Sex Magic 101
Course by Leaf McGowan
This course has been taught by Leaf McGowan through the Tree Leaves’ Oracle in Tallahassee, Florida; Los Angeles, California; Vancouver B.C. Sex Conference; Seattle, Washington; Eugene, Oregon; and Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Introduction to Sex Magic By Leaf McGowan
In Pagan practices, there is a type of magic that utilizes “sex” as a catalyst for ritual, spell casting, and energy generation. This is known to most Pagans as “sex magic”. It’s often combined with the Indian practice of “Tantra” as both forms follow the same general principles.
Magic or “mana” is an ever-changing energy field of life, love, and strength, that is within and around everything, circulating and ready to be directed, that magicians do not pray to the Gods for but shows the power what to do and make it work for them. Much to the same effect that science directs electricity. This is done by either sympathetic magic (imitation) or homeopathic (law of contact) or by the raising of power. Sex magic is utilized for its mystical and magical properties, and for the altering of consciousness, and the raising of magical energy produced by the love.
Sex and sexuality is very holy, and very sacred to most Pagans. “It’s a manifestation of the essential polarity that pervades and activates the whole universe, from Macrocosm to Microcosm, and without which the universe would be inert and static and would not exist.” (Farrar, 1984)
Sex Magic shares a lot with the Buddhist, Hindu, and oriental sexual-religious-magical philosophy known as tantricism and one can find its implementation in various Pagan and ceremonial magic systems such as the works and writings of Aleister Crowley, the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O), the Rosicrucian, as well as incorporation of Bengali and Tibetan Sex Magical rites and practices.
Tantracism is derived from the written works called “The Tantras” that expound various systems of esoteric Buddhism and Hinduism dealing with every aspect of esoteric religion-magical thought including astrology, mystic diagrams known as mandalas, preparations of mystical ingredients, etc.
The Tantras always begin with a conversation between two deities; one asks the other a question, the other refuses to answer, the first again begs to be told the answer to his/her question -and eventually the inquiring Deity gets its way and the Tantra assumes the form of an answer to the question that was asked. Tantracism sees both the universe, the macrocosm, and man himself, the microcosm, as being made up of two opposing aspects -male and female, static and dynamic, negative and positive -and holds that the existence of these opposites in a state of duality is the source of all sorrow, pain, change, and suffering. The object of all religious endeavor should be, so it is believed, liberation from this duality and a return to a state in which the two opposing principles are united in a state of absolute non-duality.
Hindu tantricism calls the male -the negative, passive, principle -Shiva. The female, is the dynamic principle Shakti. The human body (a microcosm -a universe in miniature) are the two principles being regarded associated with two of the chakras -centers of psycho-spiritual force which are of such importance in the esoteric physiology of Yoga. Shivs dwells in the Sahasrara chakra -the thousand petaled lotus -situated at the crown of the head, while Shakti is associated with the Muladhara chakra -lying over the perineum and base of the spine. Liberation from duality can be achieved by enabling Shakti (symbolized as a coiled serpent to uncoil herself) to rise up through the psychic centers and unite herself with Shiva. Tantric Buddhism shares similarity -the male principle (the active, phenomenal, aspect of the polarity -dwells in the head) and only by uniting it with the female principle of voidness, (resides in the navel and solar plexus) can non-duality be achieved and liberation attained.
Ritual sexual intercourse (in either actual or symbolic form) is the central religious act in all Tantric cults, there is one considerable variation between Hindu and Buddhist technique -in Hindu rites the sexual act ends in the male practitioner ejaculating his semen into the vagina of the female, while in Buddhist rites the semen is retained by the male and no ejaculation takes place.
As Doreen Valiente once said … “Ritual Sexual Intercourse is a very old idea indeed -probably as old as humanity
itself. Obviously, it is the very opposite of promiscuity. Intercourse for ritual purposes should be with a carefully
selected partner, at the right time, in the right place … It is love and only love can give sex the spark of magic.”
