The revolutionary sex

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As I know the history of our time in the past; every revolution has broken the social morals of the mankind. the biggest one was during the French revolution at the end of eighteen’s century and the process in the way of “breaking the law” has been already known. But interestingly, there were, as in France, also in Russian the women the strong point in this fact.

For one shining moment, being a Russian woman meant sexual freedom and radical equality. Never seen before – or since

via; https://aeon.co/

Paula Erizanu  is a freelance writer focusing on ideas, people, the arts, and eastern Europe. Her writing has appeared in CNNThe Guardian, and Dazed, among others. She lives in London.

 We don’t have sex in the USSR, and we are categorically against it.’ When a female hotel manager said this on Soviet state television in 1986, the studio audience laughed. The line soon became a catchphrase, exposing the gap between official discourse and a reality that was markedly less pure. But Russia’s conservative self-conception, which continues to this day, conceals a more interesting and neglected period in its history: when, in the first decade after the October Revolution of 1917, high-ranking women in the Communist Party advocated free love as government policy, hoping to achieve the destruction of ‘bourgeois’ institutions such as monogamy and the nuclear family.

But the promise of sexual revolution did not last long. When Joseph Stalin rose to power in the mid-1920s, he promoted the opposite idea – that the nuclear family, and not sexual freedom, was the true basis of socialism. What might account for this political about-face? Does the episode represent a political path-not-taken, or was the government’s initial, emancipatory stance just an interregnum in the broader, more repressive arc of Russian history?

Shifting our historical gaze westward, by the 1920s the suffragettes had secured the franchise for many Western women with property rights (in the UK, women over 21 with no property could vote only from 1928). But in the Soviet Union, women’s rights were much more sweeping. In addition to universal suffrage, they had access to higher education and the right to equal pay. Abortion was legalised, a world-first, and freely available to factory workers. Children, whether born in or out of wedlock, were granted equal status in law. Marriage became secular, divorce was simplified and streamlined, sex outside wedlock was destigmatised, and male homosexuality decriminalised.

Where did the seeds of this radicalism spring from? Towards the end of the 19th century, the noble bourgeois and the socialist women’s rights movements were growing in parallel in Russia. Organisations such as the Russian Women’s Mutual Philanthropic Society, founded in 1895, fought for women’s equality in the workplace and improved conditions in orphanages, as well as establishing day-nurseries and canteens for poor, working mothers. The House of Diligence helped educated women to find work as governesses; and the Society to Assist Young Girls sought to ‘protect girls, primarily of the working class, from the morally damaging conditions of their lives’, as the historian Cathy Porter writes in the biography Alexandra Kollontai (2013). At the same time, more and more women entered the workforce. Between 1904 and 1910, the number of industrial workers in Russia increased by 141,000, with more than 80 per cent of those being women.

Socialist ideology is grounded in the promise of radical equality, so it makes sense, at some level, that Soviet society ought to entail equality between genders, too. Karl Marx had argued that working women were doubly oppressed – in factories, and at home and in the family. ‘Social progress can be measured exactly by the social position of the fair sex (the ugly ones included),’ Karl Marx wrote, in an 1868 letter, not without some irony. Yet among socialist organisations, prior to the October Revolution, concerns about the status of women were usually dismissed as bourgeois diversions. Socialist orthodoxy expressed the belief that the class struggle would automatically liberate working women along the way.

Only after 1912 did the Bolsheviks – one of many socialist factions fighting for political dominance in Russia, who eventually seized power in October 1917 – see women’s questions as a key part of the political agenda. At that point, they started to actively involve working women in demonstrations, dedicated a page to women’s questions in their newspaper Pravda, and launched a women’s newspaper, Rabotnitsa, in 1914.

Alexandra Kollontai (left), the first Commissar of Social Welfare pictured with homeless people in 1918. Photo by Sputnik Images

 While still married, in 1896 Kollontai started giving lessons to working women, and helped to set up filters to clear the polluted air in factories. But after seeing the squalor in which workers spent their days and nights, she realised that there was only so much she could do with charity. Distancing herself from the more aristocratic strand of feminist activism, Kollontai started to think that economic relations would have to change at a more fundamental level – in other words, that women’s inequality could be addressed only through a socialist revolution.

In search of answers, Kollontai left her husband and her four-year-old child and went to Zurich to study economics before returning to Russia. She went on to set up the first legal club for working women in Saint Petersburg, organise marches, write numerous articles and books, and give lectures across Europe and the United States on working life, sexuality and motherhood, under titles such as ‘The New Woman’ and ‘The Social Basis of the Women’s Question’.

