Diversity as a Value of SweetWood Temenos – by Delta Listening Wolf
“The Glory of Creation is in its Infinite Diversity, and the way our differences combine
to create Meaning and Beauty”
The Vulcan Idic (Star Trek, the original series: “Is There In Truth No Beauty?”)
Diversity, when practiced well, is like a healthy and balanced ecosystem. Like the ecological niches of a forest, we reflect an interlinked diversity of beliefs, practices and cultures of humankind. We at SweetWood welcome folks from many paths: NeoPagan, Wiccan, Native American, Christian, Buddhist, as well as philosophers, agnostics and atheists (among others). A sampling of our community includes: ritualists, massage therapists, astrologers, artists, Trekkers, techies, music-makers, Reiki practitioners, builders, historians, writers, bibliophiles, herbalists, tree-huggers, humorists, naturists, chocolate lovers and kitchen-witches.
Some of us worship one God, some worship many gods and goddesses, and some do not worship deity at all. Most of us are voracious readers. Many of us are Cultural Creatives. We enjoy exploring the Mystery in all its wonderful variations and possibilities, whether scientific or mystical (or both!). We enjoy teaching what we know and learning from one another. SweetWood is a ‘values-based’, rather than a ‘doctrine-based’ community. We see ourselves as Gods and Goddesses and honor the divine within us.
Of course, we also welcome the free expression and free choice of love partners, (whether none, one or many), male or female, trans, or inter-sexed. Some of us practice polyamory, others are celibate. Some of us change over the years. Harming none, love who you will.
Those who practice diversity are comfortable with paradox and difference. In fact, we enjoy them! Curiosity wins out over the fear of complexity. We explore history, but we also enjoy dreaming the myths forward. Like a tree, we dig our roots into the wisdom of the past and grow our branches high into the sky of the future.
We like to laugh – it is healing and brings a sense of perspective when we take ourselves too seriously. We assume good intention, unless proven otherwise – and even then, we try to understand and empathize. It is okay to agree to disagree. We can disagree without being disagreeable. We practice ‘being excellent to one another’.We help each other, which can also include just letting them be and accept that they must walk their own path and go through their own process. We honor each other’s Sovereignty.
The balanced ecosystem of Diversity includes limits. This brings stability and cohesiveness, so that the diverse community itself doesn’t devolve into divisiveness. Diversity does not imply that anything goes. The human rights of each individual must be upheld. However, we practice discernment along with freedom of expression. Even though SweetWood holds Diversity as a value, we realize that our community cannot be all things to all people. Of course we support the right of any community to practice their path in their own ways. We also claim this right.
For example, Sweetwood does not actively oppose BDSM done in private, but does not allow this practice to express itself as a ‘scene’ at SweetWood events. Also, we do not practice blood sacrifice or blood magic in any form. We avoid any practices that cause suffering to another being, whether agreed to or not. We do not allow magikal curses on SweetWood Land. Gossip & back-stabbing are discouraged. Harassment in any form is not tolerated.
The other 4 values of SweetWood (self-knowledge, positive sexuality, deep friendship, attunement with Nature) act as part of the ‘glue’ that holds Diverse Community together. We strive to find common ground. We find ‘A Truth’, rather than ‘The Truth’. We try to nurture the seeds of Good in each other. Learning to communicate with each other is key, and always an ongoing practice. (Non-Violent communication is an example.)
At Sweetwood we have a balance of structure and openness in our rituals. Like Wicca, we celebrate the 8 sabbats of the Wheel of the Year, and recognize the balance of Male and Female energies. We honor the Sun God / Moon Goddess and Moon God / Sun Goddess every other year. Recently, we’ve added the 3 stages of life to each God/dess (Maiden, Mother, Crone and Stag, Father, Sage). We recognize the wisdom of: “As above, so Also Below. As Without, so Also Within”. We celebrate Sky-clad whenever appropriate (see ’The Charge of the Goddess’ by Doreen Valiente), but don’t require it. SweetWood is ‘clothes-optional’.
Instead of linking the 4 elements to a direction when drawing a circle, the ritual participants call IN 7 elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, the Ancestors, the Descendants, and Community) in their own ways. We also Honor Eris (Goddess of Chaos), giving her and her kind some whiskey outside the circle. The middle of our rituals is open depending on the season and the participants. So our rituals have some structure, but leave lots of room for other people’s contributions.
We always share water in our rituals, carrying on the tradition of CAW (The Church of All Worlds). We say: Water shared is life shared is love shared. Never thirst! Thou art God or Thou art Goddess. We close our circle with a simple devocation and release.
SweetWood Temenos welcomes other individuals and groups to use the land for their own gatherings, rituals, teachings and vision quests. As long as those using the Land respect our 5 values (and policies), we welcome them to Celebrate, Recreate & Contemplate.
