The Penis Might Ier Than Thes Word
You let me violate you, you let me desecrate you
You let me penetrate you, you let me complicate you
Help me I broke apart my insides, help me I’ve got no
Soul to tell
Help me the only thing that works for me, help me get
Away from myself
I want to fuck you like an animal
I want to feel you from the inside
I want to fuck you like an animal
My whole existence is flawed
You get me closer to god
You can have my isolation, you can have the hate that It brings
You can have my absence of faith, you can have my Everything
Help me tear down my reason, help me its’ your sex I Can smell
Help me you make me perfect, help me become somebody Else
I want to fuck you like an animal
I want to feel you from the inside
I want to fuck you like an animal
My whole existence is flawed
You get me closer to god
Through every forest, above the trees
Within my stomach, scraped off my knees
I drink the honey inside your hive
You are the reason I stay alive
"Closer", Nine Inch Nails
In the Bible there are two very different stories of the creation. Whereas the first words of the Old Testament explain that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, the new testament Gospel of John explains that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” It is not clear, when comparing the two versions, what the essential difference is, what the Word was or whether God was this word or was with a Word. On the other hand, the author of the Gospel of John certainly seems to suggest that there was a divine Word that was either God or with God and somehow contributed to the creation of all things.
Myth has it that the book of Genesis was either written or else compiled by Moses. It is difficult to place with any certainty the exact date when Moses was born, but the bible is very clear that he lived in Egypt, where he had been “discovered” on the river Nile and brought up by a Pharaoh's daughter, Bithiah. Given his education in the Pharaoh’s household it seems likely that he might have been influenced by the Egyptian beliefs of the time. It therefore seems relevant to examine these.
Some Egyptian creation myths also mention a sacred word, suggesting that the Supreme Being Atum-Raa uttered the words of creation. But the far more widespread Egyptian belief held that God, Atum, rose from the primordial waters and masturbated him/ herself ith either his/her “shadow” or his/her hand in order to relieve his loneliness. >From the ejaculation, Shu (moisture) and Tefnut (dryness) were created. They, in turn, had sex in order to create Geb (Earth) and Nut (Sky), who were born in a state of permanent copulation so that they could give birth to the Gods and Goddesses that are ultimately responsible for our destinies: Osiris, Isis, Nepthys and Set.
Incest and rape being the sacred rite of the Gods, Osiris and Isis became lovers, inspiring the jealous rage of their brother Set. Set conspired to murder Osiris. Once he had done so, he proceeded to cut him up into 14 parts, which he then scattered across the land. The distraught Isis searched for each of the disembodied pieces, but found only 13 because either Set, or a fish had eaten his penis. Isis made a substitute penis out of gold and then, singing whilst having sex with her dead brother, fucked him back to life again. Through his resurrection, Osiris became Lord of the Dead and the Afterlife. In the 18th Dynasty, the Pharaoh God Akenhaten ritually celebrated this act of sacred sex (perhaps even Atum’s masturbatory act of creation) by annually publically masturbating his seed into the Nile, thus conjuring the floods that life in Egyptian so depended upon. In his 1939 book "Moses and Monotheism" Freud argued that Moses was a follower of Akhenaten and therefore an Atenist priest, eventually forced to leave Egypt with his followers after the pharaoh's death.
Whether or not Moses was directly or even personally connected to Akhenaten remains controversial, but, in my opinion, it certainly could be argued that he shared their obsession with the sexual basis of creation and divinity. Moreover, given the fact the Egyptian creation myth predates that of Moses and the gospel of John, I would like to argue that the “Word” of creation, the word of God, the word suggested in the New Testament in the act of creation is in fact none other than “Fuck”.
In his 1998 book "Swearing" Wits University Professor Geoffrey Hughes proposed that the four-letter word predated its more modern euphemisms. The etymological origins of the word “Fuck” are shrouded in mystery, giving rise to numerous urban legends, the most popular of which suggest that it is an acronym that stands for “Fornication Under Consent of King" or "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge." The acronym is generally thought to be a twentieth century phenomenon, whereas the word “Fuck” was already in use 15th century and may even have been used as early as AD 772. Despite many attempts to trace it etymologically, either to Sanskrit, Greek, Latin or Germanic, none have proven conclusive and the word remains a mystery.
Irrespective of its origins or etymology, it could be argued that Fuck is as profane and offensive today as it was a century ago and its meaning has not changed much, although it has certainly picked up speed. To me, Fuck always seemed to suggest somewhat more than just intercourse or copulation and somehow put a more animal or primal spin on the idea of coitus.
