Confessions of a Lusty Mage, Pt. 3: Swinging with My Shadow Conclusion

Last week, we started exploring some of the ways that participating in swinging, aka The Lifestyle (LS) has contributed to the acceleration of my magickal practice as a hermetic witch. (You can find the first half here, and the beginning of this series here.) This week’s entry completes the list…

I Must Not Fear. Ah, my ever-present, old friend Fear. Fear, and the precautions we take to alleviate it, are natural, normal, necessary parts of existence. Fear doesn’t go away, and we shouldn’t want it to—it has kept us alive all of our lives! But there is a difference between common sense and paralysis. Through participating in the LS, my spouse and I have faced our fears of infection, injury, rejection, and heartbreak enough to realize that being overly cautious gets us nowhere. It just makes our world smaller, and does nothing to shield us from the Fear to End All Fears, DEATH. We’re going to get sick and die one day. No matter what. The question is, did we live before we died? Swingers, skydivers, thrill seekers, travelers, and lovers the world over say, Yes. Yes, we did!

Getting over my fears about opening my marriage also helped me stop kowtowing to my bodily and personal insecurities, which I now see much more clearly than I ever did before. Now that I’m not afraid of attraction to others and I’m able to openly look at other people, I’m better able to see the attractiveness and beauty in others, and consequently myself. Playing with other people has helped me to expand my unconditional positive regard and lust beyond only my husband, to other playmates and to myself. I am also far less threatened by other women than I used to be, because I see them as reflections of the divine, and as potential friends and playmates, rather than competitors for male attention, as the broader culture taught me to see them. I cannot overemphasize how much getting past my physical insecurities has changed the way I experience the divine feminine and helped me to come to terms with my own bisexuality.

Do What Thou Wilt. Getting into swinging also gave us the opportunity to learn about and make friends in adjacent sexual communities like kink and BDSM, which include fetishism, bondage, impact play, and Dominance/submission. And although folks in those communities aren’t always a match for the ways we like to play, the LS has helped us lose our judgment of them. In fact, swinging has resulted in less judgment of others in virtually all areas of life.

Setting boundaries and seeing the wide variety of boundaries out there has heightened our understanding that everyone has different risk tolerance levels, and that is ok! Other people can do what they will and do not have to have the same risk tolerance level as me. I don’t have to pass judgement on them, avoid them, or ridicule them. I just choose not to play with them, pretty simple. This was especially helpful during the pandemic, when emotions ran high around protection of self and others, reasonable precautions, and other thorny issues of living in community.

As I mentioned in the last entry, the LS helped me reconnect with my own sexuality and desires, especially those I previously judged as wrong or bad. Following my will has provided me with previously unfathomable excitement, fun, joy, arousal, and pleasure—and isn’t that what we all dream of?

 

And with less judgement of myself and others, I am able to be honest with myself about what I truly want to achieve with my magickal work. I feel free to pursue my magickal goals, without feeling the need to dilute them to make them more acceptable or achievable. I have found my inner authority to know that I am worthy of my goals and aspirations. And I spend far, far less time stewing on what other people are out there doing, freeing me up to pay attention to my own life and work.

So as you can see here, the most effective way to do real work on yourself is to follow your own joy, curiosity, and interests with an open and joyful heart. Even (especially!) if it doesn’t look or feel like work, but instead feels like the most wonderfully exhilarating play, you are still learning and growing. When you engage intentionally with your desires and fascinations, you are speaking directly with the deepest parts of your psyche and soul, and that has no choice but to change and strengthen your magick. Your path of joy and fulfillment need not be sexual in nature like mine—it could be artistic, performative, entertaining, parental, community-based, educational—there is no one path to the divine! Be true to yourself and you simply cannot go wrong. You do you, as only you can. xoxo -MKL

Confessions of a Lusty Mage, Pt. 2: Swinging with My Shadow

Today’s blog is a continuation of last week’s introductory entry on my real-life adventures in sex magick and swinging! If you missed it, you can check it out here.

After joining the ethical non-monogamy (ENM) community, I quickly realized that the practice of swinging (a.k.a. “The Lifestyle”) is an excellent, albeit quite advanced, container for doing shadow work. I define shadow work as the practice of coming to grips with one’s old, ingrained, self-destructive patterns and learning to choose more empowered ways of coping with this roller coaster we call life.

In that vein, The Lifestyle (LS) has been extremely efficient in drawing my attention to my own shadows and blockages, simply because this way of being in relationship is still considered incredibly taboo by many people in our broader, puritanical, Abrahamic culture. Because swinging pushes up against deeply ingrained ideas about goodness, cleanliness, and morality SO HARD, practicing it forces us to quickly define and come to terms with what we consider to be principled, safe, and reasonable behavior. It can be quite challenging, and yet immensely rewarding when practiced in the spirit of loving kindness, curiosity, and joy.

In just a few short months of exploring and dipping our toes into the lifestyle, I started to see my marriage and my relationship to my spouse differently. Before the LS, my marriage to my best friend and soulmate was mostly about safety, security, love, acceptance, and building a shared life together.

It’s still all of those things today, but now I also understand our marriage as the blending and balancing of equal, opposite, complimentary energies that have the power to effectuate change—sex magick. Most often, this magickal, sensual union of opposites produces children (biological and/or adopted). But we can also see this alchemy at work in other ways—entrepreneurial couples who grow businesses, artist couples who design creative worlds, spiritual couples who develop and shepherd religious movements, public service couples who work for the betterment of their communities… the list is truly infinite!

