More info about this blog

These stories are real, though some details may be fictionalized, to protect confidentiality and identities, but these are actual accounts of Qadishtu moments. Stories can be told from either the point of view of the priest or priestess or from the perspective of the client/seeker/supplicant. The point is - what do we actually DO? This blog seeks to help answer that through example. What we do is incredibly varied, depending on our individual experience, training, gifts, and inclinations, and that's why this is a group endeavor. We all have gems to contribute to the larger understanding of what it means to be Qadishtu and the significant need for this role in our society today.

Please be sure to see our Calendar of Sacred Sexuality & Qadishtu Events at the very bottom of this page!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Just Having Fun

“Can Tantra help me with erectile dysfunction?” Robert asked, as he clasped his hands and leaned forward.

This was our first session. He was an older man, with white hair and saggy muscles. His blue eyes looked at me hopefully.

“Well, there are a lot of reasons for that, so it can be complicated. Let’s start with the easiest ones first – the physical causes. Have you seen a doctor about this?”

“Yes, he didn’t find anything wrong.”

“Do you smoke?”

“No,” he answered.

“Good. Smoking will constrict the blood flow to the penis and make it harder to have an erection. How much exercise do you get?”

“Well, I don’t do very much.”

“You might try adding some aerobic exercise to your daily routine. If you have good circulation, then you’re more likely to get good blow flow.”

I continued to ask him questions about his physical health – diabetes, antidepressants, and his general health condition. Nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary, so I moved into another area.

“Sometimes when you focus upon trying to get an erection too much, it actually gets in the way. You give yourself performance pressure. When you think to yourself, ‘I wonder if I’ll stay soft this time,’ your brain hears ‘stay soft’ and it cooperates.”

He chuckled a little. “Yes, I can see that.”

“One thing that Tantra teaches is to just stay in the moment, without an agenda of what should happen. You can enjoy the sensations of sexual touch whether you have an erection or not. If you’re working hard to have an erection, then sex becomes work, not fun. And isn’t is supposed to be fun?”

“Yes, I guess it is.”

“So let’s try a little experiment. Let me pleasure you, and instead of trying to make something happen, let yourself just have fun.”

“Ok,” he agreed. “Sounds good to me.”

As I touched him, I made sure to include his whole body, with only incidental touches to his lingam. I made my pace leisurely, reminding him from time to time to focus just upon the touch in the moment without needing it to go anywhere next. His body responded to my touch with relaxation, and he began to drift.

Soon, his penis began to enlarge. I began to focus more upon it, adding lubricant to make a sensuous slippery feel. His mouth opened in arousal and his lingam got harder.

“Oh, that feels good,” he breathed.

“Good, I’m glad you’re enjoying it. Just continue to pay attention to each touch, as if you have never been touched before. Notice how it is different one moment to the next.”

I encircled the base of his penis with my thumb and fingers, trapping the blood and creating a full erection. My other hand continued to glide over his lingam.

“Oh! I’m going to come!” he exclaimed.

“Good, let yourself do that,” I purred.

His body stiffened and his face reddened as he ejaculated. Soon, he collapsed into a complete relaxation. Moments passed in silence as I continued to cup his genitals in my hands.

“Thank you so much.” He slowly opened his eyes and looked at me. “It’s been a really long time since that happened.”

“See what happens when you drop the goal and stay in the moment?” I smiled at him. “Did you have fun?”

“Yes, it was great fun! Much better than working at it,” he laughed.

“Now you know what is possible. You can do this again.”

(This is an excerpt from my book, Tales of a Sacred Prostitute.)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Life, death and love

A Terra Incognita member died recently of cancer. He was in his early 50's and well known in the extended Pagan community. I met Cy at Light of the Moon, a monthly Chicago Pagan gathering where David and I helped our local crone Cailleach co-host for many years. We found this event a great way to satisfy social obligations and invite people to meet us for the first time. Characteristically Cy wore a black Paladin-like cowboy hat and was accompanied by his red-headed magickal partner, Heather. Though my influence impacted more directly on her husband Woody, I believe my story is more about how this Qadishtu experience primarily affected Heather and both her loves.

Heather was her Magickal name. Apparently she chose that name because it reflected the person her psyche pictured as the little girl who stood on a knoll of her childhood farm. She and Woody had been married for years when her uncle left her a quarter of the ancestral farmland. The family decided to sell the property to developers so the farm as she remembers it no longer exists. The name Heather, she explains, gives that farm permanence in her life and thus gave her the stamina to let it go when she answered an advertisement and joined an active Pagan group in nearby
Evanston. Coincidentally, Cy, an experienced pagan living across the city in Hyde Park, read the same ad and drove 20 miles to attend the coven’s first initiatory meeting. They immediately became close partners in an earth-based spiritualism which finally gave her a language that responded to the land she so deeply cherished.

Heather and Cy became dedicated to the coven and began going everywhere together, whether it was weekend retreats in other states or attending local Pagan events. Their mutual affection grew while they remained married to other partners. Heather and Woody had no children, but Cy and his wife adopted two girls. Unfortunately, as her spiritualism took on the face of her land, the coven became the euphoric spiritual path she shared with Cy that balanced the weighty every-day familial responsibilities she had with Woody. Needless to say, Woody was not happy.

I entered Heather's poly family through sexual energy work with her and Cy. I soon discovered that her husband Woody basically felt abandoned and lost without the loving partner that he thought he had married. My sexual relationship with Heather and Cy faded, though, as I became more invested in a Qadishtu healing dynamic with Woody. He was not spiritually or magickally inclined at the time, but even that changed as I introduced him to the Chicago Tantric community when Terra Incognita hosted a workshop led by Janet and Sasha Lessin from Hawaii in 2005.

Woody's primary complaint was that he didn’t have access to a world that could understand nor accept people having relationships outside of their marriage. Through this workshop Woody became more aware of how he could enjoy polyamorous experiences as meaningful physical exchanges with like minded folks that didn’t include wife swapping or cheating. There were families, like his, that were “poly” and incorporated spiritual, meaningful exchanges in their familial multi-partnered relationships.

Woody took my sexual exchanges with him very seriously and it was through this heart connection that he began walking into unfamiliar situations, unbelieving at first and then progressively with more confidence. He is now open to date and develop relationships without being hampered by traditional ideas of monogamy and fidelity. Woody loves his wife very much and although Heather's relationship with Cy was difficult for him in the beginning, it was through this love for her and his desire to maintain their marriage that he found room to include Cy in his family.

As Qadishtu, I gave my body to all three ... twice to Heather and Cy, twice to Heather and Woody ... loving exchanges which facilitated bringing them all closer. Poly is hard to implement in a non-poly situation so it took me a few couseling sessions to work out the pain and animosity Woody initially felt toward Cy and Heather.

