Just in time for Valentine’s Day, or any pagan love fest…a new book on erotic hypnosis.
It’s out! And yes, it’s dedicated to Loki Laufeyjarson, who’s pretty entrancing himself! And yes, it’s written by a clinical sexologist who is also a certified hypnotist and hypnosis instructor (who is also a pagan blogger…) That’s me…
Here’s what one of my colleagues had to say, after reading an advance copy:
“No other sexologist is more qualified or, more impressively, as informative, supportive, and downright entertaining than Amy R. Marsh, Ed.D. to explain why hypnosis can be so effective at gaining greater insights into your sexuality, deepening emotional connections with a partner, reducing stress and anxiety, and opening yourself up to infinite erotic possibilities.
Entrancing: Hypnotizing Your Way to More Pleasure, Romance, and Sex! is amusing, enlightening, and educational in all the right ways – which I enthusiastically recommend to anyone interested in erotic hypnosis or merely looking for an exceptionally well-written, thought-provoking, and sexually-enlightened book.”
—M.Christian, sex educator, erotica author, and sextech journalist
Relaxing, affectionate, bonding, romantic, erotic: this book contains a full spectrum of suggestions and techniques for a natural, relationship-centric use of recreational hypnosis for fun and pleasure.
Based on over a decade of teaching and private practice, this book contains so much for the reader who wants more romance, variety, mindfulness, and fun in their intimate relationships!
This book contains footnotes and a works cited section so you know it’s solid. I had a wonderful time writing it–in a two weeks!–and you hope you’ll have even more fun reading it!
Professional and Fantasy Writing Take Center Stage in My Life
Yes, I love writing about pagan topics, and Loki in particular, but writing that either (1) pays and/or (2) expresses my fondest queer and paranormal romance fantasies is the bigger focus for me now (fortunately Loki is a big part of my Ornamental Hermits fantasy series). I won’t abandon this blog, but I won’t be pouring ALL my passion into it as I did prior to 2022. In 2022 I was busy launching my first fantasy book and my first hypnosis book, see below, as well as working on other projects.
2022’s Major Accomplishments
I am so blessed to have my first fantasy novel published! And two more with the publisher as well!
Find the first book in my queer, urban fantasy series, The Dire Deeds, at Kindle and in paperback at Amazon. If you read my book, please consider leaving me stars (five are nice) and a few sentences for a review. Thank you! You have no idea how much that helps!!!
Ditto for Sexological Hypnosis. Are there any therapists in the house? This one’s for you! This book is based on the professional training I offer at my Intimate Hypnosis Training Center and also on my 2011 Ed.D. project. Find it here on Kindle and Amazon. Right now it is free on Kindle Unlimited. Reviews and stars will help. Thanks!
I also consider the two seasonal Guild of Ornamental Hermits short stories, also published on Kindle, to have been successful. Both made it into the top 100 of the 45-minute Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Reads category. Mele Kalikimaka, Ginger Croom, clocked in at #30 one day and A Guild of Ornamental Hermits Solstice made it to #60. The algorithm ratings always change, of course, and now that the holiday season is over, they are no longer as popular.
2023’s Major Projects
What follows is not a complete list of projects by any means, but here are the biggest projects that I’ll be working on mostly in the first half of 2023. You might like some of them!
The Witching Work, the second in my series, is going to be published this Spring, or so my publisher tells me. Right now it is with the copy editor and my Hawaiian sensitivity reader, for review.
Meanwhile, I continue working on the fourth book, The Perilous Past. I am not sure when the third book, The Queerest Quest, is supposed to come out but it’s the one where Loki first appears and I can’t wait for people to read it. I hope it is out by year’s end!
Professional Writing About Sexuality & Hypnosis
At this very moment, and as soon as I finish this blog post, I’ll be back at work on Entrancing – which I hope to publish on Feb. 1, 2023. Hypnosis for Community Wellness will be out by May 1, 2023. Both will be on Kindle and Amazon.