When we added the fire of the LS to the crucible of our marriage, we began experiencing exponential growth and change in areas that at first blush seem completely unrelated to magick, but nonetheless are absolutely crucial in producing effective magickal workings. By indulging our desires for sexual play, we are simultaneously doing the Great Work of achieving our highest potential through self-transcendence. So, what kinds of impacts has this work/play dichotomy had on me, my spouse, our marriage, and our spiritual practice? Here are a few…

Magickal Impacts of The Lifestyle

Perfect Love, Perfect Trust. The LS has exponentially increased the trust level between us, and that was such a telling realization because I always considered trust between us to be rock solid. When we were tiptoeing around the idea of jumping into ethical non-monogamy, though, I realized there were volumes of sexual information and ideas I was keeping from myself and thus him, too.

The biggest example of gaps in my trust was that I didn’t feel comfortable confiding in him the attraction I felt toward other people, because I was afraid of hurting him or making him jealous. I also didn’t want to know about whom he found attractive outside of me, for fear of feeling rejected and jealous. The LS gave us a defined space to play in and made it possible to relax into our shared and individual sexualities, so that now we both feel perfectly safe to tell each other all about whom we find hot and sexy. In turn, that has spilled over into trusting each other with “scary” things like taboo fantasies, deep insecurities, and tender dreams for the future. Thus, we truly feel safe to say and hear anything to and from the other. Having this depth of trust and security in this most sacred container of our marriage makes it easier to approach the world and others in it from a place of love, instead of fear, which contributes to confidence in my magickal perspective and workings.

My Word is Law. Swinging has dramatically advanced not only my openness as explained above, but it also has lightning-accelerated my communication skills. Participating in the LS didn’t just force me to say what I mean and mean what I say (and it certainly did that); it also forced me to put into words many things I had previously preferred to keep to myself.

For example, when discussing boundaries before play, I had to quickly get comfortable with being quite explicit and clear about them. No euphemisms or beating around the bush! I had to get over my squeamishness around certain words and topics, because they were directly related to the realities of human bodies and organic existence. We’re talking about activities that can be potentially dangerous after all, so it’s imperative that I’m clear about what I will and will not agree to do. I cannot allow my fears of saying no, hurting someone’s feelings, making someone uncomfortable or angry, or turning someone off to limit my communication of standards, boundaries, and requirements for play that is both safe and enjoyable for me.

Likewise, I can’t just avoid talking about something because it makes me feel uncomfortable. I never dreamed I would discuss my period with so many people, but guess what? Planning play dates around periods is just a reality. When I find myself feeling uncomfortable or triggered during a play date, I can’t just shut down and retreat from everyone like I would prefer to do, and as my pattern has been for so long. That’s not fair to my playmates, who are there with open hearts to have fun with me and to give and receive pleasure, just like I am. Because my playmates are also dear friends whom I treasure, I learned that the most important time to be open and vulnerable is precisely when it’s least comfortable to do so.

Learning to truly practice clear, open, honest, and specific communication has freed me to step into my courage, my power, and my sovereignty—all very necessary components for powerful magickal practice. It also took my spell writing next level, beyond just incorporating the five senses to paint a compelling picture of what I want my spell to achieve, and into using crystal-clear, explicit language to create laser-sharp, compelling clarity on my magickal goals.

Stay tuned for the rest of this list in Part 3, which will be posted next week!

Confessions of a Lusty Mage: All Acts of Love and Pleasure

“For mine is the ecstasy of the spirit and mine is also joy on earth; for my Law is Love unto all Beings…. Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth, for behold: all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honour and humility, mirth and reverence within you.”
–Doreen Valiente, Charge of the Goddess, via The Doreen Valiente Foundation

 

If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that I frequently discuss being true to yourself and showing up authentically, and how that contributes to discovering and becoming the person you wish to be.

You’ve also probably heard me talk a lot about how getting in touch with your own sexuality can strengthen and unleash your personal power, and how you can channel that power into having a more fulfilling and engaging life—both on the magickal and mundane levels.

And if you’ve heard me talk about those things, you’ve certainly heard me talk about Our Lady Babalon as a face of the active divine feminine principle, an example of the Sacred Whore archetype, and a model for a worldview that is based in unconditional love, openness, justice, and equity.

In short, for years now, I’ve been encouraging people—especially women—to explore and explode their old inhibitions, get in sensual touch with their own desires, and to embark on the sacred journey to get to know and love themselves.

Now it’s time for me to walk my own talk. Let me show you what this looks like in real life…

When I started this mission to awaken my true self and live more authentically, my sensuality and sexuality were on “married professional” autopilot. I loved my husband, of course, but I was so focused on our outward appearance, there just wasn’t much time or space for inner desire recognition, let alone fulfillment.

Once I opened up to myself (and marveled that I was ever closed to myself!), I found there was so much desire there that I had been ignoring, shaming, denying, and even actively subverting. In doing so, I had thoroughly lost my awe and wonder for life, as well as my own sense of power, attractiveness, and magnetism. Now that I was back in the driver’s seat of my own authority, I discovered that I wanted more… much, much more.

