St. Francis and the wolf

Why do religions fear sex?


Here I further questions posed in Pinocchio:

… a dis-acceptance of one’s sexuality.  Where this notion came from, for this author or for me, I do not know, but many religions teach it.  I do not understand why some exalt celibacy over marriage.

We may learn from myths, legends, fairy tales and dreams.  These are like morality plays: each character in the story represents some aspect of oneself — one’s feelings, attitudes, personality traits.  Many fairy tales deal with a young woman’s coming to terms with her sexuality; including “Beauty and the Beast,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Snow White.”

One challenge of managing sexual desire is its unpredictability or randomness.  Most people are familiar with the image of Cupid — “Eros” in Greek, the god of sexual desire — as a baby boy with wings and a bow and arrow.  Less familiar is the rest of the myth: he is blind, and he has a quiver full of arrows, some lead, some gold. He shoots randomly, and cannot tell where or at whom he is shooting; nor can he tell the lead and gold arrows apart.  If a gold arrow pierces someone’s heart, he or she will overwhelmingly love the next person she or he sees. If a lead arrow pierces someone’s heart, that person will overwhelmingly abhor the next person one sees. These feelings can be hard to deal with if the one loved is inappropriate or the one abhorred is one’s spouse.

“Little Red Riding Hood” deals not with a young woman, but a little girl, who meets sexual arousal long before she has the wherewithal to face it.  Feral, fierce, powerful, ravenous and predatory — that is how sexuality first appears to the psyche. These things happen in real life. As an adult, the actress Jodie Foster is unwilling to be intimate with any man.  I suspect this reflects scars sustained in the filming of one specific scene in Taxi Driver.  At the time, she was 12 years old.

There are other wolves.

Legend says the little town of Gubbio on Italy had only one road in or out.  A wolf came to frequent that road, and would viciously attack any human being who went there.  No one dared enter or leave the village, because of the wolf. The people ran out of food.

Word of this reached St. Francis, who came and met with the wolf one-on-one. He somehow persuaded the wolf, who never attacked anyone again.

Some fanciful versions of the story say that Francis’ first act, when he met the wolf, was to make the sign of the Cross, and the wolf at once became completely docile.  Even in the world of myth, that is incredible to me. Even to communicate with the wolf, Francis had to bring forth his own potentials to be fierce, feral, powerful, ravenous and predatory.  To make peace with the wolf, he had first to make peace with those features of himself.

So must anyone do as to one’s own sexuality.

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