Toward the Undivided
Sacred Sex, The Hermaphrodite, and the Dual Nature of God
The roots of sacred sex are ancient. Down through the centuries it has been practiced in many lands at many times, both openly and beneath the cloak of secrecy. Chroniclers who refer to the rites of sacred sex are often vague both as to the details involved and the rationale behind it all. Most seem in agreement that the motivation behind sacred sex was an attempt to somehow achieve union with the divine, or awaken within the participants a spark of the divine. Christians, however, were almost unanimous in their appraisal of sex practiced in conjunction with unorthodox beliefs: it was the Devil's handiwork, plain and simple.
This notwithstanding, perhaps the most interesting and compelling rationale for the evolution of sacred sex comes from within the context of Christianity itself. Christian mystics, such as Jakob Boehme, Leo the Hebrew, Scrotus Eriugena and Franz von Baader postulated a thesis based on a unique interpretation of the Book of Genesis. According to the theory, since God created man in His own image, Adam must have originally been a hermaphrodite, a creature combining the attributes of both sexes. The original Fall occurred not when Adam and Eve exited Eden, but when God robbed Adam of his original unity by creating Eve from out of him so that he wouldn't be alone. Therefore the sexual impulse comes from an instinctual yearning in man to try and recapture something of the essence of his primordial condition. According to Franz Von Baader: "The higher meaning of sexual love, which should not be identified with the instinct for reproduction, is nothing other than to help both man and woman to become integrated inwardly (in soul and in spirit) in the complete human or original divine image." This notion, bizarre and eloquent at once, has recurred in varying guises, from ancient times to modern times. We see glimpses of it in ancient creeds such as the qabalah and alchemy, as well as in more modern practices such as sex magick. And its wisdom was echoed in the words of Christ when he stated, "I am of the undivided", or, "When you were one you became two. But when you are two, what will you do?" What indeed! Though none of these Christian writers ever gave detailed descriptions of the techniques one might utilize to become re-integrated in "The original divine image", there are some hints. At least one of them mapped out a series of energy centers within the human body which man could tap into to achieve this state. And although he stopped short of indicating the means one might employ to tap these sources, his map showed striking similarities to the locations of the chakras in the Hindu Yogic tradition. It is therefore safe to assume that these early Christian mystics had some fundamental understanding of the principles underlying the practice of Tantric sex.
The word "hermaphrodite" is a conjunction of Hermes and Aphrodite, a union of the masculine and feminine aspects of God. The symbolism of the Hermaphrodite and its central significance to alchemy is well-known. Its importance to occultists in the guise of Baphomet is likewise well-known. Those familiar with Plato will recall that in his Symposium, he contended that humans descended from a primordial race "whose essence is now extinct" - a race of hermaphrodites. The race was powerful, yet arrogant, and when they rebelled against the Gods, they were in turn cursed and split in two. According to Plato, "From such an ancient time love has goaded human beings, one toward another; it is inborn, and seeks to renew our ancient nature in an endeavor to unite in one single being two distinct beings, and therefore, to restore human nature to good health." He added that , "... this was indeed our primitive nature when we constituted one unit which was still whole; it is really the burning longing for this unity which bears the name of love." This is echoed in Genesis 2:24, which says, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother to be united with his wife, and they will become one flesh (emphasis added.)"
Whether Plato actually believed in a de facto race of hermaphrodites or merely referred to their myth metaphorically is not important. What he cites as being the mystical genesis of love echoes the secret doctrine of esotericists from time immemorial. It is the same gnosis preserved by Hermes, said to represent the wisdom of a forgotten race of antediluvian Gods. And apparently, it may well have constituted part of the secret doctrine of Christ as well.
The Gospel of Thomas was part of the collection of Gnostic gospels known as the Nag Hammadi Library, which were lost until the mid-20th century when they were discovered in Egypt. In The Gospel of Thomas, Christ teaches a doctrine very different in nature to that adopted by mainstream Christianity. Some Orthodox Christians deny the validity of this Gospel, while others embrace it as a very beautiful text, as important (if not more so) as any found in the New Testament. Scholars argue back and forth over whether the Nag Hammadi books were essentially Christian texts aimed at a Gnostic audience, or essentially Gnostic texts aimed at a Christian audience. A third possibility exists, especially in regard to The Gospel of Thomas. What if what this book contains is in fact closer to what Christ actually taught? Could this Gospel retain some fragments of Christ's true doctrine as it existed before it was sanitized, edited and doctored to suit the political agendas of those doing the editing? It's certainly an intriguing possibility.
