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The Circle of Sex In Mythology and Folklore

by Dr. Stanley Krippner Ph.D.: ABSTRACT: According to Gavin Arthur’s “circle of sex” model, all humans fall on a continuum that allows for fluctuation in sexual disposition as well as the intensity of sexual activity. stanley_krippner The Circle of Sex In Mythology and Folklore His typology of human sexual behavior avoids such pejorative labels as “abnormal,” “deviant,” and “pathological,” and introduces the terms “heterogenic,” “homogenic,” and “ambigenic” because such terms as “heterosexual” incorrectly combine Greek and Anglo-Saxon roots.  Arthur illustrates his model with historical characters; for example, George V of England, the faithful husband of Queen Mary, fell at 12 noon, but Julius Caesar, known in his day as “every woman’s husband and every man’s wife,” fell into the “ambigenic category.” Sappho, the poet who lived on the island of Lesboswas described as “three quarters homogenic” because, although she preferred Lesbian girls, she occasionally dallied with young shepherds. The writer Gertrude Stein was categorized as “homogenic” at 10 o’clock. Arthur denoted sexual intensity by putting someone in the sphere’s tropical center. Someone who has taken religious orders, however, might find himself or herself near the chilly regions of the circle. A Roman Catholic nun, who considers herself “married to Christ,” could be a 6 o’clock “heterogene.” The psychiatrist Jean Bolen developed a model that paid special attention to the sexuality of the Greek gods and goddesses. But instead of using their sexuality as the basis for a typology as Arthur did, Bolen focused upon the deities as representing “archetypes,”  “powerful inner patterns that allegedly shape behavior and influence emotions. In other words, there can be gay Ares types and lesbian Aphrodites because the archetypes they represent are broader than sexual preference. This typology may be more useful to psychotherapists than Arthur’s ingenious “circle of sex.” 

Chester Alan Arthur III (better known as “Gavin Arthur”) was the grandson of the thirty-second president of the United States. Although a president’s grandson and a millionaire’s son, he worked his way around the world as a Merchant Marine, observing a variety of cultures along the way. This exposure to the varieties of human experience is reflected in his book, The Circle of Sex  (Arthur, 1966), which introduces a typology of human sexual behavior that avoids such pejorative labels as “abnormal,” “deviant,” and “pathological.” Noting that the adjectives “heterosexual” and “homosexual” are etymologically incorrect because they combine Greek and Anglo-Saxon roots, Arthur substituted the terms “heterogenic” and “homogenic.” According to Arthur, all humans fall on a continuum that allows for fluctuation in sexual disposition as well as the intensity of sexual activity.

Using a clock as the template for his typology, Arthur put George V of England, the faithful husband of Queen Mary, at 12 noon. Lord Nelson, who adored Lady Hamilton but asked the naval officer who was next in command to kiss him as he lay dying off Trafalgar, was placed at 1 o’clock, and was classified as “three-quarters heterogenic.” At 2 o’clock, Julius Caesar, whose sobriquet was “every woman’s husband and every man’s wife,” fell into the “ambigenic” category, while Lord Kitchener, at 3 o’clock, was classified as “three quarters homogenic” because he preferred young soldiers to the women of the English court.

At 4 o’clock, Arthur placed the poet Edward Carpenter, the best known disciple of Walt Whitman; Carpenter had no sexual interest in women and fell into Arthur’s “homogenic” category. Catherine the Great of Russia, who lamented that she could take only five men to bed at a time, was categorized as “hyper-heterogenic” at 5 o’ clock. Queen Victoria, archetype of the faithful wife, was classified as “heterogenic” at 6 o’clock. Arthur considered George Eliot, the English author, at 7 o’clock, as “three-quarters heterogenic,” while, at 8 o’clock, the First Duchess of Marlborough was considered “ambigenic” because she slept with both her husband and England’s Queen Anne.

Arthur’s 9 o’clock example was Sappho, the poet who lived on the island of Lesbos. She was “three quarters homogenic” because, although she preferred the girls of Lesbos, she occasionally went for a romp with young shepherds. Some accounts claim that she was a mother and was married to a man named Kerkylas (e.g., Hoffman & Hoffman, 2004), and that she threw herself into the ocean when the handsome Phaon spurned her.