And that, my delicious babes, was the beginning of my foray into the world of ethical non-monogamy—specifically, it was the advent of my life in swinging, a.k.a. “The Lifestyle.” My spouse and I chose to get into The Lifestyle (LS) for several reasons—

  1. Sex, pleasure, and joy are spiritual and religious expressions for us. They are evidence of the existence of a reality that is principally based in love, unity, and integration.
  2. Like most married couples, we both enjoy sex and wanted to have even more of it. But unlike most married couples, we wanted to experience it with different people, together.
  3. For my part, there were things I wanted to experience that I literally couldn’t do with just my husband, including sexual encounters with other women.
  4. We wanted a more structured path to these new experiences than just opening our relationship, which felt too open to us, and a more casual set-up than polyamory (the practice of engaging in multiple, consensual romantic/sexual relationships), which felt too closed.
  5. We wanted more intimacy in our friendships. We wanted the freedom to be our whole, real selves in our social lives, and we realized that we were often massively editing ourselves.
  6. We discovered that we are “intimacy junkies,” who not only get off on getting to know and love a new person, but we also get off on seeing each other be pleased (a phenomenon known as compersion).
  7. We wanted to find “our tribe” of sensual, magickal friends. As a voluntarily childfree couple, we want to build an extended “family” network of our own that is based on mutual aid, affection, friendship, abundance, and attraction, instead of one based on childbearing and child-rearing.

You may be wondering why I’m sharing this. I’m certainly not sharing it in the spirit of exhibitionism, or to imply that everyone needs to get into non-monogamy! This path is NOT for everyone by any stretch of the imagination.

Rather, I’m sharing it because it’s a perfect example of how one’s sexual current directly impacts their magickal and spiritual practices, as well as one’s own sense of empowerment and joy.

So, what DOES this “Lifestyle” business have to do with witchcraft? Well, several things:

First of all, this has been a fabulous exercise in magickal manifestation, as well as a direct expression of my work with Babalon. I asked for and manifested a crew of incredibly hot friends to lust with via a petition to Her. Working in Babalon’s current encouraged me to develop the characteristics necessary to have a safe and pleasurable time in the LS: self-possession, self-determination and direction, directness, and yes, receptivity—the active kind.

As you may have heard, Babalon’s role is to receive all and deny none, and swinging has helped me adopt not only a more open and loving attitude toward others, but also helped me become more a more active participant in my life. By learning to be more communicative about my own needs and desires in the bedroom, I’m better able to voice them in other areas of my life (including spells!), and more confident in getting those needs and desires met. Because I feel loved and desired (and therefore seen, respected, and secure in myself), I’m able to tune into others in the same way and help them receive what they want and need, too—within the bedroom and without. It’s wins all the way around!

The LS has also completely exploded my notions of dirtiness and shame. There was and continues to be some serious shadow work going on here, forcing me to repeatedly step outside the old paradigm in intensely sensational ways…

  • Rethinking my values and mores.
  • Locating and validating my identity as an ethical slut, a self-employed consultant whore, a bisexual, and a playmate.
  • Taking my power back from patriarchal demands that are rooted in destructively capitalist, colonizing, misogynist, racist, ableist oppression.
  • Enjoying my body—its beauty, what it can do, and they joy it can provide myself and others, instead of fixating on all that it’s not and all that it can’t do.
  • Finding beauty in diverse minds, bodies, and spirits, despite what the world around me would designate as an “appropriate” partner for me.

Through the LS, we are acknowledging and honoring sex as a holy sacrament. It is the miracle that begets miracles, the wellspring of life, and it is a deep, important part of our faith, just as much as it is an important part of our health and wellbeing. My sexual practices are therefore undeniable expressions of my love and reverence for life and the wonder of this existence.

Finally, the Lifestyle has challenged me to stay true to myself and my faith. My city is notoriously small and conservative, and that forced me into the so-called broom closet, hiding my pagan faith, for close to two decades. Extracting myself from that magick-killing shame was the crucible that produced all of what you see here. When I decided to enter into the LS, my fears of “being found out” started all over again, so I hid it. I told myself that I was protecting my spouse. That I was keeping my private life private. That I was avoiding rubbing people’s noses in all my fun. That I was being respectful. Then I looked around and realized… all I had done was find another closet to hide in! And this here witch is not hiding herself, or her faith, any more.

So, if you see me out having the time of my life with my husband and all our hot and sexy friends, don’t worry about starting a rumor… I’m telling ya straight out. 😉

The Babalon Difference

Babalon is different than most other goddesses in that She is exclusively a representation of the active divine feminine principle.

As the Jungian analyst Nancy Qualls-Corbett notes in her book, The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspect of the Feminine, there is both a static and an active part of the divine feminine. The static archetype is the maternal aspect: in Qualls-Corbett’s words, the “unchanging and stable factor that fosters feelings of security, protection, and acceptance.”

That is to say, the Mother archetype never changes. She’s The Empress in the tarot: you’ll always be her baby. She’ll always love, accept, and defend you. The Mother’s role is to endlessly incubate and birth, nurture and protect. To live entirely for her children.

The other side of the divine feminine archetype is the active or transformative aspect. Qualls-Corbett elaborates by quoting from another prominent Jungian analyst, Ann Belford Ulanov:

“This active side of the feminine… invokes primeval forces that take us out of the limitations and conventions of social norms and the reasonable life…. Ecstasy may range from a momentary being taken out of oneself to a profound enlargement of personality.”