“The common ground of religious practice are love, compassion, forgiveness,
tolerance, contentment, and self-discipline.”
So we build harmony on mutual respect, Mutual learning, and Mutual admiration.”
Dalai Lama–September 16 2016 at EU Parliament
With Earth Element :
Earth represents the sensual and embodied experience of the worlds of matter. We welcome all religious and cultural practices – as long as there is no harm done to people or animals as part of this practice. We are curious about the symbolic meanings of objects in various spiritual practices and rituals. Even atheists and agnostics are welcome, for they appreciate the sensate world for simply what it Is . This is also well and good, for many of us see Spirit or Divinity as immanent in matter.
Earth also is concerned with ‘place and space’ in matter. So, we honor the sacred places of all religions and respect their rules of conduct in these places.
We delight in the multitude of the forms of matter! We see beauty in the very large and very small, and this beauty, or the ‘adornment’, of matter is called the Cosmos (from the Greek). We see matter, not as a distraction from spiritual practice, but as the joy of the infinite unfolding of the Mystery.
We also honor the creation of Art with matter, for we are as God/desses when creating something new. We encourage and take delight in each others’ artistic creations. Still, we must beware that our technical abilities as humans do not outweigh our wisdom, for our creations can also be destructive. Cultivating foresight in all that we choose to create is a major challenge for the human race.
We also honor all the differences in race and body types of our fellow humans.
Stone symbols: pyrite, opal in matrix, black precious opal
Research cultural practices of dress, adornment, art
Research symbolism of objects in religious practices
Visit or read about religious buildings, sites, etc.
Interact with other races, cultures
With Air Element
So many ideas! – As many as there are people! Air is concerned with rational thought, categories, logic, & science. Talking and reasoning together. We are free and unafraid to float ideas, express them, and create new connections. We listen and take joy in learning others’ views. We create new words for new ideas, like “compersion” and “polyamoury”. We think it is ok to disagree, as long as we are not disagreeable. We are in love with books and love to share our discoveries. We are curious about the stories and folktales of other cultures, and learn good lessons from them.
We learn discernment and are aware of the tools of propaganda, so we don’t become victims of it.
The vibrations of music travel through the air, so we love to play and listen to music and explore the music of other cultures. We blend the riffs of the world and create new songs, new chants, and new rhythms.
We keep up with world events and write letters to our leaders and participate in our rights of free speech. We are unafraid of expressing our opinions as long as we are civil and polite.
We journal, write poetry, write letters (and maybe write at least one book?). We are curious about the origins of words, and how words shape our perceptions. We are unafraid of changing our minds, because we are always learning, always seeking, and always open to new ideas.
Stone symbol: polished labradorite
Research methods of propaganda
See works of author Noam Chomsky
See book – The Dance of Life by Edward T. Hall on how people are connected or isolated by rhythm and time
Learn about reframing problems
With Fire Element :
For thousands of years, humankind has worshipped the Sun, or at least, tracked its course through the seasons. The light of the Sun shines upon all and so we all are blessed by its rays. Human cultures have personified the Sun as a ‘he’ (such as Ra in Egypt), or as a ‘she’ (such as Amaterasu in Japan). Our western culture has usually chosen the masculine pronoun for the Sun (and the feminine for the Moon). However, because we hold diversity as a value we also explore the Sun and Moon as reversed genders, thereby deepening our knowledge of this important symbol of light and life for all creatures on this Earth.
In astrology the Sun rules Leo, the sign of courage and generosity. The Sun’s light shines upon all, whatever their station in life, and expects nothing in return. This holds a lesson we all may take to heart.
The Sun as courage teaches us to live a heroic life. This can take many forms, from trying something new, to saving a life. We encourage each other to be unafraid of new ideas, and to be unafraid of our own power. We enjoy each others’ successes, without jealousy or envy. With each challenge we overcome, we are transformed (another fire symbol) and ever renewed. “Where there is fear, there is power,” – Starhawk.
Stone symbols: faceted white zircon, white/yellow cubic zirconia (man-made), gold
Explore the Sun as deity in many cultures
See The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell
Eclipse of the Sun by Janet McCrickhard
O Mother Sun! by Patricia Monaghan
Truth or Dare by Starhawk
With Water Element :
Water is called the ‘Universal Solvent’. It dissolves and takes a vast variety of substances into itself, surrounding each molecule with itself. Like water, the SweetWood Temenos community welcomes a vast variety of people into itself with our water-sharing ceremony. Whatever others’ emotional state, we strive to welcome them without judgment (within reason of course), and like water, patiently flow around the obstacle of any emotional distress. (Water rules the emotions.) We learn to forgive others’ feelings, for we know there are no wrong emotions, only wrong actions. We share hugs.
