Although paganism can trace its roots to thousands of years before the birth of Christ, modern paganism as a religious movement exists outside the circle of popular mainstream religions such as Christianity and Islam. Unlike the major monotheistic religions which believe in the existence of one God and take their directives from a holy book, paganism is polytheistic and isn’t based on any kind of liturgy or doctrine. Paganism usually involves the worship of the natural world, both a god and goddess, pantheons, and/or witchcraft. Wiccans, druids, shamans, sacred ecologists, odinists and heathens are some of the examples of modern day pagans. Different types of pagans have their own belief system and methods of worship. On a few occasions, the rituals also tend to involve intimate sexual activities. This post will try and shed some light on some of the prominent pagan sexual rituals and dispel some myths associated with them.
Ceremonial rituals are among the most common ways of worship among pagan individuals. These rituals often include meditation, music, chanting, prayer, dancing, pouring of libations, and the sharing of food and drinks. However, when most people hear the term “pagan ritual”, they think pagan sexual rituals. The mere mention of that term floods the minds of listeners with curious questions and vivid visualizations loaded with sexual fantasies. Most people outside the pagan circles are not well versed with what actually goes on during pagan rituals. One common assumption is that there is a whole lot of lovin’ taking place. Well, pagan rituals are, in fact, a reality, but they aren’t exactly what most people may be envisioning. Here is the truth behind pagan “lovemaking” rituals.
The Great Rite
As far as pagan and wiccan rituals are concerned, the Great Rite is one of the most prominent and common ones. The Great Rite is primarily focused on the confluence of masculine and feminine energies in relation different gods and goddesses. It is usually only used when a coven or spiritual group is in need of some very powerful energy, since the act is seen as one of the most powerful energy forces.
It’s not just done for fun and games, no matter how fun it is. It is the means to an end, not the final goal. The energy is drawn from the connection between the male and the female during the act and used toward willing a specific outcome.
According to Vivianne Crowley, the author of Wicca: The Old Religion in the New Age: “The outer rite involves a linking of the male and the female; the sacred marriage is outwardly a marriage of two people, but inwardly it is a marriage of the two within one person. The Great Rite is more than just sexual union; it is the enactment of the creation of the universe itself in Wiccan tradition.”
Sexual Intercourse Isn’t Very Common In Modern Pagan Rituals
Despite what many people may think, pagans usually don’t include intercourse in their rituals. While many groups perform rituals “skyclad” (in the buff), it is done as a symbol of trust and connection, rather than for intimate purposes. However, “ritual intimacy” does, on occasion, take place, and is often referred to as “sex magick”. It is construed as a magical tool which stands for the heavenly union of a God and Goddess. It is meant to raise mystical energy and create magical power. Sometimes ritual acts are only performed symbolically using specific tools and wording. Other times it is, in fact, just what it is, just some gratuitous sex.
Author Chas Clifton wrote in Her Hidden Children: “Many Pagan religions include invocation and possession by their gods. Wicca, in particular, extends that possession to sexual acts, whether literal or metaphorical,” he went on to add that by making sex sacred, “Wiccans in all countries set their own stamp on nature religion, uniting in their bodies the cosmic and the most personal energies of planetary life.”
Magick Is Usually Between An Existing Couple
While many people may envision intercourse rituals to be a hot and sweaty free-for-all, the truth is it is usually between one couple that is already in a physical relationship with one another. While this is not a requirement, it is usually the case.
The couples also don’t usually get down and dirty in public view as a part of the ritual. The ritual sex is usually performed in private and the participating couple usually leaves the room to do so. Of course, there are always exceptions to this, as there are many pagans who have no problem performing adult magick in front of the rest of the group.
The Thought Held At Climax Is Magickally Important
While it may seem really difficult to hold any clear thought during climax, doing so is a major part of reaching your magickal goal during a ritual. Since there is always intent for this kind of magick, it is important to hold on to that intent at the strongest release of energy – the physical pinnacle. If you forget to do so, the energy raised won’t be as focused. This doesn’t mean the climax shouldn’t be enjoyed; it should just be enjoyed with a purpose.
Tantric Intimacy Versus Sex Magick
Tantric intimacy is an ancient Hindu practice that means “the weaving and expansion of energy.” Both tantric intercourse and sex magick use intimacy and mind and body connection to expand consciousness and join together masculine and feminine energy. The main difference is that tantric’s purpose is to connect the two lovers, whereas sex magick’s purpose is to use that connection to fuel another magickal purpose.
Talismans Are Often Used In Rituals
A Talisman is an object which is believed to contain certain magickal energies, usually used to draw certain things to its owner, like luck, love, or money. They can be given as gifts, purchased, or made by the person who owns it. They are “charged” with the force it is intended to represent. This form of magick is often used to charge a talisman. This could be done simply through the energy raised during the act, or by smearing personal juices onto the talisman.
