Join Our 'Many Paths, One Mountain' Broadcast Every Sunday at 10am PT Sign Up

Why This Is Essential Now

Marc Gafni » Books and Telecourses » Eros-Ethics-Meaning » Wisdom for Your Week » Why This Is Essential Now

The Sexual Models the Erotic Part 8

This is an excerpt from the book A Return to Eros by Dr. Marc Gafni and Dr. Kristina Kincaid. Here you can read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7 of the Series.

Photo by Kristina Amelong Associate Director of Outrageous Love Letters

For many years the cherubic mystery tradition was not taught publicly and often not at all in the Hebrew wisdom traditions. This was not accidental. Hebrew Tantra is an inseparable part of the whole Hebrew gestalt. In marked contrast to some of its Indian stepchildren and pagan antecedents, the Hebrew worldview was primarily rooted in a commitment to ethics. At the center of sacred works, ethical action was seen as required. It ranked far above any other dimension of spiritual practice. So for the past two millennia after the temple’s fall, the major focus of spiritual work has been making ethics an integral part of human life. As Marc’s grandfather used to say, “The most important thing is to be a mensch (Yiddish for “a person with integrity”). For him and for the tradition that produced him, ethics always trumped all other cards. The problem is that once we have incorporated ethics into the fabric of our lives, we find that it is not enough. We have still not filled the emptiness.

In modernity, as the poet Yeats said in his classic critique, “The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” If we do not reclaim the erotic for the spirit and the good, then its shadow will seduce us and our world to the worst of places.

Fundamentalism is on the rise in the world because it offers a pseudo-erotic experience of community coupled with a pseudo-erotic worldview. Particularly, sacred fellowship, with all of its passion and interconnectivity, is a key feature of the fundamentalist experience. Whether it is the community of mosque, church, or synagogue, the Eros of communal belonging and caring is intoxicating. Communal ritual with its participatory song and drama, together with an all-embracing worldview that seems to explain away alienation and uncertainty, is undeniably seductive.

But fundamentalism is only pseudo Eros because ultimately it denies true interconnectivity. Too many all-embracing world-views are built on excluding the “unredeemed” from their embrace. Fundamentalism in both its secular and its religious varieties offers salvation only to the elite group that subscribes to its set of dogmas. Everyone else is an outsider and usually damned to eternal perdition of some variety. This is a violation of the core quality of Eros: interiority, being on the inside. But being an insider often only by making someone else an outsider means there is no interiority and no true Eros. This is precisely what we have termed pseudo Eros. In your need to fill the emptiness, the other person is degraded in order for you to attain the erotic feeling of being on the inside.

Another type of fundamentalist fellowship is seen in the communities of greed and accumulation. Materialism moves people because when the center doesn’t hold, the pseudo Eros of money seems the easiest means to fill the emptiness. Paradoxically, more enlightened communities and individuals often seem weak and insipid, leaving us unmoved and uninspired.

If we do not reclaim the erotic for the spirit and the good, then its shadow will seduce us and our world to the worst of places.

We return to Yeats, who wrote in “The Second Coming”:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand.

The revelation at hand, that which we yearn for, is the Secret of the Cherubs–how to transform sexuality from a force to be controlled or a mere indulgence into the spiritual master that teaches us how to live erotically in all of the nonsexual dimensions of our lives. The old suspicious approach to sexuality is insufficient to create a world that is holy.

Imagine that a great sage from the twelfth century is resurrected. He rises from his grave and hears that there is a terrible war raging. He says, “I’ll help you win this war. Hand me my sword and I can fight off a hundred people!” People would say to him, “Are you crazy? These are not the weapons of today. Today we have more sophisticated weapons. You push a button, and you kill millions in one second.” The potential for destruction is greater today than it ever was. Eros is the creative force of contact, construction, and creativity that stands against alienation, destruction, and dissolution. We need a new erotic equal to our new power. Never have people felt so empty, rootless, and estranged, both from themselves and from the world. The old, staid conventions are not enough. We need to return to the wine of ancient teachings in the evolved flasks of these contemporary times. We need the Secret of the Cherubs in an evolutionary context. It is not merely about Eros, it is about evolutionary Eros.

It is time for the secret to be revealed and the wine to be drunk. It is time for a holy Dionysus to emerge and claim his place alongside the cherubs in the Holy of Holies. We’ve had enough of the sexual pathologies that poison our society–the violent fundamentalism, the abusive sexuality of the church, the vicious McCarthy-like witch hunts that falsely accuse, and the desperately empty sexuality of the everyday. These are all pathologies of the spirit that haunt our world. It is time to heal the split and reclaim the sexual as the master who can teach us how to access the erotic in all of life.


marc gafni, dr. marc gafni, gafni, eros, a return to eros, kristina kincaidAn excerpt from the book A Return to Eros by Marc Gafni & Kristina Kincaid – one of the key think tank projects of the Center for Integral Wisdom.

A Return to Eros: On Sex, Love, and Eroticism in Every Dimension of Life, from Drs. Marc Gafni and Kristina Kincaid, reveals the radical secret tenets of relationship between the sexual, the erotic, and the holy. They reveal what Eros actually means and share the ten core qualities of the Erotic, which are modeled by the sexual. These include being on the inside, fullness of presence, yearning, allurement, fantasy, surrender, creativity, pleasure, and more.

A Return to Eros shows why these qualities of the erotic modeled by the sexual are actually the same core qualities of the sacred. The relationship between the sexual and the erotic becomes clear, teaching you how to live an erotically suffused existence charged with purpose, potency and power.

To be an Outrageous Lover–not just in sex but also in all facets of your life–you must listen deeply to the simple yet elegant whisperings of the sexual. This book will forever transform your understanding and experience of love, sex, and Eros.

>>> Buy A Return to Eros Here <<<


Find and activate your place in the Unique Self Symphony in just 10 weeks!Dr. Marc Gafni, Marc Gafni, Gafni, Unique Self

Awakening Your Unique Self is a 10 week online course designed to give you a simple step-by-step process to awaken and activate your purpose by helping you find your story, and then share it with the world for the betterment of humanity!


Read More and Register Here…

Meet Dr. Marc Gafni, Visionary Philosopher,
Author, and Social Innovator

as featured in