An essay on Sex & Sex Magick: Liber Conjunctus / Liber Two is written and contributed by Nigris, O’
Sex begins and ends at Conception. For those loving people who have chosen to so Conceive, the lustful Penetration, the willing Acceptance has its finale when Sperma conjuncts Ovum. The Fruit of this Union transforms the relationship that an individual has with herself. This is not meant to imply that Conception is the OBJECT of Sex. While this may be true in a limited sense, it is also overly simplistic. Conception is no more the Goal of Sex than Death is the Goal of Life. While both are transformative events, and, given enough time and opportunity will surely occur, it is a mistake to think that either is the only goal of the activity so performed.
There are exceptions, however. Suicidal and procreative people do, in fact, exist and it is their passion which drives the social machine of our day. Martyrdom and Puritanism are often looked at as the ideal. Such personally empowering mechanisms as egotism and Sex Magick are anathemas to all but a few of the general population.
Yet the exceptions do not make the rule, and in no circumstance do those whose Goal IS solely conception engage in what is described here as ‘Sex’. Theirs is a mechanical function, played out amidst repugnance at their intimate comingling and the horrid perceptions of their forms. To call this ‘Sex’ is like calling lying comatose in a hospital bed ‘Life’. It may be functionally true, but the experience is certainly not related.
When speaking of Sex, it is assumed to be FOUNDED on intimacy and, between people, begins at the first glimpse, smell, sound or touch. Our perceptual sphere comes into contact with a body, which, we tend to assume, is not ours. We develop some relationship between ourselves and the other. The experience of that relationship and the subjective results of it are included in the broadest personal understanding of the term ‘Sex’.
The Sexual Act takes place from the first encounter to the concluding resolution. It is only the formal dance of conjugation which the unevolved take as its entirety. Since we often identify with our form, it is no surprise that those who have not learned to see beyond it take Sex for less than it truly is.
There is Sex in everything from the crisp salute to the angry brawl; from the gentle caress to the enraged gunshot; from the casual handshake to mutual masturbation. From the impersonal exchange of goods to the ecstatic orgasm, sex is made of human relations and the experience of these.
It is also the translation of boundaries – psychological and physical. To the extent that we are unaware or unconcerned about our relations, so also is Sex no longer meaningful to us. While we may be hip deep in the throes of coitus, our insensitivity makes this Supremacy a necrophilic exercise, whether or not our partner understands our Thanatic state.
Intent determines Sexual meaning, both to those with whom we engage and to ourselves. When I am open, attracted and sincere, I have the most to give and to receive. Indeed, the most potentially moving experience within Sexuality derives from a willingness to interact honestly.
This, Will, is the connection between Sex and Magick and determines how the latter Tool may be used to affect our Sexuality. Their product, Love, is no different than Will in essence. It is only the form or expression which distinguishes One from the Other.
Magick takes many forms, though its essence remains consistent. Crowley’s definition of it leaves little to be added. “The Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will” is vague enough to be inclusive and specific enough to be meaningful, but how does it relate to Sexuality?
The responses to this question are numerous. Opinions, perspectives, vary tremendously and most of them contain some truth. The challenge is really to find some way to meaningfully associate the two without over- generalizing; to discover useful expressions that include their complexity while limiting their signification. To do this it seems best to approach the subject within the Realms of Sexuality and to examine how the Tool of Magick may be used in context.
Alternatively one could examine the qualities of the Tool itself in order to discover its potential, though this seems overzealous. One does not go around hitting things with a hammer in order to learn Carpentry. One holds one’s tools in reserve, and, when the task of connecting two boards with a nail appears necessary, one selects the appropriate Tool for the Job. Over time the effective tools for each Task become known.
This is also the case for Magick, which involves the selected use of intent. Enough has been written about Magick that we may undertake an examination of the Sexual Realms in which it may be applied.
Sex Magick is an intimatic Tool. It must be practiced in order to be mastered. The details of its form and function can be studied and memorized. Yet if they are not applied they will never be comprehended. It is comparable to learning ABOUT bowling without ever trying it. Putting techniques into practice is really the object of the study, and refraining from this is the height of Folly, given means and opportunity.
The Realm Of Casual Interaction
We begin at casual interaction. Strangers, business acquaintances, official contacts and professional services often qualify here. In many ways this is the practical, formal aspect of Sexuality.
