What has been called a Descent into the Underworld is best defined as the seeking of wisdom and growth through a deep inner quest. Many of those who have managed to (grudgingly) adapt themselves to our patriarchal society (and those who have been unable or refused to adapt), have repudiated their inherent feminine instincts and energy patterns, even as the culture has maimed most of the rest. What is needed is a return to and the redemption of what the patriarchy has seen only as a dangerous threat. The process requires both a sacrifice of our identity as spiritual daughters and sons of the patriarchy, and a descent into the spirit of the goddess.
The Biblical story of the Dance of the Seven Veils is, not surprisingly, a bastardization of the concept. What was and is in all respects a non-sexual dance, was treated as such, and once again the stupidity of a male’s arrogance was ignored, while the blame was placed on a female and her feminine, bewitching, and irresistible wiles. The fact that Adam could have refused Eve’s offering, so also could any king worthy of the name (other than perhaps Bill Clinton) have also refused a female’s attempt at sexual manipulation.
Instead, it needs to be recognized that the shedding of seven veils, even those strategically placed, is not a strip tease, but rather a letting go of outdated baggage. To find sexual stimulation is to admit to being so sexually deprived and/or prudish as to find the nude body of a marble classic sculpture unaccountably arousing. Get over it.
The more relevant “dance” is seeing through the veils and the illusions that separate us from knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. The dropping of the veils one at a time is merely a device in which we can focus on different aspects of the overall illusions and weird Paradigms, of which we would otherwise be blissfully ignorant.
This is especially important in terms of our world and society quite possibly making its own descent into Hades -- a scenario mentioned in the Descent into the Underworld essay. Apparently, for whatever aim or purpose we may as a collective have unwittingly leaped, we seem to be barreling down a road with some fascinating speed bumps and other “traffic calming devices”. Thus a “dance” with mundane applications is particularly relevant. And in that category, Tom Robbins has done a notable service.
A significant portion of any Descent is the shedding of illusions. This is described rather brilliantly by Tom Robbins in his book, Skinny Legs and All [Bantam Books, New York, 1990], specifically in what he calls The Dance of the Seven Veils. The illusion-destroying reality that Robbins describes in his version of the seven-veils-falling are:
The Earth is a sexual globe
“In a solar system of dead rocks, snowballs, and gasbags, Earth was a theater, a rotating stage upon which a thin green scum of organic life acted out countless, continual scenes whose content, whether explicit or oblique, was almost wholly sexual.” “The colors, the smells, and the sounds of organic things had evolved as sexual attractants, created to keep the trillion romantic plots moving toward a trillion, more-or-less happy endings.”
The sexual drama was largely -- historically -- directed by the female! The male patriarchy is an attempt to compensate for an otherwise inferior sexual role. The Great Goddess (the natural) was labeled “promiscuous” and “pornographic”, when in reality such sexuality was a ritual act of the most profound spirituality.
Diseases such as syphilis and AIDS are caused not by sexual license but by the fear of sexual license, by the conservative DNA’s inability to adjust to hedonism, compounded by guilt over the suppression of the Great Mother and her sensuality. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t do either, claim it’s immoral.
Human beings do not have dominion over the plants and animals. (Nor over women)
Plants and animals -- perhaps even minerals and “inanimate” objects -- are in partnership with humans. Humanity is a function of nature. It can not, therefore, live separately from nature except in a self-deceiving masquerade. It is futile to work for political solutions -- the primary problems are philosophical.
Ethical, political activism is seductive because it seems to offer the possibility that one can improve society, make things better, without going through the personal ordeal of rearranging one’s perceptions and transforming one’s self! Not a chance!
There is a propensity of the primate band to take its political leaders -- its dominant males -- altogether too seriously. Dominant males (or political bosses) are almost wholly self-serving and naturally dedicated not to liberation, but to control.
As long as there are willing followers, there will be exploitive leaders. And there will be willing followers until humanity realizes that its great mission in life has nothing to do with struggles between classes, races, nations, or ideologies, but rather has the personal quest to enlarge the soul, liberate the spirit and lighten up! In other words, if you don’t like the political situation (like who in their right mind would!), perhaps one would be better served by working on themselves, prior to screaming bloody murder at the ABC’s of an evil axis (e.g., Ashcroft, Bush, and Cheney).
Religion is an improper response to the Divine
Religion has always been an attempt to pin down the Divine. But the Divine is eternally in flux, forever moving, always shifting shape. Its nature is absolute, as in absolutely mobile. The Divine is expansive; while religion is reductive. Since religion bore false witness to the Divine, religion is blasphemy. Once it entered into its unholy alliance with politics, it became the most dangerous and repressive force that the world has ever known.
“Insufficient funds” is an illusion
During periods of so-called economic depression, for example, societies suffered from want of all manner of essential goods, yet investigation almost invariably disclosed that there were plenty of goods available. It’s not now and wasn’t then a collection of Zero-Sum Games, after all. There is plenty of everything for everyone. Just lousy distribution.
Security is a form of paralysis, just as satisfaction is a form of death.
The past was a recent invention, people sacrificed the present to a future that never really came, and that those who tied all their dreams to an afterlife had no life for there to be an “after” of. Retirees in Florida keep asking themselves why in the world they destroyed their health, working night and day, and all for... fun and sun in the land of the Chad? Time is a meadow, not a highway. Belief in the hereafter is hazardous to your health. Every single day of your life is Judgment Day!
EVERYBODY'S GOT TO FIGURE IT OUT FOR THEMSELVES!
The illusion of the seventh veil was that you could get somebody else to do it for you. To think for you. To hang on your cross. The priest, rabbi, the imam, the swami, the philosophical novelist were, at best, traffic cops. They might direct you through a busy intersection, but they’re not about to follow you home and park your car.
Even though the mind of humanity is ultimately one mind, still, each and every single individual has to establish his or her own special, personal, particular, unique, direct, one-on-one, hands-on relationship with reality, with the universe, and with the Divine. It might be complicated, it might be a pain in ass, it might be, most of all, lonely, but that was the bottom line.
And finally... We're making it all up. [I.e., Creating Reality!]
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