Sexuality Writer for Hire
I am also actively looking for paid gigs in this field. If you have a website that needs content, please get in touch.
Okay, I am putting all this out into the universe, beckoning opportunity, paid work, and success, summoning the mighty magicks of all who support me, known, unknown, and my invisible allies. Make it so!
The brand new bottle of new-to-me meds is set before the altar. Offerings have been made. The candles are lit. Several consecrated pendulums are beside me. And thus the ritual begins.
“Beloved Loki, this medicine has been prescribed for me. Do you sanction its use?”
Pendulum swings yes. “And will you bless it for me, helping it to be free of any side effects?” Yes again.
“Thank you, my Lord Loki.”
And so on through my pantheon: Lord Freyr, Lady Freya (and her namesake cat appears at my knee to also add her blessing), Lady Gerda, Lady Brigid, and the Peerless Bastet. Ancestors too. One by one, via pendulum divination, they all accept and bless this medicine. I know they want me to be healthy and resilient.
And then I address the beings of the medicine itself–an artificial creation of “big pharma”–asking it to cooperate with me in a healing and resiliency building process. (Notice the animism in this approach?) I also ask my body to collaborate with the medicine. I pledge to continue taking care of my health in general.
And then I take the first dose, confident in the love and blessings of the spirits who are my family.
Caution: Never discontinue or avoid using any medication without first and always consulting with your doctor and health practitioners.
What would I have done if one of my deities had said “no” to the “will you sanction its use” question? I would have replied, “Thank you. I am going to follow doctor’s orders, as I made a vow to do so, so while I understand your concern for me, will you please bless this medicine anyway, so that I can safely fulfill my vow?”
Spirits understand vows. And doctors understand that you will call them if side effects arise.
Better yet, I would have just asked for a blessing on the medication, without using the first question. That’s what I recommend for anyone reading this article. Just ask for the blessing. (And follow doctor’s orders.)
Why Did I Do This?
I’m a hypnotist (among other things) and so I know a little hypnosis history. One of the “greats” was a French psychologist and pharmacist, Émile Coué de la Châtaigneraie. He’s the founder of autosuggestion. You have probably heard some variation of the saying, “each day in every way I am getting better and better.” That’s from Coué.
He realized his patients often did better when he offered a positive remark while handing over the medicine, such as “Oh, this is exactly the right thing for you. You’ll do very well with this” (imagined examples). Here are two key paragraphs from the Wikipedia article:
Coué noticed that in certain cases he could improve the efficacy of a given medicine by praising its effectiveness to the patient. He realized that those patients to whom he praised the medicine had a noticeable improvement when compared to patients to whom he said nothing. This began Coué’s exploration of the use of hypnosis and the power of the imagination.
Coué believed in the effects of medication. But he also believed that our mental state is able to affect and even amplify the action of these medications. By consciously using autosuggestion, he observed that his patients could cure themselves more efficiently by replacing their “thought of illness” with a new “thought of cure”. According to Coué, repeating words or images enough times causes the subconscious to absorb them. The cures were the result of using imagination or “positive autosuggestion” to the exclusion of one’s own willpower.
So with my ritual, I have gone one better. Instead of creating a hypnotic autosuggestion ritual, which of course I could have done easily, I wanted the full blessings of my divine pantheon and my ancestors. They are deeply rooted in my subconscious and their participation means the world to me.
Also I had a curious incident a few weeks ago. I was in a crisis state triggered by a family situation. I prayed fervently to all my deities, but to Bastet in particular, for help. There is a line in the supposed “ancient prayer to Bastet” that you find on the internet:
“…slay the evil that affects our minds as you slay the serpent Apep.”
And so I begged her to slay the evils of depression and despair that blight my life. Weirdly, the persistent feeling of being bogged down by a constant state of depression and anxiety actually lifted by the next day and I felt light and free, much better than I have in years. This lasted for a few weeks. It’s like I knew I had been wounded but no longer felt it. “The edge” was definitely not just off, but gone.
