The Body And The Tree: The Path of the Flesh

excerpt from Wightridden: Paths of Northern-Tradition Shamanism

The firelight casts red shadows on their naked bodies as they circle the fire together. The acknowledgment of the elements for this rite are not spoken; although she hums as she moves, a soft slippery galdr; tonight the sense is touch. Her hands reach out to the east, where the fan of collected feathers lie; she brushes its silkiness down his arm, fans him and lets the soft wind touch him as well. Ansuz. He reaches out to the south, where a pile of furs are warmed by the fire; he rubs their warmth and sensuousness down her back and across her breasts. Wunjo. In the west, their hands dip together into violet-scented water and anoint each other. Laguz. In the north, they stroke and trade the smooth round stones, the carved and polished wooden phallus shining in the light of the flames. Mannaz. Their hands slip from sacred objects to bodies, and they sink onto the blanket thrown down in the field, marked with chalk in a circle of runes. The stars wheel overhead as the come together. Gebo. Hail to the Green Ones, the Golden Ones, the Twins that bring life to the barren earth, She of springtime flowers and He of autumn harvest.

It matters, and yet does not matter, what the bodies do, what touches what or slides through what. The part that matters is the energy that rises in them, between them. First the breath, synchronized between them as fingers slide over flesh, heart to heart. Ond. The winds between them fan the flames and the fire rises, a small piece of the primal warmth that melted the primal ice. Litr. It rises up their spines, coaxed along by caresses. The winds grow fiercer, gasps and panting knocking each one out of the rhythm by turns, yet each returns again. Then there is the link, the connection of flesh as two hamar meld for that moment. Lich. Then the climax, spiraling upwards together. Lady, let the land we share together be green this year, let the seedlings uncurl from the Earth even as this passion uncurls and springs skyward. Lord, let there be a rich harvest to bring forth and lay on your altar. This is our gift, this is the best that we have, offered to you. Wod. The stars wheel overhead, reflecting the light of the fire.

As they Open to each other, they also Open to the forces that watch, laugh, touch them, bless them. Sparks of green and gold burst behind their eyes, and for a moment they are one with the Earth beneath them, and understand what that means. Their hands guide the energy down into the soil beneath them - or is it divine hands that do the guiding? - and they lie spent, hands still clasped together. It is the Rite of Spring.

The Path of the Flesh is the path of sex magic, using the energy raised through sexual activity as a tool to do things. There is almost nothing written about sex magic in surviving northern-tradition historical lore, and what there is of it is generally cast in the worst possible light. Considering that most of the chroniclers were Christian, this is not surprising. For that matter, even before Christianity, the culture seemed to have been inclined to leave such things as sex magic to the professional spiritual worker or ritual priesthood. Like traditional Tantra (not the neo-Tantra circulating in America today), it was a cult tradition, and not something to be talked about generally in public. However, this means that reconstructing northern-tradition sex magic is not something that can be done through written materials.

Sex magic is a biological process; the range of bodies and physical responses is present in every human population the world over. Although different cultures have a wide variety of uses and goals regarding sex magic, the basics are the same everywhere. It is neither difficult nor inappropriate to synthesize the teachings of other cultures - at least where they all find the same biological truths - and apply that to this tradition by consulting with the appropriate Gods and wights for their teachings on the matter. Sometimes the Gods themselves will be the teachers; something isn't talked about much is that our Gods like to have sex with us, and masturbatory devotional sex magic done by a spirit-worker has a fair chance of ending up being a sexual encounter with a deity. If you put it out there as an offering, there's the chance they'll come and take it themselves, and teach us more about this Path in the process.

