Monday, July 21, 2008

Thoughts On Duotheism

So, back when I was in the fifth and final semester of training for The Third Road, I somehow got into my mind that I should write an ancient holy book. And so I told a couple of my oldest and dearest friends that I was doing so, and asked them what they'd like to see included. They both happen to be gay, and so one said "gay marriage". It was 1997 and I was reading The Witches Bible by the Farrars as I rode across the Bay on a ferry at dawn because BART was on strike.

The Third Road is an off-shoot of Feri Tradition, and so duotheism does not play as central of a role as it does in Wicca. In Anderson's Feri Creation Myth (a version of which can be found in Spiral Dance) the Great White Goddess splits of into two other Goddesses and then three other Gods, one of which (Dian Y Glas) becomes Her Consort and partner.

The question I had to address as I worked on The Book of Nub was how could placing a heterosexual couple at the center of everything not be biased against non-monogamous, non-heterosexuals? I came up with several possibilities and used at least three in the piece.

First, there was this idea of transformation that is already inherent in the Feri Creation Myth. Perhaps, the sexuality of the Gods is fluid. Affirming that viewpoint would allow the pair of Gods to be at the center of everything, and, thus, their relationship could be the mythological basis supporting all homosexual and heterosexual pairings. But, then, why only two? I could imagine the Gods splitting and interacting in ways that support all healthy human interactions. But, then, why human? Was I really going to have to tell a story that would cover the thousands of mating types of some fungal sexuality? Going down this path was getting messy. I intuited that the myth was losing power.

So how about putting Goddess and God back at the center of everything, and argue that even if gays and lesbians could not relate to their relationship, they could at least acknowledge that they were the children of one man and one woman? Bleh. I want my passion for my lover and not the passion of my parents to be reflected in the passion of my Gods for each other. However worthy my parents' passion is for each other, it's not my passion. How could I accept less for homosexual brothers and sisters?

Why did I find the sexual passion of the Gods for each other as so affirming of our existence? Why did I find it so powerful? The Wiccans use the term "polarity" to describe the forces that drive the universe. The attraction of oppositely charged particles and, indeed, all physical forces are seen to be mythologically connected to the sexual attraction between Goddess and God. There is a huge, powerful idea in there that I wanted in my book.

The one thing that every healthy sexual encounter has, no matter what its stripe, is that it is one being reaching toward another. The thing that I found most powerful in Wiccan duotheism is that idea that this raw connection between my self and an other in sexual intimacy reflects and encapsulates the similar intimacy the greater Powers that drive the All That Is. Every human could certainly relate to their self interacting with an other (or others) in that dance of sexual attraction. Thus, the first pervading version of duotheism in The Book of Nub is that between Self and Other. We are Selves striving for that intimate connection to the Goddess as Other, and She reciprocates and epitomizes and fulfills that attraction in Her relationship to God and to the Universe.

But what is the best way to express how God and Goddess are intimately interconnected? Francesca (my teacher) saw the Goddess as the darkness between the stars and the God as "...the light that emerges from the darkness to fructify it." That is, They are a mutually arising pair of opposites. I thought about Mother Earth and Father Time, and thought that another way to think of Them is as space and time, providing the ground for everything to be and become. And so this second approach to duotheism that I incorporated into The Book of Nub.

But, still, even though I spent an entire chapter showing how the God and Goddess' relationship affirms all committed human relationships, I did not feel that this fully affirmed good gay sex. And so I brought in some lesser Gods and Goddesses to show how purely gay and lesbian relationships might drive our world as well. Thus, Nub 8: 10-12 reads "The beautiful Goddess of Shore lies naked before Her lover Goddess Ocean. The romance of the Full Moon excites Them, and the Ocean licks deep the sacred hollows of Shore. In wave after wave of delight They come together, and the roar of Their Passion never ceases." (As a typical heterosexual male, I must say I find those lines hot, if I do say so myself. Oh, why must we fetishize the lesbians?)

And so to summarize my duotheistic ontology, I believe that the center motive that drives our Universe is that reaching out between Self and Other. The Goddess brings others into being that She and we might experience that longing, that lust and that love. The Goddess and the God are the exemplars of that Passion which drives the All That Is, and, indeed, it is within Them as space and Time that we have our being. Between us and Them are myriads of being including other powerful Gods and Goddess whose lust for each other drives particular systems within this Universe as well.

After all this material was worked out and written down, Francesca coincidentally afforded my fellow students and I the chance to do a small ritual with Fred Lamond who was one of Gardner's initiates. He's a lovely, lovely gentleman, and after the ritual we got a-talking about Wicca and thealogy, as one might hope. I read for him Nub 4: 1-2:
The Goddess delights in Darkness as well as Light, in silence as well as sound, in the transformation of death as well as the growth in life. The Goddess darkens like the Moon. She is the silence of mystery. She enfolds you soft within Her arms at every transition of Life to Death and Death to Life. For all meaning is rooted in contrast, and She is the Mother of Wisdom.

She is the trellis upon which the vines of being grow. Everything is rooted in the same material and clings to the same structure as it reaches toward the Light of its Godhood. Her manna is your uniqueness discovered in your isolation from the Other. Her nectar is the oneness you find in your connection to, immersion in and embracing of the Other. You eat and are, in turn, consumed, "for all things feed one another."

Truly, there is but one polarity: that between Self and Other, and any other duality is merely a lesson about that polarity. Love and Hate, Man and Woman, Light and Darkness, positive and negative electric charges are merely signposts on the path to Godhood. When you claim your Self, you claim the Universe.

We then talked about polarity in Wiccan terms, and he politely disagreed with my ontology. Theirs was a fertility religion, he said. It's a sexual energy between a Goddess and God which drives everything. And so I do not think that I could convince any Wiccan that my vision is correct. Nevertheless, it was an extreme honor to get to talk to him about the topic.