This is the side of the divine feminine that Babalon, a.k.a. the Sacred Whore archetype, a.k.a. the tarot’s Lust, belongs to.

What does the active, transformational side of the divine feminine feel like?

  • New Relationship Energy (NRE), the excitement we experience at the beginning of a new romantic relationship.
  • Blissful, deep, gratifying sexual connection with oneself or another
  • Creative energy, coupled with motivation to bring one’s vision to life
  • A renewed sense of potential and possibility, and the willingness to explore those to see where they lead
  • A willingness to take an active role in things that the maternal divine feminine is not usually concerned with, such as external relationships, worldly activities, and personal gratification.

In other words, worshipping the Holy Whore Babalon changes us, because we are attuning with the transformational side of the feminine, the Sacred Whore archetype. When I speak of the personal transformation I help my clients achieve, it is in the spirit of this feminine lifeforce energy, this whole-unto-herself goddess of love and war we call Babalon.

The Sacred Whore uses her own magnetic, creative potential and sacral energy intentionally, to help others awaken to that same energy and potential inherent in themselves. As such, she is much more firmly in control of her own body and magick than a strictly maternal feminine archetype that is passively impregnated and forms, births, and nurtures progeny.

And unlike the Mother, the Whore is a participant in the worldly marketplace, selling access to their time, energy, mind, and body, which are valuable because these assets have been specifically calibrated to help their clients transform in some way, via direct experience of sacred sacral energy.

So when someone hurls the word whore at another person as a misogynist epithet, what are they really criticizing?

  • They are criticizing that person’s personal power and self-determination, especially as it relates to their work, their money, and their sex life.
  • They are criticizing the person for being in touch with their magnetic, creative potential.
  • They are criticizing that person for playing an active, rather than passive, role.
  • They are criticizing that person’s willingness to share all of themselves—even the personal, intimate aspects—with others.
  • And they are accusing that person of debasing themselves, vis-à-vis a very specific masculine, monotheistic worldview that emphasizes woman’s place as
    • in the home,
    • raising children, and
    • providing sexual access to one person,
      • purely for the means to reproduce.

As a self-possessed, female-identifying entrepreneur who does not share that masculine, monotheistic worldview, I don’t see those first four as negative things, and I wholeheartedly reject the last. I would wager that most of my peers would feel likewise.

At the same time, I recognize (and celebrate) that my very presence in the marketplace is a challenge to millennia of the so-called ‘status quo.’ I also understand that any time I portray myself as a sexual being with a will of her own, I invoke the Whore archetype, especially if I’m willing to inhabit my sexuality at the same time as I’m selling absolutely anything at all. And yet, I am inspired by my own potential, my own creative power, and my own gifts and talents that I share with the world.

Does that make me a whore?

Well, aren’t we all selling our time, energy, mind, and/or body—to someone, be they employer, client, or customer—for our livelihoods?

Whores. Aren’t we all?

And if so, why not stand in that power—own it, use it, and celebrate our independence, our self-determination, and our potential?

Why not completely remove the negative, shaming power of that word as an epithet, and instead channel our active feminine archetype deliberately, to help bring about an age of independent, empowered, self-possessed people that are creating a thriving world for all of us to live in?

In my mind’s eye, I see a world in which all people recognize the divine spark within all others, and in which we all contribute our unique talents, unrestrained, with the knowledge that everyone’s contributions are absolutely vital to the whole. In my mind’s eye, I so clearly see a world in which the Sacred Whore leads the way to the self-actualization of humanity as a whole, and it’s an earth-shaking vision.

May Mystery, Babalon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and Abominations, bless us all with Her love, lust, and transformative magick, that we may know and experience our own divine sparks, for the good of all humanity.

In Nomine Babalon!

The Lusty Mage Reviews… F*ck Like a Goddess: Heal Yourself. Reclaim Your Voice. Stand in Your Power. by Alexandra Roxo

Right after I shared my last blog post, a dear friend sent me an email with the link to Alexandra Roxo’s newest offering. Book nerd and incorrigible book collector that I am, I promptly ordered and devoured it in less than twenty-four hours.

After gorging myself on the juiciness of the first pass-through, I’ve immediately started right back in on working through all the exercises in earnest…

 

 

So, let me start with this: if you are interested in practicing sex magick, reigniting your sex life, or effectuating rapid personal transformation, but don’t know where to start, F*ck Like a Goddess: Heal Yourself. Reclaim Your Voice. Stand in Your Power. is the guide to sexual and personal alchemy that will become fundamental to your work.*

This is real, deep-shadow work, packaged in an empowering, compassionate, and easy to follow format. The exercises are easily executed, and although they appear deceptively simple, they pack a wallop! Before I could even complete the first one, I’d already had some pretty astounding realizations about my own path to transformation, and shed a few tears of deep truth, too.

Roxo meets us where we are on the path to reclaiming our sexuality, wherever that may be. The book is well-researched, nonjudgmental, and reflects a wide range of magickal experience. With a personal story that is deeply resonant to me and I’m guessing many other women too, Roxo invites us into the sacred temple of sacred sexuality, wraps her arms around us, and whispers, welcome home, sister. In short, it’s a book I’ll happily admit that I wish I had written, but I’m so grateful that she did so I, too, can be a recipient of its incredible gift.

