Temple of the Red Lotus Vending Tent

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"A Prostitute Compassionate Am I"

Wow, I'm so impressed with Radical Vixen's portrayal of a recent session she had with a client whose overwhelming need was compassion!

http://radicalvixen.com/blog/2008/08/18/sex-work-and-compassion-panty-tree/

Here's the comment I left for her:

Ah, you've captured the element of your work that hearkens back to the prostitute priestesses of ancient Sumeria, Babylon, and Canaan. The Goddess Ishtar/Inanna once said, "A prostitute compassionate am I." This post beautifully describes how you embody the Goddess for your clients (regardless of your or their beliefs in such). Thank you so much for sharing this with us and I thoroughly look forward to reading more in this series. I invite you to review my sites regarding the sacred prostitute ("Qadishtu") and sacred sexuality. Thanks again!

Inara
http://qadishtublog.blogspot.com

Thursday, August 07, 2008

It's not so simple to be Qadishtu

Ancient “Temple Prostitutes”, called “Qadishti” in some Mediterranean cultures, are believed to have engaged in sex with the populace as an act of Worship of the Goddess, whose greatest gifts to Her people was pleasure and the power of reproduction. Today, many women and some men are called to follow this ancient “tradition” who intuitively offer their bodies up for the use of the Divine, to pass on the Goddess’ blessing and healing through Her gifts of pleasure and sexuality.

This is a tricky calling, in many ways. We live in a society today that is sexually-repressed and incredibly sex-negative. Many forms of sexuality are not only socially unacceptable, they may even be illegal. Further, there is a deeper understanding today of how deeply one’s psyche can be affected by one’s experiences, with more intense experiences affecting one more deeply. Sex is an incredibly intense experience and can have deep and long-lasting effects.

Since most Qadishti are NOT trained in counseling, it is smart for many who feel drawn to this path to be extremely careful about how they engage with others. Due to the legal issues and the psychological issues, there are some fine lines to walk. In the days of the original Qadishti, the culture fully accepted and embraced the concept that sex was sacred and inseparable from their worship. The absence of sexual repression most likely meant that most people did not have crippling psychological issues around their own sexuality. That’s not the case today. We live in a completely different environment, with different mores and norms, and almost no one escapes unscathed by the sex negativity that permeates our society.


Those who choose to work as Qadishti must understand that the people that come to them for help may often need more help than that Qadishti can offer. Simply having sex with people is not always all that’s needed. Sometimes it’s the exact opposite of what’s needed, and even has the potential to make things worse. It IS important to seek some sort of training or mentorship, to learn the ropes, to figure out how to set boundaries, to detect deeper psychological issues, to protect oneself, to recognize when a physical issue needs to be treated, etc.


I would love for this path to be as simple as “Have compassion and have sex” – but it’s not. Compassion is a bedrock requirement, sex is not. And there’s so much more to be aware of, in order to avoid making things worse.


Lovingly,
Inara

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Francesca on the Positive-Sacred Sexuality Spectrum


I wanted to share some thoughts posted by my dear friend, Francesca Gentille, on the recent topic regarding the difference between "sex-positivity" and "sacred sexuality". For more of her wisdom, please see her site. You might even consider setting up an appointment with her for personal coaching! :)

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Hi dear hearts,

Wanting to connect with you and share some heart, spirit, and thoughts. . .

Sex - Sex Positive - Sacred Sex

When I talk about it, I discuss it as a spectrum or continuum.

I have found and experienced that in our culture we are given negative or conflicted information about our aging, emotions, bodies, spirit, gender, and sexuality. Most of us begin our sexual journey Sex Conflicted, or Sex Negative (including body negative, emotions negative, and aging negative).

Then we go on a journey to heal.