At 10 o’clock, the writer Gertrude Stein was categorized as “homogenic,” and reportedly gave Arthur her personal approval of this categorization.  France’s King Louis XV, at 11 o’clock, was “hyper-heterogenic” because he had mistress after mistress, both before and during his reign.

Sexual intensity was denoted by Arthur by putting someone in the sphere’s tropical center, as was the case with literature’s don Juan, at 11 o’clock, and Lady Chatterley, at 5 o’clock. Someone who has taken religious orders might find himself or herself near the chilly regions of the “circle of sex.” A Roman Catholic nun, who considers herself “married to Christ,” could be a 6 o’clock “heterogene,” far away from the internal regions of overt passion. Thus, one’s position in any of these 12 categories does not necessarily imply that one has an active, overt sex life.

Folklore and Mythology: From 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock

Diel (1980) sees mythological deities as “idealizations of human qualities” (p. 173) and legends as providing such lessons as “the inability to make the right choice of partner and establish a lasting relationship” (p. 145). Hence, mythology and folklore (e.g., Guirand, 1968; Middleton, 1967; Sullivan, 1988) provide a unique cross-cultural opportunity to apply Arthur’s typology. For example, the central axis of his “circle of sex” is 12 o’clock, opposite 6 o’clock where Arthur placed the faithful husband Darby and his loving wife Joan. Darby and Joan are featured in an old English folk ballad, “the Happy Old Couple”; they were married and managed to live out their monogamous lives harmoniously. Two similar “heterogenes” were Philemon and Bacchus, the endearing couple visited by the Greek gods Zeus and Hermes. Philemon and Bacchus’ hospitality was so impressive that upon their death, Zeus transformed them into intertwined vines.

The Greek earth goddess Gaia and her husband Uranus may well fall at 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock, as would the Hopi earth mother A’witelmn Tsi’ta and Apoyan Tachu, the sky father. Two other famous pairs were the Egyptian fertility god Osiris and his consort Isis, as well as Nut and Geb, the Egyptian deities of heaven and earth. Playing against stereotype, Nut was the sky goddess, while her husband (and brother) Geb was the earth god. They are generally pictured in a circular form with Shu, the god of air, drifting between them.

Playing against a different stereotype are Bradamante, a heroine from Italian folklore famed for rescuing her lover Rogero from an evil wizard. Rama, the Hindu prince, conforms to the male-as-hero stereotype by rescuing his young bride, Sita, from the demon king Ravana. Rama was assisted by Hanuman, the most clever, most powerful, and most magical monkey in world mythology; their exploits are the basis of India’s great epic, the Ramayana.

The Inca sky goddess was the Mother Moon, Mama Quilla, and her husband was the sun god, Inti. This couple helped the Incas calculate time, plan their festivals, and regulate their calendar.  A less benevolent coupling consisted of Michtlantechuhtli and Michtlantecihuatl, the Aztec lord of death and his consort, the death goddess. In Nepalese Buddhism, special veneration is given to the Green Tara, consort of Amogasiddhi; their union is more spiritual than carnal, playing itself out in the external blue realms of the “circle of sex” rather than in the torrid red center.

There is no doubt that the Biblical Mary and Joseph fall at 6 and 12 o’clock. Roman Catholics generally place the pair in the blue exterior of the sexual circle, assuming that neither engaged in sexual relations. Eastern Orthodox doctrine, however, suggests that Joseph was a widower and may even have had children before marrying the mother of Jesus. Many Protestants believe that Joseph and Mary had progeny (and sexual relations) after the birth of Jesus. Hence, their placement within the circle varies depending on the Christian sect to which one adheres. As for Jesus himself, the orthodox version of his life on earth would place him in the chilly exterior of the circle. However, the unorthodox myth of his liaison with Mary Magdalene would place them in the torrid regions of 6 and 12 o’clock, especially those tales that tell of their post-crucifixion escape from Palestine and their life in southern France.

“Heterogenes” who were monogamous, even if their wives were not, could be placed at 12 o’clock; Hephaestus, the Greek god of crafts and the forge, was faithful to Aphrodite, even though his wife had more sexual liaisons than any other Greek goddess. “Heterogenes” who were not monogamous would probably fall at 12 o’clock, as long as they enjoy the company of men as well as of women (if they shun the company of the their own gender, they would fall at 5 or 11 o’clock). These “heterogenes” include Ares, the Greek god of war who had numerous liaisons with women, and Xango, the Candomble god of thunder, who was married three times; both enjoyed the company of men but this intimacy had its limits.

