I cannot speak for anyone but myself.(This is part of what I mean when I talk about feminist witchcraft.) Your mileage may vary.
This manifesto is a work in progress.I have practiced this lifestyle for years, but I have never attempted to articulate these positions before. Revision will inevitably be needed, even just to fully account for the experiences I have already had. As I continue to live a strange and interesting life, I will acquire new perspectives that will transform the ideas of which this document is a reflection – perhaps radically.
Pleasure, in and of itself, is not shameful or even neutral: it is an inherent good.Does this mean that no harm can come from pursuing pleasure? Of course not. What it does mean is that abstinence from pleasure is, at best, morally neutral, and that the condemnation of pleasure is fundamentally immoral.
Healthy sexual relationships are founded on a model of enthusiastic consent (1). Not just “okay, whatever”, but “fuck yes, do me now”. “I like it when you touch me this way.” “No, put your hand there.” That said: I have a very liberal definition of sex. It is entirely possible that some people on my “List” might be surprised to find themselves there, as they do not consider what we did to be “sex”. That’s fine: it’s not my place to define other people’s experiences for them, but neither is it their place to define mine. We were there, good times were had. I have no interest in legalistic definitions of what counts and what doesn’t. This ambiguity makes the principle of enthusiastic consent even more critical: one does not simply agree to “sex”, and thereby agree to whatever happens thereafter. Communication, then, is also absolutely essential. What “counts” as sex is irrelevant if everyone involved is excited about what they’re doing. Being certain that everyone is not just “consenting” but “enthusiastic” requires communication: honest, explicit, and even graphic discussions of what you like, what you want, what you don’t want to do right now, and what you will never, ever do. Don’t like the sound of that? Piss off: go back to masturbating in the closet with the lights out. If you’re not mature or confident enough to talk about it, you’re not ready to do it.
Communication and enthusiastic consent—and, by extension, good sex—are founded on respect. It is impossible to respect either yourself or your partner “in the morning” if you did not respect both yourself and your partner when you began.
WHAT IS SACRED?
Sacred things are those things which have been touched by the divine. Those things which bring us closer to the divine. Those things which help us realize and understand and manifest the divine.
Which, of course, begs the question: “What is the Divine?”
As a witch and an animist, I believe that the divine is inherent and immanent in all things. The divine is that which exists between the warp and the woof of reality—the very space between the twisted fibers of the threads. Divinity manifests in mortals and in gods, in that which is animate and that which is other. But while the divine is omnipresent, it is not readily apparent. The toil of daily life hides it even from those few whose eyes are not veiled. Although the language I use to describe it is often different, in practical terms this looks a lot like pantheism.
Thus, we must seek the divine through the medium of the sacred: rites and spaces, rituals and tools. We practice ways of life which cultivate a recognition of the divine so that we are awake and watchingfor those moments when the veil parts and the divine is revealed.
This is religion. This is worship. This is meditation. This is the Great Work.
You are the serpent that bites its tail.
WHAT IS SEX?
Sex is that which arouses and and fulfills. Sex is the consummation of desire—by oneself or with another. Sex is mutual and consensual. It is more than “just” kissing, but doesn’t have to end in orgasm. Sex—done right—is adoration, even when it doesn’t look that way to people who aren’t involved.
If you ever have to ask, “was that sex?”, the answer is probably yes. Oral sex. Cyber sex. Anal sex. Fucking. Sucking. Licking. Touching. Teasing. PiV. Pegging. Tribadism. Silk feathers and rose petals. Leather corsets and vinyl pants. Whips, and chains. In the road. On the roof. In the woods. Even in bed, just for the sake of variety.
With two or three or four or more. By yourself. With a stranger. With a friend, or even a spouse.
Making love. Sexual intercourse.
Whatever your style is. Whatever you want to call it.
WHAT IS SACRED SEX?
Sacred sex begins with the recognition of the divine spark within oneself and within all others, and the recognition that while that spark may be easier to perceive in some individuals, each and every one of us share the same potential. We are all Gods. We are all Goddesses.