I think of the healing spectrum in sexuality as going from:
Sex Negative - Sex Curious - Sex Positive - Sensual/Pleasure Positive - Combining Heart & Sex - Combining Spirit & Sex

If I was on a healing and deepening journey with my sexual relationship with me it might look like: Fucking Myself/Masturbating/Getting Off - Self Pleasuring - Self Loving - Self Revering

If I was on a healing and deepening journey in my sexual relationship with you it might look like: Fucking you - Exploring Pleasure with You - Exploring Sexual Intimacy with you - Adoring and Worshiping you with my Heart, Body & Soul

NOTE: And it is possible to have Sacred Fucking :-) The fucking I start the spectrum with is the disconnected, disassociated, separated from spirit, and emotions fucking. One might say that with Sacred Fucking we "come" full circle and then start all over again. Or perhaps Spiral is the more accurate concept.

When we human beings are on this journey of healing ourselves around sexuality, we educate ourselves, try new things, find groups of people to be in community with who enjoy sex. We become sex positive. When we are sex positive there is often an attitude that more sex, or a variety of ways of being sexual, new toys, new sensations, is better. Often sex is still about doing or being done to. We are still body negative, emotions negative, aging negative and spirit conflicted.

Perhaps, at some point, we learn about sensuality and that being a better lover is enhanced by expanding our sensual capacity. Then we might become pleasure positive. Learning massage. Experimenting with lotions and potions for the body. Music. Feathers. Fur. And dance.

Perhaps, then we realize that we would like more heart, more intimacy, more of a sense of being seen, and known and loved when we have sex. We might take classes in intimacy, or communication, or sacred sexuality.

Perhaps, then we feel something stirring that would like to go further. To melt into oneness. Into bliss with all that is while having sex. To engage in sexuality that is a blessing and healing. Then we might take more classes, and study, and experiment with bringing spirit, deity, divinity, allness into sexuality. We may also take classes on energy work.

What is often in the way for those of us wishing to stay in sex which is more body focused and less heart or spirit focused is our wounds and received negative messaging around emotions, and spirit.

I feel compassion for this. Many of us have had our capacity to feel deep emotions and to feel safe with Spirit literally beaten out of us. "Stop crying or I'll really give you something to cry about."

Also some people are energy blind. Or at least underdeveloped in their capacities to read, receive, give, and manipulate energy.

For the more mechanistic or tender around emotions, or energy blind, I don't focus on the word sacred. I talk about Quantum Physics. That thought is now believed by scientists to be the smallest unit of matter. I talk about consciousness; the electro-magnetic field within each person, and in every living thing, and across the planet. I talk about opportunities in reclaiming emotions, deepening energetic awareness, and expanded sensuality that lead to experiences of bliss, intimacy, and extended times of erotic peace and fullness.

Sacred Sexuality is a word. It is a place-holder for experiences that are hard to put into words.

I like thinking of deity, spirit, soul, and a Loving Eternal Consciousness. I don't think I'm right. I don't think it's true. I think I like the feeling of being "spiritual." Heck, who knows what REALLY happens after we die. I get to design a way of looking at life, love, death, sex, in ways that feel beautiful to me. Each person does. You do.

If someone is in pain around their life, and their loving, and their sexing, then I want to inspire, guide, support, and educate them to design a new way, to heal from the past, and to reclaim their right to feel, to love, to sex, to age with grace, and to connect with Allness & Eternal Consciousness, and life in ways that feel nourishing, peaceful, harmonious and rich to them. I'll dance with the words and seek the ones that make sense and create an opening for them.

It's not the words that matter - ultimately. It's the intent - the presence - the openness - the peace - the being peace that matter. Our being matters.

It is not for me to judge, it is for me to be the model of a world in which sexuality brings harmony, connection, and peace to our world.

Lovingly,
Francesca

M. Francesca Gentille - Diva of Divine Relationships
http://www.LifeDanceCenter.com
Sacred Sexuality & Tantra Sexpert - Media Personality - Public Speaker - Author
Radio Host "Sex: Tantra & Kama Sutra" http://www.personallifemedia.com/podcasts/tantra-kama-sutra/tantra-kama-sutra-show.html
Co-Author & Associate Editor of the award winning anthology "The Marriage of Sex & Spirit" www.marriageofsexandspirit.com
To Join My Egroup: email SacredLiving-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Diversity within Unity

Diversity is a loaded word these days. Everything is pro-diversity, in order to honor and respect those from different cultural backgrounds, whether that be ethnic, religious, social, or whatnot. Diversity training is required in many companies, and students in counseling programs are receiving training in multicultural awareness. In the world of sacred sexuality and sex positivity, there's a wide range of diverse approaches, with each different school of thought clinging tenaciously to their own label and identity. But there is within diversity the potential for divisiveness, as well. And that's what we must guard against. Within all this sacred and positive rhetoric is often a cloaked sense of superiority, which can poison and sabotage our beliefs and our noble causes.