Although the celebrated perpetrators of mother-son incest could find their place at a number of spots around the circle, many of them would resemble the “heterogenic” males who end up at 12 o’clock (and the “heterogenic” females at 6 o’clock). These would include tragic, guilt-ridden figures, as well as those who are considered heroic. For example, the Greek king Oedipus unwittingly married his mother after killing his father, putting out his eyes when he discovered their identity. The Candomble deity Orungan ravished his mother, Yemanja, who then gave birth to a dozen children as well as the sun and the moon. One version of the Yemanja myth relates her ability to “shape-shift” into a man; hence, lesbians and transgendered mortals adore her (Penczak, 2003, p. 53).

In one version of the Aztec myth about their mother goddess, Coatlique’s husband physically abused her until one of her (several hundred) sons took action, killing his father and becoming his mother’s lover. The South American Panare mythology contains an example of father-daughter incest: Whenever the Sun and his daughter the Moon have intercourse, there is a total eclipse. In addition, there is the Banima myth of Kuai, whose father Inapirikuli impregnated her, a birth ritualized in the “battle of the flutes” (Sullivan, 1988, p. 217). Xochilpilli, the Aztec lord of flowers, was the lover of his mother Xochiquetzal; he is also said to have introduced mortals to the pleasures of homosexual behavior (Penczak, 2003, p. 53).

A prime candidate for the 1 o’clock spot would be the “mostly heterogenic” Zeus, the Greek king of the gods.  Zeus, who occasionally dallied with handsome human males, was so sexually voracious that he would be positioned near the boiling center of the circle, in other words, at the torrid “heat” of sexual passion. Poseidon, the Greek god of the seas, was not far behind Zeus in his sexual proclivities. He ravished numerous women including the goddess Demeter. He raped Amphitrite, although he latter married her. In addition, Poseidon took Pelops, the son of Tantalus, to Mt. Olympus as his paramour. Also at 1 o’clock we find Achilles, a husband and father at the time of the Trojan War. He fell into a rage when his lover Patrocles died in battle; the Greek hero went on a rampage and killed Hector, the Trojan prince who had killed Patrocles. Ham, the son of the Hebrew patriarch Noah, begat a prominent lineage of descendants; however, a reading of Genesis IX: 20-21 reveals that he “saw the nakedness” of his father, a phrase that can be translated as having sexual relations with someone.

A candidate for the 2 o’clock position would be the “ambisexual” Balinese god, Syng Hyang Toenggal; it is believed that he can switch sexes in an instant (Highwater, 1990). A Hindu equivalent would be Indra, the transgendered sky god (Penczak, 2003, p. 47), and the Nordic equivalent would be the two-gendered Ymir, whose sacrifice was necessary for the creation of the Earth (Bjarnadottir, & Kremer, 2000). Quan Yin, the Chinese goddess of compassion, is often pictured with the Buddha. She is seen as beyond human conceptions of male or female, and can change her gender at will, as the occasion demands.

Hermaphroditus, the son of Aphrodite and Hermes, is a hermaphrodite, giving his name to those whose physiology incorporates both a penis and female breasts. However, he lives near the cold outer regions of the “circle of sex,” being indifferent to lovemaking. Ometecuhtli, the “ambisexual” creator god of the Aztecs, is also hermaphroditic, giving birth to the deities of the four directions.  Candomble, an African-Brazilian religion, venerates Oxala, the “ambisexual” god of purity and wisdom. However, his sexual encounters are rare and he also would inhabit the chilly outer areas of 2 o’clock.

Closer to the red-hot center would be Hermes, the Greek messenger and trickster often known as the “cunning deceiver.”  A lover of both men and women, Hermes had several sons including Pan, the horned satyr who loved both men and women (giving birth to the English word “pansexual”). Romans gave Hermes the name of Mercury, and both traditions considered him to have invented masturbation.

Endymion was a charming Greek boy beloved by both men and women. The Moon goddess Selene was so distracted by her attraction for Endymion that she once failed to pull her chariot across the sky, causing darkness and the phases of the Moon; Zeus punished her by putting the boy to sleep, yet she still visits him, resulting in the Moon’s dark phases. Hypnos, the god of sleep, also loved Endymion, and shares time with him in their dreams.

