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Posts Tagged ‘sexuality and spirituality’

Nature and Magic in Story

I just finished another instalment of Demon Interrupted for my blog, so of course my thoughts keep wandering back to the natural beauty of the Lake District and the magic I feel every time I walk the fells there.

The first time I lived in South England, I spent several years as a part of a Wiccan coven. That experience has helped me and very much inspired me with the writing of The Lakeland Witches books, especially when creating the rituals that drive the stories, from the very first protection spell cast on the high fells to the final cleansing ritual and everything in between. That experience is no less helpful as I revisit the Elemental Coven in my Demon Interrupted serial, which appears every three weeks on my blog. I’m especially excited about Demon Interrupted because it’s my chance to revisit Elemental Cottage and suss out one of the many stories yet untold of the witches of the Elemental Coven, and the people and beings who affect them, and I can’t revisit the coven, their Lake District home, or any of the new story unfolding without thinking of how connected and grounded in nature all of the Lakeland witches’ concepts of magic are. But then, it would hardly be a KDG story if that weren’t the case.

There was no sex magic practiced in the real coven of which I was a part. In fact, sex magic, as I’ve written it for the Elemental Coven, doesn’t exist anywhere else. All of the sex magic within The Lakeland Witches stories is a product of my fertile imagination. I chose to make the magic my witches practice sex magic because I wanted to experiment with the idea of what might happen if it were possible to take such a strong part of human biology, such a strong part of the human psyche, such a strong part of all nature, and harness it, shape it, use it as a force to drive magic.

The creative use of sex for magic, as I’ve chosen to write it, is unique to the Elemental Coven and the world in which they live. Covertly, however, all earth-centred spirituality has at its core sex, fertility, and the drive to bring about the next generation, the drive to bring about the next bountiful season. Sex and reproduction are at the very foundation of our existence. That’s pretty obvious, I know. But that sex is so much more, for humans, than just the need to procreate is a powerful driving force in erotica, and it is, in my opinion, a powerful source of magic in which even a sceptic like me can believe.

For me, the very best part of being involved in a pagan tradition was celebrating the seasons and the moon cycles, which automatically brought about an effort to live closer to the rhythm and flow of the earth. That meant an effort was made to be closer to nature, to be aware of the time when the buds on the apple trees begin to swell, to be aware of the time when Orion disappears from the spring sky and Sygnus climbs to prominence, and to be aware of how my own body’s rhythms sync with those of the planet. For me the sense of connectedness, the sense of being a part of the natural world, the sense of being a part of something far greater than myself was magical, and still is. Though I no longer practice with a coven, I find those natural rhythms are still within me, and I find them still deeply moving. Really they always were there, as they are in all of us. Sadly our modern, hermetically sealed life often separates us from those rhythms.

castlerigg_Stone_Circle1I learned a lot about nature while I was a part of the coven. I paid more attention to what was going on around me. I became more aware of the subtle changes happening all the time. That new awareness and that desire to know nature more intimately also inspired the Lakeland Witches Trilogy, as it does now Demon Interrupted. The writing is continually inspired by thoughts of how much else I might be missing out on because my awareness just hasn’t been sharpened enough. I suppose writing, in a way, is an effort to do just that, to sharpen my awareness.

It was thinking about that heightened awareness and contemplating my own dreams that inspired my interpretation of the Ether and the Dream World as places where my witches and their consorts could go to do magic, create spells, and affect changes in the World of Flesh. They were also places where my baddies could bring about fear and destruction, and also escape to when there was a need.

Though the world of my Lakeland witches is far more magical and frightening than was my own coven experience — for which I’m very thankful — I tried to infuse all of my characters with a love and an appreciation for that natural world. Because I’m deeply in love with the English Lake District where the Lakeland Witches stories are set, I tried to bring as much of the reality of that world into the stories as I could so that whether it’s Anderson and Cassandra’s story or Ferris and Elaine’s story, there is a firm grounding in a very real, very wonderful place.

