The Dancing Shulamite

  
I was reading recently a Kabbalist observation of Miriums dance, that it was a prophetic dance of victory that saw a time far off, today even, when women would contribute their perspective on spiritual life. Theirs was church in the round, where all were equal; all knew the Lord and heard his voice for themselves. A day when all Gods people would know him from the greatest to the least. All would shine and participate. There would be no orphans or forgotten ones.

Today I was studying Song of Songs. 6:13 describes her beloveds adoration as she gracefully dances among the maidens. In the verses that follow, he notices the curved of her thigh, the beauty of her navel and her sandalled feet; her breasts, her graceful neck, her eyes shining like fish ponds, her towering nose, her hair…hot indeed are his glances!

So moved is he that he resolves to have her, take hold of her and bury his face in her bosom, fragrant with grapes and apples. He described the roof of her mouth being like the best wine, awaking him from slumber to life! 

He immediately calls her away to a country escape where he will give her his loves. She is very aware of the lure she possesses confident of all manner of pleasant “fruits” she has hidden for him alone.

What a sexy way to communicate and symbolize just how ravishing a Spirit led dancer can be to our heavenly beloved. I hope you will join me in the dance!

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Song of Songs 1:9-17 The Fragrant Circle of Romantic Bliss

Previously, our insecure, shame filled girl was seeking to leave all that behind and come and find rest with her shepherd, and so she has. Did he chide her for her faults? No. Love covers a multitude of sins. The lover sees her through the eyes of love, and as they recline in green fields, sheltered from the heat of the day under a canopy of cedar.

V9 “You are as exciting, my darling, as a mare among Pharaoh’s stallions.”  
In truth, the NLT takes liberties with the original Hebrew, and the KJV is more accurate when it says, a “mare among Pharoahs chariots”. The Hebrew emphasis and meaning is not really as sexually inflamed as a mare amongst stallions suggests, but personally I love the sexual colour this translation brings. 

The excitement is visual. Pharoahs mare is all feathers and gold adornments. A man in love sees all this beauty which in truth may not be there through others eyes.

V 10-11 “How lovely are your cheeks; your earrings set them afire! How lovely is your neck, enhanced by a string of jewels. We will make for you earrings of gold and beads of silver.”

A man in love not only sees her beauty, but wants to beautify her further. 

V12 [Young Woman] “The king is lying on his couch, enchanted by the fragrance of my perfume.”

This is a really important revelation. The girl who previously was preoccupied with her flaws is beginning to comprehend her worth. In the loving presence of one who sees and communicates her loveliness, a realisation is dawning. Her essence is enchanting. Being loved releases the true fragrance of the soul.

V13-14 “My lover is like a sachet of myrrh lying between my breasts. He is like a bouquet of sweet henna blossoms from the vineyards of En-gedi.”

Here is the source of the fragrance, her love for the beloved, likened to a bundle of myrrh, a precious healing resin and sweet fragrant blossoms. All her thoughts of him are contained within her heart. They are thoughts of his healing sweetness and this overflows and becomes a tangible fragrance. 

2 Corinthians 2:15 (NLT) “Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.”

V15-17 “How beautiful you are, my darling, how beautiful! Your eyes are like doves. You are so handsome, my love, pleasing beyond words! The soft grass is our bed; fragrant cedar branches are the beams of our house, and pleasant smelling firs are the rafters.

Eros, or romantic love is divinely elevating to the soul. Each is enamoured by the others beauty and loveliness, and this inspires and releases the fragrance of the soul which in turn enchants the lovers further. It is good and right that lovers spend time enjoying and appreciating one another. The man in particular should naturally be inspired by the beauty of his lover and by communicating that, he not only builds his lovers self esteem, but also releases her fragrant heart of love for him.


Four Kinds of Love; Eros, Agape, Phileo & Storge

The Greeks had four words to describe what we call love, Eros, (romantic love), Phileo, (enjoyment, fondness, friendship), Storge (family loyalty) and Agape (unconditional love with stick-ability). I like to think of them broadly as;