Magick applied at this level becomes an agent of politics; a means of securing some desired end, a direct Current, linking intent with activity. When one functions as a cause of change in the realm of objects and social systems there is a high degree of visibility which accompanies this role.
The one who handles the ball most often in a game (i.e. the pitcher) is more likely to be the focus of notoriety. The delivery person whom one sees on a daily basis establishes the tangible relationship between the company and the you, the Customer.
Thus, Magick in the Realm of Casual Interaction is more often lauded by the social group which serves as its witness. This has its difficulties in that the role itself often becomes highlighted, set in stark contrast to the context in which it takes place. Those who accept such a position take the risk of identifying themselves AS the role; of losing themselves in the character of the Cause, rather than remaining as the instrument of Cause Itself. This may lead to disempowerment and disillusion, which has the unfortunate repercussion of both disappointing the Customer and the added distinction of being dismissed from the Job (in terms of service).
What Is Magick?
What IS Magick within this Realm? As we shall see, Magick is both an inner and outer skill set. With regard to objects and social systems, Magick is the ability to communicate effectively and in a timely fashion what one desires. It is also the ability to respond to fluctuating environments, while acting as Authority.
Some important elements of Magick here include listening carefully, knowing how and when to express oneself (some call this ‘tact’), understanding the nature of social systems, and being physically fit.
The most important element of Sex Magick, however, is not the rite or vehicle that one uses to achieve the Goal, but awareness – of oneself and others. This cannot be overstated, and applies to all Realms of Sexuality. Awareness is really the intersection of the two. It is the substratum from which both Sex and Magick derive value.
In social systems one uses one’s awareness not only to determine the nature of the system and the best means of interacting with it, but also to distinguish the best approach toward each individual with whom one has dealings.
Regarding the objects and facilitation of service, awareness of oneself is the key. Both of body and character, self-awareness allows one to foresee obstacles which would forestall the ignorant. If nothing else, awareness shows up one’s limitations and provides a signal that aid is necessary in order to achieve success.
The Realm Of Personal Relationships
We proceed to the Realm of Personal Relationships. Common interests and mutual respect bring people together over an extended time period. Whether this be in the workplace, at home, or in the Lodge, the Realm of Personal Relationships encompasses those contacts which have duration and some depth, be it mild or extended.
At this level, Magick becomes a Tool for resolving conflict and discovering inspired cooperation. Those who first attempt this practice face the same difficulty as those in the World of Social Systems, in the Casual Interact ion Realm. One faces the danger of confusing people’s ideas about one’s role (i.e. Mother, Worker, Friend, etc.) with oneself.
This relates to how roles have become associated with classes of people. Women have traditionally cared for home and children, and it is often assumed that women ARE Caretakers, ‘Housewives’. Immigrants moved into lower-paid positions in the economies of their new home, and it is often assumed that such people ARE Servants and Cleaners, ‘Blue Collar Workers’, and ‘Field Hands’.
Among family and friends this occurs more subtlely. One hosts a series of parties and it is assumed that one IS a Social-Hub, a Caterer, a Hostess. One listens to the complaints of others and it becomes assumed that one IS a Sounding Board.
This is a natural process of association which serves Society well, yet carries with it a number of pitfalls for the unwary individual. Besides identifying with the role oneself, one may be encouraged to over-extend oneself unhealthily. To others one BECOMES the role of The Source, rather than a person, with limited resources with which to serve. While the person lasts it may be a very painful path.
A dynamic of expectation may arise in which failure to perform the prescribed role may result in social pressure and, in extremity, ostracization. Personal Relationships are a Dark Sword of Sharpness, moving in such subtlety as to barely be noticed. They have the capacity to both fulfill our desires and keep us seeking fulfillment through our relationships.
Magick is both the ability to perform one’s roles without assuming that they are a lasting element of one’s Inner Character, and the ability to shift roles – to move from one role to another in both time and environment.
Examples: During the day, the working woman may play the Dynamic Corporate Executive, who is strong, assertive and demanding, while at night she is comforting, supportive and accepting of her children as she shifts to the role of the Attentive Mother. The ability to shift roles in regular or irregular periods of time is Magick.
