Note: a corrected, edited, and annotated version of this work is included in the new book, Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic: The Essential Ida Craddock by Vere Chappell.
By Ida Craddock
Marital union takes place on three planes - body, mentality and spirit. In the perfect union, the amount of energy expended on any one plane is in exact equation with that expended on either of the others. But when the reverse occurs, the union is imperfect; and when the inequality is marked, the union has no claim to be called true wedlock.
Thus, when the energy expended upon bodily union is greatly in excess of that expended upon the mental and spiritual planes, it is called lust, and right-thinking people turn from it with a shudder.
When intellectual and artistic tastes are the chief basis of union between man and woman,we have a partnership in which mentality is in excess. Such unions are usually helpful and bettering, for the two are then intellectual and artistic comrades. But if, as is too often the case, the body be ignored or despised, it is not wedlock, but Platonic friendship which really unites the two.
Union upon the plane of spirit in excess of either body or mentality is perhaps very rare. Like mental union per se, it has its peculiar raptures; but no mood of spiritual ecstasy can be permanently helpful if it fail to translate its raptures into an expression of energy upon the mental and bodily planes.
It is to suggest the duties and the joys of union in an exact equation upon all three planes that this little essay on Psychic Wedlock has been written.
There is a great deal of misapprehension today, among intelligent and refined people, regarding the relation which should exist between husband and wife. Sex union upon the bodily plane is too often deprecated as a concession to a degrading appetite; those who thus deprecate it tacitly following in the footsteps of St. Paul, who advised marriage as an outlet for uncontrollable passion, saying, "It is better to marry than to burn." The early Christian fathers almost universally chorused this idea, insisting that that perpetual virginity in man and woman is the state which those should seek who wish to live the ideal life. Marriage was looked upon as impure; and the idea crops up in the Church and among the laity for several centuries, and is bearing fruit today in our social and religious customs. Christianity, so far as the writer is aware, is the only religion in the whole world which fails to give some teaching to its young people concerning their sex capacities and duties, so as to prepare them for the sacredness of the marital union. From whom, let us ask, do the prospective fathers of the race acquire their knowledge of sex powers? Usually from prostitutes, from gross-minded schoolboys, or from depraved men of the world. From who do the prospective mothers of the race acquire their knowledge? Perhaps, at most, from French novels, or in the unhealthy atmosphere of girls' boarding schools, or from married women scarcely less ignorant than themselves. But usually their knowledge is acquired from the aforesaid prospective fathers, upon the wedding night. Can we wonder that the offspring from such parents tend more and more, as successive generations are born, to differentiate into two widely opposing types - on the one hand, the ascetic and prude, who loathe the body as impure in all its sex relations, and on the other hand, the carnal-minded man or woman, whose thoughts about marital union relate chiefly to the body?
It is the prudish silence of the Christian churches and of those whom they influence, which we in Christian lands have largely to thank for the marital unhappiness in our midst
In savage tribes today, however ignorant, and in the old days of Paganism at its best - before Paganism had sunk into refined sensuality - we find a very different state of affairs. We find the dignity and holiness of the sex relation upheld by symbol and rite, by mythic tales an sacred dances. We find the medicine-man instructing young men and maidens in the marital duties which they are about to assume - crudely, indeed, but with a mingled frankness and reverence for sex mysteries which we today should be a purer-minded people for imitating.
The ancient medicine-man has disappeared in civilized lands, having split up into three beings: the priest, the physician and the schoolteacher. But the old wisdom still survives in out-of-the-way places, and can be restored by the learned. And our wise men possess what the ancient Pagans and the modern savages did not and do not - a detailed knowledge of embryology, of many laws of sex physiology, and of certain aspects of psychology. Why should not the modern heirs of the old medicine-man - the priest, the physician and the schoolteacher - resume the position which is naturally theirs, of instructors of the young in that which all need to know who are likely to enter the marital relation?
