IX and X. Spectrosexuality Survey: Challenges and Sensations

Just because a partner is “imagined” (as opposed to “imaginary”) doesn’t mean the relationship or encounter is ideal. It also doesn’t mean that sensations are imaginary either. The people who took this survey had a lot to say regarding both topics.

For the purposes of discussion, I am using the word “imagine” to describe a way of sensing something that transcends visual, auditory, and tactile sense, yet which “feels real” even so. Newer readers might like to refer to my blogs on preliminary thoughts and  mysticism and sexology before continuing.

This post discusses the final two questions in the spectrosexuality and god/spirit spouse survey.

Question Nine


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Secrecy: Some (perhaps many or most) people need to keep spectrosexual relationships and encounters hidden.

“I’m not actually sure how to broach the subject with my human partner. He knows I’m oathed to Loki, but he’s unaware of the nature of that oath. So far, Loki seems okay with that, as the god marriage is new still (since December).”

“I struggled with secrecy and possibly facing a negative reaction from others if they found out, which made trying to explain my lack of human dating awkward.”

“I don’t share this with anyone.”

 

Discernment: There were several responses on this topic.

One person felt that group experiences with witchery helped with discernment:

“I work alongside other witches so we often have a giggle about it. I’ve never had any problems defining this world from the unseen.”

But others said:

“Communication discernment. It’s often hard to tell if it’s him or me, or something else.”

“Discernment can be an issue, however, if something is working for me and meeting my needs, it isn’t anyone else’s problem. And if it ends up being in my head, well then I have a great imagination that isn’t hurting anyone.”

“Dreams can sometimes be misleading.”

One person was concerned that lack of discernment, especially as reported by some human godspouses, could lead to damaging or abusive human/spirit relationships. There is also a concern about how lack of discernment can reflect poorly on others:

“One concern I have had that I have mixed feelings about is that other people with similar experiences to my own often show behaviors or ideas about said experiences that I don’t find wise. I’ve heard many other godspouses report that they are concerned their deity may be acting in nonconsensual or abusive ways toward them (not the reporter’s own works, but clearly what they were describing), and I’ve also seen godspouses who clearly didn’t have a great grasp of consent and healthy relationships themselves and who may have actively been seeking out unhealthy dynamics. I tend to chalk those experiences up to projecting human behaviors onto gods, but these types of statements make it easy for me to understand why some people look with suspicion upon godspouses, since some godspouses do seem to have unhealthy or unbalanced ideas about their Divine partners.”

Managing multiple spirit/human relationships:

“I tend to feel bad I don’t spread my love or attention equitably. I gravitate from one to another, then realize I’ve been neglecting several.”

Noncorporeality:

“Being in a relationship with someone who does not have a physical form and who long term contact with requires focused mediation and otherworldly travel.”

Change:

“Our relationship morphed into an even deeper one where sex is not needed and/or would actually hinder our work together. It’s only very rarely that we become intimate.”

Finally, one person added this important reminder:

“I have the ultimate magickal power of choice.”

Question Ten

I am a hypnotist and hypnosis instructor, as well as a sexologist and sexuality counselor. Because I am so familiar with hypnosis, as well as offshoots like guided imagery and autogenic training, I know that very real physical effects can be created simply through imagination and suggestion. So I could be tempted to stop here and simply say, “well, this spirit sex stuff is all in the mind,” but I won’t.

Sure, there could be a bit of malarkey, mendacity, and/or mental dishevelment among some of the responses to this survey, but I am used to generally accepting people’s accounts of their lived experiences, especially with regard to sexuality, intimacy, and gender. Who am I to say what’s “real” and what’s not?


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Here are a selection of responses from the comments section.

Physical Sensations Not Caused by Self

“I’ve felt a physical sensation that I did not cause once, but it was not in a sexual context.”

“It was like this constant pressure/energy that almost became a part of me. I could feel a presence hugging me, like a blanket of energy. I’ve also felt him physically touch my back—but that was only once. Because of self doubt and trouble discerning what’s actually him or not, I tended to dismiss what I thought I felt a lot.”

“Most of my intimate encounters happen when I trance and journey to the Otherworld but I can still feel the sensations within my physical body. On very rare occasions, usually with the deity I am spoused to, I do not need to journey and can feel their presence in the room.”

“Warmth.”

“Chakral stimulation, seeing with physical eye, smells, taste, touch, etc.”

Unusual Energy

“One time in particular during intimacy I went out of body so far that I felt a connection with every thing in the universe. It was glorious, and I forgot to breathe for a short time. My spirit spouse let me stay that way for a moment, then gently called me back to my body, but I didn’t want to come back. The experience was rich with sensations, and it was very profound. I felt like I was in very deep space, yet I felt every planet, every organism, every human and nonhuman thing all at once. And it all felt very natural. Peaceful would be a word to describe it, but it doesn’t do the feeling justice. I will never forget that feeling.”

