So we find throughout the history of religion, not only that a deal of what has passed for supernatural illumination to have undoubtedly had its origin in perverted sexual feeling, but the constant emergence of curious religio-erotic sects whose strange mingling of eroticism and religion has scandalised many, and offered a lesson to all had they but possessed the wit to discern it.
Ibid., Intro., p. xiv. Ibid., Intro., p. xv. We may note in passing, the greater affectability of woman’s nature, which would seem always to have had a tendency to expression in religio-erotic manifestations. But to build up a theory of matriarchy on this foundation is strangely wide of the facts. Bachofen adduces the spirituality of women as the cause of their power.
If, as Tylor says, the refectory door would many a time have closed the gates of heaven, happy family life would in a vast number of cases have prevented those religio-erotic trances which have played so powerful a part in the history of supernaturalism. Most people will agree with Dr. Maudsley: "The ecstatic trances of such saintly women as Catherine Sienne and St.
It is true that those who opposed these religio-erotic sects accused them of immorality, but it is the form these teachings assumed to the members of the impeached sects, not how they appeared to their enemies, that is important. Eroticism taught and practised as a religious conviction that is the essential and significant feature of the situation.