06/21/2013 by syrbal-labrys
Ah… a day second (or first?) in relation to pagan Beltane (It’s May, it’s May…the lusty month…) in terms of evoking the idea of lust lived large! Neither holiday was very popular back in the burgeoning days of medieval Christianity. People lighting fires on hillsides and dancing ’round them inspired horror in celibate clerics! (Perhaps this is where the prohibition on dancing arose??)
And yet, contending with REAL human nature…in fact, as modeled by ALL of nature, sexual monogamy is UNnatural. If physical fidelity is the meter that the success of a marriage is pinned upon, my own 36+ year marriage is a flawless success! And I can tell you, that is not true; our married life has had a rocky road in spite of faithfulness in bed. I, personally, think physicality alone is the worst measure of how great a marriage is for the same reason that I think sexual fidelity is a stupid standard: it is a few intense minutes in time.
Somewhat like the couples with the splashiest, most costly weddings…great sex is not a measure of the entirety of life together! Another big part of life…and FAR more frequent than most folks’ sex life is FOOD, for instance. A great meal is a great meal…but a fast bowl of cereal or a breakfast sandwich grabbed at a fast food joint also can satisfy. No modern couple breaks up because one of the pair stopped for pizza at lunch. To me, sex is a need….just like food.
Emotional connection means more to me than sex, but knowing our society has trained most people to view me stopping for “hot Sicilian” at “lunch” would wound my husband much more than him making a pass at foreign “coffee” would wound me? I don’t do it.
However, and here is the pagan life bit, ok? Since I see plenty of signs that a lot of married folk DO find the temptation irresistible? What better than a ritualized TIME for such excursions? What better than codifying it into the fabric of life in a way that means that fabric is NOT utterly ripped and destroyed? No, I am sure this is not the sort of thing that happens over night in a society that in almost all its parts sees sexual fidelity as the ultimate test of love. But we live long these days, and sometimes one or the other of a perfectly bonded loving couple cannot carry the physical load for various reasons — I know many who tacitly admit in the face of disability or illness that the healthy partner seeking a bit of relief is understood, even if scolded. But there are many sorts of pressure that drive the need for some “other”.
I am all about acknowledging all of our facts of life. I remain physically faithful because I know how much it means to my spouse, scarred by the unfaithfulness in the marriage of his parents. But were I to step aside into the shadows of the trees thrown by May or June-time flames, it would not mean I loved him the less. After all, I don’t like being the supper cook every night, either! I suggest a thought to the rhetoric I often hear around this time of year….that “all acts of love and joy are the rituals of the Goddess”. Well, what does that REALLY mean? Does the charge say it is only singles that applies to?
Nothing so destructive to peace of mind than an itch you can’t scratch, they say. Conscious living of the type that embodies my spiritual life every day takes a lot of energy and concentration. I submit that the occasional night of faceless pleasure and escape is a pressure valve our ancestors recognized….and as our pressure cooker world heats up more and more, we might give some thought to that idea again.