Outercourse: Introduction, by Mary Daly

“It was Mary’s wish that if women or people want to memorialize her in any way they should stay in their own locality and have a get-together where they read or discuss her work,” said Linda Barufaldi of San Diego, one of several former graduate students of Dr. Daly’s who cared for her as her health declined.

In memory of her greatness.





The Voyage of Outercourse is Metapatriarchal Time/Space Travel, which takes the shape of quadruple Spiraling. Its parts (Spirals) describe clusters of Moments, each involving/requiring gigantic qualitative leaps into Other dimensions of the Background.

As I Re-member my own intellectual voyage as a Radical Feminist Philosopher, I am intensely aware of the struggle to stay on my True Course, despite undermining by demons of distraction that have seemed always to be attempting to pull me off course. These I eventually Dis-covered and Named as agents and institutions of patriarchy, whose intent was to keep me-and indeed all living be-ing-within the stranglehold of the foreground,* that is, fatherland. My True Course was and is Outercourse-moving beyond the imprisoning mental, physical, emotional, spiritual walls of patriarchy, the State of Possession. Insofar as I am focused on Outercoursing, naturally I am surrounded and aided by the benevolent forces of the Background. t

Since this has been my own experience of Outercourse, I have thought it Crone-logical that the philosophical/theoretical dimensions of this work be woven together with Recollections from an imaginary-though factually accurate-volume, which I have entitled Logbookofa Radical Feminist Philosopher. I believe that these Recollections shed much light on the major theoretical subjects under consideration, since they contain Revoltingly Intellectual Bio-graphic information that is deeply intertwined with the philosophical quest/questions of this book. **


*foreground is defined as as “male-centered and monodimensional arena where fabrication, objectification and alienation take place; zone of fixed feelings, perceptions, the elementary world: FLATLAND” (Wickedary). For an explanation of the of the moon symbols used throughout this book, see the Prefatory Notes.

t Background as used here means “the Realm of Wild Reality; the Homeland of women’s Selves and of all other Others; the Time/Space where auras of plants, planets, stars, animals, and all Other animate beings connect” (Wickedary).

**For a brief history of the genesis of this intertwining, see Chapter Sixteen. _________________________________________________

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The noun course is multileveled in meaning. Among the definitions in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English. Languages** is “the act or action of moviog in a particular path from point to point (the planets in their courses).” An “obsolete” meaning is “RUN, GALLOP: It has as an “archaic” definition “a charge by opposing knights.” It also means “a life regarded as a race: LIFE HISTORY, CAREER.” Course means “a progressing or proceeding along a straight line without change of direction (the ship made many courses sailing through the islands).” A final relevant definition is “the track or way taken by a ship or the direction of flight of an airplane: the way projected and assigned usu. measured as a clockwise angle from north.”

The meaning of course in Outercourse envelops and transforms all of these dimensions. Thus my Voyage as a Radical Feminist Philosopher has involved multidimensional courses, It moves in particular paths-not “from point to point,” but from Moment to Moment, and, beyond that, from Spiral Galaxy to Spiral Galaxy. It often feels like running, galloping (like a Nag or a Night Mare). It involves a warrior aspect-not as “a charge by opposing knights” but as an A-mazing Amazonian battle against the necrophiliac nothing-lovers who manufacture, spread, and control the dead zone-the foreground. It is life regarded as a Race, that is, participation in the Wild onward rushing movement of all Lusty Life.

The course of Outercourse is far from a “straight line” in the usual sense; it is not “linear,” but Spiraling. Its Moments are usually unpredictable. However, there is implied in Outercourse a Sense of Direction. Thus, despite seeming deviations and sidetracks and peripheral excursions, seeming inconsistencies and changes of direction, there is a kind of Metastraight Line. That is, in a wide view, there is a Fierce Focus to this Course. Implied in Outercourse is a Ferocious Refusal to be sidetracked from the Final Cause of the Voyager, that is, her indwelling, always unfolding goal or purpose, perceived as Good and attracting her to Act, to Realize her own participation in Be-ing.

While Webster’s describes course as the way “usually measured as a clockwise angle from north” the Course of the Voyage of Radical Feminist Philosophy moves Counterclockwise, that is, in a direction contrary to the clocks and watches of father time. It is the Time Travel of those who are learning to become Counterclock-Wise, that is, knowing how to Live, Move, Act in Fairy Tiroe/Tidal Tiroe. It is the Direction of Sibyls and Crones who persist in asking Counterclock Whys, Questions which whirl the Ques-


*I am indebted to Nancy Kelly for the word Outercourse (Conversation, Fall 1987).

