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The Cursing Ape

Four-letter monosyllables replace high invective. "We ARE apes, after all".

Four-letter monosyllables replace high invective. “We ARE apes, after all”.

We were talking last night in the embassy about the very old saying that our society is one long conversation, and we spoke of how our conversation was a feminine form of education—for masculine conversation is often about “winning” or “who is right”, while feminine conversation is a search for truth within an agreed world of thamë—a Unanimous Society, to borrow a phrase from Ananda Coomaraswamy.

One of the things I have always loved about this kind of academic discussion (academic in the sense of the groves of trees [academe] where the pupils of Sappho or Sai Hermya sat in discourse) is that the teacher often learns as much as the pupil (and of course in informal discussion “teacher” and “pupil” may change places instantly), for by examining our subjects of discussion carefully and responding to the questions of our intelligent and thoughtful academiciennes, we refine our thoughts and oft-times learn things we did not know we knew.

Such a moment occurred last night when we were talking about thamë, morality and cursing. The point was made that the Christian concentration on morality and sin can actually be corrosive. Many serious Christians will, for, example, use filthy language in the belief that they are not committing any sin in doing so. Some of these would agree that to offend anyone with their cussing would be sinful, and will reserve it for like-minded “liberated” company. But they do not believe—and even those who are offended do not believe—that dirty words are sinful in themselves.

And, by the narrow Christian definition of sin, they are not. That is why this morality-morality is so dangerously inadequate.

Christians of an earlier generation avoided cuss-words because they did not take the barrack-room-lawyer attitude that “it isn’t actually sin so I can do it”. They understood that impropriety and sin are close cousins—an attitude that is dismissed as “illogical” by the post-Eclipse mind.

And, indeed, it is illogical—because earlier generations of Christians, no less than their more recent counterparts, had lost the doctrine of thamë.

A good analogy would be if the current world had forgotten the germ theory of disease. Surgeons would still go on washing their hands just because “it is better to be clean”. Until a generation of post-modern critics started saying “why are you washing your hands —there is no logical reason for it”. And the surgeons would have to agree, and many would stop washing their hands.

Many also would cling sentimentally to the old, illogical discipline of rigorously washing their hands like the outmoded ritualists they are, but slowly a generation of surgeons would arise among whom hand-washing was seen as the antiquated superstition it clearly is (at least for those who no longer know the germ-theory of disease).

In our case, the germ-theory of disease is the law of thamë. The knowledge that harmony is fundamentally important and that to invoke ordure or coarse sexuality is literally dirty, and as disease-bearing to the soul as physical filth is to the body.

We also spoke of the decline of invective. If I were really angry and wished to state my anger, I should indulge myself in high rhetoric, excoriating the object of my anger. I flatter myself that I have a reasonable vocabulary and a fair-to-middling knack with words. I think I could come up with some pretty scathing diatribes should the need arise.

But for most educated people in the Pit, in moments of extreme anger, their highest invective consists of a few schoolyard monosyllables, endlessly repeated and strung together with semi-articulate prose.

Our reaction to it is not one of shock, but of contempt. That an educated person should be reduced by temper to the mental level of a drug-addled vagrant is simply laughable. “Rhetoric” of this kind is not just offensive, but weak. Having established that they can pronounce the same dirty words that make pre-teens giggle, they have exhausted their repertoire.

Now this is a new thing. In the past anger moved educated people to rhetoric, not to semi-literate monosyllables. What has changed? A friend last night suggested that it was laziness, and on thinking about this suggestion carefully, and feeling it, as it were, I feel sure this is not the main reason.

The main reason, I feel quite sure, is Darwinism. At first this may seem an odd suggestion, but let us consider it for a moment. Miss Trent, in The Feminine Universe documents the huge change that came about in Tellurian culture in the late 19th century, leading Prof. C. S. Lewis to declare (in his inaugural lecture as professor of Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge) that the author of Beowulf has more in common with Jane Austen than we have. A huge watershed took place at the end of the 19th century. And Miss Trent shows that the reason for it was the change in the underlying mythos of the western world from real myths, that convey metaphysical truth, to the pseudo-mythos of evolutionism.

Now I am not going to go into all the ramifications of that myth. Its effect on bad language is one tiny part of a vast change. But it is there and it is obvious.

In the past an angry person would seek to express her anger in terms that were most in keeping with what she conceived herself to be—an intelligent being, ultimately a reflection of the Divine. High rhetoric was her natural mode for expressing passion.

What does the modern person think of high rhetoric? That it is “artificial”.

Why—in the end—will she not use it in anger? Because she feels her hearers will dismiss her anger as “phony”.

The “real” and “natural” way to express anger is in inarticulate shouts, in monosyllabic grunts that refer to irrelevant animal functions.

