Women’s Sexual Healing From Feminism to the Divine Feminist by Anyaa McAndrews & Candessa Hadsall
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 ruins 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, reclaim 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 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 call for 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 use 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.
Anyaa McAndrew is a transpersonal therapist, Shamanic breathwork practitioner, Ordained Priestess and Tantric Educator. (www.goddessontheloose.com) She will be facilitating a 3- weekend series entitled “Awakening the Sexual Priestess” starting in June in Portland.
Candessa Hadsall is a nurse, educator and counselor in the Twin Cities. She founded Ms. LaVie’s School of Loving Arts to provide educational and experiential opportunities for adults to explore sexuality and relationship issues.
For more information about the series, a one-day intro and a free preview, contact Megan Martin at [email protected] or 503-975-4097.