On Sacred Marriage and Human Renewal

 

Sacred marriage involves bringing into right relationship masculine-feminine and God-Goddess potentials which are present in all humans. These potentials emerge constantly from Source. Hence the process of sacred marriage is constantly unfolding through Creation. It unfolds uniquely, with awareness, in conscious human beings. This tends to happen initially within particular individuals and then to manifest in outer relationships, as our work of self-clarification draws appropriate partners to us.

The process is generally accelerated when such partnering occurs due to increased opportunities for shared mirroring and dialogue. This is the kind of interaction I have been engaged with in the time through which this book was written. It occurs to some extent in all relationships as partners get to know each other better, beyond the idealised projections of an early romantic phase. We invariably stumble over blind spots and points of arrestment which the other person helps us to discover and, all going well, surmount.

If we go with this process – availing of such opportunities to move beyond the spheres of conditioned limitation which we normally occupy – what may originally have been an outer marriage can become the vehicle for an inner one as well. All that is required is that partners feel appropriately matched and keep faith with this impression, responding to every challenge as an occasion of growth. No prescriptions are possible here: each person must act according to the impulse of her/his heart rather than the blandishments of social desirability, wealth, prospects, dependency needs etc.

The goal of an inner sacred marriage is to balance masculine and feminine aspects of wholeness in oneself. Its outer form assists partners to maintain this while also realising the bliss of Divine Play in their shared, lived experience. This process becomes sacred as partners work through issues which surface between them and clear old karmic backlogs. Karma refers generally to unresolved issues left over from previous lifetimes. It involves learning certain lessons which we can apply positively in fulfilling our purpose this time around, beyond a simple elimination of past residues.

Our karma comes from our soul history. It is largely reconstituted in our current lives via the impact of our parents and their conditioning influences vis-à-vis the place, time and cultural-economic circumstances of our birth. Our biographies recap core aspects of our soul history which are relevant to fulfilling the purpose of our current lives. As key agents of this process, our parents set us up with required attitudes, problems, habits, qualities and so on.

Our adult partners then evoke projections of all the un-cleared tendencies our parents have set us up with. If we defend these projections as truth in face of dissenting reflections, recycling of our karma will continue. If, however, the quality of reflection and response available is such that it enables me to identify my projections as such and withdraw them, I become clearer and clearer as more and more of my old patterns are released. Sacred marriage then acquires a potential for healing beyond recovery into wholeness.

There is a potential for sacred marriage in every relationship but repressive inertia tends to be more common. Sexuality is especially rife with unconscious repetitions and evasions. It is a primary arena in which karmic issues get replayed over and over, where we do the same things again and again till we get bored. Then we do them with other people till we get bored again and try doing them in inflated, fantasy-driven ways. Habituation always follows. Thus stronger measures are always required to prove we can still feel in a dysfunctionally ‘functional’ culture that suppresses the inner life of Heart and Feeling.

We act in such scenarios from an unwitting sense of limitation imposed by old wounds. This includes extreme sadomasochistic variations. Indeed, the greater our attachment to such practices, the more we become stuck in a split, contracted consciousness that denies its woundedness on one hand while acting constantly from it on another. Under such circumstances, we eroticise our wounds and/or bury them beneath restricted possibilities of feeling. Both options diminish our response-ability.

Sacred marriage permits reversal of these tendencies. Specifically, as I work through old wounds that have come to me via my male and female (father-mother) lines, I reconnect with Divine Father and Divine Mother archetypes in myself. This allows me to access God/dess potential in me and in my partner. The same is true for her/him since reflection happens both ways. Man comes to acknowledge the Goddess in woman and she the God in him. This leads to a process known as adoration of the beloved and an active honouring of God/dess in sacred sex via every conscious touch and body gesture.

I am not speaking here of romantic idolatry. There is a spiritual substance to sacred marriage which goes beyond necessary waves of psychological clearing. Outer sacred marriage permits physical realisation of God in the male and Goddess in the female. It draws these polarities into right relationship within and between partners, enabling both to realise Godhood in her/his appropriate way. (This can happen for same sex couples also, but my focus now is on archetypal fe/male bonding.) Sacred sex is an integral expression of and vehicle for this process.