Why? Because ultimately, we are animals. Any attempt to bring the refinements of civilization to our anger just prove that is not “real anger” because in extremis we should be reduced to our animal base.

That is why pre-Darwin anger was expressed in high rhetoric and post-Darwin anger in monkey monosyllables.

See also: The Animal Thesis


After an earlier publication, “The Cursing Ape” received the following comments:

  1. Miss Barbara Lynwood says:

    I remember my dear Mother’s “refined invective,” a tradition I continue when annoyed! Curse words are the last refuge of the inarticulate.

  2. wanderingelf says:

    What a delight you must be at parties! I could not envision a more tight-***ed, pursed lip, psalm-singing old maid writing the condescending drivel above if I tried. Quite frankly, I almost consider those unable to let go of their cultural inhibitions and “curse” for humorous effect and/or venting of real anger to be inarticulate themselves. Unless you’re going to exercise some real mental discipline, and keep your mouth shut for an extended period of time no matter what happens, get over your Bronze Age taboos about speaking forbidden words. And really get over your sweeping generalizations dismissing and disrespecting people you know absolutely nothing about. Oh, and **** you.

    • The editor replies:

      Thank you for your comment. Obviously it was necessary to remove the ritual incantation of one of the Two Monosyllables at the end, but otherwise not a bad bit of invective, if rather predictable.

      You say “get over your sweeping generalizations dismissing and disrespecting people you know absolutely nothing about.” You mean ignorant, disrespectful (and male-centered) generalizations like “tight-***ed, pursed lip, psalm-singing old maid”?

      You are right that we know nothing – or at least rather little – about you outlanders. You seem a rather peculiar brand of alien to us. Your continued obsession with a few limited bodily functions is a mystery to us. One would have thought that, after learning about the bathroom ones at the age of two or less and the reproductive ones a few years later, you might have had your little laugh and moved on. But it seems not. This is a lifetime’s supply of amusement. A perpetual village-idiot fascination with dung. It would be quite cute if it weren’t so ugly.

      As for “expressing real anger” – didn’t you read the article at all? Or do we just inhabit different worlds altogether? And what is remotely humorous about the constantly repeated reference to the same two bodily functions in the same two words? I certainly would have no desire to attend a party where that passed for “humor”.

      But as you rightly say, we know as little about your people as you know about ours.

  3. Niami says:

    I have heard this sort of argument before. I do not believe that those who state notions such as “I almost consider those unable to let go of their cultural inhibitions and “curse” for humorous effect and/or venting of real anger to be inarticulate themselves” can truly mean what they say or have no grasp of what a world to be like with no standards or limitation of behavior. Take for instance the example of a person cooking in a kitchen. It is a cultural expectation that this individual would cleanse their hands before working there. We enforce these standards by various means usually some form of shame, isolation or even confrontation. No one desires to have the filth of others spread around them or the things they consume.

    If this is so, then why is it that the analogous spiritual situation is not given the same credence ? As a wandering elf you should know that the world is not solely what lies before our physical eyes. The things we think, hear, and do stay with us and shape our hearts. If one must think unsavory thoughts, do take into consideration the development of those around you.

    They deserve better, and so do you.

  4. Silvercloud says:

    “Cursing for humorous effect” – my, that sounds like high-level wit!

    What do they do for an encore? Take their knuckles off the ground and say “look no hands”?

    And these people sneer at rednecks.

    • Ladygray replies:

      “And these people sneer at rednecks.”

      The thinking is that if one is a conscious lout, one is not really a lout at all but an Educated Person deliberately using lout-language, and that makes it all right. The snobbery behind this attitude is breathtaking.

      The truth is that such a person is simply a lout who actually does know better which makes it far worse than it is with the louts who genuinely don’t.

  5. Lady Aquila says:

    “As for ‘expressing real anger’ – didn’t you read the article at all? ”

    Well, clearly the correspondent either did not read the article or was incapable of responding to its argument, since he merely repeats the position criticized in the article without in any way attempting to reply to the criticism (this is technically known as a ’tis-’tain’t argument).

    But in just blindly reiterating the common recent-west-Tellurian position, he also gives a clear example of how precisely the article hit the nail on the head.

    The correspondent believes foul language is necessary “to express real anger” – to the extent that he actually seems to believe one would be silenced if one did not have recourse to verbal filth.

    “Real” anger. That, just as the article explains, is the salient point. The correspondent is not inarticulate. He demonstrates here that he can express negative feelings effectively without cussing (he does cuss – but that is only incidental and is actually the weakest point of his diatribe).

    But he feels sure that if he had to express “real” anger he would have to make a display of near-animal inarticulacy lest his anger be dismissed as “unreal”. This inarticulacy is actually phony. The correspondent is not really inarticulate, as we know, but it is a cultural ritual of post-Darwin society that an angry person must pretend inarticulacy as an acting-out of supposed “realness”.

