The high priestess and the divine power she once had fascinate me. Here’s one of the best articles I’ve read in a while that is historically based regarding the powerful Goddess. This is an in depth depiction of the Feminine power slowly fading through the years and eventually degraded by all. Sacred “prostitutes” or high priestess especially were actually wealthy, independent, could choose to marry or stay a “virgin”, they were involved in politics and protected the flame of fire which represented abundance , and were given much responsibility over their people. But, with great power comes great responsibility. They were initiated through sacred rites, with body mind and spirit merged. This was an honor and was not to be misused. I’m learning more about just how sacred and just how needed there presence was in ancient history. How the perception of her through religions had been morphed into something opposite of sacred and unifying is very important to realize. I think the idea of a high sexual priestess in ancient religions makes sense. Once the Goddess owns and masters her temple , she chooses whom to share her life force with and unifies Goddess and God through a blissful, holy, divinely pure, and untainted way. I don’t think sex is wrong but it can be used in the wrong ways, and that is what creates pain and despair. Once the Goddess can attain self mastery, worship daily, and allow the divine to flow through her like a flowing stream, she can literally shift her world for the better as is intended, and be a vessel of love!
A Brief History of Religious Sex
High Priestess of the Church of The Most High Goddess
The religion of the Goddess, wherever it was practiced throughout history, has always been sex positive. This is shown in The Priestess , which depicts part of the rituals of the ancient Egyptian religions of Aset (Isis) and Hathor, that are practice today in the Rituals of The Goddesses. But the most famous of the ancient rituals is the Hieros Gamos, or Sacred marriage ritual. Records of this ceremony have been dated as far back as early Sumerian, about 5500 years ago. In this ritual the high priestess acting as avatar of The Goddess had sex with the ruler of the country to show the Goddess’s acceptance him as ruler and caretaker of her people. Here is part of the ceremony as translated from an ancient Sumerian poem.
The High Priestess, acting for Inanna, is speaking to Dumuzi the new king.
My vulva, the horn,
The boat of Heaven,
Is full of eagerness like the young moon.
My untilled land lies fallow.
As for me, Inanna,
Who will plow my vulva?
Who will plow my high field?
Who will plow my wet ground?
As for me, the young woman,
Who will plow my vulva?
Who will station the ox there?
Who will plow my vulva?
The symbolism is, I hope, obvious to you. If you’ve ever looked at an anatomical picture of the female reproductive system, you may have noticed that the vagina is shaped like a horn, it curves upward and narrows towards the back.
On the male side, an old time plow (not the modern day tractor type) had a long, hard projection that pushed into the ground.
Dumuzi, the king replies:
Great Lady, the king will plow your vulva,
I, Dumuzi the King, will plow your vulva
Inanna accepts him saying:
Then plow my vulva, man of my heart
Plow my vulva.
Then follows more details of the happenings
My eager impetuous caresser of the navel,
My caresser of the soft thighs;
He is the one my womb loves best,
My high priest is ready for the holy loins.
My lord Dumuzi is ready for the holy loins.
The plants and herbs in his field are ripe.
O Dumuzi, Your fullness is my delight.
The high priestess then directs things to be readied
Inanna called for the bed.
Let the bed that rejoices the heart be prepared
Let the bed that sweetens the loins be prepared
Let the bed of kingship be prepared!
Let the bed of queenship be prepared!
Let the royal bed be prepared!
This bed was set up in front of the entire congregation. The people watched the entire ritual including the sexual part.
He shaped my loins with his fair hands,
The shepherd Dumuzi filled my lap with cream and milk.
He stroked my pubic hair.
He watered my womb.
He laid his hands on my holy vulva,
He smoothed my black boat with cream,
He quickened my narrow boat with milk.
He caressed me on the bed.
The King went with lifted head to the holy loins.
He went with lifted head to the loins of Inanna
He went to the queen with lifted head.
He opened wide his arms to the holy priestess of heaven.
We rejoiced together.
He took his pleasure of me.
He laid me down on the fragrant honey-bed
My sweet love, lying by my heart,
Tongue-playing, one by one,
My fair Dumuzi did so fifty times.
Now, my sweet love is sated.
At the climax of the ceremony (or should I say, climaxes, fifty times, wow!) the populous would cheer and shout their approval and appreciation. This ritual brought prosperity to the people and to the land, so they were very happy to witness its successful completion.
A lot has been written since women’s liberation about the performance anxiety men feel in our modern times. Performing sex in front of other people was not the stressful thing in ancient days as it is now. Sex was often done in religious ceremonies in groups–Orgies.
