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To: alt.magick.tantra,alt.zen,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.consciousness.mysticism,alt.philosophy.taoism,alt.feminism.individualism,sci.anthropology
Subject: Re: sexomysticism (was Re: Ejaculation/ Menstruation ....)
Date: 3 Sep 1998 22:36:05 -0700

catherine yronwode :
#|# ( most of Chinese sex-magic literature, the term 
#|# "dragon" (of heaven) refers to the man and the term "tiger" (of 
#|# earth) refers to the woman while they are engaging in intercourse.
quote from the below omitted:
#|	   _Taoist Yoga: Alchemy and Immortality_, by
#|	    Lu K'uan Y:u; Weiser, 1972; p. 67.

catherine yronwode :
# Hey, it's dueling Chinese sex alchemists! Actually, the source you cite
# contradicts the entire compilation of all 21 ancient sex-alchemy texts
# which are collected in: 

# "Art of the Bedchamber:  The Chinese Sexual Yoga Classics Including
# Women's Solo Meditation Texts" compiled, translated, and annotated by
# Douglas Wile,  State University of New York Press, 1992. 

not only that, the source I quote is apparently a Chinese *Buddhist*.
 perhaps this says something about his depth of understanding that he
 went so against the grain on the matter of Dragons and Tigers :)

my memory was poor.  the better sources I consulted later confirmed
 your claim that this association is exceedingly popular.  touche!

# ...from original texts on sex-alchemy but from modern redactions 
# about Taoism in general? 

taoist yoga (a variant, apparently; the Eliade was closer to the mark
 and could qualify for your characterization); later I found texts
 by Blofeld (whom I adore), Cooper (academic Western I think) 
 supportive of your claims, and Ching-lang Hou (chinese academic) 
 whose text on the demonic/vampiric White Tiger was very peculiar 
 and interesting: "The Chinese Belief in Baleful Stars" within 
 _Facets of Taoism: Essays in Chinese Religion, a beautiful book)

Eliade quoted:
#|        When the kidneys are flushed,
#|         then semen and blood flow with them."

# This sounds more like a medical text than a sex-alchemy text, or rather,
# like a prescription for a menstruating woman who has just had orgasmic
# sex with a man to go pee -- which is not very yogic, since semen is not
# supposed to "flow" in any of these texts, and in the texts directed
# toward celibate women, blood isn't supposed to flow either. 

I got the impression it wasn't necessarily an extracorporeal flow,
 it could be the fluids circulating in their respective bodies,
 it could even be within a single body (at least out of context)

# ...Mircea Eliade tells us (we don't have a direct quote) that 
# Su Tung P'o's mercurial (male) dragon is both genders in one, 
# the RED dragon of blood and the GREEN dragon of semen.  However, 
# according to "True Transmission of the Golden Elixir"  by Sun 
# Ju-chung and the two texts by Chang San-feng quoted above, this 
# cannot be, for there are only two sets of binary symbols:
#        lead / "my partner" / female/ tiger /west / vaginal fluids
#        mercury / "myself " / male / dragon / east /   semen

Blofeld seems to claim that either sex could benefit from this art
 and that this was common knowledge among at least some of the
 Chinese alchemists.  I remember some sort of warfare mentality
 (martial) mentioned in the introduction to the compilation from
 the book that you quoted.  I'll have to look at it again

# ...I wonder if Mircea Eliade made a mistake in translation here, but 
# since the Su Tung P'o text is apparently alchemical only and not
# sex-alchemical, it was not included in Wile's compilation....

interesting.  was Wile's inclusive of a certain class?  historical
 region, political background?

# so i cannot double-check it.

reference to a Su Tung-p'o yielded the name 'Su Shih' cited within
 _Sources of Chinese Tradition_.  the text identifies Su Shih as 
 having lived during the 11th century, after the Confucian Revival 
 before the Sui dynasty:

	Su Tung-p'o, the celebrated poet and calligrapher, ...was
	also a man of affairs and played a leading part in the
	political struggles of that memorable [Sung revival] era.
	_Sources of Chinese Tradition_, comp. De Bary, Chan, 
	 Watson, publ. by Columbia University Press, 1969; 
	 p. 386.

and that

	Su Shih (1037-1101), also known by his pen-name 
	Su Tung-p'o, was one of two famous sons of a famous
	father, Su Hsun.  An outstanding poet, calligrapher,
	and painter as well as a public official.  
	Ibid., pp. 426-7.
#|# So, looking through the Chinese literature, what does one find?

