This year my son will enter year nine high school, a period of life I remember as one filled with vastly expanding sexuality, both within me and in my peers. I am concerned for my son as he traverses his journey into manhood and all that entails. Sex is only one aspect of this journey, but one which our culture, our religions and even our esoteric traditions handle incredibly badly. Just a few days ago I heard news of yet another elderly male spiritual teacher becoming lovers with a much younger student of his. The apparent need for sex, companionship and ‘love’ continues to promote human folly on a massive scale. It has hurt so many people and robbed us of so many brilliant minds and healing opportunities for the world.
These days while waiting at the supermarket we can read a plethora of sexual ‘tips’ and guides for ‘tantric’ weekends. Sex has become so ‘out there’ it holds no meaning, no value outside of pleasure and partnership. Young people, middle agers and older people all just ‘do it’ without understanding the deeper meaning behind sex. And despite modern pagan and magical attitudes towards sex – avowing that sex is sacred and sacramental – when it comes right down to it I see little difference between the esoteric community and the general public.
All my conscious sexual life from my solo teenage years onwards I have worked towards sacred sexuality. But it is only now after 25 years of intense esoteric practice and a bucket load of grace that I think I understand what sacred sexuality actually entails. What this ‘is’ is not easily explained. What I can say is this: it has nothing whatever to do with the self, or with pleasure or your partner or orgasms that last an hour or energy direction at the moment of climax.
From a Qabalistic perspective I would say we can’t even begin to understand sacred sexuality without the Tipharetic level of consciousness, a point of view affirmed by the few authentic esoteric traditions that ‘teach’ the subject. So the chances are – even if you are Third Degree Wiccan and have performed more Great Rites than you can remember – if you think you understand sacred sex, you don’t.
So really, as an esoteric community we should say very little about the practice of sex magic or ‘Tantra’ and a lot about how we move towards valuing sex as sacred. The only way to do this is through our own personal spiritual unfoldment, not through any sexual practice at all. During the unfoldment process we need to approach sex from a moral perspective which guides us to make choices as if we were already at the deeper level of consciousness that fully understands sex as sacred. This is the function of ethical choices and disciplined behaviour. All the authentic esoteric traditions would agree with this.
My main esoteric teacher was an elderly gay English Adept who spent most of his life living in a land where homosexuality was illegal and men regularly charged for ‘buggery’ (the law was only repealed in 1967). As a young man he saw clearly there was no room for sacred sexuality in his daily life. Any gay sexual liaisons would be fraught with not only legal danger but would inevitably involve secrecy, deceit and the shadowed side of human nature. Being aware of this he chose to be socially celibate. When I heard this story I was very moved. His bravery, his decision not to ever sully his innate understanding of the sacred nature of sex with even a single illicit act or lower self focused sexual desires was astounding and very inspiring.
Of course I am not suggesting that anyone become celibate. But I do think we should try and have the type of courage that Greatly Honoured Frater showed – courage to choose the higher over the lower, to put aside our personal desires in the service of the One. Such courage is available to any of us if we really choose it.