The power and magik of this mere four letter word is best exemplified by the fact that, even to this day, it remains forbidden on MTV, the fortress of everything transient and fashionable.
I have long maintained that if you want to destroy something make it into a fashion and that is precisely the function of MTV (or “EMPTY V” as I prefer to call it). Every subversive concept or revolutionary idea from Punk to Ché Guevara gets digested and destroyed into a three-week makeover on MTV, only to then be re-issued as a perfume or t-shirt. And yet you still cannot say, “Fuck”!
We call it a “swear” word or a “curse” word and perhaps therein lies the key to its secret identity. We swear an oath or swear on the Bible in order “to make a solemn declaration, invoking a deity or a sacred person or thing, in confirmation of and witness to the honesty or truth of such a declaration.” Similarly, a curse is also “ a prayer or an invocation for harm or injury to come upon one” or “an ecclesiastical censure or anathema.”
Whilst “Fuck” wins first prize, hands down, on my profane podium, it is not the only four- letter word in the category of curse words. Curious enough, they all tend to either be sexual in nature, or relate to the excremental or scatological body. Why is it that, even in the atheistic cynical twenty first century, it is still considered taboo to use words like “Shit”, “Piss”, “Cunt”, “Dick”, “Fart”, “Tits” and “Arse” in polite company? Why would they, and especially “Fuck”, be so outlawed, almost without exception, well into the golden age of profanity itself?
The key may lie in the nature of language itself. The Old Testament tells that an enormous tower was built in the city of Babylon "with its top in the heaven." This tower, which has fascinated artists and writers ever since, was somehow perceived as a threat to God (or the Gods). So much so, that he/she decided to prevent it from being completed through the “Confusion of Languages.” It stands to reason that, whatever this tower was or could have been, it would have enabled us mortals to reach up into the domain of the Gods had it been completed. Why else would he/she or they have felt so threatened by it? At the time of its construction, the peoples of the Earth spoke a divine universal "Adamic" language, often referred to as the "Language of the Birds." Many say that, along with the Biblical story of the floods, the Tower of Babel and the origin of language is a universal understanding and belief, common to virtually every ancient culture. From this myth, which I believe to be true, I conclude that language is, at once, both divine and a curse from God (or the Gods).
According to the Greeks, it was the messenger Hermes that gave us language. One of the first things that Hermes did, prior to having being born, was to steal his brother Apollo’s cattle, hiding their tracks by having them walk backwards. As a result of his cunning and ingenuity he became the archetypal trickster God and patron saint of thieves, miscreants, harlots, whores and old crones. Until the Middle Ages, many a pagan crossroad was marked by a protective sculpture in honour of Hermes so that travellers could pass protected from thieves and cunning folk. These were simple sculptures, featuring a head and sometimes a torso above a plain, usually squared, lower section, on which erect male genitals were carved at the appropriate height. There is no academic explanation that I know of as to why the phallus should be related to Hermes, but perhaps the answer lies in his role as Psychopomp. Hermes would escort the dead and help them find their way to the afterlife or underworld. He embodied the spirit of crossing-over and was seen to be manifest in any kind of interchange, transfer, transgression, transcendence, transition, transit or traversal (all of which involve some form of crossing in some sense). He was one of the few Gods able to enter and leave the Underworld without hindrance. In my opinion, this return from the domain of the dead could be what is symbolized by the erection on his sculptures, as this is a very obvious and visceral change of state in the male member. The return to life of the erection ultimately culminates in the orgasm (which is not coincidentally referred to as a "little-death" in French).
The relation between sexuality and death was by no means the exclusive domain of Hermes. Krishna, Bacchus, Apollo, Mithras, Osiris, Dionysus and Hermes had similar roles and were also all born of virgin mothers in either caves or a stable, protected by shepherds. Nearly all were worshipped by "wise men," fasted for 40 days, changed water into wine (if they did not invent the sacred spirit themselves), only to finally meet a violent death in order to return to life. All of these Gods were born on the 25th of December (the Winter Solstice), which is generally thought to signal the eventual rebirth and fecundity of nature. Of course, in the western world, the most famous of all these resurrected Gods is Jesus Christ. The art historian Leo Steinberg explained how, in many of the early representations of the Christ, he was sporting a very proud erection, either traced in the lines of his so-called stomach muscles or in curiously shaped yet unambiguous loin clothes. (The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion, 1983) This sexually charged res-ERECTION of the martyred Christ may have been the representation or embodiment of an underground stream of faith, or simply the bridge between the ancient pagan ways and the newly born patriarchal Catholic Church of Saint Peter. The overlap between the pagan and Christian paths was illustrated by the Emperor Constantine, who declared Christianity to be the official Roman religion in order to cement together the political dissent and threat of civil war, while many believe that he retained his faith in Mithras all the way through. Until his death, he kept the title of “Pontifex Maximus,” the title emperors bore as heads of the pagan priesthood. Accordingly, he personally converted to Christianity only on his deathbed. But this testimony, like the confessions by the Cathars and Knights Templar, were reported by the Catholic Patriarchs, so its authenticity remains questionable.