The aspiring fast-food employee may have played the servile, obedient Checker for years. Suddenly he finds that it is his turn to play the forceful Supervisor, inspiring conformity to company standards. The ability to shift positions of psychic character, based on social roles, cultural and geographic environments, is also Magick.
What does this have to do with ‘Sex Magick’? Well, remember that every nuance of a personal relationship is loaded with significance. One is generally unaware of most aspects of communication. Both the scope of Sexuality and the symbols of which Magick makes use involve a vast continuum of collective communications. This continuum may be compared to Jung’s ‘collective unconscious’, within which one may find Adeptship quite valuable.
In that Sex is much more than penetration, so is Sex Magick much more than a bodily-oriented rite. It extends, both symbolically and experientially, to include all of our social exchanges, this ranging from the powerfully practical to the sublimely symbolic.
Some important elements of Magick in the Realm of Personal Relationships include being carefully observant (in order to perceive subtle communication cues), knowing how another’s position feels and relates to one’s own, understanding the nature of personality, and being emotionally stable.
Again, the most important element is awareness. The dance between people – whether strangers or lovers – is most enjoyably entertained by those who know themselves and are willing to know others.
When speaking of role-shifting, awareness allows one to know the value of roles, when one is changing roles, and where oneself ends and the role begins. It also helps to more precisely define the roles themselves, aiding immeasurably in conflict resolution.
The Realm Of Intimacy
The third Realm of Sexuality includes, yet is not solely composed of, what is commonly associated with the term ‘sex’. It is the Realm of Intimacy, and it in many ways overlaps the previous Realms, depending upon one’s attitudes and lifestyle.
Intimacy occurs in many dimensions at variable times and durations. One’s life may have no relationships of this sort or it may be filled with them (both paths, perhaps leading to what is sometimes called the ‘Great Rite’). For some, a period of time is required in order to grow into intimacy. For others, shared time is less a factor than is opportunity for success.
Whether we call them ‘Lovers’, ‘Friends’, ‘Family’ or simply ‘Kin’, the experience of Intimacy is the Goal of the Sexual experience toward which awareness propels us.
Magick is the means of enlarging the Realm of Intimacy to include the other two Realms. It is the Tool by which we may become intimate with any and all we meet. It is the Unitive Cause of the release of boundaries.
This can be a fearful practice at first. Imagine living in one place all your life and then releasing your hold on it, setting off for uncharted lands. Anything is possible when Intimacy is embraced, including getting hurt or lost.
Vulnerability is the key to Intimacy, yet one needn’t expose oneself unduly to become vulnerable. The process can be a very slow and careful one for those with much concern or fear.
The danger here is a release of boundaries before one is ready for the experience. One may feel overly exposed and risk great pain. One may begin to confuse another’s boundaries with one’s own and therefore lose sight of one’s identity.
Magick in the Realm of Intimacy amounts to an ability to open oneself to Love. It is the manipulation of personal boundaries so as to no longer be conceived by them. This may take the form of adopted structure (e.g. role-playing). It may simply be the practice of ‘letting go’; of acting without assumed roles. In either case the Goal is the same – freedom from constraints (those learned and/or imposed).
Important elements of such Magick include being honest, knowing when to yield and approach, understanding the differences between social and personal reality, and being intellectually flexible.
Awareness functions in Intimacy as a means of avoiding the confusion which often results from shared boundaries. Knowing where one stops and another begins is very important when individual problems or persistent patterns arise. Isolating such factors can lead to a greater understanding of those with whom one engages and a more balanced perspective about oneself.
The Realm Of Identity
There is one more Realm of Sexuality included here. It is not often considered Sexual, excepting the occasional Alchemic or Tantric reference, though it is certainly Sexual in nature. This Realm is called Identity.
We tend to think of ourselves as a unified, coherent whole, when in fact we are often no more than a jumble of sensations, emotions and thoughts, vying for the attention of an anxious and confused Observer.
The social and personal roles, the shifting, impenetrable or nonexistent boundaries between ourselves and others, sets up an environment in which Identity is impossible to coalesce. Some rigidly adhere to a self-concept, while hope of coming to any sort of Self-knowledge is constantly shattered for some by an inability to maintain distinction between oneself and all else. At the extremes, the former devolve into stagnation, while the latter are reduced, though constant exposure, to fragments and shadows.