Sense of Presence and/Or Communication

“Sometimes I am more in tune with Loki than other times, especially depending on my stress level and if I’m distracted by something I have to do the next day. He doesn’t seem to mind if I’m not all there and am unable to enter a full meditative state. I’m very busy with university at the moment and my area of study leaves me with almost no time for social activities, so I feel like our time together is Loki’s way of taking care of my mental health.”

“he once demanded i say his name instead of the name of the mortal man i love then proceeded to tell me to call him by one of his older names (Loptr) & laughed in a pleased & pleasing way when i followed instruction.”

“Spiritual revelation/gnosis.”

Adding Physical Touch, Solo or Partnered

“Sometimes I add physical touch, but not always, and pretty sparingly.”

 

“Certain encounters took place solely within mental spaces, in which I might have been physically turned on but didn’t always feel a physical need to masturbate. I didn’t always worry about what my body was doing because I still felt emotionally satisfied. Other times, I’d be masturbating and feel Someone’s presence, which might turn into an impromptu offering, but sometimes, I’d check in divination wise to make sure I was clear on particulars of the mental story/vid to masturbate with and would feel Their presence once I started physically (intentional offering).”

“Sometimes I feel my spirit lovers join in while I’m with a physical partner or partners. Some people know and some don’t-depends on how I think they would react.”

Seeing or Hearing Things That Others Might Not See or Hear

“I have never had full-blown audio/visual hallucinations, but neuroscience research (that’s my area of study) suggests that “mental images” may actually be on the same spectrum as hallucinations and that the intensity of sensory experience may simply be determined by the strength of the neural connections involved. It’s been experimentally demonstrated, for example, that synesthesia – a condition in which people experience one sense, such as seeing a shape or color, when they encounter another sense, such as a certain sound – may actually be something that all humans have at a subconscious/subsensory level. Almost all people will say, for example, that certain sounds “feel” round vs. spiky, even if they don’t experience sensory hallucinations to that effect. I always feel the need to explain this related to my spiritual experiences, because I do “sense” things in the form of mental images, but these are not of sensory-hallucinatory quality like some people report. Most people seem to assume it’s one or the other, that sensations I experience are either “made up,” consciously fabricated by me, or are full-blown sensory hallucinations. Neither is the case. I’ve never had a full sensory hallucination, but neither do I control, decide, or “make up” the actions of the spiritual entities I encounter. I perceive them at a level below that of full sensory hallucination.”

Intense Emotions

“Most common is intense pleasure during meditation.”

“Idk about “spiritual emotions.” I can feel strong emotions i’d normally feel in sex, but shared with the spirit. Ya know? Also sex is one of those shamanic paths (ecstacy?) that works to change my state of conciousness, so I can see things in my head, like a eureka moment, but no hallucinations.”

Other Information

“It took years for the connection to get strong. The relationship had to evolve just as any human to human relationship, with trust, communication, and clear intentions in place. The encounters have grown stronger and more “real” and undeniable from the beginning 7 years ago. He has even manifested randomly during sleep and literally gotten into my bed 3 confirmed times.”

Final Thoughts

My motivation for doing this confidential, non-scientific survey was to (1) include spectrosexuality and god/spirit spousery in the broader and legitimate context of human sexual and erotic behavior and, (2) more personally, to discover where my own “unverified personal gnosis” (UPG) may match up with other people’s experiences. Does this survey indicate that we may actually have more peer corroboration (PCPG – Peer-Corroborated Personal Gnosis) than we know? I think it might.

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This

This blog takes a break from discussing the spectrosexuality survey to bring you an urgent public service announcement brought to you by Greta Thunberg.

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That Was Then, THIS is Now

When I was a child, caterpillars were a frequent sight. I played all day at tidepools at the Coronado, CA seashore and gently poked a lot of sea anenomes to make them close. I could catch (and release) small frogs at the pond on the local golf course–there were thousands. In many ways, it was an idyllic childhood even though my family was poor and my grandfather had died of a radiation-induced brain tumor after leaving the Navy, after witnessing the explosions at Bikini Atoll. Planes from North Island Naval Base flew over my tidepools several times a day, so I was never unaware of war.

But by the time I was twelve I’d become convinced that the planet had changed immensely since the last time I’d incarnated (yes, I really thought that way as a kid). I blamed television and radio rays, all modern things, and sensed a coming apocalypse. I thought it would happen by the time I was a legal “grup.” I was desperate to understand how to live my life on the earth in a healthy way. Alicia Bay Laurel’s Living on the Earth was one of my favorite books. (But I was also listening to the Velvet Underground’s first album so go figure.)

Soon teen hormones took over and I became interested in other things (including boys), such as feminism, working at a women’s clinic as a pregnancy counselor, and supporting La Huelga by leafletting for the grape boycott outside of supermarkets. Then life threw me several curve balls and I did not end up in a wooded hippie commune, as I’d planned.

I ended up…elsewhere.

