Orgy!

“‘The old religion was polytheistic. Its most important deity was a goddess who was worshipped as the great mother. Its second major deity was the horned god, associated with animals and sexuality, including homosexuality. These and other deities were worshipped in the countryside at night with feasting, dancing, animal masquerades, transvestism, sex orgies, and the use of hallucinogenic drugs. Sensual acts were at the heart of the old religion, since theirs was a worldly religion of joy and celebration.”

“All the evidence indicates that nature people fucked for pleasure. Their purpose was to celebrate sex. Their orgies were acts of sexual worship to the power of sex they felt in themselves and in nature around them. Their religious feasts were characteristically joyous: dancing, feasting, fucking together. The Indians who have been observed in the Americas; the myths that have survived in Europe; the artifacts that exist from all over the world – all attest to the pleasure of what the celebrants were doing. George Scott has rightly observed “that, without exception, the worship of sex by all primitive [sic] races originated in the pleasure associated with coitus, and not in any clearly conceived notion that intercourse would produce children”.

“Hence it is a misrepresentation for industrialized academics to call such celebrations “fertility rites,” as they usually do. The orgies were not clumsy attempts to increase the gross national product by people who had a very rude understanding of economic laws. Nature people did, indeed, believe that through such acts their bodies would become stronger, the crops would grow taller, the sun would shine brighter, and the rains would come in profusion when needed. But they believed these things because they had a collective tribal feeling of the power of sex throbbing through the whole of nature; their experience of sex was so open, public, communal and intense that they felt it reverberate through the whole cosmos. In this, they were unlike modern industrialized people who practice sex … privately, in the dark, in isolation, and with guilt.”

Arthur Evans, Witchcraft and the Gay Counter-Culture (1978)

the party over

The orgies of the ancient Mediterranean world were sacred cermonies run by queers! They were ritual occasions of ecstatic worship held in honour of the Great Goddess and the dying God, aiming to bring connection with deities such as Cybele and Attis, Dionysus, Astarte, Orpheus, Pan, Aphrodite and Adonis.  The orgia aimed to break down barriers between the celebrants and the divinity through a state of mystic exaltation, which was achieved through music, dance, song, intoxication and sex. These deities all had gay oriented and transgender priesthoods, whose special duties included putting on these rituals, plus divination, chanting, holding ceremonies for the dead and sex rites with temple pilgrims:

Philostratus (end 2nd century CE), described rituals where the queer Gallae priests of Cybele embodied the deity Attis in order to have sex with worshippers who came to receive the essence and power of the God.  He said that “The tie between god and man cannot be thought of in closer or stronger terms, and they are joined by a feeling not only of lifelong gratitude but of personal love, which in its expression passes over into sensual terms.”  

“Throughout the ancient world, both male and female prostitution was associated with religion. Such was the case in the worship of Baal-Peor, Moloch and Astarte (Syria); Osiris and Isis (Egypt); Venus (Greece and Rome); Mithra (Persia); Myllita (Assyria); Alitta (Arabia); Dilephat (Chaldea); Salambo (Babylonia); and Diana Anaitis (Armenia)…

“The religious prostitute seems simply to be a historical extension of the practice of having ritual sex with the shaman, either male or female. In tribal societies (where cities, temples, and money are unknown), we have seen the common practice of ritual sex with the shaman, individually or in orgies. As early Mediterranean societies fell victim to urbanism and a money economy, the function of shaman in the countryside was transformed into that of priest in the temple, and money then entered in as a form of religious donation.” Arthur Evans, Witchcraft and the Gay Counter-Culture (1978)

Cybele

Paul of the New Testament railed against the orgies of the Cybele cult: “For even their females exchanged the natural use for that which is contrary to nature, and likewise also the males, having left the natural use of the female, were inflamed by their lust for one another, males with males…”

Roman senator Firmicus Maternus wrote a polemic called ‘The Error of the Pagan Religions’ in 346, firmly associating pagan cults with sexual immorality and especially homosexuality. He complains that the effeminate priests or holy men: “can minister to her only when they have feminised their faces, rubbed smooth their skin, and disgraced their manly sex by donning women’s regalia. In their very temples we see scandalous performances, accompanied by the moaning of the throng: men letting themselves be handled as women, and flaunting with boastful ostentatiousness this ignominy of their impure and unchaste bodies…. Next, being thus divorced from the masculine, they get intoxicated with the music of flutes and invoke the goddess with an unholy spirit so they an ostensibly predict the future to fools.”

