“Religion becomes queer when it breaks up the desiring self, when it refuses to confess an identity, when it refuses to say who we are, and acknowledges a plural self with polymorphous desires. To queer religion is to queer the foundations of theology, its monotheism, its monosexuality and its monopoly of truth”.
Jeremy R Carette, Michael Foucault and Theology: The Politics of Religious Experience
Not long after my post on queering deity I received an email inviting me to participate in a “Queer Pagan Mysteries” workshop (that’s “participate” with a price tag, of course). My answer was that I wasn’t sure what constituted “Queer Pagan Mysteries” but that I’d be interested in finding out what was being referred to here. Continue reading »
How do we approach the sex lives of our forebears? In much of contemporary esoteric literature, there’s a tendency to assume that the identity categories we are so familiar with nowadays are universal and can be applied unreflexively to premodern cultures in Europe and beyond. Indeed, there is a trend towards looking for evidence for the existence of those same sexual identities in the past, in order to legitimise them – and to argue that “the ancients” for example, were really, just like us. There has been a considerable amount of scholarship contesting such assumptions of course, but its not always accessible to a non-academic reader. Sex before sexuality: A Premodern History (Polity Press, 2011, 200pp, p/bk) provides a useful introduction to contemporary theories on the interpretation of attitudes to sex in the premodern period. Continue reading »
Having discussed the “discovery” and publication of the Kamasutra, I will now examine some aspects of its history and influence beyond the confines of Burton’s closed circle of gentleman erotophiles. For this post, I will discuss the some of changes in representation of the Kamasutra in the West throughout the twentieth century. Continue reading »
I was chatting to a friend recently about her deepening involvement with Vajrayana Buddhism and whether she should take the initiatory step of formerly taking refuge. Her dilemma was whether to “enter the stream” of the tradition or simply continue to benefit from the techniques being taught. For me this highlighted some questions that I’ve been musing on with regards the nature of what initiation is and how it may (or may not) be of benefit. Continue reading »