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Terreson Profile
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The Mystical Body: Pure Sex


I am having a singularly difficult time trying to figure out the right approach to my subject. This is likely to be followed by equal difficulty going discursive about it all, about what I think I think. In the end I will fail.

Seems I am always circling back to Goethe for guidance, for a lead. Thinking on my subject for the better part of two weeks, day before yesterday I remembered a Goethe poem. Actually, it was a phrase that came to mind, which phrase led me back to a poem first read over 25 years ago. Phrase is ecstatic longing. Here is the poem and my starting point.


Ecstatic Longing

Not a word, or to the knowing
Only (most would jeer with Liar!):
How I'ld praise a life that's glowing
With the passion: die in fire.

When the love-nights settle, chilling
You they sowed, and you the sower,
All at once the strangest feeling,
And the candle low and lower.

Out of time, and no returning
To this night of smothered covers:
Earth, to your intenser yearning,
Too confined a groove for lovers.

Far in space and borne above it,
Flying with a blind desire
For the holocaust you covet:
Moth in ecstasy afire!

Till you grapple this to heart:
Death's a further birth!
You're a drifter, pale, apart,
On the murky earth.


Enough for now.

Tere
Feb/5/2012, 1:56 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Christine98 Profile
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Re: The Mystical Body: Pure Sex


Powerful, beautiful poem, Tere. Thanks for it and I'm looking forward to where it leads,

Chris
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Katlin Profile
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Re: The Mystical Body: Pure Sex


Hi Tere,

Wonderful Goethe poem. Thanks for sharing it with us. Like Chris I am looking forward to where this leads. I remembered the thread's title from another post/poem you made:

http://bdelectablemnts.runboard.com/t1575

Is there a connection?
Feb/6/2012, 9:20 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
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Re: The Mystical Body: Pure Sex


Yes, Kat. There is a connection. Or an association. The thing I want to go after here.

Tere
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Re: The Mystical Body: Pure Sex


Songs of Mirabai: For Love of the Dark One.

~Ten thousand thanks
O astrologer
for announcing the Dark One's arrival!
Dizzy, ecstatic,
my soul goes into her bedroom.
Five companions converge,
five senses,
to give him unparalleled pleasure.
One glimpse of his form
dispels anguish -
all my erotic longings bear fruit.
Shyam, the ocean of pleasure
has come into me.~

~It's a curse -
I don't even
know how to greet him -
when he slipped through the courtyard
I blew it.
Days and nights
searching for love on the roadways,
and when it comes through the
courtyard, I'm sleeping.
Rejected, bewildered, on fire inside,
Mira wakes up
and everything's ruined.
Dark One, it's slavery -
touch me once,
      you won't get away.~

~Having wet me with love,
why did you leave?
you abandoned your unwavering consort,
having ignited her lamp wick;
she's like a pleasure boat
set out to drift on an ocean of craving.
Either way Mira's dead -
       unless you return.~

~How bitter is carnival day
with my lover off traveling.
Oh desolate town,
night and day wretched,
my small bed in the attic lies empty.
Rejected and lost
in his abscence, stumbling under
a burden of pain.
Do you have to wander
from country to country? It hurts me.
These fingers ache
counting the days you've been gone.
Spring arrives
with its festival games,
the chiming of anklets, drumbeats and flute,
   a sitar -
yet at my gate no beloved.
What makes you forget?
Here I stand begging you, Dark One -
don't shame me!
Mira comes to embrace you,
birth after birth
      a virgin.~

~Dancing before him!
To whirl and to spin!
Charming his artistic passions,
testing old urges -
O Dark One, beloved, I fasten my anklets,
true love is drunk.
Wordly shame! Family decorum!
who needs such virtues?
Not for an instant, one eyeblink,
do I forget him -
he has seized me and stained me,
that Dark One.~

~Another night without sleep,
thrashing about
until daybreak.
Friend, once I rose
from a luminous dream, a vision
that nothing dispels.
Yet this writhing, tormented self
cries out to meet
her Lord of the outcast.
Gone mad, gone crazy,
mind and senses confused with unspoken
   secrets -
Oh the Dark One
holds life and death in his hands,
he knows Mira's anguish.~

~Dark One,
all I request is a portion of love.
Whatever my defects,
you are for me an ocean of raptures.
Let the world cast its judgments
nothing changes my heart -
a single word from your lips is sufficient -
birth after birth
begging a share of that love.
Mira says: Dark One - enter the penetralia,
you've taken
this girl past the limits.~


Mirabai was a princess who lived in the northwest region of India. 1498-1550. Her poetry has kept committed to India's folk, oral tradition. She hated injustice. She despised the conditions forced upon the underpriveleged and on women. She was a mystic whose longing for Krishna was passionate, immediate, and quite real. In her poetry Krishna is called the Dark One and she calls herself Mira.