The times are ripe for such a movement. People on all sides are eagerly seeking knowledge which shall lead them up, and not down, in sex matters. Will the churches, the medical fraternity and our academies of learning continue to neglect their duty?
Let us hope that all three will erelong awake to the vital necessity for some organized and systematic teaching to the people upon sex - teaching which shall treat frankly of those physiological matters which are expunged from our school-books; teaching which shall set forth in its true light the hygienic value of sex union for every normally constituted man and woman; which shall show the moral obliquity of those who, whether legally married or not, create children by accident, and not by intention; which shall insist upon the sacredness of the wife's person; which shall uphold the duty of union in self-control and aspiration to the highest, and which shall not blush to frankly add that such self-control and aspiration will result in increased pleasure to both husband and wife. Last, but not least, let us have teaching which shows how the path to that ideal life which we all of us hope and mean to live lies through the senses to the Highest whom we variously term God, the Unknowable, the Ideal, Unconscious Energy, Law, Force, etc.
Meanwhile, however, since our natural teachers, the physician, the priest and the schoolteacher, remain silent on this vital question, we of the laity must do what we can to enlighten each other. And the present essay on Psychic Wedlock is an attempt to do this, in a small way. Such truth as I have discovered, I desire to share with my fellow-beings, hoping that they will add thereto, and pass our joint knowledge along to others.
It will be observed that this essay treats of three Degrees of initiation into psychic wedlock. These three Degrees seem to be found up with the inner mysteries of pagan religions everywhere; but the Second and Third Degrees in special appear to have been jealously hidden from the people, and to have been imparted only to those who had passed certain ordeals, and had thereby proved themselves worthy. These things were also bound up with Borderland occultism under certain aspects. In ancient times, the people had not the public school; they were more ignorant of the natural sciences than is the merest schoolboy of today; so that there was a good reason then for keeping advanced sex mysteries carefully hidden from the masses. Moreover, the science of psychology (which we may here use as a convenient term to include all effects of mind upon mind) was then in its infancy. What Dr. Carl du Prel terms "the displacement of the psycho-physical threshold of sensibility" through dreams, hypnotism, drugs, insanity, anger, strong emotion, etc., was in those days studied and understood only by the learned few, mainly the priests. The latter produced the "temple sleep" (nowadays known as the hypnotic sleep) in which the inner sensibilities of the hypnotized subject, exalted to an unusual degree, brought about remarkable results in prophecy, medical prescriptions, clairvoyance, telepathy, etc. Today, however, the science of hypnotism is exploited in medical and lay journals, so that any nonprofessional reader may inform himself of its wonders in detail; and the Society for Psychical Research has carefully collated hundreds of well-attested cases of thought-transference which indicate that the faculty of telepathy is a common property of humanity.
But even today, the realm of psychology contains vast unexplored tracts.
One of these as yet unexplored tracts is the psychic effect of mind upon mind during the marital union. People who would shrink from drugging themselves with liquor or opium, and who hold that yielding to so-called "spirit mediumship" is dangerous, will, nevertheless, recklessly abandon their self-control during the sex ecstasy. It is well established that a child conceived when the father is drunk will be mentally unbalanced, usually to the borders of idiocy. If intoxication - i.e., lack of self-control - at the moment of conception be produced by other means than by alcohol, is it likely that the resulting offspring will not be tainted thereby?
Now, the keepers of the ancient mysteries probably did not know what we in modern days know about physiology, embryology, and similar ologies. But they seem to have learned sufficient to realize the importance of never displacing the psycho-physiological threshold of sensibility during the sex union, except in a state of absolute self-control. And the acquirement of this self-control appears to have constituted the Second Degree in initiation. But because it puts the begetting or non-begetting of children entirely within the power of the parents, and because it intensifies the delight of wedlock, they probably feared that it would be a dangerous knowledge to place within reach of any but a worthy initiate. Hence it was and still is jealously guarded from the general public. But inasmuch as we of the nineteenth century live in an ear of almost universal education, it would seem as though the time had come when this Second Degree, and also the Third and Final Degree, may be more widely imparted.
