The Sacred Vagina

My Portal into the Soul

Non-Fiction - Self Help
258 Pages
Reviewed on 07/12/2020
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

In The Sacred Vagina, I frame my spiritual journey in the terminology of Jungian psychology, along with the engaging images, profound ideas, and life-giving symbols of the Christian myth. I open myself to being radically transformed by the unconscious—by my soul and the Self. Within the fertile womb of my soul, I discover some of the “fruits of the feminine.” I realize my experience has been an inward journey toward the Self, a process of self-realization—indeed “the birth of God in the soul.” Ultimately, I arrive on the shore of the Infinite Mystery.
I am a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where I was introduced to the psychology of Carl Jung. After seminary, I received my MA degree from the California Family Study Center and later my PhD from the University of Southern California in marriage and family counseling. I practiced for forty years before retiring. My lifelong quest has been to be receptive to the possibility of internal, psycho-spiritual transformation.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

The Sacred Vagina: My Portal into the Soul by F. Sam Gleason is the author's inner mythic quest to become conscious of who he is, and he looks at the sacred vagina as the key symbol for the radical opening of his heart. This is the story of his awakened soul that gave birth to his authentic self, the saga of his challenging midlife transition, and transformation. The author shares the metamorphosis of his soul, hoping readers will be able to discover some of the gifts buried in their souls. The thread of dependency runs through the book beginning with his symbiotic attachment to his family, and he uses the symbol of the umbilical cord to depict his attachments to five women during his adulthood.

The memoir is honest, well-expressed, and personal and the author speaks about various topics such as marriage, divorce, remarriage, romantic love, suffering and transformation, Jung and the divine feminine, midlife crisis, men's anger, wisdom and truth of the soul, unearthing one's authentic self and other interesting themes. F. Sam Gleason speaks of the influence of Carl Jung's philosophy on him and how Jung's map of the soul has helped him experience and understand the shadow, the anima, and the self as parts of himself. The memoir chronicles the most important details of his inner and outer life, expressions, feelings, thoughts, and nighttime dreams that will help readers understand his deeper aspects. The Sacred Vagina knits together the author's healing, spirituality, self-discovery, and psychology in a fascinating way, keeping readers glued till the end. His psycho-spiritual transformation will motivate many readers who find themselves in similar situations. The glossary at the end of the book is helpful to understand the terminology used in the book.

Jose Cornelio

The Sacred Vagina: My Portal into the Soul by F. Sam Gleason is a powerful memoir loaded with lessons that will compel readers to rethink their identity and the beauty of their soul differently. It is the story of a man who grew up deeply attached to his mother, but who suffers deeply after the divorce from his first wife. Sam eventually develops a ten-week liaison with Diana but a month after she breaks up with him, he sculpts his heart in clay, still filled with pain. As he sculpts his heart in clay, the wound mysteriously transforms into a vagina, an image that stays with him and that has a powerful significance in his life. In the author’s own words, “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.” In this memoir, he explores how this image transforms his life and the way he relates to others, especially women, becoming someone who can genuinely give and receive love. Follow this memoir to learn how a man gets created, broken, and re-created.

This is a thought-provoking and beautifully written memoir sprinkled with lessons and insights on spirituality, psychology, and humanity. The author shares his experiences in relationships and the midlife upheaval that turned his life around, prompting him to look deeper into himself and to appreciate the spiritual power of the “divine feminine” in him. The book has strong shades of spirituality and allusions to the teachings of Jung. The themes of romantic love, the quest for identity, the pain of divorce, and the beauty of marriage are ingeniously developed in this memoir. The Sacred Vagina: My Portal into the Soul documents the author’s journey towards authenticity and mature love and proposes a path that readers can use to understand who they are. This book is a classic, a one-of-a-kind memoir that is deftly composed and packed with new insights on life and love.