In the I Ching, there is a trigram called the “joyful lake”. We embrace joy and laughter as the birthright of all human beings. We love a good joke and strive to put our new guests at ease.
Each new person we meet brings the past with them in the form of their emotional nature. Past traumas can be encoded in their souls and can cause emotional difficulties that can break up a group into factions. So, we study ways to de-escalate anger and strive to honestly and openly express our feelings. We bring feelings into the light of conscious awareness, instead of letting them fester in darkness and silence. We learn to trust and be trusted. It takes time for water to smooth the stone. We say “Waiting Is”.
Stone symbols: precious white opal, rainbow moonstone, silver
Familiarize yourself with basic psychology
Learn peaceful communication
See book – Antagonists in the Church by Kenneth C. Haugk
With the Ancestors :
We are fortunate to live in a country (the USA) that is composed of people from cultures all around the world, including the living relatives of Native Americans. This gives us the opportunity to explore an almost infinite variety of past societies, their organization, and religious/moral practices. We see our own society in contrast to these. We realize the human ability to adapt and make a great number of choices in how we live with one another. We are no longer trapped inside the comfortable cocoon of the society we are born into.
Many of us enjoy re-creating past cultures and imagine how life was for our ancestors (Renaissance fairs are one example.) Many of us are also interested in exploring our own ancestral lineage. Since most of us born in America come from more than one cultural background, we compare ancestor to ancestor, seeking meaning in their differences and similarities. We ponder how our ancestors met and married across cultural lines and honor their bravery in doing so.
A fruitful area of study may be how different cultures/countries interacted with one another. How do these cultures welcome strangers in their midst? How do religious practices flow across cultural boundaries? Why does war break out? How and why does prejudice take root and grow? How do different cultures make peace?
An excellent example of cultural dispersion done peacefully is the practice of Buddhism.
Stone symbol: rainbow obsidian
Activities: See above
With the Descendants :
Our children are the carriers of our present culture into the future. Human society is now vastly complex, so we teach our children not to be afraid of different societies, but instead, embrace them. We try to expose them to people of all races, classes, religions and the societies of different countries. They can learn acceptance before prejudice.
The USA is a good example of how a country can be organized in a pluralistic fashion. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written to throw off the tyranny of rigid — proscribed religious practices, and the rulership of an elite royalty. We must always teach our children the importance of the freedoms of religion, of speech, and of assembly, and also how fragile they are.
We can help our children replace fear of the strange with curiosity. We can encourage them to embrace the complex and the paradoxical. As Terence McKenna says, “We must accept the inherent messiness of the Universe”. Many times there are no pat answers, so teach them to accept open-ended problems with less anxiety and more wonder. Encourage them to find their own answers, for many times there is more than one solution to a problem. Strive to give them a well-rounded education of both science and the liberal arts (including history). Encourage them to find connections between them, so their minds stay flexible enough to embrace and ultimately, to love, novelty .
Stone symbol: paua shell
See book – Put Your Mother on the Ceiling: Children’s Imagination Games by Richard de Mille
With the Community :
What makes the SWT community special and unique is our respect for the many spiritual beliefs of our members, including those who are atheist or agnostic. We welcome those with different backgrounds and new ideas. Our bonds of fellowship are forged in the 5 Values, not in a certain creed or set of commandments. We do not expect our members and friends to give up their personal beliefs; in fact, we welcome them to share those beliefs, so all can be enriched.
We realize that culture and belief is fluid, and defined by each sovereign individual. We say “Thou Art God/dess”, for we realize the freedom and responsibility of creating your own reality (within the rules of the physical universe of course). As long as no harm is done to living creatures, we welcome each person to define their own set of beliefs and philosophy. We are a microcosm of the macrocosm of all cultures on this Earth. We strive to dream the myths and practices of the past forward into a bright future of inclusiveness. Our inner wholeness reflects the larger wholeness. In fact, many of us born in America are descendants from a number of cultures, so we are living examples of Pluralism and Diversity. As long as your beliefs don’t require you to gather up converts, we welcome you!!
