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  • תמונת הסופר/תYoav Levin

The Cathar - Manichean Ontology of Gynocentric Supremacism and Feminist Misandry

עודכן: 8 בדצמ׳ 2021


Note: The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book on the European gynocentrism and its symbolism. It is a short version from a larger discussion about the religious origins of feminism in the Cathar – Bogomil – Manichean dual heresy. In my book, it offers a more rounded and detailed discourse of this subject that is widely overseen. Namely, the misandrist and sexist moral dualism which lies at the root of feminist behavior and feminist thinking.



The concept that "men are the problem" is undying although unfounded universal axiom and as a part of the gynocentric reality, ontologically seen, it stands before everything in every way. It is never a point of arrival but always a point of departure. As opposed to common wisdom, it is not feminism that gave birth to it. This idea and especially the dual heretical milieu from which it separated or originated, gave

birth to feminism! Feminism grew from the idea and not the reverse. However, it is important to understand that through cultural and religious cross-pollination, the origins of feminist misandry were at least fivefold. Alongside the dual Manichaean – Cathar heresy, the other sources included mainstream and esoteric Judaism (Kabbalah), mainstream Christianity, Arab – Muslim influence including Sufism and Indian influence, and various other sources. At no point in history did feminism ever not contained this idea, and at no point in history was feminism not contaminated by this idea and further contaminated society with it. Yet, feminists were not the founding mothers of female misandry and supremacy but proud daughters who took it to extremity.

Also, at no point in history did feminism ever went in inventing this idea, but rather inherited it by conditioning and lack of reason. The idea was always present at the outset and feminist reasoning was implied as further to cultivated the already inherited man-hate! Likewise, feminism never studied the world to formulate the idea, but rather studied the idea to manipulate the world so based upon traditional gynocentric values it could exploit them on the feminist crusade and in their quest in the creation of misandrist and feminist matriarchy. Yes, men are the problem, that was the eternal gynocentric conditioning and reasoning, so no different now according to the world of feminism this must be shown to reflect in their ideology too only in a more extreme way! Such is the platform on which feminist philosophy asserts its ideology through political activism against men on behalf of women. Namely, that men, being the collective source of a unique and historically-rooted trespass against women, are under a collective moral obligation to make good.

When we then deeply scrutinize history or peel it like an onion, we then discover that, in the end, the Manichean dualism - a cosmology in which not only good and evil (or light and dark) are separate cosmic principles but there's also to God, the bad and evil, and all of them are eternally at war with one another. Further, the principles are said to be perpetual and uncreated: they did not come about due to exchanges in the ecology of manifestation but were present from the very foundation of reality. They are not different branches on the same tree, but different trees altogether- and they grow from different roots. As such, they can never coherently exist side by side because they share no genetic mutuality - they will endlessly bear the stamp of their separate beginnings, and they will harbor mutually irreconcilable systems of logic. Likewise, their relationship is and must forever remain paradoxical and fraught with tension. As a part of the wider frame of dual heresy including Catharism and Bogomilism, in the Manichean cosmology of feminism, men equal darkness or evil, and women equal goodness or light. There are NO zones of gray. There is no spectrum. There is no continuum. For feminism, man equals bad, and woman equals good, and if at times woman appears to equal bad then it must be that appearance is not a reality in that particular case, and so a contorted explanation must ride to the rescue and set things straight!

Similarly, in the feminist mind, this correlation can no more be established by any chain of demonstration than the dualism itself can be said to have evolved historically. For just as the Manichean duality was before all things in the order of creation, so likewise it must be before all things in the order of feminist logic. To request that the truth of it be proven, would decentralize and desacralize the feminist Aura of misandry it. This in turn would radically deconstruct the entire feminist construction, philosophy, ideology and put an end to political activism in the quest of matriarchy. This has consequences for the two-party model of gender politics. First, the feminists want to place women in a place of moral superiority to men, which in turn implies deferentially or servility on the part of men. Second, men, being at one with the principle of darkness, must in theory be taught to respect their betters - who are at one with the principle of light! Third, this indeed postulates a kind of political struggle if you want to call it that, but it is a one-sided struggle: men must be forced to "surrender" or to become allies if you want to use the modern term. Stated in such terms, the "political struggle" sounds more like plain and simple warfare. But the political struggle is not quite the same as warfare. Although indeed, political parties are not deferential or servile toward each other, the situation differs from the war in that the parties understand they are fair competitors on a field governed by rules of play which in theory do not include ultimate subjugation of one side by the other.

Thus, no feminist who is truly a feminist could accept the two-party model of man-woman relations as a set way of life, for that would imply that good and evil are in a certain sense not subject to a moral comparison - which in turn defeats the purpose of the Manichean paradigm as an occult motor of the feminist enterprise. Why? Because if good is not "better" than evil, if the light is not "better" than darkness, then there remains no validating metaphysic for female supremacism and man-hating as a whole. And I can assure you that feminism bereft of those things would be like unto a banana which is all peel! Thus, it is essential to the collective sense-of-purpose of the women's movement that the movement is engaged in a Manichean struggle with an eternally culpable foe who must be vanquished. Granted, most feminists would - if you put the question point-blank - deny any personal belief in the Manichean paradigm as we have described it. But this becomes less of a contradiction when one realizes that stated individual beliefs and unstated collective intentions can easily go their separate ways. As a famous philosopher once put it: "By their fruits, ye shall know them". And the fruits of feminism do indeed bespeak an enterprise imbued with the spirit of moral rapacity and undertaken with a view toward conquest. Any feminist who tries to talk you out of this critical insight is playing the game of cognitive fragmentation. In this essay, I want to elaborate on this topic in more detail so let's begin and see how it worked out through history.

What is Manichaeism?

In the fifth century, Manichaeism was one of the most widespread religions in the world. The religion was founded by a Persian nobleman called Mani (210-276 AD). He lived in Babylon, which at the time was a province of the Sassanid Persia. Mani taught that two natures existed from the beginning: light and darkness. The realm of light lived in peace, while the realm of darkness was in constant conflict with itself. The universe we know is the result of an attack by the realm of darkness in the realm of light. In other words, Manichaeism is a Dualist religion. A corollary of Mani's teaching is that there is no omnipotent good power, and therefore no problem in explaining how an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenificent god could have allowed evil to enter his creation - a major unresolved philosophical problem for educated Jews, Christians, and Moslems to this day. Human beings provided the main battleground for the two opposing powers: the good part is the soul (which is composed of immaterial light) and the bad part is the body (composed of dark material). The soul defines the person and is incorruptible, but in human beings, it is under the domination of a foreign power. Humans are said to be able to be saved from this power (the power of matter) if they come to know who they are and identify themselves with their souls.

As it spread to the west it reached Rome ough the apostle and it also invaded Egypt in 244 and 251. Manichaeism is known to have been flourishing in the Fayum area of Egypt by 290 AD Manichaean monasteries are known in Rome in 312 AD, during the time of Pope Miltiades. By 354 AD, Hilary of Poitiers was writing that the Manichaean faith was a significant force in southern Gaul - exactly the area where later Gnostic Dualists that we now know as Cathars were to appear in the Middle Ages. Third and Fourth-century Christian writers such as Hippolytus and Epiphanius mention a certain Scythians, who visited India around 50 AD. From there he is said to have brought "the Doctrine of the Two Principles". According to these writers, Scythianus' pupil Terebinthus presented himself as a "Buddha" Terebinthus went to Palestine and Judea where he met the Apostles, and ultimately settled in Babylon, where he transmitted his teachings to Mani, thereby creating the foundation of Manichaeism. It is important facet also in other terms is it also brings the evidence to the way Gynocentric ideas were spread from the Buddhist west to east I have discussed in my other book. The Manichaean faith was widely persecuted. In 381 AD Christians requested the Emperor Theodosius I to strip Manicheans of their civil rights. By the following year, the devout Christian emperor had decreed death for Manicheans. From now on Christians who showed any sympathy for Dualism would be heretics and liable to execution. The first victims appear to have been the Christian bishop Priscillian and his followers, soon afterward. They appear to have attempted to adapt what they thought were valuable parts of Arian Christianity and Manichaeism into Catholic Christianity. Priscillian was beheaded at Trier in 385, with the approval of the Catholic Church synod that met there in the same year. He has been called the first Christian martyred by Christians, but it is probably more accurate to describe him as the first mainstream Christian martyred by the Catholic Christians

For a thousand years, the faith maintained a patchy existence in the Christian Roman Empire including Mesopotamia, North Africa, the Iberian peninsular, Gaul, North Italy, and the Balkans, It flourished for a time in the land of its birth (Persia) and a while at least was tolerated. In the 9th century, the Muslim Caliph Ma'mun tolerated a community of Manicheans. The Iberian connection is also extremely important as the Mosarabic Spain is the other huge source of influence on the Troubadours and especially the Sufi-Indian heritage. Furthermore, Manichaean ideas undoubtedly had a major effect on the development of Christianity. In particular, Gnostic Christians held similar Dualist ideas. The Pauline line of Christianity that developed into what we now call the Orthodox and Catholic Churches was also influenced. It absorbed many characteristic Manichaean ideas that are not generally recognized as such. A few examples are the God of Light locked in battle with the "god of this world", along with their armies of light and darkness respectively, with human beings as combatants on either side. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) Augustine was a "hearer" of Manichaeism for nine years, but he failed to make any progress in the hierarchy of his chosen faith. Soon after Christian persecution of his faith started in earnest he dropped it and adopted Christianity, becoming a critic of his earlier faith. According to his Confessions of St. Augustine, he converted to Christianity from Manichaeism in the year 387, possibly sensing greater opportunities given his failure to progress, and the ascendancy of the Christian Church. The Emperor Theodosius I, prompted by Christians, had issued a decree in 382 AD imposing the death penalty for Manicheans, and in 391 he was to declare Christianity to be the only legitimate religion in the Roman Empire.