Baron Samedi, the Vodoun deity both of death and sexuality, typically is portrayed wearing both male and female garments, and is often pictured inviting men to engage in anal intercourse with him (Penczak, 2003). Another “ambisexual” Vodoun deity is Damballah, the god of rainbows, peace, and prosperity.

At 3 o’clock we could suggest Apollo, the Greek god of music and the arts. His love affairs with women amounted to fiasco after fiasco.  Daphne, Sybil, Marpessa, and Cassandra rejected him, and he murdered Coronis in a jealous fit. But Apollo did little better with men, and he killed Hyacinth, a beloved lad who was the love of his life, in a discus-throwing accident. Eros (or Cupid) also falls into the “three-quarters homogenic” 3 o’clock group and was known to shoot arrows to influence the matings of both mortals and deities  (Penczak, 2003, p. 43). Unlike the figure that graces Valentine Day cards, the Greek Eros was renowned for his love affairs, principally his liaison with Psyche. Both childlike and aggressive, both feminine and masculine, there are hundreds of poems in Greek literature damning or praising Eros for his impact upon lovers. Most of these poems refer to heterosexual pairings.

The “homogenic” Greek mythic figure Ganymede, Zeus’ cupbearer as well as one of his male lovers could be placed at 4 o’clock. It is said that Zeus gave Ganymede’s father a golden grapevine and/or a pair of horses in exchange for his son. Ganymede eventually was immortalized as Aquarius, the water bearer of the heavens. Other candidates for the 4 o’clock position are Aphroditus, the male aspect of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, and Asterion, the Minoan patron of men who love men. Asterion’s black hide was mottled with the stars of the universe, and he was regarded as both the “Bull of Heaven” and “The Starry One” (Garan du, 2002). Early Celtic myths speak of the “Faery Folk,” 4 o’clock sprites associated with joy, ritual, art, music, and theater, as well as sexuality (Penczak, 2003, p. 39).  The Mayan dwarf deity Chin introduced homoerotic relationships to the nobility, many of whom obtained lower class youths to become lovers of their sons and made legal provisions for male-male marriages. Chin was also the god of magic, divination, and destiny (Penczak, 2003, p. 41).

Erzulie, the “hyper-heterogenic” goddess of love in Haitian Vodoun, might find her place at 5 o’clock; this lovely lady had numerous male lovers, many of whom betrayed her or treated her badly. Erzulie suffered from this treatment, but her sorrow endears her to her human followers. Other goddesses at 5 o’clock would include Aphrodite, Venus, Tlazolteotl (the Aztec goddess of love and pleasure), and Oxum (the Candomble goddess of the sweet waters). All enjoyed the company of men, preferring their camaraderie to that of women. Athena, the goddess of wisdom and learning, also preferred the company of men as friends and mentors, but stayed at the cold outer regions of the circle rather than nearer to the torrid center, thus preserving her virginal status. One of her favorite companions was Pallas, but she accidentally killed him during a spear-throwing contest.

As mentioned earlier, such “heterogenes” as Joan, Nut, Gaia, and Bacchus (the wife of Philemon, not the god of wine with the same name) would probably find their places at 6 o‘clock.  We could also place Hera, goddess of marriage and the wife of the lascivious Zeus. She once left her husband in a tiff, but Zeus announced that he would marry a local princess. Actually, he arranged a mock ceremony with a statue; when Hera discovered the ruse, she was amused and forgave her errant husband.

Radha, the frequent consort of Krishna (himself an incarnation of Vishnu), is another “heterogene” who could be placed at 6 o’clock, as could Izanama, the ancient Japanese goddess who, with her consort Izanagi, begat the countries of the world. Sometimes these couples fit so closely together than their children have to separate them for creation to take place; the Maori sky god Rangi and the earth goddess Papa were split apart by their son, Tane, to bring light to the people of the world. The Egyptian deities, Nut and Geb, were separated by Shu, the air god, to provide some “breathing space” for the survival of earthly inhabitants.

Folklore and Mythology: From 7 o’clock to 11 o’clock

At 7 o’clock, we need a candidate who is “three-quarters heterogenic” and the Norse goddess Freya, goddess of both the hunt and of love, might fit the bill. Although married to Odhur, She was especially fond of the Nordic elves, primarily the diminutive male creatures; but there are hints that she enjoyed occasional female elves as well. In some Norse traditions, Freya was the goddess of battle, and her initiations included the rite of boys becoming men and, therefore, warriors (Penczak, 2003. p. 43).

