“Stretching Her Wings” Isis in Florida

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Private Sessions at Sacred Haven, Orlando, FL. Feb 2-10, Feb 16-28.

MidWinter Naturist Festival @ Sunsport Gardens. Loxahatchee, FL Feb 11-14  – workshops ~ Pelvic Heart Integration, Nude Partner Yoga, Naked Church.

Pelvic Heart Integration Workshop @ Sacred Haven, Orlando, FL Feb 25 7-10pm.

Email Isis: sensualshaman@gmail.com or call 646-460-9397.

 

 

A Christmas gift from the Divine Mother

Mother Mary~ A Gift from the Divine Mother ~

My dearest friends and community ~

I have a very special gift for you today. While living in Massachusetts and since my Madonna Ministry Ordination and attunement from Bishop EveLynn Maurine my relationship with the Divine Mother has continued to grow exponentially over the past two years.

In the middle of this month, I received a channeled meditation and attunement from Mother Mary. She instructed me to offer this meditation and Womb, Heart, Soul Attunement for women. It is a channeled meditation that I recorded. It is specifically for women though I will share it openly with all who desire it.

If you would like to receive an audio recording of this meditation please email me at sensualshaman@gmail.com and I will send you the audio file.

In Her Name and with Her Blessings.

Wishing Everyone a very Merry Christmas.

Love,
Isis Phoenix

 

Karen writes… “vaginal intercourse makes me feel like I have to pee… Advice?”

A young female client of mine who is newly introducing vaginal intercourse in her life reached out recently with a question concerning pelvic discomfort she was experiencing. 
.Hi Isis,
I hope you are well. As I have been experimenting a bit more, I was wondering about one thing. When I have sex, I like everything but the penetration itself does not feel pleasurable. I mostly feel like I have to pee and would like it end rather sooner than later. Do I just need to get used to it a bit more or does this mean I am not aroused enough?
I hope you will be visiting the city sometime next year.
Blessings for the holiday season!
Karen
My Response:
How lovely to hear from you. First of all congrats on getting to know your body and also being really attuned and sensitive to her feelings and experiences. It sounds like you’re getting to know what your body likes and also what it doesn’t like. Your body will also keep changing as I’m sure your lovers will. It will go through its own seasons. The sensation in your vagina will change as well in different phases of your menstrual cycle. Sometimes the uterus will be lower other times higher which will effect the sensation in your vagina. Sometimes if will be full of blood and be heavier and press on other organs like the bladder. Women have pound for pound as much erectile tissue as men and things swell. They just swell on the inside. Sometimes you may retain fluid and other times you may feel quite dry. Also feeling like you have to pee during penetration also sounds like your G-Spot might be getting stimulated on the inside and you might be moving towards ejaculation and not urination. This is just a thought and something to explore you might want to watch the DVD Divine Nectar which is a beautiful rendition on female ejaculation.
Any pressure on the anterior wall of the vagina might feel like you have to pee so why not try an experiment. Empty your bladder before self-pleasuring and try inserting your fingers during your self-pleasuring ritual. In addition, toys like smooth crystal wands of rubber dildos can work as well. I would recommend becoming stimulated to an extent where your vagina actually communicates to you that she would like stimulation. Another option is to have your current partner give you a yoni massage where you can guide what you like and decide in the moment what you don’t. The likes and dislikes will change over time. You could also consider going to experience a sensual massage from a provider where you can speak about your concerns. If you would like some recommendations you can let me know. 
Wishing you all the best in your erotic adventures!
Love,
Isis

Sacred Haven: A Sensual Monastic Life

Orlando deserves it’s own blog post. I’ve been here since February 1st and the processes and deep soul conversations unfolding around me are ones that have left me truly transformed and in a state of tremendous gratitude. I am staying in the beautiful sanctuary of Sacred Haven which is set up as a church here in Orlando, Florida.

Bishop EveLynn MaurineThe Bishop here is EveLynn Maurine, a long time friend and colleague over my years in sacred sexual healing work.  EveLynn was the previous president of ASEP (Association of Sexual Energy Professionals) and has earned her title as the Pope-ess of sacred sexuality among her community.  Her soul energy holds the polarities of deep spiritual reverence like that of Mary Magdalene with the bawdiness and irreverence of the vamp Mae West. She is the spiritual grandmother to many sexual healers nationally and in the local community and it has been an absolute blessing to be in residence at her temple space in Florida.

Morning Sadhana PracticesI am living here in Orlando what at times feels like a sensual monastic life. I awake and have a glass of herbal infusion with lemon and apple cider vinegar and begin my morning Taoist and yogic practices and meditation. Roman, EveLynn’s beloved makes us coffee and I then cook us breakfast and set up my schedule for the day managing clients and noting errands that need running. There are simple things to do here that require tending that lead to a deeper contemplative life, composting, tending to the livestock – two terriers and a beagle, housekeeping and gardening, session work, taking calls from fellow practitioners seeking mentoring and counsel, writing in the evening and soul conversations over good home cooked food, watching a film on history or practice of sexual education evening Taoist jade egg practices followed with a dip in the pool or hot tub and following up with beloveds before bed. Rise, Rinse, Repeat.

Flora and Fauna of Florida

Flora and Fauna of Florida

As I am here, there has been a quiet settling in my bones. Florida moves much slower than New York and my mind, body and spirit seem to be going through a deep and profound healing here because there is time and space to do so. The sanctuary of Sacred Haven has a deep healing energy and as I was reading over EveLynn’s mission statement for it, I was struck – that exactly what she has said in her statement, she has created. Sacred Haven is a sanctuary for the senses and sacred space where people can visit and find ‘peace and reverence, teach and learn, write and read, play and pray, heal and be healed.’ When sessions are slow, EveLynn and I sit and talk for hours. Roman, her beloved, listens and holds space. She is a fount of information and wisdom in regards to sacred sexuality, tantra, sexological bodywork and sex and disabilities as well as transformational ceremonies. For women and select men seeking mentoring in the area of stepping into erotic education work professionally, I HIGHLY recommend her mentoring program.