In spite of my valid childhood concerns, I still don’t know how to make a fire or how to identify wild edible herbs in my area. I have no skills at all that would enable me to survive a day in the wilderness, let alone the rest of my life foraging in a semi-rural or urban landscape as an old woman living in a toxin-drenched, violent dystopia caused by the galloping climate disaster we are currently doing everything we can… to continue.

I’m more likely to end up on somebody’s plate, at that point. Waste not, want not.

So I could say to Greta Thunberg and all her generation, and to my children’s generation which preceeded hers, yes, I remember what it was like to be a young person who could see clearly that Western consumerism, pollution, and war were all features of an insane cancer that would doom us all, even the animals. And I didn’t understand why the grown-ups didn’t see what I could see. And yet, as an adult, I have not done enough.

Greta and her allies will probably not make the same mistake. They have much less time to waste on bullshit than I did and their analysis is more accurate.


Quote from Greta Thunberg’s address to the World Economic Forum last January:

“Some people say that that the climate crisis is something that we all have created. But that is just another convenient lie because if everyone is guilty, then no one is to blame. And someone is to blame. Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to make unimaginable amounts of money, and I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”


I’m going to leave that right here for a moment. I’ll return to Greta later.

Ecology 101 in “The Pleasant Land of Counterpane”

I spent the last three days in bed, sick with a cold brought from the Eastern states by an air traveller. During that time I binge-watched Versailles and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and ignored the new Our Planet, even though my cats favor nature programs. (You see, as a mature citizen of the most unsustainable resource-guzzling nation on the planet, I still have that luxury, that privilege, of choosing entertainment over information.) But last night, “while I was sick and lay a-bed,” I watched the first episode. The lush photography of masses of penguins, sea birds, anchovies, and dolphins made me want to weep. The melting glaciers of Greenland, ditto. I knew what the message of the show would be and that’s partly why I didn’t want to watch it while ill.

Here’s an excerpt from a future episode, one about ants and fungi in the rain forest. It holds a cautionary lesson for human beings. In the beginning of the clip, ants farm fungi and keep it free of disease. And there’s a phrase thrown in about how the fungal crop may have benefits for human medical research. The the footage switches to a deranged ant climbing a tree, finally reaching the very end of one twig “high above the forest floor.” What happens next is an apt metaphor for how we human beings function in the face of our self-created planetary disaster. Of the pathetic ant and its fate, David Attenborough says:

“Something has taken control of its movements, like a puppeteer pulling at the strings of a marionette. There’s just one final act for which the ant has no choice. It must find a place to bite down, tethering it to the vegetation. With the ant in its death grip, a parasitic fungus, Cordyceps, erupts from its body… Finally the fruiting body of the fungus bursts from its head. From this bulbous container spores will be cast into the air currents where they will claim more ant victims…”

But other bugs also succumb to this parasite. The footage is horrifying. But Attenborough comments:

“The more numerous a species is, the more likely it is to fall victim to the killer fungus. Checks and balances like these means no one species can ever dominate, so protecting the jungle’s incredible diversity…”

Cordyceps is sometimes called a “zombie fungus” because it eventually controls the behavior, the motor movements of its host, forcing it to starve to death while the fruiting bodies mature enough to emerge from its body in order to release spores.

I have often wondered why human beings, collectively as a species, are so stupid and self-destructive? Why are we not organizing, rapidly and decisively? Even in a destructive context like capitalism, economic arguments support the wisdom of a “Green New Deal” and other initiatives. Why are we lurching, like mindless fungi-infected zombie ants, toward the very things which will doom us all? In spite of all, we humans clamp down our jaws, unable to speak out at the very edge of the precipice–a death grip of consumerism.

Even the ants have learned to recognize their infected colleagues and to remove them from the colony, as a means of survival. But we are not so wise. And our infections are both internal (habits, thoughts, ignorance, selfishness) and external (policies, power structures, faulty leadership, pollution, war). Our individual and collective inactions give Darwin the lie. We do not care about our own species survival. We only care about whatever feeds our greed.

Here’s another lesson, this one on indicator species and social ecology. This video of the late Michael Rossman was taken in front of the Berkeley Oak Tree Sit of a few years ago. In spite of the tree sit and protests, the oak grove–“a real forest” as Michael says–was destroyed to build a multi-million dollar student atheletic building right next to the CAL stadium, which sits on top of the Hayward Fault. Though it is on a smaller scale, it is another example of the kind of short-sighted, destructive policymaking that Greta Thunberg calls out so accurately. (And how Michael would have cheered for this young woman, had he lived to hear or read her words!)

Medicine for the Cordyceps Twins of Capitalism and Consumerism

Unlike the ants sick with Cordyceps, I do think we have some choices, still. Even now way  past the eleventh hour we can back away from our lemming rush off the edge of the precipice. We can choose individual change, systems change, and context change. The doctor is in and ze prescribes: Animism. The awareness that all matter is conscious, therefore humans are not the be-all and end-all and we don’t get to be nature bullies any longer.