Dionysus

Dionysus, beloved across the ancient world as the bringer of ecstasy was also known as Bacchus among the Romans, who attempted to ban his orgiastic cult as early as 186 BCE because of the scandalous sexual stories about it and its potential as a place to hatch subversive political plots. This drove Dionysian rites underground, and made them very appealing to outcasts, slaves and queers. The authorities were always nervous of the popularity of the worship of Bacchus and the Goddess among the unruly masses, and these orgies could get very out of hand, some Gallae rites featuring plenty of sado-masochistic, blood letting transcendence alongside the shameless eroticism.

Christianity proved an effective weapon for the governing classes to bring the population under control from the 4th century onwards. Until then, Christianity was just one of many exotic new religious ideas competing with ancient pagan beliefs, and had no set formula – some forms of early Christianity embraced sexuality, even promoted gay sex over straight because sex between men and women traps more souls in the painful suffering of physical life! Once established as an official religion in the Roman Empire, the Church soon moved to get pagan worship banned – and gay sex made punishable by death. The queer priests of the Goddess were murdered and the temples destroyed. The state religion was used to change the minds of the people, who since ages past had considered sexuality, considered orgies, to be a natural part of the divine dance of creation. Gradually, over the centuries, the Church spread its dark view of sexuality, and the holy power of sexual magic – and of erotic queer priestcraft – was lost.

In 7th century Spain, Archbishop Isidore of Seville, who is praised as ‘the last scholar of the ancient world‘, recorded that the Latin equivalent of the orgy was the caerimoniae run by the colleges of male priests. So in fact our all our modern religious ‘ceremonies’ are the descendants of queer led orgiastic rites of the Great Mother. Drop that into your next chat with a proselytizing Christian!

The Triumph of Pan

It was through pleasure that people had always met the God and Goddess. The Christian Church set out to put a stop to this, but it had a fight on its hands as rival Christian formulations found immense and widespread popularity in the Middle Ages. ‘Heresies’ such as those of the Cathars, the Bogomils, the Knights Templar and the Free Spirits, considered sexuality to be natural and acceptable, including between men. This would be one of the levers the Church, working with the political state which envied the wealth of these groups, would pull to turn the populace against the heretics – leading to an explosion in anti-gay invective from Church writers from the 13th century onwards, such as Thomas Aquinas with his insistence that gay sex is ‘against nature’.

Not everyone was convinced by the Church’s attitude however. Some remembered that pleasure itself was once considered a way to the divine, and continued to practice that. In late December 1367 at his trial for holding heretical beliefs Free Spirit John Hartmann of Ossmanstedt said that a game of chess could reveal God equally as well as receiving the Eucharist sacrament from a priest, if one took more delight in it – because, he said, God is found in pleasure.

Over the centuries there were always men who accessed the memory of our sacred queer pagan past, and left traces in the culture for others to find. Men such as Michelangelo, William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Shelley, Byron…

Edward Carpenter

The gay poets, writers and philosophers of the 19th century also made the connection. Edward Carpenter, English champion of gay people from that period, had a vision of the future of mankind:

“The meaning of the old religions will come back to him. On the high tops once more gathering he will celebrate with naked dances the glory of the human form and the great processions of the stars, or greet the bright horn of the young moon which now after a hundred centuries comes back laden with such wondrous associations – all the yearnings and the dreams and the wonderment of the generations of mankind – the worship of Astarte and of Diana, of Isis or the Virgin Mary; once more in sacred groves will he reunite the passion and the delight of human love with his deepest feelings of the sanctity and beauty of Nature; or in the open, standing uncovered to the Sun, will adore the emblem of the everlasting splendour which shines within”

Edward Carpenter, Civilisation: Its Cause and Cure

In the late 20th century gay run orgies returned – sex clubs and saunas opened, a big gay party began, and despite the setback and ravages of HIV, burns on strong. In ancient times orgies were often public occasion steeped in mysticism and magic, in the early 21st century the orgies often take place in guy’s homes, where the choice of sacrament taken to ease the flow of the occasion is not under the scrutiny of the prying eyes of the law. These modern orgies may (or may not) be lacking a sense of divine embrace, but they definitely have a powerful air of ritual about them, much pleasure is pursued and shifting of consciousness occurs.