#| depends on the literature, I'll wager

# Not quite. When you look through the actual  SEX-ALCHEMY TEXTS, 
# you get one idea; 

how many are there?  how many do we have to look through?  how many
 have survived through three or four dynasties of political change
 in China, and how many of these were in agreement as to this 
 'one idea' (symbolic association schema)?  these questions seem 
 important to ask when responding to your question above

# when you read what modern interpreters have to say about these
# texts, you may get conflicting stories.  

I suspect that through the course of Chinese history there is bound
 to be dissonance over the centuries of its existence, based
 predominantly on some small scanning of the diffusion of Buddhist
 ideas as they hit and pass through China, taking up residence and
 profoundly influencing the culture.  I could be in error regarding
 this, yet I have found variations which may warrant more than mere
 dismissal.  do you know who this Lu Kuan Yu is or whether his ideas
 are unique?  are there Buddhist alchemists?  there are Muslims, so
 why not Buddhists too (who may also be Chinese)?

# All that having been said, however, the Douglas Wile collection of
# Medieval and later Chinese sex-alchemy texts makes it clear that the
# Dragon in the East is the male and the Tiger in the West is the female. 

medieval and later?  are these central to the alchemical tradition?
 is it possible that there are varieties previous to these texts
 that vary from them in their character?

# Memorization of lists of god-names  and symbols of religious worship
# will only take one so far before the madness of frustration at human
# inconsistency sets in. There is no one "right" or "official" way to
# reconcile all variant historical documents. There is no master
# concordance to the sum of human knowledge, cultural experience,  and
# mystical theory. 

this was my point also, besides mistaken impression of popular symbolism
#|# A series of instructions for changing a basic, healthy, human
#|# physiological process. And what benefits are supposed to accrue
#|# to one? "Immortality."
#| good health, long life, happiness, good luck, advantage in
#| adversity, mystical powers, beneficial rebirth, beneficial
#| afterlife, never-ending life, total bliss, perfect presence,
#| scintillating meridians
#|# Sorry. I don't buy it. I have a strong suspicion that every ancient
#|# Chinese woman who managed (via malnutrition?) to achieve a 
#|# suppression of the menses died anyway. People just die, y'know? 
#|# Conserving semen or menstrual fluid is not gonna stop anyone from 
#|# dying.
#| never good to buy package from alien sources before seeing what's
#| inside.  but what if this sparkly carrot shields an important
#| bioactive or human experience? 

# Since, as you noted at the outset, many (most?) women feel most
# dynamic, and certainly most sexually powerful at the onset of
# menstruation, i challenge the notion that suppression of the menses,
# even if it can be accomplished in any "spiritual" manner short of
# inducing malnutrition or hormone derangement, will add to their power.

ascetic disciplines have been empowering people spiritually for years

# If the sparkly carrot of immortality shields an important bioactive or
# human experience exemplified in the suppression of menses, 

not exemplified by, but inspired by or caused directly by

# why then have women in all cultures OTHER than the ancient 
# foot-binding, women-hating Chinese 

oo, this borders on overgeneralization I think.  not all of them
 have believed in these things, nor are all of them women-hating
 (any more than a culture like Arabs are so for accepting their
 habitual modesty -- there are restrictions for men also, however
 comparably liberal these may be)
# considered failures of the menstrual cycle (barring pregnancy,
# lactation, and menopause) to be signs of illness, weakness, and 
# loss of normality? 

all other cultures?  I have no basis to dispute you, but I hope
 those who read here to where I have cross-posted this will at
 least review for extremity

# Are the Chinese right and everyone else wrong? 

extremes in cultures tend to be wrong, medically, I notice.
 there is a huge focus on the loss of semen (chi) within this
 same cultural milieu, though I'm unsure if there has been
 a spectrum of variation within the large and temporally very
 old culture we like to call 'Chinese'

# Are the Chinese even CONSISTENT in this belief? 

I doubt that any culture is very consistent about its beliefs,
 especially over a period of millenia :)

# Mantak Chia, an author whom Douglas Wile feels had absorbed only a few
# of the ancient texts (perhaps only one of them, which he cites by name)
# and then improvised upon his meager knowledge with what i call "the
# voice of assumed authority," thus creating a false and misleading
# impression of the importance of menstruation suppression in Chinese sex
# alchemy.  For a startlingly negative review of Mantak Chia's
# scholarship  ("nearly every citation from Chinese history or primary
# sources reveals conspicuous factual errors") plus a gently worded
# opposition to Chia's advocacy of reverse ejaculation (whereby the semen
# is forced into the bladder) -- a practice NOT universally endorsed by
# ancient Chinese sex-alchemists, who considered such seed "corrupt" -- 
# see pages 63 - 65  in "Art of the Bedchamber." 

I've found Chia's texts unsatisfying, to say the least, though I
 gather that some gain greatly from them.  I recommend against
 the semen-retention exercises I have heard that he suggests based
 mainly on physical side-effects which may develop in association

# Can't human beings experience sacred sex, the perception of
# the divine through sexual intercourse, without creating all these
# foolish impediments to achieving ecstasy? 

most of these texts probably weren't written from within the state
 of consciousness that I'd call 'achieving ecstasy'.  but they may
 have been reflections on it.  challenges can be important to the
 self-release we may enable ourselves to allow and experience

# Must we always find SOMETHING wrong with our bodies and our minds? 

taoism as a philosophic foundation is predominantly body-positive;
 my understanding is that taoist alchemists do not consider any
 part of the mind or body to be 'wrong', but that certain states
 and conditions and processes or means to achieve them may require
 certain targets and/or avoidances.  over time these tend to rigidify
 within social systems and I consider ALL absolutes to be worthy of 

# Why do sex-mystics continually disrespect our best moments and 
# complain of things like too much blood, too much semen. the 
# "impurity" of marriage, the "wastage" of semen during 
# masturbation and of blood during menstruation and childbirth, 
# the wrong diet, the "impure" thoughts, the improper 
# pronunciation of the names of god -- even THE SEX ACT ITSELF?

sometimes taboos are installed atop important human experiences
 in order to lend them more charge, possibly the reference to
 the identification of sexuality as the prime means of liberation
 within the Kali Yuga

# Can't someone speak up for the beauty and holiness of THE WAY THINGS
# ALREADY ARE, if only we slow down and take them at full, deep value? 

this is the essence of immortality, the best admonitions of eclectic
 mystics like Osho and a variety of taoists modern and ancient

#| immortality may be mythical an implicative of attenuated 
#| experience.  my initial experimentation supports this thesis

# "Attenuated experience"? Please explain what you mean by that. 

you were the one that told me the meaning of 'attenuated'. :)
 extended, lengthened.  I would add to my previous description
 also the addition of depth, meaning and value, bliss, enjoyment

# Also, how have you experimented with immortality? 

with a few suggested methods of obtaining it, yes

# What did you do and what results did you achieve? 

I ingested what I understood to be the Pill of Immortality
 and experienced the attenuation of experience.  was this an
 anomaly?  test results inconclusive

#|# ...spiritual discipline that seeks to devalue or subvert normal
#|# mammalian body processes in search of a so-called "higher" good.
#| one interpretation.  the initiated avoid the pitfalls, grasp the
#| center of the dynamic and ride the tiger

# What do you mean by "the center of the dynamic" in this context? 

twixt modes of the dance, the area of erotic intensity

# If i were to construct my own way-out and wacky ideal of "spiritual
# discipline for menstruating women," i'd encourage them all to bleed
# at the same time of the moon, the whole world 'round. That'd be 
# very interesting. (Image of a bunch of New Age ladies meditating on 
# their moon cycles at sunset every Friday, hoping to synch 
# themselves up; praying to be synched up; sending mega-byte-tons 
# of multi-forwarded email to all the hundreds and thousands of their 
# near-friends, telling them what day we will all be expected to 
# start bleeding. Yaargh.) 

doing something with the blood would be one option, of course. say,
 offerings to some divinity, perhaps within a certain ritual context
 or at a specific time, or served within an array of dilectables

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