Seven Dates: erotica transcending
because of the explicit content of the Seven Dates, only the introduction,
and the essay in the appendix: The Redemption of Eros, can be found here
on my website for obvious reasons
the book, with the erotica intact, is no longer available, while I reconsider
whether or not my artistic abilities can be up to the task of rendering the act of love properly
appendix: an brief essay on: the Redemption of Eros
The seven Tales (or Dates) in this little book are to be considered clearly x-rated. Some of the language will be seen by some to be pornographic, although the author hopes that when it is at its most earthy (coarse), it has been first woven into a context that was erotic. Many people could take offense at this, and should therefore not read this book or be encouraged to read this book. Earthy language is either disgusting or beautiful depending on the context and what is felt between the two people who use it. For practiced lovers to talk of fucking, for example, is something they are to be free to do, for it is only their private business.
To write erotically using such language is potentially art, and while I won't claim to be very good at it, I have not used such earthy language for any other purpose - that is only to give a realistic yet imaginative expression to what many people do with each other when they are engaged in making love.
Not everyone does use language in this very rough or plain way, nor is such use necessary in order for one to feel either love or to be erotic. At the same time it seemed that to falsely represent this basic, and all too human activity, in some kind of pretend pure romantic way as if people didn't do this, is a kind of lie. As someone seeking to write something truthful about the erotic and the sensual, the recourse to such raw language was not only necessary, but to avoid it might otherwise suggest that there is something shameful in this way of speaking and writing. Since I do not think this is either shameful or a sin, I have chosen to use language in this raw and earthly way, rather then falsify what people actually do, as if there was only one way to do be human that was better than all the rest.
That is, of course, another of the central questions in writing erotica. How do we describe these most intimate acts without using coarse language? Could it be done, and be true at the same time? However, in spite of the use of raw and perhaps pornographic language, the reader should understand that the main subject matter that this book seeks to illuminate is Love.
While there will be more details in the short essay at the end in the appendix, on The Redemption of Eros, in this brief introduction I will sketch out the structure and nature of the book itself, so that the reader can have a sense of where the journey is going. For example, it is the author's view that love has four prominent or dominant faces or aspects (it has other characteristics as well, but these are more subtle), that can be represented in the form of a Cross (the symbolic gesture here is intentional). These are, however, also a whole - that is the reader should not think that by dividing them I have meant in any way to suggest that these four faces or aspects can be separated one from the other. In any event here is the symbolic Cross:
selfless human love (agape)
nurturing love (storge) + comradeship (phileo*)
sensual and erotic love (eros)
*brotherly and sisterly love
While I have included the ancient Greek (terms), as seem related, it is not my intention to suggest that we moderns have to have the same ideas as did they. Some philosophers of love, for example, believe agape is divine love, and that this is something humans cannot do. I make no comment on that question, but simply put at the upper gesture of the Cross selfless human love, because to me at this time, the divine now lives in the human being - in the i-AM or ego, whatever the Greeks may have understood over 2500 years ago.
I also understand the limits that flow naturally from my being a man. At the same time the reader should understand that even though this is a work of fiction - of the imagination - I have drawn on my own experience to a certain extent, and the male in these Tales several times speaks with my voice (although not everything he does should be taken to be related to me). I have, also, in my life made a conscious effort to understand the fair sex, and like most men there are times where I am convinced that this is quite impossible. In such moods I give up the effort, and just treat the females of my acquaintance as an alien species that only appears to speak the same language as I do. All the same, I have tried, in representing the female character in these Tales, to as much as possible present my understanding of women in the best possible light, although this understanding is obviously incomplete .
I am, by nature and choice to some degree, a sensualist (I like, among other kinds of experience, living in the pleasurable sensations of my carnal body - food, sex etc.); and, I am also hopelessly romantic in the sense of loving women in general (let us call this the Don Juan syndrome - see the movie: Don Juan Demarco, staring Johnny Depp, Marlon Brando and Faye Dunaway, which is entirely worthwhile in its own right). The Divine Mystery gave to the male a great gift in creating the female, a bright, pointed, sharp and dangerous hundred-bladed gift to be sure, but a remarkable gift nonetheless.