 It fosters a mode of erotic devotion that repairs the sundering of God-Goddess energies in human consciousness. It also facilitates experiential recovery of the blissful play of Creator Consciousness as our mysteriously inherent male and female poles begin to move again in sacred unison, making One of two and revealing Unity in multiplicity. This happens everywhere in the process of Creation but humanity has lost awareness of it due to events symbolised by the archetypal rape of the priestess in my Campfire dream.

The over-riding purpose of sacred marriage is to bring male and female aspects of Godhood into right, creative relationship in our lives. We become spiritual adults as this happens, capable of re-parenting our wounded inner child. Indeed, as we realise the ongoing, progressive marriage of ‘Father-Mother God’ in ourselves, a ‘Divine Child’ of new consciousness is forever reborn through us into existence. We become ever clearer expressions of Living Mystery as this happens. Boredom is not an option in sacred marriage, nor in the ‘flowery combat’ of erotic play which marks it.

Every woman plays the role of Creatrix-Goddess in this exchange, and every man the role of Creator-God. Such ‘play’ has nothing to do with an arbitrary redeployment of ego energies in stilted roles. On the contrary, we must become wholly emptied of our ‘selves’ – our stories, wounds, agendas etc. – in order that God/dess energies can enter and be expressed. We must surrender ourselves completely, giving up every structure we cling to in order to make way so that the bliss of Creator Consciousness can be realised in and broadcast through us out to all existence.

The male partner initiates this process, stimulating response in the female, leading her into ecstatic celebration of her role as Divine Lover and channel of pure Goddess power. She receives the impulse of his will; contains, nourishes and encompasses it, building it towards full expression as an orgasmic surge that comes crashing through her, endlessly amplified, feeding both partners on every level (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) before pulsing out to renew all Life and all Creation.

This is a physical analogue of the relationship between Divine Father and Divine Mother archetypes. As with pregnancy, penetration by the male – duly heralded and received – is a preliminary event. His advent brings news of difference – treasures from the edge of existence, borne on a maverick wind – into the Goddess’ Womb at the Heart of Being. Her response, tumultuous and ecstatic, blasts out  seminal tidings that seed new stars and lend form to unknown worlds, directly continuing the process named in our scientific mythology as ‘the Big Bang’, whose distant echoes reverberate still as Passion in our loins.

This is a power that Priestess relinquishes following her violation in ‘Campfire’. It has become virtually lost to human awareness in consequence of her choice. The Goddess cannot be forced. Blame is not an issue at this stage, only the prospect of restoration and whatever must be done to achieve it. The awareness of Cassie helped me to retrieve a sense of integral vision in this respect, after my department store dream. I am working from it now in my own attempts at recollection.

A first requirement, obviously, is that the dissociated phallus – torn from a matrix of right relationship with Goddess and thus moved to engage in the forced activity of rape – must be brought again into right relationship. This explains the significance of my mythical dream-journey back to Source, which ends with absolute surrender to Mother-Goddess by the ocean. I let myself be remade there according to Divine Will, embracing vulnerability and totally relinquishing ego agendas. This realigns my personal will with Divine Will and restores my male creative striving to an awareness of Universal Creation.

We have also noted, from a woman’s perspective, C’s complementary journey to make peace with her Father ‘God’ and the world of unbalanced father-rule we know as patriarchy. This brought her also to a threshold of new depths, visions, terrors and rememberings. It required her to integrate memories of exploitation, neglect and abuse before opening beyond them. This warranted new trust. It is not just men who must surrender if an order of correct relationship is to be restored between the sexes.

