Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day

Regarding the many St. Valentines of Rome we are meant to consider commemorated on this day, or tomorrow, February 14, the great Gnostic writer Valentinus (or Valentinius) is not among them, though he too lived in Rome and almost made bishop if not saint.  But his lineage was later much disrespected by the mainline church and his memory is not supposed to "shine forth" on this day of pink hearts and celebration of intimate relationships.

Lets not be too narrow-minded i.e. uncatholic in our thinking, but rather let's remember that Gnosticism does not "blame Eve" for anything, and is therefore less misogynistic than most preachers of Genesis.  For Gnostics, the local Maker deserved human resistance as Gnosticism celebrates a subversive stance against "local / minor deities" which it associates with whatever institutions abuse their power.  As a breeding ground of subversives, over-throwers, the Gnostic faiths have always attracted the ire of more mainstream authoritarians, especially the more militant patriarchs.

In consideration of the Quaker Equality Testimony, I think adding this earlier first century Valentine to the equations would be consistent with the "romantic love" theme, as there's a special romance where neither player has overbearing responsibility or power, especially not simply by virtue of one's gender.  As Dora Marsden might have put it, a woman with power equal to that of a man will not be forced to participate in institutions that put her beneath the power of men, any more than vice versa.  That's often a premise for romantic relationships, even healthy ones -- if that's not an oxymoron (joke).