When we journey to our ancient past, long before a Christian god and patriarchal religions, we encounter a world where for millennia people worshipped the Goddess – benevolent, fertile and above all sexual.
Today we have profound difficulty associating sexuality with anything sacred, but in ancient times the worship of the goddess was often conducted through sexual rites. As the goddess once again awakens in a western consciousness, the shame and guilt traditionally attached to our bodies and sexual experiences is being replaced with a remembering of lifetimes past when deity was female and sex was for worship.
The dominant world religions treat sexuality as (at best) a distraction from the spiritual path. On the other hand, some spiritual traditions integrate sexuality into their spiritual practice. Some regard sexuality as an integral part of life, a gift to be honored and enjoyed. This section contains classic texts which discuss the sacred nature of sexuality and affirm the positive aspects of sex. Some of these texts (the Tantric) are esoteric and touch on the intersection of the spiritual and the physical. Others (such as the Kama Sutra material) are more rooted in the physical world.
Although the alchemists’ fundamental goal of elemental transmutation was flawed, on a deeper level the work of alchemy (cloaked in allegorical images) also represented the transformation of the soul. Modern science has accomplished the transmutation of elements using means that the alchemists never dreamed of. And there is still a small group of occult researchers who persist in trying to continue the work. The documents of alchemy make fascinating reading for historians of science and the esoteric.
Why is sex sacred?
The dictionary defines sacred as “made or declared holy, dedicated or devoted exclusively to a use, purpose, or person worthy of reverence or respect.”The word itself comes from the Latin, sacra meaning “sacred, holy, consecrated,” that is, blessed or revered. The noun (singular) is sacrum, meaning a holy thing or place.
So our language suggests that once upon a time, Western Civilization understood the sacred nature of sex. This wisdom was lost during the Inquisition, in fact, one might say that this was the purpose of the Inquisition: To create a cultural shift from sex as sacred to sex as sinful, as the movie, Dangerous Beauty, beautifully demonstrates. Now it is time to return to the ancient wisdom of worshipping life rather than death. Or as we said in the sixties, “Make love, not war.”
Sacred is understood differently in indigenous cultures where the concept of sacred is one of relationship rather than edict. In native cultures, humans, animals, plants, and especially the Earth herself are sacred because of we are all part of the Whole. No one and no thing have to be proven worthy to be considered sacred. All of creation is inherently sacred because it is part of the interconnected web of ecology that sustains life. In this worldview, Earth is not only seen as sacred but as a living being. Sacred is a kind of awareness, not a function of ego, of the logical mind, but more of an intuitive or direct awareness of patterns running through everything around us. This is sometimes called synchronicity, or the Tao. Here is another meaningful coincidence! It just so happens that tantric lovemaking turns on that part of the brain that perceives patterns.