And yet the archetypal wound of existence is carried by male individuating consciousness as it pushes to new edges, always tending to relinquish Centre as it goes. The healing of this is to bring the phallus – as symbolic of male creative-generative power – back into right relationship with the Mother/Goddess at Source, the Centre of all centres. Within the high awareness of a sacred marriage, this constant return of the phallus is celebrated by a process of conscious loving. It requires that the woman, as a living embodiment of Goddess power/sensibility, must also open completely in an attitude of total surrender beyond misgivings induced by memories of her archetypal wound.

The essence of this wound is evoked by the rape of the priestess, as C’s response to my account made very clear. The core issue, dramatised in my dream, is that individuating consciousness – which is a male/masculine quality – pushes so far away from Centre that it forgets what it is to be centred in relationship. It becomes de-centred and alienated as a result. Thus it behaves exploitatively, even rapaciously. It tries to win by force what it no longer believes will come about as natural blessing. Every act of forcing consolidates its status as alienated and out of (right) relationship. This process escalates until we come to feel hopelessly lost.

The male falls out of balance with the female and the masculine with the feminine. Our actions betray no sense of right relationship to the Mother. The world of unbalanced father-rule gets deeper and deeper into trouble until a point is reached where we just have to attend to the promptings of our souls, our Dreaming. Attending thus we find that alienation has contaminated all our relationships; that the wounds of mothers and fathers are passed on to daughters and sons. We understand how individuating consciousness forgets itself to become separation consciousness and yet remains haunted by memories of all that it feels separated from, especially love of the Mother.

Let me reframe this mythologically: Man is born of Mother-Goddess through the body of one woman and seeks to be re-united with Her through the body of all others. This has nothing to do with incest unless early fixation on the figure of the actual mother remains un-transcended. There will inevitably be limiting psychological imprints until clearance has been achieved in this respect, for women as well as men.

Men are unable to relate to the Goddess in women as long as they remain bound by negative imprints of their actual mother. Women cannot know themselves as embodiments of the Goddess as long as they too are so afflicted. Likewise, men can’t experience themselves as Creator-Gods while the wounds of their personal fathers are alive in them; correlatively, women can’t risk opening to the God in every man as long as they also carry imprints of male wounding.

Freud’s account of this process was too literal. Man seeks to re-unite with the archetypal power of Mother-Goddess, not the body of his personal mother. Having no clear sense of this, however, and shaped by an actual mother whose wounds prevented her from filling him with unconditional love, he doubts his worthiness and seeks to control the female rather than risk becoming helpless before her again. This is the condition from which a mentality of rape is born. Women respond to it as to Priestess responds to the Fire Twins, by closing down. They lose awareness of miraculous Goddess powers they carry and forget that they are, every one, a Holy Grail, centres of creativity and birthing. Men forget this too. Like women, we are reduced to producers and consumers of distraction in a world governed by unnecessary lack.

            Holding Centre does not mean being stuck at home. ‘Centre’ is a qualitative state, not a mystified physical location. Women are on the whole specialised to maintain relationships and men to break them (by pushing to new edges and introducing new elements, when we remember to come Home). Transformation is a desired balance that comes of integrating these tendencies. Our situation is complicated because many women have adopted male norms, which they accept or try to emulate. Also, even archetypes can change. Now is a time of emerging human mysteries, in which men and women are asked to integrate contra-sexual potentials, thereby eclipsing millennia of gender polarisation. Sacred marriage produces integral human beings, transcendent of biological sex.

It is a characteristic of the Human Mysteries that all of us, male and female, harbour freedom to journey to the edge and return to Centre, there to find our Love and know it for the first time, by virtue of apparently having strayed. This is the nature of the adventure of existence in relation to the Miracle of Being. It is by virtue of inner (sacred) marriage that we come to know this. Outer marriage brings this potential to life in the public world of politics and history. Finding our Love, we cease from struggle and are freed to wonder anew what we are for.

A conscious healing process is needed to reverse our current alienation. This will take time and needs to be shared across sexes at least part of the way. Sacred marriage is a crucible in which relevant issues can be raised and resolved as part of a broader process of collective healing. It takes courage and great resolution to adopt this course at first but in the end it is much easier and more beautiful to follow it than not. Its implications for human renewal are far-reaching since it re-introduces us – men and women alike – to the true nature, context and scope of our creativity. Also, it is mandated by our dreams.