In addition to supporting diversity, I think it is equally as important to celebrate our unity. We all - all humans on the entire planet - are really more alike than we are different. But we cling to our differences, sometimes for positive reasons, and sometimes as ways to insulate and seemingly protect ourselves, our identity, our chosen way of life. But we are united in our survival needs. We are united in our relatively similar DNA structures and bodily processes. We all are born, live, love, die. In the world of sacred sexuality and sex positivity, we are mostly working toward similar ends - to liberate sex from the place of evil and negativity that it was shoved into by past generations. We seek to transform the hearts, minds and souls of the people around us - so that they can more fully accept and enjoy their sexuality, without having to put anyone else's sexual preferences and expressions down.

No matter what we call ourselves: Qadishtu, Dakini, Tantrika, Sex Therapist, Sex Blogger, Sex Activist, Sacred Intimate, etc - in addition to any other reason we pursue this path, this Calling, we are committed to a more positive/sacred view of sexuality. Let us not quibble about what we are called, or how we define ourselves. Celebrate our different approaches, while also clasping hands in a united front.

In love & unity,
Inara

Sex Positivity vs Sacred Sexuality

Check out this brief blog post from Amber Rhea:

http://www.beingamberrhea.com/2008/07/29/what-sex-positivity-is-not/

A lot of times, the way I view sacred sexuality is very similar to the more secular conception of "sex-positivity". However, there is an extra quality to *sacred* sexuality not necessarily present in sex-positivity. How would you redefine sex positivity to include a sense of the sacred, without being overtly rooted in a religious/spiritual context? How can we make the idea of sacred sexuality more palatable to the mainstream, without losing the sacred element that distinguishes it from "mere" sex-positivity (no offense intended)? Is this even necessary? Can we describe sacred sexuality to someone from the secular mainstream by using the term sex-positivity and have it be an accurate description?

Lovingly,
Inara

Sunday, July 27, 2008

NCSF Media Alert on "Swingtown"

I've been watching the CBS series, "Swingtown", and have been very pleasantly surprised at how good it is. And I don't just mean the acting and the plotlines (though those are certainly good). This primetime show is actually portraying responsible non-monogamy in a positive light, and is respectfully exploring the consequences and choices faced by people who consciously choose to explore alternative relationship possibilities. They explore real issues and treat all views with equal respect and sensitivity.

Unfortunately, the conservatives of our country have decided that they are unable to just switch the channel and watch something they'd prefer; rather they are staging a thorough campaign to try and get this program removed from the airwaves. They are again attempting to be moralistic police, telling the rest of us what we can and can't watch, simply because it offends THEIR sensibilities.

Please take a moment to review the information that the National Coalition of Sexual Freedom has compiled about how we can show our support for the show, in an attempt to counter the censorship efforts of the far right:

http://is.gd/15NO

Share this with anyone you know who may also support keeping this show on the air, anyone who feels strongly against moralistic censorship, anyone who supports educating the mainstream about the validity of responsible non-monogamy and free choice in relationship options.

Lovingly,
Inara

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Want to Learn about Sacred Sexuality?

Want to Learn about Sacred Sexuality?

Join me for an inner adventure to learn about Sacred Sexuality through the Woolston-Steen Theological Seminary's online college experience!

Starting August 11, 2008
8:30 - 9:30 pm
(from the comfort of your own home!)
Cost $80 for credit / $40 to audit
(they offer college degrees!)

In just 8 short weeks, you will learn about the principles of sacred sexuality, you'll be invited to view your body as a temple, you'll learn breathing techniques for emotional regulation and for enhancing your sex-life, you'll be introduced to the concept of emotional intelligence, and you'll learn some communication styles and techniques to help improve all of your relationships.

