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.”


 

Data_Q6_190318


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.

####

Advertisements

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.

####

 

 

 

 

 

Loki’s Torch Seeking Submissions!

So hey! A few of us got together and decided to make a thing of beauty–a nice, thick, hunky volume of Loki Lore! We are seeking both general and scholastic writing, fiction, poems, artwork, recipes, rituals, and craft tips. Length from one to ten pages.

Just don’t send something with footnotes or we’ll send it back to you for revisionendnotes only.

Everything you need to know is on the flyer. Deadline for submissions below. We’re looking to have a 100-page publication, obtainable via print on demand. Looking forward to seeing your work!

Sub Flyer Loki's Torch Cover 2.

 

 

IV. Spectrosexuality Survey: Neopagan Practices

The Neopagan Spectrosexuality and God/Spirit Spouse survey (March 5-March 19) asked respondents to describe some or all of their spiritual orientation and practices. Of course the umbrella term, “neopagan,” is impossibly large and sometimes controversial. When thinking about how to phrase Question Four, I reviewed a Down at the Crossroads interview with John Beckett from about two years ago. His “big tent” take on paganism (aka neopaganism) asked listeners to imagine the kinds of people who attend PantheaCon. I decided to err on the side of the “big tent” rather than list dozens of specific religious and magical  traditions and risk upsetting people by leaving things out.

So the question contains a few general categories. Respondents could check as many as they liked. The “other” comment box invited respondents to be more specific or to include things which were left out of the general categories. The Question Four illustration below indicates twenty-two respondents left comments in the “other” box. But there are actually fifty-three. More on the qualitative responses in a minute.

Neopagan vs Pagan

I have adopted the use of “neopaganism” over “paganism” in a large part due to the distinctions described in Sara Anne Lawless’s blog post, “For Sale: Neopaganism: As Is.”  She writes:

“The words ‘paganism’ and ‘pagan’ are used by the rest of the English speaking world mainly in reference to ancient polytheistic pagan cultures, such as Greece and Rome…”

“Neopaganism is an umbrella descriptor term for the paths falling within it…It is not a path or religion in and of itself.”

This made sense to me so I have revised my language use accordingly, though I understand these categories can also be controversial. (I’ve done the same with “tantra” and “neotantra.”)


 

Data_Q4_190318


Spirit Sex is Not Just a Lokean “Thing”

Many of the survey respondents reported working in several different types of traditions and with more than one pantheon or type of spiritual being.

Though the invitation to participate in the survey went mainly to members of Lokean and Heathen Facebook groups, you can see from the photo above that there is a lot of variety in traditions. Keep in mind that this survey focused specifically on people who have experienced “sexual” or “energetic” intimacy with a spirit or a god. These experiences range from a single, spontaneous incident all the way to ongoing relationships (e.g. god/spirit spousery). Some people seek out such experiences and for others, “it” just happened.

This is also not a scientific sample. Aside from posting in my blog, I deliberately did not post survey announcements in some social media groups due to my perception that certain groups had a higher level of “trolls” or because they were groups I had recently joined. Posting an announcement would have felt intrusive to me, as I was not yet a known participant in that particular community. I have no doubt that I could have gotten many more respondents from other groups if I’d overcome feelings of reluctance.

I’ll be comparing overlapping practices in a future blog.

Selections From the Comments Section

Because some of the comments were very specific and contain information that could lead someone to identify a respondent, I am not posting the comments in their entirety.  I will quote snippets instead, to preserve privacy and confidentiality.


Here are quotes from a number of respondents:

“I’m Lokean, and I’m not restricted to a purely Heathen path.”

“I’m very eclectic, acting more based on personal experience and instinct than on established traditions.”

“Practice Demonolatry…”

“My practices involve mainly divination and meditation.”

“As far as a label goes, the closest would be ‘Rökkrtru.'”

“Buddhist Hawaiian.”

“HIndu.”

“Homebrewed and eclectic.”

“Anderson Feri.” 

“I’m a rather new Lokean who was visited one night by the God of Chaos and taken by storm.”

“Heathen/Pagan with Celtic influence.”

“Gardnerian.”

“Chaos Magick.”

“Devotional polytheism mainly according to the Northern Tradition.”

“Traditional Witch.”

“Animist.”

“Shamanic.”

“Hoodoo & folk magick.”

“…also work with the Kemetic pantheon and am working on learning Hermetic magic.”


 

As you can see by the above, many of the respondents to this survey work in a variety of

traditions and with many pantheons and spirits. The phenomenon of spirit intimacy is
not limited to “Loki fan-girls on Tumblr,” as so many people say.
####

III. Spectrosexuality Survey–Demographics

Happy Super Worm Moon and Spring Equinox, folks! On this first day of Spring, with a full moon in Libra, the rainclouds are hanging low over Mt. Konocti. It feels like winter again.

Now begins a blog series of not-exactly-analysis and commentary on the results of the Neopagan Spectrosexuality and God/Spirit Spouse Survey (see raw data charts). This non-scientific, completely confidential, volunteer survey drew respondents primarily through Facebook groups and posts. I was hoping for a wide-array of folks from the “big tent” of Neopaganism (e.g. the sort of people who attend Pantheacon, or would if they could). As you’ll eventually see, there was indeed variety in the kinds of deities, spirits, and practices reported by the 100 people who completed the survey.

Because this survey was limited to ten questions, I only asked two on demographics. I wish I could have asked more.

