Category Archives: Religion

WC90 – Arthur Evans – Come, Creator Spirit

Come, Creator Spirit
By Rabanus Maurus,
Translation from the Latin by Arthur Evans

Come, Creator Spirit,
Visit the minds of your people.
Fill with grace from above
The hearts that you have made.

You, who are called the Inspirer,
Gift of God in highest Heaven,
Living Fountain, Fire, Love,
And Spiritual Anointing,

You, benefiting us in seven ways,
Finger of the Father’s hand,
You, the Father’s faithful promise,
Enriching tongues with speech,

Light a lamp amid our senses,
And into our hearts, pour love.
Fortify with lasting virtue
The weakness of our bodies.

Push back the foe, far away.
Let peace be near at hand.
Be thus our leader, out in front,
To save us everywhere from harm.
May we, through you, discern the Father
And learn as well the Son,
And also trust in you,
Their Spirit, throughout all time.

Glory be to God the Father,
And to the Son, arisen from the dead,
And to the Inspirer,
For age on age to come.

= = =

Veni, Creator Spiritus,
mentes tuorum visita.
Imple superna gratia
quae creatis pectora.

Qui diceris Paraclitus,
altissimi donum Dei,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
et spiritalis unctio,

Tu, septiformis munere,
digitus paternae dexterae,
Tu rite promissum Patris,
sermone ditans guttura,
Accende lumen sensibus,
infunde amorem cordibus,
infirma nostri corporis
virtute firmans perpeti.

Hostem repellas longius,
pacemque dones protinus.
Ductore sic te praevio
vitemus omne noxium.

Per te sciamus da Patrem,
noscamus atque Filium.
Teque utriusque Spiritum
credamus omni tempore.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
et Filio, qui a mortuis
surrexit, ac Paraclito,
in saeculorum saecula.

This is just an excerpt from this issue.   We are a reader-supported journal and need you to subscribe to keep this conversation going.  So to read more from this wonderful issue SUBSCRIBE to White Crane. Thanks!

Arthur Evans is the author of Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture (1978) The God of Ecstasy: Sex Roles and the Madness of Dionysus (1988) and Critique of Patriarchal Reason (1997).  He lives in San Francisco.

WC80 – Arthur Evans on The Creative Universe


The Creative Universe by Arthur Evans

IN THE 9TH CENTURY, a learned Benedictine abbot of Fulda, in what is today called Germany, wrote a memorable hymn in Latin. It has inspired many subsequent thinkers and artists, including Mozart and Mahler.

The abbot’s name is Rabanus Maurus, and his hymn is Come, Creator Spirit (Veni, Creator Spiritus). The work is memorable because of its simple poetic beauty. In addition, it straddles the cultural divide between earlier pagan motifs and the newer notions of Christianity.

Because of this mythological latitude, the hymn has a richness of content that transcends the narrowness of Christian theology. In fact, it may appeal to people today who have developed “cosmic consciousness” (that is, who regard the universe as alive and creative). What follows is an exploration of this richness, along with a new translation of the text.

Spirit (Energy)
The hymn’s principle theme is the Creator Spirit (Creator Spiritus), a subject that brings to mind the older pagan concept of the Universal Soul (Anima Mundi). The ancients conceived of the Universal Soul as a creative energy suffusing the cosmos and all forms of life, commonly symbolized by fire.

The ancients saw the Universal Soul as an extrapolation of the various particular energies they experienced in natural phenomena. Every lake, mountain, or vale, as well as every human being, had a characteristic energy that the ancients called its genius (genii in the plural). This term is the source of our own word with the same spelling, but with different meaning.

Each thing’s genius stimulated human beings emotionally and intellectually. The result was a lively personal relationship and dialog with the genii of trees, mountains, and stars. The whole universe had its own genius, too, which was the Universal Soul.
Christian mythology took the Universal Soul and blended it with “the Inspirer,” a divine-like figure sketchily mentioned in the New Testament. The Greek word for this figure is Parakletos. It became Paraclitus in Latin, which is how it appears in Maurus’ hymn. It is often translated as “the Comforter,” which misses its force.
Before the New Testament, a parakletos was an advocate or lawyer who spoke on behalf of defendants in court. In the New Testament, the word means the inspiring force that enables the faithful to stand up and be their own advocates in the trials of life and faith. Such a positive function goes beyond comforting to inspiring.

