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Sex Magick in Western Civilization
Tear down that lying spectre of the centuries: veil not your vices in virtuous words: these vices are my service; ye do well, & I will reward you here and hereafter.
—Liber AL vel Legis, I, 61
Now, for the great revelation. We Americans are practically all libertine sexual sorcerers already, and really have been since at least the early 1900s. As a culture, we seek pleasure almost exclusively in worldly things; our interests are primarily in sex, physical possessions, and our own personal pleasure and instant gratification. Traditional "spiritual values" have all but disappeared. This cultural shift has taken on an ugly overtone, but, in its essence, it contains many of the ideals of libertine Gnosticism. It only lacks the element of the sacred and transcendent.
We are all obsessed with the baseness all around us. It is fed to us through the television, the Internet, magazines, and movies. We consume it through promiscuous sex, masturbation, drugs (whether pharmaceutical, over-the-counter, or illegal), cigarettes, alcohol, food, and shopping. Whether we drink too frequently, cannot resist a good sale, constantly allow ourselves to get into strange sexual circumstances, download gigabytes of porn daily, or secretly can't miss a single episode of "Oprah," we are all obsessed with the baseness of the mundane world. Whether we partake of it secretly or openly, the mundane is at the center of most people's lives. But the secret to sexual Gnosticism is to see the sacred in the mundane, to identify as holy the very things that the world holds up as sinful. When we sanctify the base things that we so secretly adore with "true love," we make them holy. Thus each connection, each soap opera, each anal sex encounter or bong hit becomes a connection with Godhead. This is the magick of active experience—through active interaction with the lower parts of nature in order to find God present even there. And the key to this is, of course, love.
This is the sexual sorcerer's alchemical secret—the art of transforming baseness into holiness. By offering your true love to what is considered dirty and sinful, your interaction with the mundane world becomes an interaction with holiness, and you are raised to the kingdom of heaven from within the physical world. Ancient civilizations recognized the sacredness of all things, and saw divinity in many places currently considered "naughty." There were gods of sex, love, wine, death, and war. But these gods slowly fell into disfavor as their areas of power became more and more taboo within societies.
You can raise up these ancient powers through love. But this loving adoration must be conducted under the direction of your will. You must choose what you will raise in this way according to how it will benefit you in your life's goals. True love must only be given to things that will aid, or at least not hinder, your True Will. It is of no use to sleep with gossiping street hookers if it is your destiny to be the president of the United States. Instead, it would be wiser to sleep with politicians' daughters, or at least girls who go to Yale.
To me, romantic love is the epitome of experiences that can be sanctified, but perhaps that is just my artistic soul. In any case, your choices must be made in the light of your true destiny, and you can only discover your true destiny by looking within.
Since you are reading a book called Sexual Sorcery, you are most likely interested in practicing this Gnostic sanctification of the mundane through sexuality. To begin the process, you must equilibrate your passions generally, so that you consciously choose pathways that are helpful to you. You can only approach the sanctification of the sex force in your life when you have a thorough knowledge of your true nature. You must explore yourself and discover your imbalances, so that you can choose which imbalances ultimately help and which hurt you. This is an evolutionary process. The universe evolves through an interplay of balance and imbalance. In your own development, conscious imbalance leads to new equilibrium on a higher level in an ever-expanding pattern of equilibrium and imbalance, which in turn leads to ultimate Godhead. Once you have learned how to transcend into the divine through wisely chosen vices, you can connect directly to the center of your power, your inner link with the cosmic Logos and Sophia. Then what you project into this center will come to pass.
Your sexual magick is sanctified by your direct connection with the divinity within sex. If you have clearly understood all of this, the rest of this book is unnecessary. All you need to do is go forth and you will be the most powerful sexual sorcerer in the world. But this is all easier said than done. Most of us are far too repressed and neurotic to approach this work without a great deal of preliminary work. Hopefully, this book will help you to succeed.
A Brief History of Sacred Sex
Modern sex-magical treatises invariably begin with a long, and perhaps irrelevant, historical survey of sexual practices around the world. We are, after all, not living in Mesopotamia, so the practices and beliefs of the Sumerians or Babylonians have only a marginal value for us. The sacredness and sanctity of sex and sexual deities is a distant memory, replaced almost entirely, in our society, by the new gods of latex MILFs, penis enlargement formulas, squirting teens, and Viagra. There is, of course, a potential for sacredness even in these images, but they are a far cry from the stone temples of sacred sexuality that were centers of worship all over the world in millennia long past. Still, it is useful to examine, at least briefly, the origins of the traditions we will discuss here, with an eye toward the mythological basis of sacred sex.