Stone symbols: rainbow calsilica, any many-colored and spotted stone (such as agate or some jaspers)
History of the Pluralism in the USA
With Earth Element :
“The Buck Stops with Earth.” – Delta Listening Wolf. We now realize the Planet has finite resources (Earth rules limits). We see that what we cast off as waste does not disappear – it is still here! We strive to live lightly and conscious of our uses of resources. We strive to learn how to use renewable energy and not waste the energy-gifts of the earth. We grow our food and honor the farmers that produce it. We support Organic whenever possible. All magic begins and ends in Earth. Nature is our teacher. We take joy in the natural world – creating works of art that celebrate and remember its beauty. We continually search the Earth for ways of healing our bodies (and souls). We strive to know reality and truth of the material world – so we appreciate (but don’t worship) science. We attune ourselves with day and night cycles of our planet to preserve our health. We attune ourselves with the seasons – growth and decay both have their places. We see the cycle of Life and Death, and we are not afraid, for we accept the way of Earth. Because we are conscious Beings, we know that we are caretakers of this Planet. Be aware of our actions and choices “unto the 7 th generation”! We are not kings; we are stewards, and share this planet with an infinite variety of other living beings. Even the rocks speak, if we listen!
Stone symbols: red or brown jasper, pipe-stone, a stone from SWT, moss agate
geology of your local area
plant life, fungi
recycling and renewable and re-use
Where does your garbage go?
Where does your food come from?
See above – attune with cycles of sleep and season, (inner work – outer work)
Make art – especially with recycled materials
Camping in the forest
Learn what plants can be used for food and medicine
With the Air Element :
Air is so close to us, it is like water to a fish. Minutes without air, we die and leave our body, so we support keeping our air clean! The layer of breathable air around the Earth is very thin. (If the Earth were an apple – the air layer is its skin.) We are aware of the reality of global warming and see ways to decrease it, or adapt to it. We are aware of the air quality of our homes and buildings and we seek to improve it. We support research, and use of wind power for our energy needs. We take joy in birds and birdsongs – the creatures of the air. We take deep breaths! We know the importance of plants and photosynthesis in providing fresh oxygen to the air, so we plant trees and preserve green spaces. We always look to the sky and note the weather; storms, warm air, cool air and we adapt well to them. We accept that weather is beyond our power and must be respected. We take time to smell the flowers … We fill the air with our music, joining the birds in song!
Stone symbols: mica, banded/layered agate, white chalcedony
Breath control/yogic fire breath and see how it affects our consciousness
Watch the clouds and see how clouds can predict the weather, name the different types of clouds
Learn the language of other creatures and their intent and meaning (birds, insects, mammals, etc.)
Hang-gliding, hot-air ballooning
Fly a kite!
With Fire Element :
The two main sources of light and fire in Nature are lightning and (of course) the Sun . Without the Sun, every life on Earth would eventually die and pass away… (Oh yes — there are other sources of light too: bioluminescent creatures like fireflies, sea creatures and certain fungi – but they are faint, and cast no heat.)
The Sun is the King of Fire, so we understand why religious practices of the past (and present) worshipped the Sun as Deity.
When we burn wood and oil for light and heat, we are releasing the energy of the past photosynthesis of plants. The energy of the mighty Sun is released.
We strive to respect fire and its tendency to spread, so we protect the Forest with good fire-tending practices.
We gaze at the fires in the sky – the stars and planets. We note the movements of planets (including our Moon & Sun) in Astrology and learn that “as above, so also below.” We strive to decrease light pollution, so we can see the stars and Milky Way – and ponder our place in the vast universe.
We research how light affects our moods. Light lifts depression! With the Light of Fire we see and appreciate the colors of our whole environment: rocks, flowers, the butterfly’s wings. Fire brings us joy and lights all rainbows…
And, of course, we support research and the use of Solar Power for our energy needs. Our fragile bodies live in a narrow band of cool and warm temperatures – so we honor our temperate place in the Solar System (the ‘Goldilocks Zone’).
Stone symbols: citrine, yellow topaz
Activities: (see above)
Learn to make a fire without matches/lighter
Learn about our Sun and its cycles
Learn about the process of combustion
(Fun) Use the Sun and a magnifying glass to burn pictures in wood
Learn about astronomy
With Water Element :
Clean, fresh water! What an amazing and precious gift! Without water, life would have not evolved. When we look to the heavens for extra-terrestrial Life, we look first for liquid water.
We do not waste fresh water and guard this resource well! SweetWood, and this area of WI, is blessed with clean, drinkable water straight from springs (so scarce in these times). We support keeping this resource clean and available to future generations. We bathe and cleanse with water. We contemplate its slow power to wear away mountains. We learn how to flow, to easily go around all obstacles, to fill, to penetrate all spaces. The Chinese culture has much to say about water and its ways… easy and gentle, but powerful. “The Tao is like water.” Water is the “universal Solvent.”
We love our oceans and the creatures in it, so we support its protection from pollution and over-fishing. When we go fishing, we eat or release our catch. We canoe & kayak to learn about water and its ways in our bones, to navigate and not fight the flow.