**Hereafter, this dictionary is referred to simply as Websters.


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tioners beyond the boundaries of clockocracy and into the flow of Tidal Time. Those moving in this Direction Sense that we are on our True Course. The path/paths of our True Course, as seen from some perspectives, could be called an Innercourse, since it involves delving deeply into the process of communication with the Self and with Others-a process which requires deep E-motion, deep Re-membering, deep Understanding. Since it involves Amazonian Acts of Courageous Battling, it could also be called Countercourse. However, its primary/primal configuration is accurately Named Outercourse, for this is a Voyage of Spiraling Paths, Moving Out from the State of Bondage. It is a continual expansion of thinking, imagining, acting, be-ing. Outercoursing is Spiraling which has its Source in Background experience-in intuitive knowledge that it is by Moving on that Voyagers Dis-cover the Answers as well as the Questions. As Linda Barufaldi observed, it is not by wallowing in the “issues” and pseudoproblems manufactured by therapy and other re-sources that we progress, but rather we “bump into” solutions by moving on in our own lives, following the Final Cause.

As I explain in this book, the ship/vessel/craft of my own Voyage as a Radical Feminist Philosopher and Theologian has been my Craft-as theoretician, writer, teacher. The practice of this Craft is Voyaging, which is a form of Witchcraft. My Craft is a kind of Mediumship, coursing between/ among worlds.

This Voyaging is becoming, and it is the Seeking/Seeing of Seers. Philosophy,etymologically speaking, is not wisdom, but love of wisdom. Wisdom itself is not a thing to be possessed, but a process/Voyage. Radical Feminist Philosophy, then, is a Questing/Questioning that never stops and never is satisfied with the attainment of dead “bodies of knowledge.” It is participation ever Unfolding Be-ing.


I was looking at the flower bed by the front door; “That is the whole,” I said. I was looking at a plant with a spread of leaves; and it seemed suddenly plain that the flower itself was a part of the earth; that a ring enclosed what was the flower; and that was the real flower; part earth; part flower. It was a thought I as being likely to be very useful to me later.

-Virginia Woolf4

The word moment is derived from the Latin momentum, meaning “movement, motion, moment, influence.” It is believed to be rooted in the verb movere, meaning “to move” (Webster’s.). Virginia Woolf suggests that “moments of being” are experiences of seeing beyond the “cotton wool of

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everyday life” and understanding context. As she said of the flower in the flower bed: ”That is the whole.”

The Spiraling Voyage of Outercourse is comprised of Metapolitical Moments, which make up Spiral Galaxies. These are Moments/Movements of participation in Be-ing which carry Voyagers beyond foreground limitations. They are Acts of Hope, Faith, and Biophilic Bounding. They are Acts of Qualitative Leaping.

Even our seemingly “little” Moments are like leaps into/in a Great Moment. Thus they partake in the truly Momentous. When women Realize the Momentous potential of our “ordinary” Moments we find ourSelves Spiraling. Such experiences are not “merely momentary:’ They carry us into an Other kind of Duration/Time.

The Spiraling Moments of Outercourse, then, are utterly unlike mere instants. Instant means “an infinitesimal space of time … ” (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary).* The definitions of infinitesimal are enlightening. It is said to mean “taking on values arbitrarily close to zero … immeasurably or incalculably small.” The adjective instant gives the show away. Thus we have “premixed or precooked for easy final preparation (instant mashed potatoes)” (Webster’s Collegiate).

Instants, then, are units of foreground time. They are incalculably small. They are mere points in time. They do not imply Motion, Movement, Momentousness, Momentum. They are elementary, foreground imitations of Moments. They do not open into the Background. They do not imply Qualitative Leaping. They do not participate in Spiraling Movement and therefore do not imply ever deepening experiences of Future, Past, and Present which overlap and which are in dialogue with each other. Like “instant coffee” and “instant success” instants resemble the “real thing” only to those whose senses have been dulled by imprisonment in the dim cells of the foreground.

In contrast to mere instants, Moments are incalculably large. They can be viewed as windows and doors through which we leap and race into the Background. They influence us; they are of great consequence, for they point us in the direction of Elemental Time/Tidal Time. Moving in Spiraling Paths, they hurl us on an Intergalactic Voyage. This leads us to the subject of the Intergalactic Movement of the Moments of Outercourse.


The Spiral Paths formed by Moments/Movements of participation in Be-ing constitute the four Spiral Galaxies of Outercourse. These Spiral Galaxies


*Hereafter, this dictionary is referred to simply as Webster’s Collegiate.