The following are the three Degrees treated of in this essay:
To those who wish to train themselves in these three Degrees, I would say: Self-control is the keynote. And in order that self-control may be acquired with as few setbacks as possible, I strongly urge that all liquor, tea, coffee, tobacco, opium or other narcotics be dispensed with from the first moment of entrance upon the training until the final acquisition of initiateship in the Third Degree. These things, one and all, displace the psycho-physical threshold of sensibility, each after its own fashion; so, also, does the emotion evoked during the sex ecstasy; and it seems foolish to wantonly increase the ordeal through which one must pass in acquiring the marital self-control of the Second Degree.
Another point which is of the highest importance in the preliminary training of the would-be initiate is, that he or she shall learn to look upon the human form as divine with emotions which never degrade, but which always seek to idealize their object. Whatever the neophyte's opinion as to the wisdom or unwisdom of the nude in art, he must acquire the habit of viewing the human form, wherever and however he lights upon it, with chaste emotions, and without agitation. Until he can do this, he is not worthy to enter upon even the First Degree.
He must also acquire the ability - if he does not already possess it - of hearing sex physiology discussed without undue agitation, and of discussing it himself upon a high plane. In short, he should strive to become master of his emotions, as a necessary preparation for entrance upon the First Degree.
But asceticism should never be an ultimate aim. It is useful only as furnishing a gateway to higher, purer, more refined and more spiritual, as well as more enduring, sense-pleasures.
If we would conquer a fractious horse, do we do so by felling him to the earth? By no means. We control him by the bridle, and by gentleness; or again, we apply whip or spur, being careful to hold a tight rein; and at last we can guide him at our will. To kill him or even to stun him is not to truly master him. And to crush the sex nature out of existence is not to truly master it, either. We can bring our sex powers under our control only by applying similar methods to those which we should adopt with a high-spirited, full-blooded horse. Sex desire is nothing to be ashamed of; it is something to rejoice in, provided it be governed as absolutely as we govern an impetuous horse, allowing it to do nothing but what our higher self wills it to do.
And oh, the joy, the joy of self-control! Only they who have thus conquered can understand!
THE INDIVIDUAL & THE UNIVERSE
To appreciate the highest aspect of psychical wedlock, and therefore of the inferior degrees which have the Third Degree as their goal, it is necessary to frame some philosophical conception of the relations existing between the individual and the universe. This conception should be one upon which Christian and non-Christian, Atheist and Theist, can agree.
To seek to measure the infinite by the finite is, of course, absurd; but to deduce from the finite some of the laws of the infinite - i.e., from the known, a partial knowledge of the laws of the unknown of which that known forms a part - is both logical and satisfying.
The following conception will, I think, be found to have at least the
merit of simplicity:
Every act of the individual is an ex-pression (something pressed out) from the inner to the outer. The process consists of three stages. Let us say that a man
Clear-headedness, therefore, is of the greatest possible importance. Our mentality must be kept clear and unclouded, if what we may term "the thinker" within us is to have its orders correctly transmitted to our bodily selves. We may view the mentality which intervenes between the thinker within and the body without as an atmosphere through which rays of light stream from the inward self to the outer body. When the atmosphere is clear and colorless, the rays reach the destination unaltered. When it is colored by prejudice or clouded by ignorance or dislike of anything or anybody, they likewise become colored, or they are distorted, refracted, or almost entirely swallowed up in the mist, so that the few glimmerings which reach our intellect (that side of mentality which blends with the body) can but mislead. Were our inward conceptions conveyed to our intellects through an atmosphere of absolutely unclouded, unprejudiced and loving mentality, our outward lives would be godlike, for the thinker within each of us is godlike, and in truth desires to realize only the highest ideal.