This class will also lead you through a multi-week preparation for a ritual in which you will balance the masculine and feminine energies within you. Past participants have described this ritual as "moving" and "transformational". Are you ready to embrace your Self?

For a deep, introspective, life-affirming exploration into your Self and the role of Sacred Sexuality in your life, enroll today!

http://www.wiccanseminary.us/course/category.php?id=14


Inara de Luna, Qadishtu priestess and founder of the Temple of the Red Lotus, will be teaching Sacred Sexuality 101 and 102. She has been teaching classes and offering workshops on the topic for several years, but usually only at festivals or the occasional seminar. Now EVERYONE has access to her teachings, through this affordable online class! To learn more about Inara and her Temple, please visit her website:

http://www.TempleRedLotus.com

I look forward to seeing you in the online classroom or at a future event!

Lovingly,
Inara

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Personal Love vs Universal Love

“Love is a many-splendored thing,” someone once said. In polyamory communities, there’s an oft-heard adage known as, “Love is infinite; time and energy are not.” Polyamorous people believe that they have the capacity to love and be in relationship with more than one person at one time. Not everyone is necessarily built this way, but no one can dispute that we all have multiple loves, of different varieties. We love our spouse. We love our parents, we love our kids, and we often love our friends. We are all maintaining multiple relationships at the same time, but with varying degrees of intimacy and different levels of time and energy commitments. The sexualoving component does not actually change that reality that much, except that we’ve been conditioned to believe that it should.

There is also another concept that most westerners don’t talk about or grok well or are even aware of sometimes. There’s a difference between personal love and universal love. I am able, especially while in the role of priestess, to tap into what I call the universal love. This is the source of all life, love and pleasure in the universe. Name it what you will, most religions have some sort of concept for this. I simply open myself up to it, dissolving my small, human, egocentric boundaries and allow myself to connect in to the web of all being. From here I can access the compassion to be able to accept someone in all their human faultiness and frailty while simultaneously honoring the glorious divine within them. Each person who comes before me as a supplicant, I love. In that moment, they receive all the love I have to give, totally and completely. When that moment is over, I may feel a lingering sense of that emotion, but it does not tie me to that person, and it doesn’t necessarily herald the beginning of a personal relationship with them.

I have even been known to “make love” to a whole crowd of people, while they watched me dance. I opened that energy channel wide and poured out all my love onto every single person I made eye contact with. In that instant of connection, I allowed myself to love that person completely. And just because it only lasted a second or two, and just because I then immediately moved on to someone else and established a loving connection with others, doesn’t invalidate that true moment of communion I shared with the first.

Each moment is precious and exists independently of every other moment. But of course, moments flow one into the other seamlessly, and we sometimes attach too much significance, expectation, obligation to each individual moment, which lessens its magic. Appreciate the moments of love and grace that touch your life, and you will be better able to appreciate your life as a whole, and the lives of those who touch yours.


www.TempleRedLotus.com

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Unable to Say It

My beloved forwarded to me some links to the Oklahoma statutes pertaining to illegal sex acts, and several of them refer to anal sex, but they can't actually seem to bring themselves to use that terminology. Instead, it's referred to as a "detestable and abominable crime against nature" and every time the statutes refer to this act they use that entire phrase! Amazing!

OK Statute on "Forcible Sodomy"

I think it should be a law that no one can make laws regarding sex if they can't even use clear, accurate, non-judgmental terminology to refer to it. Imagine if we were making laws about drunk driving and couldn't even bring ourselves to use the word "alcohol".

Besides...if we're passing laws to curtail "crimes against nature", then I can think of quite a few examples of other crimes against nature that ought be addressed first - like pollution, hunting animals to extinction, clear-cutting, etc. Aren't these crimes against nature far more detestable and abominable than anything related to sexuality?

www.TempleRedLotus.com

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Illegal to Share Sex Ed Materials w/ Minors

A new Oregon law makes it illegal in that state to share "sexually explicit materials" with minors, including sex education materials, or young adult fiction books that contain anything considered even remotely "sexually explicit". This is an outrage, as well as a chilling new development in the War Against Sex in this country. It is especially worrisome for those of us who believe in, support, and actually engage in comprehensive sex education for our teens.