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are, like the galaxies of the universe, in perpetual motion.* Like stars, the Moments of Outercourse are born. They happen in the Twinkle of an Eye/I.’ They come into be-ing through Gynergetic Acts of women whose Focus and Force have their Source in the Background.

One Moment leads to an Other. This is because it has consequences in the world and thus Moves a woman to take the Leap to the next Moment. A comparison with the relations among stars in a galaxy is thought-provoking. An astronomer writes:

In a galaxy, the stars are separated by vast distances. But the stars do interact because of gravity. Stars feel each other’s gravitational fields…. In a galaxy, the force of gravity controls the interactions between stars.6

In a Galaxy of Outercourse the Moments are sometimes separated by vast distances. But the Moments do interact because of their subjective reality and connectedness in the consciousness of the Voyager and because of their interconnecting consequences in the world. The Focus of the Voyager directs the interactions among the Moments.

The accumulated Gynergy of Moments extends the curved arms of a Galaxy in Outercourse. At a certain point in this whirling progression, the accumulated Gynergy of Moments enables the Voyager to take a Qualitative Leap and thus begin a New Galaxy. Since the Focus and Momentum are from the same Source/Force, the New Galaxy Moves in harmony with the preceding one.

This book describes the Paths of four such Spiral Galaxies of Moments. Perhaps we should bear in mind that The American Heritage Dictionary describes a galaxy as “any of numerous large-scale aggregates of stars, gas, and dust . . . ” The Voyager of Outercourse has to confront a great deal of “gas and dust;’ not all of which is beautiful cosmic material. Much of the gas and dust between Moments is thrown in our way by the demons who attempt to block our Voyage. Thus Exorcism remains an essential and demanding task in the Intergalactic Voyage which is Outercourse.

This process of Exorcism, in combination with its inseparable companionate activity/experience, Ecstasy, provides essential Force and Focus for Outercoursing.’ These combustible components fuel our Crafts. They make the voyage Be-Dazzling, that is

eclipsing the foreground/elementary world by the brilliance of be-ing (Wickedary).


*A spiral galaxy is defined as “a galaxy exhibiting a central nucleus or barred structure from which extend concentrations of matter forming curved arms giving the overall appearance of a gigantic pinwheel” (Webster’s).

Hereafter, this dictionary is referred to simply as American Heritage.


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As the Voyager Moves farther and farther Out, the Light becomes brighter. The foreground fades and its demon inhabitants/rulers are overcome by the Powers of the Background. They are eclipsed by the brilliance of be-ing-which is participation in Be-ing.

Be-Dazzling is the Outrageous Challenge and Hope that moves the Craft/Crafts of Outercourse. In this Age of Extremity, we can settle for nothing less. The alternative to Be-Dazzling is precisely Nothing.

The following sections briefly summarize The Four Spiral Galaxies of The Be-Dazzling Voyage which is Outercourse.




In my own history, the early Moments involved Be-Speaking, that is, foretelling, speaking of what will be. Be-Speaking brings about psychic and/or material change by means of words. As I have experienced such Acts of BeSpeaking, they were and are* Moments of Exorcism of patriarchally inflicted aphasia, that is, inability to Name Background reality as well as foreground fabrications and the connections among these. One of my own early Acts of Be-Speaking was a letter published in Commonweal in 1964, responding positively to an article in that magazine by Rosemary Lauer entitled “Women and the Church.” I announced that I was ashamed that I had not written the article myself and foretold a barrage of such Feminist writings, proclaiming: “This is both a prophecy and a promise-they will come.”

So I was Be-Spoken into Be-Speaking by another woman’s writing. That letter-published when I was still a student in Fribourg, Switzerland-had a chain of breathtaking consequences. It led to the writing of my first Feminist book, The Church and the Second Sex, to my subsequent harassment and firing from Boston College, and to the months of student demonstrations, activism, and publicity resulting in my promotion and tenure. It led also, and most significantly, to my own radicalization. In other words, Moment after Moment of prophetic Be-Speaking caused the world to speak back. As this dialogue gathered Momentum I was hurled beyond man-made, fictitious, foreground illusions about “the future” and came into Touch with


*There is a problem of tense here. Since the Spirals are not linear-since I have come to the same yet different place of Spiraling at later periods-the past tense is not adequate. Many of these Moments recur in different ways. Thus they were, but they also are, and will continue to be.

I am indebted to Louky Bersianik for the idea of a Feminist interpretation of the word aphasia, as well as amnesia and apraxia. Responsibility for further expansion and development of these concepts is my own. See Louky Berslanik, Les agenesies du vieux monde (Outremont, Quebec: Lllntegrale, editrice, 1982), especially pp. 5-9.