I had the extraordinary gift of receiving a session from EveLynn and her beloved Roman while I was here. I realized this is the first time I’ve received a session from a couple. I’ve had women, men and multiple women facilitate session work for me, but have never received it from a pair-bonded couple. I must say it was extraordinary. We lay on the bed and I was spooned on both sides and held in a loving embrace before we began so that I felt like I was enfolded in a cocoon of unconditional love. EveLynn took me through energetic breathing practices to stir my sexual energy and raise it up through my body for healing and release. She then led me over to the table and I laughed and cried and trembled for an hour under their touch. So much released from my body and my being that I didn’t even know I was holding onto. Tears over my transitioning relationship with my beloved husband, the anger I felt at myself over staying in New York long past my soul’s expiration date there, the conflict of feeling at the same time grief about leaving New York, all of this stuck energy that had caused me massive almost debilitating backpain for months moved up my spine and out through tears, laughter and the release of primal energy. In closing ceremony, both Isis OrlandoEveLynn and Roman laid a hand over my heart chakra and womb center in perfect balance at the end of the session and smiled lovingly at me. My entire being was washed clean after this experience, like a great dam had opened and everything pent up inside had flooded out. It was a truly profound intiation and healing and opened my eyes to the power of a couple offering this work together.

The highlight of my time, there have really been so many, was EveLynn’s women’s naked church that fell this past Sunday. It was essentially a church for women who identify as working or being called to work in some capacity as a sexuality professional or erotic educator. We gathered on Sunday and shared our stories, laughed and swam naked in the Sacred Haven heated pool and hot tub. At 3pm, we gathered in the pool and EveLynn ordained me into the Madonna  Ministry, something she and I had spoken about for years but only now on this day did it feel right to take that step. I emailed my father about my ordination and received an email from him which I have pasted below.

Dad,

Tomorrow I will be ordained into the Madonna Ministry by Bishop EveLynn Maurine. Molly and I have been staying in her Sacred Haven Sanctuary here in Orlando, FL with her and her two dogs and her beloved Roman. While my ordination will not change how I’m doing things in my work now, it will give me something to rest my spine against where my work can feel more contained and supported. http://www.madonnaministry.net/

Orlando is an interesting place. It’s warm here and I’m glad to have missed the snow storm in NY. I’m having a good time and Molly is a poolside chillin’ dog. Miss you!

Love,

Missa

Missa,

So happy for you. I think that your work is very powerful and if this helps support your vision then I am very pleased. I believe that

you are already are in tune with the Cosmic Consciousness and will be directed the ways you need to go. Just remember if something

doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t and if you feel a ‘warm glow’ flowing from your heart out then it is.

Miss you too. Please keep me up to date.

Love you.

Dad

ImageI think we found the warm glow feeling. Here is my ordination pic.

My father, despite the controversial nature and cutting edge of this work, particularly as it is viewed from the Bible belt, has been quietly supportive of my chosen path. It is more than I could have ever hoped for. My mother and I have had a different journey as I have stepped into my dharma and becoming.

I will continue to take sessions here at Sacred Haven with EveLynn through February 18th.  Then I fly back to New York for a few days and then sojourn again in New Orleans where I will celebrate my birthday and bask in the energy of Mardi Gras with dear friends.

I’m so incredibly grateful for the wonderful people I’ve met and the deeply nourishing journey since the beginning of the year.

In Deep Gratitude,

Isis

Aside

“Bonobos: Make Love Not War” Guest blog by Britta Love

Britta is taking the 8 week Sensual Shaman Immersion I offer and recently discovered on a shamanic journey that the Bonobo was her sexual power animal. Her research on this beloved creature has made its way into her Masters Research.

Enjoy!
Isis

Bonobos: Make Love Not War by Britta Love Bonobos

Bonobos are our peace-loving cousins, a little known and only recently discovered species of monkey. Previously thought to be ‘small chimps’, they’re actually an entirely different species. As opposed to chimp society, which is a ‘dominator’ culture, bonobo cultures demonstrate remarkable cooperation and peacemaking capacity.

The bonbobo is an omnivorous frugivore. The majority of its diet is fruit, but it supplements its diet with leaves, meat from small vertebrates such as flying squirrels, and invertebrates. They nest high up in the trees of their jungle, which is swamp jungle (there’s half a mile of swamp inland from the river before you hit the ground, tough terrain.)

In 20+ years of research, there has yet to be one instance intergroup killing by bonobos (complete opposite of chimps.) In fact, when two different groups come across each other, the males do stand and posture, waving sticks and baring their teeth. But the females from both groups immediately gather together and start sharing food or grooming each other. Now bonded, the men can do nothing but acquiesce to the new peace. In fact, groups of bonobos have been known to then integrate and travel together for a week or more.

There is also no infanticide in bonobo groups. This is because there is no way of discerning paternity due to bonobos’ nonstop sexual exploits! So killing a baby could be killing your own baby. In fact, male bonobos are known to babysit and interact with little ones even though they don’t know that it is ‘theirs’. Overall, bonobos are more sensitive and emotionally aware than chimps. Bonobos are known to show empathy and help other species too. Young bonobos stay with their mothers for five years in a prolonged childhood. In fact, sons basically never leave their mothers, staying always by her side. This differs from chimps who leave their mothers to bond with other males.