Nowadays the word orgy connotes something depraved and degenerate. That was not the original meaning for the word. The word “orgy” comes from the Greek word “orgia” meaning “secret worship”. Since most secret worship involved sexual rituals, and Christians were opposed to anything sexual the word orgy came to have the debased meaning it has today, rather than the noble, spiritual meaning of the original word.
Many words that are used to describe extreme religious fervor are also used to describe great sex, such as passion, bliss, and ecstasy. There were many orgies throughout the year as celebrations in the religion of the Goddess. Many of these celebrations have been taken over by the Christians who removed their sexual nature. The best known is undoubtedly Christmas taken from the pagan festival of Saturnalia.
Saturn, from whom we get the word for the day of the week, Saturday, was the Roman name for the Greek God, Cronus and the Babylonian God, Ninip. Sometimes called the Lord of Death, he was represented by the sun at its lowest aspect at the winter solstice. That’s when the earth is cold, and most plants are dead, and it was believed that the sun was approaching death. Today that’s around December 21, but because of calendar changes, it was originally December 25th. Saturnalia celebrated the sun overcoming the power of winter, with hope of spring when life would be renewed. In Roman times, Bacchus, the god of wine, became the lord of these festivals. During the Bacchanalian festivals the everyday rules were turned topsy turvy. The masters waited on the servants. All sexual prohibitions were lifted. It was a time of true good will towards all men. Even dresses were exchanged with men dressing as women. Erotic dances were performed with a large erect phallus being carried around in the dancing processionals.
The custom of exchanging clothes during Saturnalia and Bacchanalia was an activity frowned upon by the Jews and Christians as it is prohibited by the Bible, Deuteronomy 22;5 “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment; for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy god” So much for Biblical transvestites.
However, the god Hermes in order to become a god of magic went into the temple of his consort Aphrodite where he wore a woman’s robes and artificial breasts. In the temple he learned all the secrets of the Goddess Aphrodite which were exclusively taught to her female priestesses. The priests of the very masculine Greek hunk, Hercules, always wore female dress, probably in memory of Hercules service in female dress to the Queen Omphale. Zeus had sent Hercules to be a slave to the Queen for having killed a young man, Eurytus, after his father had insulted Hercules.
One of the most famous prophets and seers of ancient time, Teiresias, was a man who was changed into a woman and served in the temples as a priestess for seven years to gain the feminine powers of insight and divination. During this time as a woman he gave birth to a daughter before being turned back into a man. It was Teiresias who gave us the “scale of one to ten.” Myth has it that Zeus and Hera once argued who had the most pleasure in sex. Zeus said it was the woman, while Hera asserted it was the man. They agreed that Teiresias should judge who was right. He did not hesitate to tell the God and Goddess, “Measured on the scale of pleasure, in the act of sex man has one measure to woman’s nine.” Hera became incensed by this, stating that judges, like referees in sporting events are all blind, and made Teiresias blind.
Anciently men’s transvestism had its roots in the desire to attain female magic and powers and was common among the Pagan priests up to the time of St. Augustine who denounced the custom, saying that men who wore women’s garments could never attain salvation, even if they were otherwise good Christians. So the good Catholics simply made the women’s gowns into Priests robes. They looked the same, had the same function, but a “robe by any other name, does not a transvestite make.”
Another favorite converted Pagan holiday is Valentines Day taken from the Lupricalia. The festivals of Lupricalia were noted for their wild, sensual dances in which sausages played a very important part. So important in fact that both dancing and sausages were outlawed by the Christian Emperors of the 4th and 5th century.
And, of course, May Day used to have great sexual frolics around that giant phallic symbol, the May pole. The May pole represented the Gods phallus in Mother Earth. People decorated it and danced around it. Kids still do today, even though they have no idea of its original meaning. The Christian church opposed May festivals because of its association with pagan gods. A 16th century English Puritan writer Philip Stubes, railed against May pole dancing. He said,
“What clipping, what culling, what kissing and bussing, what smooching and slobbering one of another, what filthy groping and unclean handling is not practiced in the dances.” Stubes estimated, though how he got his statistics is unknown, probably from peeping through bushes, that not one girl in three retained her virginity after taking part in May pole rituals. After dancing around the Maypole celebrants would retire to the open fields where they would have sex with anyone and everyone in the plowed fields in order to insure the fertility of the land and prosperous yield of crops. May was a month of sexual freedom throughout rural Europe up to the 16th century. Marriage bonds were suspended for the month of May, commenced again in June – hence, June weddings.