Not only is Roxo brilliantly connected to today’s current of sexual reclamation and divine feminine celebration, but I was also thrilled to discover that she, too, had an intuitive learning relationship with the incomparable Bobby Drinnon! I couldn’t help but feel an immediate kinship with her. And although I haven’t traveled the globe or made illuminating films the way she has, I found her to be relatable and funny, and the feelings that underlie her narrative are universal.

In closing, two enthusiastic wands up! You can expect to see FLaG on my recommended reading lists and referenced in my sex witch courses to come!

 

 

*Full Disclosure: this blog post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase the product through my link, I will receive a small commission on the linked item.

 

10 Easy Ways to Re-Explore Sex (That Won’t Get You Arrested or Fired)

Did you ever stop questioning your sexual practices…and forget to start again?

I sure did.

For years, the mantra I had around sexuality (and lots of other things, for that matter) was I don’t do that. I never thought to ask myself why. I just knew I wanted to be A Good Person™, and that’s what Good People™ do. Even long after converting to paganism, I still unknowingly harbored remnants of the repressive and destructive beliefs that are the monotheistic patriarchy’s calling card.

Fast forward to my mid-30s, when I was having an identity crisis and moment of reckoning with my very vanilla, very strait-laced, very boring life. In a moment of clarity, I remembered that I used to love sex. I used to enjoy it, to crave it, to rule with it. Somewhere along the way, sex had lost that energetic charge for me.

I realized sex had become…perfunctory.

Once I could see what was missing, I began poking and prodding at my sex life. I got curious about my attitude toward it, and I decided to revisit everything I thought I knew about myself and sex.

And do you know what I found? Lots of stuff I knew virtually nothing about, but had decided ‘wasn’t for me’ a long time ago. Now I could find no reason to rule these whole categories of intimacy out of my life. In checking these out for myself, I discovered some old boundaries held up; others didn’t. Some things I tried still weren’t for me, but others…were freaking fantastic, and brought great growth in my confidence, happiness, and satisfaction with my life and my marriage.

If you’re reading this and thinking, I could never do that, I invite you to go on a sexual expedition like I did. Now, don’t go immediately stampeding toward your hardest “no” activities! Start off with the mild stuff. Open a private or incognito window in your browser and let your curiosity lead the way in a Googling session. If even this idea is intimidating, remember that human sexuality is a broad spectrum, with lots of room for “normal.” We should feel free to indulge in what turns us on, and leave the rest, with no shame or guilt—sex should be fun, not scary or shameful.

I’ve also heard anecdotes of people thinking that they can get fired from their jobs for having a sex life, or even worse, thinking that something on the kinkier side of the spectrum is all-out illegal! Let me reassure you: as long as you’re not involving children or animals, hurting an adult without their consent, or watching an adult be hurt without their consent, you’re ok. Keep your private life separate from your public life, and you’re free to enjoy your sexy self to the fullest! So now, without further ado, I give you…