Bonobos live in a kind of ‘matriarchal’ society. The females are the first who have access to food and resources and they decide who gets what. Females form strong bonds by sharing food and through sexual activity like tribadism (rubbing genitals with/on each other for a period of 10-20 seconds, which females do every two hours on average!!!) While the males are physically stronger, they lack the bonded group that females form, and therefore their occasional attempts to dominate fall flat on their face. From the PBS documentary: “Males want to muscle in but if females stand united the males remain under their collective thumb.” (!!!) The sons of powerful females in the group have higher social status – but once their powerful momma passes away, they immediately lose their status.

When there is tension, sex is used to diffuse the situation. There was AMAZING footage in one documentary I watched. A male bonobo is running, clearly aggressively, large stick in hand. Mid-run he realizes he’s approaching a female bonobo and drops his stick for a quick shag. Anger forgotten!

In fact, sex has all number of social functions. It is like a handshake or greeting, it’s used to bond/create intimacy, to resolve issues and for reconciliation. They have all kinds of sex as well – gay, straight, masturbation, tongue kissing, oral sex, and they have sex face to face which is rare in the animal kingdom. They have much gentler sex compared to chimps. In a group, female will have sex with all the males. This constant sexual interaction creates calm in bonobo life. Intimacy makes it hard to stay angry!

Bonobos give us insight into our lineage of cooperation and partnership societies, that likely existed farther back in hunter-gatherer (pre-agricultural) times. They share the DNA we have that is correlated to affiliation/bonding, which chimps lack. It is interesting to realize that a lot of what we think is ‘natural’ about ourselves comes from our knowledge of chimpanzee culture – when actually we are equally related to bonobos, and in fact, resemble them more physically (more distinct faces, longer legs, pronounced breasts, larger penises). Although on a side note – a female bonobo weighing perhaps half that of a human teenager, “has a clitoris that is three times bigger than the human equivalent – and visible enough to waggle unmistakably as she walks”! (Wikipedia)

Unfortunately bonobos are very difficult to study. They are an endangered species, there are only about 30,000 of them left, all in the jungles of the Congo – where they are hunted for bush meat as well as the pet trade. Researchers have barely had a chance to study them because of the constant warfare and uncertainty in the region and it’s a very difficult place to be a scientist! But there seems to be so much hope in this cute cousin of ours. Interestingly, the translation of ‘bonobo’ in their language is ‘ancestor’.

After watching a few documentaries, I thought I’d better start doing my reading for my next packet of masters work. I was astounded to find an entire chapter devoted to primates, particularly the bonobos, in Riane Eisler’s “Sacred Pleasure” which I’m reading for my master’s program. The premise of her book is that there are two strands of our evolution – ‘dominator’ culture based on fear/pain and ‘partnership’ culture based on pleasure. She stresses that “bonobos demonstrate an evolutionary movement toward sex as a means of reinforcing social relations based on the give and take of shared sensual pleasure rather than on coercion and fear.” Bonobos are masters of using sex as peacemaking ritual. It’s important to note that bonobos aren’t inherently peaceful, or there would be no need to make peace! They just know how to use female bonding and all kinds of sex to make peace and prevent violence.

—————————————

Learning all this about bonobos has been so powerful. I knew a little bit of it but hadn’t thought about bonobos in a long time. The deeper I got the more powerfully it resonated and the more I saw the importance of their discovery for our evolutionary understanding – as well as my own personal understanding. I want to be a master of using sex as peacemaking, healing and spiritual ritual.

Yesterday during my morning meditation, I discovered a new direction for my career. From the signs I received and the direction I’m now heading, I feel this is connected to the animal totem work we did this week.

In honor of my bonobos I did skip a few meals this week which actually felt good, it reminded me that as animals our bodies are more adapted to eating when we find food, rather than at scheduled mealtimes. I also introduced fruit (bananas!) into my diet, kind of by accident because my sister kept bringing them home and forcing me to drink the banana smoothies she makes every day. I realized I almost never eat fruit these days, I’ve gone off fruit for the past year! I think it’s a good time to start reintroducing it into my diet.

I completely resonate with bonobo sexuality. I can easily see how sex can be used completely pragmatically for any number of social functions. I would say that I have always seen sex as a way to create and maintain intimacy – even when I identified as an asexual, I saw the value of sex in that capacity and was happy to participate for that reason only.

It’s a shame that in our society, it would be a bit dangerous to go down on all fours with your skirt raised in between two blokes about to have a fight – what a powerful image!”

New York Encounter Part Deux: MalloMars to Venus

New York Encounter Part Deux: MalloMars to Venus

MallomarsIt’s Sunday evening around 8pm and I am walking home from parking my car on the west side. I have a bag of groceries in one arm, a score from the an out of town trip with my theatre company. I’m an opportunist when the option arises to stock up on suburbia goodies for $20 when the same bag of groceries will cost you $55 in New York City. My husband’s favorite cookie Mallomars were on 2 for $5 which retail for $8 at the arm and a leg gourmet grocery around the corner. I felt victorious on my saunter home with my dirt cheap booty tucked under one arm. As I was strolling crosstown, a gruff sounding “Excuse me!” erupted from behind. Everyone’s in a hurry in this city. I moved to the side to let Mr. Bad-Attitude pass. A rotund black man with a 6” long beard who was missing his front tooth brushed passed me in linebacker fashion. We locked eyes. His stormy gate suddenly turned to slow motion.

“What’s your name?” he said to me, switching gears quickly from get-the-fuck-out-of-my- way to I’ve-got-plenty-of-time-for-you-babe.

“What’s yours?” I bounced back at him.

“Ishmael,” he said a bit lasciviously, looking me up and down again.

“I’m Isis,” I responded.

“Are you spoken for?”

“Very,” I quickly replied.

“He better hold onto you tight.”

I smiled. Ishmael continued “I’m just returning to dating. My sister is encouraging me to get out there.” Just then, his hardened player face cracked and I saw a wash of sadness sweep over him. His voice quivered for a moment. “My wife, I lost my wife.”

We both stopped in our tracks.