On the morning Cy died, he sat up in bed and clearly called for Woody twice. Heather got her husband on the phone while he was at work and Cy's faint voice brought him to tears. Cy didn’t ask for anyone else. A successful Qadishtu experience is not just about sex, though the connection sex offers is important. It's about the relating, bonding and support our efforts give and how it supports the love everyone feels in the end.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Freeing The Muse Within

A man I’ve known casually for a few years recently approached me at a social event. He began a conversation that quickly turned to a discussion surrounding sensuality and mutual pleasure, and it became apparent that he felt a lack of both in his life. He also revealed that he’d been in both the military and an unhappy marriage for over 30 years, and was sadly aware that these life choices had curtailed his freedom of expression on many levels. Sensing interest in creative and sensual activities, I described an ecstatic dance event that I attend weekly, and he began to ask questions. Giving him the time and location, I added that he might find it just the opening he needed to begin to bring more passionate expression to his life.

To my surprise, he showed up the next morning at the event, but had a very difficult time entering into the flow with everyone. He was too used to structure and instructions, and needed assistance in allowing himself to let go into the music and energy. During my dance, I swirled around him at various times, inviting him into my flow, encouraging him to find his own.

Afterwards he came up to talk to me, and very awkwardly asked if we could spend some time together. Because he wasn’t clear in his intention, I suggested that we meet for coffee. His face took on a stricken expression, and he suddenly grabbed my hands and blurted out, “No! I want to feel you touch me! I want to make love to you, and have you see me deeply!” He continued on for a few moments before catching himself. It was obvious that his deep desires had burst out of him without warning, as tears gathered in his eyes. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said any of that.”

His outburst prompted me to answer him as a qadishtu practitioner, and I gently reassured him that what he had said was perfectly clear and acceptable, and I was greatly touched by his honestly and heartfelt emotion. We talked for a bit more, and by the time I’d reached home, I’d received an impassioned email from him filled with esoteric poetry references, and his declaration that he thought he’d found in me the muse that could unlock his inhibited passions and deepest desires. Through a series of emails and face-to-face conversations, as I explained my role as a qadishtu and offered my services from that sacred place, it became clear that this was someone who was absolutely unwilling to move out of his comfort zone in order to access his long-held dreams.

I found out that between his 30-plus years of military service, and his upcoming five-year doctoral program, he had given himself 3 months of ‘freedom’ in order to ‘awaken his muse,’ as he put it. Yet in reality, every option I offered him in order to do just that was rejected. What was interestingly clear to me was the way he viewed himself, and insisted that I view him as well; a learned and intelligent man with a vast knowledge of obscure romantic references, who would deign to shower his pent-up passion upon me if only I were immensely and properly grateful for his worshipful adoration. I would have laughed if it hadn’t been so apparent that he truly believed this of himself.

This, of course, was not my viewpoint of the situation, which I gently attempted to convey to him over time. What I saw was a very unhappy man, resentfully married to a woman whom he both respected and despised for her catholic virtues, full of repressed rage and self-loathing because of his fear to move beyond his own imposed boundaries. As he was moving from the area within a month, I offered to introduce him to two other well-known qadishtu in his new hometown, as well as a session or two with myself before he left. But he refused all of this on the grounds that what he sought and what I though he needed differed. His last words were that he hoped the muses would cross his path with another woman who exhibited my same wonderful karma, presence, and candor, with whom he could complete himself by worshiping her with abandon.

At that point it was clear that there was nothing else for me to say, and I wished him well in his new journeys. I reflected on the fact that while we as qadishti shine with a light of freedom that beckons seekers, not all of them are ready to receive the gifts we have to offer, and that this, too, is part of our path.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Celebrating the Feminine

As a student of Qadishtu, I was assigned to create a ritual to be repeated over several days. My basic thought was to be my own supplicant and create a ritual could be sexual healing for me and an experience for me to better understand both sides of the equation.

Since it would involve masturbation and the most female parts of my body, I wanted it to be a celebration of the feminine. Scent is important to me, so I chose lavender which is associated with prostitution and, also, a scent that I find pleasant. I bought lavender candles and lavender scented lotion. I did the ritual in the evening, because it seemed the best time of day to be able to consistently complete the rituals. It’s also traditionally a pleasant time for me at the end of my day and full of simple rituals anyway, far less hurried than morning rituals.

I made my bed and laid a red full-size towel and smaller towel on the bed. I set the candles at the points of a triangle around my bed. I also heated a bowl of water and set a wash cloth soaking in the steaming water. Then I undressed and turned off the lights.
Instead of calling quarters or invoking a particular god/goddess, I designated each point as Maiden, Mother and Crone. At each point, I thought about stage of life and what is was like, the shapes, the emotions, the advantages, the disadvantages, how it shapes and individual’s role in the community, in the family, etc. Some aspects came up every night as I lit the candle and meditated on youth, maturity, and old age. But, each night my insight on what the different stages meant was different. Some nights, it was more universal, what it means for anyone to be a child. Other nights, my thoughts became more personal. This was true at every station.
The maid is a creature of straight lines and awkwardness. She is moving from physical weakness toward strength, also uncertainty to increasing competence in a number of ways. Every experience is new, with the positives and negatives associated with newness.
The mother has curves. Her body is like ripe fruit. She has moved beyond the newness of sexuality and into appreciation of the joy, the humor, the responsibility. No longer a child in need of protection, she is the protector and nurturer, even to the point of doing so inside her own body. I said that I didn’t invoke a goddess, but, by coincidence, a statue I have of Athena was near the mother candle and often caught my eye as I moved toward that point.
The crone re-visits the need for physical help. Her skin becomes thin and delicate. Her body often thinner and easily broken, but her experience is her strength. She no longer bears children, but she continues to enjoy life and her sexuality.
After lighting each candle and spending some time meditating at each, I moved to the bowl of water and within reach of the small candle and lotion. Thinking as I did of what I was washing away, I bathed myself by candlelight, slowly and carefully. In addition to dirt, sweat, oil and dead skin, I washed away the negative thoughts about my body. I imagined I was uncovering not just clean skin, but inner beauty. Because it was chilly some of the nights, I cleaned then dried one part of my body at a time. Then I rubbed lotion into what I could reach and thought about the beauty of my body as I did. I like my eyes, my lashes, the straightness of my nose, the symmetry of my face. I like necks, women’s in particular, the image of a ballerina from behind, head tilted, naked nape under a bun of hair. I thought of these kinds of images as I rubbed scent into my face, neck, breasts, stomach, and so on down to my toes, thinking of the beauty and utility of each part. Then, warm, feeling and smelling good, I laid down. I gave myself pleasure, focusing on my vulva. I didn’t think about anything in particular, concentrating on the sensation. I floated and enjoyed. Sometimes, I had small orgasms, sometimes I didn’t. After a time, I’d come back into my self. I used the water and towel to clean as needed. I’d visit the candles in reverse holding a similar meditation before blowing each out.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Gift for the Goddess