The sequence of Tales (the Seven Dates) goes basically on a journey of descent into more and more carnality (but not I hope, anything one might call depravity), until as the midpoint is approached a kind of turn is begun, so that in the final Tales we are traveling upward toward higher levels of understanding. This is why the sub-title to the book is called: erotica transcending. Why this happens is explained in one way in the Tales, and in another way in the appendix.
I have also placed a high asking price for this particular book in my Book Store at lulu.com [http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=775446], far more than I normally do for my other books. I have done this to discourage the young and the superficially minded from buying it on any kind of thoughtless impulse. As well, because a part of what is written is drawn from experience, it is also can be interpreted (probably unjustly) as personally intimate and revealing. Those, who think they want to know such things about me then, are going to have to pay.
For those who believe they might learn from this book something that they want and need to learn, I suspect that most of these folks will seek out the book because someone has recommended it to them, in which case if you end up thinking you have overspent for what you received, you should perhaps take that up with whoever encouraged your purchase in the first place. The author makes no promises whatsoever, or, as the Romans apparently said: caveat emptor - let the buyer beware.
One final thought - to return to the theme of Love. The reader will see more of the Love that is the subject of these Tales in what has been written that surrounds the erotica (raw and otherwise), than is in the erotica itself. Remember, God is in the details, something my own experience proves over and again every day. The erotica is only one face of love, and the context unfolds the other faces of love to the best extent that I have been able to represent them. This little book is a whole, and the reader will gain the most from it by seeing it as a whole, without placing excessive emphasis on any single part.
I suspect, but can't be certain, that the best use of this book is not private and individual, but in circumstances where an already sexually active couple reads it to each other. This would be, not so much for the purposes of arousal (although that might certainly happen) but rather for the purposes of engendering discussion. The book is really meant to foster conversation on its themes, and to guide the couple reading the book into greater spiritual, soul and physical intimacy through their learning to talk to each other in as intimate a fashion about their love making as is the love making itself.
Too often, in my experience, lovers make love by instinct and habit, learning about each other by experiment and accident. This book hopes to foster a way to increase their intimacy by supporting the partners in deeper and more intimate conversation about matters that we seldom reflect upon consciously.
May I cordially wish you then, those who proceed further, a good, and erotically enjoyable, read.
The Redemption of Eros
- Seeking Comfort and Companionship
in a time of increasing Social Chaos -
In this essay, I will introduce and wander around certain subjects that may to some seem impossible, such as the role of the Divine Feminine in the mysteries of Eros. Many might find such an idea useless, and certain related "spiritual" ideas unbelievable. I can't help that. I see the world the way I see it. I tell the truth of the world as best I can. I use the language which I find to be most accurate, and if you read my other works (especially the Way of the Fool) you would find that I strive to be quite "scientific" in my "religion" and "religious" in my "science". When I accomplish this, I am in the expression of my understanding then left only with "art". In my soul, when the impulse to religion and the impulse to science combine, I find I can only express that combination through art.
So I write - that is I make words on a page and pictures for the mind of those readers who are willing to travel with me in the realm of thought in which I live. That is my art.
In writing this little book, I had first the intention to try my hand at erotica. I had read some, and found it wanting, and so desired to offer a personal alternative. Those who write fiction, however, know that once you get going, the story can seem to have a mind of its own, and so I just followed it where it led. I was often, pleasantly to be sure, surprised.
The two characters were intentionally not given names. I felt a name would diminish them somehow. When the male here speaks of having spent some time thinking about what he had learned over many years of life from all the women he had known, this was an actual experience to me. In 2003 I fasted for 45 days, and awoke one morning during that fast to a vision of all the women I had known, from my mother on, spread out in sequence like a magic deck of cards, where each image was alive and moved. Inspired by that vision I then began to think more carefully on the nature of love, all the different kinds of love I had been the beneficiary of, and which I had myself tried to realize in my own actions.
