I walked amid thousands of pilgrims carrying icons and clutching crosses close to their breasts in the shadow of the bell tower of the Bolshoi Zlatoust church. The magnificent Russo-Byzantine edifice, now bathed in silver starlight, having been so faithfully reconstructed in 2010 after the communists had blasted Saint Maximian’s holy place with dynamite some eighty years before to make way for a statue to their new gods, Lenin and Stalin.
“How disheartening to those who uphold the myth of manhood based on muscles and metallic strength: this alone is the true man, the absolute man! He absorbs within himself the ambiguous virtue of the female. Lao-tzu talks about the invisible magic of the feminine, which in a feline fashion attracts and absorbs in itself man’s action . . .”