This is crucial since modern culture has become so lost that it doesn’t know what to do, beyond adhering further to established destructive practices of short-term survival. It has no sense of our true potential as human beings and no knowledge of how to awaken or promote this. Despite such large-scale forgetting, the answers are literally to hand. They flow through us on the river of our dreaming as we sleep. Our daytime ego-consciousness, manufactured by an alienated culture, has only to pay heed. We each have a rich soul life waiting to guide us on our way. Our dreams convey its wisdom nightly. We dream in vain, however, until we see the need to realise our dreams.

Our Dreaming teaches that bringing male and female, masculine and feminine poles into balanced relationship is prerequisite for human well-being, personal and collective. Thus our dreams, expressing the wisdom of our souls, urge us again and again to realise this potential. Our souls connect us into All That Is, visible and invisible. We attend to them by tending to our dreams. Living our dreams, we become part of a flowing, harmonious whole in which the orders of Cosmos, community and soul dovetail exquisitely.

                                                  Afterword

Both the Father-Mother dreams mentioned above, C’s and mine, end with us standing on a threshold. This is how things must always seem to hero/ines. However many horizons we clear, there are always others calling us to go farther. This too is in the nature of the adventure of existence with respect to the miracle of Being. The Ocean of Possibility is forever behind, beyond and transcendent of our efforts to embrace it.

I leave you with two final dream reflections which illustrate this point from female and male points of view, respectively. These dreams came to C and me on the same morning, a few days after our enactment of her John-the-Father dream. They don’t signal the end of anything but rather a new stage in our marrying of complementary intentions. I will share C’s dream with you first:

I have been given an award of some kind. Later there is a ceremony in which I am given a gold apron. John is there also and gets one too.

 

Dreams don’t congratulate but sometimes they have to recognise accomplishment. C’s soul does so in this dream. The ceremony clarifies the nature of this accomplishment and its recognition. Following her ‘father’ transformation, I figure as an image of her current inner male.

Our gold aprons are small and worn over the genitals. They signify a kind of genital alchemy which transmutes the base red (chakra) of sexual passion into the gold of spiritual healing and creation. The symbolism also plays on the fig leaves with which Eve and Adam – our ‘first parents’ – sought to hide their (sexual) shame. There is no place for shame in sacred marriage, only glory. C’s dream sets her on the way to this wedding.

Her award involves no outer journeying. As a Woman of Spirit she always tends the Centre in her Heart, even though illusion has sometimes obscured this essence. My masculine edginess lacks this simplicity but returns always, by aspiration, to it. Here is my dream of the same hour:

 

We’re on a bus in Malta, travelling to an ancient Goddess site. The bus reverses along a narrow shelf that’s lapped by brilliantly clear water. We alight barefoot beside a huge rocky mound. We wait until a stream of tourists has passed through before stepping over a threshold and making our way to a cave-like space in the heart of the rock. I now carry two swords in my extended arms. One is Eastern and curved, the other Western and straight. I kneel in the centre of the cave before a primal stone Mother-Goddess. I lay my swords before her, at the base of a stone pedestal on which she rests.

 

There is little to say about this classic male journey of return except to note that my inner woman now accompanies me as I reverse my outward trajectory back to a Sacred Centre where the Primal Mother gives birth to all form. I/we walk barefoot on Holy Ground. My swords represent the dualistic tendencies of masculine individuating consciousness (East-West, Saracen-Crusader, Cain-Abel).

‘Malta’, in addition to being the site for an ancient Goddess sanctuary and witness to many East-West confrontations, is actually in me. Returning to this Universal Source, I am reminded that All is One and surrender my illusions back to Maya, the Mother of Manifestation. I must return to this Point of Creation again and again, as to the generative Womb of Goddess in my Heart.

Enacting, it transpires that C kneels by my side.

I draw a single Sword of Light out of the stone.

We look upon the Mother and are blessed.

 

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