Hidden Intercourse, 11-12


Bodies and Sex in Spiritualist Heavens

Cathy Gutierrez

309 to 332

pp. 309-10 Swedenborg's mating couple; America

p. 309

"Reporting from his mystical visits to a heaven resonating with Neoplatonic overtones in which the lower and higher worlds mirror each other, Swedenborg's writings intimate the image ... reproduced in the mating couple ... . ... Swedenborg's writings were the primary theological touchstone for the American articulation of Spiritualism, a religious movement begun in 1848 and characterized by some contemporary scholars as

the more exoteric branch of American hermetism."

{exoteric = retaining some traces of Christianity. Pure hermetism is, of course, entirely non-Christian.}

p. 310, fn. 2

"For a discussion of Spiritualism as tthe "exoteric" branch of the occult "church" in America, see Godwin, The Theosophical Enlightenment, Chapter Ten, especially 188. Both Versluis and Godwin give some credence to the later claims by by more hard-line {viz.,
"esoteric", i.e., anti-Christian} occultists

that Spiritualism was ... masterminded by occult adepts to prepare society for future hermetic truths. See Godwin, o[p]. c[it]., 197-200."

{i.e., that Spiritualism is a subversive conspiracy intent on undermining Christianity, and on replacing it with Hellenistic paganism}

p. 314 Love in Marriage

"In 1768 Swedenborg undertook what is ... Currently translated as Love in Marriage, ... on the conditions of heaven from visionary experience ... with the superior cultures of heaven acting as his ideal model.

Completely ignoring the conflicting {conflicting against Swedenborgianism, but concordant with other New-Testament texts} injunctions to {enforcing} celibacy in the New Testament,

{By his blatantly contradicting the New Testament, Swedenborg is demonstrating his fundamental hostility to it and to Christianity and to everything Christian.}

Swedenborg's heavenly informants claim that marriage pervades all of creation from angels to worms and that sexual love is the concrete expression of the union of the masculine good {/ho Agathos/ 'the Good' is grammatically masculine} and the feminine truth {/he Aletheia/ 'the Truth' is grammatically feminine}." (LM, sections 90 & 92)

LM = Emanuel Swedenborg (transl. by David F. Gladish) : Love in Marriage. NY : Swedenborg Fdn.

pp. 314-5 Swedenborg's compromise

"Emanuel Swedenborg was a man perched precariously between two worlds, not only between heaven and hell, but also between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment."

{Swedenborg's compromise was not so much between the Renaissance [viz., Hermetic anti-Christianity] and the so-called "Enlightenment" [comprising various atheistic (and thus non-traditional) movements], as much as between the pagan-oriented Renaissance and the Protestant-and-Catholic Reformation. Therefore, his theology is a mixture of Hellenism and Reformed Christianity (instead of being of mixture of Hellenism and atheism).}

{There have indeed been promoters of amalgams of Hellenism with atheism; but Swedenborg was not among such promoters. (An amalgam of any religion with atheism is likely to be a system of extreme hypocrisy -- such as Mammon-worship --; whereas Swedenborg and the founders of Rosicrucianism were no such extremist hypocrites.)}

pp. 319-21 marriage in Heaven

p. 319

"Soul-mating is not so much for earth as it is for heaven ... . They marry ..., but they pass on and leave their fleshly bodies behind -- ...

p. 320

and these will be released on leaving the body, to be properly united to the true counterpart." (LSW, pp. 161-2)

"In 1862, the New York-based Spiritualist weekly, The Herald of Progress, ran an article written by a Mrs. Jane R. Griffing. Mrs. Griffing ... enumerates ... : first, earth is but the poor simulacrum of heaven, and ... Secondly, ... our marriage laws ... are ...

p. 321

poisoning the life springs of childhood and embittering the whole lives of many noble men and women." (Herald of Progress, May 17, 1862)

p. 320, fn. 18

"for the Spiritualists, earth was a poor copy of heaven. One ... is the on-line Ephemera project, the author of which rightly notes that earth is a second-rate imitation of heaven".

LSW = Carlyle Petersilea : Letters from the Spirit World. Chicago : Progressive Thinker Publ Hse, 1905.

"Ephemera project" = http://web.archive.org/web/20080513154002/http://spirithistory.com/invent.html

p. 321 marriage is accounted as a variety of prostitution {this nomenclature is also used by Socialists}

"The leftist branch of the already leftist Spiritualists advocated the dissolution of marriage altogether as the economic disparity between financially independent men and dependent women resulted in what they argued was a legally sanctioned ... prostitution."

