Temple of the Red Lotus Vending Tent

Temple of the Red Lotus Vending Tent
See us at pagan festivals in the SouthEast!

Monday, February 12, 2007

On Gender & Sacred Sexuality

Essay - On Gender & Sacred Sexuality

By Inara de Luna
© April 2006

We all hold within us the energies of both masculine and feminine. These are short-cut words, used to facilitate our understanding of the concepts. But they tend to, in the process, oversimplify the concepts, thus limiting them in our minds.

Masculine refers to the active principle; the feminine to the receptive principle. We assign these principles to specific genders because the anatomy of each gender actually corresponds symbolically to the principle it is associated with. For instance, the receptive principle is called the feminine principle - look at the womb, a receptacle for the active sperm, and for cradling the new life that will begin there. Look, too, at the way that the feminine body engages in sexual intercourse: it receives within itself the male, active sex organ. You can also see the truth of this in the reverse. The male or active principle is represented by the phallus, that active organ which thrusts into the receptive vagina and does not receive or hold anything within itself. It is the conductor of the sperm, into the waiting and receptive womb. But that's where the gender-related limitations on these two principles ends.

Look at the yin/yang symbol - a field of white, with a bit of black caught within in, married complementarily to a field of black, with a bit of white caught within it. We are each like one field or the other. Some of us are more predominantly white (or male, or active) and some are more predominantly black (or female, or receptive). But we each carry some measure of our complementary opposite within us. We all can call up either energy depending on what we're needing at any given time. Unfortunately, due to the gender roles that society teaches us to play, we often don't realize that and so we are crippled and limited and often feel vague stirrings of frustration, or we feel incompetent in certain areas.

It is possible, and even desirable, to learn to integrate these two principles within yourself. But first you have to learn your own manifestations of each, and learn to recognize your capacity for the qualities associated with each. You need to differentiate a bit, and rise up out of the unconscious beliefs you hold about yourself, before you can re-integrate each side fully and become a whole human being.

Sacred sexuality, in large part, is learning to integrate the many, often-disparate, parts of yourself (mind, body, spirit) through the powerful vehicle of your sexuality. In learning to approach sex in a sacred manner, you treat your body and its passions and pleasures with mindful attention, you learn to revere your body and that of your lover, you begin to see your own divinity shining through, and your orgasms begin to give you a glimpse of the interconnectedness of all beings. By learning to harness the sexual energy that dances both within yourself and throughout the universe, you can apply that energy in different, more focused and deliberate directions, such as magical workings, creative enterprises, or caretaking duties.

Engaging in sacred sexuality practices requires you to think about your intention and your technique, it requires you to feel fully and embrace your light and dark emotions, it requires you to connect with your higher Self.

The sacred inner marriage rite is one way to symbolically unite the two sides of your Self. The heiros gamos that most people are familiar with takes place between two individuals, usually the high priestess and her high priest, who embody and symbolize the Goddess and her Consort.

Taking this archetypal act and internalizing is quite powerful. But you need first to identify both your inner masculine/yang/anima and your inner feminine/yin/animus, before you can marry them, unifying your inner Self. We will explore some techniques for how to do this in a future essay.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Celebrating Imbolc

Happy Imbolc, everyone!

Although not everyone who may read this is pagan, I wanted to share the following in celebration of this holiday that I celebrate. The ritual I describe is one that I designed, and does not adhere to any particular tradition within paganism. For the adepts, this is also fairly basic and may not meet your needs. Take what works for you and move on. If anyone else would like to share what works for them, I'd love to hear about it!


Imbolc is the time of the quickening, when the earth begins to come back to life, in preparation for the blossoming of spring. This is the time of year in which we celebrate the Virgin or Maiden aspect of the Goddess, as she prepares for growth and renewal. In ancient times, the word "virgin" was used to denote a woman who was strong and independent, who was not tied to any man (neither father nor husband), a woman who could make her own decisions and direct her own life. She could have sexual relations when and with whom she desired, not when it was expected of her.

The lessons of the Virgin are appropriate for both men and women. During this time of the Virgin, you have an opportunity to stand up for yourself and your own needs, to ask for what you want and to take responsibility for your own stuff. You can clear out the old, to make way for the new, by doing some self-examination and being honest with yourself about what's holding you back from being the best that you can possibly be. Ask the Goddess in her Virgin aspect to assist you in becoming stronger about asserting your opinions, honoring your feelings, and doing the work it takes to live the life you want to live.

Masturbation Meditation:

This is a great opportunity to use masturbation as a sacred sexual tool to augment your spiritual practice. Remind yourself that your pleasure is your responsibility, and that there is nothing wrong with taking an opportunity to pleasure yourself. You'll want to make arrangements to ensure that you will not be disturbed. Also remember, in addition to your regular ritual supplies and tools, that you set aside, in your circle (whether on the altar or beside the bed), the supplies you'll need for your self-pleasuring ritual.

Sanctify your space and honor the elements or directions as you are comfortable and accustomed to. Then connect with the Goddess and state your intentions. ("Goddess, with this ritual, I desire to connect with myself more deeply, and to honor your gifts by pleasuring myself. I offer my pleasure, including whatever orgasms I may have, as an offering of love to you and to myself. Please guide me this day in feeling secure in the knowledge that I am a sacred being, that I am worthy of this pleasure.")

Sit or lie in a comfortable position, close your eyes, breathe deeply from your belly. Relax and begin to touch yourself lightly in non-sexual ways and places. Rub your arms, your legs, your back; scritch your head, massage your neck. Then gradually begin caressing yourself in loving ways, slowly allowing your hands to move to more erogenous areas. Allow the energy to become more erotic as you continue to touch yourself lovingly and sensually. When you are ready, begin to pleasure yourself in the manner you like best. Start slow and let the energy build. As you do this, repeat to yourself the following mantra: "I am sacred. Pleasure is sacred. I am worthy of this pleasure." The energy will build, your rhythm will increase, and your chanting may get louder (you can repeat it silently, as well, but when we say things out loud, our subconsicous works with them on a deeper level.) Continue pleasuring yourself and chanting your mantra until you approach orgasm or you're approaching some sense of satisfaction and culmination. Continue until you reach that energetic and/or physical peak, whereupon you will release the energy toward the Goddess, and you may shout, moan, scream or otherwise vocalize your gratitude to the Goddess.

Allow yourself to wallow in the after-glow with yourself and the Goddess for a few minutes. Allow the feelings of pleasure and satisfaction to gently and naturally subside. If you feel silly, embarassed or any other seemingly negative emotion, forgive yourself, hold yourself in compassionate space and assure yourself that all your feelings are valid. If you're feeling joy, power, happiness...revel in it....and thank the Goddess again! :)

This is just one suggestion for how to use sacred sexuality to honor and work with the energies of this season. Happy Imbolc, no matter how you choose to celebrate or observe it! :)

In sacred love & sensuality,