Despite his hostility, it is apparent that Manichaean ways of thinking influenced the development of Augustine's ideas, even after his conversion to Christianity. Some of his Manichaean ideas that were later considered mainstream (but were not mainstream before his time) include the polarised nature of good and evil (Good/Bad; Light/Dark; Heaven / Hell; Immaterial/Material; eternal/corruptible); the separation of people into elect, hearers, and sinners; the hostility to the flesh and horror of sexual activity. His novel idea of Origin Sin, by which sin became a sexually transmitted disease, owes much to his fundamentally Manichaean outlook. This also explains why on the one hand the Church fought theologically the Cathars but on the other hand excepted their spreading gynocentric ideals and values as they were in harmony and sync in the matter of those questions. There are also links with the Essenes. Comparisons between Manichaean myths and the Book of Enoch reveal that they both recognized the same "King of Glory", also referred to in other Dead Sea Scrolls. This is again suggesting evidence as it shows that even early Judaism from which Christianity to its birth was by itself although still until the appearance of the Kaballah, through the cross-cultural pollination with Catharism and Manichaeism that brought these ideas into the mainstream Jewry was also influenced by Manichaeism as well as Buddhist thought. There is even research going on although still not ripe enough to conclude that on its deepest level Christianity was not only influenced by Buddhism but that the figure of Jesus was a Buddhist monk adopting his ideas into the mainstream Judaism of that time.

Even more, Manichaeism continued to spread with extraordinary speed through both the east and west. It reached Rome through the apostle Psattiq by AD 280, who was also in Egypt in 244 and 251. It was flourishing in the Fayum area of Egypt in AD 290. Manichaean monasteries existed in Rome in 312 AD during the time of the Christian Pope Miltiades. The spread and success of Manichaeism were seen as a threat to other religions, and it was persecuted in Hellenistic, Christian, Zoroastrian. In 291, persecution arose in the Persian empire with the murder of the apostle Sisin by Bahram II, and the slaughter of many Manichaeans. In AD 296, Diocletian decreed against the Manichaeans: "We order that their organizers and leaders be subject to the final penalties and condemned to the fire with their abominable scriptures", resulting in many martyrdoms in Egypt and North Africa. By AD 354, Hilary of Poitiers wrote that the Manichaean faith was a significant force in southern Gaul. In AD 381 Christians requested Theodosius I to strip Manichaeans of their civil rights. He issued a decree of death for Manichaean monks in AD 382. Augustine (AD 354–430) converted to Christianity from Manichaeism, in the year 387.

This was shortly after the Roman Emperor Theodosius I had issued a decree of death for Manichaeans in AD 382 and shortly before he declared Christianity to be the only legitimate religion for the Roman Empire in 391. According to his Confessions, after nine or ten years of adhering to the Manichaean faith as a member of the group of "hearers", Augustine became a Christian and ant adversary of Manichaeism (which he expressed in writing against his Manichaean opponent Faustus of Mileve), seeing their beliefs that knowledge was the key to salvation as too passive and not able to effect any change in one's life. Some modern scholars have suggested that Manichaean ways of thinking influenced the development of some of St Augustine's ideas, such as the nature of good and evil, the idea of hell, the separation of groups into elect, hearers, and sinners, and the hostility to the flesh and sexual activity. How Manichaeism may have influenced Christianity in more ways than described above continues to be debated and stands at the center of research today yet one thing is undoubtedly clear that Manichaeism may have not only influenced the Bogomils, Paulicians, the Cathars and thus the Troubadours but through the Kabbalah also mainstream Judaism and subsequently it is one of the main tenants of European gynocentrism, modern feminism as well as misandry.


During the 12th century and practically even slightly earlier, Western Europe lived through a period of economic and social upheaval designated by many historians as the 12th c. Renaissance. One of its aspects is related to the considerable elevation of women in society, putting them on a pedestal, up to the level of goddesses. Thus, mostly in Southern France, a development that spread over to Italy, Flanders, and later, England was born that gave also the rise to basic western concepts such as the beauty and the beast and many more. We can even detect specific social realms or domains in which such elevation of women was perfected. Those explicit spheres of female preeminence and domination were established within the socio-economic climate of the Cathar communities which was the cultural, social, religious and ethnic milieu that gave birth to the Troubadour phenomenon and the social and cultural institution of chivalric love which espoused, incorporated and exhibited heretical dualist concepts of Manichean religions. It is this setting and circumstances that gave birth and rise to feminism Similar developments can be observed among the Valdensians, who were genetically connected with the Cathars. It is important to remember that the dualist line came from the far, near, and the middle east over Bulgaria cut through Bosnia, Dalmatia, and then Northern Italy. The influence of the Zoroastrian religion from the Persian regions in the Bogomils is already well known and established through research. One of the most important characteristics of the Bulgarian dualists, Bogomils, and Paulicinians, was precisely the complete social elevation and preeminence of women. Bogomilism, as I said, is generally a well-studied phenomenon. Still, some new aspects arise and they need elucidation as well as further clarification.

First of all, little is known about these Manicheans (the dualistic religion from the Iranian-Syriac prophet Mani, and in the medieval period more properly Neo-Manichaeism). It is known that they originated in Bulgaria and Bosnia around the tenth century and migrated to the south of France. The Cathari (“pure ones”) were popular with the people of the region, their priests were called the perfecti, their main rite called consolamentum, and the Church launched a crusade (the Albigensian) to “exterminate the heretics,” which is what happened (between 1209 and 1244). This is the gist of what is known for certain about the Cathars. The reason for the scarcity of information about these “heretics of the Provence” (like their actual beliefs) and the reason that the Cathars’ views are not easy to reconstruct is owing to the efficiency with which their writings were either suppressed or destroyed by the Church in the thirteenth century. Deprived of the apologies by the heretics themselves, we are dependent on our knowledge of them on the works of refutation written by Catholic polemicists and Inquisitors of the thirteenth century. In other words, all the information that comes down to us is from the late Catholic polemicists who were constructing the past according to the logic of their agenda.

Thus, the particulars of their doctrines are relatively non-existent. Like all dualistic Gnostics with whom the Church continually struggled, they believed that the material world was evil, the body place of entrapment for the soul, and created by the false god, the demiurge. Thus, the thing to do was to renounce the world through extreme asceticism. Beyond this, from the fragmentary evidence from all over Europe before the Albigensian Crusade a common dualistic and ascetic doctrine can be detected, “but we can detect no common theology, Manichaean or otherwise, and we can detect no sign whatever that the various heretics were connected in any way.” Historian Raffaello Morghen (1951) has shown that these so-called “Manichaeans” discovered by the churchmen were heretics who professed a bundle of beliefs so individual that no common belief-system can be ascertained. And historian J. B. Russel (1965) agrees: in most cases, the doctrines of the heretics of the Provence were totally idiosyncratic to, or even incompatible with, what was supposed to be Catharism. Yet scholars, on the whole, have accepted that all these heretics were Cathars simply because the Church had identified them as the prevailing heresy of the age. But, as Russell points out, “this is precisely what is questionable.” Thus, the quasi-independent evidence from Languedoc from the period of the Crusade and after, stemming from chroniclers and Inquisition witnesses (as opposed to that of the Church proper), detects not only “no generally shared theology,” but can find “no trace whatsoever of ascetic psychology.” (This last point is especially important, and will be taken it up when I discuss alternative theory to “Manichaean Catharism.”) Yet, oddly enough, this is nevertheless not acknowledged by mainstream historians: The Cathars were “neo-Manichaean” heretics that dominated the south of France in the 11th and 12th centuries and were the victims of the Albigensian Crusade. This consensus is there although the only evidence we have of medieval Catharism in Languedoc derives from the Inquisitors and other Church polemicists, who are the real source of the classic picture of heresy in southern France.

The second related problem with the theory is that it is entirely possible that the idea of a monolithic heresy, called “Catharism,” was concocted by the Church in the 12th and 13th centuries. The term “Manichaean” was applied to a huge range of medieval heresies, although they occurred in widely different cultural contexts. This is not to say that there were no Cathars. The Church observed various heretical sects, dualistic and ascetic, scattered all over Europe over a long period, the Cathars being one of them. (Others were, to name a few, the Arians, the Bogomils, and the Waldensians.) However, the Church regarded all these as one giant, interrelated web of evil heresy. Thus, when Languedoc and surrounding territories became estranged from the Church, it automatically assimilated the phenomenon onto their paranoid fantasy of a great web of evil heresy that was out to overthrow the Catholic Church. Thus, any heresy that became popular was another symptom of the one monstrous evil rearing its ugly head, and all disobedience to the Church was evidence of the same infernal, monolithic plot—in this case, the “Cathars” of Languedoc. Thus churchmen, like St. Bernard, charged that, in addition to the courtly mischief of the Troubadours, there flourished in Provence a competing religion —a counter- or anti-Church. Declaring that anyone who attempted to construe a personal view of God which conflicted with Church dogma must be burned without pity, Pope Innocent III decided on a crusade to exterminate “the impious, lascivious sects, who, overflowing with libertine ardor, are but slaves to the pleasures of the flesh.”

I offer a paraphrase from Jonathan Sumption’s The Albigensian Crusade (1978), which sums up the problem: Given the havoc wreaked by the crusade, our “knowledge” of Provencal heresy must necessarily be a reconstruction; furthermore, that reconstruction traditionally has been based on texts which are, in one way or another, suspect. The reason they are suspect is that the conventional picture of Cathar heresy was produced by Church writers whose tendency was to rely not on empirical investigation, but only on what other writers on heresy had said. This is what has been termed a “heresy narrative,” by scholars who have examined medieval monastic writing. Though purportedly factual, these narratives were an established literary genre, part of whose appeal was the opportunities it offered for descriptions of the fantastic. Moreover, the key to this writing tradition was the assumption that heresy was monolithic—that is, that it was everywhere more or less the same.

The third related problem is one of a closed feedback loop of information. The Church’s records have the weakness of all such records, that the inquisitional mind tends to develop a stereotyped image of the beliefs of its victims, and extracts confessions which accord with it. It is not difficult to make demoralized prisoners mouth the fantasies of their persecutors. Faced with the doctrinal and sexual perversities in various parts of Europe and especially in Languedoc, the churchmen called them “Manichaean” simply because they assimilated these heretics into the Manichaeans attacked by St. Augustine (354-430 AD, a former Manichaean himself). And once this all-encompassing heretic fantasy was established in the mind of the supervisory body of the Church, any evidence of heresy was automatically part of it. Thus, the stereotype of The Cathar Heresy firmly in the minds of the fanatical ascetics (terrified of their repressed desires) who were heretic-hunters meant that any information extracted under torture fit the stereotype. Indeed, those poor souls under torture probably were made to give the Inquisitors exactly what they wanted to hear—what fits their own tortured fantasies. There is a certain twisted logic to this, but what is hard to understand is why the stereotype of The Cathar Heresy has been perpetuated by scholars of our era. The first scholar to advance the idea of a Cathar connection to the Troubadours was Denis de Rougemont in his 1939 study L'Amour et l'Occident (translated as Love in the Western World). According to him, under the influence of the Cathars, the Troubadours rejected the pleasures of the flesh, and in their erotic poetry they metaphorically they were addressing the spirit and soul of the lady. While de Rougemont seemed to make a one-to-one connection of the Troubadours exclusively to Catharism/Manichaeism, he nonetheless seemed to link Catharism with a more syncretic set of influences (which I have also outlined above):

It happens that as early as the ninth century, there occurred an equally “unlikely” fusion of Iranian Manichaeism, Neo-Platonism, and Mohammedanism in Arabia, and the fusion was reflected in religious poetry employing erotic metaphors that are strikingly akin to those of courtly rhetoric.