10 Easy Ways to Re-Explore Sex (That Won’t Get You Arrested or Fired)

  1. Follow sex worker activists, pleasure advocates, and ethical non-monogamists on social media. There are tons of people on Twitter and Instagram especially, as well as podcasts. These activists, advocates, and educators are great thought leaders on equity, rights, privacy, risk awareness and safer sex practices, sexual ethics, and sexual creativity and enjoyment. More than once, I have discovered unhealthy and unhelpful beliefs I was unknowingly harboring by listening to and reading perspectives that are different from my own. Their perspectives have broadened mine, and released me from guilt and shame that kept me from exploring all the other things on this list, which is why I’m putting this one first. Some of my favorites are Whores of Yore on Twitter, Erika Lust on Instagram, and the Life on the Swingset podcast. And as always, once you find one you like, you’re hot on the trail of more!
  2. Visit a sex-positive sex shop. Ask questions. The staff in sex-positive sex shops are more than happy to answer your questions (and I promise, they’ve heard them all, so don’t be shy!), make recommendations, and show you around the shop. That they have chosen to work in a sex-positive shop means they value sex and all the wonderful things it does for our health and wellbeing. As an added bonus, they know all about the latest and greatest in sex toys, lubes, books, and all things sexy. In Nashville, I recommend Lovebound because it’s sex-positive, and women-owned and -operated.
  3. Buy an outfit that you feel sexy in. Wear it. This one is so simple, and yet so powerful, y’all. I think many of us get so caught up in building a professional or “respectable” wardrobe, that we mentally eliminate a large swath of self-expression that is possible via clothing. Let me be the first to say, you deserve to look good and feel good about the way you look. Every body is hot and beautiful. Every. Body. Dress yours up to your sexy satisfaction, even if it’s just at home for yourself. Take some pictures of that fine ass, that gorgeous cleavage, those bedroom eyes! Sexy selfies can be put in a hidden folder on your phone, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally revealing all the goods while you’re trying to show someone pics from the family vacay.
  4. Explore makeup, jewelry, and accessories that you could never wear because you find them slutty or shameful. Think red lipstick, lingerie, stiletto heels, tight or short clothing. Ask yourself why can’t you wear that? Is being slutty or whorish the worst possible thing you could be? Are you afraid of looking easy or attracting attention from the wrong people? You may discover the root of your fears about sex, so that you can eradicate them. Or you may find that when you put aside the judgements you were taught to have, you discover that you love the look of a red pout, you feel adventurous when you wear lingerie under your work clothes, or you love the look of your legs in stilettos. And there are infinite options and combinations to try, if for no other reason than to indulge your creativity and celebrate how stunningly beautiful YOU ARE.
  5. Look into boudoir photography. Now that you have a hot outfit or two, and possibly some fun accessories, wouldn’t it be cool to have another reason to wear them? There’s something about channeling your inner sex kitten and having it memorialized in photos that really revs up your libido and confidence. Most boudoir photographers provide makeup and hair styling, and are happy to walk you through picking outfits, posing, and mastering your facial expressions. These talented professionals know how to put you at ease and photograph you in the best possible light. No matter your age, weight, height, hang-ups, or insecurities, they can show you the sexiness others see, but you can’t. I’ll be honest, having a boudoir photo session is, to this day, some of the best money I’ve ever spent—those images reminded me of the immense power I wield as a woman, and of the part of me that thoroughly enjoys being sexual. In the Nashville area, I highly recommend Kristen Fonville Boudoir Photography—I’ve had both a boudoir and a headshot session with her, and am super-pleased with the images from both!
  6. Watch Sex with Sunny Megatron on Showtime. This eight-episode series is fun, funny, open, informative, and hot! The host, Sunny Megatron, is a pleasure advocate, and it’s readily apparent that she loves her work. Each show covers a variety of interesting topics—some you’ve probably never heard of, some sure to pique your interest, and some guaranteed to make you go hmmm… Give yourself permission to watch with fun curiosity and no judgement, and to feel whatever you feel—good, bad, or indifferent—with no shame attached. You just might surprise yourself!
  7. Check out erotica. Erotica, which is decidedly racier than romance, is essentially porn in written form. It also happens to be one of the most comfortable formats for women to explore their tastes in porn. There are so many places to find good erotica–printed short story collections, novels, fan fic(tion), and online forums, just to start. Open up a private browser window, and google away! Sites like Holistic Wisdom offer amateur stories and a chance to submit your own, if you’re feeling adventurous. You can check out the erotica section in your used book store, or this great list of websites from Bustle. There are plenty of options, and if one short story falls flat, you can always move onto the next one without feeling like you’ve invested too much time. Quick and easy!
  8. Try watching or looking at some porn. If you are a newbie to porn, prepare to be overwhelmed by the sheer diversity of offerings out there. If you can think of it, there’s porn for it! Try to approach it all with an open mind, and dabble. Regardless of whether something turns you on or not, let there be NO SHAME about it. Try to look at the material with NEW eyes, not the attitude you’ve always had. There is much that can be said about pornography—enough for a whole article by itself—and I know for many of us who’ve been raised as feminists, porn is often regarded as degrading and destructive. However, there are folks out there who are producing sex-positive pornography that centers healthy pleasure for all parties, and the more we support them, the more likely the industry will evolve to meet our needs more often. Also, if you grew up during the age of porn based on ridiculous and hokey stories that turn you off (hello, pool man/pizza delivery guy/plumber!), you may be pleasantly surprised to find there is a plethora of amateur couple videos, photos, and even sexy gifs out there. The overall effect is to skip the silly back stories and get straight to the goods—gotta love efficiency!
  9. Keep a sexy dream journal. Keeping a dream journal is a great practice in general, because dreams are the window into our subconscious selves. It’s easy to do—just keep a small journal and a pen at your bedside and record notes on what you dreamed as soon as you wake up. Make sure you include how you felt about what was happening and who else was there. The same applies when you have a sexy dream—what happened, with whom, and how did you feel about it? Your feelings are the most important part, because they reveal where you stand with regard to fears and desires. Dreams can lead the way on what to explore next and what needs adjustment. And sex dreams are a great way to meet your animus/anima, or your Holy Guardian Angel, who often appears as a talented lover who knows you better than anyone has ever known you.
  10. Make a list of sex no-no’s and systematically revisit them. This is the list I referred to earlier. Brainstorm all the sexual practices you can think of, have heard of, or learned about. Then read up on them, watch some porn on them, read a novel that involves them…assess for yourself with no outside influence, and decide if in fact they are or are not something you want to try out in real life. Then, armed with a list of titillating fantasies, you can set off on an adventure of trying those new things.
  11. BONUS! Challenge yourself to do something you feel is “naughty,” perhaps one per month. Does the activity turn you on or off? Why? Putting these things into words, to your partner or even only to yourself, will help you identify your real likes and dislikes. The more we understand ourselves, the more fun and fulfilling sex can be, and isn’t that the real goal?

Above all, no shame. Shame is the magick killer. Your sexuality is yours and yours alone. Explore it, enjoy it, own it. It’s one of the easiest and most pleasurable ways to access your unique magick, and next time, we’ll talk about some ways to begin using all that sexual energy. Until then, happy humping! 😉

The Lusty Mage’s Crash Course in Sex Magick

Perhaps you’ve noticed my frequent references to sexuality, sensuality, and sexiness recently, and it’s got you wondering, what’s up with THAT?

Well, I’ve been amping up the sexy talk because a large part of my own transformational journey over the past several years is a result of exploring my own sexuality again for the first time in decades. And although I haven’t had what I would call a change of orientation, I have been struck by several epiphanies along the way…

Mainly, I had this crazy realization that all sex is magick, and all magick is sex.