We explore water in all of its forms; liquid, ice, and steam. We are curious about the science of water on the molecular level. Drinkable water is not pure water; it has minerals dissolved in to give us its freshness and goodness. (Actually ultra pure distilled water is not good for our health – try a taste of distilled water! Ugh!)
Some say Water can be impressed with our emotions. Water crystallizes in an infinite variety of crystals. Water is the rain that feeds our crops. Too much can destroy what we build. We research hydropower and support its use. We share a hot-tub with our friends.
SweetWood, as a Church, honors Water as a Sacrament. We share water to remember our connection with all living creatures and with each other. We share this precious resource and wish all to “Never Thirst”.
Stone symbols: moonstone, amazonite, clear/milky chalcedony
Research the lakes, rivers, and streams of your area
How far down is your water table?
Where does your water come from?
Use rain barrels to collect water
Learn how to find water on the land
Learn about moon phases and effects on tides
With the Ancestors :
The ancestors exist in the Past. The bones of creatures left behind. Death and decay are an essential function of Nature. The little creatures we ignore, the bacteria and fungi, keep the world clean. They are nature’s recyclers. We learn about the past with Fossils. We read the map of the past Earth in the layers of rock. We see past extinctions as ‘Deep Time’ passes. We recognize our place in a vast timeline of Planet Earth – how the slow processes of geology, the workings of the ancient processes of bacteria and plants, have created an environment that allows air-breathing mammals like us to exist. We pick up a handful of soil and recognize its components, and its preciousness. We preserve our soil from erosion. We compost and see the treasure beyond the stink.
We read about the adventures of our ancestors when exploring the wilderness. We learn their knowledge and skills of how to survive on the land. We try to right the wrongs of past practices that have raped the Earth (for they thought the Natural World was limitless). We are curious about tribal practices and the ways of ancient humans, for they lived closer to the Earth than we do now in our protected environment. We listen to their ancient tales of all creatures, and how the natural world informed their spiritual practices (and their taboos). We see those wonderful cave paintings of the animals they lived with. The Human Spirit awakened, seeing Self in conscious relationship to the entire natural world.
Stone symbols: jet, petrified wood, bone, fossils
Investigate evolution of life on Planet Earth
Research types of soils, how they influence plant growth; soil erosion and mitigation
Research survival techniques of tribal cultures, & how they used naturally available materials
See past practices of clear-cutting and mining as negative examples – Effects today?
With the Descendants :
Almost every child is fascinated with the natural world. Look for the natural world, even in the suburbs and cities. Take walks, fish, canoe, & swim. Let them play in the dirt. There is a real world out there to explore. Engage their sense of smell, touch, hearing and sight. Plant a garden together. Turn off the TV and internet. Give them a bodily sense of the outdoors, instead of the 2-dimensional one on the screen. All of this is proven to be psychologically healing. As adults we can explore this world and then provide answers to their questions.
A typical household had hundreds of objects, so we can explore their origins in the Natural World. Everything comes from the Earth originally…
Each season brings new things to explore. Cultivate our own inner child; try to see the world with fresh eyes to share it with our children. Later, as they grow older, share the value of protecting our wild places, recycling, living lightly on the Earth, and population control. Only if our children respect and love the Natural world, will they have the heart to fight for it.
We are not masters of this wonderful world, and not slaves to it either – we are stewards . We must pass this stewardship on into the future. Our kids are our hope for a green future! So we must start teaching them early in their lives before petty distractions and apathy sets in…
Stone symbols: coral – for young children, malachite – for older children
See the book: Last Child of the Woods by Richard Locey
Find schools that emphasize Nature (if able to), join Boy/Girl Scouts
Give them a pet to care for
With the Community :
All of the previous entries on “Attunement with Nature” can also apply to the community. Most of these activities can be done as a group, as well as individually.
As a community we have strength in numbers, so we can effect change for the better in many environmental issues affecting our precious ecosystem today.
Sharing our own experiences of Nature can be done through workshops, writings, nature-hikes, etc., and also through group rituals that honor the Natural World. Ritual can effect a change in our consciousness, and so inspires us to protect and honor the Earth. Group rituals forge the bonds of community and when done outdoors it brings an intuitive, as well as bodily, experience of the wonders (and even magic) of the natural world. Ritual puts us in Nature, instead of over it. It is this direct, unfiltered experience that puts us into attunement with Nature.
We all live on this Earth, so we as a community called SweetWood Temenos, can find much in common with other groups and communities. This network can grow into a political force for environmental sanity, which can inform our decisions in legislation and laws of this country (and beyond). Our SWT community can engender not just knowledge and appreciation of Nature, but also a Love and Deep Connection with Nature on a Heart level. This powerful connection can be communicated to others on a subconscious level to promote a change of heart in others’ relationship to Nature.