This was about liberating women from expectations of monogamy and family servitude

 In 1908, Kollontai fled Russia to avoid arrest and became close to Lenin, who was in exile in Switzerland. After the Tsar’s abdication and Kollontai’s return during the revolution, she was elected to the Petrograd Soviet (or council of workers), and eventually assumed the office of the People’s Commissar of Social Welfare. In 1919, two years after her appointment, Kollontai helped to set up the Zhenotdel (or what we might call the Femdept), a government department for the advancement and education of women.

For Kollontai, the sexual revolution was mainly about mentally liberating women from the expectations of monogamy and servitude to the family. Being able to decide when to have children, she argued, and secure in the knowledge that the state would provide for them, would allow women to study, work and involve themselves in public affairs. She hoped that these transformations would create ‘a new way of being/everyday life [novy byt]’ and a ‘Woman Human Being’.

Kollontai emphasised how the social dominance of love simply reinforced power imbalances between the sexes. ‘All modern education of a woman is aimed at closing her life in love emotions,’ she wrote in a 1911 article. ‘It’s time to teach the woman to make love not as the basis of life, but only as a step, as a way to reveal her true self.’ The new ‘women types’, Kollontai wrote, would know that ‘the treasures of life are not exhausted by love’.

By the 1920s, such shifts appeared to be underway. Kollontai’s novel Red Love (1923), published in the US in 1927, told the story of a young, unmarried woman, working and living under communism. In the foreword to the English translation, Kollontai noted that Soviet society was ‘beginning to respect a woman, not for her “good morals”, but for her efficiency, for her ingenuity with respect to her duties toward her class, her country and humanity as a whole’.

As well as freeing women to self-define beyond romance, Kollontai wanted to rehabilitate friendship as a model for more equitable relationships. ‘Make Way for Winged Eros: A Letter to Working Youth’ (1923) was a kind of political history of affection. In prehistoric times, she said, humanity imagined love as a form of kindred affection, as between siblings and cousins. The feudal world elevated the knight’s ‘spiritual’ love for the ideal, and separated love from marriage. But eventually, with the growth of the middle class, the paradigm of love in bourgeois morality became the love of a married couple, ‘working together to increase the wealth of a family cell separated from society’. Instead, proletarian ideology should strive to instil a ‘love-fellowship’ between the sexes in the spirit of comradely solidarity – an ideal that seemed close to a Greco-Roman model.

 Women in those early years after the revolution still had plenty of problems, of course. Female unemployment remained high, sexual violence was still prevalent, and some observers decried how the new sexual policies appeared to allow intimate partners to be exploited and then cast aside. ‘Men took to changing wives with the same zest which they displayed in the consumption of the recently restored 40-per-cent vodka,’ said one critic in The Atlantic in 1926.

But many women’s lives altered dramatically, and for the better. In his travel diary, Russia: A Chronicle of Three Journeys in the Aftermath of the Revolution (1928), the Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis observed how the women he met in Moscow told him they were more concerned with building socialism than with getting married. Bella Grigorievna Orkin, aged 22, told Kazantzakis: ‘My great joy is not getting a man but to work and feel that I’m not a parasite. To love too, of course, I’m not ascetic. But simply, without love talk and wasting time.’ These ideas reached beyond the borders of the USSR as well. In Romania, Kollontai’s support for sex outside of marriage was a point for anti-communist propagandists, deployed as an argument against embracing communism in the interwar period. (In this, one sees echoes of how homosexuality is mobilised within Russia today as a symbol to oppose everything Western – for instance, the common description of Europe as ‘Gayropa’ rather than ‘Evropa’).

Lenin, the leader of the Bolsheviks, shared Kollontai’s condemnation of ‘bourgeois’ conceptions of love. He thought that forsaking all-consuming ideas about marriage would strengthen class solidarity and push workers to commit to implementing a socialist society. Yet like some other senior members of the Party, he had his reservations. In January 1915, he wrote a letter to the revolutionary leader Inessa Armand, in which he said that love should be free from material and financial worries and calculations – but that unbinding love from raising children, and tacitly encouraging adultery, was ‘a bourgeois, not a proletarian demand’.

As it happened, Armand was also Lenin’s lover. A French-born socialist, she moved to Russia to live with her grandmother and aunt when she was five. She married the wealthy owner of a textile factory, Alexander Armand, at 19; nine years later, she ended her marriage to pursue a long relationship with his brother Vladimir, a student and revolutionary 11 years her junior.