It has been said that I have never met a stranger. This day was no different. I was flying to visit some friends. I have always loved to fly because you never knew who you would meet while flying the friendly skies. While waiting on all of the passengers to board the plane, there was an Indian couple who took their seat about three rows in back of me. The husband got up to check each over head compartment but they were all full until he noticed no one was sitting across from me. He opens the compartment and struggled to put his bag in the overhead compartment. I helped him and caught a glimpse of a good looking man sitting right in front of wife of the little Indian man. I smiled at him and then sat down as the little old man went back to his seat. He said something in Hindi or Punjabi to his wife that I didn’t understand. I decided to go ahead and buckle up while watching the other passengers come aboard. When I looked up, the gentleman moved to the open seat across the aisle. I didn’t think anything of it at the time but what I know now is that he saw me and was clearly interested in some way. We talked during the airplane ride and we talked during our layover however it was cut short because he was due at another terminal. I thought our conversation was very tame but I had a feeling that there would be more to this interaction. He and I exchanged numbers so that we could keep in touch. During our next phone call conversations, I told him about my path and my passion. He became very inquisitive and yet I knew that he lived in another state so there may not be an opportunity for any physical contact but over the phone we discussed many aspects of his life and his needs. Let’s call him Q. Q began calling just about every day. During the conversations, I learned a lot about Q. I learned about his situation at home, his idea of who he was as a father, a husband, and a business man. We discussed the absence of intimacy with his Wife. I discussed with him ways that he could open the door to being intimate with her. Over a period of time, I found out that they were an open couple and poly however he did not have someone in his life. Q expressed that he missed being intimate felt as if his needs would never be met by his wife or any other women because he didn’t have time to cultivate a relationship or connection with someone due to his traveling and his hectic job.

After a while, he and I began the meet-up conversation. Luckily or mysteriously, he had to come to my hometown for 7 days on business. He asked if I would be available. I moved around some appointments and then we set up our plan to meet. He wanted to take me out on a date and the rest was up to me. After chatting for several weeks, I asked many questions to help understand what he liked and began my own plan. Q and I met at my friend’s place of business so that we could take one car. He drove me to one of my favorite restaurants. When I walked in, he gasped as I smiled slowly at his adoration. I had on a crème colored wrap dress with stockings and black shoes high heeled shoes. During the dinner, we ate slowly and talked a lot. I put my hand on the table and looked into his eyes and looked at my hand. He caught the signal for him to touch my hand. I held his as he continued to tell me about what he needed to do business wise in my hometown. He seemed a bit nervous but as I caressed his fingers, he began to loosen up. Dessert was served. He order three kinds and he fed me a bite from each one. It was an exquisite moment as we decided to end the evening. In the car, we parked in the lot and began to talk about the dinner and I held his hand and I pulled him in close to give him a kiss. He was very hungry with his kiss. I touched Q’s heart and it was beating really fast. He slowly outlined my body with his hands and admitted that he was pleased with what I was wearing. He and I continued to hold hands and kiss. We discussed our next date which would be the night in my temple. I asked that he remember to bring and offering to the Goddess for the time shared.

Two days later, I invited Q to my home which was ritually prepared prior to his arrival. I was dressed in a lovely dress that didn’t show my body with the exception of my neck, hands, and feet which only showed when I walked towards him. He walked in and I moved to remove his shoes from his feet. I placed them next to the door. I lifted my hand and he helped me stand up to meet his kiss and hug. I brought him into my great room and asked him if he would like something to drink. I fixed the beverage while he gazed at the table that was my living room altar filled with my statues, candles and receiving bowl and flowers. I introduced him to my altar and each item on it. I explained my ritual for him and what would be significant to him as well as what he could expect. I asked that he trust me from this point on as I blindfolded him. I asked him to stand as I took off each article of clothing. I then walked him though my hallway around to my master bedroom so that we could go to the master bathroom. I had already prepared the water to be about half full of my large bathtub. I closed the door and took off the blind fold. I asked him to get into the tub. I rolled up the sleeves on my dress to reveal my arm jewelry. I then ran some hotter water in the tub and I showed him the soap and towels that he would use. As he laid there waiting for my instructions, I couldn’t resist touching his chest then his stomach and as my hand hit the water I felt his pubic hair and his phallus already pulsing. I kissed him full on the mouth as I stroked him a few times. I stood up to see his eyes closed and I whispered that he should clean himself off while I watched. He began to bathe himself with lathered soap. I then rinsed him off after he finished. He stood outside of the tub as I dried every inch of him. I placed the blindfold back on and led him to my temple room. There was another altar there with many lovely delights that awaited Q. There were cushions on top of a futon mattress on the floor covered with red silk cloths. He went down to his knees when he saw me take off my dress. I wore a large Lapis necklace, snakes coiled around my arms, and a chain around my belly. I asked him to come close to me and we laid on the futon and we held each other. I asked him to recite my earlier instructions as to how to call upon the Goddess as I called upon her to enter the space, Her Vessel. And then my hands explored his body as his explored mine. He laid me down and opens my legs while exploring my eyes in acceptance. He began to taste every each of my body with worship I received every inch of him into this vessel. After Q left, I began to snuff out candles and once in the living room I noticed what he left as an offering. It was a lovely conk shell for the Goddess, a gold penis charm, and an envelope labeled "A Gift for the Goddess Gryn". Sigh, what a life.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Easing pain of seekers

I recently met a lady at a wedding reception. "Z" was sitting by herself along a wall. While she was busy watching others dance and mingle I was quietly observing her. I watched her toes tapping out the beat of the music but realized that Z was unable to join in the revelry, at least in part because her ankles and feet were extremely swollen. She was overweight but not so large as to justify the size of her ankles.
I could almost feel the anticipation in her posture, that, at any moment soon, someone would invite her to join in the fun.
The invitation never came.
I pulled up a chair next to Z and introduced myself. It turned out that she knew who I was, via a mutual friend, who referred us both to a group online. Small world but we had 'met' before,
even if it was only online.
I noticed that she hadn't eaten and so I offered to get her a plate of food from the kitchen downstairs. After I delivered the food, I got sidetracked in other Hostess duries. When I returned Z had cleaned her plate but was looking even more forlorn than before. So I sat with her again.
Although I was in my Hostess mode and wanted to keep the talk light, she began to talk.
Z opened with the beginning of her infirmity, which tragically began when an automobile hit her as a pedestrian, leaving her physically impaired. The subsequent lack of mobility resulted in weight gain and loss of self-esteem. Each of us is allowed to choose our reactions to our life situations and unfortunately this became her reality. To further compound matters, Z's husband of 26 years died just eight months ago. She viewed this as a final nail in the coffin of her previous identity. Her pain was palpable.
The story continued through most of the night even into the final cleanup when the discussion ensued about sleeping arrangements. My host admitted to me that Z had mentioned that she would be more than happy to bunk with me in my bed. I realized how lonely she was but I still didn't feel that sharing my bed was a viable option in this situation. Our host reminded me that this was fine as it was my choice and there were other options available.
Z seemed at a loss as to which direction to go. Almost instantly the Goddess had me offering my hand and asking to join me in sharing comfort. I lay down beside her and laughed with her about..... about, well nothing of import.
Sitting up next to her, I leaned into her and covered her in my embrace. The Goddess flowed through me into her belly and heart. Aligning her chakras, the Goddess allowed me to feel her pain centers. There were many. The Goddess guided my hands and empowered me to caress her entire body. Z began to touch me and I still her hand and whispered that this was the time she needed to release her desires to me. Z needed open and let me comfort her.
As her body opened I let the Goddess and the Goddess' innate sensual nature drive my hand into her yoni. I suckled at her breast. My head feel to her belly and she grabbed my hair and pulled me into her orgasmic release. I had a tiny ripple of pleasure that warmed my blood and soothed my soul with my acknowledgement of fulfilling what the Goddess wanted of me. That was my reward from the Goddess.
I held my lady.
My Goddess held me.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I have a saying that I repeat to my mate on a fairly frequent basis, whenever I sense he's feeling like he's not contributing enough, or when his insecurities make him question his worth as a poet and an artist.

