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Gender Symbolism, Religion and Magick

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.pagan,alt.pagan.magick,talk.religion
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: Gender Symbolism, Religion and Magick
Date: 12 Sep 1997 13:22:01 -0700

~From: Nexist {DAR} 

Tim Maroney wrote:

> >In other words, by this definition woman is not a creative 
> >individual since she per definition can not be Yod, but is Hi. In
> >Thelema, Binah is the essential female symbol.

> When the upshot is that "woman is not a creative individual" the real
> motivation of the writer becomes apparent, and frankly I am appalled
> to see such a sexist statement coming from a brother in the O.T.O. and
> appearing in an official publication thereof. The attachment of male
> and female polarities to certain Platonic symbols does not imply a
> gender stereotyping of actual living people. 

I believe that this was the point, that confusion of the planes leads to
sexism.  Personnaly, this is why I avoid using the terms
Masculine/Feminine when I really mean Positive/Negative or

Now, I have noticed that Crowley seemed to swap the Genders of the
elements of Air and Earth, thus creating Projective Male (Fire-Hadit),
Receptive Female (Water-Babalon), Projective Female (Air-Nuit) and
Receptive Male (Earth-Therion).  At least that is what I get from the
Star Ruby and Liber V vel Reguli (which is to align us with the currents
of the Aeon).  This puts an interesting slant on the Consecration of the
elements (such as what is the "salt of the earth" and how the blessings
occur thru a union of lingam and yoni.

I have only begun investigating this line of reasoning, but it seems to
resonate well with me.

93 93/93 "Love is the law; love under will."
Thee Everluvin' Nexist ov Xaos Breach (DARist) 

93rd Path
Temple of the East
Channel 93 Webring

~From: one star in sight 


On Mon, 25 Aug 1997, Renee Rosen wrote:
> >By saying that no PHYSICALY INCARNATED WOMAN can be a saint because the
> >MAGICKALLY DISCARNATE IDEA OF A WOMAN is "not creative" is saying that no
> >woman who is incarnated is creative. He makes exactly the same interesting
> >leap as Crowley does, he mixes the "idea of a woman" with the physical
> >woman. It would have been far better if we kept to "positive" and "negative"
> >and not "masculine" and "feminine" when we discuss such things as the tree
> >of life. 
> The above statments bring me to one of my "pet peeves" about gender
> essentialism/idealism: if certain characteristics are
> "essentially/magickally masculine" and certain characteristics are
> "essentially/magickally feminine," what makes these characteristics the
> gender which they are associated with? I just don't get it--especially when
> most occultists state right after listing such characteristics that all
> people, both male and female, have a combination of said characteristics.
> It would seem to me then that it would make more sense just to call them
> *human* characteristics, since both genders have a combo of both
> characteristics.

Even though all humans appear to possess a combination of feminine and
masculine characteristics I think it is a mistake to move to the position
that all humans are therefore a homogenous sexual flatland.  I don't
believe it is sexist to admit that men and women are different. 

> This isn't just an aspect of occultism--it exists in the general culture as
> well. Look at the whole industry surrounding _Men are from Mars, Women are
> from Venus_. Of course, my answer to that is to say I'm from Ishtar;>

Things have changed in the last few decades now that women can choose more
easily to avoid the responsibilities of child birth/rearing. Also people
have developed means to provide food using skills that no longer favor the
male gender. This doesn't mean that thousands of years of evolution can be
or should be wiped away.  This also doesn't mean that men and women are of
different essential value.  It does mean that historically they were more
successful within certain logical divisions of the life/labor pie drawn to
emphasise thier inherant gifts. 

> >And GCLO ends by stating that we should just keep on the tradition given to
> >us by Crowley. None of us should try to change it, just keep it going. (Not
> >to imply anything, but Crowley changed a good deal of traditions in his own
> >lifetime. You might notice all the drafts that Star Ruby went through. Is
> >GCLO here implying that no now living person can possibly know better than
> >Crowley, or is he just saying that things should be the way they are because
> >of the way they are?)
> Although I'm not known for my traditionalism (as anyone on jap-l can attest
> to--somehow a "traditional Jewish Pagan" is a bit of an oxymoron;), I can
> see the value of not wanting to change tradition in order to feel connected
> to a community, regardless of how many changes that tradition went through
> and no matter how recently said tradition started. Of course, that doesn't
> mean you can't change tradition at all, but it does mean that if one of the
> purposes of performing a traditional ritual is to connect to your
> community, then you would of course be cautious in changing it.

I notice that when I become lovers with someone that more often than not
there is someone who leads. It is a turn on to have her grab my wrist pull
it back and pin me against the wall making me vulnerable to her kiss.  I
can surrender, which causes a resonating surrender somewhere deep inside
that is more than 'just' me and her getting horny.

These 'roles' can change back and forth or sometimes they are fixed in a
relationship moreso than in another depending on individual sexual points
of view/preferences.  

OK, I will finally around to making my point now:  There is an inherant
eroticism in this give and take between mastery and surrender which
mirrors the interior process between lower and higher self, micro and
macrocosm, etc.  etc.  The eroticising of the Universe is more real, more
sexy, more successful if some kind of polarity is emphasised.  Maybe even
exagerated when it has to be symbolic as in dramatic ritual like the
Gnostic Mass.
> OTOH, I don't think that was the point being made in this article. It
> sounded just like the usual rationalizations for sexism that occultists as
> well as "mundanes" are wont to make. Personally, I'd just prefer it if
> people would just admit they're sexist instead of trying to rationalize it,
> but I realize that part of that rationalization is to avoid facing the
> issue themselves.

I hope you know I'm not saying that men always should be dominant/active
or females submissive/passive.  I am saying that when creating symbolic
polarities it makes a certain sense to emphasise those characteristics in
order to reverberate a greater erotic tension in a ritual symbolic of the
union of opposites and the creation of new life. 


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~From: Renee Rosen 

At 10:18 AM 8/25/97 -0700, you wrote:
>Renee Rosen wrote:
> I still
>> want to know why one gender is considered passive and the other
>> active (regardless of which gender you map to which pole)--what makes
>> these characteristics one gender or the other?
>It can be explained through the genetalia, the Lingam projects and
>shoots forth (with regularity) whereas the Yoni receives the Lingam.

This, of course, ignores such other traditional "active" Yoni symbolism,
such as vaginal dentata or the "devouring mouth." What about the Yoni as
devoring and the Lingam as being enveloped or devouring? The parts stay the
same, the act stays the same, but the concepts of "active" and "passive"
are reversed. Also, if I remember correctly, even within trads such as
Tantra, the passive and active can very--AFIAK, in Hindu Tantra, the
feminine is active and in Buddhist Tantra, the masculine is active. (I'm
hardly well-versed in Tantra, so I may have this info wrong.)

This also brings up questions of which gender is active or passive if it's
a man receiving a woman (such as with a strap on--yes, I had to bring them
up *grin*). Or when it's a man and a man or a woman and a woman.

So what makes either of these genders "inherently" passive or active? It
looks like it depends on your perspective, in which case, neither is
inherently one or the other. It's still just a human characteristic, not a
gender specific one, except within the context of a
--'--,-{@  --,--'-{@  --'--,-{@
Renee Rosen                             "Transylvanian Concubine,                    You know what flows here like wine.
Goddess in Training                      Stay here with us, it's just time.
Astrud and Kitto on irc                  Transylvanian Concubine."                    --Rasputina
                                               @}-,--'--  @}-'--,--  @}-,--'--

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