Dude! I almost didn’t keep my appointment with the psychiatrist!
But though the deities grant grace and boons and blessings, we mortals are the ones to do the heavy lifting. Loki would rather teach magic and mischief and inspire my writing. Bastet prefers to focus on pleasure, beauty, and dancing. Gerda wants me to water the garden and talk with plants. Freyr reminds me that even toxic relationships can be composted for a new harvest. Freya and Brigid bring me back to explorations of the sacred feminine. In other words, there is more to explore in life and magic and if I want to step up my game…well then! My deities and ancestors are quite willing to give me a boost now and then, and blessings too, but I can’t waste my time in tears.
So I kept the appointment. And this morning I lifted the now consecrated tablet to my lips. I washed it down with tea and set the bottle on the altar, to remind me that the medicine is now sacred.
This approach could work for anyone, monotheist or pantheist, no matter who or what you call upon for assistance. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Hail Loki, Of the Transformational Telomeres! Hail Loki, Lord of Epigentic Shape-shifting!
Okay, have I just gone of the deep end? I dunno. Maybe. It’s only 7:47 AM and already it’s a funny day. I’m trying to figure out if my dishwasher is broken, if I dare to try to find a roommate, and should I venture out later for more milk? At the same time, I have a novel racing toward the NaNoWriMo 50,000-word milestone and I should start working on it again in a few minutes. And then I get this friggin’ epiphany regarding Loki-as-Shapeshifter, the new science of epigentics, and the power of our imaginations.
Let’s bounce this around.
I’ve written before about the idea that gods, goddesses, and deities of all genders provide us mere mortals with transformational templates. This absolutely not my original idea. It comes from the context of tantric and meditative practices which involve imagining yourself as a deity that has certain aspects you’d like to acquire or strengthen (very oversimplified, please note). That’s the template idea. The deities have attributes. We want to resemble them. We attempt spiritual growth and transformation by meditating these qualities into being, within our own selves. And we have to make sure to not confuse our own selves with the template we want to…inhale, absorb, and make our own. (That way lies hubris and madness. Common sense and discernment are key.)
With me so far? Good. (Because I think my dishwasher really IS broken. Bloody hell.)
Quote from Scientific American (Bret Stetka, Dec. 16, 2014) article:
Lead investigator Dr. Linda E. Carlson and her colleagues found that in breast cancer patients, support group involvement and mindfulness meditation – an adapted form of Buddhist meditation in which practitioners focus on present thoughts and actions in a non-judgmental way, ignoring past grudges and future concerns — are associated with preserved telomere length. Telomeres are stretches of DNA that cap our chromosomes and help prevent chromosomal deterioration — biology professors often liken them to the plastic tips on shoelaces. Shortened telomeres aren’t known to cause a specific disease per se, but they do whither with age and are shorter in people with cancer, diabetes, heart disease and high stress levels. We want our telomeres intact…
…In Carlson’s study distressed breast cancer survivors were divided into three groups. The first group was randomly assigned to an 8-week cancer recovery program consisting of mindfulness meditation and yoga; the second to 12-weeks of group therapy in which they shared difficult emotions and fostered social support; and the third was a control group, receiving just a 6-hour stress management course. A total of 88 women completed the study and had their blood analyzed for telomere length before and after the interventions. Telomeres were maintained in both treatment groups but shortened in controls.
Epigenetics, Meditation, and Hypnosis
Google dictionary definition for epigenetics: “the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.” Here’s a website with more of an explanation.
So I am not sure if the above study qualifies as a precise example of epigenetic change (gene expression) as it demonstrates improvement in the structure of the telomeres rather than switching off one gene and switching on an inactive one. Still, these findings are intriguing because they show that our DNA, which we typically view as written in stone (except for random mutations) is actually responsive, not just to medicines or environmental factors, but also to our thoughts.
