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To: alt.magick.tantra,alt.religion.tantra,
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Saddhu-Masochist
Date: Tue, 07 Mar 2000 18:56:55 GMT

One of the things about tantra yoga -- and Hindu asceticism in general --
that has always alarmed me has been its open inclusion of
self-mutilation, particularly of the genitals, performed by saddhus in
an attempt to gain powers (siddhis). This practice continues to be
regarded as "holy" in India (witness Richard Avedon's recent portfolio
of photos in the New Yorker magazine, including a man whose penis was
stretched out like a rope by the weight of stones attached to it) -- a
fact that always astound me, genital-lover that i am. 

The belief that loss of semen leads to loss of power drives spiritually
ambitious men to do things that almost seem insane, given their
ostensible devotion to a belief-system in which the genital copulation
of deities is seen as the prime exemplar of holy communion and/or in
which the male genital organ is the sign or mark of divinity.

Now comes a new twist on the old story -- a man in New Zealand who
stapled his penis to a cross and set it on fire. While ostensibly not a
"religious" act per se (he did it for cash prizes) the implication in
his choice of crucifixion imagery is that his own religious Christian
background did play a major role in his desire to "mortify the flesh" in
this dramatic way. 

A news article follows: 

> Kiwi student crucifies penis
> Gross-out contest winner horrifies New Zealand.
> A Christchurch student who stapled his penis to a crucifix
> then set it on fire during a televised pub promotion -- How
> far will you go? -- did not breach the norms of good taste,
> according to a controversial ruling by a New Zealand
> television authority.
> To demolish his pub rivals, Thomas Hendry stapled his staff
> to a crucifix 18 times with an industrial-strength stapler,
> then drenched it in cigarette lighter fluid and ignited it
> in a meat-cooking blaze.
> Trader McKendry, the Christchurch tavern that sponsored the
> contest, gave Hendry a whopping jackpot of about U.S. $245
> in cash and the same amount in a bar credit.
> "The stunt was unusual and macabre," the Broadcasting
> Standards Authority conceded, but the footage shown on
> state-owned television's "Havoc 2000 Deluxe" show fell just
> short of breaking broadcasting boundaries.
> The organ ordeal was videotaped in its excruciating entirety
> and subsequently broadcast by Television New Zealand (TVNZ)
> reports Agence France-Presse. Audiences were warned
> repeatedly that the upcoming footage was "graphic and
> disgusting," but the cock-crippling clip was actually edited
> so extensively that it was difficult to comprehend the
> magnitude of the genital torture.
> For months, TVNZ has been under fierce attack from Prime
> Minister Helen Clark who has accused the network of being
> shamelessly ratings-driven.
> Two viewers did complain, but the decency watchdog defended
> itself by asserting that the pecker-pulverizing act was
> within the periphery of its good taste because the network
> edited some of the most explicit aspects of the stunt.
> How much wounding can a poor weenie endure? Hendry evidently
> heals quickly because he's already contemplating a repeat
> performance of his sausage-slaughtering ritual.
> The next annihilation will be slightly less severe: Hendry
> concedes that he'll use fewer staples and have a bucket of
> water ready to put out the flames quickly.

From: catherine yronwode 
Newsgroups: alt.magick.tantra,alt.religion.tantra,
Subject: Re: Saddhu-Masochist
Date: Wed, 08 Mar 2000 18:30:27 GMT

Aarohana wrote:
> mdhjwh wrote in message <>...
> >catherine yronwode wrote:

> > One of the things about tantra yoga -- and Hindu
> > asceticism in general that has always alarmed me has been its open 
> > inclusion of self-mutilation, 
> Every culture on earth contains some form of self-mutilation, from the 
> most ancient times up to the present day.  There is always some 
> segment of any culture that will practice it.  
> > The Roman Catholic Church has a long and ignoble tradition in such .
> > matters. To this day religious festivals in Italy and Spain involve 
> > self mutilation.
> My personal "favorite" is in the Middle East (Iran, Syria, Lebanon 
> most extremely) where a festival goes on in which the devout smack 
> themselves in the head with either a jagged rock or a knife until 
> blood flows freely. Again, this is seen as a display or religious 
> devotion and penitence.

> But really, when you get down to it, as long as such extreme sexual 
> actions are self-directed, or at least exercised with a knowledgeable 
> and willing partner (or partners!), its none of my business.  What 
> concern is it of mine (or yours!) what someone does to their own 
> genitalia... as long as they're not doing it in a manner that involves 
> us?  Or, to phrase it in simple Western terms, "Hey baby, whatever 
> floats yer boat."

Let's go back to what i originally wrote, which was snipped in
follow-ups --

> The belief that
> loss of semen leads to loss of power drives spiritually ambitious men 
> to do things that almost seem insane, given their ostensible devotion 
> to a belief-system in which the genital copulation of deities is seen 
> as the prime exemplar of holy communion and/or in which the male 
> genital organ is the sign or mark of divinity.

In other words, the fact that the Roman Catholics may engage in a
variety of sexual repressions does not strike me as odd -- their
religion is built on the doctrine of "original sin" (in which having sex
and/or being naked is clearly identified with the sin of eating from the
tree -- and the punishment redounded to Eve who was made to suffer pain
during childbirth). But in Saivite or Saktiite tantrism, mutilation of
the genitals seems so WEIRD. I just dont get it. It seems like a
DIShonouring of Siva for a Saivite saddhu to wrap his stretched-out and
dysfuntionalized penis around a stick. And those 18th century paintings
(cf. "The Great Book of Tantra") of the Saktiite Kali worshippers
cutting off their penis and testicles and offering them to the goddess
-- what would THAT prove? Now they can't ever fuck her. 

I am not "alarmed" from the standpoint of personal disapproval. As
Tzimon said, these are adults, so let them do as they please. My
"alarm" was about the philosophical inconsistency. How can i get behind
a religion that MAKES NO SENSE?

I am just a literal-minded Taurus hippie-woman. Here are 10 million men
and women worshipping rock-hard erect stone penises, covering them with
flowers, dripping milk on them, printing full-colour posters of them to
hang on the walls -- you name it -- these folks are making pilgrimages
to see big ice dicks in Kashmir, they are decorating little stone cocks
with candy-wrapper foil, they are smearing sandal paste on terra cotta
pricks in wall niches whitewashed and painted with red tips. They are
definitely making a big deal about big honking dicks. 

And then some sector of the same religion group -- the really, really,
really holy ones, no less -- get so MAD at their OWN penises for getting
stiff at odd moments that they hang rocks from them and tie them down
with chains and they manage, after years of stretching, and in some
cases (despite what Tzimon said about them not doing anything violent to
the organ) cutting the suspensory ligament that controls erection, they
finally get themselves these spaghetti-thin limp dicks, permanently. And
that's -- what? That's the grand finale of their adoration of the studly
cock of Siva?

Like i said, i just don't get it. 
cat yronwode 

Karezza and Sacred Sex ------

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