Link to this Article: http://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/936

The Llewellyn Journal

Seven Steps to Self-Devotion

This article was written on October 03, 2005 posted under Pagan

This article is based on some of the main themes presented in my book Sexy Witch. If you are interested in wandering more deeply into this landscape, pick up a copy and dive right in!

1. Your Body is a Temple
Remember, your body is a sacred space. Your body is the vehicle through which you experience this earthly existence, and it is more than that. Your body is an everyday miracle. It’s a library, a place of worship, and a home all in one. It is a system within systems, and a system containing systems.

Recognizing your body as the sacred space that it is, perfect in its “imperfection,” in all ways magnificent in its ways of being, is a radical act of self-devotion.

2. Redefine Your Self/Culture Interface!
Loving yourself is a radical, magickal act. And I’m not talking about carnal love here, though that aspect is also a delicious way for each of us to find our way home to our own bodies—and in Sexy Witch, we delve deeply into the how and why of that topic in chapter four!

Here I’m talking about arriving at a point of gratitude for our bodies, and learning how to define the self/culture interface. What is the “self/culture interface,” you might ask. Well, it’s the point where what’s “out there” in the world at large meets up with what’s inside—our self-image, self-esteem, body image, and sense of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Claiming this territory as an arena that we have power over is truly self-devotion in action. And this process of definition is an ongoing endeavor. It can become a path, a recurrent doorway to initiation, a root cause for constant growth.

3. Reclaim Your Womanly Parts
If any single body part defines what we as women have and are, the Vulva is it! And if we can’t accept our own bodies, we can’t really accept what it means to be female. Besides, each of us came from that magickal vortex between a woman's thighs, no matter how you look at it.

Studies are showing that genital self-esteem is tied to over-all self-esteem in women, like no other element. Loving that mystery between our legs is a gateway to loving our entire bodies, and our entire selves.

Have you looked at yours lately? Have you looked at it ever? Whether you have or not, it may be high time to do so. Visit, or revisit, that sacred landscape down below, become familiar with it, accept it. And then find your way to becoming grateful for it.

One wonderful side-effect of pussy pride: when we love ourselves, it’s a lot easier and more pleasurable to share them with our lovers!

4. Claim Your Womb, Claim Your Blood, Claim Your Pleasure!
Our wombs and our blood can easily be seen as the “curse” of our gender, but as Ani DiFranco says, “I can make life, yeah, I can make breath!”

Whether we choose to breed or not, or are able to breed or not, our monthly blood ties us to the earthly plane in a solid and profound way. The process of finding a suitable “feminine hygiene” product (I recommend the sustainable variety) the vibrant reality of seeing our blood in the offering chalice (yes, some of us make offerings of our own blood – often by mixing it with water and spilling it out on a house plant as fertilizer), and the intense process of living through those days of waiting and praying—to bleed or not to bleed, as the case may be—many of these moments are a defining factor of womanhood.

For many of us, our blood is one of the hardest parts of being female to unabashedly claim. However, the word taboo means both “menstrual cycle” and “magickal” in Polynesian. Our blood is powerful, magickal. Just the fact that we bleed without wounding is powerful. In addition, ,any of us recognize our bleeding as a time when reality is more intense. PMS, PMDD, being “on the rag,” Whatever you call it, chances are you have noticed the intense physical, emotional and mental fluctuations that come about during the days just before and during bleeding.

Claim this time as your time, in whatever ways you are able. Make little rituals that sanctify your blood and your bleeding. Allow yourself chocolate during your bleeding cycle. Take baths. Use sustainable menstrual products. (In Sexy Witch, I offer a resource section on Radical Menstruation. Check it out. This is for real!) Use your blood to feed your favorite plants. Use your blood to charge talismans. (See Sexy Witch for basic information on blood magick.) Masturbate to orgasm and see if your cramps go away. (Always works for me!) If nothing else, feel free to talk unabashedly about the fact that you are bleeding.

5. Come To Your Senses!
Our senses are the portal to our interaction with the world around us. As we come into our senses, we may learn to “listen” more deeply to the signals—both internal and external—that color and flavor our experience. As we become more familiar with what feels good, and what doesn’t, we have a starting point for acting from desire and Will.

Getting more familiar with what feels right, good, exciting or relaxing is a practice that can always be deepened and broadened. Finding our way home to our bodies is the beginning of being in our power. When we know what we like, what makes us tick, what turns us on (sexually or in other ways) we can say yes to that which drives us, and offer a solid “no” to those things that do not feed us in ways that are positive.

Use your senses to learn more about you. Fill yourself up with sensation. Taste, touch, smell, hear and see your way into your body.

6. Build A Community of Support
We become stronger through support, acceptance and love—ideally, love that is unconditional; in all ways perfect. In creating a new world to live in, make sure to gather people around you who believe in you, and support your dreams and visions. Create community based in shared values.

Whether this community is a working group (maybe your Sexy Witch sisterhood!), a few friends who get together to stitch-n-bitch once a week, family or a circle of lovers, these people can help to make your dreams come true. Witnessing and being witnessed in our growth along our path is a matrix for magick.

7. Live Your Dreams
Why wait? The time is now, the place is here. Living well, as they say, is the best reward. Claim that reward. Put magick into action. Live magick as life, and life as magick. In claiming our passion and our paths, we become part of the solution. We become a healthy system, and healthy systems within systems, creating the potential for health in the larger system. We become the change we want to see in the world.

Taking responsibility for our lives, our thoughts, our desires, our actions and reactions, and ultimately our health and our power, is a radical, magickal act. May success be our proof.

Dear Readers: This article uses toned-down language to be suitable for the Internet. If you'd like to crank it up a notch, pick up a copy of my book, Sexy Witch!


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