Animism can be combined with the Precautionary Principle as a practical philosophy to infuse global and local policies and decision-making, as well as strategies to mitigate and reverse as many of the features of our climate catastrophe as possible (including species decline and extinction, fuel usage, etc.). When we can give and observe the rights of rivers, forests, etc. as “a legal person,” with the understanding that there really is a consciousness experienced by that thing or natural feature and that we are engaged in a communication with it on some level (whether we sense it or not), then we are on the way to correcting our destructive hubris.


Here’s a passage and quote from a good article about legal rights of natural features:

Contrary to popular misconceptions, legal rights are not the same as human rights, as corporations have enjoyed the rights of legal personhood for quite some time.

“I always find it interesting that people don’t seem to be challenged by the idea that a fictional thing like a corporation can have personhood, but that a natural resource, which is actually much more tangible, can’t,” Macpherson said. “I think that people are just used to what they’re used to, and over time as this becomes more common, and more people are pushing for it, the idea will start to seem less shocking.”


Artisanal Animist-Infused Threefold Social Order

And we could try this. Though Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) was a man of his time with serious flaws (dude was a racist), he had some interesting insights and did some good in this world (e.g. biodynamic farming and Waldorf Schools). His post-WWI Threefold Social Order is one of his more intriguing ideas. I am not sure that all aspects are reasonable or doable in the 21st century–a far more complicated era of multi-national corporations and our climate catastrophe–but I do like the idea of infusing animism into a simplied form of his reasoning, at least as a jumping off point for consideration.

Steiner was inspired by the slogan of the French Revolution, but he thought “liberté, egalité, fraternité” should be separately assigned to each of the three general realms of human life. He felt that the economic sphere should be based on brotherhood (and we need a more inclusive word for this, I know), that the legal realm should be based on equality, and the cultural realm should be based on freedom.

I can imagine combining a working philosophy of animism (consiousness of matter) with this idea in the following ways:

Infusing liberté (freedom) with animism in the cultural realm could result in a greater respect and engagement with animals, plants, waterways, landscapes, and other natural systems as culture-creating and culture-bearing in their own right. We could allow for and respect their cultures while purusing our own within that context.

Infusing egalité (equality) with animism in the legal sphere would inform decisions to grant legal personhood to more and more animals, rivers, habitats, mountains, etc.

Infusing fraternité (non-gendered familial comradery?) with animism in the economic realm could result in more considerate and less exploitive behavior with regard to other creatures and natural features, that they are recognized as fellow citizens of this planet as well as legal persons and that they have a stake in thriving in a sustainable natural economy. Humans would return to something more in harmony with the natural order of things and no longer see ourselves as completely entitled to everything we want, no matter what effect it has on anyone else. We would have to communicate with and treat with the other terrestrial intelligences on this planet.

So these are ideas to kick around as foundational as we pursue necessary practical strategies such as renewable energy, lowering our carbon footprint, ending military pollution, and so on.

Humans: Rouge Species or Lemmings and Zombie Ants?

Right now, it’s as if humanity acts on the rest of the Earth’s species just as the U.S. acts on the rest of the countries of the world: greedy, grabby, exploitive, entitled, endlessly destructive, and heedless of consequence. A rogue nation and a rogue species if ever there was one.

While everyone alive right now (especially in “developed” countries) must take individual actions to decrease complicity and perpetuation of climate change, the elders, thinkers, inventors of this world who are working on solutions to climate catastrophe (such as the folk who present at Bioneers conferences) need to quit patting themselves on the back as elite “thought leaders” (as so many do) and spend much more time in the trenches with young people such as Greta Thunberg. Pass on what you know. Get the kids access to conventions, forums, the United Nations, and executive board rooms. Use your own privilege to grant them as much access as possible to other thought-leaders, policy-makers, Use your platform to get their voices to the general public. (And make sure it’s not just white, cis kids either, okay?)

And in turn, each young person alive today could in turn represent a bee colony, a flower species, a forest, a mountain, or a stream, and as their representative give them a voice in conventions, forums, the United Nations…

Meanwhile, someone teach these kids how to make fire without a match, please. They may need this where we’re going.

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VIII. Spectrosexuality Survey: Satisfaction

“Honestly, why have a human partner LOL!”

That’s a quote from the comments section. Spectrosex and spirit spousing may not be for everyone, but those respondents who took this survey seem to enjoy this most of the time. 55 out of 100 people said they were “very satisfied” and 33 out of 100 people said they were “often satisfied.”

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Very positive comments included:

I’m in love with them!”

“Always extremely satisfied.”

But these types of incidents and/or relationships  do have their challenges. Some are challenging because there are other life complications:

“Saying often satisfied since I do deal with clinical depression and chronic pain that aren’t related to the relationship but do have an effect on my wellbeing.”

Some are challenging due to the confusing or overwhelming nature of spectrosexual encounters:

“Loki is quite present in my daily life, and although I cleanse and ground frequently, taking on his sexual energy so frequently can be difficult for my body to handle. If we have sex at night and he orgasms, I absorb so much energy from him I often can’t sleep.” 