What if we imagine all humanity as laid side by side to match, so as to
form one continuous body, one continuous mentality, one continuous
inward self? We might represent this blending of humanity as taking
place in a circle, thus:
In this imaginary representation of humanity, each human being is a sector of the circle, and at the apexes of the sectors, where each of us is the godlike thinker, the blending must of necessity be perfect, however imperfect the blending and sharply defined the sectors may be on the mental and bodily planes. At the center of this imaginary circle, where our godlike selves join those of our fellow-creatures, we are blended into one godlike spirit which is really the directing spirit of humanity - its Great "Thinker," so to say.
If in this circle we include each living creature, whether plant or animal, we blend upon the "Thinker" plane with the egos or inward selves of all animate nature. And, what with the recent theories of "fatigue in metals," "chemical affinities of atoms," and "sex in minerals," it would perhaps not be unwarranted to include inanimate nature in our representation of the circle and sectors. If the members of the mineral kingdom have no life (as we understand life), at all events they are the result of law, and appear to be the expression of that law, so that it would seem as though they also should be included as sectors in our circle.
This circle, it will be seen, images the universe, not as a kingdom, with the Deity as a king who distributes his favors with the partiality and favoritism of an Oriental monarch; but as a republic, in which each sector, however tiny, has a vote in the General Council which directs the entire universe. In Scripture, indeed, we are told that God not only made man in His own image, but also that he breathed his breath into man in order to make man a living soul. In Scripture we are also told that we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; and Jesus himself, in the Sermon on the Mount, exhorts us to be perfect, even as our Heavenly Father is perfect.
So that, from a Christian as well as from a philosophical standpoint, we may consider ourselves as like unto God, and one with Him in spirit. Within ourselves, at the apexes of our sectors, each of us is Creator, for there we are one with Him; there also are we love, wisdom, power, and can create our outward lives as we will - provided that we keep our mentality clear and unclouded for the transmission of the godlike ideal of the spirit into the bodily life.
In the circle, not only is each sector the equal of every other sector
before the law; but each of the three planes has its part to play in
the perfect whole, and is therefore of equal importance with the other
two. It is true that, in the carrying out of a conception,the order is:
Let us apply this philosophy to the marital relation. Where the three planes of body, mentality and spirit are in fairly harmonious adjustment, as they are in all normally constituted people who seek to live aright, the bodily sex relation with another sector and the spiritual sexual relation with that sector interact upon one another through mentality, for the good of the two creatures and the happiness of the entire universe. For, remembering that each of us is part of the Great Thinker at the apex of our individual sector, it will be seen that vibrations set up in our bodily life, and transmitted through mentality to our apex of spirit, must affect the universe on all sides.
But only the initiate of the First and Second Degrees in marital union can appreciate and act upon the suggestive and far-reaching conception of the relation of the individual to the universe, and of the universe to the individual.
Sex union forbidden,
except for the express purpose
of creating a child.
In married life of the usual type, children are brought into the world with a strange recklessness. The Bible command, "Be fruitful and multiply," has been twisted into a sanction for immoderate sex union. So far as can be learned, men appear to be here the chief trespassers upon the privileges of the matrimonial state. But if men are the aggressors, their wives are too often accessories before the fact, in that they yield their bodies to marital excess without a murmur, inwardly assuring themselves that they by so doing they are obeying God's behest to be dutiful wives.
I recall a charming woman, whose husband is intelligent, refined and thoroughly devoted to his wife. Both are devout Christians, both abhor drunkenness, and are living lives of purity and aspiration so far as an outsider can see. Yet this happily married wife, when discussing with me certain aspects of the marital relation, remarked, incidentally, "For my part, on going to bed at night I am usually very thankful when my husband doesn't want me, and I can go quietly to sleep."
"When my husband doesn't want me." Why should he ever approach her, unless she wants him? It is not the man, but the woman, who must be the best judge of when union is desirable; and for her to yield to a husband's solicitations when she does not desire union, is a fraud upon him, since he finds only a corpse or a hypocrite in the place of a sincerely loving and tender marital partner. Moreover, it encourages him to think that, no matter what his wife desires, she is quite willing to serve at any time as a convenience for his lust; so that she confirms him in his selfishness, and degrades herself from the position of priestess in a sacred mystery, to become a mere cuspidor.