Subsequent to the New Testament, some early church writers described the Inspirer as the dispenser of seven benefits to humanity. These are commonly understood as various virtues mentioned in the Bible, but the connection is murky.

After mixing the Universal Soul with the Inspirer, Christian mythology added the Old Testament’s Shekhinah, God’s presence in the world. The resulting composite figure was the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity.

Maurus’ hymn has echoes of all these motifs. But the hymn’s principal chord is the notion, derived from paganism, of the universal creative energy that inspires and elevates humanity. A pagan from pre-Christian antiquity would have readily interpreted in this way all his references to the “Creator Spirit.”

Father (Universe)
Pagan antiquity generally presupposed that everything was to some degree alive. The universe as a whole was no exception. Accordingly, the ancients typically regarded the universe as a huge living organism, the almighty and divine parent of every particular thing that comes into being. The Universal Soul that suffused all things was grounded in this universal parent, from which it eternally proceeded.

Christian mythology fused the fathering universe with the Old Testament’s Lord of Hosts (Yahweh Sabaoth) and Almighty God (El Shadai). The resulting composite figure was God the Father Almighty, the first person of the Holy Trinity. He was conceived as generating from himself all that was or is or will be.

Maurus’ hymn mentions “the Father,” “God,” and “God the Father.” But a pagan reader from classical antiquity, who knew nothing of Christianity, would regard these phrases as referring to the creative universe. Educated pagans, in particular, would be reminded of a familiar Stoic theme. This was the notion of Zeus as the creative, rational order of the universe, made famous by a stirring poem of Cleanthes, written 300 years before the New Testament.

This is just an excerpt from this issue.   We are a reader-supported journal and need you to subscribe to keep this conversation going.  So to read more from this wonderful issue SUBSCRIBE to White Crane. Thanks!

Arthur Evans is the author of Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture (1978) The God of Ecstasy: Sex Roles and the Madness of Dionysus (1988) and Critique of Patriarchal Reason (1997).  He lives in San Francisco.

Remembering Stonewall – Arthur Evans

We got a nice note from our friend, philosopher, playwright and rabblerouser, Arthur Evans:

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The Stonewall Riot, which initiated the modern phase of the gay liberation movement, occurred at a Manhattan gay bar forty years ago this June.StoneWallInn

Other gay riots occurred before Stonewall, but they were flashes in the pan. Stonewall was unique because its energy persisted in various organizational forms for decades. This fusion of new energy with organizational continuity is what triggered the gay revolution.

Unfortunately, I missed the Stonewall Riot itself. However, I was deeply involved in two groups that it generated: the Gay Liberation Front (G.L.F), and the Gay Activists Alliance (G.A.A.), the second of which I helped create.

In those days, politicians avoided us, the media derided us, members of the clergy called us sinful, and psychiatrists said we were sick. The same was true of even the most liberal elements of society.

For example, Carol Greitzer was the city council member for Greenwich Village and a leader of the most liberal Democratic club in the state. Yet she refused to accept, or even touch, a simple petition calling for basic civil rights for gay people.

The Village Voice, one of the most liberal newspapers in the U.S., refused to accept any ad that appealed to gay people. The New York Times refused to use the word “gay” in its news reports.

In sum, we were excluded from both civil society and the body politic. Which meant we had to elbow our way in. And so we did, using “zaps.”

These were vociferous, but nonviolent, personal confrontations with homophobes. Zaps combined theatricality, humor, and impassioned eloquence. G.A.A., in particular, at the instigation of Marty Robinson, perfected zaps into an art form.

For example, Herman Katz, the City Clerk, was responsible for issuing marriage licenses in New York. One day in 1970, out of the blue, he made scornful comments to the press about the very idea of same-sex marriage.

