The nature of spirit may be understood by a glance at its opposite, matter.
As the essence of matter is gravity, on the other hand we may affirm
that the essence of spirit is freedom. — Georg Hegel (1770 – 1831)
Starting in the late 19th century, people all over the world began to search for a new religious freedom. They looked to nature, to the classical early cultures, and to the Orient for clues with which to form a new religious path. From that movement arose many of the great philosophers in the history of Wicca. This was the time loosely called the Enlightenment.
In the 20th century, whether it be Gardner in the New Forest, or Victor Anderson on the west coast of the United States, or Bertrand Russell, all were seeking freedom.
In the 1950s those early underground trickles became a flood–especially for the ladies, when the high-dose Pill was approved in 1957. Suddenly there was no penalty to having intimate relations with whom you liked. And we all took advantage of it.
It was the time of Hair on stage. The Canadian National Ballet permormed nude. In England the Lord Chamberlain even allowed nude figures actually to move on stage. Such breakthroughs were the mood of the time. Sexual encounters were free in a way that has now been lost. There was no hidden agenda. If a couple wanted to do it, they did, not expecting anything more than a pleasant interlude with smiles all round. Pantyhose replaced stockings and garter belts, making mini-skirts possible. Tight trousers of knit fabric left little to the imagination. Groups of consenting adults participated in open marriages. We often joke with some of the ladies whom we knew back then that it’s a wonder the heads of their beds didn’t collapse, given the number of notches carved on them. So you think basketball players and rap stars make out a lot? You missed it.
The coming of AIDS put a blanket on all that activity. The moralistic abrahamic faiths milked the hell out of that fact–not daring to acknowledge their envy. The “sin” of free sex was now linked with a horrible disease or death.
We miss the bad old days. People were much kinder and friendlier, and crime rates were lower, than today. People were too busy. Relations between covens were excellent. Of course we had our wrangles, but they were on serious matters of liturgy and content and optimum techniques for gaining enlightenment. We didn’t scrabble in the garbage for ad hominem attacks on other members of the community. “Live and let live” was the general lens through which we viewed the world. One specific book publisher thought to benefit by breaking the atmosphere of friendship through “putting the Frosts on trial”. It never came off, though; instead that meeting developed a saying ” “I have the one and only true path — for me!” Would that we could live by it today!
Somewhere in that dim and distant past of free-wheeling creativity Yvonne came up with an acronym for guidelines in sexual relations in that mindset : The word is DUPED.
No D isease
Not U nder contract as in a monogamous marriage
No unwanted P regnancy
No E xpectation of commitment
No implication of emotional D ebt
Neither party should be DUPED.
Additionally, we need to point out that the control paradigm–the eternal trinity–of the abrahamic faiths is
guilt, shame, and fear.
The sooner you can get past the idea that copulation is a sin and think of it more as a loving sacrament, the quicker you will be able to say “Up yours” when some moralistic churchman self-appointed guardian of the public virtue (virtue according to the terms he’s been taught) says “You’re immoral.”
Optional is not mandatory, Reverend. Surely good, valid real-world morality (that is, ethics) teaches that kindness to each other is a first principle. Surely people would be better off to hear “If it harm none” than “Aha! Gotcha now!” Think of the charming film Chocolat.
You want to pass laws that make it illegal to (fill in the blank) ? Such an act would incorporate your religious belief and inflict what you’ve been taught into my behavior.* Hey! I’m a taxpayer too. You can tattle to your god and feel all righteous, but don’t try to claim the moral high ground. Restriction is not freedom. Just get your nose out of my crotch and let me quietly go my way.
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* Examples: same-sex marriage; stem-cell research, abortion, assisted death