It is impossible to trace a clear pathway of sexual practices from one master to the next— particularly in the West—or even from one secret organization to its next incarnation. Sexual religion has often been a secretive endeavor, even in its earliest forms. The secrets of transmuting the base sexual impulse into the gold of enlightenment and magical power have always been reserved for the few. Because of this, these practices have only come to light when discovered by the horrified, repressed masses, who garbled their beauty and power into perversion or nonsense. They are often, therefore, swiftly crushed once discovered. However, these secrets are imperishable, and when one branch of the sacred tree of sexual knowledge withers or is cut, another sprouts—whether through direct secret transmission or spontaneous inspiration, it is impossible to know for certain.
The methodology, philosophy, and technology of this tradition is consistent, however, in nearly all of its manifestations, through all of its iterations, and under all of its names and guises. We can generally consider it one phenomenon. Its initiates may or may not have known each other, and they may or may not claim a common source. In this book, although I will touch upon Eastern sexual mysticism in several places, I will focus primarily on the Western traditions of practical sex magick. Our practical approach to the sex mysteries will necessarily be eclectic, however, since many Eastern ideas have been incorporated into Western magick and mysticism for hundreds of years. In fact, many writers and magicians assert that Western sexual practices, if they ever really had a tradition, are merely a fractured legacy with no clear line-age or history, and that modern practices have largely been pieced together from the traditions of Tantra and other Eastern magical and mystical schools.
Adding to this confusion, many of the early modern proponents of sexual magick in the West, including Paschal Beverly Randolph, Karl Kellner, and Theodore Reuss, claimed a dubious Eastern source for their work in a time when all that was "oriental" seemed wise and exotic. Truthfully, we still live in that time, as yoga, Buddhism, and a hundred other Eastern philosophies still retain a stronghold on the Western mind.
There are, however, several components of sex magick that are distinctly Western—components that come from the unique cultural heritage of the West and are expressed in terms peculiar to it. The lineage of these teachings, if there is one, is highly unclear, particularly through the Middle Ages into the twentieth century. Oaths of secrecy, persecution by the Church, and obfuscation by its proponents and their imitators have rendered the history of Western sex magick blurry at best. We can, however, establish the mythological constructs that underlie its sexual gnosis.
ANCIENT SEX TRADITIONS
The urge to connect sex, religion, and magick has existed through all times—among European pagans, as well as the Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans. Sacred prostitution existed in most ancient Mediterranean, North African, and Middle Eastern civilizations. Women who participated in these rites were considered representatives, avatars, goddesses in the flesh. There was even a tradition in some Mesopotamian cultures that every woman had to go to the temple at least once in her life and act as an avatar of the goddess for the first man who approached her.
To have sex with one of these priestesses was to make love to the goddess herself. Men went to them for all of the usual magical reasons: increased wealth, good luck, to obtain love, for favor from the Goddess of Love, or to exact revenge upon an enemy. Some went simply to worship the divine feminine. Kings were often assigned the task of making love to a goddess through a sacred priestess to assure her continued favor on the society over which he ruled, and to grant authority from the goddess to his rulership.
This practice was pervasive and was not formally stopped until Christian orthodoxy took hold across the ancient world. Wherever orthodox Christianity flourished, the priestesses were transformed quickly into degenerate whores, and the goddesses cast into the darkness of the pit. These cast-out goddesses stubbornly re-emerged right into the middle of the Christian Church, however, as Mary the virgin mother, Magdalene the reformed whore, and even the whore of Babylon, mother of all abominations, whose description seems very similar to a number of Middle Eastern goddesses such as Astarte, Inanna, and Ishtar. Refusing to be supplanted, they were forced to wear new garments that severely limited their role in society. Sexuality came to be viewed as evil, and no sexually positive female image was allowed to remain.
In the earliest forms of Christianity, it was not enough simply to accept Christ as your personal savior in order to obtain salvation. There was some actual spiritual work involved in the original religion. The primitive idea of salvation was something specific, not the vague meta-physical muddle of today's Christianity. To be saved meant that, instead of going to Hades, the traditional land of the dead, when you died, you rose into the heavens to be among the immortal beings—angels, daimons, God. You became part of the divine world. What's more, you could achieve this before death by raising your spirit into the eternal world through various practices, thus making you free from all sin and error—in short, a divine being in the flesh. In modern terms, you raised your energetic vibrations to a higher level than the rest of humanity.
This elevation, this enlightenment, gave you access to greater resources. You might be given the gift of prophecy, or begin to speak in tongues; you might acquire the power to heal or to raise the dead. These powers were granted by the Holy Spirit to those who conducted themselves in accord with certain behaviors and practices. Most of these practices have now been lost, but hints to some of them remain in the fragments of Gnostic Christian scripture, and even in the Bible—at least in the form of behavioral taboos that led you to this divine state.
It is among Gnostic Christians that we find most of the practical advice about how to obtain spiritual gifts and rise up into the divine. There were many incantations and meditative practices designed to lead you to and guide you within higher planes, although all are now lost to modern Christianity. There were also many extended magical operations for obtaining love or sex, and even ones designed to avenge a scornful lover. It is hard to determine which of these practices related to the teachings of Jesus and which were simply pieces of older religion grafted onto the Christian mythos, although it is clear that at least some were part of the pearls that Jesus warned should not be "cast before the swine." Jesus, if there ever really was such a being, was clearly initiating his pupils into something mystical—something that did not make it into the Bible in its completed form.
