Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Mythology, Menstruation and the “Woman with the Issue of Blood”

Christ and the Woman with the Issue of Blood, by Paolo Veronese
Christ and the Woman with the Issue of Blood, by Paolo Veronese,
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria
Concern from the Vatican about environmental issues has been in the news lately. The ‘seven deadly sins’ have been updated to include environmental pollution and during his American visit the Pope repeatedly spoke of his concerns about damage to the environment. In July, on his Australian tour, “his holiness” recycled his speech on this topic once more.

I am a little reluctant to welcome these comments from the Catholic Church, particularly as in the Bible the best publicised environmental vandalism - the deliberate and senseless destruction of a wild fig tree - was in fact perpetrated by Jesus himself. This is how authors of the Good Book report it in the Gospel of Mark (11;12-21):
The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard him say it… In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus: "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!"

Today, of course, a well-known public figure could never get away with such pointless vandalism, and anyone openly destroying a budding tree, in front of witnesses, would probably be crucified by the British press. At the time, however, only Juno, the Goddess of the wild fig tree, was watching with horror the obliteration of Her sacred tree.
Lammas (and fresh figs)
This is the time when thanks are given for the fertility of the fields. It was traditional in the Scottish Highlands to sprinkle drops of menstrual blood on doorposts and around the house using a wisp of straw and on Lammas Day people smeared their floors and cows with menstrual blood, an act of especial protective power at Lammas and at Beltane.

Lammas is the Festival of First Fruits. Fig trees in the Holy Land also produce their first fruit about this time and up to late September. Modern Bible criticism also has a field day with the fig tree enigma. Scholars question if this took place in the spring, as reported in the Gospels, or late summer/autumn. They point out that Jesus was familiar with the seasons of the land and would not expect fruits on a fig tree in the spring. Others remark that it is completely out of character that a religious Jew, like Jesus, should destroy a fruit tree.

Tantra and Christianity

"While meditating upon the yoni of a beautiful woman, the adept shall utter the sacred mantra 10 000 times. He shall become wise as Brhaspati. 10 000 more shall he repeat it, whilst meditating upon the yoni of a woman in her moon-time (menstruating) and he shall become as captivating as any practitioner of the poetic art...." Mantra Mahodadhi (1589 CE.)

Yoni meditation (Madhya Pradesh, 12th century)

French missionary, Abbe Dubois writing on Tantra in "Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies (1807): “The ceremony takes place at night with more or less secrecy. The least disgusting of these orgies are those where they confine themselves to eating and drinking everything that the custom of the country forbids and where women and men … openly and shamelessly violate the commonest laws of decency"... and practices involve “things too abominable to be revealed to a Christian public”.

The Church Father, Epiphanius of Cyprus (CE. 310 ca. – 403), suggests that a Christian group called the Phibionites indulge in lavish feasts that begin with a special greeting: The men shake hands with the women, secretly tickling or stroking their palms. An erotic gesture or perhaps a code designed to alert members to the presence of outsiders. Epiphanius' testimony carries weight, because he admits that he himself fell in among them. Married couples separate to engage in ritual sexual intercourse with other members of the community. The union is not meant to be for procreation, however, for the man withdraws before climax. The couple then collects his semen in their hands and ingests it together while proclaiming, “This is the body of Christ.” When possible, the couple also collects and consumes the woman's menstrual blood, saying “This is the blood of Christ” (Panarion 26.2-8).8 Other Gnostic groups have also consumed women's menstrual blood for the Eucharist, while pagans, as has been shown, considered it a sacred gift from the Goddess.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Judaism and Tantra

In Jewish tradition, a man without a woman is not complete = 'shalem' שָׁלֵם, it follows that alone, he can not achieve peace = 'shalom' שָׁלוֹם

The Kabbalah reminds us that in Hebrew, the words for man (ish)  and the word for woman (isha) are the same except for two letters Y and H, which spell the name of God: "When a man joins himself to a woman in holiness, God dwells among them"
Manאִישׁ  &  Woman - אִשָּׁה
God - י ה

"Hence a man (ish אִישׁ) leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife (ba’ishto בְּאִשְׁתּוֹ), so that they become one flesh."(Genesis 1. 23)