Eucharist In Sex Magick
The fluids produced in these rituals are referred to as the eucharist. Just like in Christianity, the eucharist in a ritual is considered consecrated. It is believed to contain powerful magickal energy and can be used in several ways. As previously mentioned, they may be used to anoint a talisman, or an actual person. They can be ingested in their natural form so that the power is absorbed into the body, or even put into wine or spread on food. FYI—menstrual matter can be put into this category as well.
Rituals Can Help Achieve Personal Liberation
Many Pagans believe that getting it on in a spiritual context can help achieve personal liberation. Common societal emotions often associated with the act, like guilt and shame, are no longer relevant. In order to properly perform this kind of magick, one must reach a state of spiritual, emotional and physical freedom. According to pagan practitioners, when they enter the “sacred space”, they can experience the sexual energy in its most primal form. According to the practitioners, this allows them to conduct some deep self exploration and obtain mystical achievements.
Self-Pleasure As A Form Of Ritual
Self-pleasure can also be effective to produce the same results as ritual pleasure between two partners. While the energy raised is a bit different, there still is a potent energy being produced. This is generally done when a practitioner is performing a ritual on their own. Skye Alexander wrote: “Do you need a partner of the opposite gender to do sex magic? Not in most cases. Sex magic relies on blending male and female energies. When we speak of male and female energies, however, we’re not referring to men and women. Everyone, regardless of gender, has both masculine and feminine energies. Same-sex couples can do sex magic as successfully as opposite-sex couples. You don’t even need a physical partner to perform sex magic. Solo sex (i.e. masturbation) can be very effective––in fact, it may be a good idea to practice alone for a while before you start working with a magical partner.”
Other Acts Can Be Incorporated In These Rituals
S&M is when a person derives pleasure from either inflicting or receiving mental or physical pain. Despite what many may think, the basis for S&M is trust and an exchange of power. If the ritual practitioners enjoy this type of play, it could be very powerful to use during a ritual. The “top,” or “dominant,” is in control of the energy exchanged during the ritual. The “bottom,” or “submissive,” may use the technique to enhance their ability to enter a meditative or astral state, allowing the magick to work more potently.
A creation of infamous English occultist Aleister Crowley, Eroto-comatose lucidity is an extreme form of sex magick. Crowley was renowned for his extensive use of sex in his rituals and once labelled the ‘most evil man ever’. The purpose of this technique is to help a specific magickal practitioner reach a deep state of trance in order to complete intense divination or receive a prophecy.
The state is reached through the help of several others, who bring the main magician to a constant state of arousal (without climax) until he or she becomes completely exhausted. The main magician then falls into a deep meditative sleep, is again aroused, then allowed to fall back into the trance-sleep. The act of magick takes place while they are in that trance state.
Teachers Do Not Have Ritual Sex With Students (Usually)
The same rule that applies in the classroom applies within pagan circles: teachers should not have sex with their students. For the effectiveness of every kind of pagan sexual ritual , the two people involved in the act need to be at the same level of magical power and knowledge.
Some groups have a degree system, so a First Degree would not perform the act with a Third Degree. Generally speaking, sex is never used in any form of initiation into a group. Aside from a certain highly controversial wiccan traditions which still continue to utilize sex during the Third Degree elevation.
Shauna Aura Knight wrote about the fallacies and lack of consent in certain sexual pagan initiation rituals: “Just because someone agreed to an initiation doesn’t mean they were enthusiastically consenting. If they are young, if they are new to Paganism, if they are desperate to be accepted, if there is a culture of sex pressuring, if they are shamed by group members…you might eventually wear them down to where they give in. But that’s not consent.”
Ancient Pagans Invoked God through Sex
A lot of ancient Pagans were regular practitioners of sex magick during the worship of certain gods and goddesses. The Canaanites of Ancient Israel used ritual sex to honour the fertility Goddess Asherah. They hoped that this would lead to Asherah having sex with the god, Baal, leading to fertility for their people. Babylonians urged all of their women to be intimate with a stranger once in their life at the temple of Aphrodite. The Hittites practiced sacred sex work in the worship of a mated pair of gods. These ancient practices make modern day rituals seem pretty tame.
Sexual Intimacy is an Act of Joy in Paganism
Many religions view intercourse simply as an act of procreation, or for something for two married people only to enjoy. Within paganism however, sex is construed an act of joy. It may not be a common act in ritual, but the act is looked at as a natural desire and a gift, and should be enjoyed as such.
A commonly heard line among pagans and wiccans is taken from a poem called The Charge of the Goddess and it states “all acts of pleasure are my rituals,” and sex definitely falls into that category. As long as no one is getting hurt or violated, most pagans view all consenting sex – no matter who it is between – as equally acceptable.