades was a meeting of cultures. Europe was living in the dark ages compared to Persia, or compared to the Muslim countries who were highly civilized and had knowledge of Greek and Roman literature.

Suddenly these crude and uneducated Crusaders met up with this advanced civilization, and it was quite a shock. So they came back with a lot of eye-opening experiences which they wanted to share. But they came back to a world that women had kind of settled into while they were gone.

Courtly love is the great theme of late medieval literature. Europe was rediscovering the sciences and the wisdom of the classical world through the influence of Muslim scholars in the translations of Greek and Roman texts. So philosophy and the sciences were being reintroduced.

This was a golden opportunity for women of the upper class. At the same time, the cult of the Virgin Mary was brought back to Europe by the Crusaders.

Courtly love was class conscious, escapist and idealized. It was basically considered a harmless daydream by a lot of people. But it was very powerful in its own way as we shall see. Courtly love was the game of love. We’ve all heard about the game of love. This is where it started!

It was first thought to have been characteristic of the romantic German and Celtic peoples and included remnants of the Organic Gnostics through the influence of the Bogomils who came from the Caucasus area in eastern Europe. So courtly love still had traces of those early feminine goddess religions.

Now it was also considered a conspiracy of the Cathars to overturn the Church. But mostly courtly love was influenced by the Arabs because the Arabs treated their women differently than the Europeans did. The Arabs kept their women apart from everybody else. They segregated them and locked them up into harems. They made the women wear veils over their faces.

In Europe the female was always out in public and because she was out in public she was not considered special. The Arabs considered their women special and that trait also influenced this idea of courtly love.

Courtly love was sufficiently possible to be attractive to lovers, but improbable enough to be a challenge. It was like a hopeless case of soulmates never destined to join together in love and that’s probably the way to think of it in a in a metaphysical sense.

This was a meeting of souls, not a meeting of sexual pleasures. In fact, one of the phrases back then was that the union of souls was a thousand times more beautiful than that of bodies, so the whole concept of courtly love was Tantric.

It was talking about the mixing and the touching union of male and female souls. This is important because that’s part part of Organic Gnosticism. These tantric based teachings were spreading into every aristocratic family.

There was at least one person who could read and write, and they would snap up books because there were not very many to read. They in turn wanted to talk about what they read. They want to talk about new concepts and ideas just like we do today.

So the nobility began to permanently employ scholars. These scholars in turn would help with the business deals. They would write legal papers, keep the accounts and add some scholarly debate into the household and actually provide tutorship to the younger generation of children.

Things were different in the countryside for the superstitious common people. Sexuality was rampant with succubus and incubus attacks everywhere. These were vampires sucking up the energies of those with weaker blood. But the prevailing opinion of the common folk came from the Cathars. There was no sin from the belly button and below.

The aristocrats were talking about the soul. They were talking about the love of the soul and about soulmates. They were not talking about the physical consummation of sexuality.

The priests made generous use of this idea and the upper part of the body became so spiritual that it no longer knew what the lower half of the body was doing! If you can believe that!

Every act was holy and the priest was able to sanctify all women who sinned with him because sin was of the body and not of the soul. In Spain and France nuns were called the “consecrated ones” or mistresses of the priests. This was how pervasive sexuality was among the Church and among the common people.

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In the Tarot the suit of Wands represents spiritual energy and the element fire. Fire has always been a symbol of light and passion. This energy comes to us through inspiration and illumination.

It is an extremely abstract form of thought that is beyond the normal intellect but still valid. It is the energy of the God and Goddess that resides within each of us. Spiritual energy is extremely volatile and is the first energy that is exchanged normally between the male and the female. It has to do with the vague and general stereotypes that we have of the opposite sex. This is when we worship the person we fall in love with.

This is also called “Puppy Love”. We are in love with the idea of being in love and not really in love with our partner. We worship them but don’t really know them. This is also an important part of the chemistry or lack of it between individuals.

This sharing of energy follows a pattern that sets the tone for the other suits as well.

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The traditional tarot deck has several divisions within it. Perhaps the most well known are the trump cards. There are twenty two trumps in the traditional deck. Each one represents a path or life experience that must be encountered on the mystical path back to “Source” or “God/dess”. They represent forces of destiny that are cosmic in nature and beyond human influence.

In the OAK:Tarot of Love and Romance deck the trump cards represent much more than this. They represent how we discover and integrate the masculine and feminine aspects we each have within us. They are symbolic images of the attainment of spiritual, psychological, emotional and mental health.

Said in another way these trumps symbolize how we gradually learn to love ourselves. This is vitally important because how can we love someone else if we can not love ourselves? First we love others because we find in them things we would like to find in ourselves but can’t. We feel those we love complete us. As we grow and mature we come to recognize those same characteristics in ourselves. This process of self discovery is what the Trumps are about.

The rest of the deck is divided into four suits. Traditionally these are Wands, Swords, Cups, and Pentacles. These four suits represent spirit, intellect, emotion, and physical life. They also represent mundane life experiences easily recognized and within our power to change.