{The "dissolution of marriage" (i.e., outlawing of it), would, of course, result in women's having to support themselves by generally becoming regular prostitutes; in that case, they would be free from being subjugated by a husband (for, prostitutes are always freer than married women).}

[quoted from VWSR, p. 27] "sex radicals ... By referring to marriage as legal prostitution, ... insisted that both groups of women exchanged sexuality for material benefit, but

men held up married women as exemplary, and disparaged the prostitutes they secretly visited."

{Actually, it is not so much the men as the married women who disparage women who are prostitutes (because the prostitutes compete with the married women, not only for the attentions of the men, but also for financial support from the men). Howbeit, unmarried men never disparage prostitutes; and the only occasion when a married man will ever disparage a prostitute is when his wife is very insistent that he do so; so it is the married women that must take the full burthen of guilt for this misdeed.}

VWSR = Amanda Frisken : Victoria Woodhull's Sexual Revolution. Philadelphia : U of PA Pr, 2004.

p. 322 couples-only admission to temples in Heaven

In heaven, the single female "Astrea ... is denied access to heavenly temples of the highest teachings reserved for coupled souls. Astrea explains,

[Letters from Astrea, 35, quoted from STh] In Spiritual Worlds ... there are Temples of Revelation, that no man, no woman, can ... enter independently; each must be accompanied by his or her Soul Mate -- the two making up the One Being, Soul Completeness."

STh = Gary L. Ward (ed.) : Spiritualist Thought. NY : Garland Publ, 1990.

p. 323, fn. 25 life in higher heavens

"the higher up the spheres one goes, ... spirit bodies (usually) become increasingly ephemeral {sic!};

{"Ephemeral" (literally meaning, 'lasting for only a day') is the wrong word to use here; for, the bodies of divine beings are indestructible and aeternal. The correct word would be 'subtle' (or 'refined').}

spirits on the higher echelons are clothed in light and often consume aromas."

{The consumers of aromas are the Gandharva-s}

pp. 322, 324 alleged sphairical shape of a copulating couple in heaven

p. 322

In the Sumposion, "According to the Platonic Aristophanes, the world was once peopled with a race of spherical beings who were so powerful that they challenged the gods. To prevent further trouble, Zeus sliced the spheres".

p. 324

[Letters from Astrea, 65] "in the Celestial Spheres, ages on, the reunited Soul Mates appear as one rounded Glorified Sphere of Light ...;

{According to Bodish doctrine, each single-gendre soul hath, immediately prior to incarnation, a sphairical shape; and when couples are copulating, their souls are transcendentally visible as (for each membre of the couple) a collection of sphaires, which are mutually touching in male-female pairs. [This doctrine is said to be based (unlike the Spiritualist surmises) on actual observations.]}.

but that the distinct individual attributes and elements of each, the male and female, are plainly discerned and manifested ...; and that whenever desirable, they can separate and appear as two distinct individuals, male and female."

pp. 326-8 "free-love" in Spiritualism : "complex marriage" on Earth as it is in Heaven

p. 326

"The contemporaneous Oneida Community, founded by John Humphrey Noyes ..., ... practiced what it called "complex marriage," or the ability to have heterosexual relations with any other adult member of the society. ... The Oneida Community ... expended an extraordinary amount of energy breaking up what they called "exclusive attachments," or the lure of romantic love."

p. 327

Austin "Kent ... felt it in incumbent on himself to explain that in the lower spheres ... two souls are undoubtedly united, but as they progress through the [higher] spheres, non-exclusive love is implemented. ... As one progresses through the higher spheres of spiritual evolution, a heavenly utopia of free love emerges."

[quoted from FL, pp. 30-1] "In this heaven there will be no exclusive marriage, or giving in [exclusive] marriage. But we shall be as the real and higher angels. ... Then will the "will of God be done upon earth as it is in heaven." We shall be as the angels. We have

p. 328

no doubt that exclusive marriage prevails to some extent, in the lower spheres. But we do not call these angels of heaven."

{If the place wherein "exclusive marriage prevails" cannot be called "heaven" nor any abode of "angels", then it is implied that those non-heavenly "lower spheres" must be the place of damnation, namely Hell, the abode of exclusivist Hellion-Fiends.}

FL = Austin Kent : Free Love : or, ... Non-Exclusive ... Connubial Love. Hopkington (NY), 1857.

p. 328 radical-revolutionary unification of Heaven with Earth, and of the dead with the living

"Victoria Woodhull ... was the first woman to run for president of the United States, with no less than Frederick Douglass as her running mate. For two years she served as the president of the National Association of American Spiritualists. ...

