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