WARNING ADULT MATERIAL:
The sexual relationship this article will feature is the inner one between personality and soul, not the outer one that is mainly concerned with body parts.
KEY IDEA: The most potent of all relationships is going on inside our own system, and it is a menage a trois. It is my contention that a huge part of the sex, power and relationship dysfunctions that are experienced in the outer world, is due to the ignorance or avoidance of the inner relationship.
The whole area of sex and relationship is an often obsessive focus for human attention and energy: witness the boom of (financially successful) websites, magazines and nightspots.
The fact is that sex is THE dominant theme for a bulk of dramas and comedies, crimes, exultations, and much of our social life. However, to have sex with the soul (only to be topped by sex as the soul) you wont need a credit card, prophylactics, or a new outfit. Even better, the more you do it the more enjoyable the sex gets and the more you want it (unlike some relationships?) You can even have soul sex at work, or when walking, eating, playing and … yes, when doing that too, especially then.
Before showing you the pictures and discussing romance mythology, and ending with the soul sexual aid section, let’s define the two major types of intercourse we will be discussing:[PLACEHOLDER]
Horizontal Sex – Translation or “chase and resist” Intercourse between any two entities at the same level. Could be external (between two people), or internal (between aspects of the body/mind psyche, i.e. subpersonalities, left and right or male and female aspects of the self, etc).
Key Point: There is balance of power in the exchange (potentially if not always actually). Horizontal sex can be called “translation” in that it involves the complementary dynamics of agency and communion. Agency preserves the autonomy of each entity, while communion ensures the relationship between them.[PLACEHOLDER]
These dynamics are often reflected in the stereotypical male and female dynamic, which is why I have called this type of relationship “chase and resist”. Too much agency leads to isolation of the parts and a lack of cohesion. Too much communion leads to merging into undifferentiated soup. Contemporary gender politics aside, these two dynamics tend to balance each other out over time to achieve points of relationship equilibrium.
Vertical Sex – Transformation or, “Could you give me a hand up, please?” Intercourse between two entities at different levels. Once again, this relationship can be between external partners or involving internal dynamics.
Key Point: The power in the exchange is uneven. Vertical sex can be called “transformation” in that it involves the complementary dynamics of eros and agape. Eros is the desire of the lesser for the greater, and agape, the compassion of the greater for the lesser.[PLACEHOLDER]
The dynamics of transformation tend to play out in therapist/client, teacher/student relationships, which is why I have called it, “Could you help me up please?” The ‘erotic’ charge in such uneven power relationships can be used for transformation. All of the relationship dynamics, can, however, express dysfunctionally.
Soul sex is predominantly vertical sex
One aspect of soul sex involves relationship with its personality. While the soul and the personality each may have horizontal relationships, the intercourse between them is vertical and has a strong power dynamic: one is trying to control or influence the other.
During the necessary stage of personality development, the personal wishes will appear stronger than the soul’s. Over time the love and wisdom of the soul is experienced by the personality as being of a far higher quality.
This realization either comes to the personality through gradual understanding and integration of personal desires with soul intentions, or, more commonly, the personality becomes exhausted through the Sisyphean cycle of success and failure, happiness and grief, idealism and defeatism.
Anyway, at some point the personality (joyfully or reluctantly) surrenders to the more inclusive, higher will of the soul. This experience leads to personal transformation (and eventually to transfiguration, the full infusion of the personality with the soul).
All relationship dynamics are essentially threefold: two subject/objects and the one energy between them. The ‘in between’ energy, the force of attraction itself, is known by many names, but we will discuss it in context of the Goddess Aphrodite or Venus.
The myths surrounding this goddess can help us understand this energetic role in the affairs of humanity. Venus’ birth was somewhat unusual. Briefly, in Greek and Roman creation mythology, Gaia was the earth mother and Uranus the sky father. One of their children was Saturn who sided with his mother in the inevitable parental dispute. Saturn’s angst with his father led him to pull out his scythe and lop off the paternal testicles, which fell into the sea. Out of the resulting foam sprang Venus, goddess of love, beauty, and (you guessed it) sex.[PLACEHOLDER]
A diagram is one way to represent these relationships less anthropomorphically. Some traditions view the earth as having seven ‘skins’, levels, or planes, which distinguish various states of consciousness. These planes are often shown as linear, but it is more useful to think of them as interpenetrating spheres.[PLACEHOLDER]
Like creation myths everywhere, the upper appearing (outermost) realms are identified with Spirit (Uranus or, in Maori terminology, Rangi) and the lower (innermost) ones with Matter (Gaia or Papatuanuku).