“I’m so very, very sorry to hear that Ishmael. What happened?”

“My wife died of breast cancer a year ago,” Ishmael’s gruff voice softened almost to a whisper. Tears pooledon his lower eyelids. “My sister tells me its time for me to start dating again. I’m… it’s so hard”

We stood silent for a few beats.  The sounds of New York City muted into the background and somehow I could hear only the sound of our breath. Two strangers simply being with each other in a deeply vulnerable and intimate moment.

“Ishamel, I am so very sorry for your loss. I know this must be very hard for you. You will never replace your wife. But you will absolutely find love again.”

“My wife was so special Isis.”

“I know she was Ishmael. And she would absolutely want you to love again and she absolutely wants you to be happy.”

A soft smile cracked through the dark clouds on his face.

“I think she would want that, yes,” spoke Ishmael.

We stared at each other another moment.

“Thank you,” Ishmael bowed his head for a moment and then walked away.

I shifted my armful of groceries to the other arm and continued my walk home, a little slower, more present and filled with the gratitude of small miracles –  more love just opened on the planet… and Mallomars were 2 for $5.

Courting Ms. Violet

ImageIt is a Wednesday afternoon in late April.  The day is overcast and cold for the middle of Spring.  I wear my winter coat and sling my foraging bag over my shoulder.  I am off to Central Park and pray to the water elementals to hold off until I am finished harvesting.

I am on a mission.  Making violet medicine.  She’s been calling to me all Spring.   While my ambitious appetite wants to go out and harvest many things and make lots of different tinctures, I am reminded my herbal teacher’s mantra, learn one plant a time.  During my entire seven-month herbal apprenticeship we were asked to find a plant ally and get to know just one plant for seven months intimately.  While I learned much about many different plants during this time, my relationship to my plant ally that I meditated with for seven months is of course the strongest.

This season, a new plant ally has risen up to be greeted and I am becoming more familiar with her delightful acquaintance.  Violet (viola odorata).  This is my third time harvesting from her this season.  First was a glycerin based tincture, then a vinegar from her leaves that are high in vitamin C along with a violet cordial which turned out to be truly delicious.  Today I was guided to make an oil from her leaves as a new base for womb and breast salves and a vodka-based tincture from all her parts.

Violet called to me across the park and told me exactly where to gather her.  In my shamanic herbal apprenticeship, we were taught to listen to and hear the voice, song and healing energy of the plant through channeling the plants deva, or spirit.  While this may sound mystical or other-worldly, it is actually quite simple and involves deep presence, listening and a little trust and belief in magic.

While many violets were growing along the Central Park pathways, she was very specific with me about which ones wanted to be harvested.  She asked that I call her Ms. Violet and sing to her while I harvested her.  She told me where there were extra leaves that needed to be cleared so the ivy could grow and to be generous when I took her flowers because the spring ones were decorative and her true flowers that seeded next years violets would be up in the fall.

On singing and picking, I was transported to when I was a little girl picking wild violets in my grandmother’s backyard.   It was a ritual I relished every spring.  I would bring a small bouquet of these delicate, purple, handpicked flowers and present them to my grandmother.  She would put them in a glass vase with opaque glass violets etched into it. The vase went in my grandmother’s living room among all my grandmother’s beautiful colored glass and antiques.  Somedays, after picking a fresh bouquet, I would sit next to them in the green velvet chair in my grandmother’s living room and just look at their shape – their long slender stem and the ever so fragile nature of their petals.  I sighed wistfully at this sweet memory of long ago.  Had I known they were edible at the time I’m sure I would have found them a tasty snack.

During a self-pleasuring meditation ritual after I had harvested my first batch of violets this summer, my clitoris actually appeared to me as a violet.  Her delicate petals opening and unfolding, the beautiful engorged veins in my labia mirroring the lovely purple striping in her petals.  I know women often refer to their vulvas as flower like but this time I got that metaphor on a much deeper more profound level.

As I harvested in the park today, Ms. Violet told me she would sooth this chronic throat irritation that had been with me for months and when I used her tincture and she would help me speak more clearly and effectively when I sometimes jumbled my words or sentences together.  Violet has a delicate but steady flo, like a well tuned violin being playing long sustained notes.  She told me she would help my throat and voice come back into balance from the nodes and polyps I had developed on my vocal cords.  Her heart shaped leaves reflected the shape of my thyroid.  My body loved having a fresh violet leaf placed right at my collarbone to support my sluggish thyroid that sometimes needs encouragement.

Violet has a soothing and claming effect on the nervous system and supports regulating excess heat in the body.  She has a love for women’s breasts and is a natural supporter of healthy breast tissue and helps smooth out lumps, bumps and cysts both in the breast tissue and in ovaries.  Her leaves make a wonderful poultice over skin irritants, eczema, or places where there’s been chronic pain and inflammation.

If you find yourself in a field of violets stop and sit with her.  Sample a few of her flowers.  Some are being candied in my kitchen as I write this (painted with egg white and sprinkled with sugar and left to dry.)  She is a beautiful ally to become acquainted with holding the coolness of Spring in her body to relieve the body’s natural inflammatory tendencies and a wonderful generous plant high in vitamins that the body loves.

Thank you Ms. Violet for all of your wonderful medicine and your generous nature!

Walking the Beauty Path

Walking the Beauty Path

 beauty path

Beauty – noun.

1. A combination of qualities, such as shape, color or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, esp the sight.

2. A combination that pleases the intellect or moral sense.

3. The quality in a person that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind and spirit.

4. Something which embodies an unmatched aesthetic, regardless of external influences. To be truly beautiful reflects an unparalleled sense of eternity, unchanged by events or situations, which might otherwise compromise this trait.