In the OAK:Tarot of Love and Romance I’ve chosen to use Wands, Swords, Cups, and Pentacles respectively for the same purpose. In this deck we use each suit to explore Spiritual love, Platonic love, Emotional love and Physical love between the male and the female.

These four suits are known as the “Minor Arcana” and the trumps are known as the “Major Arcana”. The Minor Arcana are the tarot cards we most identify with and we will begin with the suit of Wands or Spiritual Love.

The four suits are further divided into Court Cards and number cards. The Court Cards represent personality types we might recognize. In tarot readings a Court card is usually chosen to represent the individual asking for a reading. You might recognize yourself in one of these Court cards or you might recognize parts of yourself in all of them!

Lastly the descriptions given in this book describe how a male might experience the card and how a female might experience the card. I’ve done this for stylistic purposes. For example, if I say a card represents a male placing a female upon a pedestal I am describing how one person in a relationship might place the other on a pedestal. I don’t mean only males place females upon pedestals. I’m simply trying to describe an energy dynamic that is taking place between two people involved in a love relationship and how each might respond.
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Today we are going to talk about fourth century incubus and succubus experiences. Now the common ignorant peasant with roots in organic Gnosticism and with roots in the pagan religions were in a battle against the anti-life religion of the literate elites. Let’s face it, the common people enjoyed the earth and the pleasures of the earth. They had strong genetic roots to Gaia and to all living things.

The literate elite didn’t. They were living in their heads like people are currently doing in today’s world. The practice of magic was outlawed in the fourth century. Philosophers were driven out and books were burned. Original thought was no longer allowed. The church had determined in the Council of Nicaea which gospels were to represent Christianity and there wasn’t anything else that was to be taught. That was the truth. Everything else was satanic and was a lie.

The church created its own form of magical ceremonies through the rituals of Mass, baptism and marriage. Holy water was used to drive out Satan. But it didn’t matter what they tried because sexuality was a part of human nature. This movement of organic Gnosticism was spreading all over the near East and Satan was everywhere.

Sexuality was repressed, but excessive masturbation led to incubus and succubus attacks. The repressed sexual energies activated and brought out psychotic episodes. These psychotic episodes were called demonic possession and people feared them.

They didn’t realize that it was their own pent up emotions that were erupting. The Messalinian sect believed the devil was trying to possess them and beat themselves trying to drive Satan out of their physical bodies. Exorcisms became commonplace as the Church desperately tried to kill the human passions because they were demonic.

Eternal damnation was everywhere. There was no hope.

What was really happening was that these monks and these nuns were using autoerotic practices and working with sexual energy through masturbation even if they didn’t know what they were doing. It was building up pressure inside them and causing repressed emotions to flareup.

That’s an important part of the healing process when properly understood. So what was happening was the shadow side and the repressed hidden things were being explosively brought out into the open and those were the things that frightened people. Those were the things that were considered satanic and demonic.

They came out as the incubus or succubus. What is an incubus or succubus? They are personality fragments of real people that are activated through excessive sexual activity, especially autoerotic sexual activity and they will go out at night in your dreams and find a compatible opposite sex energy to merge with because that’s what sexual energy does.

It’s the merging of male and female energies. But the key to the incubus and the succubus is that they act on the unconscious side. They act on the repressed side and never represent conscious awareness. What they represent is the dark side and the hidden side of who you are and the more you repress and the more distorted your beliefs are, the more distorted your dark side is.

So these episodes of incubus or succubus attacks were really distorted expressions of their own repressions mingled with the distorted repressions of whoever their energy was attracted to. That is what made it so frightening. That is what made it so demonic because it was the distortions that made these things so so horrifying and people were caught in a loop. The more they repressed sexual energy, the stronger these psychotic experiences and attacks became because they were generating more and more energy. They were sexual addicts.

That’s what happens if you don’t work with sexual energy in a healthy way.

But you can work with sexual energy in a healthy way whether you’re doing it with a partner or doing it autoerotically. It ultimately heals because it is opening up repressioned energies and letting them out. That’s a healthy thing, because they are no longer stuck inside.

So in its blind way the Church through the repression of sexuality was actually forcing these sexual energies into the shadow and activating it. There are no such things as demons and the incubus or succubus. They are all fragments of real people, parts of us that we are afraid of.

But these parts are things that we don’t recognize and that we do not integrate. An important part of healthy mental and emotional well-being is to accept and integrate human sexuality in true human sexual experiences.

This was not happening because of the distorted belief systems of early Christianity. Some of the other religions were successfully working with these energies of Organic Gnosticism like the Buddhists who were developing the thunderbolt body or the diamond body. The martial arts were busy developing the immortal physical body.

These other spiritual paths were working with sexual energies in a more balanced way because their distortions were not as severe.

When you have an erotic dream that person is not aware of the encounter because what’s coming to you is a part of their shadow energy and the part of you that goes out to other people does the same thing. We are not consciously aware of these things, but they are parts of us. We can become more aware of them once we integrate our own shadow aspect.

PS: I’ve started a Facebook discussion group called Organic Gnosticism. Feel free to join if you are interested.

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