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the Background Future. When I went back to teaching in the fall of 1969 I had already begun to change drastically. I had begun to see through the particularities of my experience with Boston College to the universal condition of women in all universities and in all institutions of patriarchy. I had experienced my first explicit encounters with the demons of assimilation-especially taking the form of tokenism-and won. I made the Leap into The Second Spiral Galaxy of my Outercourse.





By Seeing and Naming the connections that had been largely subliminal in the earlier stage of Voyaging, I Moved into The Second Spiral Galaxy of my Outercourse. This involved Acts of Exorcism of the amnesia inflicted by patriarchal institutions, religion in particular, and by the -ologies which they engender and which in tum serve to legitimate them. Exorcism of amnesia required Acts of Unforgetting-Seeing through the foreground “past” into the Background Past-beyond the androcratic lies about women’s history. I found that Breaking through to knowledge of a Prepatriarchal Pagan Past opened the possibility for Radical Naming. It became clear that Re-Calling was the clue to real Momentum. As Orwell had written in 1984:

“Who controls the past,” ran the Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present controls the past,” . . . All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory.

My Unforgetting sometimes took active political form, for example in 1971, when-in cahoots with Cronies-I instigated the Harvard Memorial Church Exodus. I had been invited to be the first woman to preach at a Sunday service at Memorial Church in its three-hundred-and-thirty-six-year history. After plotting with a few friends at Harvard I accepted and turned the occasion into a Call for an historic Exodus from patriarchal religion. The hundreds of us who walked out experienced the action on different levels. For some of us it was an Act of Be-Falling.* It involved Moving into Archaic Memory. It was also a Memory of the Future– an action which affects/effects the Future. By participating in this event, some of us experienced an ancient, woman-centered spiritual consciousness.

Beyond God the Father belongs to this Galaxy. The writing of that book, followed by the writing of my “Feminist Postchristian Introduction” to the


*Be-Falling is “the Original Ontological Sinning of Fallen Women who follow the Call of the Fates” (Wickedary).


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1975 edition of The Church and the Second Sex, moved me into further Acts of Be-Falling. I encountered and repelled demonic forces of elimination, who/which erase women’s histories and our very lives.* I was hurled, then, in the direction of The Third Spiral Galaxy.




Moments of Spinning Move us into the Background Present. As I have experienced these, they have been Moments of Exorcism of the apraxia (inability to Act) inflicted upon women. I do not mean by this that I became more “activist” in the usual sense of the word (although I have continued to work in that way also) but that I have become more Active in my creative intellectual work. This has meant that I have Moved beyond “following” or simply reacting to patriarchally defined methods of thinking, writing, public speaking, and teaching. My activity in this sense has become more approximate to my ideal of Be-Dazzling-eclipsing the foreground world with the brilliance of be-ing.

The year 1975 was a Watershed year. By the time the “Feminist Postchristian Introduction” was actually published in 1975 I had moved on to writing and delivering a paper entitled ”Radical Feminism: The Qualitative Leap Beyond Patriarchal Religion.” This paper was delivered at a conference of sociologists and theologians held in Vienna, under the auspices of the infamous Cardinal Konig, archbishop of Vienna.

In rereading that paper I am struck by the fact that such words as Postchristian had become unimportant to me. Such a term had focused attention on where I had been and not where I had arrived. To keep stressing it would be comparable to a woman’s harping on her divorce and identifying herself as a “divorcee” years after the event had occurred. Qualitative Leaping is not merely beyond christianity but beyond all patriarchal religion and identification. Moreover, it is not merely “beyond,” but toward and into something else, which I have Named Spinning.

In the Course of this Galaxy I wrote and published Gyn/Ecology (1978), Pure Lust (1984), and (in Cahoots with Jane Caputi) Websters’ First New Intergalactic Wickedary of the English Language (1987). The process of writing those books and confronting their consequences involved encounters with the demonic forces of fragmentation, which cut women off from our true Present and from our Presence to our Selves and to each Other.

My conflicts with these forces and with other personifications of “the Deadly Sins of the Fathers” occurred throughout the Metapatriarchal Jour-


*These would, of course, attempt to re-turn, but this was a significant victory.


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ney of Exorcism and Ecstasy, which. is a basic experience and theme of this Galaxy, first Named and explained in Gyn/Ecology. Uncovering and vanquishing the demons requires a mode of creativity which is Spinning. It involves finding threads of connectedness among seemingly disparate phenomena.

A vast shift in my mode of writing is evident in Gyn/Ecology, which is Metapatriarchally Metaphorical. This Shape-shifting continued/continues throughout Pure Lust, which is a work of Elemental Feminist Philosophy. Re-Weaving Webs of connectedness between women and the Elements is an essential theme of this book, which Fiercely Focuses upon the demonic destruction of nature as well as women and upon Metamorphic means of Weaving the Way Out.

