Opening to Sacred Sexuality

I’m a prude. Well, not entirely, though I do have quite a few hangups when it comes to sex and sexuality.

Working with Aphrodite for almost a year definitely helped bring healing to some of my issues, mostly around body acceptance, self-love, and appreciating my own beauty. For those things, I am immensely grateful!

Sex-positive-and-negativeI’m currently taking a class on Sacred Sexuality at the Wiccan Seminary. And I’m learning so much about myself, and working more on becoming more comfortable with the idea of being a sexual creature.

I was raised with the idea that sex is sinful, bad, and dirty, as many Westerners, especially Christians, are. Eve was the source of original sin, and so women bear the curse of Eve, being cast out of the Garden of Eden.

Sex education in school was partly gender education – what happens to your body as you go through puberty – and partly sex discouragement – if you have sex, you will get a sexually transmitted disease or pregnant or both. Masturbation is also bad, or at the very least, not encouraged.

Sex before marriage was taboo. Teenage pregnancy was shameful. If you had sex in high school, you were a stud if you were male, but you were a slut if you were female. And heaven forbid you actually enjoy it as a woman! Sex is only for the purpose of producing children.

Wicca is a fertility religion. It, and really most branches of Paganism that I have encountered, are sex positive, meaning sex is something that is joyful, and pleasurable, and natural, and even healthy, between consenting adults. “The Goddess [God] is beautiful in ALL Her [His] forms,” celebrates body positivity and acceptance.

That doesn’t mean that there are tons of wild orgies, or that we have sex at all our rituals, or that Pagans are promiscuous. (As always, that may be true of some individuals, though not a generality of the whole group.) If that were the case, I probably would have run screaming and never come back. It would have been too big a step for me to take.

This idea that sex is beautiful and natural, joyful and pleasurable, though, while I yearn for this, I still have a hard time with it sometimes. I find myself feeling guilt or shame around wanting sex, or not wanting sex. I’m curious to learn more ways to share and make love with my husband, and yet, I have a hard time even talking about sex with him. Sex magic intrigues me and scares me at the same time.

I’m still a baby on my journey towards sex positivity. I’m lucky to have some pretty great role models in the Pagan community, people who are comfortable in their bodies, who take joy in their lovemaking and aren’t afraid to talk about it, and even joke about it.

I’m probably going to get a ton of spam with all this talk about sex. I’m ready for that. We need to make it more open and less shameful. And the more positive information there is, the better.

What is your experience with sex and sexuality? Is it something you are comfortable with, or still have hangups about? I look forward to hearing your stories. Let’s get more positive conversations going!



Reflections of Aphrodite

Spring Mysteries Festival is now over for another year. Life returns to its slightly less frantic pace. I’m home, mostly rested, and falling back into my regular routine.

There’s a bit of post-festival let-down, for sure. Being in that magical space, with amazing people – most of whom I only get to see once or twice a year – and helping to facilitate transformation is exhilarating and incredibly rewarding. It’s my other real world.

Peter Paul Rubens Venus (Aphrodite) at a mirror ca 615Looking back on the past few months, I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to work so closely with Aphrodite. She has challenged me on so many levels. And so I have grown in a lot of ways.

Our modern society portrays Aphrodite as a bubble-headed bombshell who only cares about sex. I had the chance to discover that she is so much more than that.

The Goddess of Love and Beauty and Pleasure sees the bigger picture. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Growth requires change. It requires stepping outside your comfort zone. And yes, sometimes that means you may get hurt. But it’s better than dying.

The message that Aphrodite shared most often this weekend (and therefore, the message that was also meant for me) is that you have to love yourself before you can truly love others and receive love from others. Look in the mirror and say, “Hello, beautiful, Goddess (or handsome God). I love you!” Do it even if you don’t believe it – ESPECIALLY if you don’t believe it – repeat it daily until you do. Have fun, enjoy the pleasures of this physical form: the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and touch. And yes, even the pain has something to teach you.