It was actually a woman, Dorris (Grannie D.) Haddoch, who started me on this path in about 1999. I had gone, in the company of a friend of mine, to visit her in New Hampshire where she lived. We were there to discuss politics, which we did, and also enjoyed Grannie D. homemade oatmeal cookies and tea. Oddly, right in the middle of the conversation and completely out of context, she turned to me, laid a tiny graceful hand on my arm and told me that men had something special to say about love, and that perhaps it was time it was said. Those who know her know that she is often touched from above with a remarkable Spirit presence and truly is one of America's wise elders.
As a result, she was also one of several individuals that were an inspiring cause of my book the Way of the Fool: the conscious development of our human character, and the future of Christianity - both to be born out of the natural union of Faith and Gnosis. Many of the fundamental insights for that book were also born in that same 45 day fast, although much work followed after, for it all had to be carefully thought out, with as much craft and art as I could provide.
It was during the writing of that book, that I was led to reading the Unvarnished Gospels by Andy Gaus, a translation from the original Greek without the political spin-like meanings added by the various needs of different sects and creeds to make the Gospels support their divergent and inconsistent views.
In that book I came to learn that the word sin does not exist in the Gospels in the original Greek. I had instinctively thought something like this had to be true, for Christ did not seem that judgmental, and it was nice to realize that the Gospel writers did not think so either. The Greek word most often translated as sin is hamartia, which is a term from archery and means missing the mark.
This is how I think we need to view our sexuality, not as sin, but as occasionally missing the mark. We are human and flawed and often as a consequence just don't get it. Of course the problem is deeper, and perhaps here at the end of this book we can approach a little of that depth that wasn't appropriate in the Tales of the Dates.
I also do research into human social life, which is a main part of my book the Way of the Fool (my business card reads: "social philosopher...and occasional fool"*). It has been clear to me for decades (and I am certainly not the first to observe this) that Western Civilization is not only in decline, it is dying. Moreover, if we learn to think of this transformation in a living way, it can be more aptly thought of as a process of metamorphosis. The excesses of paternalism in Western Civilization, supported by the social dominance made possible by the use of the term sin, for example (just notice how frequently the new Pope and his aides, as well as many protestant ministers, make pronouncements on the various sins of humanity), has run its course. Western Civilization is no longer viable, and the cracks in its sclerotic (hardened) points of view are everywhere.
*[My grounding in the science and art of organic and pure thinking, that leads to spiritual experience, was formed by two books by Rudolf Steiner: A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception; and, The Philosophy of Freedom (or, Spiritual Activity).]
This paternalism is being replaced by a new maternalism - the feminine mysteries are rising once more from their hidden depths. Civilization is likely to split in two in a kind of way, with the naked dominating male impulse holding on rigidly at the top of hierarchical social forms, while down below, in the social commons, new forms - social forms with a kinship to the circle instead of a pyramid, are coming back. In America, if we want to know what those circle social forms were like in the past, we study the remembered and cherished traditional wisdom of the various First Nations Peoples.
However, we are not to be reviving anything of the past, unless we want to continue to screw things up. One of the matters discussed carefully in the Way of the Fool is called the evolution of consciousness. I'll not repeat those themes here, except to say that humanity changes on the inside over time, and evolves at the level of spirit and soul, not just in a physical way. As a consequence, of this evolution of consciousness, the whole social life of humanity is undergoing a metamorphosis at the level of civilization (and we should not be surprised that this is accompanied with the phenomena of climate change and other kinds of social and ecological dramas, for the two are intimately bound up with each other - humanity's consciousness and the so-called physical world are quite interconnected, just as the early, yet still incomplete, findings of quantum mechanics suggest).
So we can't really go backwards into the past, and recreate for example the older Goddess oriented mysteries (as the so-called New Age folks want to do), but have to find our way to something new, something not yet, and for which we will be more and more responsible as individuals. The wise guidance of the Gods has now put much into our own hands, if we are equally wise enough to recognize the gift. The change to new Feminine Mysteries, as these effect our shared social existence, is also a death and a resurrection - that is simultaneously a metamorphosis and transformation. Thus, as an aspect of the metamorphosis of civilization we have the return of the Feminine Mysteries: the Redemption of Eros.