The Wickedary also is a work of overcoming fragmentation, bringing together the insights of this Galaxy through the Weaving of Wild Words. It follows in the Wake of Gyn/Ecology and Pure Lust, fighting against the ever worsening conditions of the foreground, and Moving toward the expansion of women’s Powers of Sensing cosmic connections-Powers which enable us to Presentiate/Realize a True Present.

Thus the works of this Galaxy Move more and more into the Be-Dazzling Light. In this Light, the Voyager readies her Self for her Leap into The Fourth Spiral Galaxy, which takes her Off the Calendar, Off the Clock, into Moments of Momentous Re-membering.





In order to Name the most advanced stages of the demonic dis-ease of fragmentation I employ the word dis-memberment. The encroachment of the Age of Dis-memberment-a condition which manifests itself in the multiplication of divisions within and among women-involves also the breakdown of nature by phallotechnocrats and the splitting of women from nature.

In this age, Sisterhood can seem like a lost and impossible dream. The knowledge and and memories that were reclaimed in the so-called “Second Wave” of feminism re-turn to a subliminal level in our consciousness. As I see our situation of the 1990s, women are challenged to Spin and Weave the broken connections in our Knowing, Sensing, and Feeling, becoming Alive again in our relationships to our Selves and to each Other. This will require the practice of psychic politics and it will require Time Travel-Remembering our Future and our Past. What is needed is a Spiraling series of victories over the dis-memberers of women’s Present and of our Memoires, including Memories of the Future.

Such a series of Victories, that is, the Spiraling Moments of Momentous Re-membering, cannot be viewed as a linear progression. When the Voyager

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comes into The Fourth Spiral Galaxy she experiences an Overlapping of the Moments of her earlier Travels-a conversation Now with those Moments. The repetitious aspect of Spiraling enriches the experience of Movement, especially when The Fourth Spiral Galaxy has been reached. Yet the most crucial Moments are always Now, and that is why Now is always the special target of the dis-memberers of women’s lives.

It is essential to know that all of the Spiral Galaxies are interconnected, that all of the Moments implicate each other. Herein lies the hope for resolving miscommunication arising from “generation gaps” and time warps experienced by women in the Age of Dis-memberment. Implicate has as an archaic definition “to fold or twist together: INTERWEAVE, ENTWINE.” It also means “ to involve as a consequence, corollary, or natural inference: IMPLY.” (Webster’s).

I am suggesting that there is an organic interdependence/interwovenness among the Spiral Galaxies of Outercourse. There is a task before us, then: the task of actively explicating the connections. One definition of the verb explicate is “to unfold the meaning or sense of: INTERPRET, CLARIFY.” It alsomeans “In develop what is involved or implied in” (Websters).

The question is: Who can and will do this? Clearly a woman at her first Moment of Be-Speaking could not be expected to do this. Explication is the task of those who have Moved for some Time on the Be-Dazzling Voyage and who therefore can have an overview of its Spiraling Paths. These women are the Memory-Bearing Group-those who have “been around” and can Re-Call earlier Moments, and who can bear the memories and knowledge of destruction.

The Hope that such women can be Heard lies in the fact that participation in the Background Present is the underpinning of all of the Moments of Outercourse, even the earliest. Insofar as a woman is Alive and Spiraling at all she must have some glimpse of the Background Present. Therefore any potentially Radical Feminist has the capacity to Hear-if not always to understand all-the messages of the Memory-Bearing Group.

Re-Calling my own Voyage, I know that my ability to begin Be-Speaking was rooted in my capacity fur Living in the Present, unmasking the foreground present at least to the extent of experiencing desperation, of Fiercely struggling for Focus, and of daring Outrageous Acts in order In break free and live my own Life. This capacity for be-ing in the Present is the core requirement of Outercourse.

In The Fourth Spiral Galaxy, Voyagers Move into the Age of the Cronehood of Feminism. It is probably the case that the so-called “First Wave” of Feminism, in the nineteenth century, did not enter the Age of Cronehood, even though there lived individual Crones, such as Sojourner Truth and Matilda Joslyn Gage. As a collective Movement, Feminism was derailed and diminished by the forces of patriarchy. The sadosociety had effectively blocked the possibility of fully seeing the multiracial, multiclass, and indeed

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planetary dimensions of the Feminist movement. Phallocracy had muted the Sense of intensity/urgency/desperation to Move on to Moments of Momentous Re-membering.