Given the close proximity and overlap between the pagan traditions of Mithras, Osiris or Dionysis and the early Christian church, how did these two streams end up so different and so incompatible? The pagans always maintained a strong relationship between the domain of the Gods and their own, believing that "as above, so below," that the seasons and powers of nature existed as much within their own bodies as without. The body was considered sacred in every sense and every bodily function or impulse could be understood as being interconnected to and an embodiment of the divine. The erection thus not only embodied the changing of the seasons and the return to life of all things natural, but also the divine copulation between Shiva and Shakti, Geb and Nut, Isis and Osiris. This directly conflicts with the Christian attitude to the body. The fundamental difference between the pagan traditions and their Christian offspring is that the Catholic Church finally set itself up as the only gateway to the divine. As Psychopomp and messenger of the Gods, Hermes gave us language and was interlocutor for the divine. He was also the embodiment of our own divine ability to speak the forgotten "Language of the Birds." According to the Tantric tradition, the human body is a divine temple complete in itself, embodying all the divine laws, awaiting only our unlocking of its mysteries. They refer to the physical body as the "Temple of the Nine Holes," the two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, mouth, anus and vagina or penis. I do not think that it is a coincidence that the last two holes are the source of most four letter words, with these words literally describing them or the "stuff" that emanates from them: shit, piss, dick, cunt, clit, cock and Fuck.
The Catholic Church had to destroy the pagan traditions and temples of the 9 holes in order to maintain supremacy over their ideology. This was contrived through either building the foundation of their faith directly upon the pagan temples (literally and iconographically) or, when all else failed, through witch-hunts, public executions, the inquisition, exorcisms and auto-da-fé to name but a few examples. Most fundamentally, they taught us to hate our own bodies, to live in a constant state of guilt towards our physical being. Once the body had successfully been separated from its intrinsic divine nature it was not difficult for the Church to then insist that the only access we have to the divine was through their bricks and mortar, via their clergy and cloth. As the power of the Church would later wane, this self-loathing impulse would become the foundation of the new “Church-of-Capitalism”. In hating everything about our bodies, it would not be difficult to sell us any snake oil, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo or holy water as a short term solution.
The fact that Fuck (and its profane cousins) remains to this day a "curse" or a "swear" word is testimony to its intrinsic power. As it was once a threat to the Catholic Church it remains today a threat to the Capitalist hegemony. The threat comes from the fact that in "Fucking" we touch the divine, we experience the "little death" and pass through the domain of Hermes, Dionysus, Osiris and Christ. Through Fucking we literally create life, a mystery that science still cannot even begin to comprehend. Mircea Eliade describes sexuality as "often the first, and sometimes the only, experience of the Transcendent. For that reason, it is important for rediscovering the sacredness of life, a direct experience of the curious organic unpredictable nature of life."
As Hermes gave us his erection to remind us of his divinity and our ability to cross between worlds, he also gave us the divine curse of language. Being a trickster, he hid keys within language that would unlock the secret passages leading us through the profane towards our natural divinity. Despite being taught that, "sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never harm me," the power of words remains unquestionable.
“The twentieth century linguistic revolution,” says Boston University anthropologist Misia Landau, “is the recognition that language is not merely a device for communicating ideas about the world, but rather a tool for bringing the world into existence in the first place. Reality is not simply ‘experienced’ or ‘reflected’ in language, but instead is actually produced by language.”
