Sexuality and the Religious Imagination

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How could it be that the sacral significance of sex has been ignored for nearly 2,000 years of patriarchal Christian history? To address this fascinating question, TePaske surveys many classic conflicts that exist between religious creeds and the irrepressible numinosity of the body, sex and erotic love.

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How could it be that the sacral significance of sex has been ignored for nearly 2,000 years of patriarchal Christian history? To address this fascinating question, TePaske surveys many classic conflicts that exist between religious creeds and the irrepressible numinosity of the body, sex and erotic love. In doing so, he charts an open course through Biblical Christianity, Catholic dogma, medieval sexual heresies and Gnosticism, as he reckons with our pagan religious heritage and the claims of Mother Earth and the underworld. The myths and ritual practices at the Graeco-Roman and Tantric traditions are considered, as well as individuals such as Saint Paul, Saint Augustine, Mary Magdalen, and the Hindu saint, Ramakrishna. TePaske brings clinical and archetypal perspective to bear on a broad range of sexual phenomena, including incest, bisexuality, and androgyny. Richly illustrated with imagery from dreams, fantasies, and mythology, the text draws on the works of Freud, Jung, Reich, Hillman, Eliade, Kerenyi, Grof, and others. It culminates with the reunion of psychic opposites that have been separated and differentiated by gender, by the trials of love, indeed by incarnation itself. This reunion is beautifully described and celebrated here in an ambit of Sophia mythology and the Bridal Chamber of the ancient Gnosis.

“What God has joined together and religious tradition has put asunder—body, soul, and spirit—TePaske would reassemble, now consciously and with a therapist’s care. This is a finely wrought scholarly work, imbued with moral passion and practiced psychological insight.”

-Murry Stein, Ph.D., author of The Principle of Individuation

“Passionate, intricate, detailed, and breathtakingly expansive, this book is an extraordinary achievement by any standard. It is dazzling and seductive—as it subjects should be. Be prepared to get happily lost in it. TePaske writes in a sure style well spiced with contemporary idioms and images that catch the mind and bring sudden delight.”

-Lyn Cowan, Ph.D., author of Portrait of the Blue Lady

“With brilliantly colored threads drawn from Jungian psychology, classical philosophy, and religious thought, TePaske creates a fascinating tapestry rich in imagery that focuses our current mindset beyond the two dimensional vision of collective thought. He presents a third dimension, that necessary depth which enhances body and soul.”

-Nancy Qualls-Corbett, Ph.D., author of The Archetype of the Sacred Prostitute

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