Agape, or selfless human love comes from above downward, but Eros comes from below upward, first as wise instinct and now in this next civilization, hopefully, as a conscious and fully free and morally informed act. Along with Storge, or nurturing love, and Phileo or comradeship, these four meet in the center of the Cross. An Internet acquaintance of mine, Catherine MacCoun*, says that this is where true morality arises, in the center, where the vertical gesture and the horizontal gesture meet. In the Way of the Fool I call the result of this meeting: love engendered free moral grace.
*[For more of Ms. MacCoun's remarkable wisdom, read her book: On Becoming an Alchemist.]
This Redemption of Eros is about the coming of something new, that never was before, even though it has an old name.
Recall, if you don't mind, that the main character above studied the women in his life for his understanding of Eros - of the sensual, the erotic and Zoe - not the men. No Plato, no Socrates, no Aristotle, no Nietzsche. To me, one of the really nice things about this coming age is that the men don't have to carry the burden of the outer world - of civilization - so much by themselves anymore. We can, with justice and wisdom, let the women walk at the front of these social changes (at least the women who aren't trying so hard to be just like the men).
Eros ultimately is about joining, about merging - about surrender to something in the other - the Thou. That it is possible to do this without losing self, this is the deeper mystery to be discovered.
At the same time, given that I studied women in the background to producing this work, I also recognized that when it came to defining a man's sexual nature women were as clueless about us, as we were about them. The real purpose then of this little book is not to define anything, but to actually start a conversation. I believe the healthiest use of this book, as pointed out in the introduction, will be by couples, either on their own impulse, or through the recommendation of a helper. The couple then reads this book out loud to each other, and then discusses it - with only their partner, for this is something that has to be very private .
For example, no one should consider the descriptions here to be a model for their own behaviors or thoughts. It is not what is in this book that will help, but what those who engage in various practices of love are able to decide among themselves, through intimate conversation. That is, in fact, the greatest intimacy: the Zoe* of personal relationships. Remember that the two characters in this little book fell into and through the realm of Bios - the electricity and chemistry of sexual attraction and behaviors. At the end of this rite of passage (falling through) certain things had to change, and the means by which they slowly changed the Fallen Eros into the Redemption of Eros (which is found not by the intellect, but by personal action) was by mutual confession. Even the man's philosophical speeches are the confession of his deepest thoughts. Thinking is the heart of his soul and spiritual life, and for others their heart and soul will be uniquely theirs. No need to imitate what is here. Invent yourself - that is the creative path to love.
*[For the introduction to the ideas of Zoe and Bios, I owe the wise author of a remarkable book: Meditations on the Tarot - a journey into Christian Hermeticism. Zoe and Bios are discussed there in the 11th Letter: Force.]
When a Civilization collapses, as ours is slowly (and now perhaps more rapidly for a time), it is falling inward into and onto us as individuals. The outer forms and traditions have no real substance anymore, which the evangelicals and fundamentalists noticed and called the family values crisis and the culture wars. Would that their thinking went deeper. All of which is why I above gave this little essay the subtitle: - Seeking Comfort and Companionship in a time of increasing Social Chaos.
The new civilization comes from out of us as individuals, and it is a simple human fact that in times of stress we don't want to be alone, and so it will be natural to form new kinds of communities (something already happening all over the world). One of those kinds of communities will be couples. Men and women are still bound to each other by the natural sympathy of their differences, and we know instinctively and through experience that together we are often more whole than when apart. The world still needs children, and the Divine Feminine has placed procreation in the hands of human sexuality. Further, the raising children in love depends upon a stable community life.
But with the end of Western Civilization, the old traditional community structures show themselves to no longer be viable. The metamorphosis to the more maternal-like new civilization then arises first out of the moral freedom of the individual, and then through the creation of stable partnerships, and from that to the creation of stable communities. Because this process is circle-like, not pyramidal, there is no leadership. In practice, however, this is not a linear process, but something that arises by synthesis from the whole. Individual moral freedom, stable partnerships, and staple communities arise simultaneously, for Zoe - the Redemption of Eros - manifests through all. Individuals confess into the circle, and the whole receives them, and then reflects back to them something they are missing.