“When it happened, I was confused and so sure I was going crazy. When I got confirmation, I was elated—for a little bit. Then I got overwhelmed by everything (his constant presence, me freaking out all the time, lack of communication) and we decided to give it a break. I’m not sure if that break will ever end, but I’m glad I experienced what I did.”

Some people experience emotional support from a god or spirit just as they might with a human partner:

“Sometimes my anxiety gets the best of me and can cut off my communication with Thor. From what I’ve experienced Thor has been incredibly paitent [sic] with this and has helped me forward. As a spouse, he’s very passionate, very affectionate and will make you feel like the king/queen of the world 10/10 would recommend lol.”

“…my husband is clinically depressed and most of my time is spent taking care of both his emotional and physical needs. My emotional needs tend to be met by my patron who kinda took me under his wing and adopted me.”

Emotional ups and downs are also possible:

“Had been through a very rough few years and now rebuilding relationships. Going well, very happy.”

“At the time, I was satisfied with incorporating offerings of sexual energy into those spirit relationships. In hindsight, given that things didn’t necessarily end on the best of terms with either Person, I’m not really sure if I’m satisfied or not. Sometimes, I do miss having that clear direction of intent and connection to Someone, though.”

One person spoke to the complexity of a very long-term god/spirit spouse relationship:

“In 14 years of marriage and nearly 20 years of intimacy with the same being, I am still at an utter loss for words as regards how to discuss my satisfaction and “physical happiness” as you put it.”

And there may be a significance that transcends human concerns about sex or intimacy:

“The sexual encounters I have had with spirits seemed to be more about other things than about the sex. It’s never been about the intimacy or because that sort of relationship was going to be a regular thing (if they weren’t simply dreams), but rather something closer to initiations or power transference than anything else.”

If I’d done a survey with more questions and a larger sample, designed to be scientifically accurate, there are so many nuances I’d explore: definitions of satisfaction; comparisons of human and spirit relationships or encounters; more specific questions about sexual beliefs and practices; and so on. But for a start, it’s interesting to know that among these 100 respondents, most are having positive experiences.

Stay tuned for Question 9.

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VII. Spectrosexuality Survey: Practices and Rituals

Not everyone has a “godphone” for spiritual booty calls. Instead, human beings who have engaged in intimate contact with gods and other spirits may use a variety of approaches to make and/or receive contact. Often they do nothing at all.

To fully understand the results of this question, I need to compare responses in the categories, since people were able to check several categories.


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Because this question accepted multiple responses, it’s helpful to make do some comparisons. Fortunately, Survey Monkey provides filters.

Q7 FILTERED CHART #1

38 people said that not doing anything worked well for them. But let’s see what else those 38 people did to facilitate spectrosex.

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Of the 38 people who answered “I don’t do anything” in the “works well” column,  20 also said rituals worked well. 21 said offerings worked well. 9 people said using solo sex as an invitation also worked well (and 10 said it worked “sometimes.”) 5 said horsing worked well and 4 said using psychoactive substances worked well. These same things also worked “sometimes.”

Q7 FILTERED CHART #2

People who said that not doing anything “works well sometimes” also do other things.

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You get the idea. People are doing many different things to either get the attention of gods and spirits, or to respond to them. And some methods work better than others.

Nineteen people included details in the “Other” section. People described many different ways of entering into intimacy and have many kinds of experiences. Some involve physical touch, objects, or partners. Some do not.

Here are some highlights.

“Usually meditate and go into trance and then do divination about how to proceed and take things from there. I use godphone, but it’s still being developed; there’s too much interference to rely on it alone. If I don’t check in with a physical divination tool, my thoughts take over and I lose the conversation.”

“I have only occasionally performed ritual sex with Dionysos using a dildo. Most of the time our relationship is more emotionally intimate, rather than physically.”

“I often pathwalk in order to initiate sexual and intimate experiences with my god spouse and other spirit partners.”

“Something special I kind of worked out with Thor is to invoke him within me if I’m having an encounter with someone physical. It gives me that opportunity to offer the sexual energy to him.”

“It’s all extremely consensual and takes place in this reality without aid of touch, objects, manual stimulation, or anything. They harness my nervous system and it feels like sex and orgasms. I suspect they are possessing certain functions of my nerves and chakras. Can happen while awake, meditating, offering offerings, asleep, ranges from petting my head to full blown raunchy sex. Various styles for all various deities.”

“I will say the reason I HAVEN’T typically planned or set out to create sexual encounters with deity is that on the very few occasions I’ve attempted to do so, it hasn’t worked as well as spontaneously arising ones.”

“My experience is multi faceted. At times, I have two intimate partners in the flesh, at times I will engage in ritual with these partners to invite higher beings to be present in us for the purpose of the Great Rite. Other times I am visited in the night by rather friendly and welcome spirit beings who will engage with me sexually. In the past I have had profound experiences in the psychedelic realms. For many years psychedelic trips were not sexy, then I was awakened by Faerie into such a wonderful place.”

