(the following is excerpted from the presentation embedded in the post below)
“The power of the erotic is acknowledged in many cultures” (p. 110); Shakti is the Sanskrit term for the erotic as female life force (Austen, 1991). Audre Lorde (1989) poetically describes the erotic as a kernel within herself that, when released from its intense and constrained pellet, flows through and colors her life with a kind of energy that heightens and sensitizes and strengthens all her experience.
Regrettably, in our culture the erotic has been misnamed, made into the confused, the trivial, the psychotic, the plasticized sensation (Lorde, 1989); perverted by ideas associated with pornography (Martin, 1995). In euro-Western culture, the erotic has been denigrated and relegated to so few areas of life that its remaining expressions are overloaded and distorted (Austen, 1991).
We are taught to separate the erotic from most vital areas of our lives other than sex - and to take the true erotic out of our sex; "to fear the yes within ourselves, our deepest cravings" (Lorde, 1989, p. 211).
Women empowered with the erotic are seen as dangerous (Lorde, 1989); the Hebrew Lilith's exile for her sexual independence is emblematic of the Judeo-Christian suppression of women (Austen, 1991).
How would our society differ for women and men if the erotic's true psychic and emotional components were fully integrated into our lives?
Let's look back to mythology for such a model...
Persephone's pre-Olympian initiation would have been fertile in that it was a complex, transformative experience of the erotic.
Death, life, male, female and, above all, the irrepressible power of reproduction—all are found in the image of the pomegranate seed. It is this seed that Persephone takes within her body—literally incorporating it into her own being. With this seed, she becomes a new person: whole, mature, fertile, and infinitely more complex than before. Having tasted it, she has crossed a barrier from which there can be no turning back. (Gadon, 1989, p. 159).
Sookie’s emergent erotic life has been cited as a central theme of True Blood. Vampire fiction often reflects the fear that such strong, independent, sexual women will disrupt the fabric of society (Parlour, 2009). For McCabe, Dracula’s worst sin may have been not only rendering women capable of enjoying sex, but transforming them into sexual aggressors.
The legends of the Sumerian Innana contain some of the most erotic, female, and eros-positive literature known (Austen, 1990); she takes an aggressive role in the sacred marriage. Like Innana—and certainly no Virgin Mary, Sookie initiated with Bill, encouraged him along when he faltered, offering her neck, asked him to bite her, signals Bill with her eyes when she was ready to be penetrated – on HER terms. As Brace & Arp (2010) write, when Bill and Sookie consummate their relationship, he penetrates her simultaneously with both penis and fangs, heightening the pleasure for both of them.
HERE YOU'LL SEE THE BRIEF YET POTENT VIDEO - BEST EXPERIENCED WITH SPEAKERS ON - THAT SHOULD APPEAR ON SLIDE 125 OF THE PRESENTATION BELOW (it was part of the original conference presentation but didn't translate in the conversion from PowerPoint to Blogger):
The ancient initiates to Persephone’s mysteries experienced a special seeing, an “opening of the eyes” (Gadon, 1989); might Sookie’s eyes snapping open in her moment of orgasmic awakening depict “the disturbingly powerful potential of women” (Amador, 2003, p. 1, ¶5) in touch with Eros, sexually sovereign?
Thirsty for more? View the whole presentation posted below!(citations correspond to reference list posted here)