The magik of the word “Fuck” lies in its contradictory ability to live in multiple words simultaneously. It is both an extremely positive as well as negative word. If I invited you to “Fuck Me”, my proposal would embody an entirely different emotional condition than had I shouted “Fuck You !” Besides its strength as an Anglo-Saxon expletive, “Fuck” is also trans-linguistic, for it retains much of it meaning and explosive potential, without translation, in most European Languages and used to similar effect for example in French, German, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese to name only a few. For me, it remains unquestionably the most evocative and powerful single word in use around the world today. Whether intended as “curse” or insult, or whether spoken of in relation to sex, the connotation remains something excessive or wild. We tend to “make love” to our husbands or wives, speak of intercourse when addressing the doctor, or simply call it sex in general. Fuck is something much more brutal or animal, something darker and more sinister, something “Closer” to the Nine Inch Nails lyrics “I want to Fuck you like an animal, I want to fuck you from the inside”. Once again, this distinction between functional physical sex and its divine ritualised darker kin only reaffirms the sacred magikal power of the word. I believe there is no God more closely connected to the bestial Fuck than Pan, running through the Arcadian paradise, lusting after nymphs and unsuspecting virgins with his raging erection, the half man half goat, the quintessential nature God. From his name, we not only have the word “Panic” but also the suffix “PAN”, which implies ALL THINGS. His own divinity and origin is shrouded in mystery for some myths maintain that he was always there, whilst others suggest that he was the son of trickster Hermes or even Dionysus and a very close friend of Bacchus. Not coincidentally, according to Greek historian Plutarch, Pan is the only God who is, in fact, dead.
The highly charged moral distinction between the primal four letter “Fuck” and the seemingly cultivated “intercourse” speaks volumes about the Catholic culture that created this division. On the one hand, the expletive nature of the former places it in the traditional domain of the working classes. On the other hand, it could be argued, according to a capitalist cultural Darwinian logic, that intercourse and its euphemisms represent a higher linguistic evolution of the tongue. Many perceive the working classes to have always been closer to the earth, closer to nature, living closer to the beasts. This association may explain the bourgeois fear. Cutting to the chase, this division between the abstract language of the beasts and that of humans could be seen to illustrate the division between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The right brain controls the left side of the body, the side of the heart, and is said to be the irrational, Dionysiac, chaotic, superstitious, unconscious, the domain of Pan’s nature, the Pleasure Principle. The left brain is more related to the liver and is the domain of culture, mathematics, order, logic, language and everything rational. It has been argued that the history and evolution of the Catholic Church was the gradual suppression, by any means necessary, of the Matriarchal pagan faiths in favour of the Patriarchal, a shift from right brain nature-based faith towards the macho, male, homo-phobic, sexist, small-minded faith that eventually gave birth to the soulless EMPTY-V culture we are living in today. I have no doubt that the ecological crisis and epidemic destruction of the planet our generation is currently facing is the a direct result of the seeds planted by the Catholic Church more than a thousand years ago.
Returning to the Tower of Babel and the ensuing “Confusion of Tongues”, I believe that the languages we know and speak today are the divine curse that God inflicted upon our species to prevent the completion of that tower. These are the languages of our rational left brain. By extension, the Language of the Birds, the true creative/destructive mystical language of the Gods themselves remains hidden within our right brain, within our bestial memory, within the PANdemonium of our irrational chaotic other. In ritual magik circles, the term used to described more sexually blatant rites is the “left hand path.” In Italian, the word for the left hand is “Sinistra”, which literally translates into and gives birth to the English concept of Sinister. It was not until recently that schools stopped forcing left handed children to write and draw using their rational right hand. The Church understood from the very beginning that the male centered left brain was the best censor board to filter our thoughts through the policeman of guilt and security guard of religion to protect us from what they perceived to be the dangerous emancipation of the pagan left hand path.
Since the “Language of the Birds” is obviously hidden deep in the recesses of the right brain, how do we go about opening the doors of perception? In "The Third Mind" (1978 William Burroughs and Brion Gysin illustrate that the key lies in the way we perceive language. If the rational brain is our quotidian censor board and its military machinery the 26 letters of the alphabet, then we literally need to invoke the trickster Hermes in order to disengage that left brain. Once tricked, the left brain opens up to grant access to the Eleusinian Mysteries of the right brain. Over the centuries shaman, priests, witches, druids, pagans, magicians, artists, writers and even scientists like Albert Hoffman have used psychedelics to open the doors of perception. But this has equally been achieved through meditation, starvation, prayer, extreme exertion or stress.
For Burroughs and Gysin, the key is shifting away from the logical lines and control mechanisms of the alphabet towards a hieroglyphic language. Almost all of the ancient languages were written in hieroglyphic pictograms that spoke directly the right brain and vibrated directly through the unconscious. Their method was the cut-up technique, the re-assemblage of text using chance as a divine force not unlike the methods of Tarot or I-Ching, for there is no such thing as coincidence once you accept that we are all mirrors of the divine, as above so below.