    Whereat the author of the original article might reasonably say: “I rest my case.”

  6. Orfanum says:

    Finding this site is like waking within a lucid dream; you articulate accurately what I have been struggling to expand on myself: that the objection to Darwinism cannot be that it is “scientifically” incorrect, or that to reduce its hold on our mind one should abandon the discipline entirely of thinking “scientifically” but that Darwinism creates the conditions for the hegemony of the metaphor of the ape in understanding how humans should be – faith, that is, understanding life from the perspective of things cascading from the Absolute, is valuable if only it supports the notion that the metaphor that is required is that of the angel.

Relationships, Amity, and Marriage

Two BeautiesThe question of close and intimate relationships in the “sex-centered” culture of late West Telluria is one that concerns us not so much from a theoretical and critical perspective but from a practical one.

The whole thinking of the past few Tellurian generations has been molded by the “sex-centered” perspective: and this has not been a matter of theoretical understanding alone, but has shaped – and often devastated – the lives of millions, regardless of whether they are thinking people or are among the uncounted masses who have imbibed the practical implications of the theory as “the only way one can live”.

As Herthelani we have two important critical perspectives on the late West-Tellurian sex-model for “relationships”. The first is our own Herthelan culture in which procreation plays a much lesser role than in Telluria and the things associated with it are much less central to life.

This, it may be objected on practical grounds, may not be applicable to those inhabiting biologically Tellurian bodies.

What we need to understand, however, is that the sex-centered view of life and relationships is a cultural innovation even in Telluria and that it has re-shaped the culture in ways that have rendered it in many respects dysfunctional. It is vitally important that we do not import this dysfunctional model into Chelouranya.

However, we are also faced with the difficulty that those born and raised in Telluria are deeply indoctrinated with this model – not primarily by theoretical training but by a culture that assumes it at every turn in a manner that affects everyone in the society from the most sophisticated to the illiterate.

The question must arise as to how far theory can be used to eradicate this conditioning. People are likely to assume the sex-centered model to be “reality” and to have integrated it with their own feelings about people and the world.

However, a theory did create this model in the first place. As late as the early 1920s, the term “sex”, in its current popular meaning, did not exist and neither did the concept. It was first used in print by a very active propagandist for what has become the current outlook on the matter.

This outlook is sometimes termed “Freudian” although Freud was only one prominent spokesman and theorist for it. The outlook is essentially Darwinist rather than specifically Freudian, and flows naturally and inevitably from the Animal Thesis. If people are merely “evolved animals”, then it necessarily follows that their highest emotions must be ultimately reducible to an instinct that they share with cats and dogs.

This thesis, once in place, like a parasite at the root of a culture, begins to infect its understanding of many things. Non-sexual love is downgraded to something relatively unimportant. The great same-sex amities of history, for example, are commonly assumed to indicate a homosexual nature. Both the “gay” and the “anti-gay” movements of modern West Tellurian society are predicated on the same anti-traditional root-thesis.

Another corollary of this theory is the belief that “sex” is a form of “necessity”. This follows from the fact that since we have strong amative feelings, and since, according to the Animal Thesis, these instincts can only have their roots in the procreative instinct, only the procreative act, or a simulation thereof, can properly satisfy those feelings. (It will be noted that one effect of the 20th-century term “sex” is to equate absolutely the procreative act with any simulation of it).

Effects on Practical Life

This outlook, combined with the general atomization of society, gives rise to a pattern in which something termed a “relationship” (meaning a friendship involving sexual activity) has become central to most people’s emotional existence. Whether one is “in or out of” a “relationship” defines one’s fundamental status of emotional connexion.

How does this differ from the traditional concept of marriage (bearing in mind that it sometimes is marriage)? In two ways. In the first place by displacing the network of (often same-sex) relationships in which marriage took its place before the atomization of the society, and secondly – and more importantly, though relatedly – by its essential instability.

Sociologists describe the condition of most modern Western people as “serial monogamy”. Such a condition is by definition dysfunctional. The aim is still monogamy, but the monogamy keeps breaking down and having to be replaced.

One reason for this is that in late West Telluria, marriage is often the only close relationship and is called upon to fulfill a whole variety of emotional and other needs that would normally be fulfilled through other relationships. All too often it simply breaks under the excess load or because of unrealistic expectations.

Implications of the Usage of the word “Sex”

What is not immediately obvious to those who have grown up with the word “sex” is that it has introduced an area of thought and an assimilation of different ideas under the same term that had simply had not existed before. This is partly a result of the fact that the term, by its very nature and intention, divorces the connubial/procreative act from its socio-biological context.