He goes on to list the primary writers of this kind of poetry in the twelfth century: Hallaj, al-Gazali, and Suhrawardi, who, he adds, were “All three troubadours of supreme Love, of the Veiled Idea, which they treated as a beloved object but also a symbol of a longing for the divine.” (Here we again note the influence, more particularly, of Sufism: Hallaj was the Sufi mystic and martyr who claimed to be one with God, al-Gazali was an intellectual who is said to have brought philosophy and philosophical theology within the range of the ordinary mind and who turned to Sufism for salvation, and in the process gave Sufism a firm place in Islam. He is also known as putting Sufi doctrine on a metaphysical basis by borrowing terms from Neo-Platonism. Al-Suhrawardi was a Neo-Platonist oriented Sufi pantheist and martyr who founded the Illuminations school of philosophy. Like al-Gazali, al-Suhrawardi was a synthesizer responsible for bringing into harmony divergent intellectual perspectives. Unfortunately, de Rougemont leaves out the Andalusian Sufi Ibn Arabi, who is most directly aligned, as previously stated with the Troubadour “religion of love.”) However, what is more unfortunate (in an otherwise informative and insightful classic) is that de Rougemont’s morality concerning sex and marriage taints his study; the consequences of which give a one-sided view of the Troubadours and purge any element of non-ascetic armor and its eroticism out of the phenomenon of “love in the Western world.”

After de Rougemont, in 1964 none other than Joseph Campbell stated that “There is considerable evidence that a number of the Troubadours were associated with the Albigensian heresy,” and went on to explain (but at odds with de Rougemont’s identification):

It is hard to be wondered, then, why in the twelfth century there should have developed throughout Europe a deep trend, not merely of anti-clericalism but of a radical heresy, of which the Cathari or Albigenses of the fairest cities and lands of the south of France was the most threatening examples. We need not rehearse the whole length of the well-known, terrible history of the papal extirpation of this sect. The main point to our present purpose is that Albigensianism seems to have been a resurgent variant of the Manichean religion, which had recently entered Europe by way of Bulgaria, Bosnia, Hungary, and then Italy, to flourish largely in the southern France of the troubadours. . . .

The problem for the Church in southern France lay in the indifference of the aristocracy to anathemas, ex-communication, bulls, embassies, legates, or anything else emanating from Rome to frustrate the rising heresy. . . .

Many Troubadours were caught up in the Crusade against the Cathars of the Languedoc, largely because their noble patrons were Cathars, or at least were sympathetic to the Cathars. After this period the high culture of the Troubadours declined, which is attributed to the Albigensian Crusade, and the activities of the Papal Inquisition that followed it. But the decline came sometime after wandering Troubadours had already influenced neighboring lands. Again, how closely the Troubadours of the Languedoc were associated with, and in what way to, the Cathar religion is still debated. Some historians have affirmed that Cathars and Troubadours were the same people under different names or at least that Troubadours performed at Cathar ceremonies. The truth is that there is very little historical evidence to implicate Troubadours in Catharism. On the other hand, it is hardly surprising that no pro-Cathar Troubadour literature has survived since the Inquisition rooted out and destroyed what they saw as heretical works as well as their heretical authors. The closest reliable connection we have is Savaric de Mauléon, who fought alongside Raymond VI of Toulouse against the French Catholic Crusaders in the war against the Languedoc. He was a noted Troubadour but there is no evidence that he was himself a Cathar believer. Peire Cardenal, another Troubadour, although sometimes regarded as verging on heresy, is not specifically Cathar in his views. Thus, in the opinion of most scholars, the search for traces of Catharism in such literature has been pressed with enthusiasm but has not produced convincing results. Nevertheless, some circumstantial reasons for associating Cathar and Troubadour ideas are:

(1) Some Troubadours shared a concept of spiritual love and rejection of carnal love.

(2) They both ridiculed the Roman Catholic Church and its beliefs and were hated by the Church for both their attitudes as well as for their ideas.

(3) Troubadours and Cathars regarded women more highly than the Catholic Church and women held high positions in the Cathar church.

(4) Both ridiculed marriages.

(5) Both regarded the Catholic Church as little more than a huge moneymaking scam.

(6) Troubadours and Cathars expressed contempt for conventional class distinctions that were approved as God-given by the Catholic Church.

(7) Troubadours and Cathars were popular in the same areas and at the same time; the lands of the Count of Toulouse and the County of Foix, Aquitaine, Provence, Lombardy, Catalonia, Angou and other English lands in continental Europe, France, Germany.

(8) Some of the Troubadours, like Miraval, were strongly associated with the Cathar church and frequented the same courts.

It seems that this Cathar heresy has been singly responsible for creating the mystique about the Troubadours. Here, we come to speculation, beginning with Ezra Pound, that there was a secret, mystic love-cult behind the Troubadours. While it is almost impossible to say with any degree of certainty where the origin of this heretical-mystical “love” was located, we know that the most likely place to look is to the Cathar-gnostics who shared the same cultural milieu with the Troubadours and their concept of infamous (or “refined love”). As one French scholar, who supports the thesis of the Cathar-Troubadour connection, puts it:

The old problem of the relations between Catharism and the Fin Amors need no longer be stated—now we see the intense familial connections—in terms of a secret rapport between religious clandestine from a menacing and mysterious church, and sybilline singers with a coded message destined to ensure the spiritual survival of a Church so pure that Rome would have to extinguish it.

And extinguish the “heretics” they did in the infamous Albigensian Crusade, wherein thousands upon thousands of heretics were burned alive between 1209 and 1244, the first holocaust of history—massacred in numbers some have listed as high as over 40, 000. Thus Miraval wrote: “That is why the wicked are terrified / At the idea of running love’s adventure . . . .” As one historian of the period writes of the effects of the crusade: “Queen Eleanor’s Kingdom was dissolving in dust and ashes and with it the feminine culture of the South and the ‘free spirit’ of the troubadours.” The phenomenon of courtly love, developed at the end of the eleventh century, was formally condemned by the Church in 1277.

The Cathar-Troubadour counter-culture (“the feminine culture of the South”) of Occitan, whose people thought of themselves as fiercely independent of the King and the Pope, was attacking the social order of the medieval period on two fronts: the Cathari were subverting religion—the heretical Church of AMOR undermining the Church of ROMA—and the Troubadours were undermining feudalism. Seen this way, the Cathar-Troubadour phenomenon was a rebellion against the prevailing social mores. Thus the Cathar-Troubadour movement may have represented an underground mood of profound dissatisfaction with the Church and its entire theocratic social order. And it was the Troubadours, like Peire Vidal, using the song to promote a social message, who explained why the heresy had spread: ”Now, the Pope and the false doctors / have cast Holy Church into such confusion / that God himself is grieved! / It’s because they’re so foolish and sinful / That the heretics have sprung up . . . .” And as one scholar of the period tells us, the Troubadours even wrote sermons directed against the clergy—“political columnists in twelfth-century style.” Concerning this issue, one scholar makes the following assertion regarding what’s going on behind the struggle of the Church of Amor with the official Church of Roma in the Middle Ages and connects it with our time:

... the passionate love which the myth celebrates became in the twelfth century— the moment when it first began to be cultivated—religion in the full sense of the word, and a particular Christian heresy historically determined. Whereupon it may be inferred (a) that the passion which novels and films have now popularized is nothing else than a lawless invasion and flowing back into our lives of a spiritual heresy the key to which we have lost, and (b) that underlying the modern breakdown of the marriage is nothing less than a struggle between two religious traditions .…

Other scholars have noted the connection of certain Cathar rites reflected in the Troubadour conception of their “Lady.” One scholar puts this in the context of the Cathar’s and Troubadour’s shared sense of freedom from the Church of Rome (a sense that seemed to pervade the region of Occitania) and also brings in a reference to the Arabist influence:

. . . the Cathar parfaite ( a woman who had passed through the Cathar “baptism of fire” or spiritual baptism, the Consolamentum) may have been a romantic subject for the enamored troubadour. The parfaite was chaste, was good, was spiritually pure and her heart was fixed on the divine world.

In the castles of the Languedoc could be heard music from the Arab world with delicately woven words, loosening the bonds of the body and leading a fortunate nobility to love. There was a “liberal” spirit in the air.

At a time when it was forbidden to write in old Provençal when it was forbidden to think in any way other than that of the Church of Rome, “things were written, they were sung, they were said and it was said that the people needed to be free. They needed to free themselves from the tutelage of the Church, they needed to free themselves from the constraint of writing in Latin, and that was important.” Dante was to write in thirteenth-century Florence that, “It is in the Occitan language (la langue d’oc) that the exponents of the living language have made themselves the firsts (or masters) of Poesy (De vulgari Eloquentia). It is highly significant that the Cathar perfecti made the gospels available in Occitan. This was the world in which the Cathars emerged with a message of simple spirituality. They were welcomed by many into a world that longed for purity and independence.

Looking at the historical background of the Cathars, we can discover a possible source for their views and love and sex by looking back to the Valentinian Gnostics of the second century, who, like all good Gnostics, believed in the duality of the spiritual and material worlds. Nevertheless, paradoxically enough, these rare Gnostics also believed sex could have a sacramental dimension. Valentinus (c. 160) emphasized the idea of spiritual marriage as a divine union—a union with God—not as a social contract, which was, after all, the Roman Church’s view. They took a particular interest in the special relations that they believed existed between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, who also symbolized for them the union of the heavenly Christ with the heavenly Sophia (Wisdom). Added to this, the Gnostics held the view that the original state of humankind was one of androgyny, and that they fall into the matter was at the same time the division of the sexes. Thus, a “spiritualizing” of sex was considered to represent a restoration of the original union of male and female and, thereby, a return to God. But, by the fourth century, this idea had been suppressed by the Church. However, it is significant that some Valentinian Gnostics had been particularly widespread in the South of France. It has been suggested that what we have here is a remnant of secret gnosis from the Valentinians or even transportation from the Sufi gnosis of nearby Andalusia. According to some authorities, this secret gnosis affirmed the body and senses as vehicles of mystical experience. This is vitally important for a re-visioning of the Cathar-Manichaean stereotype connected with the Troubadours (and I shall return to it is signed at the end of my discussion.)

