I had never heard of the 'oceanic feeling' before I read this book, but I knew, when I read it, exactly what it meant. The fact that this feeling is reported in a book that is essentially about sex, made a lightbulb turn on in my head – no wonder I had never come across it before, my vagina is the last place I would have looked for it. Naomi describes the oceanic feeling thus:
“[the woman] is in a state of a kind of perfection, in harmony with and in connection with the world……in that state of consciousness, the inner voices that say the woman is not good enough, not beautiful enough, not pleasing enough to others are stilled…..and the sense of….a universal or divine feminine can be accessed. Major creative insights, and powerful work, can emerge after an experience of transcendence of this kind.”
Naomi has written a beautiful Ode to the Vagina in this book which she started to research whilst trying to heal a blockage in her pelvic nerve, (which she had injured years before during a fall down a flight of stairs) where, she discovered there is a mass of neurons and pathways connecting the vagina to the brain. This connection is critically important to a woman’s well being and a creates an ‘oceanic feeling’ during and after (sometimes for a long time after) sex, where she experiences moments of expansion and connection to the sublime. Naomi herself, who lost that connection through her injuries and crucially regained it again after she was healed, charts exactly how systematic violence and repression (both physically and emotionally) towards the vagina can have profound effects on woman’s sexual, emotional and creative lives.
There is one section of the book dedicated exclusively to the use of derogatory terms aimed towards ‘woman’s bits’ in society today and how it can have a profound affect on a woman's life in much deeper ways than she imagines. The pathways can be physically cut through the language and symbolism popular culture uses for vaginas and we see that derogatory words although damaging, can be the least of woman’s worries; rape, torture, sexual control and mutilation have been a constant, not only in war but in private life throughout most of history. Before 1,000 years B.C.E. (and for two short periods after that in the East), women were held in esteem equal to that of Goddesses, indeed they were goddesses; the vagina was held as the centre of the Universe; men knew how to honour, respect, adore and ‘cultivate’ it to the best of their abilities; for the wellbeing of the women, of the man and of the whole intrinsically linked world. But In this modern world of ever increasing disrespect of the vagina (despite the sexual revolution) through pornography and more and more ‘threatening’ fashion editorials and advertising where women are effectively packaged and sold as merchandise, it pays to stop and give some thought to what Naomi is trying to put across in this brave and bold book. She devotes a whole section to the ancient Art of Tantra, that Eastern yogic practise – made popular today through such people as Sting and his wife – and directs us to tantric sex as root of this oceanic feeling in women. In her ‘Goddess Array’ chapter (a phrase that sums up the complex set of places on the female body which are intimately involved in sexual pleasure and which is routinely ignored by men, who have never been taught to honour the woman’s body as the centre of the Universe) is a 'guide book' on the subject, reflecting the beliefs of modern tantra practitioners in aiding the man towards his devotion of the vagina and the complete woman.
Naomi mentions the concept of the Goddess again and again throughout her book; and it remains a very appropriate definition of that oceanic feeling – that creative force all women hold within them. This definition works on many levels in the psyche, indeed it directs us into our ancient collective consciousness where women were once held as sacred and a source of inspiration but it also works on a physical level where is calms both women and men during sex and that in turn is the perfect environment for initiating the power of the vagina/brain connection. The Goddess is indeed at the heart of Tantra, which in itself is at the heart of the creative process for both women and men. When a man is devoting himself to serving the pleasure of a goddess (or The Goddess) ‘performance’ is no longer is an issue; he no longer threatens a women with his controlling forces and she is able to relax and use that amazing sex as the start of her own amazing creative journey.
“…[the oceanic feeling] is critically linked to an experience of self love or self-respect and a sense of freedom and drive. This is why the issue of whether or not female sexuality is treated with love and respect is so very crucial”
And this is just what Naomi is trying to tell all the women who read her book; and read it we should. At last there is something available out there in mainstream culture that explicitly teaches a man about the Goddess Array and how crucial it is for a woman’s sexual and creative fire. Forget Fifty Shades of Grey, which just takes women deeper into her own private sexual fantasies, alienating her lover(s) at every turn of the page (Naomi details the effects of porn on women and men’s sexual performance), this book describes in depth why and how this sexual fire in effect, makes the world a happier place, for everyone.
My summary: every woman (and every man) should read this book, period.