Tere
Feb/16/2012, 1:54 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: The Mystical Body: Pure Sex


Read "Songs of Mirabai: For Love of the Dark One" and there are several thoughts, items, that come to mind. It's my understanding that in the West, during the Middle Ages, much of the poetry, the symbolic language, had Christ as the lover, especially in the cae of the mystics. I don't know if it was a substitute for those monks and nuns who couldn't have sex normally (or should we say "officially") or whether it was simply a convention. This tradition from the East appears to be similar in some ways. Except that it appears to be much more detailed, more graphic. Part of that may be that in the East sex was not filtered through any prohibitions. In the West, the pre-Christian "cults" at times depicted or engaged in sexual imagery/actions. Christianity, in attempting to detroy these older religions, also generally put prohibitions on sex. That is my general understanding -- and this is sort of how I contrast Goethe's poem and Mirabai's. Goethe lived during the Renaissance, though, rather than the Middle Ages, if I remember correctly.

I gather that you might be trying to grasp at something fundamental to the meaning or the content of sex as it might exist within the mystical. You might be looking at how the two may be reunited in a modern or post-modern era after having been separated in the West for several centuries. I didn't read your other thread, so I'm only guessing here. Just food for thought.

Might mention it to Arka, since he lives in the East. Of course, there are many, many ways of looking at this, I'm sure, in India. It might even depend upon which religious view you adhere to, which tradition. But it might not hurt.

Of course, I'm operating in a grey zone since I'm not sure of what preceded this. Enjoyed the poems.

Zak
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Terreson Profile
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Zak, you are good. And you have anticipated where I want to go with the thought(s), which makes me smile. I am having a dickens of a time with what I want to say and how to proceed. Notion is simple: why do mystics often, and world wide, turn to the metaphor of erotica when trying to express a certain mystical experience? That I am having so much difficulty almost makes me think it is all something I shouldn't tryo to explore discursively. Examples of what I mean are everywhere to be found in literature. Mirabai just might be the purest, least inhibited example. And I do love her for her passionate embrace of her Dark One. But the same can be found in Japanese mystical literature, in Sufi poetry, Rumi inspired, in that other Persian poet, Hafiz, even in Troubador poetry of the 12th C. with its idealized love of a woman which, in itself, became for the poets a state of gnosis.

That is what I know. What I suspect is that the mystic poet is thrown back to the one human activity able to carry a kind of passionate embrace adequate to the mystical experience. The sexual embrace, what, in literature, is best conveyed in erotica. So many examples to give.

But something is holding me back and has been for well over a month. Time I think to heed the injunction.

Here is the poem of mine Kat linked to upthread. May be all I know and as close as I can come.

The Mystical Body: Pure Sex

For two days counting
there was that chill running
and raising my scalp,
and I've learned enough
to know by now
that when it comes
it's time to watch out.

Then the third day came
then the third day's night
when she took me to
her place by the lake,
her place, her very own
where she upturns herself,
where she goes it alone.

Well, anyway,
we talked and told stories,
never trying to touch upon
the sadness in her voice,
the confusion coming from
a water girl's detail
of daylight worries.
Then she turned her neck to me
and I rubbed away
at the ache and pain,
and holding up her hair
her finger-thick
the heavy self-stuff
of her sun spun hair,
and baring the bending arc,
the river run,
her own neck's slender arch.

This is all it took.
No question but that
it's when I got caught,
right on that gravid girl's
lakeside spot.

Then the deep desire
to go the way down with her,
all the way down with her,
all the way down we go until
we raise her high, over.


Tere

Last edited by Terreson, Feb/19/2012, 9:03 pm
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Zakzzz5 Profile
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I'll have to read your message again; maybe read the poem again. Are you reaching for a poetic understanding or for a deeper understanding. Joseph Campbell appears to make a distinction. He uses himself as the example, saying that although he knows a lot about many traditions and religions, he has not committed himself body and soul to one way. Therefore, he knew he would never reach the heights of the mystics from the many religions who choose one way a go profoundly into that way.

There may be things about this that you are searching for here that can only be "experienced" and not truly defined.

But I don't know precisely what it is you are after. I'll read the poem again and maybe get hints. Zak
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Terreson Profile
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No, Zak. With the thread I am not looking to flesh out the exprience itself. I know from personal experience that that cannot be done. I have a field note elsewhere that comes as close as I am capable of getting to the experience:
  
http://bdelectablemnts.runboard.com/t1628

Here, I was looking to simply explore a certain literary device many mystic writers resort to. What involves the erotic. But I am pretty decided that it can't be done without diminishment.

As for Campbell, a thinker I tremendously admire and have learned much from, not sure I agree with him on the point. I get what he means. He was a self-described agnostic. And for him he is right. But I am not sure one has to commit or subscribe to a certain, I guess religious, way in order to know the, for lack of a better word, mystical experience. If pushed, I might say the one prerequisite is the capacity for the oceanic sense. But that is a term I would have to define and know I can't.

Tere

Last edited by Terreson, Feb/21/2012, 10:47 am
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Katlin Profile
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Here is the version of the Goethe poem that I am most familiar with:

The Holy Longing

Tell a wise person, or else keep silent,
because the mass man will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive,
what longs to be burned to death.

