Sex Work

YOLO in the Garden of Earthly Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch

Yesterday my partner and I were talking about ideas for starting our own business. The idea that rocketed to the top of the list was a consultation business for sexual acceptance of self. Whatever one’s gender preference, whatever one’s orientation, whatever one’s kink, or darkest, strangest, trippiest, or even vanilla sexual desires or no desires at all, it’s all alright. We’re all wired the way we’re wired. And there are safe, sane and consensual outlets for those desires to be met.  We can help!

While we were brainstorming, I realized that I started to recoil a bit. I was immediately worried that by getting into a sex-based business, I was somehow short-changing myself. That there were more important things for me to do in this life, why would I do that?

But then I thought, WAIT A MINUTE! What’s wrong with it? Why am I falling into the same trap of the very people we want to help?

Paris Hilton, hamburger eating übermensch, handing down the moral decree that size matters.

The strange truth about our culture in America is, we are sent mixed, confusing messages daily about sex daily. If you’re a woman, you’re suppose to be both liberated and modest. If you’re a man, you’re suppose to be both aggressive and sensitive. The media bombards us with flashes of objectified humans and psychologically ambushes us with products to make us all sexier, sharper, hyper-aggressive, übermensches. But you’re not supposed to act on those airs you purchased; you’re just suppose to look the part.  

With no national dialogue on sex. We’re all a bundle of neurotic wrecks on the subject, including me. My mother was so hung up on sex that I never thought I could talk to her about it. I group up terminally embarrassed about the subject so there was so much I didn’t know until I got to college. But if I’m honest with myself, I learned most of what I know about sex through the internet like most people today.

 I’ve met women who so identified with sexual purity due to their Christian fundamentalist upbringing, that they were unable to shed that identity when they got married. They were just suddenly expected to let go what was drilled into their minds since they were young children.  They didn’t know who they were if not a virgin!

BDSM symbol

And that is why we need more people out there helping communities to gain a healthier understanding of sex, sexual orientation and gender in this country. Too many people think there is something wrong with themselves because they like something “deviant” or “immoral.” Often times what they are into is rather normal, they just don’t know it because people rarely open up and talk about it. People worry if they like sex too much, they worry if they don’t like it enough.  God help then if they find they like having pain inflicted on them, or they like to inflict it on others. They bury these fears because they’re not supposed to like it by the standards of social norms.

It’s when these things are buried and unacknowledged that they become misshapen and grow into deviant monsters that hurt others. When we are aware of the shadow and start to integrate it, we can find constructive outlets for our desires and partners who are more aligned and eagerly willing to participate in our sexual needs.

A literal blackhole shadow! So dense it will bench press your soul.

So much ends up in that shadow, it’s got to be made of the most super dense material on the entire planet! I believe that to be the case. I think Americans are really good at super packing their shadows with dark treats just waiting to bite us all on the ass one day. It’s okay if you like that sort of thing, I don’t judge.

It’s healthy to talk about sex. What is not healthy is to not talk about it. So, my own shadow work this week will be to uncover why I recoiled when I really thought about a business that centered on sexual acceptance. Is it my Catholic background rearing its head, a fear of being rejected by my family, or something deeper?  

Embracing the Magic

Yeah, that’s all gonna have to come off.

For a while now I’ve been contemplating the reality that so many of us deny our own magic. Why is it that those of us who seek to recognize the magic in our soul, must go through years of intense shadow therapy to scratch the surface of our nature’s true core so that we can create a united will that will let us shine in our magical brilliance? One would expect that this shadow work needs to be done for anyone wishing to embrace the magic within, but it seems that we run into what I would term as excessive muck. Even once the outer layers of filth are removed, one must apply the proverbial scrapers and picks to skin off the tar, plaque and barnacles that have accumulated over years of systematic abuse and societal programming. The work, it seems, is never truly done.