Stone symbols: bloodstone/(Heliotrope), ‘cross-stone’ (Chiastolite, a variety of Andalusite)
Community gardens, tree plantings
Stone circles/medicine wheels
Highway and park clean-ups
Networking with other environmental groups
With Earth Element :
Earth and positive sexuality together are the foundation of Love – caring and honoring of our physical bodies. We honor our partners’ needs like using birth-control and protection against STDs. We are honest with any disease we may carry (such as herpes or AIDs), and any risky sex behavior we have engaged in (now or in the past). We get tested before unprotected sex with a new partner, because we care and want them to be at ease. Have the lube ready!
The place where we have positive sex is warm, clean and inviting. We are gentle when getting to know how they like to be touched. Little steps towards building trust. (My partner and I like to blindfold a new sex partner – with their permission – and feed them bits of yummy food. Then we both gently massage their body with fragrant oil.) Engage all the senses with pleasurable smells, tastes, touch, sounds and visions.
We know that our bodies are a gift from the God and Goddess, so we treat them as sacred, not profane. Earth is about preparing the space and our bodies as an offering to the value of positive sex. We see the beauty within and without and praise it! Sex brings forth new life and so honors and connects us with all life on this wonderful planet we call Earth.
Stone symbols: green tourmaline, peridot, emerald
Ask what your partner likes and try to provide it (food, music, type of touch)
Make a special space for positive sex
Honor the body as a manifestation of the Divine, and/or Love
With the Air Element:
With air, breath and word, we speak the language of Love. Sweet compliments. Honesty in our words with our lover. We ask for what we need. We communicate our wished and our limitations. “Yes, that feels good.” “Slowing down would feel good”. Try to keep our words positive and nonviolent. Say: this or that makes me happy, rather than I don’t like what you’re doing. Give energy to the positive and pleasurable and withdraw from the negative. Re-frame . Remember, misunderstandings aren’t cause for suspicion, but rather an opportunity to know your partner on a deeper level. (See Deep Friendship.) Ask First! Don’t assume. Admit mistakes and move to Growing Closer. Give voice to your pleasure. Laughter during sex is wonderful. Breathe together. Write love notes just because. Share fantasies…
Stone symbol: blue lace agate
See above. See Deep Friendship – Air
Tantric breath circulation with partner
With Fire Element :
Wondrous Passion shared is Passion squared! ‘Tis a mystery why a certain person lights the fire of our passion. A certain glance brings a tingle of warmth. Love in full flame and flower! Positive sex has a strong container (see Earth) so the fires do not destroy and degrade into violent need. We share the warmth of our naked bodies. We see and praise each other’s body.
Fire is the movement of energy. Explore Tantric sex and orgasmic circulation to prolong the fires of passion. Exquisite intensity felt ourselves and shared – the cone of energy rises. Sometimes the sexual passion is quick to light, other times it grows slowly, like a kettle to boil. Fire comes and goes – constant intensity is unattainable – but we remember the fiery times, and these memories warm us when we are apart. We learn to steward our passion, channeling it, and not repressing it. If another cannot return it, we honor the other’s freedom, and feel no shame. The fires of sexuality, the will to procreate, are ancient! Nature gives us Passion to connect with the other. Now we choose whether to actually pro-create. Rather, we can channel the Fire to feed the relationship and promote joy. Orgasm is not the only goal, for passion comes in all flavors… we accept our partner as they are. Orgasm is up to me (not others)!
Stone symbols: golden rutilated quartz, sunstone, carnelian
See above and Deep Friendship – Fire
All Tantric sex practices (especially orgasm control)
Visualization/magic-using sexual energy to achieve a goal
Sexual experimentation, courage to try something new
Positive sex is not Power over, but is Power with – Equality is key
With Water Element :
“The sea is cold, but it contains the hottest blood of all.” – D.H. Lawrence, Whales Weep Not
Negotiating the winding rivers of each other’s emotions is challenging. We can’t see them, but can only feel them. We all bring certain emotional connections to our positive sex, brought from our past experiences (& even from childhood). We are most vulnerable here and we are aware of this! Call upon Air to help clarify, but realize we can never completely plumb the depths of another’s soul. In our culture, we tent to ‘load up’ sex and ‘love’ with so many expectations, that it is hard to see the Other as they really are. Positive sex tries to clear this away, bit by bit. Question old assumptions (see Fire). Safety and security are most important in positive sex. Find out what is important to your partner. Realize that feeling states strongly affect sexual function, for good or ill. Own your own feelings, instead of projecting them onto your partner. Sometimes it is best to wait for a better time. Hugs and cuddling are positive sex too! Waiting Is. Realize it may not be you that is causing your partner to shy away – seek clarification (Air). Support your partner where they are. Respect their freedom and their rhythms of apartness and closeness. Emotions are ever changing; allow them to flow in yourself and others. Create a safe nest and fill it with Love and Trust. In the realm of feeling men and women have much in common (although our culture says this is not so…).