All of these ancient rituals, these orgia, involved group sex and nudity. The hang ups and inhibitions that most people have about having sex in groups or in front of other people are largely the result of Biblical attitudes. Sex, was something to be done only in private behind locked doors, and only for procreation. Those restrictive ideas come to us from the Bible, in which nudity is condemned as soon as Adam and Eve ate the apple (or technically, the Fruit of Knowledge of Good and Evil).
Also in Genesis we read the story of Noah getting drunk and lying around naked in his tent. His son Ham, the father of Canaan, came in and saw him and went out and told his two brothers about it. They came in and, walking backwards, covered him. When Noah woke up he knew what Ham had done and he said,
“Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren” So the father curses his son and his descendants–who are according to some biblical interpretations, especially those of Whitehead and many Mormon, and some nineteenth century christian writers, the blacks–to be servants to his white brothers just because Ham saw him naked. A little extreme, I’d say. And it doesn’t matter that some interpret this differently, as one of the justifications for American slavery of blacks was this interpretation of the Bible.
Nudity is frowned on by the Judaeo-Christian god, but Greek Gods are usually depicted as nude in magnificently detailed statues. The god of the Bible is always portrayed with plenty of flowing robes on. What does he have to be ashamed of? Did they cut too much off when he was circumcised?
In pagan religion rituals, men and women had sex with their friends and neighbors. The Bible forbids such activities in no uncertain terms, Leviticus 20:10,
“And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife even he that committeth adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” Even today some states still cling to archaic Judaeo- Christian religious laws making adultery a crime.
In ancient times a priestess could be married or unmarried. She performed sexual purification rituals with all worthy men regardless of her marital status. In some cultures all women were required to serve in the temple. Herodotus, the father of history, writing about the Babylonians states,
“Babylonian custom compels every woman of the land once in her life to sit in the temple of love and have intercourse with some stranger. The men pass and make their choice. It matters not what be the sum of money; the woman will never refuse, for that were a sin, the money being by this act made sacred. After their intercourse she has made herself holy in the sight of the Goddess and goes away to her home.” That is unless she decided to continue as a full time priestess. The man was not paying for sex, but rather making an offering to the Goddess for allowing him to participate in the sacred ritual.
One hundred and fifty years later, Quintus Curtius, the historian who accompanied Alexander the Great on his conquests, reported:
“There is none other more corrupt than this people, or none other more learned in the art of pleasure and voluptuaries. Fathers and mothers suffered their daughters to prostitute themselves to their guests for silver and husbands were not less indulgent with respect to their wives. The Babylonians plunged into drunkenness and all the disorders which follow it. The women appeared at the banquets with modesty at first, but they ended by abandoning their robes, then the rest of their garments one after another, disrobing themselves little by little of modesty until they were entirely naked. And these were not public women who abandoned themselves so; they were the most respectable matrons and their daughters.”
In some cultures, as in Egypt, the upper class women were priestesses. Almost all of the Egyptian queens were High Priestesses of the Goddess, up until Cleopatra. She was the 369th in a line of which I am 537th High Priestess. Egyptologists who know how sexual the high priestesses were, just cannot believe that a queen would have sex with anyone other than her husband– like the good Jewish Queens of the Bible. They seem to think that Cleopatra, who had sex with 100 Roman noblemen in one night was unusual. The fact is, all priestesses, queens or otherwise had sex with thousands of men.
In ancient cultures with matriarch religions, sex was considered something ennobling and uplifting. Sex could take you closer to the Gods rather than alienate you from god.
An example of this come from one of the oldest stories in existence, the Gilgamesh Epic. Some place the Epic by tradition around 5,000 years before the current era. The story tells of many heroic adventures of Gilgamesh who is part human and part god. One particular story tells that the gods placed a wild man, Enkidu, in the wilderness area and required Gilgamesh to capture and tame him. Gilgamesh is told of this wild man by a shepherd who has seen him. Rather than run out with spears, arrows and nets, Gilgamesh sends a priestess of the Goddess to the watering place of the wild man. She takes off her clothes, exposing her charms. The wild man, finding her much more appealing than his animal friends, has sex with her for 6 days and 7 nights and is won from his wild life. He is calmly led by the priestess back to the city, to civilization.
This story dramatizes the ennobling, civilizing benefits of sex. Sex is portrayed as a force for good. Contrast that with the Biblical version of the first sex activities. Adam and Eve were living in Paradise without sex. They disobeyed their god’s order not to eat fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is only after they eat of the fruit of knowledge that they become aware of their genitals and sex. As a result they are caste out of paradise, out of the presence of their god, into a cold, cruel, uncultivated world–where sex is evil.