Almost a century before, an English artist called Austin Osman Spare contrived a similar method of moulding the left brain alphabet of logical lines and strokes into a magikal alpha-bête of desire that he called Sigils. The process was one of translating the written Anglo-Saxon text into a hieroglyphic pictogram through the literal folding, twisting and inversion into a charged evocative image. Naturally, he then used his sperm, spit, shit, piss and bodily other within sexual charged rituals in order to further access the mystical domain of the angels and demons. The Sigil is to the Western tradition what the Mandala is to the East. Personally, I have used it in my work repetitively like a Mantra, in an endless visual loop, a hieroglyphic fractal without limit.
“F” is the sixth letter of the European alphabet, a number associated with the Hexagram, the superimposition of two interlaced triangles. The upward point triangle could be seen to represent the archetypal male force, the elements air and fire, whilst the downward pointing triangle represents the archetypal female force, water and earth. Together they form a “Hieros Gamos” or sacred wedding, the sexual union of the male and female divine, the permanent copulation of Geb and Nut. The Hexagram represents the union of opposites, but not in compromise. Freemason lore says in the "Codex Magica" that "The interlacing triangles or deltas symbolize the union of the two principles or forces, the active and passive, male and female, pervading the universe... The two triangles, one white and the other black, interlacing, typify the mingling of apparent opposites in nature, darkness and light, error and truth, ignorance and wisdom, evil and good, throughout human life."
In Medieval Jewish, Christian and Islamic legends, it was called the “Seal of Solomon”, for it was engraved into King Solomon’s magical signet ring, by which magical force he was granted the power to command demons, genies (or jinni) and to speak with animals in the “Language of the Birds.” The Koran explains that it was the Djinn, under King Solomon’s command, who built the mythical temple without a sound being heard.
The Hexagram, in turn, lends its name to the word “hex,” being a “curse,” or spell cast by a witch. Using the profound magikal energies of the hexagram, symbolically as well as in ritual, the medieval witch or contemporary magician is able to command the elemental beings to protect, or cause harm, in much the same way that King Solomon was able to use them in building his Temple. The protective strength and magik embodied by this symbol can easily be witnessed around the world by its prolific association with the police or security forces. How many policemen, deputies and sheriffs around the world, for so many generations, protect their public with the hexagram, without even being aware of its magikal properties?
The letter “F” was, in ancient Egyptian, represented by a snake with two horns, being the snake of the Garden of Eden, the snake of Hermes and Moses. In later Hebrew, it became the letter Waw, long connected to the phallus as well as the spinal column in esoteric circles. As the Kabalistic phallus it weaves a connection between the lover and the beloved, the Fucking opposites.
It could also be seen as the only letter of the alphabet that is, in itself, a word and concept, the “F-Word” being synonymous with Fuck. Transformed into a sigil, mirrored and doubled, as above so below, the letter “F” forms a crucifix with three cross beams. More than referring to the Christ or Hermes, the triple cross beam represents the esoteric Hermes Trimegistus, the thrice great author of the “Emerald Tablet” and “Corpus Hermeticum”, said to have kick-started the Renaissance in Florence with its dictum “as above so below.” Within the Patriarchal logic of the church, these beams may be said to represent the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, but in the pagan tradition, they are the Virgin, the Whore and the old Crone, but the truth may be much more Hermaphroditic.
Perhaps, dear reader, your patience may by now be finally exhausted, for I may have noted one too many coincidences or concluded once too often that the word “Fuck” is the divine embodiment of the original divine words spoken in John 1:1 ? On the other hand, if you accept, as I do, that language was given to us through the “Confusion of Tongues” and that it is a curse that is also, more significantly, divine, then God (or the Gods) would surely have left hidden messages and keys within his “Gift” (the German for poison). Coincidence, in turn, is simply yet another manifestation or key to that same divine language that ultimately leads us back towards the Garden of Eden and the fucking “Language of the Birds”. BUT the only way past the Cherubim guarding the entrance with his Flaming Sword is the union of the left and right brains, the divine fucking Fuck not mentioned in the book of Genesis but alluded to in the Gospel of John.
If, in the beginning, there was a Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God, then the word must have been charged with everything that God, in his or her infinity, is capable of being and the Word must have been as creative as it is destructive, a Word that stands alone above all other Words, able to invoke love as well as hate, able to command emotion as well as being able to physically create life. From my radically subjective human condition, I cannot imagine any word more divine than FUCK and therefore it is in FUCK that I Trust (God) !
The Penis Might Ier Than Thes Word — Kendell Geers, Brussels 31 December 2009