From a non-dual type perspective, the planes are seen as a continuum or spectrum of energy rather than two separate realms. The link is the rainbow bridge, a link provided by the human soul (Mercury, or Tane) who is a child of both parents.
The three realms of Spirit, Soul and Personality, or form, each occupy three planes, which, in their overlap, span the seven. (Refer to the diagram to see these three circled realms clearly: Uranus/Spirit, Human/Soul, Gaia/ Personality . (Note Venus and Saturn are personifications of the energies that connect the higher with the lower spheres. Saturn connects the Soul and Spirit, and Venus connects the Personality and Soul.)
Particular planetary names can also be assigned to each plane to represent the types of consciousness functioning at each level. In the realm of Soul, we see that Saturn reaches up (overlaps) into the realm of Uranus with his ‘scythe’, and Venus drops down (overlaps) into the realms of Gaia.
Between them, at the midpoint of the human soul, is the winged Mercury (or Hermes in Greek mythology) the ‘messenger between worlds’ who balances the energy of both parents. The ‘fall’ of Venus into the material worlds as desire, and her resurrection as the soul, is celebrated in her dual nature as the morning star, Lucifer (Phosphoros), and the evening star, Vesper (Hesperus).
Her ‘fall’ is an act of great agape that ignites the energy of transformation between the soul and the personality and it is this energy that we touch when we too, ‘fall’ in love.
The poet Rumi is a master in expressing the divine madness of her gift to us:
The way of love is not
A subtle argument
The door there is devastation
Birds make great sky-circles
Of their freedom
How do they learn it?
They fall, and falling
are given wings
So the Goddess Venus (with all her charms and indulgences) is literally the representative of the heavenly worlds on earth, and as such, she causes quite a stir.
What ensues in myth is a menage a trois of epic proportions, which gets reenacted over and over again in the psyche of human beings throughout history.
Her first suitor is Mars, the God of War (Ares). This love affair is a passionate encounter that allows the mind to connect with the emotions.
Without the infusion of passion, the realm of mind remains dry and disconnected from the physical worlds. The Venusian mind now responds to beauty and, looking out, reenchants the outer worlds, generating a desire for connection that is seen in everything from creative art to environmental action.
This ‘falling in love’ with the outer world cannot be bypassed and is a prerequisite for the later resurrection. The union with Mars connects the soul with the body and opens the heart. Beauty encounters the Beast, the soul grounds in the body. This conjunction is termed Kama- Manas is some eastern traditions.
Unrestrained passion can be dangerous of course, and the two lovers lie overlong in each others arms, to be caught in bed by the rising Sun, who tells Vulcan (Hephaestus), Venus’ husband, who throws a net of fine links around the pair and displays them for all to see.
Out of the union between Mars and Venus comes Cupid or Eros, the energy of desire which can take us to the outer reaches of the tangible worlds, but can also fuel our ascent into the intangible ones (and thus awakens Psyche, the Soul).
Sooner or later however, the passion generated by Mars/ Venus love is doomed to crash and burn in a very public way, often a necessary precurser to the development of wisdom.
It is easy to be tempted into avoiding this fall and yet it is only by entering this door of helpless surrender that we are paradoxically given our wings. The soul must be willing to fully incarnate before it is given its freedom.
Enter the next love affair: Venus falls for Mercury (Hermes), or rather, Mercury falls for her.
The dynamics become clearer if we revisit the diagram of the planes of consciousness. Mercury is associated with the plane above Venus (Buddhi) and Mars the plane below (Astral). As the evening star she ‘falls’ in love with Mars. And as the morning star she ‘rises’ in love with Mercury. The first affair links mind with desire (kama-manas) to produce aspiration. The second links mind with intuition (buddhi-manas) to produce wisdom. The education of desire (Eros or Cupid) begins.
Mercury, as messenger of the Gods, is a great teacher of humanity and appears in many myths and traditions to provide sudden illuminating insights. He is also associated with the Buddha, just as Venus is associated with the Christ; the wisdom of the East meets the love of the West.
