22.06.2014 Spirituality

The Sacred Marriage

Jeremy Ball traces a journey of spiritual alchemy

Over the centuries one of the major intentions of spiritual practice across many traditions has been the marriage of the sacred masculine with the sacred feminine, represented in its perfection by the concept and image of Ardhanarishvara.

This figure is the perfect balanced amalgamation of the God Shiva, the divine masculine in all his perfection, and the Goddess Parvati in all her perfection. In this "lord who is half woman", the Sanskrit meaning of the name, Shiva represents the qualities of law and order, rule and reason and Parvati represents those of intuition, patience, reverence for nature and understanding of the underlying unity of all things.

It may be the desire in temporal life for a man to be as masculine as he can be so that all men admire him and all women swoon over him. And it was, at least until the 1950s, the goal of many women to embody the feminine virtues as portrayed in fairy tales like Snow White and in the Bible as the Virgin Mary; a woman so kind and patient and so attuned to nature that she is in direct communion with nature.

The fantasy continues with the idealised masculine attracting the idealised feminine in the perfect marriage, as in Cinderella and Prince Charming. We see it still today in the mass popular appeal of Royal marriages - Charles and Diana, William and Catherine, even Angelina and Brad!

Yet on the spiritual path we are not looking for an individual polarisation of qualities and then a jigsaw puzzle fit into another. Rather, we are seeking an internal alchemy as exemplified in the teaching myth of the philosopher's stone, marrying the opposites within our own pyscho-spiritual energetic system to create our own internal sacred marriages. It is this fusion that creates ever more rarified and refined spiritual energy.

On a quantum energetic level all objects and bodies have both a magnetic and an electrical field around them - the magnetic akin to the feminine emotions of connection and feeling, while the electrical is dynamic and direction giving, akin to the masculine mind. Not just in chemistry but in all areas of life, the sophistication of a system can be seen by the interplay of the two fields. Life advances as there is deepening interaction and melding between the emotional and mental fields.

In relationships, we are often attracted to people who "complete us" by representing the missing components of the puzzle, in the hope that, as one being, we will be a divine whole. Problems arise when we are content to be static jigsaw pieces rather than a dynamic flow of energy looking to grow in sophistication and balance. The other that once made us whole now keeps us from growing unless there is a dynamic equilibrium in the relationship.

The attraction we experience to our polar opposite demonstrates the desire of our soul force to complete itself. To simplify the situation - an overtly masculine man is attracted to an overtly feminine woman, a timid man to a strong woman and all possible permutations. Gay or transgender people often, but not always, represent beings further along the journey of the marriage of masculine and feminine, frequently displaying greater insight and empathy; gay people are possibly more successful than average in modern day society, certainly in many cases they represent a more advanced being in terms of the alchemical process of the sacred marriage.

Many cultures used to greatly honour the divine Androgyne; they were skilled mediators in conflicts between the genders and carried deep insights in many areas because of their ability to see both sides of the argument and meld in the divine sphere of the union of opposites. In fact, many indigenous cultures and seers within our own culture speak of a time when the human form was neither masculine nor feminine but an androgynous whole and that we have evolved into genders to learn and undergo specific spiritual processes.

To my mind, the sign of a progressing society is one that honours and respects not just both genders equally (this is not to mean they have equal qualities but the qualities they hold are equally important by definition) but also gay and transgendered people. The fact that it seems more and more people are experiencing themselves as bisexual and transgender tells me we are undergoing an evolutionary shift as a species, and a very positive one.

Andrew Harvey is himself a divine androgyne of the modern era. I often marvel at him in full teaching flight as his body and energy seem to morph from one gender to the other as he tells us that Jesus himself was a being who had gone so clearly beyond the limited description and qualities of masculine and feminine.

In the book Son Of Man Andrew Harvey writes, "In Union, lover, beloved, and love are all known as one; the Christ consciousness is born complete and the divine Child, radiant and eternal, appears at the core of awareness. All the powers of body, mind, heart and soul are united in a fire of human divine love; the universe is experienced as a constant dance of supreme consciousness." As this union grows, "the inner Christ that has been growing through all the ordeals and revelations of the journey now gazes consciously through the seeker's eyes, moves in the seeker's body, burns as divine love in all the cells of the seeker's heart." The seeker merges with the heart of God. Andrew quotes the Gospel of Thomas, Logion 22 to provide direct evidence of Jesus' view on the topic:

Jesus saw some babies nursing. He said to his disciples, "These nursing babies are like those who enter the Kingdom." They said to him. "Then shall we enter the Kingdom as babies?"

Jesus said to them, "When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same so that the male not be male and the female not be female; and when you fashion eyes in place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, and likeness in place of likeness, then you will enter the Kingdom."

It seems clear that Jesus is saying the ultimate path is the sacred marriage of all opposites and central to this is the inner alchemy of masculine and feminine. Each person's journey of union is unique; what is the same is that it is a journey to be experienced not just studied and learned. It is in the fusing of the magnetic and electric fields that flow through our mind, body and soul. It is in the very electrons and molecules of our being. It is in this union that siddhis (those with spiritual skills of clairvoyance and more) arise and through this we finally emerge as our own unique version of Ardhanarishvara, the sacred Androgyne.

Jeremy Ball

At 26, following a “shamanic intervention”, Jeremy closed his business and left London to visit sacred sites and elders, later creating Transformational Tours and SacredFire.

When not roaming mother earth, you will find Jeremy at home in Byron Bay's hinterland, playing with his children and planning the next adventure. jeremy@transformationaltours.com.au