What is the benefit to creating a magical womb? This operation renews the body and spirit. When I perform the Star Garnet give birth to myself. While I experience this renewal as a woman, the Star Garnet is a magical operation which can be performed by any gender.
The principle that powers this operation can be termed sex magick, although it is more accurately described as reproduction magick. Western sex magick leverages two physical-spiritual processes.
1. Sexual arousal provides energy to power the operation.
2. The energy of physical human reproduction is redirected to another end.
The first operation works the same way for all genders. The second has not yet been adequately described and requires additional explication.
Western sex magick focuses on the phallus. Every human body has phallic tissue. In men this develops as the penis, in women the clitoris, and in other genders is the organ which provides physical orgasm. Aleister Crowley’s Thelemic ritual of the Star Ruby valorizes the phallus. The ritual begins “Soi”, pointing to the head, and “O phalle”, pointing to the phallic tissue. Thelemic writers explain that “phalle” is not the male phallus per se but the capacity for reproduction in every human. Phalle is proposed as a gender neutral term.
This has caused a lot of puzzlement and discussion among Thelemites. At root the confusion stems from a projection of gender neutrality into Crowley’s work that isn’t supported by his writings. Tim Maroney points out that when Crowley said “phallus” he meant “phallus”. Crowley was spermist, believing that only sperm are necessary to create life. Like Nicolaas Hartsoeker he envisioned sperm as tiny homunculi. This worldview validates and reproduces the Aristotelian single-sex system; the only sex that really exists is the male, all others are non-fertile variants. As Crowley says in Chapter VII of Magick in Theory and Practice, “For a woman does not carry in herself the principle of new life, except temporarily, when it is given her.”
Since Crowley’s time our understanding of procreation and gender has changed significantly. The dominant culture firmly supports a dual gender system in which men and women have fixed capacities. In procreation we understand that the woman’s egg is also necessary to recreate life. Egg and sperm combine to create the zygote which then nests in the woman’s womb and is nourished by her blood during gestation. When the process of maturation completes the child is born through the vagina.
The Star Ruby works for all genders to describe the magick of sexual pleasure. However as a description of the energy of human reproduction it only works for genders with fertile sperm. For male genders the phallus is both the organ of generation and the organ of sexual pleasure. Orgasm, emission of sperm, and the act of generation all coincide. For women and other genders with functioning wombs these acts are separate. The emission of the egg, the joining of egg to sperm, and the gestation of the new life are discrete operations separated in time. None require orgasm.
Some Thelemic writers have suggested that the kteis, the vagina, is the female equivalent of the male phallus. The kteis is the gate of life; it admits the penis and the transmission of the sperm, emits sexual fluids, sheds the blood of the uteral lining in menstruation, and births the child. The kteis not the organ of sexual pleasure, that is the clitoris. The kteis is not the organ of generation in women. That organ is the womb.
The Star Ruby does not valorize the reproductive organ for non-male genders. For this we need a magical ritual which acknowledges the womb as the organ of generation.
Taoist sexual alchemy offers the idea of a retort in the abdomen. Kristoffer Schipper describes this in The Taoist Body. I am aware of non-citable Taoist and Tantric practices which similarly create an energy container in the abdomen. I mention this only to make the point that this operation exists in other traditions. Furthermore, the operation functions for all genders, including but not limited to those with physical wombs.
The Western Magical Tradition has in the past imported and appropriated knowledge and rituals from other traditions, sometimes without attribution, and sometimes claiming those traditions as part of our own. I devoutly desire to avoid replicating that process of appropriation here. Instead we can acknowledge the Taoist and Tantric operations as inspiration to create a ritual in our own magickal tradition.
The ritual of the Star Garnet creates an energy container. It uses the Greek term “delphus” to describe this. The Greek city of Delphi contained the omphalos or pivot of the world. In this context the delphus or magical womb is the pivot in the human energy body.
The Star Garnet creates the magician as a self-fertile iteration of a multi-gendered universe. The universe is itself a container encompassing all genders. This universe can be imaged, understood, and described in any gendered terms, but those terms explicitly include the reproductive womb.
As a ritual the Star Garnet is not embedded in Qabbalah. Instead it incorporates the Neo-Platonic understanding that the soul issues from the stars into embodiment. Each soul is on an individual adventure and will ultimately return to the cosmic source.
In sex magick which leverages the power of sexual arousal, the magician uses visualization or symbolism to direct the energy of orgasm. The body fluids resulting from the sexual act are charged with the energy of the orgasm and can be used to anoint an object or consumed as a form of spiritual sustenance. This works for all sexual operations for all genders, alone or with partners, physical or not.
For sex magick using arousal this is where the operation concludes. Sex magick which leverages the power of reproduction requires a period of contemplation to complete. The process of gestation requires some time and care. This is why Thelemic women often talk in alchemical terms and study women alchemists like Maria de Naglowska. Alchemists of all genders explore the idea of transmutation of a substance held in an alchemical retort for a period of time. This gestation allows the result of the operation to emerge.
The operation of the Star Garnet accomplishes this transmutation in four steps.
Preparation. The alchemical retort, the delphus, is created in the abdomen where the physical womb exists in some genders.
Syndeo. Synthesis. Something is placed within the retort. Examples: the cake and wine from the Gnostic Mass or the host and wine from the Mass of the Priestess. The operator can also engage in a solo sex magick operation, with a human sexual partner, with a deity, or with the Holy Guardian Angel or personal daemon, and direct the energy to the delphus. The choice of material is left to the magician’s ingenium.
Gestation. The energy is held in the delphus until the magician deems it time to complete the operation. This can be the space of a mass, nine months, a lifetime, any time period at all.
Renewal. The energy of the operation is re-absorbed. Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki gives a helpful example in The Sacred Cord Meditations. The result can be imagined as a child within the delphus. This child expands into the subtle body until it completely fills the body, replacing and renewing it.
Sex magick leveraging arousal is employed by magicians for material ends and especially for physical healing. Reproductive magick is helpful for physical healing. It also strengthens the subtle body to withstand the rigors of spiritual practice, particularly the theurgic operations invoking deity into the temple of the subtle body. It further strengthens the subtle body to undergo the transformations of physical death and rebirth.
This operation does not require the magician to be any physical gender or have a physical womb, anyone can engage in the operation. There are numerous benefits to an operation which provides a delphus to bodies of every gender. It places the power to direct the operation in the hands of the operator. Sex magick binaries often include the idea of an active and a passive partner; this operation assumes each magician as active. Some sex magick directs the benefit of an operation with a partner to just one of the partners, usually but not always the male partner, while the Star Garnet directly benefits the operator.
I have been performing this operation for twenty years. About five years ago I started talking about it and have taught it around the U.S. The Star Garnet is rooted in the Western Magical Tradition and is fairly new, but it is a member of a magical family of operations that women and men have performed around the world for thousands of years. It is a nurturing and effective operation for physical and spiritual renewal. It explicitly acknowledges that the power to renew ourselves lies within all of us in every physical and subtle body.
A full text of the ritual can be downloaded here.