For those of you who are gay or lesbian, I don't know exactly why you might be reading this book, but in any event I have carefully avoided trying to express something for which I have no experience whatsoever. If gay people want to write of a Redemption of Eros from their own experience, then that will be a blessing. At the same time, not knowing the nature of same sex attraction as an experience, I have felt it to be something about which I had no business pretending to judge or to illuminate.
For all I know, the disciple Jesus loved wasn't Mary Magdalene (which I assume), but John, or another.
Now there is a kind of flaw in the story of the two individuals above, which has to do with them seeking and finding a kind of romantic perfection. Just how real is this possibility?
A year ago I joined one of those on-line dating services, at the urging of a friend. I didn't have many expectations, because years before I had been through an Internet romance that immediately went belly up within a week of when we met face to face to get married. Now one of the very odd (and yet understandable) characteristics of all the profiles of the women (near my age, 67) on this dating service was that they were universally looking for "the one". Widowed or divorced or long time single, they all presented themselves as seeking the perfect match for who they were.
This is, of course, the way the on-line dating services advertise themselves. It would also be a bit odd to have the other side presented, as one can find on the porn sites, which advertise: find a nearby fuck for tonight, guaranteed!
I could understand this as well, for who wants to put in their profile that they weren't looking for the one. Fact is, however, I did just that - I said I wasn't looking for the one and didn't believe in it, and I got a lot of bites from women whose profiles all put the looking for the one face in the foreground. This is, for a social philosopher, an interesting contrast. On the dating sites, its all about romance, and on the porn sites its all about fucking. No doubt more women go to the dating sites and more men to the porn sites. There are probably out there somewhere on the Internet, websites that are in the middle, where hooking up is understood as something that can happen, and the vocabulary used is likewise in the middle, not so romantic, and not so pornographic, although I suspect this more honest middle ground approach happens in bars more than on the Internet. But not everyone drinks, or likes the bar dating hook up scene, which tends to be for younger people in any event.
What is clear is that our culture doesn't really know how to help people get their intimacy needs met. The choices seem to be: date and get married, get drunk and get laid, or play with yourself while looking at dirty pictures.
Now the basic question I put on my profile (which I had to craft carefully to avoid the censoring software), was what do mature adults do who want to find friends to be intimate with, but who don't expect to drive all relationships into the romantic ideal, or the equally fantastic every women just wants a good fuck. Is it possible to have a middle relationship, that is at once real emotionally, provides intimacy needs, yet doesn't have to get tied up in a nice romantic bow or descend into emotionally and spiritually empty, faceless and animal-like, copulation.
One idea I had, which I didn't explore above because it would have made everything more complicated, was that one of the things that can be discussed, as two people get acquainted, is what do we want the words "I love you" to mean. Ordinarily we are in a trap, which is either to lie (which a lot of people do) or have "I love you" mean its forever and lets get old and watch each other die. At the same time, I believe it is possible, if people are awake in the dance through which they approach each other on their way to seeking adult intimacy, without promises of forever, is that they root this impulse in the horizontal axis of the Cross. There is no reason that I can think of where true comradeship can't be the seed of all the other three faces, as an aspect of its unique perspective of expression.
That is, it is brotherly and sisterly love - the sharing of the trials of the biography leading to friendship - that is the ground from which what is essentially a social art is born. This is a not uncommon story in romantic movies, by the way - the friendship that leads to sexual intimacy, and then beyond (see the movie: The Object of My Affection, for an example).
We are, after all, companions in life and in the times in which we live. Especially once we have left the time in our biographies in which there is the bearing of children and the raising of families. It is, obviously, somewhat easier to force fit ourselves, like a round peg in a square hole, into the romance of promises of forever, than to be awake and creative in how we invent relationships in the coming future. But is that who we really are, and if we hold out for only that, when and how do we obtain the satisfaction of our intimacy needs?
Sure its complicated. Sure such relationships will float around, especially if they happen among a large group of friends. Some people will always want exclusive possession of another human being, but this is a weakness of theirs, not something really desirable by any healthy community. A healthy community wants healthy people, and healthy people find healthy ways to get their intimacy needs met.