And how ridiculous is it that we would go to these lengths to "protect" our children from sex? I know they say it's to protect them from predators, but come on...did no one voting for this law stop to consider the long-term effects of this sort of restriction? Basically, this law says that even parents can't share information with their own children, if it's considered "sexually explicit". My mother helped open the "Big Talk" about sex with my by handing me romance novels containing steamy scenes. I was a big reader and this was a way to share some info, and to start conversations about what was and wasn't real. If she did this in Oregon today, she could be sent to jail. What?!?!?!? Insane...

Check out the story here and feel free to share your comments:

http://www.sexual-freedom.net/sfn/node/1403

Lovingly,
Inara

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Introducing Polyamory in an Academic Setting

Introducing Polyamory in an Academic Setting
by Inara de Luna (c) 2008


As some of you know, I'm pursuing a Master's degree from Capella University in Marital & Family Therapy. I had to make a decision early on regarding how out I wanted to be about my various fringe affiliations, but ultimately decided that since I want to be able to serve these populations, I wanted to be able to use and refer to them in my coursework when appropriate. The following is a recent essay I wrote for class, and the ensuing discussion between myself and two learners: one supportive, and one who had never heard the word, "polyamory."

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The American Counseling Association states in its ethical code that counselors are to engage in advocacy efforts at multiple levels in an effort to improve access to services and to improve the growth and development of their clients (A.6.a., 2005). Kiselica and Robinson (2001) explain that advocacy is intended to help increase their clients’ “sense of personal power and to foster sociopolitical changes that reflect greater responsiveness to the client’s personal needs” (p. 387). Advocacy is an important function and counselors are uniquely positioned to act as advocates, due to their direct clinical experience with clients who are the recipients and sometimes victims of injustices and imbalances in the greater society. Counselors can support their clients while also actively challenging the societal norms that may be impeding their clients’ wellbeing (Gladding, 2007).

Counselors have a responsibility to keep abreast of advocacy programs enacted by their professional associations, and to pay their dues to help support their professional associations so that those associations can continue their lobbying and other advocacy efforts. Because our clients are significantly impacted by community groups and organizations, it is the duty of the counselor to educate these groups and organizations about how they could better serve the people utilizing their services. In the past, counselors have presented to groups and organizations on the harmful effects of racism, and have advocated for understanding and support for lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth (Kiselica & Robinson, 2001). Some counselors have also started their own organizations to bring much needed services and changes to their communities that weren’t otherwise available, such as Parsons who founded Boston’s Vocational Bureau in 1908, to assist immigrant youth to find fulfilling work (Kiselica & Robinson, 2001).

Finally, counselors can work with political leaders to bring about much-needed social change, by writing letters and visiting with these persons, and through writing letters and articles for media, encouraging others to speak up (Gladding, 2007). Counselors have a responsibility to stay current on pending legislation that affects both their clients and the counseling profession, and to contribute their efforts to supporting or defeating bills, as appropriate. Research on troublesome social issues can also go a long way to improving those problems, both through public and political education about the reality of the issues and their effects on people.

Advocacy is exciting and inspiring and is a primary motivation for this learner to pursue this degree program. There are a number of misunderstood and underrepresented alternative relationship adherents who need advocacy in the social, political, and academic spheres. Those who practice polyamory, who are engaged in BDSM relationships, and those who practice paganism and other unconventional spiritual philosophies are not served well, if at all, by the current society, on any level, including the therapeutic profession. In order to assist these people to live fuller, healthier lives, a good deal of strong research and effective education needs to happen. This is what this learner is passionate about and motivated to change. As Kiselica and Robinson (2001) state,

Perhaps the most important step we all must take in advocacy work is to look deep within ourselves and try to discover what forms of human suffering really move us to the point that we want to get up and fight – each of us in our own unique way – for other human beings. (p. 395)

References:

American Counseling Association. (2005). Code of ethics. Codes of Ethics for the Helping Professions (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.

