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“Love is limitless. Why limit the goals you can achieve with the power of love?” – Brandy Williams, Ecstatic Ritual.

 

Pagan meetups are prone to ribaldry and sauciness, but when it comes to real sex, the kind where you get naked and then strip yourself bare, the room usually falls silent. Maybe it’s lingering guilt from previous religious upbringings. Maybe it’s because sex combined with magic is so very exposing. There’s still a sense of fear when someone mentions bringing sex into ritual – either by saying really fast that their Great Rite is strictly symbolic, or by making an off-color joke playing off one of the myths circulating about tantra.

 

Brandy Williams braves these icy waters with her own profound experience. Ecstatic Ritual is by no means an erotic read. It is smart, filled with basic and advanced techniques in personal and partnered pleasure for filling magical and pragmatic goals. If her exercises are followed with the care they deserve, magical evolution will happen – whether partnered or alone, the first magic of haetera changes the practitioner.

 

It’s a relief to read a book that takes into account a long-term partner that may not practice sex magic with you. This consideration, along with the advocacy of “haetera time” – time which an adherent takes to feel pleasure and to work the discipline and joy of the sensual body – put sex magic in the place it belongs: right in the center of a full and healthy life. It isn’t some endless pursuit of abstract and sometimes not elucidated magical goals. It is exalting pleasure, and sometimes harnessing that pleasure for magical goals and other times making the pleasure itself a magical goal.

 

Williams deftly handles tricky questions that are raised in the practice of sex magic: what about same sex partners and polarity? What about the assumed receptivity of a female partner? She raises the level of dialog on these topics from a place of experience, and then through very creative exercises gives the would-be sex magicians creative ways to move through these preconceptions as well.

 

The clear writing paired with the voice of experience is enough to recommend this book; that this book is written by a woman moves it to the top of the list for books on sex magic, in and out of print. While Williams has experience in ceremonial magic as much as she does in Wicca, she does not pepper the text with the ceremonial terms and lodge-specific concepts that make early sex-magic adventurers abandon all hope. This book isn’t about achieving magical status, but about using personal pleasure to reach personal goals.

 

While this book benefits all walks and all genders, it speaks especially to women engaging in sex magic. If you want to walk down this path, start at the haetera gate that Williams provides.

 

~review by Diana Rajchel

Author: Brandy Williams

Megalithica Books, 2nd ed. 2008

pp. 248

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