A cultivated Philadelphia lady, who lost her money and took up the
profession of nursing for her livelihood, tells the following:
She was attending a young wife in her first confinement. The patient had been greatly lacerated in delivery. On the second day after delivery, while the nurse was attending to the baby, the husband entered, and requested the nurse to leave the room. "For God's sake, nurse, don't leave me!" exclaimed the sick woman. But a look from the husband caused the nurse to obey him, nevertheless. Shortly after, she heard her patient scream, "Oh, he'll murder me!" Whereupon the nurse rushed in and found the husband in the act of committing a rape upon his wife. The nurse seized his arm, and endeavored to pull him away; but he did not yield until he was ready, when he allowed himself, sullenly, to be led from the room, covered with blood. The wife meanwhile had fainted. When she recovered, she cried, "Oh God, would that my baby girl and I would die! That man promised on our wedding-day to honor, love and protect me; but every night since then he has used my poor body!"
This is doubtless an extreme case; but the wife who allows her husband to approach her whenever he wishes, regardless of her own desires, is the first term in a downward series of which this unfortunate woman is, alas, not the last, as many a physician can testify.
In Pagan lands and among the Jews, there are five days out of every twenty-eight, when the woman is forbidden to the man; and those who violate this taboo period are looked on as lawbreakers. Lore and religion alike memorialize the abhorrence in which the violator of this taboo period is held, everywhere but in Christian lands. If the reader objects that no educated or refined man would fail to respect the five-day taboo period, let him inquire about this of some reputable physician with whom he is intimate, when he will learn how sadly numerous in our midst are the husbands who respect no physical condition and no night of the month. Modern researchers have shown the impressionability of the embryo child during gestation. Napoleon the Great owed his remarkable military genius to the fact that, prior to his birth, his mother accompanied her husband through a military campaign.
If the coming child be so impressionable during the nine months of gestation, it surely behooves every conscientious parent to see to it that no abandonment to passion shall occur during that period to stamp the embryo, even for one moment, with lack of self-control. And, on the other hand, it would seem as though every act of mutual considerateness and every tender caress between husband and wife at that time must bear its part in making their coming child self-controlled, sweet-tempered and affectionate.
But not only should the nine months of gestation be free from the abandonment of sex-passion. So, also, according to some authorities, should the nine months or thereabouts devoted to lactation. The child that is suckling is a drain upon its mother's strength, and it is cruel, at least to the child, even should the mother desire it, to draw further upon her nervous energies at that time, and to probably render the milk feverish, by abandonment to sex passion. Among so inferior a people as the Zulus and Kaffirs, the wife's person is held sacred by the husband, not only during gestation, but also during lactation. It is true that these people have more than one wife. That is their way of dealing with this question. But will it be pretended that a civilized, high-minded white man cannot get along during his wife's pregnancy and lactation without indulgence, and that he must choose among polygamy, association with harlots, or violation of the person of a pregnant or nursing wife? If so, he should be prohibited by law from ever creating a child, since he cannot become a father without afterward committing a crime.
Some sex reformers hold that the creation of a child should not occur oftener than once in three years, inasmuch as a little child is entitled to the mother's personal care during its infancy - a care which is interfered with when the mother is passing through the delicate condition of pregnancy.
At all events it cannot be denied that, were fewer children born in a family, those who are born would be better taken care of than they are at present. A poor man is not able to properly rear and educate a large family. Nor, indeed, can any but the very rich do this. So that, from a financial as well as from a hygienic standpoint, large families are undesirable, as being an undue tax upon their parents, and also as rendering it unlikely that proper care can be bestowed upon each individual child.
