"I am sure there is Magic in everything, only
we have not sense
enough to get hold of it and make it do things for us."
-- Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden (1911)
Mind Caviar Vol. 2, Fall-Winter Issue 2001
Sacred Sex #4
What is Sex Magick?
by Sabrina Qedesha
What makes sex magick different from the kinds of sacred sexuality I have described in previous columns? Sex magick is conducted in rituals for a specific purpose. If the requested condition comes to pass, the magick may be called successful.
"Magick", spelled with the "k" to indicate its distinction from stage magic or prestidigitation, is aimed at guiding circumstance to conform to will. This is a distinctly different aim from the kinds of sacred sexuality I have described in past columns, which could be compared instead to prayer or meditation. The difference is that magick is directed at a goal-- the more well-defined the goal, the better. The practice of magick is as old as religion and spirituality itself. In prayer, one humbly requests the favor of the divine; in magick, one demands it. In meditation, one humbly signals readiness for peace and wisdom; in magick, one commands it.
Why, indeed, should magick be mixed with sex? There are a number of ways to tackle this question, and they all boil down to the notion of "current" or "power." This is a kind of loosely-defined energy that magicians seek to cultivate and direct. If one hopes to affect the outcome of circumstance in conformity with one's will, one must be able to somehow affect the conditions in one's environment-- this defines a flow from the magician to the outside world. A simple approach concludes that one must raise energy in order to effect such a flow.
"Raising energy" is thus the focus of every kind of magick-- from the highly theatrical ritual of groups such as the Golden Dawn, which attempt to raise emotional or spiritual energy, to the feverish raw, atavistic energy raised by whirling dervishes and entheogen-tripping shamans. Sex, as anyone knows, is often a raw, energetic affair, wherein one loses one's sense of self and enters, at least briefly, an altered state of consciousness. It can also be slow and deliberate, scripted or highly ritualized. It is also the way humans perpetuate the species and, in a way, how they touch immortality.
Sex is, therefore, ideal for magickal ritual.
Without exception, the major religions are dead-set against the use of magick. They are also overly concerned with acts that tend to be associated, accidentally or intentionally, with magick, such as sex, hallucinogen or other drug use. The reason given is that the attitude of demanding results from the Universe is an affront to God-- but perhaps what it really comes down to, is that magickal methods are often the source of visions or utterances considered sacred, providing competition to the reigning spiritual monopoly. After all, if someone was selling water in the desert for ten dollars a gallon, and someone found an inexhaustible oasis, the water seller would waste no time suppressing access to this oasis. It is entirely possible that users of sex magick will have visions, or create utterances, that fit the description of sacred. If this happens, consider it a unique gift.
Just as there's a counterpart to Kinetic Energy, Potential Energy (which represents the unused energy of a given scenario), there is a magickal counterpart to sex magick, celibacy. It is well known that monks and nuns are required to abstain from sex; athletes, also, are told to avoid sex in the hours before an important contest. Taoist Tantrikas are told to abstain from ejaculation, even after making love to nine different women in one day. Very little attention is paid to why this is demanded.
If sex magick is the expenditure of energy, then abstention is the retaining of it. If one is accustomed to daily orgasms but abstains for several days, one may notice that the next orgasm is particularly strong and urgent. This is a naïve way of noting the perceived storage of magickal current. Many of the complex systems of sex magick involve periods of intentional or enforced celibacy.
Most kinds of sex magick also postulate the importance of sexual fluids. Many rituals involve the shedding of blood in order to add magickal charge. This includes animal sacrifice, which goes from kosher slaughter, to Santeria or Voodoo practice, as well as self-bloodletting, which has been performed by ancient shamans, goddess priests (who castrated themselves), to modern magicians who prick their finger with a sterile lancet in order to collect a drop of blood. The tenets regarding blood as the fluid of life in respect to magick also go for the sexual fluids, menstruum and semen, which may be also regarded as fluids of life.
A current debate in the magickal community regards the effectiveness of sex magick where fluid exchange is prevented by use of condoms. Some argue that the fluid exchange is essential to the effectiveness of sex magick. Others, myself included, have noted from our experience that, once someone has performed sex magick using exchange of fluids, it is possible to "project backward" to this experience to make sex magick just as effective if fluid exchange is prevented by latex. A third group argues that the charge has nothing whatsoever to do with fluid exchange.
Use of sex magick is as old as history. In the West, hints of it can be found in the record of Gnostic Christianity as well as Greek or Egyptian Mystery cults, and later (in very veiled form) in the tomes of the alchemists and conjurers of the Middle Ages.
Of the modern methods, some of the more complex methods involve astrology: performing certain rituals when the planets are in a particular arrangement, or use of intense yoga methods such as severe postures and breath control. Others commonly mix pain with pleasure; links between flagellation or bondage, and powerful sex have long been noted by sex magicians, and there is a good bit of overlap between the BDSM and magick communities.