After the revolution, Armand moved into the Kremlin with Lenin and his wife

 For Armand, freedom of sexual expression was the feminist core of the socialist revolution. Like Kollontai, she began her activism by doing charity work. During her first marriage, she set up a school for peasant children, co-founded and chaired the Moscow Society for Improving the Lot of Women, which trained poor and working women, and helped to rehabilitate former prostitutes. A subsequent attempt to open a women’s newspaper and a women’s Sunday school was blocked by the Tsarist government.

This seems to be the point at which Armand became convinced that genuine social change demanded revolution. Immediately after leaving her first husband, by 1903 she had joined the Russian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party. Armand then went to study economics in Brussels and travelled between Russia and France to do undercover work for the socialist movement. In 1911, she met Lenin in Paris, and after the revolution, moved into the Kremlin with him and his wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya. Lenin and Armand had a child together, and it appears Krupskaya knew about the affair.

Armand collaborated with Kollontai to set up and run the Zhenotdel, the board for the promotion of women’s interests. Worrying that she had overworked herself, in 1920, Lenin asked Armand to take a break in the Caucasus. Shortly after she arrived there, Armand caught cholera and died in less than one month. Distraught over her death, Lenin ordered for her to be buried in the Kremlin, next to the other martyred revolutionaries.

 While Armand and Kollontai understood sexual liberation mainly as freedom from marriage and housework, the writer, socialite and film director Lilya Brik embraced a more intense and systematic version of free love – polyamory. At the time, Brik was best-known as the lover and ‘muse’ of the Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, and as the face of the state-commissioned posters encouraging reading, created by the Russian artist Alexander Rodchenko.

Mayakovsky and Brik met at the literary salon she hosted in July 1915. Osip Brik, Lilya’s husband at the time, was so impressed by Mayakovsky’s poem ‘Cloud in Trousers’ that he instantly offered to publish it. A love affair then began between Lilya Brik and Mayakovsky. Three years later, Mayakovsky moved in with the Briks in their flat, and then all three went to live in a country house.

One rule of this unconventional household was that each member must grant freedom to the others. By 1925, however, Lilya Brik wrote a letter to Mayakovsky, who was travelling, in which she said: ‘It seems to me that you already love me much less and will not suffer much’ from the imminent separation. Although all three travelled considerably during the next few years, they all stayed in touch until Mayakovsky’s suicide in 1930, following a fight with his new lover, the actress Veronika Polonskaya. In his suicide note, Mayakovsky wrote: ‘Comrade Government, my family consists of Lily Brik, mamma, my sisters, and Veronika Vitoldovna Polonskaya.’ He left half of the copyright to his poetry to Lilya Brik and a half to his mother and sisters.

Brik refashioned her life; she became friends with and inspired Yves Saint Laurent, Pablo Neruda, Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso and Maya Plisetskaya, and led the only literary salon not deemed ‘bourgeois’, and so allowed to continue in Moscow.

Stalin portrayed the education of children as ‘the honourable social duty of mothers’

 After Armand died in 1920, Kollontai took sole leadership of the Zhenotdel. Despite her influence, Kollontai was more radical, and controversial, than her peers in the government – although it wasn’t her ideas about women and sexuality that ultimately led to her being sidelined. In 1921, she had organised the Workers’ Opposition to protest against the dictatorship and lack of representation of workers within the Party but failed to gather support. She began to be threatened with expulsion for lack of Party discipline. After working on trade deals in Oslo, in 1924 Kollontai was sent out of the country on an appointment as ambassador to Finland. (This made her the second female ambassador of the 20th century, after Armenia’s ambassador to Japan, Diana Abgar.)

The Zhenotdel continued to operate, in some form, for the next decade, until Stalin finally dismantled it in 1934. He embraced women’s participation in the workforce but did not believe this required domestic or sexual equality. Indeed, such concerns were deemed bourgeois. Stalin also made abortion illegal, reinstated firm strictures on divorce, declared homosexuality a mental illness, and reinforced a ‘natalist’ state ideology. In his address on International Women’s Day in 1949 at the Central Committee of the Communist Party in the USSR, Stalin portrayed the education of children as ‘the honourable social duty of mothers’. Although the state offered free childcare and education, men weren’t expected to match their wives’ duties at home. Women’s rights over their bodies, in Stalin’s view, were not something with which he needed to concern himself.

