A chat with Jason Miller about sex magick

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Jason Miller (Inominandum)Jason Miller (Inominandum) is a sorcerer, author and teacher. I recently had a chance to talk with him about his fourth book, Sex, Sorcery, and Spirit, which recently came out from New Page Books.

He’s been interviewed quite a bit lately in various podcasts (which I highly recommend checking out), and I wanted to take our talk in a new direction.

We chat about sex magick, the dangers of marathon sex sessions, and when it’s appropriate to let your partner know that you’re a wacky occult sex magician.

Sex, Sorcery, and Spirit, by Jason MillerPsyche: For those who haven’t yet read Sex, Sorcery, and Spirit, could you tell us what it’s about?

Jason Miller: The book is about using sex as a tool in magick and spirituality, as opposed to using magick for finding sex, which is good too, but it’s a separate thing.

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Sex is this immensely powerful, primordial experience — at least good sex. It hits us on all the levels. In my second book, The Sorcerer’s Secrets,  I talk about the mental or divine level, the energetic level, and the bodily level. The magick of sex must have been so important to prehistoric man. Physically speaking, this is what results in people. You can divert that into something else. This is the power of creation. It’s just natural to want to harness that. And use it for your own evil purposes [he laughs], or to harness that energetically.

I think there are very few people who don’t feel the energies of the body working during sex. You take somebody who is just an energetic dullard — doesn’t practice yoga, doesn’t do tai chi, goes to martial arts and doesn’t know what the hell their sensei is saying when they say ki — just not tapped into that bodily energy at all. I think during sex, even they feel the energy of the head and the way it moves in the belly, and gathers. There’s this energetic response to sex that just pumps the volume up on the energy level.

On the mental plane, you have this mental explosion: le peitit morte, what the French call “the little death,” because it’s this ego shattering moment — at least good ones.

Are there bad ones, though?

There are bad ones. Where the self dissipates, and you’re left with this clear moment. This is why in tantra sex is so important, because it’s in this moment that you can open up that door to light and clarity that some spend lifetimes trying to attain by being virtuous.

With these three factors in mind, sex is a very powerful tool for both attaining clarity and spiritual states and for performing magick in in the real world. There are techniques that take it beyond what comes naturally to people and to make it better, different, last longer, open it up. To make sex a more profound experience, ideally for everyone involved.

That’s one of the things I really liked about your book. A lot of sex magick books focus on technique, or the energetic level, or some amalgamation of both, but you get to practical things that you can do with that, and not just learning techniques for the sake of learning the techniques. Practical application is rarely included in sex magick books, and it was great to see. What made you decide to write a book on sex magick?

Modern Magick, by Donald Michael KraigSex magick has been a part of my practice right from the very beginning. I started when I was still in high school, and one of the books recommended to me by a teacher was Modern Magick by Donald Michael Kraig, so that was the first program I ever worked my way through, lesson by lesson, month by month. I read the chapter on sex magick before I had ever had sex. It was running in the background of my virgin brain as something that was a possibility, and so I got to practice it fairly early on with my first partner, dabbling, I’m sure very clumsily, like every other teenager, and doing some fun stuff with it.

It’s always been there, and then I met the man that would become my main magical mentor in both tantra and magick in general, John Myrdhin Reynolds (Lama Vajranatha). I met him when I was 19, and he has this uncut mop of hair just piled on top of his head in one gigantic dread. I asked him, What’s up with the hair? He said, Well, monks shave their head to show their celibacy, and tantric sex magicians wear their hair like this. I thought that tantric sex magick sounded awesome, but wearing your hair like this, not so much [he laughs].

He had made that a possibility right from the start, and eventually I got involved more with Buddhism and tantra, and it was important there, and the Ordo Templi Orentis. It’s always been in the background of whatever I’ve done. People tend to ignore it or not talk about it openly, and I wanted to crack it open a little more than it has been. Free it from some of the alchemical language and Victorian morals that still follow it to this day.

Jason Miller, InominandumYou’ve mentioned a few of your influences, what others have influence the practice and what you teach in your book?

I have a debt owed to the Thelemic current in this book, and I was lucky enough during my time in the OTO, which was 11 years, to meet some people who spoke openly about this. Then to meet Cliff Pollick and Misha Pollick, who are no longer in the OTO. Cliff is one of the founders of the Cthonic Auranian Temple — it used to be the Cthonic Auriandian OTO back it the day — so he had all the ninth degree documents by Grady McMurtry. He said, See if you can make something of these. Before the internet I had a copy of that book of notes, and things like that. Then I was trying to make use of them.

