Among natural ecstasies wherein we experience the divine can be love making. Highly acclaimed author Ocean Vuong, in his recent and powerful first novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, has his principle character say: “The closest I’ve ever come to god is the calm that filled me after orgasm.” (p. 185)
Poet Bill Everson puts it this way in his poem “River Root” which is meant to be a contemporary take of the “Song of Songs” poem from the Wisdom Literature of the Hebrew Bible.
“In that union
Wholeness, the core of Godhead, dawns.
For God grows in them. In the sacramental oneness
Presence flows and possesses; in the unsearchable
Deeps of that contemplation
Spirit abides; they know the wholeness of spirit.
Its mystical knowledge moves into union,
Makes a rapture within, and they worship.
They gaze in worship on the deep God-presence each wakes in the other,
And night contains them.
For over the bed
Spirit hovers, and in their flesh
Spirit exults, and at the tips of their fingers
An angelic rejoicing, and where the phallos
Dips in the woman, in the flow of the woman on the phallos-shaft,
The dark God listens.”
Everson’s poem celebrates human love making as a theophany, not unlike the Song of Songs or the temples of India that honor the mystical dimension to sexuality. A “sacramental oneness” is at stake, Spirit abides, contemplation occurs, worship is elicited, and the God-presence is awakened. “The dark God listens,” angels rejoice, and “Spirit hovers and exults” during intercourse. Most lovemaking takes place in the dark, in the world of the apophatic, or dark, Divinity. But the withinness of a woman receiving a man’s love is another space where Divinity dwells in the dark.
“For the phallus is holy
And holy is the womb: the holy phallus
In the sacred womb. And they melt.
And flowing they merge the incarnational join
Oned with the Christ. The oneness of each
Ones them with God.”
Do you believe that the phallus and the womb are “holy”? Do you know anyone who’s taught that? Is that something you have learned on your own? Are you still learning it?
In our culture, this understanding of sexuality is not easy to find. Yet in theological language, according to Everson, this is the very meaning of “incarnational” and being “oned with the Christ.” Incarnation means “to be made flesh,” and we rediscover the holiness of flesh and the holiness of lovemaking in this poem. The lovers are “oned with the Christ” and oned with God because that is what love and lovemaking do.
From Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations, pp. 188-189.
See also David F. Granville, The Song of Songs: A Choral Production, Forward by Matthew Fox, (Oakland, Ca: Friends of Creation Spirituality, 1987).
Banner Image: “Couple in Love” Photo by Lightfield Studios, Adobe Stock
For Deeper Contemplation
Meditate on the holiness of the womb and of the phallus. Do you regard them as holy?
Have you experienced a oneing with God or the Cosmic Christ in the natural ecstasy of love making?
The 365 writings in Christian Mystics represent a wide-ranging sampling of these readings for modern-day seekers of all faiths — or no faith. The visionaries quoted range from Julian of Norwich to Martin Luther King, Jr., from Thomas Merton to Dorothee Soelle and Thomas Berry.