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Posts tagged ‘bodies’

  1. Multiplicious Becomings: tantric theologies of the grotesque – II

    “There is something demoniacal or demonic in a line of flight. Demons are different from gods, because gods have fixed attributes, properties and functions, territories and codes: they have to do with rails, boundaries and surveys. What demons do is jump across intervals, and leap from one interval to another.”
    Gilles Deleuze, Clair Parnet Dialogues II p40

    “Busy in making themselves felt, the ganas were the comparitively infinitesmal quantities replete with the impulsion of his presence that swelled the host of the Great God. … The demonism and density of Siva’s entourage, which throbbed with the invisible and varied texture of feeling alive, was tinged with grotesque and lugubrious hues.”
    Stella Kramrisch, The Presence of Siva p395

    In the previous post, I examined Karraikal Aimmaiyar – “the woman who became a ghoul” and joined Siva’s ganas. This time, I’m going to take a closer look at Siva’s ganas – the hooligans of heaven. Continue reading »

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  2. Multiplicious Becomings: tantric theologies of the grotesque – I

    “It can be said that becoming-animal is an affair of sorcery because (1) it implies an initial relation of alliance with a demon; (2) the demon functions as the borderline of an animal pack, into which the human being passes or in which his or her becoming takes place, by contagion; (3) this becoming itself implies a second alliance, with another human group; (4) this new borderline between the two groups guides the contagion of animal and human being within the pack. There is an entire politics of becomings-animal, as well as a politics of sorcery, which is elaborated in assemblages that are neither those of the family, nor of religion nor the State. Instead, they express minoritarian groups, or groups that are oppressed, prohibited, in revolt, or always on the fringe of recognised institutions, groups all the more secret for being extrinsic, in other words, anomic.”
    Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia

    One of the major projects I am exploring here on enfolding is the sidling towards an (unnatural) alliance between Continental Philosophy, tantrisms, and queer theories. An obvious point of intersection between these three areas is the emphasis on multiplicities, metamorphosis, hybridity and the grotesque. Continue reading »

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  3. Occult gender regimes: Polarity and Thermodynamic bodies – I

    “Star and nerve-tissue are parts of the system-stellar and nervous forces are correlated. Nay more; sensation awakens thought and kindles emotion, so that this wondrous dynamic chain binds into living unity the realms of matter and mind through measureless amplitudes of space and time.”
    Edward Youmans, 1869, The Correlation and Conservation of Force

    This post will examine the arrival of thermodynamics in the nineteenth century and consider its wider cultural impact – in particular how it was used to reinforce gender regimes. Continue reading »

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  4. Sakti bodies – I

    “By you is everything supported, by you is the world created: by you is it protected, O Goddess, and you always consume (it) at the end (of time).
    At (its) emanation you have the form of creation; in (its) protection (you have) the form of steadiness; likewise at the end of the world (you have) the form of destruction. O you who consist of this world!
    You are the great knowledge (mahavidya), the great illusion (mahamaya), the great insight (mahamedha) the great memory and the great delusion, the great Goddess (Mahadevi), the great demoness (mahasuri).”
    Devimahatmya 1, 56-58

    Sakti is one of the most fundamental aspects of Tantra – and potentially, one of the most bewildering. Continue reading »

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  5. Metaphor, Metonymy & tantric interpretations – II

    It seems likely, for example, that advanced practitioners of yoga and other psychophysical practices would develop rather distinctive image schemata appropriate to their experiences and sadhana, transmitted by specific gurus and teaching lineages.
    Quoted from Glen A. Hayes in Whicher, Carpenter, p164 (2003)

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  6. Kula Bodies – III

    For this next installment of what’s turning out to be a fairly slow-moving series I’m going to briefly review some of the features of dividuality which have emerged out of ethnographic accounts of personhood in Melansia, with particular reference to the work of Marilyn Strathern and Edward LiPuma. Continue reading »

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  7. Occult gender regimes: Polarity and the spirited body – II

    In my last post in this series I examined the relationship between spiritualism and the rapid growth of communications technology in the nineteenth century. This time round, I’m going to focus on the notion of “female passivity” in terms of Spiritualism, and its relationship to wider cultural discourses of the period. Just as spiritualism took off at the same time as the rise of the telegraph, it also was contemporaneous with the growing tensions over women’s role and influence – the so-called “Woman Question”. Continue reading »

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  8. Occult gender regimes: Polarity and the spirited body – I

    In the early part of the nineteenth century, electricity was thought to be the force most likely to prove the existence of the elan vitale or life force of Naturalphilosophie. Schelling, at the turn of the century, for example, proposed that heat, light, magnetism and electricity were all byproducts of a single universal life force. The arising of electrical models allowed polarities to be discovered within organisms – and between discrete classes of persons. Thus maleness or masculinity was assigned to the positive pole, and femininity to the negative. The gendering of electricity and energy continued in the nineteenth century, particularly in respect to medical theories and the notion of “nervous energy”, and the rise in popularity of Spiritualism. Continue reading »

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  9. Kula Bodies – II: Dividuals?

    “…persons – single actors – are not thought in South Asia to be “individual,” that is, indivisible, bounded units, as they are in much of Western social and psychological theory as well as in common sense. Instead, it appears that persons are generally thought by South Asians to be “dividual” or divisible. To exist, dividual persons absorb heterogeneous material influences. They must also give out from themselves particles of their own coded substances – essences, residues, or other active influences – that may then reproduce in others something of the nature of the persons in whom they have originated.” McKim Marriott Hindu Transactions: Diversity without Dualism

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  10. Occult gender regimes: Polarity and the body electric

    “In taste, in learning, wit or science,
    Still kindred souls demand alliance:
    Each in the other joys to find
    The image answering to his mind.
    But sparks electric only strike
    On souls electrical alike;
    The flash of intellect expires,
    Unless it meet congenial fires.”
    Hannah More, The Bas Blue 1786

    For this series of posts on the theme of polarity discourse, I’m going to focus on representations of polarity which make an appeal to forces – to electricity, magnetism, etc. Continue reading »

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