Sacred sex proceeds with the recognition that the body is not just a vehicle, or even a vessel for or temple to the divine (though it is these things, too): it is, itself, part of the immanent and omnipresent divinity. As such, it must be honored and maintained: by proper feeding and exercise, by cleansing and purification—yes, occasionally even by austerities—and by libations and festivities. By pleasure.
In a solitary practice, sacred sex serves to unite the divinities of the self—the soul, the flesh, and the divine spark in each that unites the individual with the rest of creation—through the medium of pleasure. By honoring that spark, the inner flame of divinity is stoked and grows brighter.
With partners, sacred sex serves the same purposes and more. Recognizing the spark of divinity in another, devoting ourselves for the duration of the act(s) to stoking the divine flame(s) of our partner(s), we open ourselves to the experience of true unity. Unity with our partner(s) individually and with Creation as a whole. This does not mean pretending that you or your partner are a particular divinity—Apollon or Aphrodite—but recognizing yourself and your partners for the divinities you already are.
Sacred sex, at least for the duration of the act, breaks down the illusory barriers between self and other, between mortal and divine. Sacred sex teaches us that the mortal, material world is not, and cannot be, “profane”; that “profanity”, if it even exists, comes from degradingthe mortal world and its denizens.
Done right, all sex is sacred.
Done right, sacred sex does not leave the practitioner wasted or reduced. Spent, perhaps—as one feels at the end of any vigorous exercise, or powerful ritual—but revitalized, glowing, and more whole.
But this is all too theoretical. “O Satyr,” you ask me (probably more than half sarcastically), “how does one go about all this?” (Or perhaps you’re not being sarcastic. Perhaps we’re sitting at the bar or by the bonfire, and you’re hoping for a personal demonstration: please, make sure I can tell the difference.)
The path is yours to find, but I started with magical healing massage. Massage is an excellent metaphor for sex, anyway: explicitly negotiated boundaries of skin and touch and oil and pleasure. (Obviously this is much less true in a professional setting.) I reached into the Earth for power, and poured my aura into the shoulders under my hands—transmuting pain through warmth of touch, kneading, and Light. With sex it’s the same, except I use my whole body and it comes more naturally. And, yes, if your partner is not giving equally, it can be just as exhausting as you imagine. It’s worth it though. I promise.
SACRED SEX AND RITUAL SEX AND SEX MAGIC
One of the interesting things about the taboos surrounding both sex and magic is how similarly they function. The subjects of sex and the occult are so toxic to large stretches of our society that even asking the most academic questions about them is seen as suspect. At the same time, there is an assumption that any soul who strays off the approved path will throw themselves whole-heartedly into the practice of either or both. We cannot provide sex education for our children: that might lead them to having sex (Ugh … folks? They’re gonna fuck anyway. Hormonal minds will find a way.) or figuring out that they’re queer. We cannot allow our children to play Dungeons and Dragons or read Harry Potter, lest they succumb to the inevitable temptation of the occult. (Sorry, y’all. Some folks can’t ever be trained not to see the fairies.) Thus, discussions of sacred sex seem inevitably tied to discussions of sex magic: one leads to the other. It makes sense in a certain light. Both subjects are often deeply taboo. So, too, ritual sex.
Let us take a moment to define them, as I understand them at least, relative to one another.
Sacred sex, as described above, is the pursuit of the divine within oneself, one’s lovers, and the world as a whole, through the act of making love.
Ritual sex is the incorporation of sex into formal religious ritual. Historically, there is the well-known (and possibly mythical) hieros gamosof the kings of Sumer to the Goddess Ishtar through her priestesses. In the modern world, of course, we have the Wiccan Great Rite (which may or may not be as mythic as the first).
Sex magic is the use of sexual arousal and/or the act of sex as an engine for achieving magical effect. I am most familiar with this in terms of Chaos Magic and charging sigils, though I am aware of other systems such as that of Donald Michael Kraig and Donald Tyson, and am in the process of learning about them. I am led to understand that there are sexual elements to many other traditions, as well.
Beyond this, I can speak very little to these subjects. While I have had partners who were theoretically interested in ritual sex, it never quite happened, and I don’t know enough about sex magic to even ask someone to try it with me.