  1. Eros-A love felt particularly within the body (trembling excitement, elation, joy), coloured and underpinned by deep and beautiful procreative urges. C.S. Lewis distinguishes Eros from natural sexual urges and lusts, because Eros is a state of the heart and while it is intimately related to sex, sex can exist, and often does exist, without Eros enlivening it. It leads to children, family, joy and laughter. It is good and right, but it is usually not enough to sustain a relationship long term. Eros is an exulted and beautifully idealistic love, usually between a man and woman, but can also be “platonic” and extend to deeply intimate friendships.  Socrates defined Eros as also working with the soul to recall knowledge of beauty, and in that capacity contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth;  While Eros can simply be an earthy thing, when Spirit infused and elevated to it’s true position, it speaks deeply of universal mysteries, and is usually most keenly expressed within the most sacred of all relationships, that between husband and wife. Eros suggests that even sensually-based love aspires to the non-corporeal, spiritual plane of existence; that is, finding its truth, just like finding any truth, leads to transcendence.  The elevated buzz of Erotic love is said to naturally fade within a year of its beginning. Perhaps it is too exhausting and all consuming? Perhaps we just get lazy? I don’t necessarily think it has to fade at all, and part of the purpose of this blog is to record my thoughts and experiences on Eros and how we can nurture and maintain this beautiful love in our lives.
  2. Phileo- If Eros is the love of the body, Phileo is the love of the soul. It is easy love and affection, it is bent towards our natural tastes and preferences. It embodies culture and beliefs. It’s about the friendship you feel towards people like you, with the same interests, social graces, and style. In the scriptures, this kind of friendship love is used to describe many relationships. God is said to have this kind of love for us and Jesus. Jesus felt this kind of love for his disciples, parents felt it about their children and children to their parents. It is not then a shallow love, but rich in emotion and feeling, like when your heart beams towards your child when they do something wonderful. However it is also described as a negative shallow love, natural and exclusive and conditional. Phileo is soul love, and it’s strength and value will depend on the elevation of the soul of the bearer.
  3. Agape-Is more of a parental, mature, sacrificial kind of love. The Thayer Lexicon describes agape beautifully when it says “to take pleasure in the thing, prize it above all other things, be unwilling to abandon it or do without it.” In a way it is as idealistic as Eros, in that it is a crazy love that will not let go. Agape loves, usually at cost to the bearer. Agape puts the beloved first and sacrifices pride, self interest and possessions for the sake of that beloved. This is the love that God has for us which inspired him to sacrifice His son and for His son to obey and sacrifice himself. It is the kind of love we are commanded to have for one another. It is a love of supreme greatness.
  4. Storge-This is the love of community and family. Often dutiful, sometimes unfeeling, but very strong none the less. It is a natural, carnal love, but powerful enough to be a real hindrance to spiritual growth, especially when family and culture are holding you down. It is a love that may pull you towards a lesser path. 

Obviously, all of these loves work together, but only Agape is free from the error of our humanity. Agape is the glue that holds the other loves fast and gives us the wisdom and patience when the other loves fail. If we make it our goal to always be forgiving and merciful and believe in doing good to all men, and then do it, the other loves will stand, and your life will be full of the rich blessings of Phileo friendships and intimates of the sweetest and loveliest kind. You will stand up in the midst of your family and people and call them back to walk on pleasanter paths and on smoother highways. So, seek first the high love Agape; that sacrifices, forgives and believes; the love of Christ, freely given to those who ask and receive. Drink deeply of Christs love for you, for the fathers love for you, of this eternal and perfect love and all these other loves will be added unto you.

Song of Songs, Chapter 1:1-4

I thought I would start this blog with thoughts from the Song of Songs,  a tale of supreme Erotic love, offering insight into all romantic love has to offer us. The Songs were written by King Solomon, the first living son of the infamous union between the giant slaying minstrel warrior King David and his lover, now wife, Bathsheba. 

King Solomon excelled even more that his father in virility, having over 1000 wives, but legend has it that he also had a passionate and soul filled affair with the Queen of Sheba who visited him, staying for more than 6 months. I believe the Songs were composed with the intentional use of clever hidden symbolism in order to particularly delight his like-minded Queen Sheba, who also aspired to the finding out of life’s riddles. It is stated that the Queen was very curious upon many matters and sought to test the wisdom of Solomon after hearing tales of his greatness. Apparently she was duly impressed and bore great reverence to the King. The songs are filled with all the fairytale idealism and intensity of Eros, but also, with great tenderness, expresses Agape within the erotic relationship.

The Song of Songs is also a parable that illustrates the nature of the Eternal Lover, Jesus Christ and his relationship with His people, as his betrothed bride. It has been a source of intimate symbolism of this most divine of all love relationships.

 

 

 v1 This is Solomon’s song of songs, more wonderful than any other.

Far from being an arrogant boast, this introduction is meant to tell the reader, “Listen to these mysteries and give them your careful attention. It will lead you to knowledge and experiences, “More wonderful than any other.”

v2 “Kiss me with the kisses of your mouth, for your love is so much better than wine.”

The song starts with the dark and exotic beauty longing to be kissed. She’s putting out, and desiring his affection. One is led to believe, in this tale, the woman is the initiator.

v3 “Your anointing oil smells good, and your name is like purified oil, hence many women love you.”

Romantic love (Eros) is experienced through the senses, but the woman is also revealing the first blossomings of admiration and an elevation of the beloved. Erotic love is idealistic and so it should be. These early feelings of idolation and respect will later become strengthened by Agape in a good healthy relationship. At this stage she realizes that she is one of many, as the king has not yet chosen her.

v4 “Lead me and I will run behind you. The King has brought me into his private inner room. We will exult with trembling and rejoice. We will document this love as a memorial, for your love is better than wine. It is right that I love you.”

The woman is naturally inclined to submission in the presence of her chosen beloved. She wants to be led and to follow as an expression of her respect for him. This is the most beautiful thing a woman can bestow upon a man and his perception of it leads him to choose her and to desire intimacy with her within the “inner chamber” of his heart. The couple then find themselves in an electric situation where they both realize they have a love of worth that should be immortalized (as it was in this poem). There is a deep feeling of rightness about it all.