"I believe in you enough for the both of us."

I think that sometimes it's that belief in other people, even when they don't have the strength to believe in themselves, that sparks so much of the healing we do in this practice. Whether it's belief in their beauty, in their worthiness to be loved, in their ability to receive touch and have it move them, in their spirit and the connection of that spirit to deity that so many times they can't see for themselves - we believe in them enough for the both of us. And seeing OUR belief, they begin to believe it too.

I wrote this poem for my mate, but I share it for you. All of you. Whether you read this blog because you seek healing or understanding or that touch of deity in your life; whether you read this blog as inspiration in your practice as a Qadesh or to gain insight into your healing work; whether you read this blog to gain understanding of a path that is different from your own - I believe in you. :) I believe in you - please believe in yourself.


They lied to us.
With their certificates on the wall
And their credentials in hand
Advisors in everything but truth
They told us the moon and stars were in reach
If only we could obtain the magic scroll
That would make our lives complete
Give us purpose
Make us experts
And suddenly, like the scarecrow,
We would think deep thoughts and be seen
As leaders of men
Yes, they lied to us.
But the realization is a set back
Nothing more
For they lied about something else
We don’t need their validation
We don’t need titles or degrees
Or credentials to make our futures legitimate
We just need our dreams
Our belief
Our vision
And our drive
We can be anything we wish to be
If we see it, name it, and make it so
They can’t hold us back
And they can’t make it real
Only we can do that
The power lies solely within ourselves
If we choose to believe.

And if your belief falters…
If the dream seems out of reach
Or the damning crowd gets too loud
And you find yourself spinning and spinning
With nothing solid to grab on to,
No benchmark or beacon to point the way
Take my hand,
Take a deep breath,
And see the truth in my eyes,
Look deep into my heart and know
That I believe in you enough for both of us.
And that belief is what will get you there
Not some piece of paper
See the moon and the stars in my eyes
Reflected as I look and see the moon and stars in yours…
And go for it.
You’ll make it.
I believe in you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Feast of Intimacy

It was his birthday, and after a delicious home-cooked meal among friends, she had him shower, shave and dress nicely for a secret reservation she'd made for them at 8pm. Before leaving the house, she tied a blindfold on him and led him out to the car. She drove around for a bit, wandering aimlessly in an attempt to confuse him, before finally arriving at their destination. She even called ahead and when I picked up the phone, she said "Hello, this is Rosa Martinez. I have a reservation for two at 8:30, but we're running a little late." I assured her that we would "hold her table." When they finally arrived about 10 minutes later, she guided him to the door where I greeted them.

"M'lord, m'lady," I said with a head bow to each. "Your place is ready." She then removed his blindfold and he could see me, standing in a long white satiny gown, with my hair brushed out and long down my back, and silver bangles sparkling at my wrists. These were long-standing friends of mine, but this was the first time they’d come to me in my role as priestess, as Qadishtu. I led them into the building and said, "I understand the occasion for your visit to the Temple this evening is to celebrate this one's birth." She answered in the affirmative, her voice quiet and subdued, and yet full of anticipation. I continued, smiling up into his eyes, "So let us show him just how much the Goddess values his existence." And with that, I took his hand and guided him up the steps to the Temple itself.

As we reached the top of the Temple, I motioned at the altar and said, "You may now pay your respects to the Lady." I had them both kneel before Aphrodite and spend some quiet moments in contemplation and worship. I then stepped up behind and between them and started gently stroking their hair, faces and necks. I said, "We are here tonight to celebrate your birth using the Goddess' gifts of love and pleasure. My Lady Aphrodite, be with us here tonight. Bless us and guide us during our rites of celebration this evening."

After another couple of moments, I took his right hand and her left, and bade them rise. We turned together and passed through the veil to enter the inner sanctum. I used my hand to indicate that they should get comfortable on the bed, and then I began to strip for them. I swayed my hips and held their gazes as I slowly and sensually removed my gown. Once I had completely disrobed, I grasped his hands and raised him to his feet. I looked over his shoulder at her, and with a smile and a nod, I invited her to help me remove his clothing. Then he and I turned to her and did the same. His grin was infectious and soon we were all naked and smiling widely.

“Now, we have a special dessert for you, Birthday Boy!” With that, I removed the covering from the tray that was sitting beside the bed, revealing a bowl of whipped cream and several trays of fruit, including ripe strawberries, mouth-watering mangos, and tart cherries. I handed him the bowl of whipped cream and instructed her to lie back on the bed. After she was comfortable, I dipped a finger into the bowl and streaked the dollop of cream down between her ample breasts and encouraged him to decorate her any way he desired. He artfully covered her nipples and her newly-shaved crotch with the fluffy cream. I then handed him a platter of fruit, and strawberries and cherries joined the cream in fun and delightful patterns. Finally, I smeared the juicy mangoes around the mounds of fruity cream he’d made, coating her skin in sweet and sticky goodness.

He and I took a moment to admire our handiwork, and then as if on cue, we each lowered our mouths to her breasts to begin devouring our delightfully wiggling and squealing dessert! After it had all been lapped up, I broke out the wet wipes and we went to work cleaning everyone up. Now, we could get to the part he was really looking forward to. She had told me in advance that one of his fantasies was to be in a threesome, and she told me that she only trusted me to be that third party. So now she and I laid him out on the bed and slowly kissed up and down his body, occasionally kissing each other as well. We proceeded to give him the time of his life and by the end of it, we were all snuggled up together, with big smiles and deep sighs of contentment. I thanked the Goddess, and then I turned and thanked each of them for their trust in me. They thanked me for gifting them with such a wonderful birthday gift for him. What was even more amazing was when they contacted me several weeks later to express thanks again, for they were beginning a relationship with another woman; something they’d never even been able to consider before their experience with me.


For an erotic visual treat of fruit, cream, and chocolate, check out Clean Sheets magazine.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Qadishtu youth education

One important job of most Qadishti practicioners is education.

Many of us give presentations, workshops, write articles or books and mentor others. Some of us have students, apprentices and trainees. Most of us also have children or young adults that we are responsible for.