(Valiente -Natural Magic, p.l0)
In Paganism, certain holidays have a call for sex magic in their celebrations. One such holiday, is May Day or Beltane. Sacrifice and Rebirth, Creation and Fertility, Love and Sex. Often seen as a festival of unashamed human sexuality and fertility. Maypole, nuts, and the gown of green were frank symbols of penis, testicles, and the covering of a woman by a man. Dancing around the Maypole, hunting for nuts in the woods, ‘ greenwood marriages’ and staying up all night to watch the May sun rise, etc.
Key Factors in Active Sex Magic:
- The transformation of human consciousness to divine consciousness via the manipulation of the sexual currents of the physical and subtle bodies through erotic rites. Male consorting with Female -female as the
presiding source with the motive energy of the magical current flowing directly from her. During ritualized sexual acts -something more than ordinary intercourse occurs -a magical exchange takes place, a transference of power transmitted through the subtle vehicles of desire, attraction, and erotic fusion.
- A sexual exaltation of the female principle of power in the universe, known in Sanskrit as Shakti. The Universal feminine mystique is the driving factor for both male and female initiates of the active path. For males, this includes the attainment of the feminine power within themselves through a complex system of bodily disciplines, including sexual congress.
- Initiation through the deliberate violation of deep-seated external social and internal personal taboos, the individual separation from tribal normative values, and the radical inversion of convention and orthodoxy of every kind.
- Essentially elitist, in that it must be chosen, is not suited for all dispositions and does not come naturally. It is directed to the individual consciousness, unrelated to collective identity as a social creature or a being subject to divine or natural law.
- A method of initiation that actively embraces this life, this world, this physical realm, this body as the means to illumination and awakening. The active path is not a route of escapism from reality, but a confrontation with the full totality of physical and psychic existence, encompassing pleasure and joy as well as horror and mortality.
How it works
The energy of sexual pleasure can be deflected from merely genital orgasm to a way of illumination. The desire to completely disintegrate the individual consciousness into nonexistence and a negation of all phenomena as “Maya”, unreal projections of the mind. It is the path of the left -to deliberately turn left is to deviate from what would seem to be the body’s natural course and tempt fate, and therefore is a taboo-violation -the initial separation from the habitual inclinations of humanity. The recognition of Shakti, the eidolon of cosmic femininity as the central initiatory power the divine force that incarnates in living women. The female body is the temple of the divine force quickening the visible Universe. Her vulva, or yoni, is regarded as the altar in which Shakti’s electrifying energy is most vigorous. The feminine principle is not limited to biological females. The level of personal force and power demonstrated within an individual of either sex to be a consequence of the quantity of shakti they possess. For tantric males, it is an endeavor to arouse the spiritual female within them. The entire physical universe of transient matter is the manifestation of Shakti. Male tantrics seek to literally awaken shakti within their own bodies and psyches. Women are gifted with a mysterious innate talent for magic, for divination, and other arts. Magical power is intrinsically feminine in nature. Males strive to integrate some of this feminine essence within themselves, and much of sex magic is based on a deep recognition of the essential differences between male and female which are central to every aspect of sex magic. Its not a question of inferiority and superiority -it’s a recognition that the masculine and feminine principles are a unique phenomena in their own right. The left hand path principally honors the night-side of feminine power, even in its most extreme bharaivi force of creative destruction The female tantric incarnates that otherworldly facet of Woman that Man can never possess, subdue, or even entirely understand -her sexuality is of an ultimately inviolate and unattainable magical character, rather than the simply biological carnality of woman as property, that humble creature of the kitchen and the nursery. The glorification of the dark side of femininity is so essential to sex magic, that its one of the most important criteria of the magic -without woman, there can simply be no left-hand path.
The Neo-Pagan practice of “The Great Rite” & “Requiem”
Primarily in Wicca, and more specifically Gardnerian and Alexandrian, “sex magic” is incorporated into the liturgy and faith as an important element. Most of this comes from Gerald Gardner (founder of Gardnerian Wicca) who had various voyeuristic and soda-masochistic interests where he incorporated “one has to suffer in order to learn” and the third degree ritual of intercourse between a couple while surrounded by the other members of the coven as its so-called “Sacrament of Life”. (King, pg. 6) This was the ritual practice called “The Great Rite”. A magical practice that is both a ritual of male/female polarity as well as a sexual rite, the Great rite, either symbolic or actual is a form of ‘sex magic’.