This radical theory explains the issue that has vexed those who are sympathetic to the Cathar-Troubadour connection because of the question of how a Manichaean dualistic doctrine, which holds that the material world is evil, could at the same time inspire the Troubadours to have a positive (some would say “sacramental,” others “obscene’) view of sexuality. At this point, having rehearsed the history above, I will return to Campbell’s theory. Scholars like Campbell, who although acknowledging a strong presence of Catharism in Occitania, can’t see how anyone (like de Rougemont) could read into Troubadour poetry or romance Cathar doctrine. He would substitute the Pelagian heresy for the Manichaean as influential to the Troubadours:

However, the first point to be remarked in connection with the Albigensian charge is that, whereas according to the Gnostic Manichaean view nature is corrupt and the lure of the senses to be repudiated, in the poetry of the troubadours, in the Tristan story, and Gottfried's work above all, nature in its noblest moment—the realization of love—is an end and glory in itself; and the senses, ennobled and refined by courtesy and art, temperance, loyalty, and courage, are the guides to this realization. Like a flower potential in its seed, the blossom of the realization of love is potential in every heart (or, at least, every noble heart) and requires only proper cultivation to be fostered to maturity. Hence, if the courtly cult of armor is to be cataloged according to its heresy, it should be indexed rather as Pelagian than as Gnostic or Manichaean, for . . . Pelagius and his followers rejected the doctrine of our inheritance of the sin of Adam and Eve, and taught that we have finally no need of supernatural grace; since our nature itself is full of grace; no need of miraculous redemption, but only of awakening and maturation; and that, though the Christian is advantaged by the model and teaching of Christ, every man is finally (and must be) the author and means of his fulfillment. In the lyrics of the troubadours, we hear little or nothing of the fall and corruption either of the senses or the world. . . .

And so, although it is true that in the century of the troubadours there was rampant throughout Europe a general Manichaean heresy, and that many of the ladies celebrated in the poems are known to have been heretics—just as others were practicing Christians, and the poets themselves communicants of one tradition or the other—in their character as artists and their poetry and song the troubadours stood apart from both traditions.

Be this as it may, it may also (as suggested above) be the Gnostic (and thus the Cathar) emphasis on Mary Magdalene—her love relationship to Jesus and his role in bringing the Grail cup to Southern France—that interested the Troubadours. For legend has it that Mary Magdalene came with Jesus child and chalice of his blood to the south of France to initiate the Grail Romances. Here it is interesting to note, in connection with the Matriarchal theory of Troubadour origins—where it meets the Cathar theory—, that the region of the Troubadours, Occitania, was a great pilgrimage center, not only for pilgrims passing through on their way to Jerusalem, Rome, and Santiago but for great sites in the region itself. There was a strong tradition that St. Mary Magdalene was buried in the basilica of Saint-Maximin near Aix-en-Provence. Further north, in Lot, was the most famous Black Madonna shrine of Midi: Our Lady of Rocomador (c.1172). Why do I mention the recent rediscovery of these Black Madonnas? Because they are said by some scholars to hark back to the Neolithic age of the Great Goddess, who was often depicted (like Isis and even Athena) as black. According to one scholar who has investigated the Black Virgin phenomenon in the churches of Europe,

Once women are free to bestow their favors and affections where they will, the whole structure of patriarchal society starts to crumble. In the spiraling progress of the history of ideas, this seems to be the point that we have once again reached. Now it is an idea whose time has come and no crusades have so far been launched by Church and State to quell it. If the Black Virgins do carry a charge from the [pagan] goddesses, perhaps, now that they have been ‘found’ again, they are whispering in our ears like the female serpent of Eden ….

Eisler summarizes the conflict of the Troubadours and their “Black Virgins” with the Church:

[St. Bernard] De Clairvaux wrote at a time when in the south of France and other parts of Europe troubadours and other “heretics” were again reinstating the worship of the Goddess in the form of historians call Mariology. During the next two centuries, the great cathedrals of Europe (every one dedicated to Our Lady or Queen of heaven, as she is explicitly described in the splendid cathedral at Chartres) were still being built on sites where the Goddess had formerly been revered (not coincidentally in vaulted shapes reminiscent of the ancient cave as a womb sanctuary). And images of a Black Virgin or Madonna (black because she represents the fertile black earth or because she traces her roots to the Great Mother Goddess Isis of Egypt) still attracted pilgrims from all over the Christian world, sometimes in shrines dedicated to Mary Magdalene (who according to some legends fled Palestine with a holy child, her son by Jesus, to the south of France).

But at the same time that such vestiges of the worship of the Goddess continued to persist . . . the Church also mercilessly persecuted “heretic” sects still clinging to the sacred marriage as the union of the female principle (the Great Goddess) and the male principle (the Bull God). As late as the eighteenth century, women were still being killed as witches for sexually “consorting with the devil”—that is, with a now-demonized hoofed and horned deity.

Yet even with all this, the ancient sacred marriage as the union of the feminine and masculine erotic and spiritual energies could not be completely stamped out. All through the Middle Ages, and even later, people (including monks and nuns in medieval monasteries) continued to cling to this ancient tradition, albeit in the most strangely altered forms.

For in the context of medieval Christianity, the sacred marriage was now undergoing still another radical transformation. Now—instead of a celebration of life and love—it was increasingly becoming a celebration of pain and death.

Therefore, as previously mentioned, some feminist-oriented scholars see in the medieval Troubadour phenomenon survival of the “old religion” of the Great Goddess. This important connection with the Cathars of southern France has also been made by Ean Begg, in his The Cult of the Black Virgin (1985). He details the very mysterious Black Virgin statues which seem to be closely linked to the Cathars, to Islamic elements arising from contacts during the Crusades, and to the old Gnostic traditions of Mary Magdalene as the wife of Rabbi Jesus. “It is, however, no longer shocking to suggest,” asserts Begg,

that the images represent a continuation of pagan goddess-worship and that some may have once been idols consecrated to Isis or other deities. . . . They are also numerous in many areas where paganism lingered or where the Cathars flourished. Quite often there is a cult of Mary Magdalene and a Black Virgin in the same place. . . . The Black Virgin is a Christian phenomenon as well as a preservation of the ancient goddesses and compensates for the one-sided conscious attitudes of the age. . . .

Begg, who had traveled to the south of France to investigate the phenomenon the Black Virgins, makes the connection of them to the Cathars and the Troubadour ethos of the liberated woman and eroticism:

It was, however, in Occitan, the land of the Cathars and the troubadours, that men in the Latin, Christian west first learned to honor and obey women, though not through marriage. . . . Nevertheless, Catharism and courtly love, which grew together as part of the same phenomenon, acknowledged, in theory, and practice, women’s freedom to take a lover. . . . Indeed Cathars agreed with Plato . . . that salvation began with the love of bodies. Troubadours even went so far as to suggest that one must tend towards heaven through the love of women. Although both marriage and fornication were qualified as ‘adultery’, extra-marital union, undertaken freely, was preferable to the conjugal bond. It might even symbolize the return of the soul to its spirit after death. Nelli states categorically that Cathars and troubadours were perfectly in agreement that true love—from the soul—purified from the false love associated with marriage.

He also points to the attitude of Cathars towards women and the feminine principle:

One of the most remarkable and distinctive features at Catharism, which it shared with some early Gnostic groups, was that women were admitted to their priesthood of parfaits and parfaites. . . .

The entire point of Begg’s thesis seems to be a validation of what I’m calling the “Matriarchal theory” of Troubadour origins, which is transmitted in the medieval period through the Cathar-Troubadours. The marginal sub-theory that seems to be part and parcel of the Matriarchal finds new evidence in Begg’s investigation of the Black Madonnas; that is, there was a secret, mystic love-cult behind the Troubadours, which consisted of the veneration of a Black Sophia goddess in Gnostic-Cathar cave sanctuaries. Begg discovers in Languedoc a mysterious love-cult which worshiped a feminine goddess; in fact, a “Black Sophia”. Intriguingly, as he points out, one of the most famous shrines dedicated to the “Black Madonna” is in this very region in the South of France.

To Gnostics, there was one all-embracing feminine wisdom, including both the virgin and the whore, which they called Sophia or the Holy Spirit. They identified her with the vision to John on Patmos of ‘a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet, and upon her head, a crown of twelve stars’ (Revelation 12.1) and they invoked her as ‘Lady’. . . .For the simple people, on the other hand, the Black Virgin no doubt continued to be what she had been for some thirty millennia, the manifestation of the Great Goddess.

Here we can round out the final point—the “manifestation of the Great Goddess”— with the observations of cultural historian Riane Eisler, who acknowledges the Troubadour’s positive view of women, sexuality, and eroticism (at a “sacred” level), puts it in the social context of their time, and sees it all as a revival of the “old religion” of the Goddess:

Also during the Middle Ages in the same south of France where woman’s sexual power was once venerated in the Paleolithic cave sanctuaries, there flourished the poets known as troubadours and trobaritzes [female singers], whose songs of courtly love honored woman as man’s spiritual inspiration and celebrated erotic love between woman and man. . . . But their main import is the celebration of women and romance—and the ritualistic courtship between a noble lady and her chosen love. In terms of the old religion, this was certainly a toned-down version of earlier myths of the sacred union of the Goddess and her divine sexual partner. But in terms of medieval life, it was a radical challenge to prevailing norms. . . .

It is a powerful legacy, this legacy of romance and ritual that the medieval troubadours and trobaritzes left us despite the condemnation of the pleasures of sex by the Church. And it is a legacy that, as we have seen, stems from more ancient roots: from a time when sexuality was associated with the sacred rather than the profane and the obscene

As women achieved a high degree of elevation within those wide heretic considered spiritual paths of Christianity, it is interesting to observe the following phenomena, answer the two subsequent questions as well as trying to explain those successive dynamics as outlined below:

a) the need in clarifying this situation taking into account and consideration the theological cross-pollination of both inter-religious as well as dialogue/tension as well multi-religious cross-fertilization including the social practice of the Bogomils as well as other heretic path and communities.

b) to retrieve the information on how this new social order and activity were both transmitted to women and the co-mutual dynamics in the cross-cultural transmission of those Gynocentric values.