A good friend of mine, Nick Mather of Dreaming Green, sent me a video from the movie, Samsara, that perfectly nails the visualization of how our psyches are attacked and taken over in a constant barrage of promises of wealth, happiness and beauty that give the illusion that we have some control over our lives. But this is a demonic spell we are under. The message, it turns out, is nothing more than layer upon layer of fear and crippling self-doubt, which keeps us working for the machine. We believe that if we work hard enough, keep our noses clean and don’t make too much noise, we will be rewarded. Except the reward never comes.

Office Man, from the film Samsara

I’m sure the behemoth looks like something out of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.

So here we are. Just a handful of shamans and witches in a world full of demonic forces in which most of the people have been scooped up into the behemoth industrial structure. I imagine some mechanical monstrosity held together now mostly with duct tape, rust and wads of chewed gum. And as insanely terrifying as it is, people believe in it and serve it. They can’t get out of its demonic thrall. My friend Nick likened our modern fascination with ourselves to the myth of Narcissus, who wasted away in the thrall of his own image in the water. But today it’s not even our own image, it’s an artificially constructed image. I think the key is there and why it is so worse now in the digital age than ever before. It’s the deception of a false image being made to appear as our own. We’re not looking at ourselves, we’re looking at simulacrum, which is distorted with false ideals of beauty and success. If we stripped off the veneer, we’d be left with something that more accurately depicts the portrait of Dorian Gray; something terrifying and wrought with its own corrupt, corrosive forces. Basically, we’ve each been lured into the trap with our own shadow, which is why it works so well.

Dorian Gray, by Ivan Albright

So, how did we come to this and what can be done about it?

I’ve discovered that much of the spiritual work I’ve done through my whole life has left out the physical world and concentrates on the spiritual realms. That’s really been the main problem all along. Spiritually, most of us have been taught to value the higher realm of God. We ignore the physical world around us at a great cost. The feminine, worldly aspects of spirituality have been stripped away in so many belief systems because it is viewed as lesser rather than the equal partner of the masculine, mystical aspects. This has left our world with a severe hormonal imbalance that is life threatening to the entire planet.  

A colorized version of the Above and the Below. Opus Medico Chymicum, by Daniel Mylius

In Alchemy, we often hear the principle of correspondence translated to “as above, so below, as below, so above.” However, this is not how it’s written in the translations we have of the Emerald Tablet, which is reputed to have been written by Hermes Trismegistus (the tablet has never been found, but many translations of it exist). The Emerald Tablet words this carefully because it is an alchemical formula for us to follow. It states, “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing.” 1 We too often forget that we need to start with the Below if we’re going to work up to the Above. We exist in the physical world and it is here where we begin the whole process. Acting as though we are already lofty entities of great spiritual power is not only hubris, it’s psychotic. The act of world-creating demands that we unite the Below and the Above; these two worlds reflect each other. So, valuing only the Above and treating the Below as though it is trash, leads us into the scenario we are living out today.

Embracing the Divine Feminine and witch within has allowed me to pull the physical world into my spiritual practice. Witches, warlocks, shaman, medicine men and women, spiritual gurus, light workers and warriors, all know that we start in the physical world. We begin with Gaia and connect to the Anima Mundi, the World Spirit. It is from there that we can connect to the spiritual world of the Above to create our world Below in its image.

What I’ve learned from this process is to do away with ideas of sin and shame, which are completely unproductive and only work to sabotage us. Sin and shame, these two twins of destruction, keep us immobilized and trapped in the demonic snare of our current system. This is the muck that covers us unless we commit to the work of freeing ourselves from them.  It’s taken me nearly my entire life to learn this lesson so that I can just begin the process of shadow therapy. I’ve already cleared so much of it; I feel lighter and happier. But there is more to do. I have so much gratitude for witches like Carolyn Elliott and Lisa Lister for helping me to see how to embrace my inner witch — that lushes, gorgeous, powerful. magician within — and bring her forward. They taught me that the physical world is necessary, beautiful, and magical, but we also must remember to be a fully immersed part of it.

The Magic Circle, by John William Waterhouse

1 Hauck, D. W. (1999). The Emerald Tablet: Alchemy for Personal Transformation. New York, NY: Penguin Compass.