In the calm water of the love-nights,
where you were begotten, where you have begotten,
a strange feeling comes over you,
when you see the silent candle burning.

Now you are no longer caught in the obsession with darkness,
and a desire for higher love-making sweeps you upward.

Distance does not make you falter.
Now, arriving in magic, flying,
and finally, insane for the light,
you are the butterfly and you are gone.
And so long as you haven't experienced this: to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth.

by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Translated from the German by Robert Bly

Tere, you wrote:

"Notion is simple: why do mystics often, and world wide, turn to the metaphor of erotica when trying to express a certain mystical experience?"

and:

"What I suspect is that the mystic poet is thrown back to the one human activity able to carry a kind of passionate embrace adequate to the mystical experience. The sexual embrace, what, in literature, is best conveyed in erotica."

and:

"I was looking to simply explore a certain literary device many mystic writers resort to."

Is it a metaphor? Yes and no, perhaps. I wouldn't use the word resort. I wouldn't say many mystic writers resort to a certain literary device but that many mystic writers amplify, expand and extend a certain literary device. If that makes sense. My own experience of holy longing and the mystical embrace comes primarily from/through the Sufis. And from Cohen. When I first came to his work a few years ago, I felt like he had fleshed out the path in some of his songs, but more than that. Listening to his music reawakened and retraced some of the mystical experiences I had felt/known. Over at Cohen's forum, I read about the mystical effects people said Cohen's music had on them during his concerts. I was delighted to read the following:

This afternoon I was speaking to a delightful couple who are also going to see Leonard in November here in Melbourne. They said to me that Leonard’s concert they attended here last year was the best they had ever been to (which I've heard repeated several times). They are of the Sufi Islamic religious persuasion and described Leonard as bestowing “baraka” on the audience (though one of them suggested that the audience would not necessarily understand fully what they were experiencing). Upon my asking about their use of this term - which I related to an engrossing and inspiring movie from the 90’s - one of them described “baraka” as a type of blessing (and so by inference, a special spiritual gift that not many people have).

http://www.leonardcohenforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=21902

To me there is a corelation between Goethe's "and a desire for higher love-making sweeps you upward." and Cohen's "When the hunger for your touch rises from the hunger." Speaking of Campbell, I have to amend my previous comment to say: My own experience of holy longing and the mystical embrace comes primarily from/through the Sufis. And from Cohen. With Campbell laying the ground work. Campbell said, "Nature intends the grail." Nature, body and soul. As above, so below. But what do I know? So very little.

PS I've always thought of Campbell not as an agnostic but as a "dilettante among the symbols." Dilettante as you once defined the term, Tere: a lover. He loved all the symbols too much to commit himself solely to one set of them. "But I may be wrong." emoticon


Last edited by Katlin, Mar/18/2012, 10:18 am
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Bernie01 Profile
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Re: The Mystical Body: Pure Sex


Tere---

i strive for the practical, think my cards (unmarked) are on the table.

this fire, this flight so real for me.

The Wide Sargasso Sea


Jean Rhys



quote:

Our parrot was called Coco, a green parrot. He didn't talk very well, he could say Qui est la? Qui est la? And answer himself Che Coco, Che Coco. After Mr. Mason clipped his wings he grew very bad tempered…

I opened my eyes, everybody was looking up and pointing at Coco on the glacis railings with his feathers alight. He made an effort to fly down but his clipped wings failed him and he fell screeching. He was all on fire.





for other reasons, but not excluding a lyrical sense of wild flight---i think of the opening and ending lines in Finnegans Wake:



A way a lone a last a loved along the / riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.


a little later, he adds:


quote:

“a long, very long, a dark, very dark [...] scarce endurable [...] night.”




tell me your pom, i bend in to listen more closely.


bernie




---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Jan/25/2013, 8:43 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Completely forgot about this thread started a year ago, last February. That was 3 surgeries ago. 3 months of chemo ago. 3 months of woman love before she had to go ago. What was I thinking? Or was I thinking? How can you go discursive when it comes to an expression looking to contain a thing reductively called mystical? No wonder my thread goes no where. No where for it to go.

Tere
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Tere



I might say the one prerequisite is the capacity for the oceanic sense.


that oceanic sense didn't seem to enlighten thugs like Hermann Göring from stealing artworks.

how many mystical German thinkers can you think of who believed in Jewish relocation?

place a statute of limitation on rumination, still need a poem.


quote:

V
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.


XIII
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.



 

Our parrot was called Coco,


if you can't love a parrot falling all aflame...you are not ready for the magical mystery tour. oceanic, or the blue bus of
Fady Joudah:



quote:

In the blue bus that swallowed the heat the heat was a leavened carcass.



final thought from Wallace Stevens:

quote:

VII
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?




so quiet, where i live in the desert.

are you in remission? wish to hell i was.


bernie










---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
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Terreson Profile
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Re: The Mystical Body: Pure Sex


Cancer cut out, Bernie. Wishing you get better soon. It is no fun.

Tere
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