The Bogomils

The theological origin of the Bogomils is relatively clear today. The sources say variously that they derive from altogether with the Messalians and the Paulicians from the Manichaeans. Bogomilism was a Dualist sect founded in the First Bulgarian Empire by a priest called Bogomil during the reign of Tsar Peter I in the 10th century. It arose in what is today the region of Macedonia in opposition to the Bulgarian state and the church. This helped the movement spread quickly in the Balkans, gradually expanding throughout the Byzantine Empire and later reaching Kievan Rus, Bosnia, Dalmatia, Rascia, Italy, France, the Languedoc, and Aragon. Bogomils called for a return to early Christianity, rejecting the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and their primary political tendencies were resistance to the state and church authorities. The Bogomils first appeared in the tenth century in Bulgaria and spread throughout the Byzantine Empire. Around the year 1150, they were repeatedly condemned and persecuted by Emperor Manuel Komnenos without any apparent effect. The Bogomils spread west from the Balkans (Bosnia and Serbia). They were still being persecuted in Bosnia in 1462. A year later, Bosnia was conquered by the Ottomans, and the Bogomils adopted Islam, as they did elsewhere following Islamic conquests (Bozoky, DGWE, pp. 192-94). The only authentic Bogomil text available to us is the Interrogatio Iohanni which forced to adopt a phenomenological and interdisciplinary approach to trace their origins. It is clear that they theologically taught Eastern dualism, docetism, and strict asceticism including the rejection of marriage based on misandrist ideas very similar to modern feminism.

History of the Cathars

Adamar of Chabannes was one of the first to report the existence of Manichaeans in Europe, in 1020. Many similar reports were to follow (MGH. SS, IV, p. 138). The heretics’ chief objections concerned the seven sacraments and the unworthiness of the clergy. They wanted to return the church to the pristine era of the apostles (Van Schaik, p. 51). Catharism spread in Europe between 1143 and 1165, as manifested in the way that the Catholic Church was becoming increasingly worried about these ‘new’ heretics in the same period. However, the church authorities did not yet have a clear idea of what they were facing. The statements of the council speak of Arians and textures (weavers). At the Council of Reims in 1157, measures were taken against the “impure sect of the Manichaeans” (Mansi XXI, 1903, p. 843). During the Council of Lombers in 1165, some boni homines (good man) were interrogated, but the source does not tell us whether dualistic ideas were found (Acta concilii Lumbariensis, p. 432). Within a few decades, Southern France in particular develops into a Cathar bulwark. The Cathars have the sympathy of the population and the local nobility, while the Roman Catholic Church has little influence. This also explains not only the Troubadour phenomenon but I a wider context Eleanor of Aquitaine gynocentrism and courts of love as a part of the greater picture.

Where did Catharism come from?

From a few certain pieces of evidence and a mass of circumstantial evidence, it seems likely that Catharism represented a very ancient Dualist belief from the East. Perhaps the easiest way to trace the origins of the Cathar Church is to work back from the Languedoc. Catharism appeared in Western Europe in the eleventh century. Cathars' beliefs seemed to have popped up around the same time in many countries, not only the Languedoc but also France, the Netherlands, and various German states. They almost certainly spread from Northern Italy, carried by travelers, merchants, and probably Cathar preachers - Parfaits. Certainly, the Cathar Church was already well established in Northern Italy. (This Occitan speaking area would later provide a refuge for Cathars from the Languedoc obliged to flee their homeland during the Cathar Wars (or Albigensian Crusade). How did the Cathar Church get to Northern Italy? It came via Croatia from the Balkans, around the area we know as Bulgaria. This area was part of the Byzantine Empire at the time, and imperial records mention the Dualist heresy. A priest called Bogomil was recorded as having introduced this so-called heresy, which explains why believers were called Bogomils. (The Cathars never called themselves Cathars or talked about Catharism.). Bogomilism became influential in Bulgaria during the reign of Peter the First (927-928). The religion flourished in the Balkans for centuries, until it was wiped out by (or incorporated into) Islam after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. A Bogomil bishop is known to have attended a Cathar Council in the Languedoc.

The next question is how religion got to Bulgaria. The answer is that it probably spread from the Eastern Part of the Byzantine Empire to the Western Part. It may have originated in a form of Manichaean belief, itself a melange of Persian Zoroastrianism and early Christian Gnostic Dualism, but it is more likely that it represented a separate strand of early Christian Gnostic Dualism as well as Manichaeism. Early Christianity possessed three main strands: the Jewish one (led by James, Jesus' brother), the Pauline one (created by Paul himself and now represented by the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches), and the Gnostic one (at least some of whom followed St John, the disciple). It is well within the bounds of possibility that Catharism represented this early tradition. Certainly, the Cathars favored the John Gospel over all other scripture. The Catholic Church for a long time regarded Cathars as neo-Manichaeans, but they were almost certainly wrong (as the Catholic Encyclopedia now recognizes) since the Cathars shared only Gnostic Dualist ideas - not any of the distinctive Manichaean ideas. (Even so, one of the leading scholarly books on the Cathars (by Sir Steven Runciman, published in 1982) recording translations of primary records is entitled "The Medival Manichee"). Many clues in Cathar belief and practice point to extremely early origins (they often retained early Christian beliefs and practices that other strands of Christianity abandoned). Medieval chroniclers seem to have been aware of the antiquity of Cathar belief.

Manichaeism and Zoroastrianism as the missing link to the Troubadours, Catharism, and feminism

As we can see, the existence of older Christian heresies in the Bulgarian lands (Manichaeism and Paulicianism), which were Dualistic too, influenced the Bogomil movement which later gave rise to the Cathars, the troubadours as well as to gynocentrism and finally feminism. Manichaeism’s origin, however, is also heavily related to the east and especially Zoroastrianism; that is why Bogomilism is also sometimes indirectly connected to Zoroastrianism. Furthermore, in the 12th century Bogomils were already known in the West as "Cathars" or in other places as "Bulgari", i.e. Bulgarians. In 1207 the Bulgarorum heresis is mentioned. In 1223 the Albigenses are declared to be the local Bougres, and in the same period mention is made of the "Pope of the Albigenses who resided within the confines of Bulgaria" (a reference to Nicetas, Bogomil bishop). The Cathars and Patarenes, the Waldenses, the Anabaptists, and in Russia the Strigolniki, Molokani, and Doukhobors have all at different times been either identified with the Bogomils or closely connected with them. In 1207 the Bulgarorum heresis is mentioned and in 1223 the Albigenses are declared to be the local Bougres (Bulgarians) and in the same period mention is made of the "Pope of the Albigenses who resided within the confines of Bulgaria" (a reference to Nicetas, Bogomil bishop). The Cathars and Patarenes, the Waldenses, the Anabaptists, and in Russia the Strigolniki, Molokani, and Doukhobors have all at different times been either identified with the Bogomils or closely connected with them.

Catharism, Gynocentrism, Courtly Love and Feminism: The Ancient Religious Gnostic Heresy

For much of the twentieth century, scholars drew links between various Dualist movements, whose roots dated back to the early centuries, and which were heavily influenced by Manichaeanism. One such movement was the Paulicians who troubled the eastern borders of the Byzantine Empire from the seventh century. From the eighth century onwards, the Empire transported thousands of these tough border peoples to the Balkans, where they could help guard against barbarian assaults. However, moving the Paulicians also meant importing their Dualist heretical beliefs into Europe. Bulgaria soon became the center of a full-fledged Dualist heresy in the form of the Bogomils. By the 1020s, similar Dualist views began surfacing in France and Italy. By 1150, these Albigensian views were so strong in Southern France that they represented a full-fledged alternative church. Stephen Runciman described these movements in a 1947 book significantly entitled The Medieval Manichee, while Dimitri Obolensky published his great work on The Bogomils (1946), with the subtitle “a Study in Balkan neo-Manichaeism.” Yuri Stoyanov’s book The Other God similarly draws these long connections over time and place. Moreover, Manichaeism in its different schools and forms, the main theological basis both for the Bogomils, the Catars as well as the concepts of Chivalric love and the Troubadour phenomenon thus subsequently also for the modern form of European gynocentrism and feminism as its derivative, is said to have been passed via the Paulicians and the Bogomils to later re-emerge in Western Europe in the form of the phenomena, movements, and dynamics described above. In that sense, it is important to remember that from the earliest days of Christianity, there have been such dualistic traditions. This tradition includes the various forms of Gnosticism including that of the Manichaeans, the Paulicians, the Bogomils, and the Cathars. Furthermore, all the dualist groups of Christian heresy teach dualism and docetism in some form or other - some call it mild or radical although even calling it mild or radical is still accepting the basic dualistic Manichaean influence and heritage. Thus in this context, such classification is simply artificial.

Moreover, I want to emphasize that I strongly disagree with the above false classifications (mild vs. radical hers) although I hugely admire the critical skills of these modern historians of the Middle Ages who coined them and their ability to interrogate documentary sources: they are careful and cautious. However, technical skills alone without zero understanding of the essence is of no use, counterproductive, and irrelevant for the research. Specifically, I think that they neither know nor care much about the theological content of the views they are discussing. Nor, much more significant, do they appreciate the radicalism of the views that accused heretics express quite spontaneously, without the slightest coercion. They also seem to have zero understanding of how Psychology works and especially the formation of human corpora of wisdom and knowledge. And additionally, these recent historians do not acknowledge the quite clear evidence of contact between distant regions, and particularly between Western Europe and the indisputably powerful heretical movements of the Balkans – especially the Bogomils, who feature at best only tangentially in the books of Pegg and Moore. In that sense, they miss completely to understand the cross-cultural pollination and especially the Eastern influence in the Balkan. It was no coincidence that in later development the Bogomils not only adopted Islam but that today we have a huge representation of the Muslim population in the Balkans and the middle of Christian Europe.

