Mythology, Menstruation and the Land of Milk and Honey

By André Zsigmond

The Promised Land?

A prisoner of conscience at the age of 18 - escaping from communist Hungary in 1981 - searching for the “truth”, I immersed myself in religious studies in England. During communism the study of religion and the Scriptures  was actively discouraged - it seemed ‘obvious’ therefore that they would have all the answers. Needless to say, the Bible only raised even more questions.

I first became aware of the personal, cultural and religious significance of menstruation during my post-graduate research of the origins of male circumcision. Among other theories, the term “menstruation envy” – men’s desire to equal and imitate menstruation, creating parallel menstrual rituals - were suggested in studies of different cultures all over the world. (But this is a theme for another article.)

This revelation was the opening to me to search for, and discover the Goddess.

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Rape, Murder and Misogyny – The Real Revelations of the Kama Sutra

by André Zsigmond

The Kama Sutra, Tantric Goddess Worship and the Song of Songs – a Comparison

"Song of Songs", Claudio Pastro, Virgin's Monastery, (Benedictine Nuns), Petropolis, BrazilLooking at the latest illustrated colour edition of the Kama Sutra one could be forgiven for thinking that that this book is one of the greatest erotic masterpieces ever written. The title of another edition, “Kama Sutra: Aphorisms of Love”, suggests that the Kama Sutra is meant to educate, enhance and expand the sex life of men and women, implying that its philosophy combines sexuality and intimacy with the quest for fulfilment of mind, body and soul.

The media has effectively made the Kama Sutra a widely-accepted byword, and the term itself is often used interchangeably with ‘Tantra’. People take this book as a comprehensive sexual manual, the true path to tantric pleasure. The various sex positions in Part Two are promoted for its forward-looking, sex-positive attitudes to women. Consequently, the Kama Sutra is seen as an empowering tool for women to use.

But how many people have looked at the actual text? Those who start reading Part One of the book would certainly realise that the Kama Sutra will never be mistaken for a feminist manifesto: Continue reading "Rape, Murder and Misogyny – The Real Revelations of the Kama Sutra"

Ancient Tantric Goddess Worship – Past and Present

by André Zsigmond

Sarasvati - Raja Ravi Varma“Woman is the Creator of the Universe, the Universe is her form.
Woman is the foundation of the world....
There is no prayer equal to a woman,
There is not, nor has been, nor will be any yoga to compare with a woman,
no mystical formula nor asceticism to match a woman”
(Shakti-Sangama Tantra II.52)

Hindu Goddesses – Indian women

Vasant Panchami is the Hindu festival that marks the end of the winter in India and ushers in the spring. Young girls wear bright yellow dresses and participate in the festivities. The colour yellow holds a special meaning for this celebration as it signifies the brilliance of nature and the vibrancy of life.

The celebration of Vasant Panchami is centred around the Hindu goddess Sarasvati.  She is the goddess of wisdom. She embodies the different facets of learning, such as the sciences, arts, crafts and skills. The symbols of learning - pens, notebooks, and pencils are placed near the goddess' feet to be blessed before they are used by students. On the first day of spring, India celebrates Sarasvati, the goddess of arts, music and knowledge, who was born on this day. Continue reading "Ancient Tantric Goddess Worship – Past and Present"

Desire for Enlightenment and the Feminine in Early Buddhist Myth

by André Zsigmond

Om Mani Padme Hum - Hail, the Jewel in the Lotus

The immaculate conception of BuddhaSolomon’s Song of Songs in the Hebrew Bible has a rich, sensuous and erotic imagery that has been the subject of various allegorical interpretations, chiefly as relating to God's love for Israel, or Christ's love for the Church.

In fact, the poem is what it seems - an unashamed celebration of the feminine: erotic sexual love, both human and divine, rooted in the fertility religions of the ancient Near East, the sacred marriage rite. Janie “Oquawka” Rezner’s article: The Journey of the Soul into the Mother, in the Spring 2009 issue of this journal, looks at the dismissive comments made by the Dalai Lama on sexual love and reminded me of parallels in Buddhist religious doctrine and interpretation.

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Mythology, Menstruation and the “Woman with the Issue of Blood”

By André Zsigmond

The Good News

Fresh figsConcern from the Vatican about environmental issues has been in the news lately. The ‘seven deadly sins’ have been updated to include environmental pollution and during his American visit the Pope repeatedly spoke of his concerns about damage to the environment. In July, on his Australian tour, “his holiness” recycled his speech on this topic once more.

I am a little reluctant to welcome these comments from the Catholic Church, particularly as in the Bible the best publicised environmental vandalism - the deliberate and senseless destruction of a wild fig tree - was in fact perpetrated by Jesus himself. This is how authors of the Good Book report it in the Gospel of Mark (11;12-21):

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