191. The corners of the mouth (V)
A few weeks ago, I threw on one of my aunt’s dresses and a sunhat and paraded about the house. “Oooh, I’m just so tired,” I said and clutched at my forehead. “I’m so exhausted. I’m so overwhelmed. I’ve got so much to do.” Then I puffed out my chest—stuffed with socks to achieve a moderate bosom—and strutted about the living room: “Look at me! Look at me! I’m so pretty, everything is about me!” I said, as I pouted and carried my imaginary handbag. “Don’t worry about it, I got it in a sale!” “Oooh. I’ve got a migraine.” “Why don’t you look at me? What you’re doing can’t be that important.” I carried on in that vein for twenty minutes or so, half a reproduction of female woes—always stated indirectly, of course—and half the unstated thoughts and feelings that underlie genuine feminine behaviour. My female relatives, meanwhile, shook with laughter because there is a great joy when the mirror is held up to you; and woman, herself a mirror, is almost totally empty; so to hold a mirror up to her empty vanity creates a beautiful recursion to the infinite—a bit like a hall of mirrors, or, perhaps, a wilderness of mirrors.
This kind of behaviour would almost be immediately be interpreted, in the modern world, as transsexual or latent transsexualism. A whole realm of intermediate expression has been cut off by our regime—much in the way as the word “gay” used to mean “joyful sensation”, but now only refers to a politicised interpretation of homosexuality. An entire ambiguous demimonde of crossdressers, burlesques, and camp entertainment has been framed, in techno-scientific jargon, as a mental health issue that requires radical surgery and drug therapy. Yet the realm of the man in drag is very deep and ancient indeed.
The shamanic initiation often requires the initiate to crossdress. The shaman does not become a true hermaphrodite; he does not mutilate his genitals, but he does become a symbolic hermaphrodite; he unites masculine and feminine in one individual—and this gives him powers to cure. The crossdresser has always been associated with magic because the crossdresser moves between two worlds—just think of the androgynous David Bowie. They bring dreams back to waking life, excavated from the feminine unconscious. H.P. Lovecraft and Ernest Hemingway are two examples—there are many more—of boys who were dressed as girls as very young children, complete with long locks and pinafores. This was common practice in Victorian times, and it accounts, in part, for the creative talents of those men; they had a taste of initiation.
The difference with transsexualism is that the men who become transsexuals take what should be a spiritual practice literally; they decide to actually chop their balls and dicks off and live as women. It is true that certain priests, the priests of Cybele, did castrate themselves in the past, but they usually claimed to be eunuchs, not women—even though they dressed and lived as women. A transsexual would never burlesque a woman—show women their true nature, as I did—because they misunderstand women; they romanticise women and want to become their ideal woman, whereas I think women are vain, destructive, and empty-headed little creatures sent from the Devil to torment us (with pleasure and pain, the Devil is a subtle worker).
A woman is a mirror; she lives to find her Sun to reflect his brilliance. The transsexual thinks women are the Sun—big mistake. The transsexual, often an alpha-male autist, spews romantic garbage about how wonderful women are—how “sensitive” and “kind” he is now he is a woman, as if women were anything less than sadistic little wretches—and so never captures the female spirit; he is a man in a dress, because he is no mirror. To be like a woman is to be a mirror, this is what the shaman does: this is what our profane and medicalised world has lost.