Anyway, in one branch of those dualistic traditions, there is one good God and a fallen angel (Lucifer, a God by himself in this dualistic tradition) who created the earth. This has also been called “Gnostic dualism”. It includes the dualism of the Bogomils and that of some schools of the Cathars (Van Schaik, pp. 89-90). Such Catharism was influenced by the Bogomil movement (Van den Broek, pp. 87-108; Quispel, pp. 616-18). The inquisitor and former Cathar, Reinerius Sacconi (d. 1262) traces the origin of such various Cathar churches in Southern Europe back to the “church of Philadelphia in Romania” (Sanjek, p. 50). There is another dualistic tradition of the Cathars. In addition to the previous Cathars, the other variant believed in the existence of two gods ab aeterno: a good God and a bad God. Thus in different forms and applications of the original ideas both schools show de-facto vestiges of Manichaean ideas. This kind of dualism is also known as “Iranian dualism” (Jonas, p. 212, pp. 236-37). The radical Cathars belonged to the Albanensian Church or the Church of Drugunthia (Van Schaik, p. 79), which also included the Paulician sect in the Byzantine

Medieval Europe in the light of Bogomil Misandry and the Manichean Catharian Proto - Feminism

As we have seen, the Eastern European heretics of Bulgaria and other cultures had a different conception of women and regarded them as preeminent and standing above men. Here we shall try to consider why the Bulgarian heretics had a different conception of the woman thus contributing to the modern feminist cult of misandry as through its crucial influence on the creation of the Gynocentric concept of chivalric love in terms of putting women on the pedestal and the Catharian Troubadours who spread it all over Europe and subsequently the whole world. Here we should consider that the Bogomil theological misandry that gave rise to the inherent anti-male notion of the Cathars, the Troubadours and thus the basic ideology of courtly love, chivalry as well as gynocentrism including such concepts as the beauty and the beast can be traced back and already found in the creation mythology of the Bogomils that served as the origin for all of these later dynamics. In this heretic and Gnostic creation myth the first man – a female – was in a way a consequence of this cosmic struggle between good and evil; the being thus created in a female form was meant to bring solace into the lives of sentient beings, using her love to appease the aggression planted in the world by the destructive forces. In retaliation, the destructive force collected body parts from the most ferocious of animals, and fashioned out of them a being outwardly resembling the woman, but endowed with the male demonic qualities of its maker and compelled by its sex drive.

Here we can already see most of the attributes of a modern feminist as well as general misandry. The demonic depiction of the obsessive male sexuality, the description of men as ugly animals, the allegedly inherent evil and violence of men and many more, Moreover, the union of the first woman who according to this misandrist creation myth is raped and also “descends” to lust which brings another two crucial elements of the modern misandrist and feminist environment namely the fallacy of rape culture, the feminist ideas of all men as being nothing but rapists as well as pure nature of the woman as an asexual being who does this only to tame the demonic male. Further in this creation myth, the first man whose savage breast is soothed by the woman’s influence produced modern men, in whom the two elements (divine and demonic) gradually became so thoroughly commingled that they lost their bearings in the world of value. Spiritual clear-sightedness was supposed to be restored by Priest Bogomil, who preached the idea that people could be saved by rejecting the alleged objectification of women which another yet powerful analogy to modern-day feminism. This is the way of the female divine love to be first of all reborn in women’s hearts and to restore the world to original harmony and save it from men. In the last analogy is also the conceptual basis for the chivalric ideal of a male subjugation to a woman as a part of ending suffering.

Moreover, as we have seen and will see further on, this does not only incorporate dual Bogomil-Catharian heritage but for the most crucial triangle of Bogomil. Catharian and Kabalist triangle whereas the Kabbalah and Catharism are the most crucial link as the co-mutual influence especially that of Catharian theology on the cabalist concept as well as in return the Kabbalist importance in the creation of Christian Chivalric culture of the Troubadours. Though couched in modern language, the concept of impersonal forces competing for primacy in the universe has a very ancient and quintessentially gnostic pedigree. The notion that the first woman was an emanation of a deity is a key clue to its reconstruction. Passed down in innumerable variants and also present in Jewish Kabbalist mysticism, this particular myth is summarised by Quispel as follows: In the beginning, were the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness; then a divine hypostasis, usually called the original man or Sophia, shows the original light to the demons belonging to the world of darkness; those archons, usually described as the seven planetary spirits, become lustful and chase the light, which tries to flee. […] There are different variant accounts of how the light came to mingle with the darkness. In some versions, it is said that light itself became lustful and peers down (spectandi libido), in others it is said to have sacrificed itself to forestall an invasion of the dark demons. […] One way or another, sparks of light penetrated the darkness. Those sparks are human souls who live scattered in the world, but also the soul of the world and the life of the cosmos in general. At one point the light and the darkness must separate, and the light will return to its source [Quispel 1951: 66].

In this understanding, redemption or if we want to coin the feminist term of liberation takes the form of rejecting and practically hating especially heterosexuality as the basis of relationships between men and women thus freeing women from its male domination. According to this feminist theophany of the Gnostic creation myth, the actual portrayal is one of the first human beings as a sexless woman who embodies immaculate beauty uses an inverted version of an androgynous myth. This, as we can see, is maybe the most primal source of the idea and concept of the beauty and the beast, This, of course, goes hand in hand with the old gnostic tradition which views human sexuality as abhorrent and that is seeing man as being inherently at fault with the creation of this dynamic. This is also the Gnostic theosophical frame for Eco-Feminism as well as the feminism of the motherly discourse which embodies the modern feminist attitude missions that go hand in hand with a utopian vision of world redemption through an ideal, spiritual union between man and woman that restores woman’s original connection to the creative force. The feminine mystique might be well rooted in this kind of Gnostic religiosity. Rooted in the Bogomil and Catharian heresy this misandrist discourse is being hidden, with yet another powerful resemblance and analogy to modern feminism as the lip service that both men and women are former, creators and servants of ideals such as truth, peace, love, and equality, whereas the latter are conniving players in a world of power games, committed to falsehood and exploitation.

In the mainstream monotheistic theology, misandry is expressed in a little bit different version. In this biblical myth about human origin and destiny, three main actors are a) the serpent; b) two humans – namely Adam and Eve. In other words, as a symbolic representation male vs. female energies we have first of all the serpent that is whether seen as a) personal representation of an animal or b) collective representation of 1) all animal or 2) a metaphor or analogy for humanity, it is referred to as male (energy). Then we have Adam which naturally represents men and male energy while Eve stands as an archetypal representation of women and female energy. In sum, metaphorically we have a representation of two male energies and a female one. Now, let's dive more into the details. Anyway, it is important to say that philologically the biblical text does not attribute the main fall to Eve but the snake which means that is the male, not female energy that brought this evil and led to the fall of Adam and Even. In a fact, not only we see here in a way that reminds us on heretical teachings an attribution and the equation of the serpent's male energy to Satanic male forced, not only we see again maybe the most earlier origins of the male depiction as an evil beast but also the concepts the women being taken advantage by men as well as that it's them that are the source of it all.

Anyway, because of the Fall, God does not punish only Eve but in fat all of the actors. The biblical depiction of the serpent's punishment is very interesting. First, he is the first one to be punished which shows the gravity of the deeds thus symbolically the male energy has the main responsibility for the fall. Second, there is also the punishment itself. In chapter three the Bible says: And the LORD God said unto the serpent: 'Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou from among all cattle, and from among all beasts of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. The depiction of the punishment here is crucial as "upon thy belly shalt thou go" is interesting as it gives us the notion the serpent was standing on the on its which strengthens our notion of a male. Then, God punishes and expels Adam and Eve from the paradisal world of Eden into the temporal world of conflict and chaos. However, the interesting thing is that Adam is at least at fault or not at fault at all but is still punished. Yet, before discussing his punishment it is interesting to scrutinize Eve's punishment. Now, when cherry-picking the story through selective reading and interpretation especially also the wider context of biblical text other external religious sources her punishment as "he shall rule over thee" seems to support the idea of the unfair treatment of her. However, in the wider context especially in the context of Adam's punishment that exhibits male reality and oppression we read "And unto Adam, He said: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt, thou eat of it all the days of thy life. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.

So being a reflective myth of existing gynocentric reality, according to the biblical version of this story "Eve's alleged subjugation or her Husband's rule in the greater context is Adam's slavery to his wife as being the sole breadwinner or practically as we would say and use modern terminology being a walking ATM as well as the female privilege of having this all without having to do anything for it. In a wider sense is the three P's or the "PPP" that is the protector, the provider, and procreator while being also the earliest and most primitive source of female hypo-agency that was brought as a legal phenomenon to fruition in the Roman Empire partially probably through Christian influence that inherited it from the common Jewish denominator of the Bible as well as the various esoteric and heretic teachings Anyway, according to some post-biblical versions, which exhibit the gynocentric tendency to present women as victims to disguise this matrix, most of the guilt, however, belongs to Eve and her female descendants, this as we see not only isn’t the but also do not exhibit the mainstream theological line. On the other hand, according to the most recent interpretation, religious as well as secular, that are rooted in feminist misandry, mainly from the Cathar heretic Gnosticism but also from the mainstream theological line that is a continuation of the traditional misandry now not only all of the guilt belongs to men and not only that they conspire against women, take control and oppress women but that they are evil by there nature

The combination of the mainstream as well as esoteric creation myths and tradition equips us with the tools and enables us to see the full scope of the origins of misandry especially that of modern feminism. Both of them are the earliest source of the demonic male depiction as bestial sexuality, men as being nothing than pigs, snakes, and animals, the concepts such as rape culture and the patriarchy that is achieved and maintained by the same means through which it was created by overthrowing a utopian history of female matriarchy (leading back to such matriarchal society in future as well as the advocacy and the belief that women are all good and special snowflakes who bear no responsibility at all for what goes wrong (hypo-agency). At this stage when we go through this through scrutiny and investigation of the world religious history there come immediately a very interesting phenomenon to mind that can instantly be observed namely the more we advance in human history and especially in the realm of religion that as proven in my other book is the mean vehicle for the transportation of gynocentric values as is also strengthened once again in this very research the more misandry grows in scope both quantitative as qualitative terms. In anthropological terms and as is proven in my other book, Johann Jakob Bachofen, a Swiss anthropologist of the nineteenth century, was the first to take this point of view. He argued that human history revolved around women – that is, mothers. In other words, Gynocentrism and especially the subdivision of a matrifocal society in form of motherhood was the ultimate source of all morality and religion. Now based on the threefold sub-categories of gynocentric societies that is a) matrifocal; b) matrilineal; c) patrifocal human cultures also exhibited a threefold symbolic characterization of (male and female) energies: a) symbols being characteristic of societies that prefer hunting big animals were mainly male mirroring also female ones; b) female symbols being characteristic of societies that prefer fishing and gathering preferred mainly female symbols mirroring male ones too; c) and both female and male symbols were characteristic of societies that prefer hunting of both kinds.