Aside from the above mention of the “Great Rite,” a few other people added details about “horsing” (spirit or god possession of a partner or self).

“Would consider partner possesion if i had a partner & they were willing to try (or if Loki were to demand it. But he tends to believe consent is a big thing).”

“I’ve had several interactions that may or may not have been ‘horsing’: while having intercourse with my husband/other human partners, my partner has referenced concepts, phrases, or actions that I have heard/experienced during meditation/trancework interactions with my non-human/spirit partners.”

“Role reversal. I’m the one who Horses.”

Finally, horsing does not have to be a sexual experience:

“I’ve only ever “horsed” once that I’m aware of, and I’m not even sure if that’s what was going on. It was Odin and absolutely NOT sexual in nature. I was alone and he pulled me with him to show me Yggdrasil.”

There is room for more detailed analysis of this and the other questions. Look for that in future blogs. Question 8 coming up in the next blog post.

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VI. Spectrosexuality Survey: Spirit Beings

“Invisible friends” with unexpected benefits? Judging by the results of this very limited group of respondents, it looks like spectrosexual experiences and relationships heal and enrich human lives far more often than they disturb. Fifty-four people added details to the “Other” comments section of Question 7. Most of the comments were positive.

As a sexologist well acquainted with the impact of trauma and abuse, I was particularly intrigued by this comment:

“A couple of years ago I invited a god to my bed mostly to make an offering but was unexpectedly horsed to help heal some toxic patterns related to profound trauma. Sexual relationship continued. It’s mostly felt like a kind of trauma therapy, but lately is becoming more about love, connection, and sharing.”


 

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Desirable And Consensual

More good news: most of the reported encounters were consensual and responses to intimate spirit contact were overwhelmingly in the “happy/thrilled” and “okay/comfortable” categories. But because this was a group of respondents engaged in magical practices I expected a high degree of consensuality and comfort level. (A survey of the general public would most likely yield different results.)

“I’ve had an on and off sexual relationship with Odin for about 11 years.”

“My primary relationship is with a being I would consider my fetch and my secondary relationship is with a deity.”

“My divine spouse is Brigid. Has been for eleven years now. I have also had sexual encounters and/or intimate brief relationships with Aine, Frigga, Freyja, Thor, Hel, and two fairy cat/s Cat Sidhe/Sith.”

Often a human being may begin to cultivate a non-intimate relationship with a spirit or deity and then the relationship becomes emotionally and/or sexually intimate:

“Loki – to start with there was disbelief then I was pretty ecstatic about it.”

“Spirits I had become close to before sexual relations developed. This only happened with a very select few.”

“I am a spouse of Thor. At first, I couldn’t…properly understand the concept of god consort or god spousing so I was a little afraid of it to begin with. His persistence and his affection kept on for years until I finally “tied the knot” in Yule 2018.”

Spirits and deities can act as spectrosex initiators:

I went through a slut phase after Hela taught me how to do this.

Undesirable And Nonconsensual

But some magic practitioners find themselves in situations that are uncomfortable:

“I once messed up during ritual and left a spiritual “door” unprotected, and had a terrible encounter being nonconsensually fed on by a demon-type entity in a loop of sexual nightmares that night, but a goddess intervened and I was able to banish the entity the next day. This was my only nonconsensual spirit experience to my knowledge. Otherwise I have engaged in loving, friendly, consensual encounters with several spirits: a few (kind, consensual) incubus/succubus demons, some thoughtforms, and some specific gods. I am married to Loki.”

 

“There was one instance when a spirit I couldn’t really identify wanted to ‘join in’, that freaked me out.”

“I had a sexual relationship with a Goddess, Sigyn, that started out consensual, but She entered a gray area that combined with other factors to result in other Deities stepping in to stop our dynamic.”

You’ll notice that in two of the above quotes, the human being was rescued through intervention from a third spirit or deity. This might be a good reason to cultivate relationships (not necessarily sexual) with a number of spirits or to cultivate a relationship with a spirit who will serve as a patron and protector.

Ambiguity and “Ups and Downs”

Some respondents reported mixed feelings and also mixed experiences. Just because your partner is a god/dess doesn’t mean it’s 24/7 bliss.

“Many interactions with Loki – at first, I had many mixed feelings about interactions, even tho surface aspects of interaction seemed consensual. Over time, began to feel joy/pleasure rather than worry. Possibly Odin – several interactions – esp. during two intense sexual ones – felt mixed feelings because there were aspects of non-consensuality to to interaction.”

“Feelings are like a normal relationship, go up and down.”

Spirit Categories

Categories of dieities, demons, angels, etc. are subjective, depending on one’s traditions and practices. One respondent reminded me that one religion’s god may be another religion’s demon:

“One thing that strikes me as I look over the checkbox above is that spirits who are Gods and Goddesses may also be considered demons or nature spirits, etc., depending on who’s asking.”

Even so, some people favor some kinds of spirits over others:

“I disagree with spirit relationships that are not of God deity level as I have seen them do a lot of unintended physical damage.”

