Friday, November 28, 2008

Is "Sacred Prostitute" an oxymoron?

The split between the sacred and the sexual started when the patriarchy took over, and women needed to be controlled so that inheritance could go through men. Read "When God Was a Woman" by Merlin Stone if you'd like to know more. Before that, there were priestesses who used sexuality as part of their rites, but that practice had to be condemned if women were to begin to accept being owned and controlled by men. The most effective way to do that was through religion -- if you f**k someone else, then you're a whore and you'll go to hell! (The original meaning of "whore" was "healer".) So the motivation for making non-monogamous sex (for women, especially) immoral was originally financial, not moral.

When I was working, I used sexual energy as a tool for healing and for expansion of the spirit. It is a powerful force and when used with knowledge and skill, it can be a potent agent of healing, and for having a direct experience of enlightenment. Di you ever wonder why so many people say "Oh, god! Oh, god!" so much when they're coming?

I'm working towards a time when the sacred use of sexuality is reclaimed. It has been forgotten, but it is returning.

If you want to know more about how a prostitute can be sacred, then read my book!


Saxon said...

It isn't an oxymoron, because any prostitute whose work it was or is to represent a goddess, whether real or imagined, is a sacred prostitute. As for whether the words actually go together, I think they can, but that they suggest a definite tension, for all the obvious reasons. There is a book called The Sacred Prostitute, by Nancy Qualls-Corbett, and it goes through the Jungian aspect quite thoroughly. Highly recommended.

Anonymous said...

Not that I'm in the habit of quoting the Bible, but there is a lovely verse in the Bible that says "To the pure, all things are pure." It should be noted that the etymology of the word 'sacred' is 'sanct', meaning 'pure'. This root also yields other English words like 'sanctity', 'sanctify', and 'saint'.

So "To the saint (pure one), all things are Sacred."

There were a class of temple whores in the ancient middle-east who were called 'qadesh', which also means 'pure ones'.

Once upon a time, sex offered in the name of a god or goddess was considered pure, holy, or sacred.

I am of the opinion that sex itself is a sacred act. The term "sacred sex", an oxymoron to some, is redundant to me. Better to refer to much of our culture's concept as "profane sex", being an inherently sacred act that is often desecrated.

So, if sex is inherently sacred, so also can prostitution be inherently so. Both can be profaned, but that is not their natural state, no matter how commonly practiced.

Saxon said...

The etymology provided is not exactly correct. Sacred comes to us via the Latin sanctus, which is a stand-in for the Hebrew kadosh, which is not “pure,” precisely, but “separate.” Due to the Hebrew traditions of cleanliness, it takes on that connotation, but that is a judgment call based on one already believing that that group that is separated from mundane life unto the life of serving the LORD is the good one. This almost racist policy is made explicit in the Zohar and elsewhere, as it is said there are two races of men, one that is in service to God, and one that is evil and worthy of annihilation because they are born of the fallen. The temple prostitutes of the Middle East were explicitly called out in the Bible as being on the degenerate side, and the maypoles of the day, Asherah poles, were signs of nothing less than the evil race of mankind. Sorry to go all doctor of divinity on it, but these errors tend to propagate themselves. The Old Testament offers little to the mystic in terms of a universality of experience, and the root also yields words like sanctimonious.

This interpretation of the word is also why it is not redundant and not the standard occurrence. Sacred sex would be that sex which is set aside from the usual sex. There is nothing wrong with a good animalistic f**k now and then, and it does appear from the basic human urge of lust to be the standard outcome. Sacred sex is that which rises above this, not simply stimulating enough of the sympathetic nervous system to get an erection and then adding enough stimulation to kick in the parasympathetic and get off. You can do that with electrodes in the right places, and it will feel exactly the same. Sacred sex is that which involves the person more than the person’s body, and at least in the tantric tradition, should not generally involve ejaculation at all, which is definitely not the norm. Intention is a requirement. Tantra, which traditionally involves death as much or more than it does sex, exists to shock our minds into recognition of something greater. If you’re being shaken every day, then it ain’t working, because you’re supposed to get beyond what is being shaken up.

This is a better fit into the sacred prostitute angle as well, for all prostitution is set aside from the usual sex with one’s spouse/partner/etc. The purity of the exchange, mediated through currency, is the place where the oxymoron part may come in, if anywhere. And this is where I’m going to say that the New Testament won’t work here either; first, because Jesus encourages celibacy (probably – I’m not ignorant of the gnostic take), and second, because one cannot serve both God and Mammon, which is to say that it would be an oxymoron within that stereotypically patriarchal theology.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be some confusion, perhaps because I started with a Bible quote, that I am limiting myself to Judeo-Christian biases and definitions... and to Biblical languages.

The Hebrew "kadosh" is one of many variations on the same root word. But the Hebrews and their religion are not my primary source of information about the temple whores. Certainly, they were mentioned in the Old Testament, with all its biases against the religions of other deities, but I do not feel particularly inspired by that document. The Biblical references were likely even a conservative, patriarchal reaction to the ancient prostitution practices within the temples of Ishtar, Inanna, Aphrodite, Ashtoreth (who the Hebrews made into a demon), and other related goddesses.

As for "sacred", checking and other sources, it basically refers to that which is set aside for religious or spiritual purposes. Hence, the "separateness" connotation in Hebrew. Perhaps that connotation takes on further sinister racist connotations in some literature, but this basic connotation of separateness seems fine to me.

I choose to make the concept of "sacred" a broad umbrella, in keeping with the spirit of the verse I quoted: "To the Pure, all things are pure." To me, if sex is an act of love, it is that love that makes it a sacred act, because it serves the divine souls that are merging in the act.

A prostitute who is serving the Gods in their profession makes the sex act they perform a sacred one.

And if it is done with a healing intent and energy, it is sacred because of that.

"To the Pure, all things are Pure."

Selena Truth said...

Seems to me like you are both saying the same thing. All things are sacred, if you make them that way. The separation that the Hebrews were advocating was their way of making something sacred (and I'm not on board with their way, needless to say). It's also an option, and one I'm more in alignment with, to make everything sacred. It's a matter of attitude. I have an altar on my kitchen counter, which reminds me that chopping vegetables is a sacred act. Anything I do, including sex and prostitution, can be sacred or can not be. It just depends upon the attitude.

Thank you both for your thoughtful posts.