The Marriage of Spirit and Body

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The Marriage of Spirit and Body

A presentation by Kaye Gersch

Thursday, May 6, 2010 7.30pm - 9.30pm
Venue: St Mary’s Parish House, Cn Merviale and Peel St
Admission: Members & Concession: $10 • Non-members: $15

"The act of love becomes the transubstantiation of the self, and his or her lover, into a spiritual body."
  — Luce Irigaray

The Eucharist is a ritualized form where we are given a pattern or hint that the ‘word made flesh’ (logos and eros) can be experienced in ordinary life, within the body. The Belgian-born French feminist philosopher and psychosocial theorist Luce Irigaray suggests that sexual love is not merely a metaphor for this alter-ation, this transubstantiation, this place of change, but the enactment of it.

My proposition is that transubstantiation is the alchemical process by which we experience both immanence and transcendence in the same moment; that is, the marriage of bothspirit and body, psyche and matter. Transubstantiation is that mystery which combines corporeal or ego time with that which is of the soul, i.e. timeless or not bound by the laws of time.

Our lives are ‘sacramental’, (our own personal Eucharist, or our own person as Eucharist) but not in a conventional religious sense. Aligned with this is numinous corporeality, which is another way of framing the body as the site of transubstantiation. This numinous corporeality depends on a virgin state of psychological being, in other words, the individuating being.

Translating spirit to matter and matter to spirit, the body, and one’s incarnation in the body, is, when taken personally, a moment-by-moment event. The body is the altar, the place of alteration, of transformation, of transubstantiation.

Kaye Gersch is a doctoral candidate at the University of Queensland, in the Department of Philosophy. The provisional title of her PhD is “The feminine in body, language and spirituality.” Kaye draws upon her life experience, as well as academic research, being variously a mother, a musician, a homoeopath, a partner, and an analytic psychotherapist with a Jungian emphasis. Kaye’s interests include gardening, bush-walking and playing harpsichord in a Baroque Ensemble. She lives in Cairns with her partner and their irresistibly cute small dog.