Astral damage might also be a risk. One person reported two instances of “parts of their soul” being “bitten off” or eaten by animal spirits, yet did not seem particularly disturbed by this.

Offerings

People in many traditions use sexual energy and fluids as offerings to spirits, but not all offerings are invitations for spectrosexual relations. Those that are may or may not be reciprocated:

“…sexual energy or contact is a tactic I use to communicate in some instances. I use sexual responses as an offerering both to God/desses and Spirits & the Fae, but have only had reciprocal responses from Spirits & the Fae.”

In The Elements of Spellcrafting: 21 Keys to Successful Sorcery, Jason Miller reminds us that offerings “not only honor and in some cases feed the spirit, but act as a foothold into the physical world and are yet another way of. bridging that divide between the spiritual and the material” (p. 82). However, in his book, Sex, Sorcery, and Spirit: The Secrets of Erotic Magic, Miller reminds us that “in many cultures and religions, sperm, menses and any sexual fluids are considered unclean” (p. 153). According to Miller, deities of the Greek Pantheon and of  “Vodou, Santeria, and other African Traditional Religions” would consider such offerings offensive, however Buddhist tantric beings would enjoy them (pp. 153-154).

In other words, non-response to a sexual offering (energetic or fluid-based) could indicate “they’re just not that into you” or it might be that the offering was offensive or otherwise problematic. Miller recommends researching traditions to discover what is acceptable.

Miller also reminds us that offerings of sexual fluids are extremely personal, “a wide gateway to your deepest parts” (Sex, Sorcery and Spirit, p. 154). He says that predatory or vampiric entities can easily take advantage of a person who has naively made this kind of offering (p. 154). He recommends sexual acts in honor of a spirit, rather than actual fluids (p. 154).

One or Many?

There was variation in the number of partners, though most people had more than one spectrosexual encounter and/or spirit partner.

“Loki is my first and only spirit partner/lover.”

“Almost always Odin, but I’ve had a few others. He’s not monogamous; there’s not a reason in the worlds I should be!”

Others mentioned between two and sixteen names.

People who identified as god spouses mentioned Loki, Thor, Fenrir, and Brigid as their partners.

Who Are the Spirit Partners?

Even though most of the respondents came from Lokean social media groups, it was clear that not everyone stayed with a single pantheon of deities and spirits.

A few people did not want to name their spirit encounters and partners:

“I do not feel comfortable giving names.”

“He is a reclusive god and has asked that I never share his name except with those he specifies.”

Others were willing to name their spirit encounters and partners:

“Hermes Cernunnos Odin Poseidon Manannan Mac Lir Apollo Thor Loki Papa Legba.”

“Dionysus, Apollo, Hermes, Shiva, Satyrs, and two others who like Their privacy.”

“Samael, Michael, Odin, Loki, Beelzebub, Asmodeus, Eisheth Zenumin, Lilith, Freya, Freyr, Hela, Lucifer, Jesus, Zadkiel, Ariel, fairy lover named Lawrence son of Manannan, various hookups with Greek Pantheon on occasion.”

“Lilith, Babalon, Hades.”

“Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna. Plus my connection to the Elven world is immense, and far too much to just start naming names.”

Should We Be Skeptical?

Certainly skepticism should have played a role in judging the cases of mass demonic possession in the 17th century, such as Aix-en-Provence (1611), Loudon (1634), and the Louviers Convent (1647). These cases included many sensational accounts of sexual relations between nuns and “the Devil” and other infernal spirits. The modern historical view of Loudon, for example, is that most of these accounts were of “pretended possession” and were part of a public spectacle, one that unfortunately included extreme torture and brutal executions.

These days, skeptics both within and without neopaganism enjoy dissing Lokean god spouses as a “fan-girl” phenomena (though not all god spouses are cis female). Such skepticism ignores the widespread, multi-cultural history of magical and religious practices that include some kind of sexual encounter with a god, demon, or other kind of spirit. From the Virgin Mary’s divine conception of Jesus to the tradition of the witch’s sabbat, from ancient tantric practices to Zeus’s golden shower, and to modern “sex magic” and beyond, spectrosexuality has been a part of human sexual (and spiritual) behavior for thousands of years.

From the sexological perspective, it is also worth considering these survey results as mostly legitimate reports of lived experience. That these encounters and relationships take place largely in what magic folk call “non-ordinary reality” (Wachter, Six Ways: Approaches and Entries for Practical Magic, pp. 27-28) or during non-ordinary states of mind (trance, meditation, ritual, and dreams) does not negate their validity. Just as researchers have demonstrated the physical effects of “hands free” orgasms (aka “mind gasms” or “thinking off”), we could probably find similar physical evidence in someone having a spectrosexual experience.

Wachter says that “non-ordinary reality is still reality” (p. 27). It is worth remembering this when discussing spectrosexual experiences and god spousery.

Stay tuned for Question 7.