In the “Second Wave,” although there has been a dreary amount of expenditure of energy in reinventing the wheel and fighting fragmentation, we are faced with the fact that a Qualitative Leap into Cronehood is necessary. This is the age of seemingly irreversible contamination-the time of the (foreground) triumph of phallotechnology. It is a desperate time of biocide, genocide, gynocide. Desperation combined with Furious Focus can hurl a significant New Cognitive Minority of women into The Fourth Spiral Galaxy.

While Feminists within the patriarchal era have always been a cognitive minority, the New Cognitive Minority includes the Memory-Bearing Group of women who have Lived through earlier Moments. It includes our Foresisters/Cronies from the Past who are Presentiating their Selves Now to those whose Sense of Cosmic Connectedness is awakening, The Fourth Spiral Galaxy, then, implies entering Other-dimensions of Awareness and Movement, evoking Radical changes at the very core of consciousness.

The Moments of The Fourth Spiral Galaxy began when I began working on Outercourse. I have written all of Outercourse from the perspective of this Galaxy of Time Traveling. From the vantage point of this Megagalaxy/Metagalaxy I have retraced my earlier Moments, which assume richer meanings as I revisit them. Although the events described Originally happened “back then,” in the earlier Galaxies, the Re-Calling of them is occurring Now, and the result is utterly Other than a simple collection of memoirs. It is participating in New Spiraling Movement. This is not quite like any writing that I have done before. It is a series of Acts of Momentous Re-membering of my own Voyage.


Log [short for logbook]: “a daily record of a ship’s speed or progress or the full record of a ship’s voyage including notes on the ship’s position at various’ times and including notes on the weather and on important incidents occurring during the voyage.”

-Webster’s ThirdNew International Dictionary of the English Language

Logbook: “A Daly record . . et cetera.”

-Webster’s Second New Intergalactic Wickedory of the English Language

It is clear from the preceding material in this Introduction that this book autobiographical and philosophical. The Logbook exists largely in my own Memories and in my collection of published and unpublished writings. I do not keep written journals, except those Written in Memory.

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Recollections from my Logbook do not constitute a clearly distinct entity or separate part within this book. The information from my Logbook is interwoven with philosophical analysis in the Course of this Voyage, in which Intellectual/Spiritual/E-motional/Physical/Sensory Travels are inseparable.

The purpose of Recollections from my Logbook is to Re-Call the Ideas, Experiences, Passions which constitute the Moments of my Voyage. These can Now be seen and understood from the Be-Dazzling perspective. It is my Hope that these Re-Callings will be helpful to women-mySelf included-in overcoming the time warps that mark the Age of Dis-memberment-the foreground “present” that impedes our Living a true Present/Presence. It is my Hope also that this Re-membering will generate more Gynergy for further Be-Dazzling Voyaging.


Syn-Crone-icities: “coincidences” experienced and recognized by Crones as Strangely significant (Wickedary).

The philosophical and biographical dimensions of this book intertwine through multiple “coincidences.” That is, they are coincident, which according to Webster’s means “occurring or operating at the same time: CONCOMITANT, ATTENDING.” Coincident also means “occupying the same space: having the same position, direction, or setting:’ It means “having accordant characteristics or nature: HARMONIOUS:’ The philosophical and biographical dimensions or aspects of Outercourse participate in the same Time. They share the same position and move in the same directioo or setting-the BeDazzling Voyage. Thus they have accordant characteristics: they are Harmonious. The philosophical theory and the biographical events recorded here are parts of the same Quest.

Recollections from my Logbook are the major source for the philosophical theorizing in this book. One key example is my Realization–through Re-Calling my early experiences–of the enormous and complex role of subliminal knowledge in myself and in other women. Indeed it was my subliminal knowledge of the extent of patriarchal oppression and of the existence or at least the possibility of an Other Reality that guided me and gave me the Courage to keep going through the early stages. When it would have appeared that I was a cognitive minority of one, I was-I Now Realize-strengthened by my subliminal knowledge of similar subliminal knowledge buried in other women.

Looking at the Logbook material, I Now understand that all of my Voyaging as a Radical Feminist Philosopher has been over and through a Sea of

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subliminal knowledge-which I have Named “the Subliminal Sea:’ As the Voyage has progressed, such knowledge has become more and more overt.

As I Now See it, my Life, my Craft in early stages of consciousness moved on the surface of the Sea of subliminal knowledge that is shared by women under patriarchy. Repeatedly I had experiences of being pushed by a Great Wind, and I could feel the stirrings from the depths of the Subliminal Sea. Eventually there were eruptions from volcanoes in the Sea in my mind. I came to Name this knowledge “Background” knowledge. I found also that as I Moved more daringly; as I made Qualitative Leaps from Moment to Moment, I was Realizing connections not only within myself and within Other women, but with the Elements of this planet, and with the sun, moon, and stars. I Sensed a cosmic connection.