After Stalin’s death in 1953, the pendulum swung back towards partial sexual liberalisation. The new Communist Party leader Nikita Khrushchev undertook a programme of de-Stalinisation, which included the repeal of the ban on abortion – a vindication that Kollontai didn’t live to see because she died one year before Stalin. But Russia never quite recaptured the potential of these early feminist radicals. Women’s participation in the Second World War as tank drivers, snipers, pilots and nurses has been neglected in official commemorations; in the postwar period, women were excluded from the centres of political action, and motherhood was cast as their main calling. Sexual abuse was largely ignored and, privately, women were expected to do most childcare and housework. Even today, the sexual freedom that Kollontai and Armand fought for remains a mostly forgotten episode in Soviet history.

Recently, debates in the Russian parliament have proposed preventing women who have not had children from going to university, to encourage them to give birth rather than invest in their careers. A law making spousal abuse a ‘private’ rather than a legal matter was passed in January 2017. It seems likely it will take some time before the progressive ideas of the early 1920s enter the mainstream of Russian political discourse again – if they ever do.

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Searching The Meaning Of Life! (STMOL) Heraclitus: Deity

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HeraclitusIn the third part of the tribute to the ancient philosopher Heraclitus, his views on the divine and his relationship with the cosmos and man are approached.

God, the word, the world, the fire
God: day-night, winter-summer, war-peace, famine-starvation. It is transformed like the fire which, when mixed with perfume, is called by the name of the smell of everyone (cf.

It is God’s being in the making. God is in motion, changing himself by remaining himself. The act is divine. God is united with the word, with the world, with the fire. It is the unity of the opposites. The bright (the day) and the dark (the night), the hot (the summer) and the cold (the winter), the conflict and the peace, the abundance and the famine, find in them their harmony and cease to they are just as they are for people. Deity is the foundation and the solution of the contradictions which for human weakness always interweave and tear the others. The deity does not abolish contradictions, it does not prevent the day from being night and night, but this is one of its many manifold events.

God is connected with the cosmic fire. The fire of the sacrifices offered to God is perfumed and has many names. The variety of her names, however, is only one truth. In the same way, people give a deity different names. The deity is the universal Sophia. For Sophia, we know from Excerpts 50 and 41 that it makes us understand that “Always is One” and “everything is all about everything.”

God is day and night, winter and summer. God does not do that. This is the sacred rhythm of becoming. Then, is the world itself?

It is obvious that God creates nothing, since “this world, which is for all, no man nor God did, but it was from ever and ever, and it is and will be the eternal fire that glows lightly and fades away.” Deity is the meaning of the world. As a sense that is united with speech.

God and the word are united but not identical. Heraclitus speech is unclear and deity is a reason. Word and God are the joints of the Universe and are present within human thought. Human thinking thinks of the deity and speaks to it and to it because every reason is dialogue. Heraclitus thought conceives with thought and expresses with the language the truth and the meaning of the totality of the world, this totality that is eternal and no creation. While Christian theology believes in a world created from nothing by God.

Only a pagan God can appear through the fire and in its most violent form, the lightning. The fire is the life of the world and God its meaning. We saw in a previous article that the fire is wise (out of 64). The lightning that governs everything is the strongest appearance of cosmic fire. And God has the same “qualities” with the fire. The fire is called wise and Zeus is called a thunderbolt. God and the fire have eternal life. However, God is not the thunderbolt, and the lightning is not God. There is digestion, but not a merger.

God, the word, the world and the fire unite without being identified. The same happens with the opposite, joining but not being identified within the deity. God is war and peace (cf. 67). Inside God, homonymy opposes disunity and is composed with it, since justice is discord. Epicurean Philodemos informs us that “Heraclitus said that war and God are identical.” War, which is a universal power, must have God on its foundation. Of course, God is both peace and peace, since his perpetual change coincides with eternal rest. Ultimate movement is also a supreme rest.

Its uniqueness makes God also the foundation of every law because all human laws feed on one law, the Divine. He keeps as much as he wants his power, enough for everything, and it goes beyond everything (see 114). The law, the structure of nature and the city, is a harmony of opposing tensions and draws its power from the very rhythm of the totality it expresses. It is a law only when it feeds incessantly on the only divine law.

The truth of the unique divine law, which makes the opposites coincide and is present within the vigour of secular fire, is revealed over time. This eternal time is the primacy of the conflict of the opposites, and it updates the periodic changes of fire. Therefore, God is a thunderbolt and a wise man, revolted and agitated. It is not only associated with the word, the world, the fire, the hidden harmony and the war but also with time. For the time, the excerpt 52 told us that he is a child playing dice, that is, a child’s reign. The world is the theatre of unrighteous play, which is a game of royal and childhood.