But beautiful, inspiring Lakeland can also be a place of terrifying power and great danger when the storms ravage the high fells. I wanted the world of the Lakeland Witches to feel real and concrete, to express all the facets of the place I love. And I believe that by setting the stories in a real place and drawing that real place as vividly as I’m able, the magic, the interactions with ghosts and witches and demons will be grounded and just a little more scary and a little more sexy and a little more true to life.

Read Demon Interrupted here

If you want to know more about the Elemental Coven’s adventures, check out the Lakeland Heatwave Trilogy: Body Temperature and RisingRiding the Ether and Elemental Fire. Enjoy!

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Sex as Ritual

Bernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500I’m very excited to be on a panel about Sexuality and Spirituality with Victoria Blisse at Eroticon this year. Those of you who follow my blog and read my books know that I’m fascinated by the connection between sex and spirituality. I’m not a mystic. I’m a bit of a skeptic these days, but I’d be the first to say that there’s definitely something spiritual, something magical about sex, and not the least of it is the ritual involved.

I think about the ritual of sex a lot lately as I revisit the Elemental Coven from the Lakeland Heatwave Trilogy in my serialisation of Demon Interrupted on my blog. I’ve always loved ritual. I made rituals up when I was a child. Later, I was involved in everything from conservative Christianity to practicing in a Wiccan coven — drawn in by the ritual. I spent three years training to be a spiritual director. I did it for the ritual. Contemplative prayer, meditating upon passages of scripture, the use of movement, dance, chant, are all tools of ritual. During my time spent in the Wiccan coven, the year itself was lived out in ritual — full moon, new moon, the changing of the seasons, the celebration of spring and harvest. During that time my husband and I even underwent the ritual of hand fasting in the stone circle at Avebury.

Ritual is a set of actions performed mainly for their symbolic value. But that’s only the beginning. The real power of ritual is that it’s the gateway to something beyond itself, it’s the gateway to a deeper understanding of what it represents.

That ritual infuses my erotica is not surprising. Sex is steeped in ritual, and often the rituals we psyche_et_lamour_327x567practice before sex are strikingly similar to religious rituals. We often wear special clothing for the occasion, just as priests and acolytes do. We may share a romantic dinner together before hand, with special foods, just as the priest serves the Eucharist. Flowers and gifts may be offered. And all this we do in hopes of experiencing and celebrating le petit mort, the sexual version of death and resurrection.

When life was a lot more tenuous than it is now, fucking the world into existence was an act of high magic, sympathetic magic. One hoped that by having sex in a field or a cave or possibly a stone circle, the birds and the bees would see what was happening, and take a hint. Pollination would take place in the plant kingdom, plants would grow. Procreation would take place in the animal kingdom, animals would give birth. There would be food to eat, and the next generation would be guaranteed. Our ancestors got it — that there was something in the act, something in the lust driving the mating rituals of all living creatures that brought about new life. New life was in itself magic.

Today sex is more about recreation than procreation. The urgency is no longer there, nor is the belief that our efforts will encourage the cattle in farmer Jones’s field to breed. The urgency may be gone, but the ritual is still there. Strangely and wonderfully, so is the magic, albeit a different kind of magic.

220px-Grus_canadensisThe beauty of sex as ritual is that we don’t have to be members of a religious group; we don’t have to undergo years of training to practice the rituals of sex. Whether it’s BDSM, kink, vanilla or masturbation, sex contains the built-in default rituals of all humanity, just like it does for our animal cousins. Yes, I get that it’s biology. But when cranes dance and grebes do synchronised swimming and apes groom each other, it certainly seems like more is happening than just the old in and out.

Giving and receiving pleasure is the ultimate ritual of human connection, even if it’s just some much-needed connecting with ourselves. There are as many versions of the ritual as there are people to practice it. No organised religion can offer a ritual that is more personal nor more universally compelling. Perhaps that’s why so much effort has been made through the centuries to regulate it, to control it, to limit it.

Back in the dawn of humanity when sex was both ritual and religion, our ancestors got it right. Though the science wasn’t yet available to back up that intuitive connection, that visceral urgency of fucking the world into existence, even back then, our ancestors already knew that the ultimate ritual, the ultimate magic takes place in the arms another.

If you’re in the Bristol area next Saturday the 7th, I hope you’ll get your ticket and come join us at Eroticon.

 

 

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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