At 8 o’clock we might find Oxumare, the Candomble goddess of the rainbow. The daughter of Oxala and Nana, Oxumare changes from female to male or from male to female, every 6 months. In addition, the Candomble deity, Logunede, had as his/her principle task helping mortals integrate their male and female sides. Many of the ancient “Great Goddess” figures of Europe seem to have been androgynes, the male part becoming the fertilizing power, and the female part, the generating womb (Bjarnadottir & Kremer, 2000, p. 154).  Neith, the ancient Egyptian “Great Goddess” of the Nile Delta, was called the “father of fathers and mothers of mothers.” We could also place the Greek goddess Teresias at 8 o’clock. Although she was blind, the Greeks believed that Teresias’ ambisexuality was the source of her great wisdom and insight. As was the case at 2 o’clock, we find both androgynes (e.g., the two-gendered Ymir and Neith) and ambisexuals (e.g., Oxala, Teresias) in this cluster, as well as those deities (e.g., Syng Hyang Toenggal, Oxumare) who are able to switch genders periodically.

At 9 o’clock, we could enter many of the Candomble pombajeiras who are “three-quarters homogenic”; these female tricksters, or “exus,” often have sex with each other as well as the mortals who fall victim to their tricks. Some of these entities have been identified as Pombajeira Cigna, Pombajeira Mary Molombo, and Pombajeira Diana. “Two-spirit” shamans in Alaska and Northern Canada especially venerate the Inuit goddess Sedna. According to some accounts, she lives with her female companion at the bottom of the sea; her domain is destiny, hunting, creatures of the ocean, and the life and death of both humans and other animals.

Ganga, goddess of the Ganges River in Hindu mythology, favored female liaisons. She plays a major role in one version of the Hindu myth describing why Ganesh, the god of good fortune and the offspring of Pavarati and Ganga, wears an elephant head. When Pavarati’s husband, Shiva, discovered Ganesh watching Pavarati bathe, he beheaded him, thinking he was Pavarati’s lover. Upon discovering his error—and with no time to lose—he quickly took the head of the first passerby (who happened to be an elephant) and affixed it to the dying Ganesh, who was restored to life.

At 10 o’clock, a logical entry would be Ares’ daughter, the Amazon queen whose name was variously given as Penthesileia or Hippolyta by the ancient Greeks. Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt, avoided the company of men, and her priestesses, the Arktoi or “she-bears,” wore phalluses. However, there are no tales of sexual congress between Artemis and the Arktoi, and so this goddess would be a likely candidate for 10 o’clock’s frosty regions. However, her festivals included same-sex orgies involving both men and women. Hestia, the virginal goddess of the home and hearth, avoided the company of men, but was not involved sexually with her female companions, nor were the Nordic Valkyres, most of them warlike virgins.

Even though he once seduced a young male ward of Athena in a drunken debauch and (according to some accounts) was a lover of Adonis, the Greek god Dionysus was “hyper-heterogenic” and probably falls at 11 o’clock, giving his name to the “Dionysian revels.” The only male Greek god who preferred the company of women to that of men, Dionysus eventually fell in love with Ariadne and remained faithful to her. Before that, he actually drove women who resisted him into madness, but later restored their sanity when he recovered from the rejection.  Krishna, whose “wanton rapture” of the Gopis (i.e., cowherders) is the topic of many Hindu legends (Campbell, 1962/1982, p. 344), also is placed at 11 o’clock. His love affairs with the Gopis were nocturnal events, and they returned to their husbands the next morning, convinced that their union with Krishna took place in a dream.

Conceptual Issues

In this essay, the nouns “ homosexual,” “heterosexual,” and “bisexual” are not used to describe any of these characters because these terms are fairly recent social constructions.  Until the end of the 19th century, there was “homosexual behavior,” etc., but the perpetrator was not called a “homosexual.” At this point in time, various European investigators began to explore human sexuality and labeling was initiated. The ancient Greeks and Romans, and the contemporary Haitian and Brazilian adepts, would not think of confining their deities with a label!