Societies that have no preference additionally often combine hunting for big animals with hunting for small ones and fishing and gathering. Being in harmony with above described evolutionary dynamics, most pre- monotheistic religion like the Canaanites - the direct ancestors of Jewish early monotheism incorporating the theological proto-type of all other monotheistic paths – who believed in many gods exhibited the same forces at work and especially worshiping the nature (=mother earth) and the female force of fertility which once again symbolizes female energy even when presented or mirrored through male energy. So, historically and from an anthropological point of view, societies exhibited both male and female symbols who correlate both to male and female energies thus neither showing patriarchal or matriarchal preferences in an economic and societal sense but evolutionary gynocentric one from the economy. In short, both sexual symbols and methods of food production existed in ancient gynocentric societies in terms of evolutionary survival. As a rule, a combination that might have varied through a combination of sometimes more female or more male with an always existing representation of the opposite sex might have been produced based on the needs of big animals or small animals. Therefore, and as standing opposed to the Marxist and feminist propaganda and pseudo-science, we have no reason to assume that a) in pre-history there existed a matriarchal society; b) that there has been a stage of goddess worship that was the earliest phase of religion; c) that it was replaced by a patriarchal society to oppress women. Human history shows a constant Gynocentric society that in its earlier stages was more balanced and less discriminative to men.

So, what happened actually. There are two dynamics, first of all, a proto-X culture is always less extreme and exhibits less extreme dynamics than the culture that follows later. However, there is a more inherent reason for this. As we have seen as standing as opposed to the heretical and Gnostic teaching that are more dualist the original Gynocentrism and also the mainstream religions although still showing a certain amount of dualism were much less poisoned by dualistic elements. As every type of hate misandry is also based on the delusion of a dualistic nature of reality as versus the truth of non-duality. It's the ignorance that divides between people, between us and them. Therefore, the more the dualist esoteric and heretical view prevailed over human conception the more it fed the hate against men, in other words, the more it cultivated extreme misandry. It’s was brought to fruition under the queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and the heretical Cathar phenomenon of the Troubadour who has stated the Gnocentric society almost millennia ago and brought to its peak and culminated in modern feminism and its temporary misandry

Anyway, this dual, as I have described above, the dichotomy was politicized, with detailed instructions on how to social life in communities providing the rules for building a new social order guaranteeing a final solution to the problem of evil by eliminating masculinity and creating the new, real, man so that new feminist-matriarchal world order can be established. Historically, Bogomilism lied at the foundations of the Reformation within the Cath­olic Church. Later, it was adopted by the feminist misandrist movement of female supremacism and under the disguise in terms of its false doctrine of equality between men and women. As such and when taking all of the above dynamics into account. it anticipated – indeed inspired – the cult of the lady in medieval France, and the subsequent culture of female domination and preeminence over men. According to the Vien­na-based researcher Leo Seifert, Bogomilism played a much greater role, not only in the history of European culture and religion but also in socio-politi­cal history (as we have seen and elaborated here). Initially, Seifert argues, Bogomilism came up with the slogan of struggle against papal authority. Later, however, its religious nature turned into hate full, anti-male, and feminist-misandrist ideology whose modifications and expansions transform the face of modern and current Europe. Thus a Bulgarian cultural achievement takes on the scale of a major motive force of history on our continent, and even in puritanical North America [Шейтанов 1937: 983–984].

Furthermore, the Bogomils did not create those ideas from scratch but received it from the Manicheans through the Paulicians. Yet, unlike the Manicheans, who kept their teaching secret, locked in small, closed elite groups, the Bogomils propagated their ideals in wide social circles only later to be handed down to the West. The civilizational aspect of those historical advents can hardly be overestimated for the first time women were not just introduced to the sacrament of the religious ritual but were exclusively given access to working with "the Word" whereby achieving the full scope of culture. While this dynamic was practiced by the church to keep its power over the masses and keep them in check this privilege was granted now to women in a way that enabled although still informal education that was denied to men. It is yet another characteristic of the medieval society in the humanistic approach that was selectively traded with the feminist gynocentric one. And this is a hallmark of the Cathar civilization Balkans of Provence rooted in the Bogomil culture of Bulgaria and the Balkan as well in the Lollard circles in England.

So, there is no longer any doubt that this movement was not autochthonous to southern France. It stood in direct historical relationship with the religion of the Bulgarian Bogomils and their dualistic predecessors; however, it is still a matter of debate whether there is any direct historical filiation leading back to ancient Manichaeism (as the Church claimed) or whether the dualistic teaching and the specific organizational forms of this medieval neo-Manichaeism derived from other sources. Another difficult problem that has still not been resolved is that of the possible survival of gnostic, other than Manichaean, influences, and ideas in the religion of the Cathars. It is not our task to enter into this discussion, which has had a vigorous revival as a result of the important discoveries of recent years.12 However, the existence of this extremely strong religious movement whose anti-Catholic tendencies cannot be doubted is also important for our investigation. The Judaism of Provence likewise went through a highly fruitful period in the twelfth century. It thus developed in an environment where Catholic Christianity in its orthodox form had to fight for its bare existence and where it had effectively lost much of its influence over wide circles of the dominant feudal and chivalric class and their cultural spokesmen, as well as in the broader social strata of peasants and shepherds. Nevertheless, more recent attempts as we have seen her in our discussion point and demonstrate in my opinion an unequivocal, direct, and convincing influence of Bogomil - Catharian influences on the earliest sources of the Kabbalah which in turn influence the Catharian troubadours and vice versa.

The mythical cosmic tree has its roots above and grows downward, an image that is known to have numerous parallels in many different cultures. As we have seen the Bogomilian ideal has been tracked by us and found among the heretics in the Balkans. When Israel is good, God produces upon the tree new souls of righteous men. That is no doubt the meaning of the remark: "He makes them become fruitful and multiply.'' This idea accords perfectly with parallel passages. The trunk of the tree, which in section grows out of the root, corresponds to the image of the spinal column in man. If Israel is good, God brings new souls out of the place of the seed which corresponds to the great channels. How the myth of the tree is varied here corresponds to the interpretation given by section 15 to its oldest form, as we encounter it later. It is difficult to say when the oldest material was reinterpreted in this manner. The symbolism of the tree underwent further development in the latest stratum of the Kabbalistic book of the Bahir which, despite all their differences, is closely related. The cosmic tree no longer the pleroma of the divine but it is implanted as in the beginning, in the center of the universe as its core. To the structure of this core correspond, in the regions of the cosmos that are here taken over from the Book of Creation, lower potencies, "overseers," and "archons" (sarim).

Furthermore, there is a reference which creates a direct tie back to Yesirah 5:1 and its twelve directions of the world, which, however, the author of the Bahir arranges in his mythical fashion: "God has a tree, and this tree has twelve radii:47 northeast, southeast, upper east, lower east, northwest, southwest, upper west, lower west, upper north, lower north, upper south, lower south, and they extend outward into the immeasurable, and they are the arms of the world. And in their core is the tree." To these branches of the tree correspond, in the three regions of the world of the Book Yesirah, namely the "dragon" teli,48 representing the world; the visible celestial sphere, representing time; and the "heart," representing the human organism— twelve "overseers" each and twelve archons each, thus totaling two times thirty-six potencies or powers that are active in the cosmos and always return to each other: The potency of one is [also] in the other, and although there are twelve in each of the three they all adhere to each other [this is taken literally from Yesirah 4:3] and all thirty-six potencies are already found in the first, which is the teli . . . and they all return cyclically one into the other, and the potency of each one is found in the other. . . and they are all perfected [or comprised] in the "heart."

Very possibly the thirty-six decans of astrology and their supervisors are lurking behind the thirty-six potencies of the Bahir.49 In the Bahir, the two times thirty-six overseers and archons combine with the seventy-two names of God, which Jewish esoteric doctrine had already developed in the Talmudic period and which the Bahir frequently discusses beginning with section 63 (above all in sections 76-79). Jacob the Nazirite of Lunel was a man of this type. And we happen to know that he was not the only one in his community to have adopted this kind of life. In 1165 Benjamin of Tudela saw in Lunel R. Asher ha-Parush, "who has withdrawn from the affairs of the world and who devotes day and night to study, practices asceticism, and does not eat meat."66 It was for this ascetic that Yehudah ibn Tibbon translated into Hebrew ibn Gabirol's moral tract "On the Improvement of the Qualities of the Soul." Graetz, basing himself upon Benjamin's description, conferred on him his favorite label of "obscurantist"; he seems to have smelled the mystic in him, which immediately aroused his animus. Asher ben Meshullam, a son of the most eminent scholar in a community as well endowed with scholars as Lunel, was, therefore, a parush not only in the sense defined previously but a representative of more radical tendencies: a genuine ascetic.

It is unnecessary to remind ourselves that in the Middle Ages ascetic ideals could manifest themselves at any time and in any place, in Islam just as well as in Christianity and Judaism. Nevertheless, we should bear in mind that analogous ideas emerged in the same Provençal environment where the moral decadence observed among the Catholic clergy moved men to the glorification of ideals embodied by the Cathar perfecti. Just as the Jewish Nazirites of France took upon their shoulders the full weight of the yoke of the Torah, to which a further ascetic emphasis could be added, so did the "perfect ones" take upon themselves the full burden of the world-denying morality of the "neo-Manichaeism," which the Bogomils had transplanted to Italy and France and which was, in their eyes, identical with primitive Christianity. Abstinence from meat was one of the most conspicuous elements in the conduct of the Cathar "perfect ones." It is in this milieu that we must place Jacob the Nazirite. Among the few fragments that have come down to us from him, there is a distinctly ascetic text preserved by Ezra of Gerona; it also figures in the Book of Customs of his younger brother Asher ben Saul.

The additional soul that, according to Talmudic Aggadah, man receives on the Sabbath is, he asserts, identical with the highest faculty of the human soul, the anima rationalis, which stirs man to seek knowledge of God. But at the same time, it stimulates him to celebrate the Sabbath with pleasure. His desire thereby increases. But at the end of the Sabbath, it says to him: Restrict your nourishment; and because his desire is thus diminished it causes weakness in him. This is why the sages prescribed the smelling of spices at the end of the Sabbath [to confine this weakness as well as the desire].67 Although he received his kabbalistic education from Isaac the Blind in Posquières, in the vicinity of Lunel, Ezra may not have known Jacob the Nazirite personally; however, he must have been in a position to obtain reliable traditions concerning him. His assertion that Jacob had been in Jerusalem and had there received mystical and angelological traditions cannot, therefore, be dismissed as unreliable. 68 Ezra ben Solomon is unusually sparing with quotations from kabbalistic authorities, but the ones he adduces are, as far as I can see, reliable.