There are ways to incorporate sex magick symbolically into other magick. For example, many Wiccan Sabbat rituals incorporate some symbolic representation of the "Great Rite" (the central sex-magickal secret at the heart of Wicca) that often involve plunging an athame (a ritualistic long dagger) into the ground, or inserting it into a Chalice.
It is my opinion that sex magick is a means to an end; a key that is available to everyone which is but one of many that opens the doors of the Universe. It is not foolproof, to be sure. Sex magick is one of the more freeform kinds of sacred sexuality, so all of the above should be treated as general advice. Discard that which does not apply to you if you try to incorporate this ritual into your religious or magickal practices.
Sabrina's Sacred Sex #4 Copyright © 2001 Sabrina Qedesha. All rights reserved. Do not copy or post.
Sabrina's Sacred Sex Homework Assignment #4
Creating a Sex Magick Ritual
The prevailing wisdom says that what is important is the energy raised during a ritual of this sort, so any kind of partner configuration is fine. Some suggest that homosexual pairings give a different flavor of energy from heterosexual pairings, but thoughts on this are variable. For purposes of this essay, no such distinctions will be defined. It is also quite alright, naturally, to perform alone, though it is customary to conjure an astral partner, or to simply use an imaginary partner. So, the ritual can be performed with any partner of your preference. I will assume for purposes of ease in writing the following that you will be working with a member of the opposite sex, but it does not have to be so.
I recommend that the magick itself culminate in an act of intercourse. It is possible to use oral sex as the primary element of a sex magick ritual, though I would not recommend this to someone who is doing their first sex magick. I found, quite by accident, that energy flow while performing fellatio can be close to vampirism. Handle fellatio with care. Oral sex can, of course, occur during the warm-up period. Anal sex is fine, though some may find it problematic.
Select a goal. "More money" is fine, though it is recommended to choose something more specific-- money for car repairs, say, or money for new clothes. This gives you something specific to concentrate on as you conduct the ritual. This goal could be anything, it does not have to involve money or material well-being.
Some authors on this topic, notably the famous Aleister Crowley, claim that it is alright to perform sex magick without your partner knowing or participating. I personally believe that this is counterproductive and that it is more efficacious to inform everyone involved. The reason for this will become clear as I describe the outline of the ritual.
Some may choose to represent the goal in some kind of physical object-- by, say, writing it down on a piece of paper. Something more creative may help to fix the goal in your mind; perhaps a dollar bill paper-clipped to a photo of your car, if you want money for car repairs. Keep this beside the bed or other space where you will be conducting the ritual.
The mood should be just a little solemn, so take the phone off the hook, put up a "do not disturb" sign, maybe light some candles and incense, and select music you both feel is appropriate. It is customary to bathe right before the ritual, or to at least freshen up. You should also take time to breathe deeply for a few moments before the ritual, to help you relax, and to help you feel a little spiritually cleansed as well.
Depending on your religious beliefs (my wife and I are practicing Neo-Pagans) you and your partner may wish to imagine yourself as embodying the god and goddess. If you feel it would help, add a short invocation ritual at the beginning. The most obvious choice are the Hindu Tantric gods Shiva and Shakti; another good pairing are Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. A popular choice among ceremonial magicians are the Beast and Scarlet Woman. If you are Christian (and still reading this!) you can skip this step with little loss of effect.
Generally, what I have found to be effective is to wear a simple robe or similar garment when entering the bedroom with your partner, and then begin in silence with kissing and caressing. Foreplay should be paced a little slower than usual, with more attention paid to arousal and growing passion. Any kind of actual sexual contact should be delayed until neither of you can stand to resist any longer. There are no actions forbidden, save to say that orgasm should be resisted as long as possible.
As intercourse progresses, you and your partner should begin to imagine the energy you are expending being directed towards your goal. Typically the receptive partner dedicates his/her visualization towards the collection of the energy (perhaps into a swirling mass in her solar plexus), and visualizing this energy "shooting out" towards the goal or object of the magick. The male or projective partner dedicates his visualization towards building energy and then projecting this into the receptive partner.
If it feels more natural to imagine a male as receptive partner and a female as projective partner, this is fine, though I recommend that the female sit astride the male partner if you wish to do this. This is what is known in Tantrism as "the reversal."
Delay orgasm as long as possible, and retain, as well as you can, the images of energy movement for which each of you are responsible. Do not be discouraged if you find yourself getting immersed into the sexual experience; this is common and natural, and many believe that the magick works best if you forget about it once you set it in motion. The sexual aspect of the ritual should be joyous and playful, though nothing unusual or outrageous is required it might be helpful.
Depending on what your goal is, one should not expect immediate payoff; although I've heard of returns on sex magick occurring within 24 hours, it is rare. Sometimes there is no evident payoff, but it is widely held throughout the magickal community that sex magick, unless completely bungled somehow, is more effective than other kinds of magick.
Sacred Sex Homework Assignment #4 © 2001 Sabrina Qedesha. All
rights reserved. Do not copy or post.
Contact Sabrina Qedesha
with comments, questions or to suggest future topics
"I would love to hear from any of my readers if they actually perform a ritual based on my outline here, and to learn how well it works."
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