I hesitate to claim any sort of cosmology, any relationship to established religion, to Western esotericism, or to those Eastern traditions so eagerly co-opted by Western seekers. But I think it’s time we stopped talking about spirit, which has become synonymous with god, which has always been synonymous with the male. “If god is male, then the male is god”, as Mary Daly pointed out in her seminal work Beyond God the Father.Continue reading
I’m not normally a huge Ayn Rand fan. Because of her background and escape from the Soviet Union, she was, I think, too quick to discount the collective forces on us, and thus to judge people for their individual failures when those failures were primarily the result of outside pressures.
But I’ve always loved her marvellous peroration against the toxic and morally bankrupt concept of original sin, from John Galt’s soliloquy in Atlas Shrugged. Here’s some of it:
“Your code begins by damning man as evil, then demands that he practice a good which it defines as impossible for him to practice. It demands, as his first proof of virtue, that he accept his own depravity without proof. It demands that he start, not with a standard of value, but with a standard of evil, which is himself, by means of which he is then to define the good: the good is that which he is not.
“It does not matter who then becomes the profiteer on his renounced glory and tormented soul, a mystic God with some incomprehensible design or any passer-by whose rotting sores are held as some inexplicable claim upon him—it does not matter, the good is not for him to understand, his duty is to crawl through years of penance, atoning for the guilt of his existence to any stray collector of unintelligible debts, his only concept of a value is a zero: the good is that which is non-man.
“The name of this monstrous absurdity is Original Sin.
“A sin without volition is a slap at morality and an insolent contradiction in terms: that which is outside the possibility of choice is outside the province of morality. If man is evil by birth, he has no will, no power to change it; if he has no will, he can be neither good nor evil; a robot is amoral. To hold, as man’s sin, a fact not open to his choice is a mockery of morality. To hold man’s nature as his sin is a mockery of nature. To punish him for a crime he committed before he was born is a mockery of justice. To hold him guilty in a matter where no innocence exists is a mockery of reason. To destroy morality, nature, justice and reason by means of a single concept is a feat of evil hardly to be matched. Yet that is the root of your code.
“Do not hide behind the cowardly evasion that man is born with free will, but with a “tendency” to evil. A free will saddled with a tendency is like a game with loaded dice. It forces man to struggle through the effort of playing, to bear responsibility and pay for the game, but the decision is weighted in favor of a tendency that he had no power to escape. If the tendency is of his choice, he cannot possess it at birth; if it is not of his choice, his will is not free.
“What is the nature of the guilt that your teachers call his Original Sin? What are the evils man acquired when he fell from a state they consider perfection? Their myth declares that he ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge—he acquired a mind and became a rational being. It was the knowledge of good and evil—he became a moral being. He was sentenced to earn his bread by his labor—he became a productive being. He was sentenced to experience desire—he acquired the capacity of sexual enjoyment. The evils for which they damn him are reason, morality, creativeness, joy—all the cardinal values of his existence. It is not his vices that their myth of man’s fall is designed to explain and condemn, it is not his errors that they hold as his guilt, but the essence of his nature as man. Whatever he was—that robot in the Garden of Eden, who existed without mind, without values, without labor, without love—he was not man.
“Man’s fall, according to your teachers, was that he gained the virtues required to live. These virtues, by their standard, are his Sin. His evil, they charge, is that he’s man. His guilt, they charge, is that he lives. “They call it a morality of mercy and a doctrine of love for man.”
Please remind me never, ever, ever to read books about the “divine feminine” again, especially if they are written by a man.
The feminine, as I know perfectly well thanks to Mary Daly, is a male fantasy, a patriarchal projection, a concocted nonsense of all the gentle pretty passive things women are supposed to be, which they try to force us to be, which they say their male god made us to be.
Fuck that, says Kali the Destroyer, Cerridwen, Hecate, or any wolf bitch snarling at you over her pups and daring you to come any closer. Fuck your wishy-washy, soft, mystical moonshine and your pretty fairy dresses. We are fat and ugly and dressed in animal skins, our feet planted in the soil, unafraid of death and the smell of rotting things, which give life to the trees. Continue reading
“So this is my Credo. I am an atheist, if by God one means a transcendent Person who acts wilfully within the creation. I am an agnostic in that I believe our knowledge of “what is” is partial and tentative – a tiny flickering flame in the overwhelming shadows of our ignorance. I am a pantheist in that I believe empirical knowledge of the sensate world is the surest revelation of whatever is worth being called divine.”
– Chet Raymo: When God is Gone, Everything is Holy
All right. This is how it works. The Universe, or perhaps we should say the Cosmos, is female, and entire unto herself.
In our little corner, we hurtle around our sun, surrounded by the breathtaking spinning galaxies, floating in the luminous dark of Her womb, caught up in the web of Life She weaves, oblivious to all this and obsessed with our patriarchal notions of Light and Spirit, of conquering technology and the ultimate abstraction of nuclear war. And yet even we still know this in some forgotten corner of our bones. When last did you hear somebody talk about Father Nature, or Father Earth? Continue reading
Male spiritual teachers often love their numerology, and especially the number 1. Numbers exist as forms and ideas before mere matter is invigorated by them, and thus have deep cosmic significance.
Here are a few gems about the number 1 from the interwebz:
I sit at the garden door and write
Amid trees, and the birds talk to me
In a confusion of soft songs Continue reading
Understanding how all our beliefs are constructed, how much we have invented on top of the base belief that men should rule, and yet feeling a sense of something leaping alive and aware from a bird, a tree, a nodding poppy; here I stand, a poet in search of a philosophy, a mystic without a god or a cosmology. What shall I believe? What shall I worship? I will start with this earth that sustains me, and yet is larger than me. The next footstep will be my beginning.
The female principle is the notion that the female is primary; in the cosmos, in biology, amongst ourselves. If there is such a thing as the Divine, She is Female.
It’s a strange idea for someone who identifies as a radical feminist. Radfem, with its trenchant materialist analysis of society, culture and structural oppression, owes a great deal to Marxism and Socialist Feminism, but holds that sexism – the practice of discrimination against women as a sex class – is the root of all oppression and the foundation of patriarchal society. Continue reading