In the 1960s a question was very frequently posed which may seem quaint to those raised in post-60s Western culture: “Should there be sex before marriage?” The question is so dated because it is clearly transitional and belongs neither to the period before or after the few decades to which it belongs. This is a period in which

a) the term “sex” has been coined and its implications fully assimilated, with the necessary adjustments that this must make to thought on the subject, but

b) There is still a connection of the question to its original socio-biological context, which is in the process of being “worked loose”.

In the same period, we begin to hear the term “gay sex”, which clearly assimilates any simulation of the connubial/procreative act to the act itself by taking its essential quality as being simply that of satisfying an urge.

The Herthelan Perspective

The Herthelan perspective in Telluria is entirely inapplicable to any other Tellurian situation, since it is founded on the concept that committed and adopted Chelouranyi are honorary (or exiled) Intemorphs, thus many hold that within marriage, what would otherwise be a simulation of consummation may be spiritually assimilated to Intemorphic consummation.

It should also be borne in mind that Herthelani own allegiance to a mother-culture in which the word “sex” in the modern Tellurian sense, with all its associated conceptual shifts, does not exist. The term “gay sex”, if it could be successfully explained to a Herthelan, would be seen (whether in terms of schizomorphic or intemorphic sexes) as a pure oxymoron: a contradiction in terms.

However, Amity and deep bonding of various kinds, between members of the same or of complementary sexes, and in some cases passionate and exclusive, is not even remotely problematic. The Animal-Thesis-derived idea that this would have anything to do with a thing called “sex” would, however, be simply meaningless.

The Herthelan Alternative

As always, our aim is not to criticize Telluria for the purpose of proposing Tellurian solutions to Tellurian problems. If Telluria’s problems are indeed soluble, Telluria must solve them.

However, for those becoming a part of Chelouranya, there is a viable alternative to the dysfunctional “relationship” pattern. This involves a much more complex and supportive network of relationships and the recognition of both great-amity and marriage.

Marriage in Herthelan society is the vocation of a minority. On the other hand, non-sexual amative relationships are of fundamental importance and are recognized as such by everyone.

These relationships are not “sealed” by carnal activity as the Tellurian “relationship” is – sometimes from genuinely strong desire but often just as much as a desperate need for some bonding-ritual that will provide security and belonging. As a bonding-ritual, carnal activity is singularly ineffective, as the phenomenon of “serial monogamy” clearly testifies.

Amity may be relatively informal or it may be sealed by genuine bonding rituals of various kinds. It may be long-lasting or temporary, but it will take its place as part of a network of relationships many of which are deeply emotional and help to provide stability and security.

Amity may be deeply passionate and is certainly not guaranteed against vicissitude and heartbreak, but it is, on the whole a good deal more stable and less destructive than the sex-centered model.

Amities are less exclusive, although a Great Amity may be, and be recognized as, exclusive in itself. That is, while not exclusive of other Amities, clearly and ritually the primary one which must take clear precedence over all others.

Marriage is a vocation. Its precise place in Chelouranya is not fully defined, but it is generally accepted that, as honorary intemorphs, a marriage between a Tellurian blonde and a brunette may be honorarily an intemorphic union.

At this stage I think we need say no more than that this, while a respected model, is by no means the only, or even the primary one. It should not be undertaken lightly and should be indissoluble.

How far this is possible in the case of pettes reared in the serial-monogamic culture is not yet clear.

What is clear is that the depth of romantic passion and – ultimately – fundamental bonding that may be achieved by the cultivation of true Amity is likely to build a firmer, stronger and more secure basis for emotional life than an early aspiration toward marriage. We would indeed venture to suggest that a Chelouranyan who has not cultivated true Amity is not ready for marriage.

None of this, of course, is an iron-bound rule; but it is very seriously worth considering and contemplating. Breaking free of the sex-centered “Freudian” model that has proved so destructive to late West Tellurian society is going to be vital to the creation of a non-atomized Chelouranya.

It is also going to be, for most Chelouranyi, the path to a rich, stable and secure, passionate and loving, deeply-bonded emotional life.

Falling in Love

What, then, is the status of the thing called “falling in love” in Herthelan society? Does it happen? How far is it related to marriage?

It certainly happens very frequently, from early schooldays when many girls range from being “a little bit in love” to having a deep crush on other (often older) girls to the passionate Amities of later life.

These Amities may well end in ritual bonding and exclusive, publicly recognized relations between two (and sometimes more than two) girls who may be of the same or of different sexes.

Such Amity may well include physical demonstrations of affection. Amity is certainly, in many cases a “falling in love” and to assume that it is less passionate than marriage (or its various Tellurian substitutes) or that it is in any way secondary to it is to fall into the West Tellurian way of thinking about it.

Love, in the sense of being “in love” is a fundamental part of Herthelan life, sometimes briefly, sometimes permanently: and only in a minority (though an important minority) of cases has it anything to do with marriage.