We are taught that beauty comes from within. New Age positive thinking teaches us we are all beautiful and that women’s bodies especially are beautiful. We are taught our souls are beautiful. This is countered with society teaching us that beauty can be standardized or exists within certain forms. We are taught that beauty is packageable, marketable, that only a few possess it naturally and that the rest of us must strive to twist, contort, or conform to what has been declared the ever elusive standard of beauty.

Recently, I have found myself in an inquiry of ‘what is beauty and what does it look like when one embodies it?’ As one who is walking and teaching a path of sacred sensuality, how could I not look at beauty and aesthetics as part of this path?

Now when I say beauty, I feel that little prickle in system of vanity traipsing in the wake of standardization. ‘You mean six-pack abs? Cosmetics? Body modification? False appearances?’ screams my inner angry feminist. No, I mean Beauty – the unique embodiment of the light of Source shining through us. Beauty has a tremendous power. It has been worshipped in most all cultures to some degree – hence Venus, Lakshmi, Aphrodite, and the billion dollar beauty industry, Hollywood. It has also been rejected, rejected as false, seen as a mask of illusion or a manipulator of the natural.

The inquiry has taken me into my own path of beauty, where I am actively inviting it in and also exploring those moments where I have been truly surprised by beauty.

Beauty and I have had a quite a journey together. I trudged through a morass of misunderstanding and rejecting the concepts of physical beauty for much of my life. Some of my earliest memories of aesthetics or rejection thereof include: my mother chasing me around the house with eyebrow tweezers and a mascara brush; my angry feminist stage in college of wearing my hair up in what others called my ‘angry scarf’ and sporting army cargo pants with a militant personality, because I was worried I would be objectified instead of valued for my mind; my late college years of discovering my sexuality and its power and subsequently overly sexualizing my body to feel powerful; and eventually my naked yoga years of stripping away all forms of exterior beauty to open up to something more authentically beautiful on the inside.

My herbal teacher and pioneering second-wave feminist leader, Susun Weed, is a card-carrying Goddess worshipper and universal lover of women. Aesthetics and beauty-based rituals, however, were not something she touted in her repertoire. Her fierce temperament and Earth worshipping ways are more aligned with Baba Yaga and Gaia than with Aphrodite and Venus. A model in her early days, Susun now has a hearty woodswoman body for functional farm work and sports tie-dyed t-shirts and bug-repellant blue jeans. Her trademark fashion is a bandana worn around her forehead that contains her otherwise wild wiry hair. Susun encouraged her apprentices to bathe no more than twice a week and generally avoided soap especially anything scented. Conditioner other than nettle leaf infusion was seen as unnecessary and I’m quite sure she never willingly applied make-up at any time during 66 years of life. This was a priestess of the Earth and aesthetics were not a priority, especially for one who embraced farm life. Not only was beauty non-functional, any cosmetic enhancement was deemed unnatural. But whether consciously or unconsciously, Susun distinctly expressed herself through aesthetic choices. Her simple, functional, Earth-based choice of personal presentation was, in its way, as much a statement of her beliefs as a conservative office-worker’s or a Fifth Avenue fashionista’s. In recent years, my own preferences have shifted to a slightly enhanced version of Susun’s aesthetics. More ‘Gaia to feed and heal the world’ and less of the sought-after invocation of Venus or Helen of Troy.

Following in my teacher’s footsteps, it felt natural for me to be make-up free, barefoot and visually unobtrusive when speaking with the plants during our herb walks. That was how my herbal teacher taught and I mirrored that. When we are exploring our options of personal style, we tend to try on conventions to see if they work for us. Likewise we may try something on that apparently rejects the whole concept of aestheticism, unconscious of the fact that this is, of itself, an aesthetic choice.  I felt part of my calling in connecting women to their sexuality was to bring them to the Earth, Earth wisdom and Earth orgasm, and to take us away from any aesthetic preconceptions we had around what we perceived as sexy, seductive or sensual.

On an herb walk I lead this past summer for Awakening the Sexual Shamanic Priestess Retreat, I looked around at the women gathered and did a double take when my eyes fell on Juliette. Juliette had her silky raven hair coiffed in an up-do, had bright, fire-engine red lipstick painted on to accentuate the heart shape of her lips, and her hourglass body was draped in a sleek black gown adorned with silver beadwork. Juliette wore this on an herb walk. Juliette was a sex-workers’ rights activist by day and a ‘by choice’ high-end escort at night. She owned her sex and her beauty. She was someone who had stepped in and embraced her sexual aesthetics and beauty fully and it was jaw dropping to behold. Juliet was the kind of femme fatale that wore gowns on herb walks, because why wouldn’t a classic femme want to be dressed in her best to meet and commune with the flowering plants that remind us to own both our beauty and sexuality with their shameless display of blossoming genitalia?

Nothing about Juliette’s beauty was contrived or false. While glamorous and deeply aesthetically beautiful, nothing about Juliette was standardized. This beauty was a direct reflection of her soul fully integrated in her body temple. Juliette is a femme fatale. Juliette is sex and beauty. For Juliette to wear bug repellant jeans and a bandana would be asking an orchid to dress like a dandelion. Nothing about it would be authentic or true to her nature. The day that a red lipstick wearing femme fatale went on an herb walk with me was one in which my relationship to beauty changed. Beauty could be authentic and a reflection of our inner state and could also look quite conventional. The difference was this beauty was not trying to impress someone or mold itself to fit a certain form, it just is was. Same as a flower is not trying to be beautiful, it simply is beautiful.

We make aesthetic choices every day. The question is what do you want to make a statement about? What is your beauty? Whose beauty team are you on? Beauty elevates the soul, excites the senses. Beauty makes life more engaging. It magnetizes us. I was very excited being in Juliette’s presence just as I was very excited being in the presence of the flowering herbs on our walk. Beauty meeting beauty.