But if large families are undesirable, so, also, are the usual preventive checks undesirable, being abnormal, unhealthy, and immoral, whether by withdrawal or other methods. They are immoral, because they place no check upon passion, but allow it full range. They are unhealthy, because the psychic powers of both parties are depleted, without sufficient interchange of magnetism. And being a violation of the natural and healthy relation, they are abnormal.
The only lawful preventive to conception is self-control. The seed should never be sown where no harvest is prepared for or desired.
The wife is the one to decide when the harvest is to be desired. She should be queen of her own person, so absolutely as she was while still a maiden. She should never consent to sex union unless she desires it. Otherwise, she degrades her wifehood into prostitution, for she is then little, if any better than the courtesan who rents her body to a man forgo much money a night.
The coming child should be deliberately, reverently, and prudently planned for. To choose a time when there seems to be least likelihood of conception, is degrading the generative powers for purposes of sensuality. Moreover, the wife is less desirous of union at such times. Nature's appointed love-season is, almost without exception, during the day or days immediately following the monthly taboo period. Those who allow this natural wedding-time to pass, and who unite two weeks later, at the ebb-tide of the woman's passion, should not be surprised if she manifests only indifference or disgust, instead of tender affection.
It must be remembered that the seed should be sown with the honest intention of producing a harvest. When it has been sown, it behooves husband and wife to wait, it may be for weeks or even months, to learn beyond the possibility of a mistake, whether the seed has germinated or not. And of course, when pregnancy is assured, no further seed need be sown.
This is the teaching of the First Degree.
Not until the initiate shall have grasped the teaching in its fullness will he be worthy to enter upon the training for the Second Degree.
Sex union enjoined
in absolute self-control
and aspiration to the highest.
SECOND DEGREE (Junior)
In sex union there are two functions concerned - love and parentage. Likewise, there are two sets of organs for the performance of these functions.
The organs of parentage are, in the woman, the ovaries and uterus; in the man, the testicles and vesiculae seminalae.
The organs of love are those which make contact during sex union; and through these, when the union is normal and on a high plane, an interchange of magnetism results which is helpful and strengthening to both parties.
To secure a thorough equipoise of the whole being, it is important that the love-function have healthy and normal exercise at frequent intervals. But the function of parentage should be very rarely exercised; and intervals of years may elapse, without detriment to the health and general well-being, provided that the love-function be exercised in moderation and upon a high plane meanwhile.
If the reader asks, incredulously, how, on the man's part, the love-function may be healthfully exercised without the wasteful scattering of seed supposed to be a necessary climax to each marital union, I would refer him to a little book called Zugassent's Discovery, written by Geo. B. Miller, and published by the Boston Arena Publishing Company. I would also refer him to the accounts of the Oneida Community, where for thirty years this possibility was demonstrated. Also to Karezza, by Alice C. Stockham, M.D.
If it be asked how the power of self-control is to be attained, I
By degrees, as one would acquire proficiency in any athletic exercise or any art. One should resolutely decide at the outset that no seed shall be scattered, no matter what the impulse may be at the moment, and should sternly abide by his self-registered vow, to the best of his ability. It is quite likely that one or two failures may result at first; but as the power of self-control is developed, it becomes and more possible for a man to do here just what he wills. And no man who has once acquired this power will ever care to return to the old habit of abandonment to passion; for he will see that he was then a slave, whereas now he is a king. (Again, I would remind the reader that ascetic self-control is Nature's appointment way to increased sense pleasures.)
In India, the philosophy of sex relations reached this high standard centuries ago; and today such power of self-control appears to be a well-nigh universal inheritance among the natives.
This is the first half of the teaching of the Second Degree - the ability to suppress at will the scattering of the seed.
Its effects are not only bodily, but psychic as well; and the husband who has acquired this power can frequently turn a passive, indifferent marital partner into a tender wife.
One reason why many women manifest indifference or disgust in the marital union is, that women are usually slower in coming to the climax than are men. Affection, tender considerateness, gentleness and delicacy on the man's part, accompanied by the exercise of prolonged and absolutely self-controlled union, would transform many a merely tolerated husband into a welcome lover.