Out of the union of Hermes and Aphrodite is born Hermaphrodite, who embodies both the masculine and feminine principles. Once the two hemispheres of the brain are balanced through translation, transformation into the soul is possible. The divine hermaphrodite stands for the soul realised within the human consciousness; it can often be depicted as the halo of light around the head. We get glimpses of this union whenever we move through contemplation, prayer or meditation into the realms of revelation and insight.
Venus-Aphrodite is the Goddess of relationship, sacred and profane. Out of her two great affairs she births nothing less than the heart and soul of the world.
We need her energy on the earth rather desperately. Human development has reached the stage where the ego has managed to proclaim itself king by all but isolating itself on the mental plane. In this neurotic fantasy, the personal self withdraws into an illusion of safety, repressing and dissociating from both the physical and metaphysical passions. Unresolved power dynamics get projected out into horizontal relationships.
The development and consolidation of a personal rational self through translation on the mental plane has been evolutionary, but its self perpetuation through alienation and inflation is not. What we need is more transformation.
What we need is more vertical sex … even though this “up and down” movement can be dizzying due to the unavoidable result of transformation being a movement away from material security. It demands a movement up, away from the comfortable desire realm. Falling or rising in love always demands that we be willing to be out of control. And control is the ego’s stock in trade.
In western culture we have repressed the downward five pointed star (the sign of the devil). While this ‘falling into desire’ is ultimately a transformative energy, rather than healthfully encouraging the union of Venus and Mars, with their union producing Eros, and evolving into the upward star, modern society’s repression has tended to get this energy stuck in the subconscious, playing out in obsessive sexual preoccupations or aggressive behaviour.[PLACEHOLDER]
The ego has similarly repressed movement into the sublime. Genuine spiritual pursuit is labelled as a frivolous escape from reality (and it is an attempt to escape from the ego’s grip). The genuine needs to transmute or transcend get twisted into either egoic fear or aggrandisement.
Here are two examples from the egocentric disneyworld:
Cyber Sex: No need to genuinely encounter the flesh and blood passions of another human being. No disease, no emotional entanglements, no need to tell the truth. In short, no risk, no consequence and therefore no real chance of transformative change: the pressure is relieved, the fantasies enacted, and the status quo rules.
New Age Spirituality: Particularly those convenient belief systems and practices that separate spirituality from genuine sacrifice. Keep the mansion on the hill, but add in the abundance philosophy punctuated with giving a rational amount to charity. Keep the ego, but add the concept of immortality, as convenient. No guilt, no loss, no consequence, and, that’s right, no transformation.
What is disturbing is how the ego’s eviction of the Goddess from the world can become so normalised. Sometimes I think that chasing glimpses of Venus in the bottom of a bottle or the latest rave drug “Ecstasy”, or screaming the name of Aphrodite over and over in the strange language of mental illness, is somehow saner in the long run than the sterile retreat into the safe flatland of the egoic status quo.
However, dysfunctional pursuit of the Goddess is not necessary when she will come running whenever we are truly willing to be caught and transformed by her beauty.
Self Help: Here are some tips and vertical sexual aids. Just put in your credit card details now …
1. Take two lovers: Don’t buy into the inner change vs outer action argument: make love to them both. Reach in with one hand and out with the other. Fall passionately for changing the world, AND transcending it, at the same time.
2. Appreciate beauty wherever you find it. And where you don’t find it, create it.
3. Dare. Risk reaching out. We are what we long for. We just don’t know it yet.
Meditation: the best lubricant for vertical lovers. There are many reputable brands on the market these days, just use one regularly.
More relationships: Association is good for meeting outer horizontal and vertical partners. Organisations offer opportunities for inner and outer transformation; join one or start your own. Relate vertically: be a teacher AND a student.
Transformational Talk & Toys: Read, write, draw, create, put messages in bottles, play! Call out both names of the goddess of Love. Enter deeply into the silence and then make a song and dance about it! Oh, but remember, when you are being creative, keep a rubber* handy, because mistakes are part of the process!
* To those unfamiliar with New Zealand terminology, a rubber is an eraser. (A condom is a condom. Take precautions!)
For most of history, love has been considered a threat to the stability of the individual and of society, because stability was usually valued more highly than freedom.
– Theodore Zeldin