Hermetic, sexuality

Reactions Against Sexuality and Sex in Spirituality

I was going through some of my Voice Notes, reminding myself of things I’d wanted to explore a bit more. One of them was a reaction to the concept of sacred sexuality in the various Hermetic orders. Specifically, I was listening to a podcast with David Griffith and his Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn on the concept of Sacred Sexuality. This is a podcast available to the public, which is how I got my hands on it.

In his podcast, he was very careful to use the term “sexual polarity” throughout, and he flat out said that sexuality does indeed play a part in the Hermetic traditions.

There are those who became enraged by this admission, decided to interpret it through their own biases lens and immediately jumped on their little white horses to tilt at the windmills in righteous indignation.

What struck me most in listening to both sides of this argument is they while one speaks of sexUALITY and sexUAL polarity, the other is speaking about SEX. At no point whatsoever did Griffith even remotely imply whipping out body parts of any sort, yet this is exactly what the accusations and reactionaries were focusing on.

Huh. So when one is talking about the energy of creation and the desire for pleasure and/or union, the other is focused on the specific physical act. Talk about being in different stadiums!

Here’s a quote from my voice notes that I really like (I actually used the word ‘kerfuffle’ in this note. hahaha!).

Are you being offended by the concept of sexuality as a set of ideas being worked with (a tool), or as a physical act? Because these are not the same things. At all.

What’s interesting to me is the knee-jerk interpretation that one IS the other. Of course they are not, but that there is no distinction in the minds of those who condemn all aspects of sexuality and sex as having any role whatsoever in true spirituality is the part I find most fascinating. Tragic, but fascinating. I think ultimately what’s being objected to so violently is indeed the idea of anything even remotely connected with sex in any form or degree being used to further spiritual growth and development.

There are many different hooked chains that tie into why this association is so anathema to some. One of those is the duality between body and spirit, earth and heaven. All things ‘earth’ are ‘bad’, with sex being among the most vile. It makes no difference whether or not it’s sexUALITY or sex itself – it’s still *whispers* seeeeex. Either way, those are earthly and have no place at all in spiritual traditions.

Of course, for those who are not dualists, this set of associations is mindboggling and literally makes no sense at all. I think: “Purple, because aliens don’t wear hats.” If you’re familiar with this joke, you’ll understand exactly what I mean.


I’m not at all sure exactly how to approach solving this problem, but by rephrasing the objections in terms which are less on-the-side and more direct, then the conversation might actually progress somehow. Maybe.


About the Featured Image: A drawing of the scene in the original Hellraiser movie. The artist is Jason Flowers and you can find this image here. I chose this one image because this is how I view the effects of negatively associating earth anything and spirit. We are earth based creatures, and villainizing anything physical just tears us apart one piece at a time.