Foluso Falaye

As a phoenix rises from the ashes, F. Sam Gleason was reborn when he experienced the death of his sixteen-year marriage. After a four-year celibacy, Diana came into the picture and left him heartbroken once again. Sam became inspired to sculpt his broken heart into a wound-like incision with clay, which transformed into a sacred vagina. The Sacred Vagina thus represents an opening into the heart and the inauguration of a midlife, psychospiritual, and conscious journey into an extraordinary interior kingdom. The "Christian myth" and the psychology of Carl Jung are major themes. F. Sam Gleason aims to share the metamorphosis of his soul with readers in hopes that they unearth some of the unimaginable gifts buried within their souls, accept even the darker aspects, and discover a divine purpose for everything.

When a musician, writer, or painter—or any kind of artist, for that matter—reaches within and connects to a powerful emotion like love or pain, it produces an immeasurable, timeless beauty. The Sacred Vagina is a metaphorical and philosophical work of art; a quest for consciousness unearthed by a loss of a preconceived identity. F. Sam Gleason bares his soul boldly and sincerely, creating a poetic memoir that is quite pleasing to read and thought-provoking. It should be noted that the book is more suitable to an audience that is open-minded to non-conventional views about religion. However, The Sacred Vagina would be of great value to anyone that's going through emotional pain and is searching for answers. I am really looking forward to the other books F. Sam Gleason has in the works.

Jamie Michele

The Sacred Vagina: My Portal into the Soul by F. Sam Gleason is a non-fiction memoir that follows a journey of discovery after the dissolution of his lengthy and deeply afflictive divorce. Over the course of three distinct parts and nine chapters, Gleason recounts a series of interconnected events, however loosely they might appear woven together at first glance, and the women who occupied their own space on an often rocky and misunderstood path. The autobiography is as much a dissection of personal psychology as it is a chronicle of growth, with Gleason acknowledging his mistakes, heartbreak, and discord alongside his spiritual awakening and the revelations that ultimately transformed his life.

I admit that I was initially confused that The Sacred Vagina was written as a memoir by an author who didn't identify as female, a blunder wherein I misunderstood the neutrality of gender as F. Sam Gleason depicts between the physical and the umbra that coexists. The vagina, initially formed of clay, is later clarified by the metaphor: “Not an “open sore,” as Diana had remarked; but now, an “open vagina” would reside in the center of my chest forever.” It is even given a name, Amina, and is the source that allows Gleason to move beyond his dependency on women. Gleason crafts a narrative that frequently reads with the panache of literary fiction through extensive use of parables and symbolism, making the fact that this is actually a non-fiction work even more inspiring. There are biblical parallels and context that balance a new-age realism with conventional testament, and I believe that many will find the work to be a refreshingly thoughtful point of view.

Gobi Jane

The Sacred Vagina: My Portal into the Soul by F. Sam Gleason is one of those books you read and can’t find words to describe the experience. When I picked up this book, I was expecting to read about a man’s sexual adventures. I was so wrong. It turned out to be one of the best spiritual and philosophical books I have read in a while. The author takes the reader on a journey from his uncut umbilical cord — and that should be taken figuratively — to his failed marriage and a journey towards self-discovery. For four years, he experienced enormous pain as a single man. A new phase comes when he meets and develops a romantic relationship with Diana, a relationship that lasts for ten weeks. When she breaks up with him, he’s filled with pain and grief. One day, he decides to make a wound-like incision into clay, and as he sculpts this wound, it suddenly transforms into a vagina, and the symbol of the sacred vagina hits home like an epiphany, setting him on a spiritual odyssey that eventually unveils his identity and the power of the divine feminine in him.

While this memoir follows the story of one man’s journey to finding the power to give and receive love, it explores the spiritual character of our being as givers of life, and the author makes powerful references to Jung’s concept of the “divine feminine,” to some of the doctrines of Christianity, and to union with the divine. The vagina becomes a metaphor through which the author interprets the reality of life and love. The Sacred Vagina: My Portal into the Soul explores powerful themes like spirituality, marriage and divorce, male sexuality, the true nature of the soul, and many others. F. Sam Gleason delivers his experience and thoughts in beautiful prose, engaging readers on a journey inwards into the deep recesses of their soul. This memoir will change the way most of us think about sexuality and life. It is inspiring and filled with lessons.