Women’s Sexual Healing: From Feminism to the Divine Feminist by Anyaa McAndrew and Candy Hadsall

Posted on Tuesday 28 March 2006

We are priestesses. We are also feminists. In the 1970s and ’80s spirituality and feminism took separate paths. Subsequent changes have influenced us to want more than just power in the world. We want sexual power, freedom and pleasure. It is our birthright and the domain of the Sacred Feminine, the Goddess, the Universal Energy that is re-emerging.

We both come from political perspectives that know women are now standing on the shoulders of a worn-out patriarchal system that has repressed, denied and demonized women’s sexuality. Male dominated cultures down through the ages have defiled the Divine nature of the archetypes of the sacred sexual priestess and healer and made them into servants of pornography and prostitution. As priestesses we see the need for women to stand in their own spiritual authority, re-claim from the religious elite the right to stand between heaven and earth, and do ritual and ceremony with powerful intention for healing ourselves, our planet and all beings. We know this cannot work if we carry shame, abuse and blockage in our sexual centers because our sexuality is the source of our spiritual power.

Feminist teachers such as Betty Dodson have talked openly about being sex-positive, and understanding orgasm and self-pleasuring. Their pioneering work helped many women reclaim their bodies. However, almost nothing was taught about the powerful link between women’s sexuality and their spirituality. As feminists, we often denied the ancient archetypes rather than examining their value.

We are deeply connected to these ancient sensual~sexual images because, in their pure forms, they embody the erotic feminine fully channeling sacred healing and life-force energy. It is time to bring them into the light of the Divine Feminist, the emerging archetype of women’s Sacred Power.

Over the past 30 years, healing from sexual abuse involved remembering the abuses, feeling the pain, and expressing and releasing our anger. However, many women have been left feeling empty with no acknowledgement of the connection between heart and genitals and the Divine. We are offering a revolutionary approach to sexual healing that allows us to reframe our wounding in light of the voluptuous, pleasure-loving Goddess. She is there to show us a new way of expressing and self-nurturing that focuses on pleasure and ritual.

The function of the sexual priestess, and many of the other ancient feminine sexual archetypes, was for awakening, healing and transmitting this life-giving energy we call sexual. Many women carry this archetypal energy, including women sexually abused as children or teenagers. It is important to distinguish between early and later stages of recovery from abuse. In the early stages, abuse survivors need to feel and heal their victimization. In the later stages, women can re-image their experiences and see them as powerful underworld initiations into the dark side of our dysfunctional culture.

Former “victims” and “survivors” can shift to becoming sexual healers because deep inside they carry the ‘medicine’ of sexual health; they are able to assist others in the healing process. A sexual healer can be the traditional therapist or may also be the dancer, sex-worker, dakini, sexual priestess, shamaness, or any other role that assists another in reclaiming sexual~sensual~erotic energy.

There are many ecstatic ways to move energy and free up what has been blocked. Dance, movement, sound, breath, beauty, laughter and pleasure are the domains of the feminine. In High Priestess circles around the country, Anyaa facilitates women who connect deeply with other women, speak their truth, and let out what has been held inside for thousands of years. In a safe, sacred circle, women share experiences, thoughts, feelings and beliefs and are reconnected to a community of women with shared experiences. We begin to shift away from the patterns of being defensive about being female, denying our needs, and depending on things, substances and people outside of ourselves for love and acceptance. In this revolutionary model for sexual healing, we tell our stories in a way that empowers us to let go of that which we no longer need so we can make room for new feelings or passion and aliveness.

Exploring self-pleasuring, self-nurturing and connecting all of this to our hearts and our spirits allows us to feel the power of the Feminine Soul of Sexuality. Stepping through the dark tunnels in full awareness of the wounds and the pain, with sisters in hand, and expressing an ecstatic connection to our own sacredness as women, we are lead into a new life of light and energy and erotic self-esteem. The Divine Feminist awaits us.

see “Coming Events”  for Sexuality events and opportunities for women.

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