But the wife, also, has her part to play, and should look well to the management of her own sex powers. She must learn not to abandon herself to emotion, any more than she would willingly yield to a horse that is trying to run away with her. Let her act with her emotions as she would strive to act with such a horse - control with whip and bridle, and make herself absolute mistress of the creature. But let her also remember that to kill a horse is not to govern it.
When both parties shall have acquired this self-control, they will begin to understand somewhat of the beauty and joy of psychic wedlock.
An objection sometimes raised by men is that, on grounds of health, a bodily secretion needs to be gotten rid of at frequent intervals. That depends. In the case of tears, it is not so. We may go for months and years without suffering in health from not weeping; and yet, if occasion arise, the secretion is formed instantaneously in response to our need. Why should not other secretions which are evoked by occasional emotion be ranked in the same category as tears?
It will of course be understood that the above does not apply to any secretion in the nature of a mucous fluid which is intended by Nature merely for purposes of lubrication. The Second Degree prohibits only that which is ejaculated - i.e., the masculine creative seed.
A more reasonable objection, however, is that, after a secretion is formed, it cannot be returned to the system without detriment to health. But Dr. Brown-Sequard has asserted that repression at the last moment and restoring the seminal secretion to the system prolongs a man's life and adds to his vigor. Dr. Brown-Sequard, however, seems to have made the mistake of supposing that it mattered not by what means either the secretion or the repression of that secretion was induced. Hence his theory about obtaining the "Elixir of Life" at such a moment from guinea-pigs, bulls and other male animals in which the secretion had been artificially induced - a theory which careful scientific experiment duly exploded. His crucial mistake lay in his not grasping the fact that the excitation should occur in a normal manner, that the repression should be voluntary, and not brought about by any means but self-control, and that the strengthening value of the secretion consists in its being returned to the system to which it belongs.
Again, I would remind the reader that the power evolved by the practice of the Second Degree is psychic, as well as physical.
Every ejaculation means a waste in psychic energy - a waste which may be counterbalanced in part by the exchange of magnetism in a tender marital union, but which can never wholly be made up.
SECOND DEGREE (Senior)
I have said that the first half of the Second Degree consists in the ability to the ecstasy entirely, however prolonged the union. And this power should be acquired by the wife, as well as by the husband. The second half consists in going through the final ecstasy in absolute self-control, and with no ejaculation.
This is a step beyond the teaching of even the Oneida Community, and I cannot refer the reader to any books upon the subject. But there are today men who have acquired even this power.
In this stage, also,the woman should go through with a corresponding training in self-control. To use a figure of speech, one may compare the last half of the Second Degree to struggling through a mountain torrent. Again and again, as we strive to breast the dangerous stream, we are swept from our footing and nearly submerged; yet each time we manage to keep our head above water, and at last we emerge triumphantly on the other side, clamber up the steep bank, and go on our way, rejoicing in the consciousness of our strength.
The dangers attending the practice of this Second Degree by the unworthy initiate are serious. It may be made the means of sensual excesses which degrade the moral nature and break down the health. I am inclined to agree, it is true, with other writers on the subject, in maintaining that, to the selfish man and the libertine, the game is not worth the candle. Nevertheless, I should not be doing my duty by the general reader were I to fail to utter a word of warning, and to insist that only in moderation and aspiration to the highest may the Second Degree be safely practiced. Not only this. The Second Degree, without the Third and Final Degree, is not only imperfect, but is certain in time to become demoralizing, inasmuch as it deals chiefly with prolonged sense-pleasure upon the planes of body and mentality alone.
Let us, therefore, now turn to the consideration of the Third and Highest Degree, which is the one in which our spiritual natures find activity.
Communion with Deity
as the third partner
in marital union.