That said, what is the specific "flavor", if you will, of northern-tradition sex magic? It’s vigorous, it’s warmth-generating, because this is a cold northern climate. That’s not necessarily kid-generating, more like warmth against the ice. It is community-generating, and bond-generating. You need those community bonds brought together by bodies. It is similar in that way to the sauna custom . Consider what it’s like to walk fifteen miles in a blizzard, and how you feel to see another human being then, particularly one who has an open front door and a hot room that you can go and sit in? Take that further into a sexual metaphor - the warm bed with human comfort is the ultimate in hospitality.

-Lydia Helasdottir

From discussing the subject with spirit-workers who are actually doing the work, rather than merely theorizing about it, we all seem to have come up with the concept that there are three "flavors" of northern-tradition sex magic, depending on which pantheon you are working with. The most common flavor, and the one that is most achievable to the average person, is the Vanir type. Its teachers and patrons are, of course, Frey and Freya. It is the sex magic of the everyday people, used to connect to the spirit of nature and of fertility. It is immanent rather than transcendent. Regardless of who is doing it, it links very quickly into the fertility archetype of energy creation for keeping life going. It is earthy, joyous, and extremely egalitarian. It is about tapping bodily into the force that keeps the cycle going and everything running. It maintains the status quo - as long as they do the same thing every year, Life will continue.

There is definitely a side to Vanir sex magic that tends to be placatory, in the sense of “Look, look, we’re making all this nice warm energy, please make sure that summer comes back!” or the reindeer breeds, or the moss keeps growing, or whatever. It is very basic, not at all like either the ritual sex magic where you want a particular result and you’re going to mechanically put it together to create that result, or the sex magic of the shaman, who is using it as a tool to get into an altered state. Its egalitarian nature means that in order for the energy to come up right, both individuals have to be working together to raise it. In this way, it is the most similar to the Tantric ideal of Shiva-Shakti combining their energies as one. It is the ritual sex of the Maypole, the Green Man and the May Queen creating the pole of energy that stretches from under the earth to the faraway sky. As the magical Middle Path of northern-tradition sex magic, it carries the energy of Midgard and Vanaheim, rather than the worlds at the top and bottom of the World Tree.

It also does not have to be done with a partner, or heterosexually, although this is the easiest way to achieve results. Solo Vanir sex magic is reflected in stories where the man masturbates into a hole in the earth, giving his seed as an offering while joining to the energy of Earth as Lover. Some women that I know have done the equivalent by using corn dollies or wood from a live tree (or even a live tree itself) as ritual sexual aids. This works because the deity is coming to you, embodying themselves in the natural world, and making love to you. If you are taking the Vanir path and you want to join with the Gods in that way, wander into a secluded place in Nature and ask what form the God/dess with whom you seek to be joined wishes to embody. Using some kind of a physical, natural anchor seems to be important. For example, those who horse Frey find that the size of one's human phallus doesn't really matter, because they all pale in comparison to his, and that a consecrated phallus made of natural materials is often the most effective option. This phallus can later be lent out as a tool to those wishing to join with Frey, without even being attached to a human being for the event.

While the magic that creates Life and fertility is generally heterosexual, Vanir sex magic freely welcomes not only those who are not heterosexual but those who are not strictly male or female. Both Frey and Freya historically and modernly welcomed ergi types, third gender people who cross between. As some Freysmen have discovered, there are two separate cults of (or, perhaps, paths to) Frey: the heterosexual farmer, husband, and father; and the effeminate man with the bells on his skirt. Frey and Freya are both deities not only of sex but of love, and to them, all love is a Good Thing - the more, the better. The same goes for sex.

Nonprocreative Vanir-type sex magic is used either for bonding, regardless of who is using it, or for magic. After all, Freya is love goddess, fertility goddess, and seidhkona. As the Sacred Whore of the Northern pantheon, sex magic is one of the gifts that she teaches. Before you bridle at terming her a Sacred Whore, please understand that this title is laid with the greatest respect, and only the overlay of Christianity has made it otherwise. One of the things that Freya teaches, for example by laying with four Duergar in exchange for Brisingamen, is her way of asking the question: What are you worth? This is the question of the Sacred Whore throughout Western civilization. Freya is sure of her worth; she knows that four nights of her body and her skills are well worth the most beautiful necklace in the world, and she is unashamed of herself. She is hetaera, qadishtu, the one who opens her arms to all yet is still in full control of her sexuality and her choices, the one who cannot be owned by another. To be a seidhkona requires similar independence and self-confidence.