Gladding, S. T. (2007). Counseling: A comprehensive profession (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Kiselica, M. S., & Robinson, M. (2001, Fall). Bringing advocacy counseling to life: The history, issues, and human dramas of social justice work in counseling. Journal of Counseling & Development, 79. 387-397.

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Hello,

Your post was explosive! The statement, which really inspired me, is the fact that there are a number of "alternative relationship adhrents who need advocacy". This brings to mind the increased exposure of polygamists and those individuals seeking to escape their communities and traditional lifestyles. Surely this population will indeed require some form of counseling services in order to adjust to a "new" society. In any event, persons with your passion and drive are just the type MHC's society needs.

Great post!

F

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Hi F!

Yes, the polygamists like Warren Jeffs and his family are an exception, in that they were so insulated from the outside world, and thus, wiill definitely need transition assistance.

However, sensationalized news stories about exaggeratedly unusual examples of "alternative relationship adherents" misleads people into thinking that everyone who believes in non-monogamy practices weird things like Jeffs, when that's simply not true. Part of my advocacy efforts is to help people understand that just because a family practices polyamory DOES NOT mean they believe in marrying 16 year old girls off to 50 year old men.

Thanks for the support and compliments! :)

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First off for the record this learner believes in being married to only one person at a time and prefers no divorce. She has a friend who married a man from Ghana that was raised in a polygamist society. His father has 2 wives (I think that is the correct number and not 3) and a number of children. He described the way life was there and it is interesting how it is handled but still not for me. Luckily for my friend he does not believe in practicing that.
A number of other countries practice polygamy and even polyandry (one wife more then one husband). In some countries where there is a shortage of one sex it seems to meet a need and thus allowing more people to marry.

K

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Hi K,

I respect your beliefs. Monogamy is a perfectly legitimate and fulfilling relationship style for some people. However, responsible non-monogamy can be an equally legitimate and fulfilling relationship style for others. Polyamory is the word that was coined to describe a responsible non-monogamous lifestyle to differentiate it from swinging and other forms of non-monogamy. Polyamory is more about the relationships, rather than the sex had in those relationships, and stresses openness, honesty, and communication between all involved.

Polyamory is also distinct from polygamy and polyandry because it doesn't limit the possibilities of loving relationship to the number of partners or their gender. It is also a relationship style that is not imposed on anyone - it involves a very conscious choice and relies on each individual's integrity to make it work.

There is a growing number of people practicing polyamory, including celebrities, and as more people begin to come out about this practice, we are likely to see them in our counseling offices. This is an area of diversity that hasn't gotten much attention yet, but it will.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and for being open to my response. If anyone is interested in more information on polyamory, I have a list of websites and journal articles that I can share.

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Having no knowledge of anyone personally practicing this, this learner went to the web. Regardless of the fact that most people do not like it for a source she went to Wikipedia for quick information. This is the site looked at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyamory. She only read part of it as it is very long. If there is a better sight out there please post it. She knows this is not for her but she would like to read up more on it.

Thank you.

K

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Hi K,

Thanks for asking! The wiki site does give a decent explanation of polyamory. I would also recommend you explore the following sites:

http://sexuality.about.com/od/alternativerelationships/a/psychologypoly.htm

http://www.ejhs.org/volume5/polyoutline.html

http://www.practicalpolyamory.com/

If you have specific questions, I'd be happy to take this discussion off-list and answer any of your questions via private email.

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Will check out the sites later, when there is a spare moment. Polyamory was not a term this learner had remembered hearing about before. If she has questions after reading the sites she will get in contact. She would only be reading this for knowledge and incase the topic ever came up someone; ex. with a client or friend, she would be knowledgeable of the lifestyle. She does not believe that is the way to go and she is defiantly not looking to convert—she is very happy with the practice of monogamy. She wants to say thank you for daring to bring up an idea that is controversial to many, herself included.

K

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Hi K,

I would never presume to suggest that anyone should convert. I offer the information to help promote awareness and to dispel myths and negative misconceptions. Polyamory is certainly not for everyone, just as pistachio pudding is not for everyone. :) You have my utmost respect, however, for being willing to learn about a practice that is so controversial and may be at odds with your own personal beliefs and values.