The play and time of the eternal present are the deep traits of Greek life and thought. Heraclitus conceives the importance of the bond that unites the game, the war and the time associated with the deity. The wars that people make among themselves are also a toy, and in the heart of the Trojan, War games are played. And the oestrus and the sanctuary also meet at the feasts of Olympia. The tragedy is a great game. This close affinity that exists between the struggle, the play and the sanctuary is now founded by Heraclitus on the very structure of the Universe where the divine discourse manifests itself. Within God, the universal war becomes universal wisdom, and the game of time, the world’s sin.

Why the deity is the sin of the world. A sinning that is inherent in the world because the very necessity of the world itself only expresses the converging power of the names and manifestations of the totality, that is, the word, the fire, the lightning, the time, the harmony, the game and the unique divine law. The universe contained, that is, the totality reveals at one time one of its ways of existence. The human gaze considers the appearance of these faces, but there is a danger of them being isolated. The thought aspires to capture totality as a whole. As long as this ambition holds, the thought reflects the deity (the foundation of all that is) and, in its attempt to speak of it, becomes a theology. The Heraclean deity, because it is unity,

The deity reveals its presence everywhere. However, ubiquitous presence is not its property. The universe is not the mirror where the deity is reflected. It is her home. Thunderbolt is not her tool. She is one of her expressions. The game that plays with the most opposing forces has as its field the world, and it is also included in this game. The fact that in this deity the opposite coincides does not allow us, in any case, to regard it as a kind of universal neutrality and as a deified neutral: the divine. The deity does not neutralize anything, because it also preserves the conflict of opposites, without which the world would be thrown down. Deity is war and harmony. It is the joining game.

The divine and the people

The divine reveals to the people who need to know how to listen to their voice.
Most of the divine things due to infidelity escape and are not known (cf. 86).

Heraclitus begins with a warning. One has to prepare to know the deity, as he has to hope to reward the unbeliever “if you do not hope you will not find the unexpected because it is unexplored and impassable” (cf.

Hope and faith are intended to make the dialogue between the Divine Word and the Human. Faith does not oppose logical or intuitive opinions in logical knowledge. Human calculus must be available to accept the call of the deity. Since deity assures the structure of the world, human calculus is the conception of this invisible structure, of this masked harmony.

The first conception, by the thought, of the divinity is not at all certain knowledge. The effort of thinking is the initial move that maybe knowledge will succeed. Institutional faith immobilizes thought. The thought prepares to accept what may seem unbelievable. Belief comes after. Heraclitus demands the opening of the mind.

Human thought directed at the deity cannot really be directed to it unless it first asks its call. In this sense, the deity is what comes first. But the thought of man, when he goes to the higher spheres of knowledge, stumbles upon what he can not know and thus recognizes the deity as the last obstacle. This quest is a great adventure. We must struggle to conceive what overcomes us and not to reduce what is great. Human suffering is perhaps a sacred disease because it prevents us from communicating with the sanctuary, and our vision deceives when it adheres in an extremely exclusive way to what is directly visible, preventing us from seeing.

Man is always in the field of divinity, and it is impossible to hide from what never disappears (Rev. 16).

The universality of the divine law is the only source of all special laws that too often, if not always, their current deviates from the right path. In order to remain in the truth, man has nothing to do with his origin. With great labor, he can become a philosopher (cf. 35). On the contrary, God is this whole being that contains man and the course, only that is the Wise (see 32). The love of Sophia that establishes and fertilizes the basic quest is thus transformed into the love of the deity since the deity is the universal wisdom.

People should not forget the laws of immortal play. Man must not construct the image of his God according to his own image. God is All (and All is God), while a man without being Nothing is a Part. With Heraclitus, abstract thinking takes its appearance with its fundamental question that does not cease to question everything, even when moving within a “frame” that already contains some answers. Heraclitus establishes in the heart of theological concern the questioning meditation. The lessons learned from this event are tragic: people are children who ask questions, and these open questions that start like a scalpel are kept open, despite the answers and memories of the answers they get, because these questions are enigmas. Every true thought contains a contradiction, an antithesis, that is, a tragic element. The thought of Heraclitus tries to overcome the contradictions by conceiving the unionist deity. Contradictions, however, remain compassionate for the mortals who are theirs is a constant occurrence. This conception of divinity takes place with the thought that is open to the world’s enigma.