Freya's other questions, which the spirit-worker who would enter into sex magic ought to answer, include: What is sex worth to you? Do you value it, or does part of you still believe that it is dirty, or perhaps beneath you as an intelligent, rational being, or at least something that oughtn't to be put too high on people's priorities? If so, perhaps this isn't the path for you. Or perhaps you need to learn to value it for what it is - not as a vehicle for procreation or love or duty or bonding or validating attractiveness or getting attention or enlivening a boring life, just what it is. Have you ever had sex with no ulterior motives at all, just opening up to the experience itself and letting it take you, no expectations, no goals save pleasure? If not, start there, before you go adding yet more goals and motives to clutter the mix.

 While Freya is constantly independent, Frey's path is one of willing sacrifice. Actually, it's more than willing, it's enthusiastic. To go to Death every year as a bridegroom, with a big smile and an attendant large erection, is more than most of us can comprehend. When we are asked to sacrifice, we do so with apprehension, or resentment, or grim dutifulness, or a host of other ambivalent emotions. Frey's embracing of sacrifice, every year, for the good of the crops bewilders us. Scholars try to explain it away by calling it a metaphor for the crops that fall, or the phallus that shoots and wilts, but what does it mean to us if it's more than metaphorical?

Frey's questions for the spirit-worker on this path are: Do you understand that this energy is always ephemeral? That whatever you raise will be gone in a moment, washed away like a rune in the sand at high tide? That no matter how much you pursue the moment, trying to catch it again, it is gone? Do you understand being grateful that it was granted to you even that once? More important, do you understand how to express gratitude to the Universe with your body? Can you see that your flesh is a microcosm of the Earth, and when you use it in this sacred way, you can raise energy to heal the broken flesh beneath your feet, which shall return to you as healing tenfold?

Frey and Freya are sexual with each other, and the fact that they are brother and sister as well may take some people aback, but they are not human beings and their ways are not ours. They perform ritual sex in order to create the energy of fertility, abundance, and growth; combining their essences creates the green growing-ness that keeps our world running. As such, they can be called upon as a couple to teach with Vanir-style sex magic. Their multiple sexual connections - Frey is married to a Jotun goddess, Freya is the mistress of an Aesir god, and both reach out to folk of many races - show that their place, in the middle ground of energies, closer to Midgard than the top or bottom of the Tree, is one of connection in all directions. Their connection with each other reinforces the centerpoint.

Aesir-style sex magic has a different flavor, and can be less egalitarian in role. To be more specific, if two people are involved, one is going to be the primary magician and be focusing the intent/energy/work, and one is going to be providing stimulation, support, and a battery of sexual energy. This doesn't imply a permanent inegalitarian system outside of that single act; the two (or more) individuals can switch off at different times, and there is no gendered supremacy involved, as anyone of any sex can be in either position. But whenever you leave the middle ground, things tilt in a general direction, and here that direction is Up, towards Ascension and High Vision and Creativity and Acting From Above. Therefore, the primary magician is the person who is A) physically on top, and B) doing the majority of the actual sexual work. The other partner is receptive, or passive, or whatever works for the people involved; stimulation is given to them, but for the purpose of raising energy for the magician to use. Again, we stress that physical gender is irrelevant here; while much of society would have us believe that men are active and women are all sexually passive, that has never been the case for our cosmology, which is filled with assertive female beings who are quite capable of being sexually aggressive and taking responsibility for the encounter.