In 1871, Victoria Woodhull delivered a speech, "The Elixir of Life," the the Chicago Convention of Spiritualists, in which she told her audience to prepare for the day when

their daughters would be dating the dead. ... Simultaneously, the living would eliminate disease whuich would in turn conquer death. Heaven and earth would be literally united, with the eternal living and the returned dead inhabiting the same millennial topos.

{The reason why the dead neither marry the living, nor partake any any other social affairs of the living, is simply that they redincarnate so rapidly that they have no time to do anything while they are as yet dead. The so-called "Spiritualists", in not recognizing metempsychosis, irresponsibly conjecture impossibilities.}

The key to bringing about the second coming of the spirits was the implementation of free love."

{It is a Kaula doctrine (in India) that ritual sexual intercourse in public among humans can bring about the advent of deities upon Earth; and that such can be attained voluntarily, and assisted by the deities at their advent.}

EL = Victoria Woodhull : The Elixir of Life; or, Why Do We Die? NY, 1873.

pp. 328, 329 Victoria Woodhull & Karl Marx

p. 328

p. 329

"Victoria Woodhull's ... newspaper printed the first translation of Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto and ... he was a congenial pen pal" of hers.

[quoted from EL, p. 16 :] "the spirits are coming back to tear your damned system of sexual slavery into tatters and to consign its blackened remnants to the depths of everlasting hell." {This may sound similar to Karl Marx's denunciation of wage-labor as wage-slavery.}

p. 329 Ya<qob's dream-ladder

[quoted from EL, p. 23] "Then shall we be able to bridge over the gloomy chasm of death, and to build for ourselves a Jacob's latter, reaching from earth to heaven, on which spirits and mortals will be perpetually engaged ascending and descending in unending harmony and felicity."

{Please do note that the sullam ('ladder') of the mal>aki^m ('angels') was viewed by Ya<qob only in his dream. Were the Spirtualists implying that communication with the angels can be done only during dreams? [Of course, there were no souls of the dead on Ya<qob's ladder. >Ob ('necromancy', i.e., communication with souls of the dead) was a different matter.]}


Sexual Mysticisms in ... 19th-Century America

Arthur Versluis

333 to 354

p. 334 John Humphrey Noyes (1811-1886)

"A first cousin to President Rutherford B. Hayes, ... Endorsing William Lloyd Garrison's abolitionism, Noyes also began to endorse "perfectionism," the idea ... often persecuted in Europe -- ... of the Cathar heretics of Provenc,al France, whose highest level was that of the perfecti. ...

Early on, Noyes began to see exclusive wedlock as an unhealthy institution. As he gathered a perfectionist community in Putney, Vermont, he began to publish his views, which scandalized his neighbors and ultimately caused his community to flee to Oneida in 1848. ... The most controversial of Noyes's contentions was his affirmation of "complex marriage"".

pp. 334, 336 books on Noyism

p. 334

Hubbard Eastman : Noyism Revealed. 1848.

p. 336

Richard DeMaria : Communal Love at Oneida. 1978.

Robert Fogarty : Special Love / Special Sex. 1994.

" " : Desire and Duty at Oneida. 2000.

Lawrence Foster (ed.) : Free Love in Utopia. 2001.

Spencer Klaw : Without Sin : ... the Oneida Community. 1993.

pp. 336-9 Thomas Lake Harris

p. 336

"Harris was born in England and emigrated to America in 1828. In 1845, he became a Universalist minister in New York City ... . But shortly thereafter, Harris ... moved to Mountain Cove, Virginia (now in West Virginia), where he lived with a spiritualist community

p. 337

from 1850-1853. ... During the 1850s, Harris wrote didactic spiritual poetry and developed ... a belief in fairies and in inner spiritual marriage to one's "counterpart." His first wife ... died unexpectedly in 1850, and he remarried in 1855 ... . After undergoing a series of profound inner experiences during the 1850s and having developed much of his theology and cosmology, Harris and his wife traveled to England in 1859, where he announced his own esoteric millennialist group called the "Brotherhood of the New Life," intended for the "reorganization of the industrial world." Back in America in 1861, Harris established his group at Brocton, Salem-on-Erie, New York, and another in Fountain Grove, California, where Harris and an inner circle moved in 1875. ...