Adjusting our attitudes on this matter may be a difficult task, given the vast and potent indoctrination that has shaped the lives and emotions of recent Tellurian generations. But if we wish to be fully Herthelan, to break out of the dysfunctional model of late West Telluria and found a healthy, secure, and emotionally fulfilling Herthelan way of life, we are going to have to consider how it can be done.

The Three Gunas in History

Chapter Three of The Feminine Universe


In considering the three types of society mentioned toward the end of our last chapter, it will be instructive to bear in mind the Hindu doctrine of the three gunas or cosmic tendencies.

This important aspect of traditional science has been preserved in its most explicit form to the present day in the Indian branch of Tradition.

The three gunas exist at every level throughout cosmic existence, and may be seen at work in all beings and phenomena.

The three gunas comprise: Sattwa, the upward tendency, which is conformity to the pure essence of being — light, knowledge and purity; Rajas, the outward tendency, which constitutes the natural urge to expansion on any given plane of being; and Tamas, the downward tendency, which is darkness or ignorance. From the human point of view, Sattwa is that tendency which leads us to higher spiritual states, above our earthly, human condition; Rajas is that which urges us to expansion on the worldly and human plane, while Tamas is that tendency which leads toward states below the human.*

We may readily see that the Traditional mode of society is oriented to states above the human and earthly. Every aspect of the life of a Traditional Society is lived in the light of Heaven. Its art, as we have seen, strives to depict not the earthly shadows of things, but the celestial Archetypes that lie behind them. Its crafts are not mere means to the manufacture of physical commodities, but each craft is a spiritual path, each operation performed in accordance with a sacred symbolism. This is why the factory system and the ‘industrial revolution’ could not happen until the traditional form of society had disintegrated — not because earlier civilisations ‘lacked the intelligence’ to bring about such innovations, but precisely because they were too intelligent to attempt them. They realised that such changes, while they might bring benefits on the purely material level, would destroy the deeper purpose of the human crafts, both for the producer and the consumer. For the producer, as we have said, the craft was a spiritual path into which she was initiated — and this was true in Europe until the destruction of the guild system at the time of the Renaissance. Not for nothing were the techniques of a craft called its ‘mysteries’. For the consumer, on the other hand, whether the object be a decorated clay pot, a bridge, a chariot, a house or a garment, the symbolism of its construction and decoration was also a support for contemplation, constantly leading her heart upward beyond the confines of the purely material. Traditional manufacture had as its object “to serve body and soul together”.

Similar comments could be made regarding every aspect of the life of a Traditional Society, which thus is directed primarily by Sattwa, the upward tendency.

When we come to the Normal** or Rajasic, form of society which followed upon the break-up of the integral spirituality of Traditional civilisation, we see a social order directed almost exclusively to the aims and purposes of this world. It is true that ‘religion’ continues to be followed by most people, but the very concept of ‘religion’ in the modern sense is new. It refers to a particular and specialised department of life which is the only one now specifically oriented toward things beyond this world and beyond the human state. Everything that is not ‘religion’ is now wholly mundane.

In many respects the Normal Society allows for expansion in areas wherein it was not possible before. As we have said, the industrial revolution with its attendant development of ‘technology’ becomes possible only in a Normal Society, as does the unfolding of a purely material ‘science’. And, as we have discussed in an earlier chapter, many things become possible in the sphere of the arts now that it is no longer oriented toward things that transcend this world. The purely human and physical plane, now seen as the sole sphere of artistic endeavour, may be explored and developed in ways that were not possible to an upward-directed people, and the tremendous outward thrust of such a society is the most notable characteristic of the Renaissance period — one thinks of’ the Elizabethan era in England — and continues to be the guiding principle throughout the Victorian Era and in the Great American Century, which we would date from the Civil War to the early 1960s.

Since earthly things are a reflection of Heavenly things, the Normal Society. directed by earthly, Rajasic tendencies, is by no means devoid of a spiritual dimension. Its great art often has a spiritual quality. though always even when it is ‘religious’ art at second-hand rather than in the directly spiritual manner of the arts of Traditional civilisations. Thc pursuit of beauty, in whatever form, can never be other than the pursuit of the absolute Beauty of the Divine for there is ultimately no other source of beauty. The love and development of all the good things of human life: the family, the home, the bonds of love, all these are things that reflect the Heavenly order. In many respects, the Normal Society, though limited and unambitious from a spiritual point of view, continues to tread, at least in shadow-form, the Way of Heaven. It makes possible the realisation of many of the lower and more material possibilities of the Historical Cycle, and thus is doing what is necessary; and in many respects. doing it well. This is the nature of a society directed by the outward tendency of Rajas.