Aesir sex magic can have various goals, but the first and most important goal is to bring people closer to the Gods, and open themselves to the Light at the top of the Tree. Here, while the process may be difficult - it's hard for us to keep from getting bogged down in our own issues and make a clean offering of our sexual energy to Them - it is still fairly safe once you achieve it. It's between you and Them, and your responsibility is only to Them, and to each other. It's ethical and clean and harder to get in trouble with it. Lydia comments again: "Aesir sex magic is all about ascension. To use a Kabalistic model, the Tree of Life starts with the Veil of the Profane, which is basically 'Have you got any clue at all?' You then have the Veil of Paraketh, and it’s all about seeking the divine light. In the Christian model you’d say it’s about the burning heart. In Taoism it’s the Greatest Kannon Li. But it’s about seeking the divine light as love. That for me has always been the Aesir way. Go for the light."

The Divine Couple who can teach this best to you are, of course, Odin and Frigga, in their own version of the hieros gamos. We tend to forget, in our focusing on their relationship as either Chieftain/Lady Of The Hall or Wanderer/Hearthkeeper, that they carry the sacred marriage energy for Asgard. They are invoked at weddings not only because Frigga is a "goddess of domesticity", but because the two of them together create the sacred Polarity of Sky, the sacred marriage brought to great heights.

Frigga's questions to spirit-workers on this path are: Do you understand that this work creates bonds, even between strangers? Be careful with whom you spin these threads, for they may grow stronger that you expect. Choose your partners in this wisely, perhaps even more carefully than you would choose a mate to marry, for in following someone down this path, you may yet bind them to your soul. Do you wish to feel them make love to their new lover, years after you have left each other? The world is fickle, as is Wyrd, and you may not know how things will ride in the future. It is better to practice alone a hundred times than open the soul-paths together with someone unsuitable.

Odin's questions to spirit-workers are: Can you breathe? Breathe in! All things start with breath, with ond, and this most of all. Sex magic starts with breathing. Learn to breathe the ond around your body, and into that of your partner. Do you understand how to link each other together with your very breath? Start by breathing together, in unison. If you do nothing else, do this; learn each others' rhythm and make it one. Can you see them as your instrument to play, your creation to bring to new heights? Can you excite them, speed their breath, build their energy, bring them to climax - then use that out-breath, that exhalation of the genitals, of the root chakra, the body's music, to galdr across the space between you and the Light? Do you understand that the song of the body is its own galdr, and that its shout can be louder than that of lungs and voice? Climb upwards on the ladder that is the body of your beloved, and then when you fly off the top, carry them with you.

If you are finding it difficult to move away from the Vanir model of earthy sex magic, a "transitional" couple that can help might be Odin and Freya. Odin's sexual relationship with Freya is not a divine marriage; it's more of a working partnership in which they learn and teach power to each other. It lies between the earthy middle ground and the sky, the place where the trees brush the clouds with their leaves, and yet it is a place of equal respect. No part of the Tree is evil or wrong, just as no part of Life is less than any other, and Odin has no less respect for Freya just because her home is closer to Midgard; indeed, he humbly went to her to learn the mysteries of seidh. As a sexual couple, they may be able to help with moving from I-Thou to a model that can best be described as "one looks up to the other who looks up still further".

Rokkr sex magic is also inegalitarian in role, but in an opposite way to Aesir-flavored sex magic. In this dynamic, the primary magician is the one who is being "done to", more receptively. The other partner(s) are there to do the job of getting them into a state where that work can be done. The active person is the technician; the receptive person is the shaman who is working towards the goal. Rokkr sex magic is, as Lydia explains below, more practical and task-oriented than worship/devotion oriented.