Harris's early work ... within the Swedenborgian ambience of the 1850s ... presented himself as the successor to Swedenborg. The idea of such a succession had a background ... among the liberal Swedenborgians, such as Prof. George Bush of New York University ... . [P&P, p. 22] Thus, in ... The Song of Satan (1860), Harris claimed to have received the direct visionary blessing of Swedenborg himself ... . ...

p. 338

At the end of his life, early in the twentieth century and nearly fifty years later, we find him ... in visionary realms, while ... regarding himself as the "pivotal man" in the world ... . But already in the 1850s we find Harris writing about "internal respiration" (a concept derived from Swedenborg), about the existence of "fays" or faeries, and about the spiritual importance of male-female "counterparts" ... . ... Harris later began to insist that the individual [human male] in a divine marriage is linked not with an earthly counterpart, but with the "Lily Queen" of heaven. This term is derived from Bo:hme's prophecies about a coming Lilienzeit, or time

p. 339

of the lily, and from the Bo:hmean tradition of the soul's marriage to Sophia, or Divine Wisdom." {The "Lily Queen" as the bride of Th. L. Harris is described in, e.g., his Lyric of the Morning Land ("SA", p. 215).}

P&P = Herbert Schneider & George Lawton : A Prophet and a Pilgrim : ... Thomas Lake Harris and Laurence Oliphant .. . NY : Columbia U Pr, 1942.

"SA" = "The Spirits in America". THE SPIRITUAL MAGAZINE, N.S., vol. IX (London, 1874). http://books.google.com/books?id=mfoDAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA215&lpg=PA215&dq=

p. 339 spirit-inspiration-influx, and its various bodily sites (NEW JERUSALEM MESSENGER [now NEW CHURCH MESSENGER], II:108; I:349)

"Speeches are given by influx [of divine inspiration]. To those whose interiors [souls] are quickened, this influx is both visible and sensible."

When __ ,

the influx is through the __ .

"intelligence and faith are treated of"

"left temple"

"love to the Lord and His Kingdom"

"top of the head"

"the Word is illuminated"


"filled with the Holy Ghost"

"back of the head and neck,

opening inner sight"

p. 339 the Philadelphians

"Harris's English follower W. P. Swainson remarked ... in his book on Harris's occult teachings ... there are parallels between Harris's teachings and some aspects of the Philadelphians' works." (ThLH&OT, pp. 64 sq)

ThLH&OT = W. P. Swainson : Thomas Lake Harris and His Occult Teaching. London : Rider, 1922.

pp. 339-40 books authored by Th. L. Harris

p. 339

The Millennial Age. 1860. (extemporaneous lectures)

The Breath of God with Man. 1867. (on "universal religion")

p. 340

The Golden Child. 1878. (chronicle of California community)

p. 340 "Harris has also left us ... a significant body of unpublished material."

pp. 340-1 sexual relationship with one's divine countrepart

p. 340

"Harris's doctrine of counterparts states that each individual, male or female, has a counterpart of the other gender. It is rare for both counterparts to

p. 341

be incarnated and married; in general, one's counterpart is a spiritual being. Hence one comes to know one's counterpart through an inner revelatory process".

p. 341, fn. 17

[quoted from "The Children of the Hymen" in THE HERALD OF LIGHT, 2:307 (explaining why among humans, married couples who are not ideal soul-mates are usual)] "the opposition between the Heavenly and the earthly life is so great that were those who were destined to be thus conjoined in the celestial nuptials externally {i.e., in the material-body} united, the strife between externals and internals {i.e., in the soul} would be ... fearful."

p. 342 assistance from fay (fae:ry)

"Harris is suggesting that a man and a woman play important roles in spiritual awakening for one another. ... Following this discipline ... can lead the husband and wife into a "crowning with the crown of life." ... Harris writes about a process of inward "new creation," though ... Harris's

new creation comes about through a process of male-female joint inner transformation, aided by "fays" or inner spirits."

{likewise in Taoist cosmological meditation}

p. 343 Harris's travels (in the subtle-body) to other planets

"Harris's accounts include visiting the spiritual inhabitants of planets like Saturn or Venus, as well as the Sun. This is an established current that we also see later in the Sympneumata of Laurence Oliphant, Harris's erstwhile student. When, in 1922, Harris's English follower W. P. Swainson wrote ... Thomas Lake Harris and His Occult Teaching, he began with a few chapters devoted to Harris's ... visionary journeys to various planets and continued by offering a lucid and concise description of Harris's accounts "of the conditions of life on ..." ... Venus, Mars, Jupiter, the other planets, and even distant suns ... inhabited by peoples with their own civilizations".

p. 343 Th. L. Harris's cosmic interventions

"What distinguishes Harris's visionary experiences is the pivotal role that he himself plays in the invisible worlds or dimensions. He was often referred to my his disciples as the "Primate," sometimes as the "Faithful," or even "Primate Pivotal Twain-in-One"; and he described himself as "the pivot." ...