What then should we expect of a society directed by the downward tendency of Tamas? Surely it would invert all those aspects of the Rajasic or Normal Society that still point upwards and partake of Sattwa. Its art will no longer seek to embody beauty and harmony, but will deliberately conform itself to whatever is ugly, misshapen and grotesque. In dress, rather than seeking to be neat and attractive, people will prefer to be sloppy unkempt or ridiculous in appearance. Rather than the highest elements of society setting the tone and being emulated by every one else, the tone will he set by the lowest classes, other people increasingly coming to speak and act like them, Rather than attempting to support and maintain family life and personal loyalty,. the propaganda of a Tamasic or Inverted Society will deliberately seek to break down the family, promoting a cult of ‘personal independence’ which cuts each soul off from those about her in an atmosphere of mutual distrust: each one is isolated in the prison of induced selfishness.

These are the things we should expect of a Tamasic society, oriented to darkness and seeking neither to raise us above the human state (as does a Sattwic or Traditional Society) or to develop to the full a healthy human normality (as does the Rajasic or Normal Society); but seeking in every way to drag human life down toward the infra-human— toward the grotesque arid the monstrous, the miserable, the isolated and the vainly-grasping: toward the character of the demonic realms depicted in the lore of every traditional civilisation.

These are the things we should expect, and these are the things we find in the Inverted civilisation that has developed since the Eclipse or ‘social revolution’ of the 1960s.

Needless to say, we are not unaware that many of these manifestations were in evidence before the 1960s — the pursuit of the grotesque and ‘shocking’ in art, for example, was developed in certain circles early in the 20th century—but these earlier manifestations were of strictly limited influence. What is important in the 1960s is that they became increasingly general and rapidly displaced the normal and healthy instincts of society as a whole. Beatniks may have dressed like ludicrous monstrosities in the 1950s, but within a decade or two after the Eclipse, ordinary people, including grandmothers, were doing so.

It is also interesting to note that, in the Rajasic or Normal Society, looking at things purely in its own terms, we may see many signs of a continuous material ‘progress’. Education becomes increasingly widespread and effective. Adult literacy is virtually total, except among the ineducable, and we may chart its rise and spread from the late 19th century through to the 1950s.

Crime and violence drop off dramatically in normal conditions. In the late Victorian era murders took place daily in London. By the 1950s the national murder rate for a whole year was in low double figures.

In the 1950s the sight of a beggar in the streets of England was virtually unknown and would have seemed a strange throwback to the Victorian era.

It is true that many of these evidences of ‘progress’ were in fact merely the elimination of evils created by other Rajasic ‘progresses’ such as the Industrial Revolution with its attendant development of a large, depressed urban proletariat. Nonetheless, by the standards of a purely Rajasic, materially-oriented society, things were getting better and better, The benefits of Rajasic industrialism were being increased while its evils were being eliminated, and an observer in the 1950s might reasonably have expected, as most people did, that all these tendencies would continue in the same direction, and that society would become happier, more peaceful and better educated as time went on.

It is now very clear that such was not the case, and that most of the rising curves on the social progress-graphs of the 1950s turned suddenly and sharply in the opposite direction in the 1960s and continued downward for the ensuing decades.

By the 1990s, adult illiteracy was widespread, and even among the ‘educated’ section of society, University lecturers freely admit that the average undergraduate cannot spell, knows very little grammar and in general is rather less capable of expressing herself on paper than the average shop-girl in the 1950s. Most people of humble birth are back to the state of literacy that would have been theirs in the Victorian era. Violent crime, of course, has soared since the Eclipse. Murder, which was a rarity in the 1950s, has returned to late-Victorian levels and is rapidly escalating far beyond them. Beggary has returned to the streets.

In short, much of the progress of the later stages of the Rajasic or Normal Society has been destroyed by the Tamasic or Inverted Society. But, of course, it is not true to say that the Victorian era has returned, for while many of the evils of that era may be returning, none of its good qualities are; and whatever may be the outward social losses of the post-Eclipse period, they are as nothing compared to the impoverishment of soul; the loss of human loyalties and human dignity; the eradication of beauty and innocence from every department of human existence; the destruction, in sum, of all the things that make life meaningful and worthwhile.

It is important to note that the periods of time occupied by the three types of civilisation are very much incommensurate in length — much more so even than the four great Ages of the Historical Cycle, for the Traditional Society occupies almost all of the Historical Cycle, with the Normal Society only appearing briefly at the end, and the Inverted Society still more brief.

It is not, in fact, quite as simple as this. Normal Societies — that is outwardly-directed Rajasic societies which have lost sight of the true upward aim of life — have existed at other periods of history, Ancient Rome is one example, although the Classical world was by no means so purely this-worldly and lacking in metaphysical underpinning as the post-‘Enlightenment’ period of the modern West. There have also been earlier eras in which the worldly direction of a Rajasic period would tend toward the psychic rather than the material domain, giving an excessive importance to sorcery (much more effective in less ‘consolidated’ periods of history) much as the modern world gives an excessive importance to ‘technology’ — and perhaps such phases of civilisation made possible the realisation of certain ‘lesser fruits’ of the Historical Cycle proper to their own time, even as the Normal Society recently deceased in the West has done in ours.