For Jotun sex magic...well, the stuff that comes between Paraketh and the abyss is the stuff between the stars. That is Nox; that is the dark stuff. It’s dark and it’s nasty and it’s power, and sex and death and all that stuff. Here, love is a given, and the fact that you have your own furnace, your own star in your heart shining, is a given. You can’t even work this stuff without that. It’s about integrating the monster within and doing something with it. It’s not about getting into bliss and shooting straight up the middle - that's the Aesir path. No, there’s a job to do there down in the dark. It’s like comparing the Buddha versus the bodhisattva path. It’s more Vajrayana than Hinayana. The Rokkr path is coming back down out of bliss and doing the dirty work. So Rokkr magic is all about works, not enlightenment.

In order to use sex to do something, make some change in the world, or integrate some dodgy part of you, or heal somebody, or help someone heal themselves, or whatever other reasons....well, there has to be a good reason, first thing. Suddenly you’re in a world of responsibility that isn’t there if you just do divine magical sex. Therefore, the controls and the safeties and all that have to be so much tighter, and the person who’s actually doing the connecting with the Gods or the energy needs to be more in control of what’s happening. So it’s more useful if they’re the operator, if they’re having the stuff done to them. Although I do actually think that if you’re well attuned, you can be the top in that situation as well.

And what that sex magic is like? It’s saying, “We’re going to have this kind of sex, to raise this kind of energy.” I’ll give you an example of the ritual that we did to fix the broken parts of the Wheel that is over there in Europe. Seven girls in a circle laying clockwise, with each one of them in the next one’s cunt, doing that. At one part of the circle, the lightning conductor, who was standing, and who had the arms and legs of the ones in the circle winding around her legs, and she had the most senior of the girls to her left, so that this girl could take all the energy that had been winding and winding and winding, and gather it all in by changing her position, and go up and adore the conductor’s whole body. The conductor was there to generate this earth-up energy. There was another one who was hanging from hooks in her back who was getting really pumped full of pain energy from Hela, but it wasn’t going anywhere, because she was off the ground. She was wearing a strap-on, and two of the girls were constantly dripping honey off of that, into a bowl where there was another phallus symbol. They were drinking from that the whole time, to generate more.

When there was enough energy wound up, and there was a sufficient differential, these two kissed, and the charge earthed, and it was like - boom! And that’s what needed to happen. It all happened inside of a Faraday cage too, which was pretty cool; a stainless steel cube made of scaffolding material, inside which this was going on. Very nice and transportable and good for suspensions as well. We also had two guys sitting guard, watching and making sure that there were no interruptions. And that’s an example of Rokkr sex magic used for a northern-tradition purpose. I would use the same configuration if I was working a large piece of sex magic for anybody else.

It’s very goal-oriented, there’s work to do. The Jotun are all very elemental. It’s about rock and earth and tree and fire and sea, clearly physical and primal things which you shouldn’t have any control over until you have achieved a connection with the divine, because it can become a greed thing and you this is where people go wrong, and end up doing things that will do damage to the world.

Being used as a tool, seen as a machine that has a particular shape, is something that we use in sex magic. “We need one of these, and one of these, and a few of these, to work with the energy wiring diagram, and we need these two to do these things to each other.” And then, blammo, it’s there. People who hear that are taken aback; they say, “Hey, where’s the divinity in that? Where’s the spontaneity?” But frankly, if you can’t manifest divinity and spontaneity within that context, you should not be doing sex magic. Your sexuality, by the way, is another way that patron deities use you as a tool. Did you think that this would be exempt? No.

-Lydia Helasdottir

Rokkr deities who work with sex magic include Angrboda, Surt, Loki, and to an extent Hela. Loki is capable of all sorts of sex magic; as argr as he is, he's tried it all and enjoys being a hands-on trainer of such things. He specializes in sex magic that requires versatility of role, as he has done that all over the map - being male, being female, being active, being passive, being solitary and partnered and in a large tumbled group.