I think preparing young people to handle sexuality and relationships is part of our job. It's also a hot topical concern that's frequently tossed into the Lake of Oblivion to cool off and disappear. Our schools can teach the mechanics and biology of sexuality, enlightened parents can be open and unembarrassed with their hormonally confused children, but something they need is still missing.

Maybe a safe, facilitated place to explore their questions and feelings with peers. A place to learn about the responsibilities of sex and relationships, how energy exchanges work and most importantly a sanctuary that protects them from judgement. They need to know that we ALL feel weird and different from artifical, societally imposed norms.

Years ago Terra Incognita had a skilled Priestess in her mid 20's (now in her 30's and pregnant with her first child) who wanted to help us form a family-oriented outreach group called Caer Aelwydd. We had a lovely series of classes that were multi-generational and did PG-rated ritual together. However, Amanda and I felt our teenage children needed their own program. We suggested this to Dr. Elsbeth Meuth and Freddy Zental Weaver of the TantraNova Institute and they percolated the idea carefully. It's risky creating a workshop for teens (14 to 18) about relationships, intimacy and energetic exchanges that will fully engage them, yet not get anyone upset or arrested.

In the Spring we sent out son Robert and some of his high school friends to participate in a focus group at TantraNova and now we are finally looking forward to their inaugural Summer Youth Program. Based on the responses we got from the focus group, the five week program on Sunday evenings from 7/19 to 8/16 should be very meaningful and interesting. We felt that Elsbeth and Freddy Zental were the ideal choices to do this type of Qadishtu work with our son and his teenage friends, since they are trained professionals and don't have the problem of being Mom and Dad.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Perfect Conduit

I’ve spent much of my life being unconventional in my approach to healing work. For years I have included sexual energy as part of the healing process. That’s unconventional enough for most people, but I have also experimented with another area that feels even edgier to me.

When I first started doing sexual healing work, I kept a clear distinction between me, the “healer”, the one who was holding the space, and the “heal-ee”, the one who was receiving the healing. But as I worked more intensively with people, it became harder to maintain those boundaries.

I have done lots of long sessions – being together all day, or several days in a row. I have even camped in the desert for a week with a client. With that amount of exposure, the artificiality of the “healer/healee” relationship begins to dissolve.

At first when this would happen I was horrified. I wasn’t supposed to let my own issues be activated! I wasn’t supposed to cry, or feel uncertain or vulnerable. But it was like trying to stop a river. If it were there, it would flow.

Surprisingly enough, I found over and over that the more authentic I was, the more the client received. I tell the story of one of those times in my book, Tales of a Sacred Prostitute. As I allowed myself to be vulnerable, I allowed my client to be strong, to not be identified as the weak one. To be a man, and to learn how to hold space for a woman.

This issue recently surfaced again. I stopped to see a client at the end of a long trying trip. I was tired and barely recovering from a massive psychic attack received earlier that week. I arrived at his house worn out; bare bones.

Meanwhile, he had built up an expectation that our time together would be ecstatic, that I would show him a glimpse of enlightenment. (No pressure!)

In our last time together, we had begun to work with how his energy could feel invasive to a woman. I had started teaching him about how to husband his energy, to use it to attract a woman rather than invade her.

As we got together again, he told me about a workshop that he had just attended. To make a point about how women and men experience the world differently, the leaders had asked how many woman had considered their personal safety in the last week – parked under a light, didn’t go down an alley, etc. All the women raised their hands. Then they asked the men. None of them raised their hands. My client was having trouble understanding this and found it hard to believe.

As the day wore on, between brief glimpses of enlightenment, issues began surfacing in me about safety. On many occasions, I felt invaded by him. I don’t think this had anything to do with him; it was the issues I was carrying before I got there.

So here’s where it gets sticky. Am I wrong for having my issues? Did I serve him by those issues arising? Since the things that I was feeling are very common feelings in many women, perhaps I was acting as a conduit for that particular energy – a woman feeling unsafe and invaded. Perhaps I was giving him the experience that he needed in order to learn to be with a woman in an intimate relationship, to learn how to be in order to build trust.

I often expect myself to be the perfect channel, a portal to enlightenment. There are times, moments usually, when I can be that. But then there I am, a messy human being like any other, doing the best that I can.

When I begin a session, I always ask that I be used by Spirit for service to the highest good. I try to surrender as much as possible, and let my personal self get out of the way. But what if Spirit is using my personal self, my personal issues, as part of the teaching or healing for that person? Can I surrender enough to let whatever happens just be there in the space?

What if the other person doesn’t like it? What if he had an expectation of something that didn’t get met? It’s easy to doubt myself at that time. But the words to a song keep coming through:

“You can’t always get what you want . . . But if you try sometime, you just might find,
You get what you need.”

Sunday, June 28, 2009

River Goddess

The South Fork of the Yuba River is probably my favorite place on earth. The clear water tumbles over granite worn smooth over hundreds of years of spring run-off from the snow packs in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Aspens and pine trees tower on either bank, and in the late afternoon, when it's hot, their branches are rustled by gentle breezes. I've spent countless hours floating in the placid pools and shooting through the rapids on the Yuba.

After the short, hot hike, I threw off my clothes and hopped into the cool water. It was mid-July, and the water temperature was perfect, cool but not cold. I spent some time swimming from rock to rock, getting reacquainted with the river. After a while, my beloved joined me.

It was a Monday, and there were few people around. We swam a bit upstream to a secluded spot, and found a large, partially submerged rock. He leaned against it to anchor himself against the current. I put my arms and legs around him, and we began to kiss. The feel of the warm sun on my face and the cool water rushing around us was intoxicating. As we continued to kiss, I felt his phallus getting erect. I guided him into me

As we bobbed gently together, buoyed by the water, I called to the river's spirit to come into me. I felt a boundary within me dissolve and became part of the great flow. I felt the power of the water, sometimes a gentle trickle, sometimes an angry, destructive torrent, welling within me, ebbing and flowing like my emotions. The sun, the water, the rock and our bodies were tangled together, separate yet all part of each other. When I finally climaxed, the world began to regain some of its solidity.

We continued leaning against the rock, kissing and looking into each other's eyes. Suddenly, I felt something brush against my cheek. I looked down, expecting to see a broken branch bobbing through the water. Instead, it was a small river snake. Startled, I screamed, and she swam off. When I calmed down a bit, I realized she was saying hello and recognizing me as a kindred spirit. A blessing, indeed.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Scarlet Sanctuary

We’ve run across her a couple of times. At one event, my husband gave her an open heart hug and she started crying and ran for the bathroom. I followed her in there and she mentioned that she had been working with some memories and that my husbands hug was so loving that she just started crying. But, she wasn’t ready to look at the memories and wanted to enjoy the event. I told her that she would know when it was time. She agreed, suppressed the memories and went back to enjoying herself.

I took her out to dinner a couple weeks after that and once again she started crying. The memories had been coming to her in her dreams. I offered to help, but again, she didn’t want to look at it and suppressed the memories.