In other contexts I have said quite different things, as those who might read wider among my writings will discover. Here I basically wanted to say just a little, but most especially to repeat that this book is not meant to define, but simply to encourage deep and intimate conversation between people struggling with the human expressions of love.
The significance of conversation is often overlooked, by the way. It is, as the wise well know, the Royal Art. The German poet-scientist Goethe described conversation this way: What is more valuable then gold? Light. What is more precious than light? Conversation.
All of us have experienced this, whether among friends or family, when the harmony and love is present, we get high simply on each other through conversation - through intimate sharing. In a love seeking and building partnership, this is the core method - the getting to know each other. In the Temple that is the Bedroom, in the Celebration of the deepest Mysteries of Eros, we share - we confess, and through this rite of true individual sacrament we lay the ground work for the slow evolving merging of our soul and spirit into the soul and spirit of the other - the Thou (at least as far as is possible in the physical body, and in accord with our free and honest expression of the individual directions we want to take).
What is then established, as the rules and the road map of the particular characteristics of the shared companionship of two particular people, is there created in the conversation, by mutual consent and agreement. How to love each other, especially in the most intimate ways, is in that so private place discussed and thought about. What we want to mean when we say "I love you" to each other can here also be discussed and established. Nor is it necessary to reach any final determinations. A partnership (of any duration) is living, and that which lives is always growing and changing. Always, as Goethe noted in other circumstances, there is both dying and becoming. All growth has rhythms of birth, growth, metamorphosis and death - beginnings and endings, so that from that which naturally ends something new can always be emerging. People do change during life. We join together, we part. We rejoin. In that we learn the joy of what it means to cleave, to hold each other against the dark forces of the night and of human mortality for at least one night at a time, that too grows in depth of spirit over time. Just as there is wisdom in one day at a time, so is there wisdom in one night at a time. Yet, we remain free, for only as free human beings can we truly create and be responsible.
One man might, out of the comradeship aspect, live in a house with three women, or the reverse could be true. No one anymore can actually satisfy all our needs in any event, and certainly people can choose to disregard their needs on this level. The matter to recognize is the individual variations and expressions are quite unique, and we as social communities need to make room (without judgment) for all these different forms in which people will find to live out of the blossoming seed of the comradeship gesture in intimate ways.
Love, after all, is created - willed. It is not just a nice romantic feeling. Yes, we do have feelings, of falling in love and all the pains of attachment and loss. At the same time, that which endures is not these feelings, but rather our will to hold to our higher intentions. The more we engender this will out of freedom, the stronger will our relationships become. At the same time there is a curious mystery at the heart of the Gospel teachings, which is something also known in most schools of depth spirituality and psychology. Jesus expressed his version of it this way: "I assure you, if you don't turn round and become like children, you'll never get into the kingdom of the skies"*. I use the term mystery concerning this teaching, from whatever source, because it's understanding is not found by definitions or at the hands of preachers who claim to know its meaning. We have to think on it, and observe children, and ponder it some more, all the time recognizing that all our life we will be learning to grown into its understanding.
*[part of Matthew 18: 1-6, The Unvarnished Gospels.]
For this reason I have tried to create an imaginative picture of what I like to call adult play, which of course is why the Seventh Date had so much child-like behavior in it. The main difference between adults and children in this context, however, is the degree to which we all bear wounds - deep wounds of soul. As adults know, Life wounds us, just as Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman and many others have expressed. However, in modern life the best source for the healing for such deep wounds, that I know of, is in coming to know and understand the underlying principles of the Twelve Steps (whether we join such a community or not), for at the wise heart-center of this bold step into the social future lies mutual confession, for each individual now is both penitent and priest: "hello, my name is Joel, and I am an addict".
Here is a link to my work Sex, Porn, and the Return of the Divine Feminine, which is an examination of the poem - The Mystery of Lust - which I wrote in 2013. To date the above text and this work on the poem constitute what I am able to say about the arts of love making at this time. As I said above, I am reconsidering my artistic ability to write erotica with the right aesthetic, so have retired from publication the book Seven Dates, and this is the only available material at this time on this so very intimate aspect of human existence.
Joel A. Wendt, in the Season of Easter, 2008, and 2013.