Wedding Cake So Marc Rubin and Pete Fisher of G.A.A. organized a take-over Katz’s office. With Marc and Pete in the lead, about a dozen of us suddenly appeared in Katz’s inner sanctum, bearing a big wedding cake with two same-sex figurines on top.

We gave coffee and donuts to the clerical staff. Pete strummed his guitar, while the rest of us sang enthusiastically about the delights of gay romance.

I took over the phones and told callers that the office was only giving marriage licenses that day to gay couples. “Are you a homosexual?” I asked one nonplussed caller. “No? Well then, you’re out of luck. Try New Jersey.”

Naturally, the police came and took us away. But the spectacle, which had been witnessed by the press, made engaging news copy.

Because of highly publicized zaps like this, hundreds of gay men and women who had been closeted were inspired to step out into the light and join the struggle.

Thanks to the lasting consequences of the Stonewall Riot, it is now possible for politicians in some parts of the nation to be openly gay. In fact, in places like San Francisco, being openly gay can help build a career in politics.

Which is a good thing. But I hope we never forget the sassy attitude of the Stonewall era to all people in authority, including even gay politicians.

Stonewall means having a sense of self worth, thinking for yourself, and taking on all the bullies.

Yours for gay liberation,
Arthur Evans

Save Radical Religious Terrorists…Win Valuable Prizes


Cathy Renna has alerted us that New York is about to be slimed.

Apparently Congregation Beth Simchat Torah will be subjected to the blandishments of Kansas bigot, Fred ("God Hates You") Phelps and the inbred members of his Westboro congregation family, this Sunday.

Led by Phelps, the Westboro Baptist Church is a hatemongering organization known most widely for picketing the funeral of Matthew Shepard, for their protests at the funerals of servicemen killed in Iraq, and most recently, for protesting at the funeral of Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns, the security officer killed at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington.

Inspired by a gift from fine furniture magnate, Mitchell Gold, CBST will be participating, as many other LGBT organizations have, in a fundraising effort to counteract the attacks by this group.

10 dollar bill Gold has pledged $10 per minute that the Westboro Baptist Church representatives are picketing. Their presence will benefit us! We can tell them each minute how much they are raising for the GLBT community!!

Congregation Beth Simchat Torah requests that if you have a tallit (a prayer shawl, usually worn at Shabbat morning services and whenever the Torah is recited) please bring it.

The also request that if you would like to make colorful signs, please consider using:

"We are all created in God's image"
"God loves all of us"
"God made me gay"

…and similar messages

8:45 AM on Sunday, June 21st at our Bethune location.

I'd like to suggest some other colorful signage:

"Your God seems awfully testy." or "Your God is not my God…get over it." or "Maybe Your God Needs Some Anger Management Counseling."

So…$10 a minute…times 60 minutes per hour is $600…I say let's see how long we can keep them there…

It’s none of your business!

…and furthermore…if the churches continue to actively lobby against these particular legislations and participate in the electoral process by taking sides, we need to demand that their nonprofit status be TAKEN AWAY! They have a right to their opinion…but they don't have a right to my tax dollars to promote it.


Marriage Lest the news of Proposition 8 be the ultimate buzz kill for today (which it sort of is), it's worth reading the opinion from California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, who was the only judge dissenting in today's 6-1 decision upholding Proposition 8. Moreno, who was actually rumored to be on Obama's shortlist for the open Supreme Court vacancy that this morning went to Sonia Sotomayor, had this to say:


In my view, the aim of Proposition 8 and all similar initiative measures that seek to alter the California Constitution to deny a fundamental right to a group that has historically been subject to discrimination on the basis of a suspect classification, violates the essence of the equal protection clause of the California Constitution and fundamentally alters its scope and meaning.  Such a change cannot be accomplished through the initiative process by a simple amendment to our Constitution enacted by a bare majority of the voters; it must be accomplished, if at all, by a constitutional revision to modify the equal protection clause to protect some, rather than all, similarly situated persons.  I would therefore hold that Proposition 8 is not a lawful amendment of the California Constitution.

It's nice to know that at least one Judge has his wits about him.

Proposition 8 contradicts California's equal protection clause.