It is possible even that these ancient Rajasic eras tailed off into brief periods of Tamasic degeneration akin in some respects to the post-Eclipse period of our own time. One thinks, for example of the madness and degeneracy of late Rome with its carnivals of slaughter and cruelty in the arena; and one cannot but be struck by a horrifying parallel in the increasingly explicit, near-pornographic depiction of violence, not only in fictional films but in television newsreels in the post-Eclipse world. It seems that at a certain stage in a Tamasic period, the thirst for death, carnage and suffering as a public spectacle inevitably makes itself felt and demands satisfaction.

Nonetheless, Rajasic periods are to some extent aberrations within the normal course of the Historical Cycle, occupying, even when all are aggregated, a very small portion of the whole. Tamasic periods, being times of utter degeneration, and having no legitimate principle of existence whatever, necessarily represent a very much tinier proportion of the whole. By their very chaotic and unstable nature, they cannot be more than the very briefest of interludes historically speaking.

Traditional, Sattwic societies are the historical norm, and the end of such Rajasic or Rajasic-Tamasic interludes as we have been discussing is generally a new revelation of Truth, or a new adaptation of an existing tradition to the consolidated conditions of a new era. One thinks of the Christian revelation coming at the end of the Classical period.

It is also to be noted that all three gunas are necessarily present in all worldly things. Even the Sattwic perfection of the Golden Age must have had some admixture of Rajas and Tamas, and as time goes on and the World becomes ever more ‘consolidated’, Rajasic and Tamasic elements become increasingly prominent. The patriarchal revolution of the early Iron Age [meaning the Kali Yuga: not the archaeological usage of this term — Editress] is one result of this tendency, which obviously had become very marked by such a late stage of the Cycle.

Now similarly, we may divide the history of femininity into three stages, corresponding to the three gunas. These stages do not directly coincide with the three discussed above, except that the last, Tamasic, stage also begins with the Eclipse. The first, and by far the longest, is the Sattwic stage of femininity, or what is called the ‘matriarchal’ period. This lasts for the whole of the first three Ages and for a small part of the Iron Age — in other words, for more than nine-tenths of the historical cycle. This is the period in which femininity is recognised as the highest principle both on earth and in the higher realms: as that principle which leads beyond this world to the higher levels of being. All evidence points toward the universality of the feminine principle in human art, society and worship. Whether women were the material rulers of civilisation we cannot say for certain. The ingrained prejudice of a masculine-dominated society reacts strongly against such an idea; but there is no reason why it should not have been so, and since in all known traditional societies there was a strong analogy between the earthly monarch and the Heavenly power, it seems overwhelmingly likely that such was the case.

Whether it was or not is, however, of relatively small importance. What is vital is the fact that femininity and the feminine image was clearly the supreme and governing principle of this vast period of human history — throughout the Golden Age, longest of the Ages, when human spirituality and intellectuality were at their highest; throughout the long decline of the Ages of Silver and Bronze — still periods immeasurably superior to our own, and even into the early years of the Iron Age itself. Femininity is the natural ideal of human civilisation. Only by a very late revolution in the last, shortest and most inferior Age did the cult of superiority of the masculine become established.

A typical comment of the modern mind upon ‘matriarchy’ is to say that it must only have been patriarchy the other way round, But such is very far from being the case. As we shall see in a later chapter, femininity has very definite characteristics that are a part of the metaphysical nature of things. To say, for example, that if men are considered the active, forceful, even violent sex under patriarchy, women must have been considered the same way under matriarchy, is founded on a complete misunderstanding of the nature of femininity, both in its metaphysical essence and in its biological reflection on earth.

In a ‘matriarchal’ or we had rather say, a feminine society, women as the leading and most revered sex, are revered precisely for their feminine qualities, which do not change whether in feminine or masculine societies. They are always the ‘passive’ sex in the sense of being the one less oriented to outward activity, and in this, in feminine societies, they are assimilated to the Principle itself, which causes motion without itself moving. This is not to say that women did nothing, either in feminine or patriarchal societies, but that symbolically the qualities of serenity, peace and contemplation are considered superior to dynamic outward activity, Or rather, the latter is said to depend upon and be always subordinate to the former.