We all know there’s plenty of tragedy in our gay sex underworld (disease, abuse, addiction, breakdowns, deaths…)… we have brought HIV under control, but to bring more light, love and simply JOY to this scene we gay men need to take care of our souls, and the time is key for us to remember and honour our spirit power and its purpose. The sex scene is important – it’s where we explore this vital part of our nature, a place we can liberate the entirely natural and even somewhat holy nature of gay sexuality from centuries of repression and imposed shame. Our gay sex games can be just as fuelled, filthy and fun when done with love and consciousness, it’s not doing it in the shadows that makes it good! Sexual energy is spiritual power, this the ancient pagans knew and this knowledge is ours to reclaim.

Gay writer and visionary Arthur Evans wrote in Witchcraft and the Gay Counter-Culture (1978): “We look forward to the revival of personal and sexual learning, as it was once practiced by Sappho and Socrates and the Native American Indians… We look forward to re-establishing our communication with nature and the Great Mother, to feeling the essential link between sex and the forces that hold the universe together…”

At Queer Spirit Festival, a 5 day outdoor festival in the UK attended by 500 people at its 2019 manifestation, the Sacred Sexuality Temple was a massive hit. The temple workshops, sex rites and play parties were all full to the brim. You wouldn’t know it by looking at most gay porn, apps or media, but many gays get that sex is a spiritual action as much as a physical one, and therefore worth doing with skill, openess and attention. Good sex takes you to God/Goddess. The gays of the 70s knew this, that’s why they named our big London temple of dance and cruising ‘Heaven’.

Festival attendee Naked Angel wrote about his experience of the festival and the Sacred Sexuality Temple: “I refer to it as my metamorphosis, because I changed from a dull caterpillar into a beautiful sexual butterfly. The festival completely changed my outlook on sex and sexuality and liberated me from the mindset that had held me back and repressed me for far too long. I suddenly saw that sex was not something to be hidden away but something sacred and joyful, something to be celebrated. illuminated – floodlit, even! I embraced my new-found sexual freedom wholeheartedly. I surprised myself by entering the Sacred Sexuality Temple, naked yet totally unconcerned, and happily accepted the invitation of two guys to engage in sexual intimacy with them. And I was unconcerned too when a group of guys entered the marquee, sat close by, and began to watch. Since then, my sex life has blossomed, I have enjoyed taking part in sex parties/orgies and I’ve explored many aspects of sex that I would have been afraid to try before; and I am keen to extend and deepen my experience in every way I can… Oh, and I fell in love at Queer Spirit too. The affair was hot and passionate, albeit all too brief, and it gave a huge boost to my self-confidence as a sexual being.

Flyer from the first Festival

In ecstatic pagan rituals the world over, genderbending queer shamanic souls have always led groups of people into shared communion with the spirit realms, facilitating a touch of bliss to help people remember their connection to the cosmic realm from which we come. In good gay clubs we do the same, but we have to remember that this power is not for us alone, it’s designed for the whole world, for to keep it to ourselves will surely bring more disease and destruction. Pleasure is holy and Love is an ever-expanding force, and despite the centuries of lies from religious sources, queers know that pleasure and love are the tickets that take us to heaven. When we rediscover the queer art of the sacred orgy, we develop also the ability to take others along on the ride!

Published by shokti

i am shokti, lovestar of the eurofaeries, aka marco queer magician of london town. i explore the links between our sexual-physical nature and our spirits, running gatherings, rituals and Queer Spirit Festival. i woke up to my part in the accelerating awakening of light love and awareness on planet earth during a shamanic death-and-rebirth process lasting from January 1995 to the year 2000, and offer here my insights and observations on the ongoing transformation of human consciousness, how to navigate the waves of change, and especially focusing on the role of queer people at this time.

2 thoughts on “Orgy!

  1. I really appreciate all you write. I felt enlightenment from reading this! I want to physically experience some of the gay pagan journey ritual and ceremony

    Like

  2. Thank you, Shokti. My man and I discovered Arthur Evans, Mitch Walker, et. Al in the 80s and have subscribed to these pagan rites ever since. Our sexual connection has always been our religion. Thanks for introducing a new generation to this important history!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: