Bare soles caressing smooth wooden floors,
each step deepening, opening doors,
sinking into the core of you,
bones supporting, flesh speaking true.
Witch-body singing the eros of earth,
our elemental home since birth,
as we dance with life, each way our own,
the divine ensouled as spirit’s home.
Every breath is a moment of divine inspiration, calling in the spark of life, of imagination, of spirit. Each breath brings to life possibility, of time, of dream, and of reality. We find magic in the breath.
Each movement of the body, each gesture, is the magic of earthly existence. The divine manifest ensouled with the breath, the magic, of life.
And running through our nerves is the fire of feeling, that impulse toward sensation that lights up our world and our selves. The magic of breath, of flesh, and of sensation are expressions of the magical force of eros, the Divine Erotic energy of life itself.
As witches we know deeply the way that magic vibrates through our blood when we tune in. You’ve felt it, right?
This is the way of the red witch, the practice I call Crimson Craft.
Take a moment, take a breath, and allow yourself to relax into being present with yourself as spirit made manifest.
Find the part of your body that feels the most stable, solid, safe. Perhaps that is the movement of your breath, flowing in and out of your lungs. Perhaps it is your bones, supporting you on the earth. Perhaps it is your heart, steadily spiraling life-filled blood through your body. Whatever it is, rest your mind upon it and allow it to anchor you in our home, the earth.
And then allow the subtle hum of life that fills your body to be felt, resting here. That lifeforce that flows through you is your own magic. Notice how good it feels. Notice how pleasurable it is.
We call things “arousing” when they turn us on sexually, but this isn’t just a sex thing. The inner fire of life is aroused, awoken within us, in all sorts of ways, including when we work magic. One expression of this is sexual expression, but, to be clear, this is not the only one. However, when engaged in solo, or in healthy, consensual ways, the erotic experience of lifeforce, that pleasurable eros that awakens our magic, is a powerful tool for unlocking our power because it is our divinity calling us, inviting us, toward being all that we are.
And sexual energy is still a taboo for a very simple reason, it is so powerful that the structures of society which keep order and control are scared of it. Why let us have access to our deepest, most natural well of power?
Western, colonising, culture has its roots in denial of both the body and of pleasure as sacred. This is the division of spirit and flesh, which alternately leads to seeing everything as matter (materialism), or the only thing of value being the non-physical (denial of the body), or often a weird combination of the two. Allowing yourself to feel the divine nature of the body through recognising the arousal of the body as the arousal of spirit begins to unravel that division. It begins to heal the split that is imposed on us by this dualistic culture to keep us small, and by our own internalisation of it, over and over.
Because of this internal division of experience, our instincts around this connection have often been suppressed, and many of us have been taught to fear or hate our body and our sexual natures, whatever that is for us, so it is important to discern where our personal instincts have been misdirected. If you’re starting a journey of re-membering your erotic self, then reflection is key in uncovering your own relationship to both pleasure and the divine erotic, and to how you relate through this to others. This is why I suggest that anyone starting on this path begins with solo practice (and returns to it again and again). Beginning to heal this within ourselves is the foundation to connecting with that power in ourselves, to reclaiming it for ourselves, and supports relating to others in healthy ways.
One way in which many people have been working to heal the sexual side of themselves is through sex positivity – promoting sexual expression as a good thing when between consenting adults, when and how it is desired. And this is another key: knowing your own desires, and respecting those of others. First we need to know what we actually do and do not want. Then we find people who want to share in that with us, in a way that everyone involved enjoys, if that is what we desire. Consent is central to sacred sexuality.
Let’s explore embodied pleasure for a moment. This might be something sexual for you, or it might be something that just feels good, or nourishing, or blissful. This is a process for tuning into the desires of your body-spirit, your divine fleshy self, and acknowledging that your body is sacred and deserves good things too.
Imagine, remember, a feeling of bliss. The feeling of pleasurable joy that warms your very bones. Dwell in that feeling for a moment. Breathe it in. Relax into the sensation and notice what it feels like in your body.
Now, from this starting place, I invite you to reflect for a moment on what you truly desire. What would feel like bliss, deep down in your bones. You can start as simple and as obvious as you like, you might choose to write them down somewhere private, or you might choose to keep it as a mental list. Know that these things can change over time.
Then consider the things on your list. Is anything on there because you just think it should be? Is anything on there something that you do out of habit? Is there anything that you’ve included that is actually covering up deeper desire – like putting chocolate on the list when actually what would be really, truly, deliciously arousing is a juicy orange, for example. And which desires are fantasies that you enjoy in the imagination, but don’t desire in physicality?
Are there things you’re feeling too shy or embarrassed to put on your private list? Notice if that’s true. You don’t have to include it, but noticing it is a good step to beginning to listen to your own sense of eros.
Continue to explore for as long as you like. If you find something arising that you’d like to do, and can give to yourself, then treat yourself and enjoy the pleasure of it. If you find it challenging, reflect on that too. It is, as my old teacher T Thorn Coyle used to say in all our classes, all information.
Crimson for passion, for lust and for love,
for the ink our tale’s writ’ in; our life’s blood.
Crimson for the pleasure of a lover’s gentle lips,
and crimson for our hearts that beat with bliss.
Red is the colour of passion, of fire, of blood. It is desire and power and the magic of drawing a line in the sand and holding it. It is boundaries and expression. It is truth in motion. And yes, it is anger – a sign that a boundary has been crossed – and warriorship – fighting to protect what matters. Red is all the passions, and all the passions are rooted in the body. This is why all the goddesses we think of as deities of love and sex are also goddesses of war and magic. Freya, Inanna, Aphrodite. All hold keys to both because true love and sexuality include strong boundaries and integrity. This is why the passionate gods, such as Frey and Pan, are deities of both love and the wilderness. They are true to themselves, their own embodied, animal nature, and express themselves through their love. This is why the queer deities so often hold keys to sexuality and magic, holding both sides we see in hetero pairings and the third thing, the liminal line. All three match boundaries with passion, fighting for them, holding them, being them. And, to add another layer, so often the gods and goddesses have myths of cross-dressing and gender-bending, because once we tune into our divine erotic selves we find union with the eros of the Universe, which transcends those limited categories of one and other.
The blood of the body is the blood that runs hot with passion, with eros, and eros is life. Beautiful, pleasurable, painful, sensational, Life.
I’d like to leave you with a prayer to the anthropomorphic powers which embody the divine erotic, the deities who guide and support those working a Crimson Craft, those engaged in the process of healing the perceived split between body and spirit and re-membering the sacred nature of our own sexual magic that is life fully lived.
A breath of bliss, caught upon the tongue,
I welcome you, invite you; Divine Lovers, come.
Red Goddess dancing, spinning like the sun,
Wild God and Bright Spirit; come, lovers, come.
Bless my heart, my mind, my skin,
with touch of pleasure welcomed in,
in your honour I begin,
Divine Lovers, come!
[Halo Quin is the author of Crimson Craft – Sexual Magic for the Solo Witch.]