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Blossom of Bone - Reclaiming the Connections Between Homoeroticism and the Sacred Paperback – November, 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins; First Edition, First Printing edition (November 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062502573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062502575
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,171,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Randy P. Conner, PhD (Humanities: Philosophy & Religion), is a writer and educator. He has published three books: Blossom of Bone; the Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol, and Spirit; and Queering Creole Spiritual Traditions (the previous two co-written with David Hatfield Sparks); as well as numerous articles in Parabola and elsewhere. His work also appears in Gloria Anzaldua's and AnaLouise Keating's This Bridge We Call Home; Patrick Bellegarde-Smith's Fragments of Bone: Neo-African Religions in a New World; David M. Machacek and Melissa M. Wilcox's Sexuality and the World's Religions; and other works. He has taught at the University of Texas, Austin Community College, the University of California at Berkeley, and CIIS. He is presently completing The Pagan Heart of the West: Devastation, Persistence, and Innovation in the Face of Christianization. Among his chief interests is the intersection of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and the mythic or sacred.

Customer Reviews

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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Garan du on October 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
I made the mistake of not picking up Randy Conner's "Blossom of Bone" when it first came out in 1993, and several years went by before I finally got around to reading this remarkable book that has become a classic historical study of queer spirituality. The premise of the book is that people who demonstrate certain characteristics (homoerotic behavior, gender variance, and spiritual aptitude) have been relied upon as spiritual functionaries in societies throughout history and in every inhabited part of the globe. This role of the "transformed shaman" is central to the development of religious practices up to the present day, and is worthy of reclamation as LGBT individuals seek to re-establish themselves as persons integral to the health and well-being of their societies. Conner lavishly illustrates his case with examples spanning the dawn of human awareness, tribal survivals in Africa and the New World, classical European societies, China and Japan, Meso-American civilizations, and modern spiritual paths such as Ceremonial Magick, Neo-Paganism, and Witchcraft. Following in the wake of earlier authors (e.g., Arthur Evans' "Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture" and David Greenburg's "The Construction of Homosexuality" come to mind), Conner's richly-referenced work lays out a compelling case for his premise. Sadly, this book has been out of print for several years now, but I would encourage the serious student of GLBT history and spirituality (in particular, my Pagan brethren) to add this book to their libraries. Highly recommended.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book tells the best kept spiritual secret in the world. In fact, it is the one secret that will make priests and scholars literally foam at the mouth at its very mention. Yet, it is undeniably true. What is this great secret? Just this, mankind's first, truest, and best spiritual guides were transgendered. Some hold that this statement is an obscenity and blastphemy, but the true obscenity is what patriarchically usurped religion has done to the memory, and the living representatives, of this natural priestesshood.
I've read this extremely well documented volume three times now. The case is air tight. Not only that, it has the ring of truth. The historical evidence is overwhelming: Angakok, Assinnu, Basir, Enaree, Fanatici, Gallus, Kelabim, Mahu, Manang bali, Megabyzos, Mexoga, Mwammi, Osasenge kimbanda, Qeeshshim, Winkte, 'Yan Daudu. Almost universally, traditional cultures had their gender-varient practitioners.

Why is this, you ask? The answer lies in shamanism- the "first" spiritual path. The shaman naturally transcends all boundaries, heaven/earth, life/death, sane/insane, male/female. To become one and unified in the Spirit is to transcend all dualities- even male/female. Male/female (Yin/Yang)- this is also the origin of Taoism.
Why is it that you have never even heard of this? Well, for one thing the Vatican sits on ground stolen from the sanctuary of Cybele- and her gender-varient priestess's the Gallae....
I have no idea why this book has not recieved the recognition it deserves. It is one of the greatest works of spiritual scholarship of our age. Only profound levels of bigotry and closed-mindedness can explain the silence....
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amaranth on May 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Blossom of Bone" is a fascinating, complex book by gay anthropologist/spiritual writer Randy Conner. Conner explores cultures from the Siberian "soft" Yakut shamans, to Santeria/Candomble/voodoo with its "rainbow children",the galli of Cybele (who were condemned by St. Augustine in his Confessions (Penguin Classics)), the cross-dressing kelabim (dogs)/qadeshim (holy) priests of Astarte/Ishtar, the Middle Eastern goddess of erotic love, and the two-spirited berdache of the Native Americans. A frequent theme throughout this book is emasculation. He speaks of the self-mutilating Skopsy,who believed in becoming eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven (their belief that sexuality was inherently evil would also be echoed with Leo Tolstoy, who practiced a sexless marriage to follow the Gospels-as he put it in The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories (Oxford World's Classics)) as well as the Galli of Cybele, who were ceremonially castrated to echo the fertility god Attis. Conner sees men becoming eunuchs as men being in touch with their feminine side. As a gay man, Conner explores gay male spirituality more than that of lesbian women.

"Blossom of Bone" is at once contradictory and complex. Conner speaks of the union of the God and Goddess, yet he mainly sees it as men taking on the aspect of the Goddess. A common theme is gay men devoted to the Goddess- be she Astarte, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Cybele or Freya. Conner discusses mystical unions between men-yet at the fundamental level, he sees "opposite marriage" between the masculine and feminine, yin and yang.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Neil J. Hajba on April 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
What an incredible book! A must for anyone interested in integrating their spirituality with their sexuality. A vast amount of information that surveys LBGT spirituality throughout world history and cultures. An excellent book!
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