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If you think my title slug for this one is a tad weird (I hope you get Mastercard flashbacks), you can easily see where I got it by looking for those phrases, which stochastically emerge from the lower left-of-center portion of the above graphic like delicious found art. That would be, obviously, Aldous Huxley and -- not so obviously -- Richard Price.
The graphic itself was generated using Wordle, a cool little web app I've been having lots of fun with. I seeded it with a bunch of random grafs grabbed from this University of Chicago Press excerpt of Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion by Jeffrey J. Kripal. I was going to call this post "Mystical Queers on Dope," but thought it might give offense to Tupak Okra, who, incidentally, blurbs the book as "stunning." (We've had our differences over the years, but I've always thought him a snappy dresser.)
More seriously, my inclination to use such a scurrilous title slug was influenced to large degree by passages like the following (which you can go read in greater detail).
...[Gerald] Heard, like his fellow British expatriate and brother Vedantist, Christopher Isherwood, was quite clear about his homosexuality. In other words, two of the three British expatriates (Huxley, Heard, and Isherwood) were self-described homosexuals, even if they chose to express this sexual-spiritual orientation in very different ways. Isherwood wrote openly about his own active homosexuality, his (failed) attempts at celibacy, and his sexuality’s defining effect on his devotional relationship to the tradition’s founding saint, Sri Ramakrishna, who he suspected (correctly) was also homoerotic in both his spiritual and sexual orientations.So Ramakrishna was gay, big deal. Perhaps a good deal bigger deal, however, was his apparent predilection for prepubescent boys, the correct term for which is pedophilia. The same author writes elsewhere (Kali's Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna, p. 163):
In other words, the visions and acts speak once again of Kali astride Siva, arousing his penis into an erect acknowledgment of her erotic dominance.Well, OK. So far so good. For who amongst us, of whatever gender preference, has never wanted to give Kali a good sound fucking? But then...
Ramakrishna laughs as he plays with a paramahamsa boy's penis, worships the penises of young boys in a Tantric state, teases a pearl out of the erect phallus of Siva, and plays naked in a dream vision with a fourteen-year-old boy, whom he wants to kiss and embrace in his waking life. He has become the goddess. He is a scandal.Bottom line, Kripal writes, "Ramakrishna's worship of the boys' penises was something he could not stop."
Evidently, some debate and hard feelings were engendered by all this. Oh dear. Jeffrey Kripal here defends himself at length against various charges.
Ah... well, I seem to have gotten rather off-track with this post somehow. Personally, I couldn't care less about any of the foregoing except inasmuch as it serves to further ground my fundamental premise, to wit: that all these people were total FREAKS and should be approached as one would a mad dog, which is to say, with all due caution and a working sense of humor as to life's not-so-little ironies.
For Extra Credit: The following pull-quote (so to speak) is from EnlightenNext magazine's recent Sex issue, specifically from the article titled Their Stroke of Insight. Are we seeing a trend developing here? If so, it's quite clever. While many people react negatively to spiritual cultists, who, in these thoroughly enlightened times would dare to diss a coven of numinous lovelies stroking each other off? As House says in a recent episode: "Another life saved by girl-on-girl action." Look for more such "Tantric" marketing coming soon to a future near you!
Gives a whole new meaning to this one. OM, Jeeves!