Sacred Sensuality and Sexuality
Western philosophy has often thought of sensuality and sexuality as the work of the devil, something we should keep taboo and not mention to the vicar. Many Eastern traditions encourage us to delight in our bodies both in the sexual and the sensual, regard the body as the temple of our soul and something which should be honoured as such.
Our bodies are sensing and feeling ans we have these bodies for a reason. Connecting with god, the universe or the source involves using these senses whether physical or spiritual. Spiritual art is often used to prove these senses and open our minds, whether that be poetry, painting, music or other art forms. Incense is burned because aromas connect us to our memories and also to the universe. Dance and movement can awaken the spirit inside. This is why creativity is an important part of ourselves. It helps us to connect to ourselves and the divine.
“ To follow the Way do not push away anything – even sensual experiences and thoughts. In fact, to accept them completely is enlightenment” Seng-T’san Zen Master
The beautiful continent of India is full of ancient temples and sites. Some of the more massive ones are covered in depictions of sexual acts both one to one and in groups, celebrating sex and sensuality in all its forms. In the west we would probably consider it pornography more so in the past but it lingers on still.
Many ancient traditions involved themselves in fertility rites. In the UK we still dance around the May pole, which used to be a living tree. The tree representing masculine energy (representing a penis) and the ribbons and floral tributes representing the feminine energy. In Dorset, England there is a clubbed figure with a huge phallus represented in chalk on the hillside. Legend says if a woman spends the night sleeping on this phallus she will be blessed with children.
In Japan they have a festival called Kanamara Maturi which is essentially a penis festival that is held every spring. Not only is this a fertility festival it is also to help protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Shiva lingams are found throughout India and surrounding areas. The Shiva lingam is a representation of Shiva’s phallus. One of the oldest which is still used in worship is in a temple in Gudimallam and dates back to 2nd or 3rd century BCE. The God Amon in ancient Kemet (Egypt) was depicted with and erect phallus and there are many examples all over Egypt today.
Ancient symbols are not limited to the phallus, there are also the Venus figurines that date back to the Palaeolithic era. The heads are usually small and arms and feet can be missing. These figures usually exaggerate the belly area, hips, breasts and thighs and sometimes the vulva. Sometimes breasts can be pendulous which indicated women were depicted in different stages of life. The Goddess Maat of ancient Kemet’s symbol was the Ankh and the symbol for Venus are recognised as a symbol of the female gender. Armaiti (meaning Earth) of ancient Persia, Gaia in ancient Greece, the Incan Pachamama or the Slavic Mat Zemlya are all Mother Earth or the Fertile Earth.
Sacred sexuality embodies both the male and the female. That’s not to say a man and a woman, any relationship with others or with the self represents both the male and the female which are energies not gender. It represented the balance within and without. Yin and Yang, Yoni and Lingam, Venus and Mars are all examples of this balance. Just as we cannot have light without dark we cannot deny the male and female energies within ourselves. Indeed many cultures also revered the third gender, two spirit or Hijra are examples.
We can bring these ancient traditions into the modern era and indeed many of you do, even if you are not aware of it. Tuning into this is not simply a reason to sleep with many people, in fact that could easily have a negative effect. If you have sexwith someone just to “get off” it would not be celebrating the self and these beautiful energies in us.
Sensuality could be celebrated whilst taking a bath just to experience the pleasure of the water especially when you add essential oils, light candles and meditate. Pampering the body makes us feel good whether or not we consider ourselves a man or a woman. Taking time to celebrate the body, how it feels and its lingering effects can be a very sensual experience and not just taking a bath.
Connecting with others to enjoy the pleasure of our bodies should never just be an act of sex for sex sake. Our bodies can produce beautiful sensations alone or with others. When you are in a place of giving and receiving with others this becomes amplified and very powerful, which is why sexuality is sometimes used in magic and connecting to the Divine or the Universe. Many are turning to the ancient tradition of Tantra which is an ancient Indian practise where the practitioners sometimes visualise themselves as the God Shiva and the Goddess Shakti to heighten their spiritual experience.
“Here in the body are sacred rivers, here the sun and the moon, as well as the pilgrimage places. I have not encountered another temple as blissful as my own body.” Saraha Doha Hindu Sage.
Spirituality is not just meditation and being positive, it celebrates all aspects of ourselves which includes our bodies and or sexual and sensual selves. We are, after all, spirit having a human experience.
About the author
I am slowly building my own business which will offer hypnotherapy, reiki, tarot and coaching. At the moment I am offering tarot readings.