Chaos magick was also a huge influence on me back in the ’90s, and probably the most popular practice would be staring at a sigil while having an orgasm. This too, I think, was gone over in Modern Magick. They always talk about having your sigil somewhere in the room, looking at it. But we have all these nice body paints now, so why would I want to looking somewhere other than my partner? We would use body paint and draw sigils all over our bodies, so we’re both staring at the sigil while staring at each other. Integrate magick and passion, rather than separate them.

When I did get involved in eastern stuff, the pivotal practice came into it, and that’s the tummo in Tibetan, or kundalini yoga in India, and also some qi gong practices, the thrusting channels — this is the heat that I think the alchemists were talking about in relation to sex. In the texts they tend to write it off, you heat the elixir by having sex for a long time. Which is the correct as well, but there’s this element that’s done with breath and visualization and, if done really well, can actually raise the core body temperature. Then it creates this bliss in and of itself that brings this into the sex act, and now you’re cooking with fire. This is one of those things I then brought back to western teachings and it made all the difference.

One influence on my teaching of sex magick is simply the times we live in, and the freedom to think out of the box. For instance, later on in the book there’s a chapter on BDSM and sex magick, and there are techniques in other chapters that are non-traditional, and that’s because we don’t have to talk about these things in hushed tones any more. We’re not worried about  women collapsing in piles of crinoline. I can get interviewed by women frankly and discuss it like adults, like we always should have been able to. Having this freedom for all parties lets you speak about it, explore it in different ways, and to combine things differently.

The western influences come from Paschal Beverly Randolph and Aleister Crowley; the eastern influence, for me, primarily comes through Tibetan Buddhism and studying other paths; and that third factor is the modern times we live in.

Modern Sex Magick, by Donald Michael KraigIn your book you mention that you’re another white, cisgender, heterosexual male writing yet another book on sex magick, and I wondered if there was a point where you considered adding women’s perspectives on it, homosexual couples, and non-binary people?

Yes, there was. In fact, I had spoken to and interviewed a number of different women on it, and I had spoken and talked to and even passed some chapters to gay and transgender people.

On the one hand, if I had more time to organize the input from multiple people, I could have added input in the way that Don Kraig did his sex magick book (Modern Sex Magick), which had several different women, gay, lesbian, transgender people weigh in and small articles. But I didn’t. A lot of it was just time and people were caught up in some other things, and some of the people that I had asked said they were already writing for publications that were coming out, specifically by and for and women and gay, lesbian, LGBT, and it’s very exciting.

The second level of that is that I started to take what I had learned and gleaned from these folks and start to write on it, and then I sort of said, well, I can think of nothing more arrogant then to be a white cisgendered straight guy telling people of other genders and orientations how to handle their sexual business. I said, Well this has to go too. That is not a sticky wicket that I want to get in to.

I wanted to make it clear that there are some things in the book where it  doesn’t matter. If you’re doing an operation that relies upon the moment of orgasm, that primordial space, then it doesn’t really matter how you get there. Maybe it matters whether you’re doing it solo or with another person, but even there, there are different operations if you’re doing something that relies upon energy polarity.

People that I’ve spoken to that are the same gender say that that one person can run one polarity, and one person can run the other, and I have no reason to double that’s very successful, so I put that forth in the book too. I don’t have any personal experiences with, but this is what people say they can do.

There are mythological examples that I put in the book, of deities and so on that have same sex relationships or have switched genders.

Then there’s of course the matters of working with physical fluids, where the physical body matters. So, some operations are male/female, and maybe can’t be done female/female, male/male, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t also operations that are specific to male/male, specific to female/female, so in the book I wanted to point out that there are specifics for each orientation.

Painting everything with a broad stroke brush, saying everybody can do everything and it’s all fine and it’s all good, doesn’t really do service to the different experience people have. That in itself is a way of glossing over the thing rather than treating it as unique, so I wanted to say in some cases it really doesn’t matter, and some cases it really does. That’s not a judgement call, it’s technical.

I’m still not sure I agree with that. A lot of these ideas of “polarity” seem to rely on the idea that sex, ultimately, is procreative, but most sex isn’t procreative. Most people like to have sex because it feels nice — regardless of gender, sexuality, or spirituality. So I’m wondering, how you think that comes into play, if you think it comes into play?

Definitely. Like I said, you have these different levels, and different operations rely upon different principles. In operations that focus upon using that moment of bliss — through sex and ego loss orgasm — to open up one’s being and either let one’s innate clarity shine through, or let the presence of deity come down and enter, I don’t think that matters on the procreative polarity one iota. I think that’s purely something that can be done, and then if you want to bring polarity into it, you can.  I agree with gay and lesbian friends who feel that they are able to work polarities into that, even though physically they’re the same gender. I absolutely think that more is made out of it than needs to be.