This, indeed, is understood even in patriarchal societies, where, for example, in the Hindu Tantrik tradition the male principle (the god or deva) is considered to be the superior and therefore the serene, unmoving principle, while his female counterpart (or shakti) is his outward activity or energy. This is rather curious according to most later patriarchal thinking about the nature of femininity, just as it was to matriarchal thinking. But the reversal was necessary in order to preserve metaphysical truth and patriarchal doctrine at the same time. In Tibet, which remains closer to the original matriarchal tradition (polyandry was until recently practised there), the position is reversed — that is to say, normal — and the serene Deity is female while her shakti or outward energy is male. Similarly, in Tibet, in the case of the complementary principles of Wisdom and Method — representing the Essential or Spiritual principle and the substantial or material respectively —Wisdom is female and Method male.

The Hindu Tantrik tradition notwithstanding, in general patriarchy has not attempted to alter the relative qualities of masculinity and femininity. Rather it has re-valued them in metaphysical terms, associating feminine serenity with the passivity of matter and male activity with tine relatively ‘active’ power of the in-forming Spirit or Essence. And, insofar as patriarchy is a legitimate tradition, albeit one belonging purely to the inferior state of the Iron Age, this can be accepted as one of the permissible permutations of the expression of Truth.

Nonetheless, throughout the patriarchal period, the feminine continually shines through in its true glory, despite all ideological opposition. From the great Goddesses of various traditions, who so often overwhelm their appointed Gods in the hearts and souls of the people, to the Blessed Virgin Mary who rapidly adopts the titles of supreme Deity — Seat of Wisdom, Rose of the World, Queen of Heaven.

The worship of femininity breaks through again and again — in the chivalry of the Middle Ages, so ignorantly dismissed by modern people as a “subterfuge for the suppression of women” (as if such subterfuges were in any way necessary!) but which was in fact nothing short of a spiritual cult of the feminine image.

This, then, was the second, or Rajasic age of femininity; much shorter than the first or Sattwic age. Instead of being exalted, as in the Sattwic age, femininity is pulled this way and that; sometimes vilified, sometimes revered, but always recognised for what it is, always kept alive by the very nature of woman herself and by the inherent beauty and divinity of the feminine principle.

Once again we must ask, since we understand the Sattwic and the Rajasic ages of femininity, what should we expect to occur in its Tamasic age? Surely we should expect the eclipse of femininity itself — the banishment of the feminine principle from the earth as far as such a thing is possible. In the Sattwic age femininity was exalted; in the Rajasic age it is buffeted this way and that, but remains always essentially itself. In the Tamasic age it must be darkened, obscured, and even destroyed.

And what do we see after the Eclipse of the 1960s? Precisely that. Femininity is not only trivialised and despised, but its very existence is denied. According to the ‘official’ dogma of the post-Eclipse world, femininity is nothing but the product of ‘social conditioning’. It is something to be thrown off by modern women as a vestige of a superstitious past. Women are trained to think like men, talk like men, act like men and dress like men; to have the same ambitions and exteriorist preoccupations. They are trained to regard femininity as weakness, and conformity to the masculine model as ‘liberation’. They are trained to regard masculine values as right and normal and feminine values as something to be avoided; something — most ironic of all absurdities! — invented by men for their oppression.

The post-Eclipse world has seen, in a few short decades, the ultimate triumph of patriarchy; something not dreamed of by the ultra-patriarchal ancient Athenians or by any of the most extreme masculinists of history. The post-Eclipse world has seen the complete destruction of femininity and its extirpation from the one place that would have seemed its safest haven and ultimate sanctuary — from the soul of woman herself.

And for the first time in history, we inhabit a world where femininity is dead; a harsh, barren totally-masculine world.

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* This can best be understood in the light of the ancient cosmic symbolism of the Cross, found in all cultures. ‘The upright beam of the cross is the World-Axis or Divine Thread which links all worlds. The horizontal beam represents a particular world-system or plane of being. Maid is the Axial creature of our world-system. Thus, while animals, fairies and other beings exist purely on the horizontal level, maid, being on the Axis, has the power of choice and may also move either upward or downward, transcending her earthly state or falling below it. Thus, while the three gunas operate in all creatures as part of the mechanism of manifestation, in the activities of maid they may also have a special and more fateful significance. It is this that we are considering throughout the course of this chapter. The reader should also note that wherever the terms vertical and horizonta1 are used throughout this book, they are used with reference to this symbolism: for the World Axis is also the Beam of the Light of Essence which strikes and in-forms the horizontal plane of material manifestation.

** By Normal, it is clear that the authoress does not mean “In accordance with the Celestial Norm” or even the true Human Norm, either of which would imply Primordiality, but the establishment of a this-worldly human “norm” as opposed to the abnormality of a Tamasic society. Here “normal” refers to a set of values that would ordinarily be virtually tautologies — such as that beauty is preferable to ugliness, goodness preferable to badness, order preferable to chaos, the high superior to the low and so forth. Such statements are simply normal as opposed to abnormal, and it is in this sense that the Rajasic society is termed “Normal” — Editress