Most people readily recognize that sex is magickal and sacred when it results in pregnancy. But on its most basic level, sex is still sacred even when no babies come of it…even when the parties involved are not cis-gendered, heterosexual people…even when the parties involved are just one party (stay tuned—more about non-hetero love and masturbation to come in a later post)

Sex is always among the most sacred of human acts.

Yes, sometimes sexy playtime opens the portal for a new soul to incarnate; but most times, what we’re really doing is opening ourselves up to be charged, changed, and even challenged. Sex with open hearts creates connection, love, and intimacy; when it’s focused on passion, sex yields creative expression, ecstasy, and inspiration…

Put plainly and simply, sex is marvelous and miraculous.

During the deed, we experience the fleeting sensation of being god-like in our power to create new life. Even when we aren’t seeking or even capable of it, that primal human memory of baby-making still holds sway. In the throes of passion, we also experience la petite mort, or the tiny death, of orgasm—when everything but pleasure and intensity fades away to nothingness. It’s nothing short of holy.

But here in the U.S. (as I’m sure you’ve noticed), sex is traditionally viewed with side eye. We don’t trust it. It’s is something to be feared, shunned, or at the very least, wary of. From a young age, we’re taught certain sexual boundaries and to never question them. Our culture is rife with these messages (and many more):

  • Don’t do it outside of marriage.
  • Only do it with your spouse.
  • Missionary, no toys, and only to get pregnant.
  • Once you have kids, your sex life is over.
  • Once you’re __ years old, your sex life is over.
  • Avoid anything “strange” or “kinky.”
  • Sex is dirty, shameful, risky, scandalous, blasphemous, and base.

All of these ideas are incredibly destructive to our ability to freely and openly enjoy this integral part of the human experience. Incidentally or not so incidentally, these oppressive ideas cut us off from a natural way to experience our own power, as well as the wonder and awe of the ineffable. It would seem that the broader social structure has a vested interest in keeping each of us isolated, unplugged, adrift, and unempowered. But I digress…

The fact is, sex is one of the most accessible, yet profound ways that we work magick on this plane.

The controversial iconoclast and occultist Aleister Crowley defined magick as, “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” Sex certainly falls into this category, as it is a scientific (and artistic in the right hands 😉) method by which we generate new life, emotional bonds, pleasure, safety…and oh yeah, orgasms. Sometimes we do it go to sleep, to improve our mood, to feel more alive, or to feel wanted. In short, we set out to make some kind of change in ourselves and/or our lovers with sexual acts, and when we accomplish them, we are performing magick.

So there you can see how all sex causes change and thus is magickal, even when we don’t set out to perform magick.

But how is the reverse true? How is all magick sexual?

Well, to explain that requires a slightly broader conception of sex than just two people fucking. To understand sex in a magickal context, we need to think of it as combining two distinct conditions/entities/forces. Put simply, we perform magick any time we make the two, one.

That is to say, we perform magick when we merge duality (opposites) into a singularity. During sexual acts, we merge the male and female (or active and receptive, to use non-gendered terms) into one entity or result. In fact, thinking of sexual intercourse as a merger is so common that Shakespeare once euphemized it as, “making the beast with two backs.”

But to let you in on a huge little magickal secret, there is really only One, and you and I and everything we know is part of the One.

All dualities are really just multiple facets of the same One: self and other, male and female, light and dark, good and evil, above and below. When we eliminate the seeming contradiction between two conditions, we necessarily merge them into one reality—into one beast, if you will.

Sexual intercourse is just another melding of duality into One, when Force (the masculine or active) and Form (the feminine or receptive) meet to create the whole, The All. This whole (a.k.a. God, YHVH, Elohim, Light, Spirit, Source, etc.), is neither masculine nor feminine, active nor passive—the Divine is All. And we and our lover together become a tiny version of the All when we surrender our singular selves to the meeting of minds, bodies, fluid, breath, and spirit. In that moment of ecstatic merging, we achieve the fundamental magickal decree, “as above, so below,” by becoming a microcosm of the Divine’s macrocosm.

The same is true when we perform other types of magick. Take casting a spell for money, for instance. By doing spell work for money, you are attempting to eliminate the incongruence between having and not having, so that you can feel luxurious at all times, which leads abundance to ‘magickally’ find its way into your luxurious possession.

Because all magick hinges on merging duality into singularity, all magick is inherently sexual.

But beyond the lofty philosophy of the magickal properties of gettin’ it on, sex is fun. It’s hot and tantalizing, exciting and empowering. It’s creative. It’s transformative and transcendent. It’s ENERGY. Generating and directing energy is the main mechanism of magick, and what do you think you’re doing when you’re working on turning yourself and your lover on?

Ultimately, what re-exploring the world of sex has shown me is that we are each capable of moving and influencing a staggering amount of energy through our willingness to engage our unique sexuality.

I’ve seen how increasing my attunement to sexual currents not only electrifies my sex life, but also super-charges my creativity and courage in other ways, including my willingness to share myself with others and be seen. In fact, you’re reading one of those manifestations right this moment.

