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, 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.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ivory Tower Mysticism

David is sweet ... he scheduled me to write on Mother's Day thinking I'd do something topical like how Karuna stems from maternal compassion, or some such thing. He should have known better. I'm a single focus woman, and right now my interests are limited to slowly climbing academia's ivory towers.

I’ll finally be done with the first leg of my Phd quest after I complete my thesis in June. Three years ago, we sacrificed decent income as a legal secretary, so I could return to college to finish my undergrad. It seemed silly since I was over 50 and I hadn’t been in school for three decades, but to me this was unfinished business that could give my Qadishtu Temple work important credibility.

I started in an adult program at DePaul with the quaint concept of being a theologian or ethicist. Theologians are the Christian way to define spokespeople for a religion. I'm Pagan, so this idea quickly morphed after I started taking classes in DePaul's Religious Studies Department and I ended up leaving the adult education ad hoc program.

DePaul's Religious Studies Department put me under the advisement of Dr. Kay Read whose special area of expertise was Meso-America and Native American studies. It was through her guidance I got over my self consciousness about being a mystic. In fact, I learned that William James wrote a book a century ago about secular mystics, those of us that had ecstatic transcendent experiences outside the structures of a church. James said we belonged to “Natural Religion.”

My thesis is on Interconnectedness and its impact on secular affairs. What I’m doing is showing legitimate connections between the transcendent and the mundane – and how it’s not supernatural, but everything is sacred and should be treated as such. The point is to stop the idea of disenchantment and allow mystical traditions to help heal mental health issues through a community-based method. Native Americans are already using community-based traditional spiritual practices to help soldiers coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq to get over Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. If we can create a link between spirituality and a practical problem solving, this should generate actual secular and scientific validity.

What does that accomplish? Oh my god! Can you imagine? Being able to do active Qadishtu work without some institution coming in and arresting you for prostitution? Or how about doing studies on adolescent sexuality that will heal the society, not cripple it. I mean how far can we go on Just Say No To Sex? How is my education benefitting me as a Qadishtu? With a solid body of academic work behind me, my efforts as a Qadishtu Priestess should pack a bigger wallop. To my mind, a legitimized Priesthood has the greatest chance to help heal and serve our wounded world.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009


“Are you sure,” She said for what seemed like the tenth time. “That you will cover ‘sexting.’” I start again to go into my explanation that I would talk about children interacting online. My presentation, I have already told her, explores both risks and benefits of new technologies. I wanted to tell her that ‘sexting’ is a media-term that teenagers would never use among themselves. I wanted to tell her that flirting between teenagers even in sexually explicit ways has always been happening from time immemorial. Cell phones that can send words and pictures winging through space are the new trend, not adolescent behavior.

I take a breath and stop myself. She and the parents she wants me to speak to are scared. They’ve seen the pictures of a lovely, young woman who took her own life, and they are thinking of their own loved ones. They see a technology that they will always be hopelessly behind at utilizing. Most of what they’ve heard has fanned the flames of that fear. I can hear it echoing in this woman’s tone and her choice of language. And, I’m glad she called.

I have a chance to replace the sound bytes and blurry images with facts and research. I will make a case to parents to get to know their kids better and not have knee-jerk reaction that lead to conflict. I have the chance to talk about teenagers and sexual behavior as natural and not essentially destructive. I have the opportunity to help parents empathize with their children and use this as an opportunity to start a conversation, not a lecture.

“Yes,” I said. “I will make sure to cover ‘sexting.’”