SEX, DEATH & THE OCCULT
Three primal concepts that are intimately and inextricably connected. These words and the forces that they represent connect to something deep an old within us. Every human on the planet has an will be touched by these forces. Sex and death most obviously. The occult, or the unseen aspect of human existence is also with us at all times. The knowledge that we are just borrowing this body. The knowledge that countless beings have occupied bodies before us, and have long since left them behind. We are a very small portion of the population. We are the 1% and there is a vast legion of spiritual beings around us at all times. This knowledge, carnal, fatalistic and eternal evokes different responses in different individuals. This is based on an individual’s own shadow. The way we respond to the taboos and shadow of society is a reflection of the Shadow within ourselves.
Many people are resistant to ideas of death. The idea of not existing for some is the worst part about death. Becoming one with some homogenous-divine consciousness and losing all sense of individuality. Thinking about the end of one’s current life brings up all sorts of fears and unanswered questions. On the other side of the door is SEX. Sex is how we create life, and thus it is the reflection of death. An orgasm in French, after all is referred to as le petit de morte, the little death. Sex is an act of creation. When we have sex we are channeling the primordial life generating energy of the Universe. This is power. The rest of the universe can only create from the spiritual side, from that place of divine consciousness, but we contain the spark of both. We are greater than the gods.
This power was recognized early on. This is why we were once matriarchal. The power to bring life into the world rested with women, and society at the time recognized the importance of this power. All of the taboos that we have about sex stem from this power to create life, and societies’ attempt to control that power. Women in ancient Jewish communities were considered taboo during their menstruation, and required to go through this process in a separate area. This is because during this time they were full of that creative power, and their touch, their blood, their very presence could influence those around them. I think in one way or another, women have always been aware of their power. They have kept the flame burning quietly.
Patriarchal society has been trying to control how we have sex and how we experience the divine since antiquity. They recognize the power here. Personal gnosis and personal creative power negates the need for a priest caste. The answers are within us, and they have been this entire time. The lies of society have led us to doubt our inner knowing, and seek reaffirmation from societal structures. Witchcraft seeks to destroy these structures. It is by its very nature, antithetical to this paradigm that belongs to the patriarchal religions of Abraham. Let them have their fallen god. Let them cling to the safety of their city walls when Nature comes to reclaim this world. That is a second coming that we can count on!
Photo courtesy of the author
ALL (CONSCENTUAL) SEX IS SACRED
Sex is a sacred act in and of itself. It is not an act that is performed as a means to an end. It is a celebration of our divine nature. The act of creating life, of giving birth is a mystery that we all come to know in the sense that we are all at least born. However, we can all have sex. We can all experience that creative power. Sex without the intention of creating life (including masturbation), was regarded as a sin and still is by many. This was seen as an act against god. Sex without the intention of creating life was sacrilegious. Masturbation, homosexuality, sacred sexuality has all been a BIG no-no for quite some time.
It takes a lot of energy to create life, and modern advances in science should not take away from its sacred nature. Regardless, of how it is done, there is a very spiritual component to bringing another human being into the world. So what happens to that energy when we aren’t having sex to make babies? Energy cannot be destroyed. The kundalini rises in us but where does it go? This energy can be used. It can be directed. Sexual energy is creative energy, and cultivating that energy for one’s witchcraft is an ancient practice. This is the same reason that priests abstain from sex and personal gratification. All that kundalini their poor repressed bodies are producing is believed to go the Almighty. As we have seen in the Catholic Church, repression of this natural energy leads to some very unnatural tendencies. This is a manifestation of that energy used in the wrong way.
The Church has tried to control our sexuality for millennia They want to control how we have sex and who we have sex with. They do this by instilling the fear of societal taboos within us. Making us feel as if we are unclean. But this article isn’t about them. It is about taking back what they have tried to keep from us, and turning it into power. Power that we can use to bring these constructs down.