The Great Rite invocation declares the woman’s body as a “holy altar” with her womb and generative organs to be the sacred focus and is revered as such in the ritual act. “There is one genuinely ancient figure -the naked woman upon the altar. It would be more correct to say, the naked woman who is the altar; because this is her original role … this use of a living woman’s naked body as the altar where the forces of Life are worshiped and invoked goes back before the beginnings of Christianity; back to the days of the ancient worship of the Great Goddess of Nature, in whom all things were one, Under the image of Woman.” (Valiente, ABC of Witchcraft, p. 44)
The “Black Mass” as often used in ceremonial or Satanic ritual utilizes a “Great Rite” as well, but should never be confused with the “Pagan” and/or “Wiccan” Great Rite. The Black Mass has nothing to do with Paganism and was actually a “Christian” Heresy, using perverted Christian forms, performed by sophisticated degenerates and unfrocked or corrupt priests, in which the living altar was used to desecrate the Christian Host. (Farrar, 1984)
The OTO -Ordo Templaris Orientis -has a large number of manuscripts that deal in detail with the sexual techniques of the Order’s ninth degree. The codes are rooted in alchemy. To invoke the powers of a God into themselves they mentally concentrated on the god throughout their sexual intercourse, building up the form of the deity in their imaginations and attempting to imbue it with life. At the moment of orgasm they identified themselves with the imagined form, mentally seeing their own bodies and that of the god blending into one. If they wanted to charge a talisman, a magical charm designed to achieve some desired end, such as love or fame, they anointed it with the Amrita (sexual fluid) resulting from their sexual act, during which act they had concentrated on the talisman and its purpose. A similar method was used to imbue with a magical power a letter written for some particular purpose, the power was supposedly augmented if the Amrita was used to trace a appropriate symbol on the envelope, i.e. if the letter was an application for money the sigil of the god Jupiter was drawn on the envelope.
BDSM -As discussed much of the sexual magic that is incorporated into Wicca is from Gerald Gardner and Gardnerian Wicca. Today there are hundreds of various traditions and branches, all with their own incorporation of sex magic into their religious liturgies and rites. The incorporation of sado-machoism and BDSM with sex magic comes from some of Gardner’s teachings, others from ceremonial orders and sex cults that have incorporated these practices. Some Wiccan groups implement BDSM with Sex magic. The performance of rituals designed to produce the maximum possible pain/terror/pleasure disgust is common amongst these groups and practices. This is not just kinkiness nor a desire to indulge in sexual perversion under the cloak of magic and religion -but a deliberate attempt designed to overload the nervous system with sensations -upon that overload is to continue the electrical analogy -the achievement of a psycho-spiritual short-circuit which will violently shatter the normal mental reaction patterns of the person concerned and lead to a transcending of his or her normal state of consciousness. (King, p.l63)
Chinese Sexual Alchemy follows similar principles. The Siddha cult probably evolved out of ancient Indian alchemy but with an obsession on “long life” and “immortality”. Fasting for a hundred days, not be born under unfortunate planetary configurations, learning the art orally from a Taoist master, worshiping the gods in a fitting manner, and must not be a civil servant. Yin and Yang were the two manifest aspects of the one eternal reality -from action and interaction comes the elements that make up the phenomenal world. Yang was fiery, active, male, and solar in its nature; Yin was watery, passive, female, and lunar. Vitality and longevity essentially yang in nature and therefore was particular upon supposedly Yang substances such as gold, mercuric sulphide, and sulfur. It was with these elements, chemistry, and compounds that alchemy took root. Sexual potency is a desired male attribute, semen is something very precious that should not be wasted, as it is a concentrated life force, loss of which should at all costs be kept to a minimum, and therefore taboos much of masturbation. This led to much of the Victorian beliefs against masturbation and excessive sex. Teachers of Chinese sexual alchemy are convinced that the evil effects of the loss of semen (a drop of semen equals an ounce of blood), which is the generative fluid that the body holds, can lead to early death or sickness by allowing it to leak away or wasted on sexual pleasures. Chinese sexual alchemy calls semen a generative force -the essence of procreation -and is a key ingredient in the manufacture of the pill or elixir of immortality. Sexual excitation is not to be avoided, but ejaculation is to be avoided and the force of sexual excitation is to be utilized as a very important and powerful energy form for use in magic, alchemy, and as a catalyst to make things happen. Sexual excitation could be used in the creation of lead (vitality). (King, p. 43) After successful transmutation of the generative force into lead (prana) the next stage is to raise the lead from the solar plexus crucible to the psychic center associated with the head (near the pineal gland) where it is to be transmuted into mercury (spiritual force) by yet another series of exercises involving deep breathing and visualization of orbiting streams of force.