Loki's questions to the spirit-worker are: So you want to do sex magic, eh, sweetheart? Do you know that it's playing with fire? Fire and the Tree. The key to sex magic is found in the root of your body, the seat of the litr, and that can burn you up if you're not careful. No, really. You don't believe me, you think that it's all safe and easy? That if you lose the thread of mindfulness, it'll just turn into a really good fuck? Well, maybe it will. And maybe something will leap up and scorch your pipes, and burn out some of the circuits in your head. Won't that be fun? Do you understand the Tree, boys and girls? Have you worked with it, moved up and down its length? Because the Tree is a good thing to link to, the Irminsul from roots to leaves, from Void to Void. The Tree's old, it understands these things, line yourself up there and you'll be safer. Not safe, just safer. Because your body is a Tree as well, or hadn't you noticed?

Angrboda is skilled in sex magic of many kinds that will extend to people of different genders, but it is all of a raw, primal variety. For her, shapeshifting is very bound up with sex magic, especially in terms of how one moves one's energy around. Whether she agrees to teach you, though, will be entirely up to her. She will probably want to test you out first in some way, sexual or otherwise, and see if you are worth bothering with. If the test is sexual, her questions will be - verbal or not - "Who are you? Are you better than what I can get from my wolf-boys? What's in this for me?" You had best have answers to these questions before you ask, especially the intimidating second one. The sex she likes is passionate, rough, and animalistic, the sex she teaches is more dark and mysterious. Don't go to her for that training until you are reasonably skilled at shapeshifting and can keep up with her, because she may start teaching you with a whirlwind tour of the mating instincts of many different creatures.

Her other questions are: Do you value your body, or do you hate it? Do you value the animal in you, or do you believe that sex is more sacred the further from the animal you are? Can you understand the sacredness of animal lust? If not, you'll never make it down this path, for the animal in you is the beginning point, your very root. It's called the root chakra for a reason, you fool. Base of the spine, base of the skull, the lizard-brain still does it best. You have to be able to do this with your animal self before you can move up the chakras to the heart, the mind, all those refined places. Do not deny or devalue the animal instinct in you! It is the part of you that loves the body, no matter what it looks like. There is no place in this path for hatred of your flesh.

Surt's sex magic is rather cataclysmic. He is definitely the active partner, no matter who you are, and your job is just to open up and take it as best you can. Surt's orgasm is like a small nuclear bomb, a wad of lava, a small drop of primal fire, a piece of pure manifestation, after which he walks away and leaves you with it inside you. If you can catch and hold it, you can use it to power some serious magic, but if you can't catch it - if you haven't done with work it takes to make yourself capable of holding a white-hot fiery piece of pure manifestation - then it can burn you up if you don't get it out of yourself. An orgasm will shoot it out of you, but if you can have your intent ready to mold something that needs making and shoot it out as a formed magical intent, that's better. Surt likes this, because he likes to see his energy used to create, which he doesn't get to do often any more.

Surt's questions to the spirit-worker are: Do you understand that sex magic uses primal fire? Yes, first it's about the breath, but then it moves to fire. Within each of you is a tiny spark of the flame of Muspellheim that warmed the ice, buried in your root place. It is your litr, your vitality. Without that, you would be cold and limp. All that breathing, it's just blowing on that spark, calling it into a flame that leaps upward. Then it's the fire of a forge with which you can hammer out your will. It will do that anyway, it's up to you to be mindful about it. What will you do with this? Do you realize that it will leave its track imprinted on your flesh? What do you want that imprint to say? Prepare yourself wisely before you open with fire from the bottom up.