Stone symbols: rose quartz, jade
See above and Deep Friendship – Water
Sharing a bath, shower or hot-tub
Expand your notions of what “sex” is
Keep asking yourself and others “how do you feel …?”
With the Ancestors
It seems to me that history is full of negative examples of good sexuality. The challenge is to find the gold-nuggets among the dross, and put the pieces together in a new way. Over time the scales have tipped to matriarchy and then to patriarchy, (it is still happening today!). It is our task to achieve a balance and dispel ignorance and superstitions of the past. Learn from our ancestor’s mistakes.
It is well and good to honor and respect our mothers and fathers, grandparents, and on down our personal lineage. Here we learn our cultural matrix, where we find the hidden assumptions we carry into the future. How have the sexual choices of our ancestors affect our choices today? What to keep and what to leave behind?
What have ancient cultures to teach us? I believe that woman’s equality is still an on-going struggle. It is good to be aware of our sexual-cultural history, or we will be repeating it!
Share your experiences with Elders – they may be pleasantly surprises and delighted with your stories!
Stone symbols: black tourmaline, lodestone
Interview mom and/or dad about the circumstances of your birth and their sex ideals
What is the effect of your place in the birth order of your family? The effect of marriage/divorce/separation of parents?
Research history of sex in various cultures and be aware of the many choices
Read literature of feminists and of men’s power authors
My favorite is: The Second Sex by Simone du Beauvoir. For men: The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart by Robert Bly
With the Descendants :
Children as sexual partners with Adults, is not positive sexuality, for they are inherently in an unequal relationship. Teach them ‘bad touch – good touch’. Teach them not to be ashamed of their bodies; household nudity is an option, but not a requirement. Teach them good boundaries, and good and safe sex choices. Sex-play is natural, but also be aware of the present cultural/norms – without shame. Let them choose their sexual orientation and support their choice.
Be honest and complete with their sex-education, and show tem where to find sex-positive literature and videos. Be a confidant, but allow them their privacy. Children have different rates of sexual development, so take your cues from them. Self-pleasuring is good and right. Teach control, but not repression. Be light-hearted, for our culture puts sex in chains. Show them how other cultures express their sexuality. Teach them care and consideration of their sex-partners. Each generation must be taught anew! This is our responsibility as adult-caretakers of the future of positive sexuality. Teach men to respect women’s differences and women to respect men’s differences.
Stone symbols: pink tourmaline, rhodocrosite, rhodonite
See Positive Sexuality (the 4 elements above), age- appropriate activities
Realize that children will learn from our example, so be excellent to each other…
With the Community :
Imagine a community where positive sexuality is a central value! The sad dramas of repression, pain, and superstition have passed away. Open, polyamorous relationships have the support of the whole community. Population control is now possible. Jealousy no longer is a proof of love – it is a vestige of the past to be processed and released. Pornography is replaced by literature and videos showing love, honesty and equality. Pleasures of the body are embraced, not feared. Sexual orientation is the blessing of diversity, not repressed. We see sexuality as a rainbow of ideas and practices and knowledge, not just black and white. Various states of dress and nudity are self-expressions and a matter of free choice to be celebrated. Respect for each sex. Transgender males and females are accepted. Fear is replaced by laughter and joy, as our true Human-Bonobo nature is set free. People are there when we are lonely, or when our hearts are broken (yes we are only human and not perfect). We celebrate the fullness and diversity of all human sexuality – as long as there is no coercion, violence or ‘power-over’ behaviors. Both men and women ‘hold up the sky’, no longer restricted by gender roles.
The diversity of positive sexuality is now brought up to the level of the whole culture, self-similar in the fractal way of Nature, (inter-personal behavior becomes cultural behavior). Now that we are free from the “battle of the sexes”, we can turn our minds towards the larger issues we face as the Human Race, for we have replaced sexual scarcity with sexual abundance. When Deep Friendship, Self Knowledge, and Positive Sex intersect – Powerful Love Magic happens!!
