THE WOMEN'S COMPANION TO 'CONJUGIAL LOVE' Numbers 116-126
Word Cloud for Conjugial Love Numbers 116-126:
Summary of the Numbers: The title of this section is the Marriage of the Divine and the Church and discusses how and why it is important that Conjugial Love be connected to the Divine and the Church in order to become heavenly. However, some of the explanations as to how men and women connect to the Divine and each other proved distressing to some of the readers. The beginning of this section deals with the many passages in the Bible that speak about the marriage of the Divine and the Church. Summary of the Responses: Several readers remarked that marriage relationships today are very different from the era of the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Writings, and these three are different from each other. The differences become dramatic when the text continues, especially in 122 and 123. For many women, the text would not make sense, especially when compared to other passages in the Writings, which discuss how all people can be regenerated. The aforementioned passages seemed to say that women rely on their spouses in order to regenerate, which is clearly not true. There was considerable discussion as to how this text could be understood in the light of the passages in other parts of the Writings.
Another reason the text was hard to understand was who Swedenborg was referring to when he used person/homo (122). The writer remarked thar sometimes he was talking about males, not everyone. Ideally, this should be clarified in the text to avoid painting the unhealthy picture that women could only be regenerated if they had a regenerating husband! In the next section the ideas as to how to understand this text is explained, using ideas from other works.
One writer suggested Swedenborg appeared to be overlooking the female experience of receiving good inflow from the Divine into her will.
(123) One writer felt it was hard to slog through the numbers, knowing it did not refer to her or her female relatives. But she did accept the need for men to improve their marriages!
(125) One writer said this seems to be contrary to numbers 122 and 123, that is, that the husband gives truth to his marriage, and that is how a wife receives truth. Yet Swedenborg needed to steer the reader away from that fallacy, that is, that women had to be in a church and be married in order to be regenerated, clearly against the rest of the tenets in the Writings. All people are able to regenerate, whether or not they are married or attend church. The suggestion that women can only regenerate via their husbands is demeaning to women. One woman felt that Swedenborg’s appearance of misogyny had done a lot of harm to Swedenborgian women, even maybe for centuries. This writer notes that sometimes Conjugial Love has been used to batter "fallen women" as if she is the only one at fault.
The correct idea is that each person has their own relationship with the Divine, so each spouse has their own relationship with the Divine, as well as with each other.
(126) This passage can disarm misogyny if observed correctly. There was a discussion by the writers of how emotional responses have been downplayed within the church. The importance of charity is also stated in this section.
Several agreed that the implication that the church being implanted in the husband first continues to "go on under the surface." Hopefully the discussion of this mistaken view of this passage can be clarified. Direct Quotes from Contributors: There were a fair number of remarks, as stated above, regarding the relationship between men and women and the Divine, and the suggestion that women get truth from their spouses. Here is one woman’s suggestion for that passage: "One idea could be that the passage applied to both sexes receiving from the Divine, or Swedenborg is focusing only the male experience." The writer goes on to explain the logistics of how that could make sense. She ends up with: "This seems to me the way a church is created or formed between a couple, flavored by what is important to both of them. His truth and her love appear as their own gift to their union, but really are gifts from the Divine."
Some other ideas: "In addition, people receive truth from the marriage of good and truth flowing in from the Divine, because people by birth are able to know, understand and be wise, and this ability receives the truths that give them knowledge, intelligence and wisdom. For a woman, the truth she receives is joined to the good the Divine gives her, in the same way as a man. She receives the mix initially in her will, and is conscious of the love aspect of the Divine inflow. A man receives the mix initially in his intellect, and is conscious of the truth aspect of the Divine inflow.
What are apparently her own loves (though actually gifts from the Divine) manifest in a woman’s intellect as what appears to be her own thinking and truth. Since a woman was created to become a wife in a truly Conjugial relationship, by means of her husband’s truth, and after marriage is more and more formed to love it, it follows that she also receives her husband’s truth in herself, and joins the Divine, in order to create the bond of marriage, apparently autonomously."
This suggested explanation appeared to capture both what are expounded in Conjugial Love and other texts in the Writings. Word Cloud of the Responses:
What was your experience reading these numbers from Conjugial Love? Your thoughts and responses are valuable and welcomed. Just sign up in the comment section to be a Deborah’s Tree site member, and then add your comments. Site membership is free, but you are welcome to give a donation if you like what you find in this blog! https://www.deborahstree.org/donate-and-volunteer Today’s Blog By: Rev. Julie Conaron