As Christianity developed, many different belief systems formed within its greater structure. Each viewed its teachings as correct, and the others as "heretical." Christianity today is simply an aggregation of those schools of thought that managed to wipe out all the others. Quite a few of these divergent streams, these "Gnostic heresies," performed sacred sexual rites. Among them were the Barbelo-Gnostics, the Ophites, the Sethians, and the Simonians. Many anti-Gnostic diatribes by early Church Fathers describe sexual deviance as common among the various heretical sects. "Some of his [the Gnostic teacher Marcus's] disciples, too, addicting themselves to the same practices, have deceived many silly women, and defiled them."
In his strange but fascinating essay, The Eucharist, Clement de Saint-Marcq asserts that these sexual mystics were the true Christians, and that the "body and blood of Christ" eaten by the apostles was none other than Christ's sperm. By eating Christ's sperm, the Apostles attained an identity with Christ that set them above the rest of humanity. By extension, those who ate the sperm of someone who ate Christ's sperm, or the sperm of someone who ate the sperm of someone who ate Christ's sperm, were also raised. In other words, the apostolic succession is based upon the sacred consumption of sexual fluids going back directly to Christ, through his sanctified sperm. Saint-Marcq further asserts that this is still the hidden mystery of the Catholic Church, and that the anti-sexual polemics of the Church Fathers, as well as the comments of St. Paul, were veils to protect the true secrets from the unworthy. The Catholic Mass, according to Saint-Marcq, was and is simply an empty mask to conceal the sexual mysteries for the exclusive use of the priests. Certainly the "Agape Feasts" of the earliest Christians were sexual reveries in at least some cases.
There seem to have been two separate, but interrelated, kinds of sexual Gnostic practices described in the reports of the Church Fathers. The first was that some Gnostics, including the Simonians and the Sethians, believed that, since they were "pure beings of light," they were not accountable for their actions on the physical plane. Since they existed on a plane above the rest of humanity, what might be sinful for others was not sinful for them. They consequently felt free to engage in sex and adultery at their leisure, fearing no divine reprisal. They believed themselves to be divine, so all of their acts were divine as well. The second set of sexual practices referred to by the Church Fathers was simply the direct use of sex for spiritual purposes—the type of practices we will discuss throughout this book. In these practices, sexuality was used as an avenue to spiritual experience, and sexual fluids were used as a Eucharist for magical purposes.
There is also some fragmentary evidence of sex practice in the Gnostic Gospels themselves, which leads one to believe that these were not simply false accusations by the Church Fathers, but actual practices conducted by people who felt they were doing something holy. There were Christian sexual mysteries, and the Christians who celebrated them believed that Jesus Christ was a teacher of sexual religious practices. These practices were thus accepted as the correct way for Christians to behave. Sexual magick, necromantic sexual magick, and libertine orgiastic behaviors are clearly described. How much of this was actually happening is impossible to determine, because most of the evidence is found only in the words of the critics of these sexual Gnostics, who, after all, may have been attempting to hide their own sexual practices.
There is a great deal of similarity between the practices attributed to the Gnostics and the practices of the left-hand-path Tantric yogis. Combining sorcery with religion, involving spirits of the dead, grave-yard images, taboo-breaking, indiscriminate sacred sexual liaisons within a ritual context between unlikely partners such as sisters and brothers, mothers and sons, fathers and daughters—these are all common to both the ancient sexual gnosis and the Vama Marg (left-hand) Tantra. There is also a good deal of similarity between the metaphysical foundations of many Gnostic sects and the Shaivite and Tantric concepts of the origin of reality. I have seen it suggested in a few places that the Gnostics may have borrowed some of their ideas from the Tantrics, but it seems more likely that both find their source in an unknown, more ancient mystery religion. It may also be that these ideas spring directly from consciousness itself, and that the similarities are based on the fact that we are all human beings, with human spiritual needs and human fantasies-both hideous and sublime.
Excerpted from Sexual Sorcery by Jason Augustus Newcomb. Copyright © 2005 Jason Augustus Newcomb. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
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CHAPTER 1 Sex Magick in Western Civilization
CHAPTER 2 Sex-Magical Systems
CHAPTER 3 Sexual Metaphysics
CHAPTER 4 Building Sex Power and Orgasmic Energy
CHAPTER 5 Sexual Technique and Enhancement
CHAPTER 6 Practical Sex Magick
CHAPTER 7 Sexual Invocation, or Theurgy
CHAPTER 8 Sexual Evocation, or Goetia
CHAPTER 9 Sexual Mysticism
CHAPTER 10 Sexual Alchemy
CHAPTER 11 Attracting Partners
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND SUGGESTED READINGS