Primitive Fertility Cults -Used sex magic to promote crop growth, fertility, to prevent wars, famines, floods, hurricanes, pestilence, and death. Primitive fertility religions share four common characteristics:
- conception of the importance of duality and pairs of opposites in the process of reproduction,
- belief that the nature of time is cyclical rather than linear
- a philosophical picture of nature as being both personal and hierarchical, and
- a belief in cause and effect.
spiritual entities extending downwards from the sky father and the earth mother, to the minor god-lets of springs, trees, and rivers. The fourth characteristic -a belief in the law of cause and effect -the fertility cycle was not seen as an event that ‘just happened’, but as being caused by the benevolent intervention of the many non-human entities who made up the hierarchy of nature. Thus either crop failure or the sterility of man and/or beast was never seen as the result of natural disasters but the results of supernatural powers deliberately withholding the gift of life. This led to magic, ritual, and religion to largely affect nature by either placating or manipulating the beings that controlled it. Overall symbolism of primitive fertility cults were often derived from the act of human copulation (the sky father and the gods were represented as ithyphallic -with erect penis; and the earth mother was often shown as being grossly pregnant, enormously full breasted, and with exaggerated vaginal labia). The sacred copulation of the god and goddess was frequently considered as being the original act of creation that had given birth to the universe, and this heavenly marriage was re-enacted each year, not only by the Gods, but by human beings, thus ensuring the renewal of fertility.
Other Methods to Sex Magic:
- Psycho sexual Power and Tantric Exercises
- Asanas of Love for KundaJini Arousal
- Oral Congress
- the Auto sexual Gesture
- Modem Witchcraft
- Psychedic Drugs
- Tantric Weekend
Methods at Altering Consciousness for RituaJ: (8 fold way of the Craft)
- Meditation or concentration
- Trance states, clairvoyance, projection of the astral, etc.
- Drugs, wine, incense .
- Dance, performing rites with a purpose
- Chants, spells, etc.
- Blood control (cords, etc.), Breath control
- Sex magic/intercourse
- Baurley, Thomas “Ethnography ofWicca in the Southeastern U.S.” -1996, Florida State University.
- Baurley, Thomas “Introduction to Neo-Paganism” -Workshops, CPE / Free Spirit / Tree Leaves Folk Fellowship -Tallahassee, Florida (1990-1999)
- Baurley, Thomas “Introduction to Magic” -Workshops, CPE / Free Spirit / Tree Leaves Folk Fellowship -Tallahassee, Florida (1990-1999)
- Baurley, Thomas “Introduction to Wicca” -Workshops, CPE / Free Spirit /
Tree Leaves Folk Fellowship -Tallahassee, Florida (1990-1999)
- Farrar, Janet & Stewart “The Witches Bible”. Magickal Childe (UK: 1984)
- King, Francis “Sexuality, Magic, and Perversion” (London: UK -Neville
Spearman, 2002 -ISBN: 0922915741)
- Schreck, Nikolas and Zeena “Demons of the Flesh: The Complete Guide to Left Hand Path Sex Magic” (Creation books: Paris, 2002 -ISBN: 184068061 X)
- Valiente, Doreen “An ABC of Witchcraft”
- Valiente, Doreen ”Natural Magic”
Handout: Asanas of Love – Oral Sex ~ tantra-handout-oral-asanas-of-love
Handout: Sex Magic 101 ~ sex-magic-101-handout