A few weeks later, we had the Scarlet Sanctuary set up at an event. She said she didn’t want to do it because she knew she would cry. But, decided to give it a try. I anointed her and blessed her before she entered the sanctuary. I helped her undress and get onto the massage table. Soft music was playing in the softly lit room. She was near the last one to be worked on, so there was only one other client in the room on their own table. She closed her eyes and my husband and eyes started the sacred touch. Then, another Priestess came over to help us. Lightly we touched her. Lovingly we touched her. One person at her head, one at her feet. I drifted to her belly. That’s where most women hold their sadness. I started to shiver as the Goddess guided my hands. I could feel the energetic pull to her belly. My hands shook as I gave her Reiki energy and loving energy. Then, I felt my hands start to open her and pull dark energy from her. She started to cry. She not only cried, she sobbed. Heart wrenching sobs. With her eyes closed, she could feel me pulling all that crud out of her and at the same time felt the loving hands stroking her body. She was safe and knew that we were there for her. She sobbed more. We held her and stroked her.

Once I was done with the energy work, I energetically closed her back up and sealed the working with love. She stopped crying. She laid there and received our loving touch. She allowed herself to be loved and comforted. She allowed herself to be healed in anyway we were able to help her.

This is what we do. Through love and loving touch, she was able to go where she needed to go and attempt some healing. She isn’t done. She will still have to work with the memories. But, she has a great head start, knowing that she is a loved individual.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Star power

A few weeks back, we set up our Scarlet Sanctuary at an event and opened the door. The idea of the Scarlet Sanctuary, the way we do it, is simple - we provide loving, compassionate, non threatening sensual touch to anyone that wants to experience it. Everyone, regardless of race or age or size or style, is greeted with Qadishti Eyes of acceptance and that Heinlein sense of "Thou Art God/dess". They are brought inside and intimately led to receive.

(Receiving, we discovered, is very hard for some people. For lots of people. Just to lay there and allow yourself to just be, just receive erotic touch, and not feel like you are supposed to do anything).

As it happened, "Everyone, regardless of..." was tested for me personally at this event, as I found myself working on a 'Star'. Now, I do not mean TV Star or a Hollywood Star (although she may be in movies). But in this case, she is a star of the erotic circles. Would you have heard of her? Well, if you run in my circles, then yes, but the fact that I knew who she was, and she was one of the first people I ever saw lecture, was threatening to throw me off balance. Both my own sense of awe at working with her and my own ego (look who I am working on) were observed as possibly causing this to be less than sacred.

Until we got started. Once we got started, it was no longer about her as The Star, nor was it about Me the Qadesh Working with the Star, it was just two people. It just a receiver and a giver. She simply was another human, another person, full of sensual love. I was just a giver, allowing my ego to sleep while I ministered to another of the beutiful beings that inhabit the world.

Beyond that, her response and mine, become a matter like many other sessions, but one too private feeling to post here.

The important thing I took away from this experience is not that everyone is just another person. But instead, something that I was told at the very first sacred sexuality event I ever went to was brought to mind - "Everyone is a star"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Learning Opportunities

The previous few months had been, in a word, challenging. The kink event we’d attended in February ushered in an unprecedented period of transition in my relationships. My mate and I had weathered storms I’d never anticipated, and our girlfriend was experiencing a blossoming that, though beautiful to see, had her fairly involved elsewhere. As we prepared to attend another large kink event, I found myself nervous and unsure of myself. So many situations were still unresolved, so much still hung in the balance, and I was terrified that something I might do, or not do, would tip the scales one way or another. I found the sense of uncertainty overwhelming.

I'd planned to spend Saturday night primarily in the Scarlet Sanctuary (yeah. hiding...and yeah, I know...I'd been hearing "Mother Abbess" from The Sound of Music reminding Maria that "These walls aren't here to hide behind, you have to go face your problems" all week in the back of my head). But sacred touch is something I *know* I can do, a place where I fit (and focusing on loving other people is a really good way to get my mind off myself). My mate and I started off the evening by watching our girlfriend and her new girlfriend scene with their mutual crush, a woman who really knows how to work with energy. Then he walked me to the Scarlet Sanctuary, kissed me, and promised he’d come back for me later. I walked into the “intake area”, and waited until one of the folks running things emerged from the Sanctuary space (not wanting to interrupt the flow of anything going on by just walking in), and let her know I was ready to get started. And immediately found myself in the "aftercare" area, being asked to help someone ground who'd had an emotional reaction to the sacred touch and needed holding. I recognized the lady - she'd been in a class earlier that the four of us (myself, my mate, our girlfriend and her girlfriend) had attended - a class on "releasing control", that turned out to be an extremely good "how to do relationships honestly and openly" kind of class. And I remember this lady talking about polyamory, and that she was having a hard time dealing with the transition in her relationship...and here she was, sobbing in my arms, admitting all the fears that I'd been dancing around with my mate the past few months, and facing something *this* weekend that I was facing (on a slightly different scale) *the following* weekend...needing my help to deal with the very things that had me hiding in the Scarlet Sanctuary in the first place.

Sneaky bitch, that Goddess of mine. *sheepish look* Kind of a dirty trick, but OH I got the message loud and clear.

I forget sometimes that I'm not the only one who gets scared. But I've been given tools to deal with it, and after all this time and all the BAD and all the pain, I've been blessed with wonderful partners who work with me and help me through it, and with all that blessing, I need to share what I know. What I've learned. "Tricks of the trade" of poly relating, so to speak, I guess. And, if I was going to hide out in the Scarlet Sanctuary to get my mind off myself, Mom wasn't going to let me get away with it without making me face my own demons, and helping someone else through the fire (thus helping myself). So I did. And continued - we exchanged e-mail and blog addresses before she left that night. And we've been talking. And it's been helping - both her ('cause she told me so) AND me. In my case, working with her got me out of myself and helped me remember the GOOD stuff, instead of focusing on the fears. Which is what I needed most of all, I think. Not that I still don't have fears – even though my mate and I walked through that particular fire and came through tempered and stronger than ever. But I know my mate loves me, and we're solid, and as I made it through this challenging period, we’ll make it through others when they come along. And as I've been the shoulder for someone who's been hurting, I know I have a host of shoulders to lean on when I need it.

So "What have you learned, Dorothy?"

You may try to run away from your problems, but you never really leave your “own backyard” behind. And apparently, when it comes to deity, my mate isn’t the only one who dances with tricksters. :) Mine are just a little less obvious (but a lot less subtle when they wanna be).