The relatively simple content of that tradition also corresponds to Jacob's other angelological statements, with which we have already become acquainted on page 208. Jacob is said to have received from a certain R. Nehorai in Jerusalem the tradition that the ritual of libations of water and wine on the Feast of Tabernacles was practiced in the Temple of Jerusalem because "at this ritual, two angels were present, whose function it was to bring the fruits to ripeness and to lend them flavor." One of these angels is certainly Gabriel, whose function (according to B. Sanhedrin 95b) is to cause the fruit to ripen. The other is probably Michael. Water and wine seem to symbolize the qualities of Grace (water) and Sternness (wine), much like in the Book Bahir. Whether this symbolism came from the Orient—together with the angelological tradition —or whether it belongs exclusively to the Provençal stratum of the Bahir cannot be established with certainty. We know nothing else about this R. Nehorai, and the doctrine of the sefiroth is implied in no other twelfth-century text that can be said to have been composed in the Orient. This pilgrimage of "Rabbenu Jacob Hasid," which I see no reason to doubt, must have taken place at the earliest not long after the conquest of Jerusalem by Saladin, after 1187; before that, under the rule of the Crusaders, access to the city was generally forbidden to Jews. It cannot be fixed at a date before the time Jacob the Nazirite commenced his esoteric studies; it was, on the contrary, occasioned by those studies. According to the preceding argument, we have every reason to suppose that such studies were already in vogue before 1187 in the circle of Posquières and of Lunel. Later legends of the Spanish kabbalists related the visit of the old kabbalist of Lunel to the Orient to the interest in the Kabbalah allegedly displayed by Maimonides toward the end of his life. Our R. Jacob is supposed to have gone to Egypt, where he initiated Maimonides in the esoteric science. This legend, whose origin around 1300 I have examined elsewhere, has no historical value. Even the writings of Abraham, the son of Maimonides, whose penchant for mystical religiosity is quite obvious, draw their inspiration from Sufi sources and do not evince the slightest familiarity with kabbalistic ideas.

Jewish and Christian Troubadours: How the Manichaean Cathar heretical Gnosticism survived via the route of Jewish Esotericism and Kabbalah in the modern Secular World as feminist Misandry and Gynocentric Supremacism!

While conceptually as well as in many other aspects the troubadours have taken their origins and were influenced by the Muslim Sufi and Indian Gynocentric school of thought as elaborated in chapter one, in more practical terms as a wandering artist and singer the troubadours are an almost direct derivative of the Jewish Talmudic BADHANIM (Heb. בַּדְחָן; “entertainer”); the merrymaker, rhymester who entertained guests, especially at weddings. The Talmud mentions professional jesters who cheered the melancholy (Ta’an. 22a) or who amused the bride and groom (Ket. 17a; Ber. 30b–31a). The interesting aspect is that while the Talmudic Badhanim has spread the gynocentric ideal within a closed and specific culture including its familial frame of the marriage, the Christian European troubadours have taken upon themselves and within the feudal Gynocentric society to spread those cultural values not only around Europe but also all over the world. This, however, led later to cross-cultural influence where Jewish itinerant singers, learning upon the Christian Troubadours have developed and merged into more professional and organized or institutionalized artists while still being traditionally called Badhanim or Leizanim (“jesters”) and later developed into the more actual version of the Kleyzmers. Those badhanim or leizanim are mentioned in medieval rabbinical literature (e.g., R. Elijah b. Isaac of Carcassonne’s Asufot); they seem to have appeared as professional entertainers at weddings and Hanukkah and Purim celebrations, much after the pattern of the troubadours and ballad singers. The merrymaking of this badhanim, who were also the forerunners of Jewish theatrical art as well as we have said the Kleyzmers consisted not only of folksongs and comic stories but also of skillful puns on scriptural verses and Talmudical passages, which required a certain amount of Jewish learning.

As a result, the rabbinical authorities protested against the Badhanim who parodied the Kaddish at wedding festivities or who committed the near-blasphemy of “amusing the guests with jests on scriptural verses and holy words. Happy the man who abstains from such” was the common Rabbinical attitude to those Badhanim (R. David ha-Levi, in Turei Zahav). This did not help of course and the opposition appeared to voice its concerns only at the beginning while in modern religious Jewish weddings there's no such a thing as a festivity without the Badhanim! The following dynamic and the later full re-adaptation and re-integration of Christian courtly love and the Gynocentric values spread by the Troubadours became possible partially through the monumental work of Jewish Kabbalists who have integrated the heretic teachings of the Cathar religion as was practiced by most troubadours and introduced it into the mainstream of the Rabbinical Judaism. As we will learn through our long discourse and dissertation here, the bottom line was that the Kabbalah was heavily influenced by the Cathar Manichean religion. Thus, Troubadours who were Cathars widely share the same spiritual sources and ideals naturally influencing each other. Specifically, in the realm of female superiority, the Kabbalah applied these ideals through the concepts of God's name. While the church declared the Cathar religion as a heretic and thus eliminated it theologically, the Cathar religion survived over the secular realm as misandrist feminism hence it served the church in this aspect in spreading gynocentrism. On the other hand, the Cathar ideas of misandrist feminism survived and were brought back into mainstream Christianity over the Kabbalah, and Agrippa who blended the Christian theology with Jewish Kabbalistic thought to later in history create the misandrist feminism as we know it today.

Furthermore, one of the subjects conducted in my wider research and the trilogy on the European Gynocentrism and its symbolism in this essay was the acknowledgment of the special social and cultural status of women obtained in the milieu of dualistic heresy of the Cathar Manichean religion of the Troubadours as a preliminary requirement and development both for the Gynocentric society's chivalric love as well as the Kabbalah and the emanating teachings of Agrippa's, Lucretia Marinella's and Christine de Pisan's and also Guillaume Postel's misandrist proto-feminism. In this historical context, the Bogomilism whose historical advent was at the Xth century in Bulgaria allowed women to preach in vernacular language, to read the Holy scriptures, esp. the New Testament. This enabled even wider access to the Word and creativeness, power, and dominance. One cannot underestimate enough this uniquely powerful acquisition of power given to women simply by the fact that in the Middle Ages in France and all Western Europe it was forbidden to read, to preach and to teach in the native language as the Church services and sermons were practiced only in Latin, a language not accessible for the wide masses of oppressed people. In England, for instance, such prohibitions were actual until the XVIth century. The result of such kind an innovative approach of the religiously heretic movements was the rise of a unique proto-renaissance culture in Provence /South France/ and in which women received special treatment and were put on the pedestal. This was the historical frame in which the troubadours sang praise songs of women, based upon the Arab Muslim influence as well as the forbidden love song of infidelity. This was also the time of the first poetesses / female troubadours who were also active precursors of modern women poetry and art. In England, women were very active in the literary occupations of poetry. In my methodological inquiry, I used a sociological approach to this situation asserting that it was not only about the religious and cultural emancipation of women but elevating themselves to the status of Goddesses and men as their servants! Again, this is a possibility not only to outline more clearly the phenomenon of female self-realization in medieval Europe at the forefront of the dualist heresy but the development of the attainment of special female privileges carrying out many striking comparisons with the more obvious hallmarks of modern feminism and contemporary misandry.

My study also affirmed the thesis that the Troubadour was the secular expression of the Christian heretical Cathar movement by the virtue of emanating religious ideas into a secular mindset through the realm of philosophical thought processing. The result, thus, not necessarily has to exhibit 100% similarity with the original beliefs, at times the views will be opposing, yet a wide range of striking similarities, analogies, and resemblances will be found at least in the most profound areas. In human psychology, in the realm of evolving thoughts and the corpus of knowledge/wisdom, it is similar in a way to how through cross-cultural pollination thoughts and philosophical religious concepts, sometimes clearly opposing, are adopted and integrated into our worldviews and mindsets. Those mindsets and views are never homogenous but are built by many varying and often opposing philosophical and theological cornerstones. This, for example, explains how through philosophical processes by being emanated from the religiously heretical beliefs misandry was the driving force through which the abstinence from sex and marriage in the original teaching was transformed in the secular realm where sex is accepted into subjugation to women as being her male slave and servant. Yet, the essential concept as well as the profound dynamic here is misandry that no matter the realm, secular or religious, it is always preserved in both teachings. That's also why when the basic idea is the same, the opposing views are only an outwardly superficial appearance while essentially those views are complementary. It is why, when for instance, the same root idea of misandry has been preserved through the process of emanation, in the same person depending on changing external circumstances whereas now one can accept sex as subjugation while on the other hand embracing a different approach of abstinence from sex in another position. Again, the driving force in our example is misandry and the seemingly opposing views are an alleged superficial appearance while in nature they are complementary. In our example, as the study suggests, this was the historical dynamic in which the religiously Gnostic - Manaechaen and Bogomil - Cathar theology emanated by the virtue of philosophical thought processes into the secular realm of the Cathar Troubadour culture by preserving the most basic and almost primordial concept of misandry. As a result, our thesis also offers an account of the dualist heresy in medieval Aquitaine. It asserts, as stated above, that the Troubadour - Cathar heresy, referred to and represented as an early eleventh-century European cultural and societal phenomenon, was a dualist heretical doctrine which originated in the Balkan Bogomilism having its ancient roots in the Eastern Maneacheaism and Zoroastrianism.

Having adopted a methodological approach that deals and among others combine fields such as comparative religions, mythology, spirituality, and esotericism as well as social studies, psychology, philosophy, philology including the behavioral one, geographical research, and many more methodologies in a 'global' context, in the end, it allowed us to weave and interlace our inquiry in the above manner, especially in finding the accounts identify modern and primitive forms of feminism and feminist misandry before the proto-feminism of Agrippa, Lucretia Marinella, and Christine de Pisan in Gnosticism, esotericism and occultism. It makes in fact reference to much older dualist cosmology, tradition, and esoteric practices. As we have seen and are described and discussed in detail in my books, based on Gnostic Maneachean – Zorotostrian heritage, Bogomil dualists in the Balkans were intent on spreading their heretical teachings world-wide, and this period saw increased contacts with the west including Italy, France, and Germany. The spread of Bogomilism to Aquitaine was thus both likely and possible and appears to have had great success as it has created the ideals of courtly love, the phenomenon of the Troubadours, the tenets of Gynocentrism spread by Troubadours under the royal protection of queen Eleanor and subsequently the modern-day feminism and its misandry. The thesis in the books also makes contributions to the history of Catharism in the above context especially during the time of queen Eleanor of Aquitaine – the queen of the Troubadours and the founder of modern gynocentrism and misandry in Europe.

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