The Sacrament of the Bridal Chamber: What Was It?

<< < (2/2)


From heaven the Father sent her her man, who is her brother, the firstborn. Then the bridegroom came down to the bride....Since that marriage is not like the carnal marriage, those who are to have intercourse with one another will be satisfied with that intercourse. And as if it were a burden they leave behind them the annoyance of physical desire....[Once] they unite [with one another], they become a single life....For they were originally joined to one another when they were with the Father before the woman led astray the man, who is her brother. This marriage has brought them back together again and the soul has been joined to her true love....
According to the Gospel of Thomas, this spiritual (re)union of male and female is the way in which we return to the Kingdom, and regain our primordial power and wholeness.
Jesus said to them, "When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom].
The Gospel of Philip alludes to flaws in fertilization-driven intercourse:
The union is in this world man and woman, the place of the power and the weakness.18
Through] the sacred embrace, we are invited into the interior. As long as this is hidden, unhappiness prevails; it always poisons the seeds [sperma], and evil is at work.19
If someone experiences Trust and Consciousness in the heart of the embrace, they become a child of light. If someone does not receive these, it is because they remain attached to what they know; when they cease to be attached, they will be able to receive them.20


Intriguingly, the Gnostic gospels are not the only sources from the past that refer to a sacred physical union between male and female for a spiritual end loftier than physical procreation. The same concept of "going beyond our obsession with seeds and eggs" to reach a state of transcendent wholeness appears in Lao Tzu’s ancient Hua Hu Ching. He recommends controlled intercourse, or angelic dual cultivation—in which conventional orgasm is avoided in favor of the opportunity for a man and woman to mutually transform and uplift each other into the realm of bliss and wholeness. The key is intercourse led by spirit rather than the sexual organs. This practice can give birth to something immortal, refining gross, heavy energy into divine light. By contrast, during ordinary intercourse accumulated energy is discharged, and the subtle energies are dissipated and disordered in a great backward leap.21

Alice Bunker Stockham, MD in her book Karezza: Ethics of Marriage, also suggests the possibility of non-physical "offspring" born of the sacred union of male and female. Stockham reports that there are deeper purposes and meanings to the reproductive faculties and functions than are generally understood. In the physical union of male and female there may be a soul communion of great power.22

Men and women practicing Karezza [gentle, conscious lovemaking without conventional orgasm] attest that their very souls in union take on a procreating power, and that it seems to have an impregnating force, far transcending in power and intelligence any ordinary thought force.23 

She points out that the resulting progeny, in the form of great art, new inventions, and healing powers, can do much to improve the world—even apart from the spiritual gains from enhanced soul growth. In comparison, she notes the following:

The ordinary hasty spasmodic method of cohabitation is deleterious both physically and spiritually, and is frequently a cause of estrangement and separation.24

There is recent neuroscience that supports the wisdom of learning to make love with controlled intercourse. Sex without conventional orgasm promotes inner equilibrium and more stable bonding because it mitigates the high/low cycle of dopamine (the driving, "temptation" neurochemical behind sexual desire and all addictions). This high/low cycle, which accompanies fertilization-driven sex, does indeed separate mates and poison unions. During the low part of the cycle lovers tend to pull away from each other, or experience emotional friction, as they project onto each other the unwelcome effects of natural, biologically-driven neurochemical changes. This often creates a baffling attraction/repulsion dynamic in intimate relationships. See Your Brain on Sex. Interestingly, the Gospel of Philip specifically mentions that those who are no longer enslaved by the world rise above attraction and repulsion. To do so, however, they must receive a power that is both masculine and feminine [achieve equilibrium?] in the bridal chamber.25

 Could the sages mentioned above be pointing to the same mystery as the Sacrament of the Bridal Chamber? Is it possible that sacred sexual union, based upon controlled intercourse, is indeed a path to heightened spiritual awareness? Can fertilization-driven sex be preventing the sexes from rediscovering their innate non-dual perception? Did those early Catholics succeed in burying the central mystery of Christianity for most of the last two thousand years when they condemned the Gnostic point of view? Certainly the Nag Hammadi discoveries, with their intriguing descriptions of the Sacrament of the Bridal Chamber and parallels to other wisdom of the past, raise these possibilities. Perhaps the only way to discover the truth is to attempt to recreate the experience of the Sacrament of the Bridal Chamber for ourselves.

As The Gospel of Philip says:

Seek the experience of the pure embrace [also translated as "undefiled intercourse"]; it has great power. 26



[0] Message Index

[*] Previous page