Stone symbols: sugilite, male and female Boji stones
See above and all activities in Positive sexuality
Research past cultures or intentional communities as models (ex. – Polynesian)
Seek win-win solutions to problems
Read about Bonobo behavior (our closest primate relative)
With the Earth Element :In Deep Friendship, we honor the body and sovereignty of another. We nurture the other in the ways of Earth: food that they enjoy, a comfortable place to rest, soft touch of a hand, a hug, a shoulder to cry on. All of these are physical ways of expressing friendship. Earth rules the time it takes to build deep friendship and trust. Over time we see another’s needs, offering a helping hand with no strings attached. Deepness is seeing the physical needs without a reminder, for we honor the other as ourselves. Even if they are different, we remember their bodily needs and honor them. Our actions speak for themselves. We share and trust them with the things we treasure (a special book, the keys to our house). We know that our deep friends also honor us. The gifts and time we share build the bonds of friendship – ever deeper and stronger. Earth is the foundation of deep friendship. Our simple presence with one another brings a quiet joy. We always have the freedom of choice in entering into a deep friendship. Growing closer at our own pace. Waiting is…
Stone symbols: aventurine, chrysoprase
Activities: see above …
Stone symbol: blue turquoise
Stone symbols: amber, garnet
Activities: See above. Also see Self-knowledge/Fire, do these activities together
Stone symbols: aquamarine (blue), larimar, blue chalcedony
Stone symbols: black onyx, snowflake obsidian
Stone symbols: white howlite, selenite
Stone symbols: unakite, granite
With Earth Element :Earth is my body – the rules of flesh, blood, and bone. Molecules & DNA are the scaffold of mind. Growth from ovum and sperm brings my unique body. Experience tricks consciousness of separateness. Me and only me – the only me in the vast universe. Body limited, (but mind is limitless). I must work with what I have been given – no more and no less. Time changes the form of my body. My fingers touch the Earth forms of others. I learn what brings pleasure and goodness to myself, and what brings the self-preservation of my body. The act of Will changes my body – the choice of food, of exercise, of sleep, of meditation. These things transform my awareness. I experiment, trying this and that. I let others touch me, or not. All of my senses bring knowledge and awareness. What to keep? What to forget and leave behind? The exploration of myself is a constant journey that I alone must travel in this body, this gift, this treasure. It is a mystery – how does this arrangement of atoms create mind and awareness of self? Through my body, I express myself to others, so Earth is the primary language of this communication. This ‘Primal Code’ exists so others may see and experience me. I see, react and learn. Self-knowledge grows in the mirrors of others. Earth touches Earth, so self-knowledge grows. How do we know it is happening? Because Earth shows us—endlessly. Body is the soil, the launching pad of self-knowledge and awareness.
Stone symbols: hematite, smoky quartz
Stone symbol: Lapis Lazuli
Stone symbols: eye agate, yellow tiger-eye
Take the time to slow down and assimilate feelings, instead of rationalizing them. They have much to teach about self-preservation, and where our limits and fears are. Realize and note them, but don’t let them rule you – for we are much more than our fears (or even our pleasures…). Nurture ourselves so we can continue the journey of self-knowledge. Play! Follow the instinctual actions of animals and children at play. Flow with your own ups and downs – no blame…
Stone symbols: clear quartz crystal, pearl
Many ancient religions and practices point to the journey to the self, (substitute self for God/dess, Tao, Buddha, Christ, Philosopher’s stone, etc.)
Stone symbols: ammonite fossil, spiral shell
One of our greatest gifts to our children is to pass on a culture that promotes the actualization of their potential. We must remember that our children are not just little copies of ourselves; they have their own unique journey to their Self. We can and should teach the ethics of right and wrong, right action, and the 3 R’s (reading, writing, and math). Also we have the responsibility to show them not only learning, but how to teach themselves to learn. We teach by example how to live by the rules of civil society, but encouraging our children to explore their own selves is also good. The Arts are key to help them have the courage to create and listen to their own muse. Listen to their dreams. Encourage them to find their own answers. Explore feelings, mind, body and spirit together. Let them put these all together for themselves. Show them the difference between knowledge embodied and lived vs. the theoretical knowledge obtained on the internet. Draw mandalas with them!
Stone symbols: fluorite, kunzite
Activities: see above…
Share our own story of journey to the self. Combine all the other elements together and share in your own way. What have you learned to do and what not to do? What has helped you on this journey? What tools do you have to offer? What does a community of self-actualized beings look like?
The value of self-knowledge creates a community of honesty, openness, curiosity, wellness, acceptance of others, creativity, self-expression, passion for learning and a joyful sharing of each other’s journey to self. Realize that each are responsible for their own journey, but ok to reach out for help. Freedom, and sharing our freedom to Be Ourselves. Our inner journey should not impede others’ journey. Over time, we find our “ecological niche” of our self, with the other selves of the community. Wholeness within creates wholeness without – ever growing and ever changing – like a forest, (but uniquely Human). This community of journeyers to self necessitates a willingness to live with open-endedness – an acceptance of our and others’ mystery yet to be revealed… Seek joy in each others’ uniqueness, talents and beauty!
Stone symbols: geode, amethyst (purple)
Activities: see above