The Sacred Vagina is the opening in a man's heart,
through which he enters into the life of God,
AND out of which God is born again into the world.
- F. Sam Gleason
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART ONE - THE DEATH OF A MARRIAGE
1. My Marriage: A Crucible for Self-Discovery
2. A Four-Year Celibacy
the Suffering I Experienced
3. A New Relationship:
the Love I Received,
THE SUFFERING I Caused
PART TWO - MIDLIFE TRANSITION AND TRANSFORMATION:
From the Outer Woman into the Inner Feminine
4. A Kiss and the Question:
“Are You the One?”
5. The Sacred Vagina:
A Portal into My Soul
Interlude: Musings and Elaborations
6. A Dream and the Answer:
"I Will Lead You Home”
Interlude: God, My Soul and the Unconscious
PART THREE - A SOUL AWAKENS:
The Fruits of the Feminine
7. Intuiting the Divine:
GOD'S Imagination and Creativity
8. Encountering My Soul:
Her Wisdom and Truth
9. MY QUEST FOR THE WHOLENESS OF THE SELF:
THE BIRTH OF GOD IN MY SOUL
BACK OF BOOK
THREE POWERFUL EVENTS—a kiss, the sculpting of his heart in clay, and a dream–transform the bleeding wound in Sam's broken heart into a "sacred vagina": the symbolic portal through which he enters into a dimly lit, but incredibly fertile, inner world.
This mythic memoir focuses on the meaning Sam finds during his midlife transition and transformation, beginning with the painful death of his sixteen-year marriage. A month after separating from his wife, Sam feels “the impulse to jump” to his death from a five-story building. But instead of literally suiciding, Sam slowly commits a symbolic suicide–an egocide. His ego-identity is decimated, as he digs into his soul and confronts his dependency issue and anger problem.
The Sacred Vagina is about “life after death”–a journey into the life of his soul, after the death of his marriage. This is a story about finding meaning in one's pain–experiencing redemption by choosing to consciously suffer into a new life.
Sam frames his spiritual journey in the terminology of Jungian psychology and the engaging images, ideas, and symbols of the Christian myth. He opens himself to being radically transformed by the unconscious–his own soul and the Self. Within the fertile womb of his soul, he unearths some of the “fruits of the feminine.” Sam realizes his experience has been an inward journey toward the Self, a process of self-realization–indeed “the birth of God in the soul.” Ultimately, he arrives on the shore of the Infinite Mystery.
Sam Gleason has written an extraordinary memoir. This work is open-hearted, emotionally expressive, vivid and self-revealing. He gives us a glimpse into the soul of a man who has truly done his psychological and spiritual homework.
- Lionel Corbett, Psychiatrist, Jungian Analyst
Sam is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where he was introduced to the psychology of Carl Jung. After seminary, he obtained an MA degree and then his PhD from the University of Southern California in marriage and family counseling. He practiced for forty years before retiring. His lifelong quest has been to be receptive to the possibility of internal, psycho-spiritual transformation.
Seven additional drawings are in the book.
FROM THE AUTHOR
In The Sacred Vagina, you will see the interplay between my life as a person and my professional career—as a seminary graduate, and as a licensed psychotherapist. My personal story and my professional life are hopelessly intertwined.
Throughout my life, my personal and professional experiences have included psychological insights, spiritual happenings, a mythological reinterpretation of Christian beliefs and dogmas, and encounters with some of the archetypes described by Jung, especially the shadow, the anima and the Self.
After college, I attended Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Both my Master of Divinity thesis—and later my Ph.D. dissertation in marriage and family counseling—were a part of my soul's quest. With each, I studied what was personally troubling and most meaningful to me.
BOOKVIRAL REVIEW: "Compelling & Highly Thought-provoking"
"Going through divorce or separation can feel like the start of a daunting journey… doesn't offer us the kind of saccharine advice that's become all too common in self-help books… reaches us on an emotional level… creates an opportunity for genuine spiritual transformation… empowers those impacted by divorce to move on with a renewed sense of self and purpose…."
ONLINE BOOK CLUB REVIEW: "A soul-lifting memoir that would resonate with people who desire to find meaning in life…. The author's story would give them the strength and motivation to overcome their relationship challenges… Well-written and professionally edited…. Four out of four stars."
FIVE, FIVE-STAR REVIEWS FROM READERS' FAVORITE:
"… knits together the author's healing, spirituality, self-discovery and psychology in a fascinating way, keeping readers glued till the end." Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite
"… a thought-provoking and beautifully written memoir sprinkled with lessons and insights on spirituality, psychology… A classic, a one-of-a-kind memoir that is deftly composed and packed with new insights on life and love." Jose Cornelio for Readers’ Favorite
"Gleason crafts a narrative that frequently reads with the panache of literary fiction through extensive use of parables and symbolism…." Jamie Michele for Readers’ Favorite
"... connects to a powerful emotion like love and pain, it produces an immeasurable, timeless beauty… A poetic memoir that is quite pleasing to read and thought-provoking…." Foluso Falaye for Readers’ Favorite
"... one of the best spiritual and philosophical books I have read in a while… delivers his experience and thoughts in beautiful prose, engaging readers on a journey inward into the deep recesses of their soul." Gobi Jane for Readers’ Favorite