Friday, January 2, 2009
Happy Belated "Feast of the Circumcision" Greetings
This is my very first post of the New Year, 2009. Happy belated Feast of the Circumcision greetings to all of you! I wanted to blog some yesterday, but I felt run down, actually chilled to the bone. New Year's Eve late morning an Alberta clipper passed through ushering in cold temperatures and blustery winds. I had to work at my new job until 7:30 p.m. then and afterwards endure an absolutely cold walk home encountering wind gusts all the way. New Year's Eve afternoon and last night somehow the radiators in my apartment could not counter the chilling cold. So I went to bed early as a way of generating some heat.
New Year's Day, seven days following Christmas, has been celebrated traditionally as the Feast of the Circumcision in the Western Churches. Since Vatican II, it has been celebrated as the Feast of the Holy Name in the churches of the Anglican Communion and the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God in the Roman Catholic Church.
Somehow throughout much of my life, I welcome the New Year in quiet fashion, often going to bed before it arrives. In many ways, there is little difference between December 31 of the old new and January 1 of the new year. One could say that in the northern hemisphere the sun overcomes the darkness of the winter solstice of December 21 (or thereabouts) and begins its travel northward and vice versa at the summer solstice of June 21 (or thereabouts) as darkness makes its gradual return. In the southern hemisphere these processes are reversed.
But there are definite events or milestones in life which denote new beginnings. The start of a new job or career, the celebration of a wedding of a couple and the nuptial bed and honeymoon following, or the beginning through ordination of a new ministry.
Circumcision ranks up there in the importance of new beginnings. Circumcision of a male infant in Judaism is a solemn, yet joyous occasion, during which through circumcision he is given a name and made a 'ben berith', a son of the Covenant. In many traditional Muslim societies, boys are circumcised as adolescents and thus assume adult responsibilities religiously and socially. It is then when many circumcised adolescent boys enter marriage and become sexually active.
Of course, here in the USA and other developed countries from the late nineteenth through much of the twentieth century, infant boys were RIC'ed, receiving a 'routine infant circumcision' as neonatals and thus do not remember the experience of their circumcision. I certainly do not remember my RIC :-) But many boys, teenagers, and adult men who are circumcised do have vivid memories of this event, especially they receive local anesthesia and are alert during the procedure. For them, it is one of the most memorable days of their lives.
Among older males in the years of vivid consciousness following infancy, the memory of circumcision lingers and most likely is reinforced during the weeks when their newly circed, retooled penis heal. For older males, be they teenagers or adult men, who are sexually active in masturbation and coitus, this time is not only a period of healing, but also rediscovery in what their retooled penises can do for them and their sexual partners in terms of sexual pleasure.
Now I had a spiritual insight when I arrived for Mattins (Morning Prayer) at my parish church yesterday morning just before Mass yesterday. The celebrant was reading a selection from one of the Apostle Paul's Epistles on putting off the foreskin of the heart through circumcision. For me, that was my celebration of New Year's Day, through putting off the old and taking on the new.
St Paul spiritualized circumcision so that Gentiles could become full-fledged members of the new Christian church without physical circumcision. Circumcision ultimately caused the parting of ways between the Jewish synagogue and the Christian church. For juvenile and adult male initiates into Judaism, circumcision was both a painful and bloody rite. Most Gentiles held back from this ultimate step and thus became God fearers in Jewish synagogues of the time. So a Court of Gentiles was created for them in the Second Temple in Jerusalem. All this happened before modern anesthetics and so the act of circumcision represents the utmost faith in Yahweh, the Lord God of Israel. Such faith was embodied in the life of the Patriarch Abraham who himself was circumcised at age 99.
Also it is interesting to note that circumcision ties us humans to our roots in civilization. Circumcision in many tribal societies is truly a rite of passage in which mostly teenage boys undergo a painful ordeal, again without anesthetics. But then in many traditional societies the nuptial bed is accompanied by pain and the issue of blood when the husband takes the virginity of his beloved bride. Somehow this is mirrored in which a gay guy loses his virginity, his cherry through means of his lover. To carry this train of thought even a step further, the process of giving birth in women is often fraught with pain. But underpinning all this is love and the commitment through love that carries us over to the other side.
I leave you all with a pic of a youngish guy with one of the thickest circumcised cocks I have ever seen capped by a mushroom glans. Enjoy!
Happy New Year!