If you’ve read this far, perhaps you feel stuck, too, like I once did. Perhaps you miss the way you used to enjoy your sex life, or maybe you’re tired of fighting heaviness and boredom in search of creativity and fun. The more familiar this sounds, the more I encourage you to stay tuned for next time, when I’ll share some ways to dip your toes back into the sexy pool

In the meantime, I’m available to consult with you on YOUR specific situation—let’s pull some cards, let’s dive deep, let’s talk about how we can support you in accessing your power to follow your true purpose. Whether you choose to work with me or not, I encourage you to engage in the sacred work of rekindling your own sexual power.  Life is fleeting and precious—please don’t waste it. You have nothing to lose, and so very much to gain.

Naked Athena? Call Her by Her Real Name

Stunning photos and film clips of a female protester in Portland, Oregon are circulating on Twitter and in mainstream media the last few days. Clad in nothing but a mask and a hat, a mysterious woman single-handedly faced off a large group of armed federal law enforcement officers during a dangerous and escalating protest by displaying herself naked in the No Man’s Land that formed between the officers and protesters at the intersection of Third Avenue and Taylor Street.

Video clips of the encounter document that she showed no sign of trepidation or intimidation, and approached the line of law enforcement with grace and no small measure of seduction. Several accounts of the anonymous protester describe her assuming a number of poses during her silent confrontation with law enforcement, the range of which spanned from meditative to seductive. At one point, she sat down on the pavement, opened her legs, and unabashedly welcomed the gaze of the mostly male officers. After approximately 10 minutes of her tantalizing standoff, the officers dispersed, and she disappeared into the crowd, unharmed.

She has been hailed as “Naked Athena” by the media, and I wholeheartedly agree that her actions were nothing short of divinely inspired. But if I may be so bold, I think attributing the protester’s inspiration to Athena is paying homage to the wrong goddess.

Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and war, was a fierce warrior who was known for her intelligence and strategy. And though the anonymous protester was fearlessly facing an armed, hostile force while she herself was armed with only the gifts with which she was born, the media seems to be forgetting (if they ever knew) that Athena was first and foremost a Daddy’s Girl. Athena was known to be a defender of Her father, Zeus, and His rule, excellent at debate and strategy, and downright terrifying on the battlefield. In short, Athena is the Princess of Swords.

And though it’s deliciously tempting to compare this protester to mighty and terrifying Athena, I must point out that Athena would’ve been leading the line of law enforcement, defending the patriarchy and Her father’s rule.

However.

There was a goddess present in the street that night, clad in the flesh and blood of a mortal woman brazenly displaying herself on the pavement for all to see, inviting lust, worship, admiration, and fear.

There was a goddess leading the activists and their call for justice. A goddess in the form of a graceful, beautiful, and terrifying woman who is not bound by the rules, judgments, and constrictions imposed by such impermanent things as nation-states.

There was a goddess standing guard in Portland that night, leading Her people to stand up for themselves, their justice, their lives, their loves. She is something very different from Athena’s ruthless and calculating Princess of Swords. This is a goddess of fire, blood, lust, and ecstasy. Someone who looks much more like the Queen of Wands.

Her glorious name is BABALON: Our Lady the Scarlet Woman, The Mother of Abominations, the Bride of Chaos.

Babalon is the Western esoteric name for the Sumerian goddess Inanna and the Babylonian goddess Ishtar. Her role in attaining enlightenment is to receive all and deny none. All those who give themselves over completely in worship of Her are drained into Her cup of abominations—sucked dry in a fit of carnal ecstasy, if you will. It’s a metaphor for the death and rebirth of ego surrender, which every prophet, saint, and savior achieves in order to reach enlightenment. Babalon is the vehicle for return to the Light, the Source, the All. The whole of Babalon’s teachings are couched in an allegory of sexual relations, because orgasm is a tiny death—a sacred, transcendental experience that gives mere mortals a glimpse into the ineffable, infinite light of Source.

Thus, Babalon is a goddess of sacred metamorphosis, an archetype of defiantly female sexual impurity heralding transformation and evolution, emphasizing that the sacred and profane are one and the same. She is beyond beautiful—the fullness of sexual pleasure, the embodiment of divine feminine sexuality and carnal knowledge. That is her loving side.

The power which our anonymous protester marshaled and displayed in the simple act of sharing her body without condition or malice—to such a degree that a large force of angry and anxious warriors was temporarily disarmed by surprise and the sheer wonder of beauty and attraction—was nothing less than the deliverance of the Divine Feminine, of BABALON the Beautiful Herself.

For a moment, there was a retreat from the brink of deterioration, madness, and desecration; for a moment, no one was hurt. For a moment, Third Avenue was simply filled with people—each and every single one precious and divine and worthy of love.

Babalon as seen in The Thoth Tarot, holding aloft Her cup of abominations while astride the Beast of Chaos.

But, Our Lady of Abominations also has a warring side. Because She is the Bride of Chaos and the divine embodiment of transformation and evolution, Babalon is also the goddess of war, activism, empowerment, and revolution. Girt with sword, unimpeded by gods, and covered in the blood of sacrifice, this is the goddess who will see justice be done. This is no victim’s deity. She takes back what has been stolen, rights the wrongs, returns the balance.

As this long, hot summer wears on, and as the sea change in the course of American history continues, may we be inspired by Our Lady to continue the fight for righteousness and universal equity. May we find divine joy in love as well as in struggle. May we be welcomed into Her arms of Love and Her arms of Justice.

IN NOMINE BABALON