{The title "Pivot" is Taoist; but probably the immediate source of Harris's title "pivot" for himself is the S.ufi term /Qut.b/ ('Pole', but designating the caelestial pole whereon the sky is seen to pivot).}

He consistently believed himself to intervene not only in local or regional metaphysical dimensions, but also on a national and international as well as cosmic scale."

{Similar accounts are told of the founders of the Aetherius Society and of the Unarius Society.}

"There are parallels with Gichtel and (to a lesser extent) with Pordage, as well as with, more recently, the magical order of Dion Fortune or the writings of Kyriacos Markides about the Magus of Strovolos."

pp. 344-6 vibratory bodily sensations, occasioned by one's spirit-countrepart

p. 344

"Quite direct and revealing is a narrative called "A Sister in the New Life," from Letters written by an anonymous young woman who came to the Harris community in 1881. This gives a very lucid portrait of ... her inner experiences ... . The letters ... exist in a number of versions with titles like "From a Lady in San Francisco to a Friend in England." The narrative begins almost immediately with descriptions of unusual inner sensations and phenomena. She writes of a peculiar vibrating sensation in her arms, which gradually extended throughout her body."

[quoted from P&P, p. 511] "The first time that it came into my body, that is the trunk, it seemed to enter through the generative organs, and with it came the thought, this is like sexual intercourse".

"The next day (17 May 1881), she felt as if "little wings" were moving in her breast, along with ... a sense of joy. ...

Already by May 23, she felt her counterpart within her, referring to him as her inner husband ... .

p. 345

Both the author[ess] and her sister ... when the vibrations began ... gripped one another in order to feel what was going on, "and she can feel something like electricity almost." [P&P, p. 515]

She later writes (5 June 1881) how "very strange"was the feeling of her counterpart, which began with "a strange sensation in my arms," "gradually extending all over." [P&P, p. 523] This was a "delightful" sensation, yet ...

I feel at times as if I could not endure it. ... The breathing, the circulation, rushing, flutterings, turnings ..., make me never free from a consciousness of my body all the time.

Needless to say, all of this gave her ... a sense of "ecstasy" and of dissolving into an invisible other. [P&P, p. 524]

She felt a movement in her "bowels" or womb, and at times her spine seemed to vanish. [P&P, p. 531]

She feels, by December 3, "currents of life flowing into me continually ... .""

pp. 345-6 spirit-possession by "fays"; hearing the still, small voices of a fay-couple

p. 345

"Harris's doctrines included a belief in faeries ... . ... Harris acted as a medium for "fairies," ... "talk ... answer[ing] all sorts of questions in the loveliest soft lisping notes ... ." [P&P, p. 531]

The sister's account includes numerous references to small voices and to beautiful little people, who sing little refrains within her ... ." [P&P, p. 521]

p. 346

[quoted from P&P, p. 525] "They told me about the fays ...; how at first a little "Two-in-one" would move into a person's breast as soon as they could find entrance ...;

{This expression "Two-in-one" would mean 'couple of copulating fae:ries'.}

and then little baby fays would be born. The fays have many babies ..., till at last the whole being {body}, to the very extremities of fingers and toes, is all a fairy universe, a universe of loveliness."

pp. 346-7 a Druz s`ayh^ is instructed; continuation of a marriage beyond death

p. 346

"In the middle of the second volume [of Oliphant's novel Masollam (1886)], Santalba gives the following teachings [concerning his own dead wife] to a Druze shaikh ... . Santalba tells the shaikh that

{Indeed, the Druz (who accept the Platonic docrine of metempsychosis) would consider it superfluous to wish to maintain any communication with souls of the dead (communication with whom might interfere with that soul's process of metempsychosis).}

p. 347

... She who was my associate on earth, and who has passed into higher conditions, is not prevented thereby from co-operating with me ... due to the fact that ... we had ... arrived at a consummation, whereby an internal and imperishable tie had been created".


ARIES BOOK SERIES, Vol. 7 = Wouter J. Hanegraaf & Jeffrey J. Kripal (edd.) : Hidden Intercourse : eros and sexuality in the history of Western esotericism. Brill, Leiden, 2008.