The four classical elements date back to the 5th century BCE. In the fragmentary writings that survive from Empedocles, he established , among other things, the four roots (later elements) as Earth, Air, Fire and Water, and that these roots (or elements) are associated with specific gods: Hera, Zeus, Hades, and Nestis (Persephone), respectively.
These associations had complex geographical and mythical attributes which are rarely (if ever) taken into consideration. They don’t specify mystic sexual or gender-based properties inherent in the elements themselves, but rather describe mystic attributes relevant to these specific divine couples. (For more on Empedocles and the establishment of the four classical elements, I recommend Peter Kingsley’s Ancient Philosophy, Mystery, and Magic: Empedocles and Pythagorean Tradition.)
Taken out of context, the elements often get (mis)classed as: Earth/female, Air/male, Fire/male, Water/female. This tradition has become entrenched in modern occultism, and it is patently absurd. Continue reading
Divine Duality: The Power of Reconciliation Between Women and Men, by William Keepin, Ph.D. with Cynthia Brix, M. Div. and Molly Dwyer, Ph.D.
Hohm Press, 9781890772741, 298 pp., 2007
Divine Duality is perhaps one of the most interesting attempts at a meaningful reconciliation of contemporary gender issues I have read in a long time. It asserts no certain formula or particular answer and so I cannot find any particular or certain fault with it. Abandoning the trite simplifications of popular self help models (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) which ultimately not only fail to address the deeply conditioned and limiting idea’s about gender (held internationally, regardless of social model, religious bias or cultural prerogative,) but most often shamelessly reinforce them.
Instead, Dr. Keepin attempts to provide guidelines for a compassionate deconstruction. Men and women are brought together and made to confront the realities and limitations of each other’s lives and perspectives. Continue reading
Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic: The Essential Ida Craddock, by Vere Chappell, with an introduction by Mary K. Greer
Weiser Books, 978157863476, 258 pp. (incl. appendix and references), 2010
Described as an anthology embedded in a biography, Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic contains most of Ida Craddock’s published writings edited, annotated and placed in context by Vere Chappell.
Ida Craddock was a nineteenth century American sexologist, feminist and mystic who was persecuted by Anthony Comstock’s Society for the Suppression of Vice. Her contribution to conventional sex reform, and her mystical writings on sex with spiritual beings are exceptional for the period. Continue reading
Feminine Mysteries in the Bible: The Soul Teachings of the Daughters of the Goddess, by Ruth Rusca
Bear & Company, 9781591430889, 144 pp., 2008
Rusca approaches the feminism in the Bible from a somewhat unique perspective. Born in Switzerland in 1929 to German Protestant parents who lived in an Italian-speaking Catholic village, she received a religious education which encompassed both cultures. Add to that mixture an appreciation of the work of Carl Jung and you have the makings of a unique approach.
She has found a four-fold path of women as both mothers and daughters. She sees them as embodying the aspects of sacred sexuality without, necessarily, approaching the concept of the Mother Goddess as it is currently conceived by modern neo-Pagans. Continue reading