But in cases where we’re talking about the consumption of or combining sexual fluids, is there a difference between combining male and female sexual fluids, and combining female and female sexual fluids, male and male sexual fluids? I think there can be. I don’t necessarily think that one is better or inherently correct or anything like that, but I think they are different operations, and to assume that they are the same operations is, in a way, disrespecting differences that people have, or disrespecting a wonderful variation of life.

For most operations, no, I don’t think it matters, because as you said, it’s a matter of sex feeling good, there is this energy to it, and there is this divine state to it, and that is not important at all for some operations. Or maybe I’m wrong.

Sex, Sorcery, and Spirit, by Jason MillerYou mention long sex is good sex, but for heterosexual women in particular it can be painful for an extended duration, and you don’t talk about that in your book. If that’s an issue, I was wondering what you think women or men should do about that?

This is one of the advantages of working with a partner that you have a long experience with, a deep relationship with, as opposed to somebody you’ve just met. One of the reasons that I push so hard for men to be able to control their orgasm — it’s not so much to go as long as humanly possible — it’s to time it with their partner’s. I think that you’re absolutely correct, for women prolonged sex can be painful, but not anything past the two minute mark, or the three minute mark. I think we’re talking at the 10 minute mark that you start to having those issues.

In your book you recommend 30 or 40 minutes, and as I was reading it, I was thinking, Wow, that could get painful — especially if you’ve already come a couple of times. You could get chaffing [laughs].

First of all, 30 minutes of just hammering, it’s not going to happen [laughter],  unless you’re both extremely physically fit, never mind keeping an erection.

You need moments of taking it slow, on and off, switching, and things like that, and to keep in mind the other partner’s moment of orgasm, if you’re trying to time that together. It’s a matter of timing, about women having it versus men having it.

Frankly, some of it boils down to angle, and things like this. Approaching it from one angle you hit the right spots, and approaching it from another angle might not hit the right spot. And then many women report that they can’t have an orgasm through intercourse at all, in which case you’re probably better off switching to other modes of and sharing the energy that way.

It’s not about just having the longest marathon you can, it’s about having the tools to work it out and do it, and this is one of those cases where so much sex magick instruction is geared towards men and a big part of that is patriarchy and bias, but another part of it is simply that we’re the equation that needs more help when it comes to control and longevity [laughter]. So, I would say it’s not about going for as long as you can, it’s about working with your partner with timing, because you don’t want to be painful and go on or be boring.

Boring sex is another factor. If you’re not switching it up, and you’re not fully invested and passionate then it’s no longer working. So, even if there’s not pain, but it’s boring, then it’s no good either. I disagree with Randolph when he talks about divorcing lust and passion from the higher forms of magick. I absolutely disagree. We need to integrate the two.

I had trouble with the part in your book where you mentioned that it may not always be necessary to tell your partner that you’re engaging in sex magick. You acknowledge it’s obviously problematic if it’s something that involves fluids or their energy, but not necessarily if it involves more meditative states. If it’s just a matter of meditation, you can fly solo, rather than using a partner, it would seem? And it implies a lack of trust, which doesn’t sound like a good way to engage in a relationship, physical or otherwise.

If you’re in a relationship with someone, they should know that you’re into this. I would assume that they know that you’re a wacky occulty meditative sex magick person, so when you have this moment of orgasm, and you’re like ahhh, then it’s kind of hard to hide.

But this is more for people who have taken sex as a part of their path, and once sex becomes sacred, it’s not ever not sacred, including if it’s a one night stand, someone they just met, or someone they’d be interested in developing a relationship with. It’s not so much that you hide it, or have to keep it secret, but it’s not something you necessarily want to bring up on a first date, and we’re talking about something that is going on in your own mind.

Ok, that makes sense to me.

I think in committed partnerships that would come up naturally one way or another. I would never recommend anyone hide anything from their partner. but in cases of one night stands, things like this, then yeah, that’s fine. I don’t think that there’s any harm in laying back and ahhh, you know, and not necessarily getting into a deep discussion about it.

In cases where you’re using energy and recycling energy, then I think that acknowledgement of consent is normal, or should be required. And certainly if you’re doing weird things with fluids, your partner should be aware.

Final thoughts?

The book is an attempt to differentiate sex magick from sacred sexuality. I think there are a lot of books out there about sacred sexuality, and they are very good, and it’s a wonderful topic, but whenever we get involved in the world of magick, we have to focus in on technique: what’s happening, and why, and why it’s good.

Check out Jason Miller’s excellent book Sex, Sorcery, and Spirit, filled with practical info, exercises and practices for the budding sex magicians, as well as his website, strategicsorcery.net, and his blog, Strategic Sorcery.

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