From my Logbook Recollections I have learned that an important part of my task has been and is retrieving the subliminal knowledge of women and Dis-covering ways of communicating this. One reality to he confronted is the fact that the Subliminal Sea-like the oceans of the earth-has been contaminated. It has been polluted by man-made subliminal messages (of the media, of myths, of religion, of all the -ologies, et cetera). Yet, since these messages are reversed derivatives of deep Background knowledge, even these are doorways/viewers into the Background. Part of my task is to devise means of using them in this way.

If women continue to lose our Deep Memories, then the images propagated by the pornographers, the obscene experiments of the reproductive technologists, the mutilation and murder of women’s bodies by the sons of Jack the Ripper, and the mutilation and murder of women’s minds by omni-present woman-hating propagandists will go unprotested. Unprotested also will be the rape and murder of the planet.

My Logbook (together with other sources, of course) has supplied me with Information about the almost ineffable need for transformation of consciousness, and it has given me clues about ways to go about making such changes.

Outercourse is not sterile cerebration any more than it is a mindless and distracted collection of”interesting experiences.” A unifying Focus accounts “coincidence” between the philosophical and biographical dimensions of this book. An Outercoursing Voyager experiences participation in a complex Chorus of Be-ing. She is aware of a Background Harmony, of a Telepathic/Telegraphic Connection which is nothing less than an Intergalactic concert of Be-Dazzling Intelligences. This book is an attempt to convey the Sense of this Concert, this behind-the-scenes Eccentric and Outlandish Reality that is Present in everyday occurrences and that can enable us to Re-Weave the Integrity of our Lives.


Here is an uncharacteristically terrible pdf of the above text (the scanner does NOT like fat books!). Also, please excuse all formatting errors. Thank you.


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8 responses to “Outercourse: Introduction, by Mary Daly

  1. I don’t know if Mary’s messing with me or what, but that was one of the most tedious formatting jobs I have EVER completed– and it still doesn’t look right! Bah, for the love of feminism and all my sisters!!

    Anyways, all I have the energy left to say is
    A> I didn’t realize how metaphysical Daly was!!
    And B> I LOVE the idea of a psychic revolution. An emotional revolution, a reunification of female energies! Yes, please.

    And goodnight. 🙂

  2. redmegaera

    Thanks for getting this up so quickly, UP. Look forward to discussing Daly’s oeuvre and this piece in particular. 😉

  3. SheilaG

    Thanks Redmegaera for your incredible work on this project. I believe you are the first woman on the Internet who has put this together. There are plenty of women attacking Daly, naturally, but none that I know of doing an online discussion of her actual ideas.

    “Outercourse” is metaphysical, and Daly once called feminism “metaethics.” So if you look at her autobiography as leaving clues as to how all women can voyage out to the life of the mind, the transformation of “daily” life, then you can see her direct connection to Virginia Woolf. Both Woolf and Daly have used code language and metaphor well. Daly received one of her many degrees in English, and studied theology in Europe when all the classes were taught in Latin.

    To voyage out of the foreground of patriarchy, the perverse land of the fathers, snools and out of the very air of patriarchal control is a vision. As you read Daly (and I’ve been immerced in her works for almost 30 years now) requires deep attention.

    If you try to read her “literally” (although you can do this with great pleasure too), it would be like trying to see Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” as a real story, or Emily Dickinson’s poems as autobiographical. They are and they aren’t.

    Daly’s works are incomprehensible if you take her out of the context in which she voyaged, and developed her mind. What women have to do is battle patriarchy just to receive an education. If women take her literally, they miss the whole message.

    She took from the works of the church fathers, literally pirating the information back to women.
    It was her journey into the underworld, or how she likened lesbian and feminism combined as the discovery of fire.

    I often feel a connection to her visionary writings to those of William Blake, I will not cease from mental fight… or tyger tyger burning bright, what the anvil what the chain in what furnace is thy brain… that is Blake, but Daly also should be recited, should be filled with lesbian energy. You can access that realm or that outer dimension of tidal time in the same way. Recitation of her poetic writing style, seeing it as a vision, a hymn to nature if you will is pure Daly.

    She discovered the transcendant was not a possession of the catholic church or any other male worshipping religion. In an age of the literal, and in an age where poetry is not well known, we may be at a disadvantage understanding Daly.

    For those women who speak other languages know the power of words, to go from Latin to Greek or Spanish. To feel the energy and emotion as a woman speaks her native language, and suddenly we feel connected to her, even if it is not our native language. Language and the love of it is one of the keys to Daly.