Beauty can also be considered resting or sitting well in oneself, good health and vitality, being the full embodiment of one’s own unique characteristics and how they are meant to shine. Meeting Maple helped me understand beauty as ownership of one’s own unique characteristics and soul energy. I first met Maple when she attended the monthly Naked Church service that I co-facilitate. She entered the room quietly, a petite gypsy-fairy spirit. While everyone clucked around before service catching up on small talk, Maple sat very still, eyes closed creating both a deeply meditative and electric presence around herself. When she opened her light blue eyes, they glowed and held the wisdom of other worlds. Maple is someone who holds my gaze. I find her presence reminds me of visiting a museum and being struck with surprise by a painting you didn’t know you were there to see but stops you in your tracks. Maple does not shave her legs and has one long dreadlock coiffed to the side of an otherwise hipster haircut. Her eyes are deep pools of sparkling blue and hold many stories. Her soul holds two-spirit energy, equal parts masculine and feminine. Her dress often looks like a collage of found garments that have been woven together to create a beautiful folk art collage of gypsy beauty. Without clothes, she somehow holds the same quality. At the Sexual Shamanic Priestess Retreat, I had everyone bring a tennis ball for sitting on for pelvic floor release work. Maple brought a potato. Maple is the embodiment of her own beauty. She has what is that ephemeral je ne sais quoi. There is no convention or standardization in Maple’s beauty, but the beauty she possesses is undeniable, a beauty which radiates from every cell of her body.

In addition to the women I’ve met in my work and community who have inspired me to rethink beauty, I’m moved to consider women over history who have served as walking embodiments of beauty. In contemplating beauty and its icons of past, I am taken instantly to the age of the courtesans, artists who were paid richly to cultivate their beauty and intelligence. Inspired to know these aesthetic feminine embodiments of art more intimately, my research led me to the discovery that several of the most famous and successful courtesans were not what one would consider conventionally beautiful. Several of the most famous courtesans in Venice were not particularly attractive in any way, yet they were a breed of woman that was irresistible – sought after by every man and envied by every woman. What these women did not lack was confidence and the ability to maximize on their charms – the most basic of beauty tenets. I am reminded of the great Mae West saying: ‘What is important to know is that every woman can have her own kind of beauty, if she’s willing to look for it and try for it.’

Beauty pioneers are often women who have swept in and taken over a standard convention with a certain amount of ownership of their own grace. Perhaps there was no greater rebel of beauty’s standardization than designer Coco Chanel, a fashion icon who helped women find their embodiment of beauty by famously liberating them from the constraints of the corseted silhouette. She was also a woman who perceived herself not to have been born beautiful. Chanel famously confessed to a lover: ‘I’m not pretty.’ ‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’re not. But I know of no one more beautiful than you.’ Coco Chanel owned her beauty and her intrinsic style helped create an entry point for other women to own theirs.

Like the famous Coco, pleasure revolutionary Mama Gena says: ‘Ownership is the key to beauty. You gotta dig on down and have yours.’ It is every woman’s job as an embodiment of the feminine to discover and embody her unique beauty calling card and then to work that card and those traits to maximize their potential. Mama Gena cites one particularly eccentric experiment, which involved throwing out everything in her closet except what made her feel the most beautiful. She was left with five garments. I don’t recommend this drastic a beauty experiment, but it warrants some consideration. Why would a woman want to drape her body in anything other than that which makes her feel beautiful? How would her life be altered if she felt she was truly and unequivocally beautiful?

Slightly less radical than Mama Gena’s beauty wardrobe make-over, I find that my own personal embodiments of beauty are ever changing and are often determined by occasion, season and inner states. On certain days I find my most comfortable pair of faded jeans and a v-neck t-shirt are what makes me the most beautiful, on another day, a Charlie’s Angels purple jumpsuit, and on another day a flowy Goddess dress, mostly because where I have chosen to source my beauty is from inside myself. It takes a lot of personal beauty ownership and inner sourcing to wear a Charlie’s Angels purple jumpsuit … a whole lot.

There is an astonishing amount of beauty available on the planet. We are not in scarcity of beauty, though standardization would have us think that it only belongs to a few. Our gifts and talents make us beautiful. Everyone is born talented at something. A certain innate gift is bestowed upon us all that allows us to excel in a particular area, an area of our lives where the stars simply seem to shine on us and we are able to rise above others.

My dear friend Cindy, for example, is perhaps at her most beautiful in her kitchen, talking to ingredients as she bakes and licking batter off spoons as she seduces her ingredients into just the right balance to create extraordinary sensations on one’s tongue. My soul sister Lisa and her eye for space and altar feng shui transform any space into an aesthetic feast with a few simple repositions of objects already there. I marvel at her eye for outer aesthetics as I know it comes from an internally aligned sensitivity of her own beauty.

A Practice of Self-Love

In an honest inquiry with beauty, however, I am also brought to looking past the places where we shine into the places where we feel there is no beauty. I want to examine body features, aesthetic inadequacies, voids of Goddess-given talent that others seem to have but where we come up short.

In this inquiry and reflection on beauty, I am reminded of my own beauty insecurities at various stages of my life. In high school, I had small breasts. I hated them. I always thought they were too small, not even enough for a handful. My sophomore year of high school, during a grueling rehearsal schedule, I dropped fifteen pounds. My clothes became too large for me. My bras hung off my shoulders. My mother took me to Kohl’s for some new clothes. I will forever remember the moment I was standing in a Kohl’s dressing room trying to find a bra to fit only to discover that even the A cups were too big. The air conditioner in the dressing room was blowing down on me and it was coldcoldcold and my nipples and breasts shivered and shriveled even closer to my body. My chest look emaciated and like a boy’s. I left the dressing room in tears and my mother and I left the store. She took me to a Sonic drive-in and we ordered a limeade and she told me that plastic surgery could be an option in the future as prices for such work had in the last few years become quite reasonable. My mother, bless her, was trying to provide a fix to the problem. Breasts too small? Make them bigger! Thus buying into the conventional standard of beauty and creating an entry point for me to manipulate and reconstruct my breasts to meet that standard. What I really needed from my mother at the time, however, was to be taught self-love and for her to remind me of what about me was truly beautiful, as well as perhaps finding something that I loved about my breasts.

