This is it, Friday… and? What? LOL! Last night was a lovely spring night here in The City. If you have never experienced springtime in New York, then you’re missing out on something utterly magical.
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-=[ The Sacred Prostitute ]=-
You may not believe this, but a large part of the motivation for my Friday sex blogs lies in my quest to compel people question what they assume to be universal. Too many people think that their way of life, their culture, and morals are the only right way to live and nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, even within our own culture[s] there’s no consistent universal agreement about anything -- even murder.
Of course, we do this because we like to paint our world in stark black and white: “us against them,” “good vs. evil,” etc. I believe that such thinking is the cause of most of the suffering in our world. I am not saying others need to agree with my mode of thinking, but I am saying that you need to keep an open mind and attempt to understand things from a wider perspective.
This is what’s needed in order for us to survive. I write about many things, but sometimes I’m amazed at how many people actually miss my points. It’s as if our filters are at work before we finish reading something, or listening to a friend. This mindset, this inability to see past our blinders, is especially relevant when discussing today’s topic -- prostitution. As I was researching this topic I quickly realized there was no way I could address prostitution in a page-long synopsis, so today I’ll write mostly about what we know of prostitution’s beginnings. Interestingly enough, as with many matters sexual, prostitution has deep connections to spirituality.
My friend Nina used to joke that perhaps the earliest form of marriage was a straight-up trade for sex for food. LOL! From an anthropological view, however, she’s not that far off the mark. But I digress…
The earliest known term for priestess, in the language of the ancient
In a startling documentation of sacred prostitution, the Greek historian Herodotus (c. 485-425 BC), described how every Babylonian woman was compelled once in her lifetime to go to the temple and offer herself for a fee to any man who desired her. She would then place her fee on the altar as the price for her release. According to Herodotus’ account, “tall, handsome women” managed to get released quickly, while others spent years in the temple before being able to buy their freedom.
Sacred prostitution also flourished in ancient Egypt, especially associated with the God Ammon and the goddess Bast, and in ancient Greece the temple of Aphrodite Porne at Corinth was said to contain 1,000 prostitutes at a time.
A temple prostitute was believed to embody the goddess she served while performing sex, and therefore elevated the man who paid her into a divine state also. In fact, from at least the time of King Gudea (c. 2100 BC), sex with a sacred prostitute was necessary for a king to make his rule legitimate: otherwise, he would be considered worthless as guarantor of fertility.
Male sacred prostitutes have not been recorded as frequently as females, though the eunuchs who lived in the temples of Cybele and Artemis were accused of acting as catamites (homosexual partners) for visitors to the temples. Also early sects that competed for popularity with early Judaism preferred male to female temple prostitutes and parts of South America, where homosexuality was a part of public life, male prostitutes took part in sacred rites.
In India, temple prostitutes are called devadasis, or handmaidens of god. They are considered the earthly personification of heavenly courtesans, or asparas, who entertain Indra, master of the rains. The sexual activities of the devadasis symbolize the life giving rains. In Indian folklore, water is linked to sexuality, as opposed to heat, drought, and abstinence.
Anthropologists have observed that the “early prevalence of mother-right [matriarchal] societies was more favorable to sexual freedom than later patriarchal systems.” Therefore in early Egyptian days, a woman could give her favors to any man she chose by sending him her garment, even if she were married. In time, with the advent of patriarchy, this would come to be regarded as criminal.
To be continued…