Regardless of whether we see ourselves as a ‘Consciousness’, ‘Spirit’, ‘Soul’, ‘Lifeforce’ or ‘Body’, the ‘I’ is a psychological Mystery which defies the best analysis of psychologists and mystics the world round.
Wherein enter Magick? Magick, at the level of Identity, involves the translation OF or absorption IN the boundaries between ourselves and others. It essentially consists of becoming able to realize the Unity, the Identity of All. In this sense the Realm of Sexual Identity may overlap the previous Realms just as the Realm of Sexual Intimacy overlaps that of Social Structure and Objects. Taken to its greatest extent, Intimacy LEADS to Identity.
Magick at the level of Identity is a very powerful and therefore dangerous undertaking. One is likely to find the failure rate far higher here than in the other Realms. Using the example of quitting our familiar surroundings, imagine that one begins to be unable to distinguish the ‘familiar’ from the ‘unknown’, ‘home’ from ‘abroad’. If venturing away from Home is frightening, just imagine what sort of fear results from having your Home vanish before your eyes!
Of course it is only the THREAT of this that is troubling. The actual analogy is better expressed as the House dissolving and the Universe becoming our Home. This is a difficult thing to contemplate. Ask a snail or turtle to desert its mobile home and see how fast it ducks to safety!
Elements important for Magick in the Realm of Identity include being passionate, knowing oneself completely, understanding that the difference between success and failure is one we choose in openness and ignorance, and, being intuitively skilled.
As always, but especially here, Awareness is crucial. It is used not only to isolate and absorb fragments of oneself, but also to distinguish between real and illusory dangers in the pursuit of self-transformation.
Example: I feel much fear about speaking in front of large groups of people. I can use this awareness to determine that there is no physical danger in acting this way (at least not immediate!). My fear is a reaction to feeling exposed. Now perhaps my awareness will eventually reveal a time and place for me to directly challeng my paralyzing fear. As long as I am convinced that fear will be the only real threat, then I can use speaking before large groups as a Magical Act of Identity (a very powerful, scarey one!).
The Great Work
What IS self-translation and how does it relate to ‘Sex-Magick’? This is really the most difficult question of all. The event is seen in so many ways and from such diverse perspectives that no answer can be complete. It is given many names, however, in attempts to convey the gravity and character of the experience. ‘Enlightenment’, ‘awakening’, ‘realization’, ‘perfection’, and ‘liberation’ are just a few.
It is associated with the mystical processes of all religions and therefore with the goals and ideals set forth by these. It is perhaps best described here as ‘integrity’, and involves the orientation, the coalescence of the individual personality into a self-transcendant state of perfect awareness.
Many claim that it is as much Cosmological as Psychological, as much Social as Personal. Yet this is difficult to comprehend. It is as if all the positives and negatives within some Universal Formula suddenly found their places and dissolved the entirety.
It is as much associated with some divinity as it is with humanity, some asserting that it is the intersection or fusion of these two. In occult circles it is often called the Great Work, and this phrase carries many meanings.
The integration of the Self may be compared directly to the uniting of two or more individuals, physically or psychologically. To the extent that a community forms a social whole without fragmentary left-overs, so may this comparison become an Identity. Such an integration begins within one of more individuals and grows, crystalline-like, extending throughout the fabric of society.
It is obvious, then, why such an endeavor is considered ‘Sex Magick’. The individual, swimming upstream against the forces of social relations at once penetrates and accepts a re-orientation which has such lasting effects as to radiate beyond themself. At once a new ‘Order’ is Conceived and the entirety is consumed by a desire to manifest the Child of Union.
The fact that an individual becomes a catalyst for such an event makes it Magical, and it is exceedingly difficult to know which actions, rightly performed, will lead to such a Supreme Goal.
Indeed, it is said that the Goal is either reached in every moment or it is never reached at all. Perhaps this relates to one meaning of Creation:
The continuous copulation of God and Goddess, which are each and every pair of opposing forces throughout Universe.
The Great Work, Conception, would appear to be the Universal Process Itself, catalyzed by the passionate advance and retreat of the skilled Mage and fructified by the response of Cosmic Beauty, the First Cause.
Invoke me under my stars! Love is the law, love under will.