Raised in a family and culture where self-love and alignment with one’s individual traits of beauty were not modeled, I traveled my own healing path of beauty embodiment by sourcing my beauty from aligning with the seasons and cycles of the natural world. In my journey of embracing beauty, my truest connection and sourcing has always come from my connection to nature and the natural world. The Navajo teach and practice a spiritual tradition that is called ‘walking the beauty path.’ When one is unbalanced or out of harmony with their beauty, they must return to the natural world to find it. To walk in beauty as the Navajos define it means to hold balance and harmony with all things, all people, all nature and all events in your life. When you achieve balance among the pendulum of polarities, you are ready to walk the beauty path.

I did not get a boob job. Instead I practiced and taught naked yoga and Earth-based spiritual traditions that consistently remind me and place me in right relationship with my body. In my late twenties as my body filled out, so did my breasts. As my body size naturally fluctuates over the years with different phases of my life, I have a developed a practice of loving kindness to my breasts in all their forms and phases. Currently, I massage my breasts daily right after my bathing ritual and infuse with them with visualizations of pink and green for the heart chakra. I do this as I sit in what I lovingly have declared the boudoir area of my bedroom that has a red cushioned chair, Victorian fans and a collection of vintage black and white nude boudoir postcards featuring women of all shapes who appear to be celebrating their bodies and their sensuality. Make no mistake, I don’t wake up every day and think ‘Ah yes, I will lounge naked in my boudoir and lovingly massage my body with scented creams.’ This is a practice. Like showing up to one’s yoga mat, sometimes we jump at the opportunity, and at other times we must drag ourselves through temper tantrums, pouty toddler phases, and I’m-not-worthy moments to practice self-love. The effects of a self-love practice, however, have very tangible reverberations. On a return visit to my hometown a few years ago, an old friend from college actually asked me if I had gotten a boob job. ‘No,’ I replied, ‘I practice loving kindness to my breasts.’

In my session work with women, I have the pleasure of witnessing women blossom and unfold to their true beauty. I have had the honor and pleasure of facilitating session work for a Hassidic woman named Miriam who wanted to explore deep sensual reclamation work. It is incredibly rare for a woman from such a conservative community and religious background to actively seek out session work that supports authentic sensual embodiment. Miriam was healing from childhood sexual abuse and was currently in an emotionally toxic relationship. We explored several simple movement-based practices and healing bodywork ceremonies to bring her into a safe, soft and sensual connection with her body. After our fourth session, she asked me: ‘Isis, does this work change your physical appearance? Because I am noticing my features changing, and I like them!’ Her eyes were becoming more open and her lips rounder and fuller. She was looking like a woman turned on, lush and alive! ‘Miriam,’ I told her, ‘We are all born beautiful. Sometimes life circumstances or situations cause us to forget this beauty. What’s amazing is that you’re open to returning to it.’

Today I find myself in a stand. A stand for beauty. I honor the beauty of my body. I honor the beauty of my spirit. I honor the beauty of those who find their own beauty and shamelessly flaunt and embody it. In my stand for beauty, I ready to walk the beauty path. On the beauty path, we return to balance, a state where we accept and are accepted, where we don’t feel the need to justify who we are or require validation from others, where we perceive our own beauty as continuous with the beauty in the world around us. Clearly perceived, beauty, so fragmented in our contemporary culture, is actually what can connect us to the larger beauty energies and mysteries of the universe. Each of us is a facet of a magnificently beautiful universe. To align ourselves with this beauty is to be one with it and to find it reflected everywhere we look and in everyone we encounter. Beauty is and you are a unique part of it. Walk the path.

The Navajo Beauty Way Ceremony

In beauty may I walk

All day long may I walk

Through the returning seasons may I walk

Beautifully I will possess again

Beautifully birds

Beautifully joyful birds

On the trail marked with pollen may I walk

With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk

With dew about my feet may I walk

With beauty may I walk

With beauty before me may I walk

With beauty behind me may I walk

With beauty above me may I walk

With beauty all around me may I walk

In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk

In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk

It is finished in beauty

It is finished in beauty.

Sexual Shamanic Priestess Tenets

Sexual Shamanic Priestess Tenets

Shamanic Goddess

 The Sexual Shamanic Priestess is an ancient archetype that is returning to our consciousness to be reactivated. The Sexual Shamanic Priestess nourishes the cycles of orgasmic energy and inner rhythms and cycles of herself, her community and all of creation. In stepping into this archetype, we step into the wholeness of our power and repair our fragmented connection with Mother Earth and the fragmented connection between our sexuality and our spirituality. Through pleasure, love, ritual and Earth based wisdom and reverence the Sexual Priestess holds the wisdom of oneness with all of creation. In this powerful all women-retreat, we will journey to awaken the Sexual Priestess within each of us, reclaiming our individual and collective sexual power, opening to our authentic creative and sensual self-expressions and entraining our dance with the cycles of nature and the cosmos.  I’ve been crafting a list of tenets of the Sexual Shamanic Priestess.  This is the beginning.  I’d love to hear yours!

Sexual Shamanic Priestess Tenets

 

The sexual shamanic priestess…

 

Is one with nature.

 

Honors and celebrates all of nature’s cycles and all of the cycles and phases of womanhood.

 

Maximizes these natural cycles to direct energy with intent for personal transformation, perfect health, abundance and manifestation of her desires adhering to the shamanic principles of right relationship.

