synergy explorersBorn in England, Thomas Lake Harris arrived in the United states in 1828. He became a Universalist minister, but rejected its “free love” tenet. He joined the Swedenborgian Church of the New Jerusalem. Later, he returned to England and founded his own esoteric group, the Brotherhood of the New Life. The latter gained notoriety for its unconventional views on sexuality. Harris located his centre in upper New York State. Some members later moved to a large estate in Santa Rosa, California.

His doctrine proposed a male-female divinity. In his view, the spiritual union of man and woman constituted the core of spiritual life. It offered a path to the revelation of God’s androgynous nature.

Harris taught that each individual has a counterpart of the other sex. Indeed, each person forms half of an enduring transcendent male-female spiritual body (soul). As it is apparently rare for both counterparts to incarnate at the same time, one generally comes to know one’s counterpart through an inner revelatory process. In fact, Harris’s adherents sometimes reported experiencing sexual energy flowing with their nonphysical counterparts.

According to Professor Arthur Versluis, Thomas Lake Harris saw the process of male female inner transfiguration as the central internal discipline of Christianity (p. 108).

The sexes at Harris’s centre were largely separated in a quasi-ascetic arrangement. Even so, Harris’s joint male-female transformative process ultimately aroused scandal. He left California under a cloud.

Excerpt from the article

Had moral evil never prevailed upon your orb each would have found its own mate and the celestial nuptials been ultimated in the natural union.

The Divine Providence, now and for ages has permitted the natural union to occur between spirits who are not in all instances destined to eternal conjugal oneness in the Heavens. For the opposition between the Heavenly and the earthly life is so great that were those who were destined to be thus conjoined in the celestial nuptials externally united, the strife between externals and internals would be … fearful.

At the same time, “Marriage, by the conjunction of spirits in whom regeneration is complete, is the return of the twain into primal oneness.”

The Herald of Light: A Monthly Journal of the Lord’s New Church (New York: New Church, 1859) 2:307

From Harris’s disciple, author of Masollam:

The world’s deliverance has come, and it has come in the form of a woman. It could not be delivered hitherto, because the sexes were divided: but in union is strength. It is only when the sexes are united according to the divine intention that the redemptive forces for the world’s deliverance can play through them; and it is through the operation of the divine feminine that this union must be achieved.

Masollam (1886) by Laurence Oliphant, Thomas Lake Harris’s disciple