THIRD DEGREE (Junior)
In the chapter on the Individual and the Universe, a philosophical conception was set forth which represented the Great Thinker at the heart of the universe as consisting of the sum of minds which exist throughout nature. Reaction being equal to action and opposite to it in direction, we showed that although our inward spirit sends impulses outward through mentality into our bodily life, yet it is logical to infer that vibrations set up on the bodily plane will react through mentality upon our spirit; and since that within us which thinks may be considered to be part of the Directing Spirit of the universe, our bodily life, by transmission through our mentality and this Central Thinker, probably acts upon the entire universe.
If this hypothesis be accepted as logical, it would seem to be the duty of each of us so to live that our bodily acts shall result in help and happiness to the rest of the universe. The old-fashioned books tell us that we have within us a safe guide, called Conscience. Modern philosophy, however, has demonstrated that Conscience needs to be enlightened in order to be thoroughly reliable. Of one thing, nevertheless, we may be reasonably certain. If we endeavor to the best of our ability, to keep our mentality free from prejudice, dislike and ignorance, so that the light from our higher, inward self shall stream through mentality uncolored and unrefracted, we shall be quite safe in following the guidance of that mysterious inner something which we term "Conscience."
This, the Atheist would call living in harmony with law, inasmuch as it necessitates clear-headedness as its first requisite. The Theist would call it seeking to know the will of God.
Prayer is one way of clearing our mentality, so that the vibratory impulses may be correctly transmitted from That Which Thinks, outward through our mentality into our bodily life. Prayer is also a means of transmitting through our mentality, to the Great Thinker at the heart of the universe, the results of what we do on the bodily plane, for the betterment of the entire universe.
When, under the powerful influence of sex emotion, the psychological threshold of sensibility is displaced, an especially intimate communication is opened up, whether we wish it or not, between our bodily lives and the Great Thinker. If we aspire to act in union with that Great Thinker at such a moment, the vibrations set up within us by the sex emotion must result not only in our own betterment, but in joy and help to all the world.
This is the first half of the Third Degree - the duty of aspiration during the sex ecstasy to communion with the Great Thinker.
THIRD DEGREE (Senior)
And the second half of this degree is the joy accruing both to the Great Thinker and to ourselves through such communion.
The Hindus have a belief which many people would term a superstition, to the effect that a god can enjoy material pleasures, but only when his worshipper offers him a share.
And so the devout Hindu offers his god a share of his food and drink and even of his debaucheries, believing that he may enjoy himself as he will, if only he gives the god a part. That is, of course, a degradation of what is really a beautiful and inspiring idea - the idea that God can and does enjoy the material world through our enjoyment.
The second of the Third Degree is entered upon when we realize that perhaps it is possible for us individually, after all, to give to the Great Thinker a pleasure which no one else can, and when out of sheer benevolence and good-will, and with no selfish desire to secure our own pleasure, we offer the Great Thinker a share in our delight, asking Him to become the third partner in the marital union. Pantheos, Personal God or Impersonal, Unknowable Force as may be that Great Thinker, nevertheless, if this offering be sincerely and reverently made, there will dawn upon the twain who are one flesh a realizing sense of the personal relation between themselves and the heart of the universe, which is obtainable in no other way. For the time being, they will know what it is to "love God" and to be loved by Him, and will be one with all the universe, in a rapture which is indescribable. And because at that moment the way lies clear and unclouded between their bodily lives and the Great Thinker, the initiates of the Third Degree will realize in all its fullness genuine psychic wedlock - i.e., sex union upon all three planes of body, mentality and spirit, in the exact equation which constitutes the ideal union of husband and wife.
I have tried to set forth with such clearness as seemed admissible in a work intended for the general public the fundamental principles of genuine psychic wedlock - the only sort of union, it seems to me, which men and women ought to seek in the sex relation. Having succeeded at times in living up to this philosophy myself, I speak of its possibilities as one who knows. And so I am sending out this little essay, hoping that others, both husbands and wives, with wider lives than mine, may be helped thereby to attain the ideal happiness of PSYCHIC WEDLOCK.
-- THE END --