 

Nourishes her sexuality and sensuality with the governing principles that her body is her own to share and celebrate as she desires and that all acts of love and pleasure are her rituals.

 

Celebrates and honors her body and the bodies of others and connects and shares from a place of generosity, fullness and love.

 

Practices self-inquiry.

 

Knows and honors that her sexuality is hers and is also an extension of the Earth’s macrocosm of sexual life force energy.

 

Serves as a conduit of an essential sacred energy that exists within nature and a translator of this wisdom.

 

Sexual shamanic priestess is an embodiment of the Goddess and bringer of sexual joy by which animal instincts are transformed into the art and practice love and love-making.

 

Reinstates sexuality in its fundamental position as our birthright and a holy body blessing

 

Seeks to support and empower other women in accessing their sexual sensual life force for pleasure, creativity and health.

 

She brings her soul gifts to service her community.

 

I’d love to hear what the your tenets are for the Sexual Shamanic Priestess!

Please Comment Below.

AND Save the date for our the Sexual Shamanic Priestess Retreat  in upstate New York at Galiana July 12th-14th!

Love,

Isis

The Warrior’s Bond – Intimacy in Battle

Kissing - painting by Alex Grey

Kissing – painting by Alex Grey

A friend and colleague Lloyd writes in:

I want to see a return to the adoration of the Earth Mother, but I also think our day is unique in that men and women have never been able to work together, shoulder to shoulder, like this before. The differences in strength, size and temperament matter less now. Traditional roles and stereotypes are no longer appropriate. I think finding sexual synergy and combining our energies in ways that don’t just complement each other but enhance our combined powers is vital.

 
Forgive the reversion to my scientist personality, but I’ve been thinking a lot about bonding lately. We know something of the role of oxytocin in creating emotional bonding when lovers couple and when mothers suckle their infants. But something like that also occurs between soldiers who have been to battle together. I can assure you we do not (usually) couple or suckle. But a strong bond is formed and I’m not sure what the mechanism is. For men there is a clear line between sexual and non sexual bonding that I think is less defined between women. But what happens when women and men bond in the way warriors bond? Will it work without the sexual bonding pushing it aside or conflicting in some way? Sex tends to get in the way rather than empower. If you have any insight, I’d love to hear it.
 
With much affection,

Lloyd

Dear Lloyd,

Always a joy to hear from you.  Here are a few things that come to mind….

Because the emotional chakra and the sexual chakra are hence the same chakra our ‘feeling center’ or center of clarisentience – ‘clear feeling’ or in some cases ‘not so clear feeling’ (seems to me things can get pretty mucked up in this area with all the conditions, restrictions and limitations we put on ourselves), I’m not surprised that when strong emotional experiences unfold between two people, sexual experiences generally follow.

In any sort of deeply impacting or traumatizing situation this of course includes war, it is natural to feel close to another human being who has shared the same experience.   The experience of trauma and tragedy, particularly in war, in many ways dissolves boundaries and barriers both internal and external between you and another human being.  We catch, in moments of catastrophe, holy witnesses and glimpses of “God” in each other.  These moments forever bond individuals.
I am reminded of two Korean men I met at King Spa in New Jersey last month. I was sitting in the ice room with a few of my girlfriends who had joined me for a spa trip.  These men probably in their mid seventies sat across from each other in silence.  Eventually I engaged one of the men in conversation and he was more than happy to speak about his love for the bathhouse and his relationship to his friend who was sitting next to him who he fought with on the American side of the Korean war.  They made special trips to see each other each year leaving their spouses at home, year after year.  They were silent in the bathhouse, very little communication passing between them, but I could feel their bond was sacred.  It was something they needed to do for themselves to honor what had transpired in their time together.
As far as men and women, now, assuming we are looking through a heterosexual lens, I think that because the emotional stakes of war initiations create such deep grooves in ones emotional energetic system, it is natural to bond to those who share the same experience and perhaps even creates an intimacy that one would not experience otherwise between two people.  In my practice of teachings sacred sexuality, I have the privilege and the responsibility of seeing the most intimate aspects of individuals on a daily basis.  The way I keep myself clear and contained is to create sacred space and to release any energetic hooking or cording that has transpired between myself and my clients and colleagues at the end of our time together.  This keeps me grounded, the space of intimacy specific and out of a cycle of projection and energetic loose ends.
That said, there have been on a handful of occasions a person or energy that we were not able to let go of the sacred space together and that involved a mutual desire to continue exploring the relationship.  These occasions were rare and developed into wonderful consensual friendships and relationships as the communication was clear between us about wanting to continue to explore each others energies and feelings.  My question to you is, in the event of a powerful initiation that brings a warrior closer to another warrior, it is useful to ask oneself, is this someone who I truly desire to be in relationship with, if so what is the best form of the relationship?  Is this someone I journey to see once a year, the love of my life, a pen pal, or someone who I hold in thought when I remember my fallen brothers and sisters and give a silent prayer of thank you he/she is still alive and well today.
You spoke of sex ‘getting in the way’ in these relationships.  Here’s where I would split your attention.  Sex can indeed get in the way if it is not in the highest good for the nature of the relationship to become sexual or if we have previous agreements that we would be breaking in our lives or our potential sexual partners lives by becoming sexual.
But what if it was in the highest good?  And our agreements, feelings and sexual turn-on were all sympatico with our prospective partners, then sexuality could in fact further and deepen a bond between two people that have been desiring to feel and experience each other.  I find when I am feeling sexual towards someone, it is best to speak about it openly and transparently so that we are both on the same page.  At that point we can create a container for the sexuality, even if the container is simply the response of ‘Thank you for saying that.  I am not available to explore a sexual relationship with you.’  This at a minimum brings clarity, directness and simplicity to what could potential be a ‘complicated’ situation.
Thank you for bringing this amazing inquiry!

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