Crooked House: Folkloric Cunning Craft for Traditional Witches — Sex Magic in Traditional Witchery

Image courtesy of Kurt Francois at Unsplash

Many years ago, Sarah Anne Lawless wrote a fantastic article on this very topic for her blog, “The Witch of Forest Grove” (which was eventually changed to an eponymous title). Later, she wrote some scathing (and important) rebukes of a sexual predator in her regional Craft community and the rape culture than enabled them/him to operate without censure. That was during the beginning of the “Me Too” movement, and she found herself inundated with hateful messages from the Witch-o-sphere calling for her to “sit down and shut up” (essentially). After several months of battling what I’ll call the  Malandanti, she pulled her personal blogs down and retreated to a more private place, in order to restore and preserve her mental health. She still participates in the community (via her shop — Banefolk), but she cautions others against the pitfalls of sharing personal witchery with the Internet.

I absolutely do not fault her for taking this approach. I’ve had similar experiences, actually, which I am open to discussing in safe space with folks who are wanting to have real dialogue about creating safe spaces.

As a reader and fellow-Witch, though, I am sad that her remarkable work is no longer available and accessible. (Well, some of it is, if you dig deep enough and wade through the captures of her sites that are stored at the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.) She was a trailblazer, and her article on “Sex Magick in Traditional Witchcraft” is the first and only treatment I’ve seen on the subject. If you can find a copy, read it!

At the time that she wrote the article, I was already a fairly accomplished “sex magician” in the sense that I was: organizing the “Scarlet Track” at Babalon Rising Festival, a long-standing Priestess of Aphrodite, and a student and teacher within the Qadishti Movement. I attended workshops and rituals with Donald Michael Kraig (who wrote the book Modern Sex Magick) — some of which he led, and some of which I led. And my HPS had taught some Witch-specific sex magick within my first coven. But Sarah’s article was the first I saw that specifically approached this area of magick and sorcery from the perspective of a folkloric, traditional Witch.

There are lots of resources in the world for information about Sex Magick and Sacred Sexuality, in general. And if this is an area of interest for you, read all you can of those, with an eye toward what comes from folkloric sources, what resonates with your Sense of Arte, etc. 

In the meantime, here are a few thoughts of my own on the subject (which I recall being paralleled in Sarah’s exquisite article), drawn from observation, experience, and study. All of these reasons and methods are accessible for individuals working alone, for couples/partners, and for groups. They are all offered without reference or alteration based on gender identity or sexual orientation. 

Reasons for Engaging in Sex Magick

  • Energy-raising — Sexual energy is quick and easy to raise, generally speaking. It makes for a great method of raising energy for the charging of talismans or otherwise fueling spellwork. 
  • Healing — Sex magick and sacred sexuality are a good tool to use for engaging in many types of healing work, including healing around psychological wounds and sexual trauma. 
  • Energy offerings — Some Spirits and Deities prefer sexual energy be given to them as part of the regular offerings we might make. You’ll generally know if this is the case with a Spirit or Deity you are working with because they will show up in dreams of a sexual nature, come into your fantasies when you masturbate or engage in sex with a partner, or give you “sexy vibes” when you think of them.
  • Altering consciousness for Spirit communication — Some Spirits and Deities communicate best with a Witch when that Witch is engaged in sexual activity. You’ll see images, hear messages, or just have a sense of “knowing” new insights and information.
  • Spirit bonding — In the same way that we engage in sexual intimacy in order to deepen our bond with a human partner, so too might we build deeper love and trust with a Spirit or Deity.
  • Compacting with Spirits — Sex is a very effective way to “seal the deal” with a Spirit or Deity. Blood is most commonly mentioned as the seal for compacts — when any bodily fluid is mentioned. But sexual fluids and menstrual blood are both very commonly used, too, since they also carry the life-force of the Witch. 
  • Generating the Elixir of Life — A purpose unto itself is to generate sexual fluids, sometimes mixed with menstrual blood. These elixirs are used to anoint and consecrate magickal tools and are also sometimes consumed — usually mixed into wine or baked into a cake — for a variety of purposes. Sometimes this is a eucharistic act, such as we experience in the Housle. Sometimes it is done for another magickal goal that is specific to the Witch.  Sometimes the cake or wine are offered directly to the Spirit as a libation.
  • Initiation — Sex magick (the Hieros Gamos or Great Rite, in particular) is a pathway to initiation and initiatory experience within many branches of the Craft. Yes, even TradCraft. This is not something that is specific to Wiccan Covens. Moreover, our Spirits and Godds might “initiate” (or “cause to begin”) a new stage of our magickal development or experience using sex as a catalyst. 
  • Transfer of Virtue — “Virtue” is a term used within Old Craft (Trad Craft) to signify the power and authority of highest office with a Coven or Clan. (Sometimes it is used simply to mean “power” in the sense of power that is raised in ritual.) When a new Coven or Clannad leader is installed, some groups transfer this Virtue from the out-going Leader to an intermediary “Vessel” and then to the incoming Leader. (It almost always goes from the Old Magister to the Maid, and then from the Maid to the New Magister.) In the Spiral Castle Clannad (my own Craft Trad), we see our Queens, Devils, and Consorts as being instilled with this Virtue directly from one of our three Great Powers at the time of the final initiation. Sex with another person isn’t necessary, and would only be the preference in the case of committed partners.
  • Sacraments of ecstasy — Many practitioners view the pleasure of the sexual act as a sacrament unto itself. The orgasm is “proof that the Godds love us and want us to be happy.” (Okay, I know that Ben Franklin aphorism is actually about beer, but … you get my meaning.) Sex doesn’t have to have a “purpose” to be sacred. As long as the participants are engaging with consent, sex IS sacred. It IS an act of magick.
  • Gnosis — We are able to ride the wave of sexual ecstasy into a place of gnosis. We are able to have a higher, deeper, and more complete understanding of ourselves, our partner(s), our Spirits/Godds, and the cosmos.

