O Child of Uranus
by Edward Carpenter (1844-1929)
In this poem, published in the collection ‘Toward Democracy’, English philosopher and writer Carpenter predicts a glorious future for transgendered people, and speculates on the trans nature of Adam before Eve was created.
0 child of Uranus, wanderer down all times,
Darkling, from farthest ages of the Earth the same
Strange tender figure, full of grace and pity,
Yet outcast and misunderstood of men-
Thy Woman-soul within a Man’s form dwelling,
[Was Adam perchance like this, ere Eve from his side was
So gentle, gracious, dignified, complete,
With man’s strength to perform, and pride to suffer without sign,
And feminine sensitiveness to the last fibre of being;
Strange twice-born, having entrance to both worlds-
Loved, loved by either sex,
And free of all their lore!
I see thee where down all of Time thou comest;
And women break their alabaster caskets, kiss and anoint thy
feet, and bless the womb that bare thee,
While in thy bosom with thee, lip to lip,
Thy younger comrade lies.
Lord of the love which rules this changing world,
Passing all partial loves, this one complete – the Mother love
and sex emotion blended-
I see thee where for centuries thou hast walked,
Lonely, the world of men
Saving, redeeming, drawing all to thee,
Yet outcast, slandered, pointed of the mob,
Misjudged and crucified.
Dear Son of heaven – long suffering wanderer through the
wilderness of civilisation-
The day draws nigh when from these mists of ages
Thy form in glory clad shall reappear.
THE LEGEND OF INANNA
A legend from the ancient lands of Sumer and Mesopotamia tells us that the Great Goddess was trapped in the Underworld by her dark sister Ereshkigel, and could only be saved by Asushunamir, a specially created being who was neither male nor female. In her rage Ereshkigel cursed all such queer beings but Inanna in response appointed them to be her eternal servants, promising that one day their holiness would be restored:
“For many ages you will suffer… you shall be strangers in your own homes, your families will keep you as secrets in the shadows and they will cast you out and they will leave you with nothing. The drunken shall smite your faces and the mighty shall imprison you, but if you will remember me, how you were born from the light of the stars, remember how beautiful you are, and how it was you, and only you, who could save me from the final death and rid the earth of winter, I shall harbour you and your kind. You shall be my special children and I shall make you my priests. I shall grant you the gift of prophecy, the wisdom of the earth and the moon. You shall banish illness from my children, just as you have stolen me from Ereshkigel and the land of no return and when you shall adorn yourself in my robes, i shall dance in your feet and sing in your throats, and no-one shall be able to resist your enchantments. When the earthen jug is brought forth from the seven gates you shall be free from the spell of Ereshkigel. Once more you shall be called Asushunamir, Being Clothed In Light. Your kind shall be calle Asushunamir, those whose faces are brilliant, those who have come to renew the light, the Blessed Ones, of Inanna.”
Listen to the story of Ishtar/Inanna and her queer priests on this podcast:
When God Was Queer, episode XIV , hosted by Dakota St. Clare, Vince Vance & Daphne Malfitano: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/when-god-was-queer/id1505101661
This ancient legend speaks to us today – the Goddess is once more trapped in the Underworld of human consciousness; disconnection dominates our world and planetary ecology is way out of balance. Queer people are more accepted and freer to be ourselves in some parts of the world now, but our ancient connection to the Goddess is still hidden from sight. Yet we meet her in our games, our celebrations, our love affairs – and our task is to bring her love back into the world, to restore the holy whole by putting love and pleasure on the throne of human civilisation. Many ancient myths from around the world tell of a crucial connection between gender fluidity, same sex love and the sacred realms. Queers served as priests and shamans in traditional cultures the world over. It is time for the modern LGBTQ movement to embrace and engage with spiritual as well as social/political liberation. For we are a people with many gifts of the spirit, that are designed for the benefit of all.
Gay/queer/trans priests served in ancient pagan temples for thousands of years. The Hijra in India today are a remnant of a once common phenomenon of queer spiritual priest classes. In the Old Testament there are references to the presence of Qedesha – male priests who engaged in sexual ritual with temple visitors (translated as sodomites in the King James Bible) – and, in Deuteronomy, a ban on Jewish men becoming Qedesha. Yet in the Bible we also find two references to the long term, spiritual role of ‘eunuchs’:
For this is what the LORD says: “To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, who choose what pleases Me and hold fast to My covenant, I will give them, in My house and within My walls, a memorial and a name better than that of sons and daughters. I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.”
Jesus quoted in Matthew 19:11-12
“Not everyone can accept this word,” He replied, “but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way; others were made that way by men; and some who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
THE LEGEND OF RAMA AND THE THIRD-GENDERED ONES
A myth concerns Lord Rāma and is told by hijras of India to justify their position in society and allude to possible rewards for their suffering. Hijras in Madhya Pradesh particularly referenced this narrative, which was said by many (hijras and non-hijras) to be associated with the Rāmāyana, although it does not appear in the text. In the myth, Lord Rāma returns from exile and finds those who are ‘neither man nor woman’ waiting on the banks of the river, from which he had left the city of Ayodhya to go into exile, fourteen years previously. When he left the city, he told the ‘men and women’ to go home, but these individuals, being neither, remained there. As a result, Rāma is touched by their devotion and he blesses them, saying they will rule the world in the ‘future’
Some African wisdom on the matter… it could also be said of this The one who can accept this should accept it:
Malidoma Some of the Dagara Tribe of Burkino Faso:
“The gay person is looked at primarily as a “gatekeeper.” The Earth is looked at, from my tribal perspective, as a very, very delicate machine or consciousness, with high vibrational points, which certain people must be guardians of in order for the tribe to keep its continuity with the gods and with the spirits that dwell there. Spirits of this world and spirits of the other worlds. Any person who is at this link between this world and the other world experiences a state of vibrational consciousness which is far higher, and far different, from the one that a normal person would experience. This is what makes a gay person gay…
“If, today, we are suffering from a gradual ecological waste, this is simply because the gatekeepers have been fired from their job. They have been fired! They have nothing to do! And because they have been fired, we accuse them for not doing anything. This is not fair!
“Why is it that, everywhere else in the world, gay people are a blessing, and in the modern world they are a curse? It is self-evident. The modern world was built by Christianity. They have taken the gods out of the earth sent them to heaven, wherever that is. And everyone who aspires to the gods must then negotiate with Christianity, so that the real priests and priestesses are out of a job. This is the worst thing that can happen to a culture that calls itself modern.
“…the thing about it is that humans are going to be begetting gatekeepers, no matter what. This is the chance that we’ve got. So maybe that means that sooner or later we’re going to wake up to the horror of our own errors, and we’re going to reconsecrate our chosen people so that they can do their priestly work as they should. Otherwise, I just don’t understand. I just don’t understand. My position about it is not so much that gays be just forgiven. That’s just tokenism. But that they serve as an example of the wrong, or the illness, that modernity has brought to us, and that we use that to begin working at healing ourselves and our society from the bottom up. That way, by the time we reach a certain level, all the gatekeepers are going to find their positions again. We cannot tell them where the gates are. They know. If we start to heal ourselves, they will remember. It will kick in. But as long as we continue in arrogance, in egotism, in God-knows-what form of violence on ourselves, no, there’s that veil of confusion that’s going to continue to prevail, and as a result it’s going to prevent great things from happening. That’s all I can say about that.”
quoted from 1993 interview on MenWeb