THE WOMEN'S COMPANION TO 'CONJUGIAL LOVE' Numbers 49-56
Word Cloud of Conjugial Love Numbers 49-56:
Summary of the numbers:
This group of passages talk about marriages in heaven and how different they are from marriages on earth. They remark that people often separate from their natural partners, especially if they are a result of marriages for wealth and possessions. In heaven people are inwardly united and they mutually care for each other. Unlike marriages in this world, marriages in heaven do not result in children, but in spiritual offspring, which unites the couples more deeply.
This picture of heavenly marriages contrasts with those in hell, who only have pairings, not marriages, and their relationships are licentiousness. If one partner is good, the partners separate. Those people who did not marry and are averse to it, yet are good, are at the sides of heaven.
Swedenborg has the opportunity to meet with some of the angels, primarily male? And hears the women singing about the chaste love of the opposite sex and the beauty of the chaste love of the sex. This love is rare, unless people are good.
In this section there is a discussion about the difference between love of the opposite sex and the same sex.
Swedenborg had the opportunity to be at the Temple of Wisdom, where he asked “What does a wise man or wisdom have to do with a woman?” The angel responded “What is a wise man apart from a woman?”
Summary of the Responses:
There were several comments remarking that the status of men and women has changed since Swedenborg’s time. Today, people do not always stay in the same area their whole life, so they may meet different people other than those with whom they grew up, so their choice of a spouse is wider. That does not mean their choice is necessarily wiser, but it is less restricted than in Swedenborg’s time. Also, the role of women has changed. Many are better educated than in Swedenborg’s time. Many work for a living, both before and after marriage, and most marry for love, not status.
There were concerns that Swedenborg’s emphasis on the importance of the marriage of one man and one woman excluded those who are LGBTQ+. Swedenborg explained the difference between the two relationships, saying that the latter was more external. What do we do with that? Surely not expect this community to live in a loveless relationship or stay single? This writer notes that sometimes in same sex relationships one partner appears masculine and the other feminine, despite their sex.
Direct Quotes from Contributors:
"I hope that in heaven having matching uses will be easier. In this life it is easy to get caught up in your own goals and ambitions. As a young adult, it is hard to imagine matching my life up perfectly with another person. Perhaps God makes this easier in heaven, with more obvious uses, rather than just jobs or occupations.” In some ways life is harder, juggling life, a job and looking for a life partner!"
"What a pity this world doesn’t have the angelic mode of sexuality, which starts in the head and proceeds downward." This comment refers to the celebration and singing of a chaste love for the opposite sex by angelic women. The new spirits standing around asked what that was, and they were told it was a love for the women without any lasciviousness. Of course, the spirits struggled to understand this, and their perception of the singing changed if they were lascivious, and they ran away.
Several people reacted to the set gender roles. Why assign men and women to specific roles? "All roles can be filled by both genders" in the home. "Marriage is bringing love and wisdom together in use." One person remarked that "angelic couples are not enmeshed. They are not in a static state and are two very different angels," even though they are united.
There was a question by one person as to whether the "husband-centrism" was due to Swedenborg’s filter, or was an appearance of truth? Either way it marred it for her.
One or two people were unhappy with the women being valued for their sex and beauty, not as an intelligent person. Another noted that all the newcomers appeared to be male. This writer wondered how the angelic women felt about the adoration regarding their sex and beauty? Perhaps this particular text was written for men. This writer also believes most of Conjugial love was written for men, which would have been unique at the time, when women seemed to be regarded as lesser beings, only useful for producing new beings?
Here is one woman’s description as to how Angelic Chastity could be (better?) explained: "Angelic Chastity, which is shared by either sex, prevents that love from passing beyond the barrier of the heart, but within and above the young woman’s beautiful character enjoys the delights of chaste sexual love with the good character of the young man."
In this world one use of sexuality is the production of more human beings. This is not true in heaven. Instead, couples produce spiritual "births," which brings them closer together. One person remarked that it seemed like the relationship of couples as they age in this world, after their kids are grown.
Word Cloud of the Responses:
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