Methods for Sex Magick

There are several methods for engaging in Sex Magick, all of which have examples provided to us in folkloric sources:

  • Flight — We might fly out (or cross the hedge) in order to have dis-corporeal sex with a partner, Spirit, or Godd. Similarly, we might have dis-corporeal sex in Dreamtime or some other non-physical plane.
  • No-Touch — There are some waking-time partnered and solo practices that can raise sexual energy and create a bond without physically touching. These include eye-gazing and breathwork and are likely to be part of what has been called “fascination.”
  • Masturbation — Moving into physical practices, we can certainly engage in masturbatory sex magick. Again, this can happen alone or with a partner/group. 
  • Non-penetrative touch — Partnered or group touching practices and rituals are far more intense than most people anticipate they will be. The touch doesn’t have to involve the genitals to be extremely erotic — nor does it have to include these most overt of erogenous zones in order to be sexual. This is a great way for groups to engage in sex magick together without crossing relationship boundaries or violating oaths and vows made to partners who are not also Coveners. 
  • Penetrative sexual intercourse — Oral, vaginal, and anal intercourse between flesh-and-blood partners are the most obvious methods. They are no better or more preferred than the others we’ve discussed. Indeed, at the risk of sounding like I am actively discouraging penetrative sex, I would suggest that it can be more difficult to achieve the desired magickal results when you add one or more actual human partners to the mix. After all, everyone needs to share the same intent and consent throughout — not to mention simultaneous climax, according to some philosophies.


This is an intense, private, and intimate area of magickal study. As such, some cautions should be given:

  • Predatory behavior — Predators exist in every part of society, at every stage of study and development. I’ll even be generous enough to add that some folks don’t recognize that they are engaging in predatory behavior — although that caveat doesn’t excuse anyone for said predation. We have to take care not to engage in that behavior ourselves and not to give it space to thrive in our Covens and Communities. Act swiftly to address these issues if you see them or they are brought to your attention. 
  • Preoccupation/obsession — Good sex is fun and feels good physically, emotionally, and energetically. Good sex that produces powerful magickal results can be mind-blowing — and a bit addictive. It can certainly lead to a sort of “Sex-Magickal Awakening” and become a pre-occupying element of one’s own personal practice.
  • Consent, consent, consent — I cannot stress the need for consent enough. If you are doing sex magick, always be conscious of consent around the topics of touching, intimacy, and intercourse.
  • Pregnancy and STD’s — Being a powerfully-manifesting Witch will not make your sperm, eggs, or any virus comply with your Will. Even if you have every reason to believe it does, show your wisdom, O Witch, by using birth control and barrier-methods of protection.  

Additional Thoughts

There are a couple of notes that are worth making, as you consider all the factors related to sex magick:

  • Whole schools of thought and practice revolve around whether or not to orgasm as part of the working. There is no right or wrong on this question, but everyone involved should be on the same page about it before beginning.
  • Toys are not forbidden in sex magick. In fact, there is a case to be made for the Gandried (or flying pole – whether it is a Stang, a Staff, or a Broom) as a sex toy, of sorts — which gives the riding of it several layers of double-meanings.

Additional Resources:

Sex Witch— Sophie Saint Thomas —

Art of Sexual Magic— Margo Anand —

Modern Sex Magick— Donald Michael Kraig —

Sexual Sorcery— Jason Augustus Newcomb —

Sex Magic— Frater U:.D:. —

[Laurelei Black is an American folkloric Witch, Aphrodite woman, and author.] 

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