The author of The Gospel of Thomas is said to be Christ's own twin brother Thomas, and it is to be assumed that if any of Christ's disciples were to truly grasp his teachings, who would be more likely a candidate than his own twin? There is much in The Gospel of Thomas that would have invoked the displeasure of the fathers of the early church, such as Christ's admonition that he was "everywhere" and not to look for him in a building. Even had the rest of the gospel passed muster at the Council of Nicea, that line would surely have been deleted. A lot of the text is fairly straightforward, but certain passages are bizarre even by Biblical standards. Or perhaps, in the Biblical context. For example:
"Jesus said to them, When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside, and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the female one and the same, so that the male be not male, nor the female female... then you will enter (the kingdom.)" (See: Gospel of Thomas)
This is very explicit. Very specific. And not the least bit Christian. It speaks of an initiatory process of Gnosis, a process that requires no churches, no holy men, no prayers of forgiveness. And it should have a familiar ring to students of the occult, for it is very similar to words contained in the Emerald Tablet of Hermes:
"True it is, without falsehood, certain and most true. That which is above is like that which is below, and that which is below is like that which is above, to accomplish the miracles of One Thing. And as all things were by the contemplation of one, so all things arose from this One Thing by a single act of adaptation. The father thereof is the Sun, the mother the Moon... the power thereof is perfect."
Not only do Christ and Hermes seem to be coming from the same place, it's amusing to note that Christ is far more explicit in his use of Hermetic symbolism than was even old Hermes himself, the putative father of the alchemical arts. Christ was clearly invoking the archetype of the primordial hermaphrodite, inferring that the state of unity it symbolized was a prerequisite for (or synonymous with) "entering the kingdom." Elsewhere in The Gospel of Thomas, Christ tells his disciples, "When you make the two one, you will become the sons of man..." And still elsewhere he says, "I am he who exists from the undivided." Although such esoteric teachings don't appear elsewhere in the officially sanctioned scriptures, they are certainly in keeping with some aspects of the Judaic tradition from which Christ emerged, and seem to figure prominently in the traditions and symbolism of various groups said to have been custodians of the secret doctrine of Christ.
From the Zadok priests of the Temple of Solomon to the Knights Templar, and from the Freemasons to the Rosicrucians, all employed symbols representing the union of opposites, and the balanced union and equilibrium of male and female force. A brief overview of the symbols used by these groups should reveal a striking consistency of fundamental outlook
Symbol of the Zadok Priests
The X worn on the forehead of the Zadok priests of the Temple of Solomon was symbolic of the union of the chalice and the blade. The chalice, as receptacle, was a female symbol. The blade, as phallus, was a male symbol. Even the Temple of Solomon itself was a qabalisitic symbol, its pillars of Jachin and Boaz representing the equilibrium of creative force and destructive force.
The Seal of Solomon
The Seal of Solomon represented much the same thing as the Temple of Solomon: an equilibrium and intertwining of opposites: in this case light and darkness, or spirit and matter. Spirit is associated with the masculine principle, matter with the feminine.
The Templar Cross
The equilateral cross of the Knights Templar is also a representation of the intersection of masculine force with feminine force: the former represented by a vertical line, the latter a horizontal.
Symbol of Freemasonry
The well-known square and compass of Freemasonry is yet another symbol of the conjunction of masculine and feminine principles. The square is used to draw a square, a male symbol. The compass is used to draw a circle, a female symbol. The circle contained with a square thus represents, yet again, the same equilibrium of opposites. And some believe that either emblem of the Masons is patterned after, or indeed suggestive of, the Seal of Solomon. Alternate explanations of this symbol exist wherein the symbolism is precisely the opposite, yet the ultimate meaning is identical.
The Rose-Cross, or Rosy Cross assumes many forms, but again, the symbolism inherent is identical. The cross is a male symbol, the rose female. This emblem, however, is far more specific in its iconography, the cross representing Christ, and the rose Mary Magdalen. Besides representing her, however, the five-pointed rose often employed is also associated with both Venus and Lucifer.
The Fleur-de-Lys is the pre-eminent heraldic emblem of French royalty, and is said to represent a lily, symbolic of Davidic descent. While flowers in general symbolize the female reproductive organ, the lily is even more suggestive of a vulva than most. But unlike most flowers, the lily possesses a phallic rod which thrusts forth from its interior, making it uniquely hermaphroditic in its symbolism.
All of these symbols have additional layers of meaning, and many can be explained in alternate terms as well For instance, it has been pointed out that the Rose-Cross, or rosa crux, was a deliberate misrepresentation of what was originally called the ros crux. Rose means rose, but ros actually meant dew, the substance which the ancient alchemists claimed was able to transmute base matter into gold. Rosicrucian's took advantage of the confusion between the two terms to consciously camouflage their true intentions in an ambiguous, seemingly unthreatening icon. And both interpretations, ultimately, are equally alchemical in nature. In fact, all the symbols discussed could be understood in an alchemical context: they all represent an integration and transcendence of opposites, and a conjunction of male and female principles.