Monday, June 8, 2009

Recently, I learned that Craigslist in the US closed down its Erotic Services Category. I didn’t even know that Craigslist had an Erotic Services Category (and yes, I probably should surface from my computer every once in a while and visit the ‘real’ world). For more info you may want to check out the following:
While I am not surprised by a privately owned company shutting down anything erotic, I am pleasantly surprised at some of the support that this action has generated.
I have read several letters written by former clients of the service stating why they felt that had legitimate reasons for utilizing such a service. Some of their reasons were shyness, feelings of inadequacy with the opposite sex, adventure, and simple exploration. However, one article in particular would elicit sympathy from even a member of the Moral Majority (or perhaps it SHOULD elicit feelings). This client spoke of his medical condition resulting in facial ticks and tremors and handicapped social skills. To this client, ‘hiring’ a partner relieved the burden of trying to impress a prospective partner. This is turn, removed some of the stressors that, let’s be honest, can affect any sort of interaction for anyone much less someone who feels less than adequate socially due to a medical condition.
Craigslist was bowing to pressure from law enforcement agencies to remove the ease of finding illegal services. But as pointed out by Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, “Prostitution will not disappear” (LAT, May 13, 2009, Business Section). And erotic providers have already begun utilizing alternate advertising sources according to The Washington City Paper, that states that newspaper “sales of adult ads was up 38 percent in the first week of May”, (WIRED, June 2, 2009, Threat Level Online) This statistic is repeated all across the country.
So if the law enforcement officials are saying that prostitution will always be around, and this is supported in part by the proof that sex providers who are just going about their business in a different matter – why, oh why, does the government seek to impose their moral beliefs upon all of society?
I do not apologize for having my own moral compass to which I adhere. This censorship of morals is a major cause of the exaggerated inhibitions that most of our society suffers from. Which is turn, is why there is such an incredible, under-reported need for human touch.
As a Qadishtu, I offer a service: a service of human touch; a service of acceptance; a service that allows me to be a funnel from the Goddess representing her love; and a service that helps heal me as I work to help heal others.

I am proudly a Qadishtu priestess.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Sometimes our work as Qadishtu impacts others in ways we may not ever be aware of unless we're lucky enough to have them tell us. I recently was fortunate enough to have that happen.

I have a good friend who I would not perceive has ever paid that much attention to what I do as a Qadishti. We are at many of the same events together and although he knows that I dedicate a large portion of my time to working in our Sacred Touch sanctuary, we have not spent much time talking about that portion of my life. If someone would have asked me what my perception was of what he thought about it, I would have said that he probably found it to be "woo woo" and didn't have much interest in it.

This friend recently returned from an out of state event. During this event he encountered a woman who he began to get to know. He described her as very shy and someone who had difficulty interacting with people. She hugged the walls and did not venture into the crowds.

He had the opportunity to spend time with her one on one and he had a sense of hurt and pain within her. He was able to hold her and stroke her and help her feel loved and accepted. As he was relaying the story to me he said that he was "channeling me". He said "it may not have been sacred touch but I was thinking about you and what you do and it felt very similar." I responded by saying that in my opinion, it was indeed sacred touch. It was exactly what he was doing.

I was filled with gratitude (and a few tears) that someone who I thought didn't really pay much attention to what I do, not only pays attention, but thinks enough of it, that he pulled on that when faced with someone he sensed could use it.


Sunday, May 31, 2009


Seekers find their way to Qadishti practicioners in a variety of ways, but referrals are one of the best. We've had several Priestesses who respond to Craigslist ads or place their own carefully worded descriptions of the Qadishtu dynamic they provide, however the potential Clients who are sent to us by people we know are usually safer and better candidates for our work.

The Temple of Terra Incognita developed a Patron system predominately based on our older, wealthier Clients referring their friends, which was designed to support all the pro bono and barter work we do. We've also had quite a few Seekers passed on to us from the BDSM, Sacred Sexuality, Poly and Pagan communities.

Oddly enough, this post is going to be about a referral that didn't work. It occurred this week and illustrates the importance of being ready to heal and being able to celebrate one's sexuality fully.

About five years ago a woman named "Willow" who was in her early 20's approached us after a Pagan social gathering and shared her life story looking for help. She was referred by mutual friends and began visiting our home for Terra Incognita events. Willow found Paganism liberating and had grown up in a very repressed household of Christian fundamentalists that had put the fear of God's anti-sex wrath into her mind. Even after she grew up and became convinced that sex and intercourse were divinely pleasurable acts, parentally programmed fear of male penetration and pregnancy stopped her from exploring intimacy with boyfriends or having an orgasm.

Over the years Amanda and I have encountered a number of supplicants like Willow who wanted to defeat similar fears. Her case was so severe that we decided to have my wife do the actual sexual catharsis, instead of me. I would be present as a trusted male anchor, but only to hold space and support the process. After much dialogue and co-creating a plan, Willow decided she wanted Amanda to use a cyberskin dildo and to be bound to our Temple bed using strong chains. The first time this was attempted didn't go well, so we stopped immediately, released her and calmly dialogued about her feelings. The second try occurred at a Temple party at Willow's urgent behest. She insisted she was ready and the exhibitionism aspect excited her so much that we proceeded with the same scenario in front of a small crowd that had been specially prepped to support Willow's Rite of Passage. It was loud, scary and her fierce struggle bent several eyehooks on the bed, but Amanda skillfully performed oral sex and used our sensually soft dildo until the young woman exploded with ecstasy.

It was a huge breakthrough for Willow that enabled her to be sexual with other women and eventually men. She's been having great sex with her current boyfriend for over a year and recently acquired a 20-ish female friend (Acacia) who seemed to be in the same position Willow was back in 2004. Of course, she referred Acacia to us and this time the story was different. Although Willow had prepared Acacia for a phone call from Amanda, the young lady became terrified and said: "I don't want to talk to that woman, she can't help me!"

Acacia is correct. Even a glowing referral can't always overcome lifelong barriers ... you have to be ~ready~ to do the work. The most important (and most difficult) step of the Qadishtu journey is sometimes the first one.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sexual Initiations

The Egyptian Goddess Isis was known, among other things, as the Initiator into the Sexual Mysteries. In some ancient cultures, young people were initiated into the sexual aspects of their lives by priests or priestesses specifically trained for this purpose. Can you imagine how your sex life might be different if you hadn’t had to learn all about sex through the fumblings of your own experimentation?

Some of us had particularly abusive or violent initiations into our sexuality. I, for instance, was raped by two men at the age of 13. I had just started to bud into my curvy, womanly body, and was learning the power of my feminine wiles, when I found myself in a compromising position, which I had trouble getting out of. Then, several months later, the boyfriend I’d been dating for several years and I decided it was time for us to have sex for the first time. He carried me over the threshold and up the steps, laid me down on his waterbed, and we proceeded to have a delightful time. Until afterward, when he called me a slut and a liar, because I moved too naturally for that to have been my first time, and I didn’t bleed. I had already told him about the rape, but that didn’t seem to matter to him. I ended my first voluntary sexual experience in tears and feeling just as ashamed and dirty as I did after my first involuntary experience.