In the Goddess religion sex brings one to civilization and the goddess, in the Judaeo-Christian religion sex drives one into the wilderness away from their god.
In Judaism, the sins of the individual are put on some animal which is ritualistically killed by the a priest, or sent as a scapegoat into the wilderness. In Christianity, the sins are put on the dead god Jesus, whom they believe died for all men’s sins, past, present and future. (So since your sins are already all taken care of, why not enjoy yourself?) In the religion of the Goddess, the priestess takes upon herself the sins and transgressions of the man in the ritual of negation. In the Egyptian language the word, Negation, pronounced negation but obviously spelled differently in hieroglyphics, meant Semen or the essence of man. The word modernly means to cancel or wipe out, to make negative. You may wonder how it got from one language to the next with such a drastic change in meaning. That is because in the ritual of negation, a man ejaculates, or leaves his negation, his semen inside the twat of the priestess, as a symbol that he is willing to give up his all in order to have his sins wiped out. The term negation came to be applied to the whole ritual or wiping out ceremony. Gradually through the centuries, the semen, and religious connection got lost and only the wiping out part remained. The priestess literally takes upon herself the transgressions of the man, she intercedes on man’s behalf with the Goddess, so that he can be purified. She is his guide in this life to bring him to the hereafter.
There have been some Christian sects through the centuries that have selectively interpreted passages of the Bible to allow them to indulge in sexual activity typically forbidden by their god. The Aegopy had open, free love when christianity first began. Other “heretical” sects in early Christianity, such as the Brothers and Sisters of the Free Spirit, were killed off by good christians about 600 years ago. A heresy is anything which the Catholic Church does not agree with. America has had several religious groups which practiced open sex. The Oneida Company of New York, which makes beautiful silver work was originally run by one such religious group. John Humphrey Noyes preached what became known as his “perfectionist” doctrine which required its members to lover one another–and make love to one another.
Another sect which was established about the same time was the Brotherhood of the New Life. It was started by Tom Harris who taught that people had a duty to love each other, not just spiritual brotherly love, but also physical love with many partners.
Most people know the Mormons practiced polygamy in the 1800’s. But the Mormons also had secret sexual practices in which women were shared among the inner circle of male leaders in the early days of the church. John Law, one of the ruling three men of the Mormon Church, second only to Joseph Smith, had his printing press destroyed by angry church leaders when he threatened to publish accounts of the men who had had sex with his wife. This is emphatically denied today by Mormon leaders, but Mormons leaders also denied that they were practicing polygamy until polygamy became the “New and Everlasting Covenant of Celestial Marriage”. Sex with several women became the “order” as long as you were married to them; and there appears to have be no limit put on the number of wives. The Mormons correctly pointed out that this practice was common among patriarchs of the Bible–Abraham, Israel, King David and Solomon, to name a few. Unfortunately Mormon women were never given the same freedom of having sex with other men as were the priestess wives of David and Solomon, and other patriarch.
This right of the priestess, to have sex with any man she desired, appears to have been originally taught by the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, but was rejected by his wife, Emma, who also rejected polygamy. Why bother to twist and select passages from the Bible to allow sex in religion when there already exists the religion of the Goddess with its emphasis on spiritual sex?
Each of these modern religions gave up their attempt at spiritual sexuality, due to pressure from Judaeo-Christian religions. Sex is no longer just a religious issue, it is a political issue. From the mayors and councilmen of cities, legislators and governor, to the President, the politics of sex demands an outward profession of the Judaeo-Christian ethics. A politician is required to parade his wife, children, church attendance and sexual fidelity before the public as a sign of his character. In this land of the free where there is supposedly freedom of religion, we are slaves to Judaeo/Christian traditions which promote a male patriarchal order as “family values”.
The sexuality of the Goddess has been feared by men from their beginning and Her sexuality is feared today. Christian fundamentalists are in dread of a sex-positive religion which will have a greater appeal then their sex-negative, ascetic doctrines. Christians fear the haunting shadows of their forgotten ancestors–those ancients who worshipped the pagan goddess and the Goddess in Her temples and groves–who still bring up images of hidden memories of her priestesses in their subconscious who speak a truth which Christians openly deny. Christians fear the obvious, that after 2000 years their dead god has not returned and the twilight of christianity has arrived–that long awaited time when the “Lady of the New Dawn” would arrive.
I have arrived.