 


Link to Part I: Heraclitus, His life and philosophy. 
Link to part B: Heraclitus, Heraclitus, The world – The fire.

Extracts from the book of Axelos – Heraclitus and philosophy

Source: http://www.ekivolos.gr/ (We read it: http://www.e-zine.gr/ )

John Steinbeck on Falling in Love: A 1958 Letter of Advice to His Lovesick Teenage Son

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via: https://www.brainpickings.org/

an useful advice from a master 🙂

“If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.”

 Nobel laureate John Steinbeck (February 27, 1902–December 20, 1968) might be best-

known as the author of East of EdenThe Grapes of Wrath, and Of Mice and Men, but he

was also a prolific letter-writer. Steinbeck: A Life in Letters (public library) constructs

an alternative biography of the iconic author through some 850 of his most thoughtful,

witty, honest, opinionated, vulnerable, and revealing letters to family, friends, his editor,

and a circle of equally well-known and influential public figures.

 Among his correspondence is this beautiful response to his eldest son Thom’s 1958 letter,

in which the teenage boy confesses to having fallen desperately in love with a girl named

Susan while at boarding school. Steinbeck’s words of wisdom — tender, optimistic,

timeless, infinitely sagacious — should be etched onto the heart and mind of every living,

breathing human being.

New York
November 10, 1958

Dear Thom:

We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.

First — if you are in love — that’s a good thing — that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.

Second — There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.

You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply — of course it isn’t puppy love.

But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it — and that I can tell you.

Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.

The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.

If you love someone — there is no possible harm in saying so — only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.

Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.

It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another — but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.

Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.

We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.

And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.

Love,

Fa

Complement the altogether magnificent Steinbeck: A Life in Letters with the beloved writer on the creative spirit and the meaning of lifethe art of changing one’s mind, and his six tips on writing.

via Letters of Note

A Heresy for the 21st Century: The Original Gnostics

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cakeordeathsite

An Image of Yaldabaoth, the Demiurge An Image of Yaldabaoth, the Demiurge

Gnosticism arose in the 1st Century AD in the crossroads of the Roman Empire and the second most important city, after Rome itself; Alexandria. With a population of around half-a-million inhabitants, it was one of the biggest cities built before the Industrial Revolution. Home of the Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the Great Library, the largest library of the ancient world, Alexandria was an important centre of Hellenistic culture, the capital of Ptolemaic Egypt, as well as being home to the highest urban population of Jews in the Empire (and therefore the world).

Into this mix was added the emergence of a Jewish breakaway sect, the first Christians. Various other Jewish apocalyptic groups had also sprung up in the aftermath of the Fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Combine all the above with a dash of…

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Energies of Now: Deep Wellsprings and Light Houses

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Sophia's Children

Two years ago, I wrote a post called “I Build A Lighted House (and Therein I Dwell). The Energies of Now — and current ‘happenings’ in culture — make this a timely message once again. Here goes …

“I build a lighted house and therein dwell.”**

This is a musing on well-lit houses, inner (and outer) gardens, being refuge and/or refugee, among other things.

In a previous (2016) July letter, esoteric astrologer Phillip Lindsay shared the above ‘keynote’ for the archetype of the moon-ruled sign of Cancer, along with other powerfully insightful and inspiring observations  and reminders. In his current letter, Lindsay further explores these themes in light of more recent ‘headline news’.

(Thank you, Phillip. Kindred-spirit readers, you’ll find the links to Phillip’s full articles below — highly recommended inspiration!)

We’ve recently had this deep-Yin, Lunar and Liminal Cancerian wellspring stirred, as the Sun does its annual meander…

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A Heresy for the 21st Century

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cakeordeathsite

Jerusalem-William Blake Jerusalem-William Blake

Increasingly in the Western democracies there has been a polarisation between the ‘progressive’ left and the emboldened hard right that has resulted in a decay of political discourse. As they hold diametrically opposing views regarding almost everything it seems that no compromise is possible, especially as the one aspect they have in common means each side views the other as deluded at best, if not actively in league with evil. The shared trait that can be gleaned through all the glaring differences is a general Gnostic worldview and a belief in gnosis. Reading writers with progressive views one regularly encounters the term woke and a discussion on a given persons degree of wokeness. A central tenet of Western Esotericism (one directly borrowed from Gnosticism) is to wake up to the true nature of the world, beyond the reality directly perceived by the senses. To be woke

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