Arthur’s The Circle of Sex may seem comprehensive, but it does not cover those deities who enjoyed sexual congress with non-humans, e.g., the Eskimo goddess Sedna took a bird-spirit as her lover. And some deities are not fully human, e.g., Amaru, the water snake mother goddess of Banima mythology, or part-human, e.g., Baphomet, a European deity with a penis and female breasts who was part goat and part human. Nor does it discuss characters who had sexual reassignment operations; according to the Mahabarata, Sekhanda was a woman who persuades a demon to change her sex so that she can join the army to fight her nation’s enemies. Furthermore, some deities transcend gender; in Hopi mythology, Awonawilona is “The Maker and Container of All,” but no reference is made as to gender. In addition, there are several versions of each myth, making rigid classifications dubious. In one Greek myth, Aphrodite was born as the result of a dalliance between Zeus and the sea nymph Dione. In another, Cronos cut off the genitals of his father Uranus, throwing them to sea; Aphrodite was born from the union of the water and the sperm.

Jean Bolen (1984, 1989), a Jungian psychoanalyst, also has paid special attention to the sexuality of deities, primarily the Greek gods and goddesses. Instead of using their sexuality as the basis for a typology as Arthur did, Bolen focuses upon the deities as representing “archetypes,” defined as “powerful inner patterns [that]…shape behavior and influence emotions” (1984, p. 2). This psychological perspective is “based on images…that have stayed alive in human imagination for over three thousand years” (p. 2). A culture’s social stereotypes “reinforce some…patterns and repress others” (p. 4), but knowledge of these archetypes can assist individuals on their “individuation journey” (p. 93), held by Jungians to be one’s life goal.

In other words, there can be gay Ares types and lesbian Aphrodites because the archetypes they represent are broader than sexual preference.  In addition, the differentiation between “sex” and “gender” helps to avoid stereotyping; “gender” resembles the Chinese use of the terms “yin” and “yang” rather than “male” and “female.”  It helps to explain the presence of “earth fathers” (e.g., Geb) and “sky mothers” (e.g., Nut) in mythology and folklore; the archetypes of “penetration” and “receptivity” go much deeper than one’s physical sexual characteristics.

According to Bolen (1984), an Artemis woman can be lesbian or not, frigid or not, monogamous or not; all these Artemis types see work as more important than relationships, and have a sense of affiliation with other women, professional or social. According to Bolen, if the Artemis woman is a lesbian, she “is usually part of a lesbian community or network” (p. 60). In addition, there are single Athenas, married Athenas, and lesbian Athenas. All of them lack a kinship with other women, and see sex as a calculated art—as part of a broader agreement to attain some goal. Diel (1980) finds archetypal betrayal patterns in Jason’s treatment of Medea, Theseus of Ariadne, and Siegfried of Brunhild.

Parker (1996) asked some 200 women to profile their “goddess characteristics” on a checklist, to respond to pictures of goddesses, and to discuss their feelings about the goddess concept and its implications for their lives. The results appear in Parker’s book Goddess Power, which, for example, states that “the Aphrodite archetype falls in love easily and often [but] Judeo-Christian, Muslim, and other patriarchal cultures tend to picture such a woman as a temptress, adulteress, or simply a whore” (p. 77). Thus, social stereotype conflicts with archetype, and Bolen (1984) characterizes as “in between” the women caught in this conflict. The Egyptian mother goddess Isis welcomed all genders, all sexual orientations, and all social classes, perhaps serving as a role model for those contemporary mortals who celebrate diversity.

Parker suggests that goddess profiles can change over time, and his checklist provides an instrument for conducting research on this topic. This change is not necessarily for the better.  Parker compares one’s temperament, which resists change, to computer “hardware,” while the “software” of social conditioning comes from external sources. Thoughts, feelings, and behaviors result from the interaction between “hardware” and “software,” i.e., between archetype and social stereotype.  If a marriage is based on social stereotypes, and if one partner reverts to an archetype, the marriage may fall apart. Parker provides sample “goodbye letters” written by seven different goddess-types, the common denominator being “you never really knew me” (pp. 180-181).

In other words, Gavin Arthur’s The Circle of Sex, as well as other attempts to connect cultural myths with personal myths (e.g., Feinstein & Krippner, 1997) have implications for contemporary behavior.  There are several human characteristics that appear to be genetically “hard-wired” and we ignore them at our peril. Ancient and indigenous people recognized these traits, exteriorizing them in myths, legends, and folktales. This storehouse of wisdom is now the common property of all humankind, and provides a rich legacy for our continued learning and instruction.

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