(I wish my dishwasher was that responsive…)
One of the things I do for a living is hypnosis. Hypnosis is a “kissing cousin” to meditation and the sometimes unacknowledged “parent” of guided imagery, though brain scan studies show it lights up slightly different areas of the brain than meditation. Even so, it’s not a stretch to imagine that it too could trigger epigenetic expressions and perhaps even improve telomere lengths. That’s speculative, but not too far out, given what’s going on in science these days. And hypnosis has a pretty good track record for efficacy in a number of areas, in the scientific literature.
Books like The Biology of Belief–Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles, by Bruce Lipton, make intriguing reading and I always wonder where the use of hypnosis can make a contribution. People are doing studies on this! Unfortunately, I can’t afford a subscription to The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis and I don’t have access to a university library where I can find such studies, but here are a couple I’d like to read:
David Atkinson, Salvatore Iannotti, Mauro Cozzolino, et al. (2010) A New Bioinformatics Paradigm for the Theory, Research, and Practice of Therapeutic Hypnosis, American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 53:1, 27-46, DOI: 10.1080/00029157.2010.10401745
Ernest L. Rossi, Mauro Cozzolino, Jane Mortimer, David Atkinson & Kathryn Lane Rossi (2011) A Brief Protocol for the Creative Psychosocial Genomic Healing Experience: The 4-Stage Creative Process in Therapeutic Hypnosis and Brief Psychotherapy, American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 54:2, 133-152, DOI: 10.1080/00029157.2011.605967
And I’d love to have a copy of the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, Vol. 57, 2015 – Issue 3: Mapping the Domain of Hypnosis. (Yeah, this is more about neuro-plasticity, but still…)
So where is Loki in all this?
First, shape-shifting! We assume through myths, legends, and lore that shape-shifting always means an actual transformation into a salmon or a fox or a raven. And I am not going to argue with or about shamanic and magical practices where these kinds of transformations are said to have happened.
And yet I wonder, could these stories and practices also point to the potential for genetic and cellular changes as well? Let’s call this internal shape-shifting (epigenetic expression?) to distinguish it from external appearances. Turning on and off genes does affect cellular function and “shape,” does it not?
And again I insist the investment that some cultures have made into thousands of years worth of meditation and esoteric practices, including those in which deities have been used as meditative templates, would not have happened unless there were real, vital, practical results.
Secondly, Dagulf Loptson suggests that Loki in his aspect as Löður, who gives blood and “good color” to the first humans, can be called upon for healing (Playing With Fire-An Exploration of Loki Laufeyjarson, pp. 23-26). This makes me wonder if the epigenetic healing could also be said to be among Loki-as-Löður’s attributes.
We Lokeans glory in the often challenging transformational attributes of our beloved deity. We tell funny (and not so funny) stories about how our lives have been turned upside down and inside out once we opened the door to this charming iconoclast. Generally we seem to feel we come out okay. The challenges were good. We grew. Those who love Loki at all, seem to really love him a lot. There’s no doubt we can find something very positive about our connection with this deity.
But I continue to wonder about deeper, esoteric, and yes, even epigenetic meanings and possibilities that may be discovered through this particular god. I sense that the template of Loki contains a lot that has yet to be explored and that if we ask nicely, the way into that template could be opened. We could, perhaps, begin to experiment with and experience healthy, internal shapeshifting.
We already have the time-honored tools of meditation, hypnosis, and self-hypnosis. What might happen if we regularly went into a light trance and worked with images of health, telomere repair, positive gene expression, and so on, using Loki as our template and facilitator? The fact that many of us experience deep feelings of love in connection with our devotions makes me feel that even that alone could be used advantageously in meditation. Just…feeling…the love.
Just a thought. But for heaven’s sake use your common sense if you decide to explore in this way. It’s a fast-track to UPG Land, obviously. Discernment is key. And please don’t use such practices as a substitute for medical or mental health care. We’re talking wellness and spirituality here, not medicine.
(Meanwhile there’s the matter of my dishwasher. Please send love and light.)