One doesn't really think of Hela, the Goddess of Death, as a teacher of sex magic, and it is true that she chooses to teach very few people her method of this path. That's partly because sex magic with Hela is always an intersection between the Path of the Flesh and the Ordeal Path. Sex with her is always an Ordeal, intense and terrible and a great blessing. Lydia writes: "With Hela it’s very formal and ritualistic. It’s all about clinically cleaning and purifying. If there was such a thing as diplomatic sex magic - not passionate, but energetically alive, it would be that. It is precise, constricted, job-oriented. When Hela is working with Fenrir, it’s about realness and chaos. You see, if Hela just decomposed stuff that was already in the world, recycled it, then nothing new would ever happen. If you use the same stuff in the same pattern, it goes into a stagnant loop, which is why stuff that’s really fully dead is stagnant until it’s reused. When she works with Fenrir, it keeps a certain amount of chaos in the world, which is a good thing because it allows the Vanir lords to do their thing with Life. Like the Vanir twins, the Rokkr pantheon has a brother-sister pair who get it on not for reasons of love but ritually, out of obligation, to keep the cycle going."

Hela's questions to the spirit-worker on this path are: Do you understand what this will do to you? Do you know what happens to the trauma that you endure, the anger that you repress, the responsibility that you shoulder, the helplessness that you feel, the pain that you put aside to deal with another day? It is all stored in your body somewhere, unless you have vented it out - and how many have done that with every moment of pain? Do you know that the Path of the Flesh opens you up not only to what is without, but what is within? You will understand when it happens, when flesh passes ring of flesh and suddenly you weep, you scream, your body whiplashes with feeling. That is not failure. That is purification. Until enough of that is out of the way, you will not be able to Open outwards. This traps you within yourself, and it must come out, and that will be as painful leaving as it was entering. Can you see that as pure, as cleansing, not as evil, no matter how long it takes?

For those who are starting with the centerpoint of Vanir magic and want to spiral down towards the raw, primal, practical element of Rokkr magic, a good transitional couple to call upon are Frey and his etin-bride Gerda. Unlike Freya who reaches upwards to make the link to the Aesir and anchor their Light to the Earth, Frey reaches downwards to bring light into the darkness and depths. He does not fear Death or Pain, as he endures it yearly and is reborn, and Gerda is an excellent and comparatively gentle guide through self-examination, communing quietly with one's inner darkness, and mourning.

You'll notice that nowhere in this chapter have I described physical techniques such as would be found in a book of Tantric studies - positioning bodies, sticking tab A in slot B and for how long, etc. That's partly because one could fill a book with that sort of thing - and indeed, such books already exist out there, written by people who are better masters at this sort of thing than I am, so why reinvent the wheel? - and partly because in the end, it doesn't seem to matter what rubs what so long as the energy is raised. Working with sacred sexuality and/or sex magic in this tradition seems to be less "formal" than, say, in the cultural venue of Indian Tantra. There is less emphasis on polarity of gender unless one is following in the archetypal footsteps of an actual divine couple. In our tradition, the body is closely linked to the elements. Part of understanding sacred sexuality here is to experience the flesh as part of nature. How would you masturbate if you were a flame? A mountain? A cool lake? How would you have sex with your partner if you were a wolf, a bird, a snake, a wind, a river, a tree bending in the wind, a sheaf of wheat bending to the scythe, a wave of the sea? Learning to bring these energies into your sexual practice - or perhaps to discover that they were always there all along - is the best lesson that you can learn on this path, and it's one that lends itself well to experiment and self-discovery.

It's also something that can be taught by the wights themselves. As spirit-workers, we sometimes (or often) get into sexual relationships with Gods and wights. Most of them are ephemeral; we dance together, the energy is raised and directed, and then it's over. Occasionally people will enter into long-term love or even marital relationships with deities, becoming god-spouses, which is its own greater issue. Even a small encounter with a deity, however, is instructive. It's impossible to encounter them sexually and not learn something about the sacredness of sex. It's also true that monogamy is not the same thing for a spirit-worker that it is for a normal person, and that goes even more so for a shaman. The Gods come first, and while a vow of monogamy (or polyfidelity) to a human being may eliminate all sexual contact with other human beings, it does not mean that gods and wights are exempt, especially if the Path of the Flesh is in your future. As with all things, They are better teachers than any of us. It is an honor and a joy to touch them in this way, and be touched and Opened in return.