I am for you, and you are for me, Not only for your own sake, but for others' sakes, Envelop'd in you sleep greater heroes and bards, They refuse to awake at the touch of any man but me. Walt Whitman.

THE Mystic in his moment of enlightenment attains through the flux of his personality the realisation of oneness with the divine forces of the Universe.

To ordinary men and women, however, this mystical ecstasy is unknown, and the ordinary human consciousness is far more aware of its separateness than of its oneness with the vital forces of creation. Yet the glow of half swooning rapture in which the mystic's whole being melts and floats in the light of the divine force is paralleled in the rapture of lovers.

When two who are mated in every respect burn with the fire of the innumerable forces within them, which set their bodies longing towards each other with the desire to inter-penetrate and to encompass one another, the fusion of joy and rapture is not purely physical. The half swooning sense of flux which overtakes the spirit in that eternal moment at the apex of rapture sweeps into its flaming tides the whole essence of the man and woman, and as it were, the heat of the contact vapourises their consciousness so that it fills the whole of cosmic space. For the moment they are identified with the divine thoughts, the waves of eternal force, which to the Mystic often appear in terms of golden light.

From their mutual penetration into the realms of

78 Married Love supreme joy the two lovers bring back with them a spark of that light which we call life. And unto them a child is born. This is the supreme purpose of nature in all her enticing weft of complex factors luring the two lovers into each other's arms. Only by the fusion of two can the new human life come into being, and only by creating a new life in this way can we hand on the torch which lights our consciousness in the sphere of matter.

This mystical and wonderful fact has -never yet found the poet to sing its full glory. But in the hearts of all who have known true love lies the realisation of the/sacredness that is theirs when they are in the very act of creation.

Were our bodies specifically organised for this supreme purpose, two human beings would only pass through the sacred fire of mutual fusion in order to create a new life. But, however far our spirits have evolved, our bodies are composed of matter which bears the imprint of the many past phases through which we have reached our present position. And because in the world of the lower animals there is an immense wastage of all the young lives created, and it is necessary that myriads should be conceived in order that a small number should reach maturity, so in our bodies (specialised though they are in comparison with the lower animals) both sexes still produce a far larger number of germs awaiting fertilisation than can be actually fructified and imbued with individual life. So profoundly has the course of our history been stamped upon us that each germ, unaware of its own futility if it reaches maturity at an unpropitious moment, is just as insistent in its development as the favoured one which follows out the full natural course of its career and gives rise to a new individual.

It is utterly impossible, organised as our bodies are at present, for us to obey the dictates of theologians and refrain from the destruction of potential life. The germ cells of the woman, though immeasurably less numerous than the male germ cells (the sperm) yet develop uselessly over and over again in every celibate as well as in every married woman. While myriads of sperm cells are destroyed even in the process of the act which does ensure fertilisation of the woman by the single favoured sperm. If the theologians really mean what they say, and demand the voluntary effort of complete celibacy from all men, save for the purpose of procreation, this will not achieve their end of preventing the destruction of all potential life; and the monthly loss of unfertilised eggcell by women is beyond all the efforts of the will to curb. Nature, not man, arranged the destruction of potential life against which ascetic Bishops rage.

If, then, throughout the greater part of their lives the germinal cells of both sexes inevitably disintegrate without creating an embryo, there can be nothing wrong in selecting the most favourable moment possible for the conception of the first of these germinal cells to be endowed with the supreme privilege of creating a new life.

What generally happens in marriage where this is not thought of is that one of the very earliest unions results in the fertilisation of the wife, so that the young pair have a baby nine months, or a little more, after marriage.

Whereas, were they wise and did they realise the full significance of-what they were doing, they would allow at least six months or a year to elapse before beginning the supreme task of their lives, the burden of which falls mainly upon the woman.

For many reasons it is more ideal to have the children spontaneously and early; but if economic conditions are hard, as they so often are in " civilised " life, it may be better to marry and defer the children rather than not to marry. (See my " Wise Parenthood.")

If the pair married very young, and before they could afford to support children, they might wait several years with advantage. An exceptional case is one of the happiest marriages I know. The pair married while they were young students in the University, and fourteen years later they had their first child, a splendidly healthy boy. Though such a long interval is certainly not to be universally recommended, as it is said that it may result in sterility, in this instance it was triumphantly better for the two to have lived normally satisfied happy lives than to have waited for fourteen years and risked the man's " fall."

There are many reasons, both for their own and for the child's sake, why the potential parents should cake the wise precaution of delay, unless owing to special circumstances they cannot expect to live together uninterruptedly.