THE ROLE OF THE WITCH
“Witches” were the epitome of all of these societal taboos. We became the scapegoats for all of the things mainstream society deemed to be too dangerous. The witch archetype is the archetype of the “wicked woman.” Women that were too independent, too headstrong, too intelligent or too much of a problem for the men around them were awarded the mantle of Witch. In a way, they defined us by recognizing how different we are from them. It is in our differences that our power lies, and many of us embrace the additional power they have inadvertently given us. We have always held the tools for our own growth, but we have also been given the tools to destroy our enemy.
This fight is a spiritual one, and it is not just a fight for the female sex. It isn’t about gender or the ability to carry a child. We have all been made to feel unwanted, damaged, tainted or not (fill-in-the-blank) enough by some power structure. It is time we embrace our nature with Dionysian fury. It is time we tear to shreds the cages they tried to make of our flesh.
We have been characterized by many diabolical acts, and some of us wear those characterizations with flare. The appellations given to us through centuries of persecutions have become containers for our wisdom. Our sacred knowledge is cloaked and protected by the same shroud that they intended to be our death shroud. There is power in the classical witch archetype. I think this is why so many of us are attracted to a more traditional or folkloric practice. These currents are unperturbed by themes that would be considered taboo by some.
THE TWO SHADOWS
Much of my work revolves around poisonous plants and other baneful herbs, as well as entheogens. Most of these herbs can be employed in some kind of way that would be considered shadow work. Shadow work is a very nebulous term, and what it actually entails is going to be different for everyone. I have come up with a tool to better understand the Shadow and how we can enter into shadow work in a constructive way. One thing that people forget is that when you release parts of your shadow they start to manifest in your day-to-day life. You are essentially unlocking parts of your personality and this will influence your behavior and mindset.
Poisonous plants are very supportive in this work because they are part of the shadow of the plant kingdom. Chemically they can unlock parts of our consciousness that are instrumental in personal gnosis. Their correspondences, areas of life for which they share an affinity are often many of the most common themes that come up when doing shadow work. Themes like sex, death, fear, grief, loneliness, addiction, trauma are many of the themes that baneful plant spirit allies seek to teach us about. The mythology and folklore that is attached to these plants also connects us with other spirits and esoteric concepts that can support our growth and understanding in this area.
The Two Shadow structure is a kind of personal inventory that helps us to better understand out own Shadow. There are two shadows, or two parts of the Shadow. There is the “Fear Shadow” and the “Power Shadow.” The fear shadow is the false shadow. It is the one that we can get stuck in when we practice shadow work. It is the part of ourselves that we can get stuck in, and allow it to define us if we let it. The power shadow is the integrated shadow. The power shadow can be found in the way we use the fear shadow for personal empowerment and growth.
First we start by taking an inventory of the shadow self. This consists of all of the parts of ourselves that makes us feel shame or that we perceive as negative. Once we begin to recognize these qualities we can begin to see ways that we can turn them into strengths. This is true integration. Uplifting the shadow, and embracing it as part of your most intimate self. Here is an image of part of my own shadow to give you an example for how you can do this on your own. It basically consists of an inventory of the personal shadow, and how those aspects can be translated into a strength or source of empowerment. I have found that in embracing some of my own personal taboos that I have been able to heal a lot of the damage that was done when this part of my self became fragmented.
There are many different aspects of the shadow self, and this exercise can be done to explore all of those aspects in detail. The shadow is a very complex being that is deeply entrenched in who we are. By getting to know those parts of ourselves and becoming familiar with them on our own terms we can reestablish a healthier connection to that part of ourselves.
A note to the reader….
This is part of a larger working and forthcoming series of articles. This is a very personal article based in my own conceptualization of the word around me. We all have very different definitions for the words we use, and these are my personal definitions. I have fashioned my own personal cosmosis into a matrix on which I have grafted my spiritual practice, and I write this for those who will understand my thought process. My definition of “witch” is going to be different from yours, and when I am writing my use of the word is situational. Also when I use the word “dark” I am not referring to “black and white or good and evil,” it is an abstract reference to the energies we are working with.