Age

Data_Q2_190318

There is a perception in certain neopagan circles that people who claim to have had spectrosexual experiences and/or who claim to be god or spirit spouses are all very young people who overshare on Tumblr. This chart is almost a “hand basket of repudiation” to that notion. (I’ve always wanted to use that phrase in polite conversation…) As you can see, three-fourths of these respondents are “old enough to know better” (irony here) and yet still report incidents and relationships that other neopagans find eye-rolling.

Let’s face it folks, something is happening and not all of it is delusional.


Gender

OpenData_Q3_190318-2


About the only things I can note here are (1) the prevelance of cis women and (2) the sad lack of trans people as respondents (except for one trans man). I will also say that at least four more gender queer/non-binary people responded but they did not complete the questionnaire. I had to reject their responses as I needed 100 complete sets. How I hated doing that!

So that’s it for now. Enjoy whatever witchery you may be up to on this lovely Worm Moon. Next blog, more on the survey.

####

100 Respondents to Spectrosexuality and God/Spirit Spouse Survey

Data collection is closed as of March 18.

Now comes the fun! Please go to the Survey page for a look at raw data charts of responses to questions 2-10. And stay tuned to upcoming blogs where I’ll discuss the question responses in detail, included some excerpts from the open-ended comments sections.

You might also want to read Part I–Prelimary Thoughts and Part II–Mysticism Meets Sexology, if you haven’t already.

Here’s one of the most interesting charts.


Data_Q4_190318


Stay tuned for more!


 

Bullies with Bullets: The Weaponization of Cowardice

He may have the physical appearance of a human being but he has the heart and soul of a half-eaten corndog. He is the embodiment of cowardice. There. I said it.

Unfortunately that…man…was lethally armed. He thought he’d be a bigger man, a real man, if only he could get him some fame for mass murdering innocents.

And he apparently fancies himself as a future inhabitant of Valhalla. Bitch, please! Explain to me how murdering unarmed anybodies is an honorable act that would attract the attention of any deity of merit. No, don’t bother. You can’t, because it doesn’t. Got that? Cowards who kill aren’t destined for Valhalla, Heaven, or any other desirable afterlife. Odin has no need of pathetic bullies who kill unarmed children and parents in a surprise attack. Freya, also a chooser of the slain who die in battle, wouldn’t have wasted a nano-second on the likes of you. Even deities of every underworld you can name will spurn such paltry pickings.

You have not found “glory.” You have hand-crafted an artisanal oblivion of your very own. And now you are behind bars.

Life is sacred. Our family and friends and pets and lands are sacred. And our perceived “enemies?” Even more sacred, because every “enemy” holds a mirror. The enemy is not there to be killed, the enemy is there to remind you of what you must confront in yourself–your hate, your entitlement, your petulance, your cowardice and ignorance. Those you deem “enemy” are human beings, like you, forced into a larger complexity of social, political, and economic turmoil, trying to make sense of it all.

If you could have looked into your enemy’s eyes and truly heard “hello brother” (as one of your victims reportedly said) and in that moment put down your weapons and wept, you would have awakened true bravery in your soul. You would have looked at what you’d done, and what you were about to do, and you would have accepted the shame, the guilt, the unneccesary horror you created, and the responsibility to repent and make amends. Living with yourself would not have been easy after that, but you would have taken a step on the road to actual humanity.

Enough.

Yesterday, I could not write with emotion. I felt it, but I could not write with it. Stark facts and statements was all I could manage. Today is different.

But the killer’s problems, whatever they were–and I really don’t care–are as nothing to the fact that he and his ilk are human cancer cells forming a bully tumor of white supremacy, prejudice, and entitlement. They are obvious in their cowardice, ridiculous in their collective and individual self-importance. They proudly display their appalling ignorance and lack of decency. Ridiculous and appalling, that is, until one of the cancer cells picks up a weapon and makes us scared or dead.

Just now I was caught in the trap of trying to figure out–to understand–this phenomenon of the bully tumor and the people who are entangled in it. Perhaps because I hope that if I know more about it, I can strategize for effective resistance.

But what I need to admit is that these white supremacists are merely the disposable tools of policymakers, governments, and industries who stand to gain by their eagerness to provide convenient, blood-soaked distractions while government-sanctioned carnage and pillaging continues. Terrifed by what we see on the news and the internet, we forget to identify the root cause: those at the top who–for their own advantage–uphold systemic racism, zenophobia, cultural genocide, and all forms of social, political, and economic oppression.

My country, the United States of America, is one of the most ardent players in this game of global plunder. Is it any wonder that our so-called “president” spews hate and lies on an almost daily basis? We’re one of the top five arms dealers in the world and constitute “5% of the world’s population but consume 24% of the world’s energy” (Source: “Consumption by the United States,” public.wsu.edu website. Copyright 2008, The Associated Press.) Our lust to consume knows no bounds. We are the least sustainable society in the world.

I believe the cultivation and exportation of American-style white supremacy serves a larger purpose than simply terrorizing and killing immigrants and people of color. I believe it is designed to inject terror into daily life, to paralyze the populace with fright, so that the elites of Western countries can retain and strengthen their grip on world resources, particularly those in indigenous countries. We are a country of colonists that imported and exploited slaves and tried to kill off the native peoples so we could take their land. We excell at manufacturing weapons and we arm cowards with nary a thought for the consequences. We make wars and create policies that produce immigrants and refugees. We make wars that destroy the environment so that ordinary people can no longer cultivate food and find clean water. And then, when an act of terror happens, our hypocrites in office “send thoughts and prayers” to victims of tragedies that their policies have created.

If there is something local I can do, in solidarity, I will. My own deities demand it.

####