Many, many years later, I became involved with my current beloved, who taught me about the Qadishtu path. I shared with him, as so many of us do, my early sexual history, including those two experiences I just mentioned. He suggested that we re-do my virgin night. I agreed. He was gentle and patient and asked my permission every step of the way. “May I kiss you now?” “May I caress your breasts?” “May I remove your shirt?” He made it clear that we could stop anytime I wanted. He also pretended to teach me how to touch him in ways that he liked. And when I would have sped things up, he slowed them down, explaining we had all the time in the world. It was sweet, and loving, and moving, and everything a first time should be. That night, he was my Qadishtu, my sexual initiator, my healer. Old, old wounds that I thought I’d gotten over, but were really just scabbed over, were finally put to rest in his loving hands.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Lady of the Dark Fire

I saw a client yesterday who was in crisis. She had been fighting with her boyfriend, and her neck was hurting badly. As I laid my hands upon her neck, I told her that it was all right to cry. Soon she was sobbing loudly.

She moved around the floor into different positions, crying and then screaming. She remembered being molested at age seven, in the dark. I stayed with her, following her energy.

Then she sat up. Her body softened, and she started saying “OK” over and over. I asked her permission, then held her yoni with one hand. My other hand touched her spine lightly as she rocked her body. I didn’t know exactly what was happening, but I knew that it was important.

She got to a place where she could talk again, and told me what had happened. A goddess had spoken to her, one who is of the dark fire. The goddess told her that it was time to dedicate her life to the dark fire, that she could make no more plans of her own. It was time to serve the dark fire. My client surrendered to this, and was at peace with it, even though she didn’t know what it meant.

Today she called me and told me that the session yesterday had changed her life. She was more relaxed at work than she had ever been. She is willing and even excited to do this service.

It is such a privilege to be a midwife for such an opening. I am honored to do this work.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Be the change

Ostensibly this post is about my first Qadishtu client “I.” However, as our initial conversations began to unfold, I realized that a current and very problematic situation in my own life was going to need to be rethought before I could truly be of assistance to this young man I was working with. While his name begins with “I,” it turns out that the situation he was struggling with was mirroring deeply within my own shadow side, and it was imperative that I open my heart up further than ever before to solutions that appeared impossibly painful.

For years, I can even say decades, I’ve been working on my own childhood issues of abuse using psychotherapy, Zen meditation, and my own unflagging commitment to embodying the changes that I’d wished my mother had demonstrated. A phrase attributed to Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” has been of much support throughout the years, and provided guidance when I was uncertain as to the correct action to take in many situations. However, it wasn’t helping me now in the aftermath of a horrific breakup of a very valued relationship with “R.” Despite the amazing support and advice of many dear and loving friends, I wasn’t resolving the situation internally. I was completely at a loss as to how to interact, or not interact, with someone I deeply loved, but knew I couldn’t continue a relationship with, and none of my own or other suggested solutions felt correct.

As I continued to listen to and work with “I,” I was constantly reminded of another story from Gandhi’s life.

A mother went to Gandhi one day, with her young son in tow. “Gandhiji,” she pleaded, “please tell my son to stop eating sugar.” Gandhi told her, “Come back in three days.” Puzzled, the mother did as she was asked and went back home. When she returned with her son three days later, Gandhi told the boy, “Stop eating sugar.” The mother then asked Gandhi, “Why didn’t you just tell him to stop eating sugar three days ago?” "Because,” the Mahatma said, “three days ago I hadn’t stopped eating sugar myself.”

This was an exceedingly apt metaphor for my own situation. I needed to change my behavior first before I could proffer advice to “I.” My own integrity had to be intact in order for my being to have value for him or anyone else.

In my personal situation I began a new search for habits and patterns of thought and behavior that were comfortable, but not necessarily productive or even positive. I began to use another technique I learned early on at the dojo, “Always assume I’m wrong in a situation in order to find a solution.” While I’ve been doing this for years, I knew that the depth of my love for and openness to “R” had allowed previously untapped areas of my psyche to be uncovered for examination. This process is usually not pleasant or fun, as delving into the depths of anger, rage, hatred and other assorted dark aspects of myself can be horrifying and frightening. Yet I’ve had enough experience and support in this process to trust that I would be able to handle whatever came up within, as well as access the other, brighter side after I’d done so. All of this was again necessary for me in order to encourage “I” to walk this same path within himself.

Over the years of unraveling my own past, I’ve gradually learned to completely trust my intuition with regard to my self and others; and without fail it has never steered me wrong. It’s only when I second guess myself, or ignore obvious truths out of greed or incorrect self-interest that I get into trouble, and the relationship with “R” contained much of this. As I identified behaviors in “I,” their corollary in me also showed up; passive-aggression, self-pity, feigned ignorance. What was suddenly different one day was a greater depth of understanding that flooded through me after listening to a voice-message from “R.” While his voice was bright and vibrant, and the offer he made was seemingly innocent and friendly, upon hearing his words I felt as if I'd been punched in the gut. My body began to shake and I became nauseated. I had to pull over and stop the car in order to care for and settle myself down. “What is this, why am I having this reaction, what’s underneath . . .” a long series of questions began to methodically manifest in response. The answer suddenly became clear in my mind.

Both “R” and I are from extremely abusive childhoods. In that moment I identified a passive-aggressive behavior that I’d developed as a very young child that was my only means of defense. Because I wasn’t allowed to express my own anger I found ways to sadistically provoke my mother, and in the only way available to me, ease my own pain by causing more of it in her, while at the same time pretending to be innocent. While I could righteously claim “I’m not doing anything,’ in fact I was, and it was contributing to the cycle of abuse. Through my introspective work, this behavior in myself had gradually ended but without me being fully aware of its depth. In a flash, I recognized this same sadistic/pain-relief behavior in “R” in both the offer in the voice-message, and as a long-time underlying theme in our relationship. Becoming aware of this immediately, and now more fully over time, has allowed me to relax into accepting the current state of that relationship, and to respond appropriately and maturely when this particular issue manifests itself in him, myself, and others.

For “I,” me being able to identify and work successfully through another of my shadows put another tool in my toolbox that I can use in my work with him. Having the experience myself allows me to be of further assistance to all my clients. As my first bodywork teacher, Dub Leigh, mentioned often, we can only take others as far as we’ve gone ourselves. David and Amanda, my Qadishtu mentors, often say that as Qadishti we’re wounded healers. This to me has always made sense, and I’m gaining a deeper appreciation by the day for the manner in which this work enfolds everyone involved in the growth process.

I’ve been working collaboratively with “I” for about two and a half months now, and he’s making incredible progress towards realizing the goals he set out for himself. While originally apprehensive and even frightened of some of the changes and practices I suggested for him, his submissive nature and our contract allowed him to fully embrace and carry out our agreed-upon plan of action. He himself has been amazed and delighted by the difference in how he’s felt, and the different perspectives he’s gained on his life. Even his family has commented on the changes they've noticed. Where his life has been seemingly stuck for years, in a fairly short time, many areas are rapidly shifting and he's experiencing a great deal of new perspectives, and feeling hopeful for his future. By being able to utilize so many different modalities in the healing process, i.e. talk-therapy, BDSM, sensual and sexual touch, intuition, meditation, bodywork, and collaboration with other Qadishti, I am feeling for the first time in my professional career as if my entire self is being utilized, as well as directly benefiting from, the work I do.