I received many compliments last weekend that have helped reinforce the work I have done. I thought perhaps I might miss the compliments after the festival, and I don’t really. I feel so much more confident and comfortable in my body as it is than I did at the start of this journey. And I am so very grateful.

Though I will not be working as closely with Aphrodite, I know She will always be there if I need her. I am familiar with her energy, and I can recognize it and call upon it.

For all of you who have been afraid of working with Aphrodite, like I was, I encourage you to continue. She is gentle and compassionate when needed, saucy and irreverent when needed, and pushy as all get out if you don’t listen the first time! The growth is worth the effort, though.



My Body is My Temple

I’ve noticed a shift in myself in the last few weeks.

I was in a car accident when I was 8 years old.  I’m not telling you this to get sympathy, because I really don’t want to identify with it any longer. I tell you this so you know what a big deal this shift is. After the car accident, I was told not to run or jump, because it would hurt my back. At eight years old, it was a great excuse to get out of my least favorite class – gym.

I still danced for many years – up until the rest of my class went on pointe, and I was the only one who didn’t. Ballet was really the last time I remember physical activity being enjoyable, other than swimming.

Love My ShapeFast forward to the last two years. In various books, card readings and from other sources, I’ve been receiving the message that to raise my vibration higher, I need to improve the health of my body. By comparison with much of North American society, I am pretty healthy. I rarely get sick, and I eat a mostly healthy diet. And yet, I am still overweight, according to my body mass index, and I feel pain more often than I like to admit.

Up until the last few weeks, exercise has been a means to an end. It’s something I have to do because I want to raise my vibration. I don’t really enjoy it. And I haven’t been able to stick with it for too long.

The last month, though, something has shifted. I already wrote that I have cut back on sugar. And now, I am wanting to exercise. It’s very strange for me!

And also, for the first time in…I have no idea how long, I really appreciate my body.  It’s not easy to explain. There are still things I want to change about my body, and I find it more beautiful than I ever have. I want to exercise because it serves my body. I want to eat well because my body really is my temple, and not just the flesh that contains my spirit.

My Body is My TempleI’m aware for the first time that enlightenment is not just a mental or spiritual feat. It encompasses all aspects of life – physical, mental, emotional AND spiritual. It is really a simple discovery, and so profound! I am grateful I understand this now, before any major illnesses struck me.  I serve my body, that my body may continue to serve me.



Happy Valentine’s Day to ME!

Ah, Valentine’s Day.  Festival of LOVE. Favorite holiday of florists, jewelers and candy shop owners.  A day that reminds of of whether we have a wonderful relationship, a not-so-hot relationship, or just a cat.

Valentine’s Day seems to either be very romantic, or very depressing for most people I know.  My husband generally refuses to celebrate because it is a “Hallmark Holiday,” an excuse for retailers to guilt people into spending. When we first got married, I was upset by this.  Now, I’ve decided to take a different view of this day.

This Valentine’s Day, I am going to honor the most important person in my life, the one I love and admire the most: ME!I Love ME!

It’s not about the flowers and the chocolates.  It’s about honoring myself. I’m taking time to fill up my cup, to be open about where I am at and what I am feeling.  To pamper myself in small, but significant ways.  The best part is, I don’t need to spend a dime to make myself feel important and loved.

So, I had a nice long soak in the bath, and did every beauty treatment on myself that I could.  I painted my toenails, and treated my hair.  I masqued my face and shaved my legs.  I even used an aromatherapy sea salt scrub.  I took my time reading a book, and cut out a pattern for a dress I plan to make.  I took a long walk in the woods with my boys, and made chocolate chip cookies.  There was no rush at all to the day.

I feel wonderful! I feel pampered and appreciated, and most of all, I feel loved.  I’m not dependent on others to feel this way.  But when I truly love myself, others reflect it back to me.  And that is a truly precious gift to give myself!

Just doing some searching online, it turns out that February 13th is “Madly in Love with ME Day!” Without knowing about it, I totally embraced that holiday!

How will you love yourself today?