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V. Spectrosexuality Survey: Intimate Partners, Physical Sex

Question Five begins to collect specific responses about spectrosexual experiences and god/spirit spouses. I begin asking about current intimate partners, both spirit and human. By using the words “intimate relationships” instead of “sexual relationhips,” the question was intentionally broadened to include emotional intimacy and partnerships that aren’t physically sexual (physical sensations for human beings can occur whether the partners are spirit or human). I did not want to exclude people who identify as asexual, demisexual, or any of the other subcategories of asexuality. (Please see AVEN – the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network for more info.)


Data_Q5_190318

Before I get to the twenty-four “other” comments, I notice that there could be some unintentional overlap between the first three answer choices. That is, some people could have answered all of the first three. I should have written “only one or more human partners,” “only one or more god/spirit partners,” and “currently both human and god/spirit partners” to avoid unintentional overlap. That’s a flaw. I’ll be taking a look at the individual responses to see how much overlap there is.

I’ll also be checking to see how many people who say they are god/spirit spouses or consorts overlap with “both human and god/spirit partners.” But that’s a future blog.

Selections From the “Other” Responses

Notice how the respondents address such issues as monogamy, non-monogamy, dating, various sexual or asexual orientations, and disclosure to human partners.

Both Human and Spirit Relationships

“Cis-hetero with a marriage to a cis-hertero husband….but a strong presence of Loki within our sexual intimacy.”

“I used to have a partner with whom we used to channel each other’s gods. It sometimes included getting intimate too. Now, my husband isn’t into such things but I do suspect he has been taken over a few times…. it’s not a regular thing however and seems to be completely random.”

“My physical partner and I are physically intimate. I have had a few sexual interactions with deities.”

“God spouse, plus human partner. Human partner is unaware of God spouse.”

“I have a human partner-my husband. I don’t know how to class my experiences with god/spirit partners: apart from one real life experience where I felt an interaction with a deity, all the others have been in the realm of ‘fantasy.'”

“I have a wife and I am occasionally intimate with Loki.”

Spirit Relationships

“I’m asexual as far as physical people go but it doesn’t seem to apply as strongly with spirit partners.”

“I have had sexual encounters with spirits, but none currently and none that I would label as a true partnership.”

“I am not currently seeing anyone other than Loki. I don’t have much of a desire to date humans right now, but if someone who was right for me came along, I would not reject them because of my relationship with Loki.”

“Spirits usually get ‘daydreams’ of various focus/attention, or dedicated sex toys.”

“My relationship with Loki was not initially sexual, but became so over a period of time. I’m of the opinion that it is more natural for relationships with the Divine to have some sexual aspects than not, since sexuality is an essential part of how we perceive the universe, and of the creation of new life. Based on my own historical studies it appears to me that sexual relationships with gods were more normal than abnormal in the pre-Abrahamic world, but that the Abrahamic faiths scrubbed any and all sexual references from religious theology and ceremony.”

“I have ongoing intimate relationships with a number of spirits, currently these are sexually intimate…I know it is possible to be sexually intimate with spirits.”

“My tradition was initiated by the sex with the Devil-Witchfather as many Scottish Trads are.”

“All my life I have been in touch with spirits. At times I am overcome with their sexuality in my sleep.”

“In the past, I have had romantic non-sexual, non-romantic sexual, and romantic sexual relationships with spirit partners. At the time, I was ‘exclusive’ to my spirit partners and did not have simultaneous human partnerships, whether romantically, sexually, or both.”

Gods or Spirit Spousery

“I have an interesting experience with godspousery. Loki has told me we’ve been married for a very long time, and I could do with that information what I will. He expected nothing from me. At first I was uncomfortable with the idea of being a godspouse because I did not fully understand it. I warmed up to the idea as time went on.”

“Married to a deity; functionally monogamous for 14 yrs.”

“I am married. But I’m celibate physically. I no longer have sex with my husband.”

“I’m a Thor spouse. Thor is the only person I’m committed to right now and I don’t have any physical people I’m committed to, but I am dipping back in the dating scene.”

Discomfort with Spirit Intimacy

In a later question, a few people reported non-consensual experiences with a deity or spirit. This response to Question Five shows how one person is not happy to be sexually  pursued by a god:

“Herne/Cernunnos claimed me as one of his consorts. I’m not entirely sure what it means, but he tends to bring a very sexual energy with him when he appears to me. I’ve taken to using a protective barrier against it because I’m not comfortable with it and I’m not willing to commit to a relationship like that with a spiritual being. He seems to think I’ll come around eventually, but I’m just not seeing it anytime soon.”

Beyond Sleep Paralysis

Only one person mentioned being “overcome by [spirit] sexuality” in their sleep. This is the only comment that resembles the classic incubus and succubus narrative (now thought to be caused by sleep paralysis). (However in a later question some respondents do mention dreams.)

Most of the other responses to this question indicate a conscious state of mind, or at least conscious thought regarding intimate spirit relationships or encounters.

Stay tuned for Question Six.

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