    I hope all women come here ith an open mind and heart to experience the sheer driving poetic and visionary power of Mary Daly. She takes time. One doesn’t simply pick up her books casually to read between text messages or while the neighbors mow the lawn. She is not for every woman, because so many women are afraid of this type of freedom, or they feel a class envy of Daly. This amuses me, because the voices of resentment that she’s just a feminist snobbish academic have no idea where she really came from. Proud working class Irish-American from upstate New York!

    Many women, not all, but many women really fear brilliance, or women feel unsure of their own intelligence, largely because it is so continuously undermined in patriarchy. Daly learned to block the demons of patriarchy and to voyage ahead on her course. There are moments in that book when she was deeply anxious, or even fearful of what she was about to reveal. You don’t go up against the holy trinity of the three men people admire most–the father, son and the holy ghost, without having a deep philosophical fear.

    Even as she would go for yet another PhD, and her friends would go “Oh Mary not another one!” she knew she was preparing for the intellectual marathon of her life.

    I deeply connect with Daly in so many ways, have used her ideas in the real world, struggle with her vision. She spoke to me because I have an Irish catholic background myself, my family lived in the city she was born in, and I’m very familiar with pre and post Vatican II catholicism. I connect with her struggle in heavily male dominated academia, and in carving out space within patriarchy and standing my ground. I’m familiar with the social isolation, and with the lobster pot syndrome.
    When Daly faces the Jesuits, I faced classes loaded with sexist men. When I was coming out as a lesbian, I faced that world of total isolation. Because I was not a gender conforming woman, I saw in Daly a true sister. Someone who understood my deep seriousness, someone who always stood by me. When I faced the plastic potted passions and the fembots and the penile processions, Daly walked beside me.

    To have truly found a philosophical sister in a world where every damn philosopher on earth was a man, and a creepily sexist one at that, Mary Daly was a beacon of home. No wonder her books were published by Beacon Press. No hope but HOME.

    I can tell all of you from life experience that the deep study of Daly will give you a freedom and confidense that you never imagined possible as a feminist. You may not be the most popular woman in the world, but you will excell intellectually, you will be deeply challengedto do so much more with your life. As lesbians, I believe we need heroic and larger than life visionaries to help us through the mists of Avalon.

    Feminism, the very freedom of all women on earth, is as much metaphysical liberation as material. Daly understood this.

    I am looking forward to this discussion and have waited years and years for Daly to return to the front rows of feminist discussion. I met her personally several times, I’ve knownher friends, I’ve known her fears and strengths. Enjoy dear sisters, enjoy the voyage to freedom!

  4. I understand Mary Daly’s use of language within the context of what Lillian Faderman calls “the literature of lesbian encoding”- as well asthe long history of lesbians exploiting and transforming patriarchal language as a way of obfuscating the lesbian material in their work and making sense of their relationships with one another. One (particularly hilarious) example of this is Gertrude Stein’s use of the double entendre in her story “Miss Furr and Miss Skeene” in which she plays on the word “gay” which, before its demystification in the 1970s, would have meant only “merry” to those not privy to the language homosexuals used between themselves. Similarly, Martha Vicinus’s book Intimate Friends: Women Who Loved Women, 1778-1928 shows how women appropriated and transformed the language of religion to both make sense of and legitimize their love for one another.
    I think Daly’s work both belongs to and revolutionizes this tradition. She uses metaphor, symbolism and other literary devices to obfuscate the anti-institutional content of her writings…in a way that I suppose parallels the preterist interpretation of the Book of Revelation. For this reason I think the comparison with Blake’s work is a good one. As someone who enjoys poetry in particular and language in general, I appreciate Daly’s love of and masterful use of words…

    Not feeling particularly articulate at the moment, but will write more when I feel I can do Daly’s work justice. Thanks Sheila for your spot-on assesment of Daly’s work.

  5. SheilaG

    Yes Red,

    Understanding lesbian encoding of language is essential with Daly. And I was going to mention Book of Revelation too re Daly’s use of visionary language, but then Blake came to me…

    more later… Red, you’re the best… 🙂

  6. SheilaG

    Woke up this morning crying over the loss of Mary Daly. I’d managed to hand in there all week, despite the truly awful things women are writing about her everywhere it seems.

    This is going to be far harder than I imagined, just saying.

  7. SheilaG

    “hang” not “hand” oopps

  8. SheilaG

    And also something you said Red back at UP’s place… how to negotiate real life friendships with your politics. There are many ways to do this. Maybe a practical discussion about this would be in order, let us know.

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