Dear Potential Patron,
In our culture there lacks any social or spiritual role for the transgender healer, witch, or priest on the shamanic path. As a transgender, genderqueer trainee in this area, I believe strongly that we must create a place where I and others like myself can safely train and share our unique wisdom and healing abilities to help our earth in crisis. I am devoted to my path of ancestor worship, manifestation magic, and energy healing, for the benefit of all beings. This is what I have come to understand as my purpose, and yet there is no established full-time outlet for me, such as a monastery or ashram, since I practice a pagan path.
Thus, in the spirit of the holy mendicant, I seek patronage, a generous soul willing to donate a monthly stipend so that I may devote my days to the discipline and rigors of my spiritual training. My training includes four kinds of work and magic for myself and others: ancestral, manifestation, energy healing, and dreaming.
What I would provide you in return, is to act as a meditation guide, dream consultant, or teacher of classes on queer spirituality, depending on your needs. I can provide references for all of these abilities.
If this sounds meaningful to you, scroll below for the complete, fully detailed proposal. Thank you for reading; I hope to hear from you soon.
Jesse Pikorz, MA
New Role for a New Earth:
Healing Wisdom of the Transgender Shaman
Proposal for Patronage
June 6, 2013
Statement of Purpose
As my Saturn return has thrusted me through the cracks of an empathic awakening, and as I practice manifestation magic and energy healing, and connect more with the ancestors, I feel a strong call to devote my days to this path (for a summary of my practices, see Appendix I). I seek patronage from a person or organization, for me to pursue my path full-time. This patron is someone who believes in supporting the establishment of a socio-spiritual role for the granica, the gender-variant shaman (Pikorz, 2013). I am flexible as to how this process and business relationship will develop, but in the meantime I can provide (via this proposal) concrete examples and descriptions of this new spiritual path, how it has evolved from past traditions, the important healing role it plays in the world today, and finally, the details of how we can make this happen, starting with myself.
My Birthright as a Walker Between Worlds
A large, mama bear psychic (and close friend of my mother's), Mary, once told me something that struck me so powerfully, relating this recent psychic and empathic awakening of mine. Not that I take her word as absolute truth, but it did strike my core in that it fills in a lot of blanks and questions about why I function as I do in the world, and who I am:
Mary felt that when I was born, when I chose my mother (which I remember) and incarnated through her, that I didn't ”come all the way through.” Meaning, part of me is here in this realm and part of me is inherently in the bardo of rebirth or earlier. Ever since, I have existed and walked in multiple realms. When she said that to me it hit certain places in my body really deeply and I felt like crying, out of gratitude for her words, validation, for compassion and sadness for my personal journey that has been so rough at times.
Now at twenty-seven, I attempt to harness my abilities with more awareness and intention. As a guardian of the gates between worlds, I use ritual to open and close worlds, obtaining wisdom for myself and others. This spiritual path requires an intention to embody greater amounts of oneself as a microcosm of the universe.
Shifting between worldviews is like playing a song, and then transposing that song into a different key. I can speak in mechanistic, modern language or ancient indigenous language, in a kind of psychic alchemy. ”Opening worlds” means to see and translate truth through various worldviews. In the depths of meditation I may reach out and touch my ancestors as physical spirit bodies, and simultaneously visualize them as DNA memories present in my cells.
Having just received my master’s degree in consciousness studies, I am now a genderqueer musician and spiritual seeker in the frontiers of human experience. Some describe my music as transformative full-moon rock celebrations of genderqueer consciousness and spirituality. In my graduate thesis, I made headway into the ”hard problem” of consciousness, pushing ontological and epistemological boundaries of mind and its relationship with the physical universe. In recent years, I developed a curriculum and class, ”The Sacred Inferno: Consciousness and Sexuality.” In the Bay Area, I design and teach classes, lead group meditations, and facilitate group discussions of cooperative inquiry. As a cultural innovator in the genderqueer BDSM world, I created, wrote, and co-hosted The Kinky Show, a weekly television series providing lectures and discussions on the historical, educational, philosophical, and spiritual aspects of culturally taboo sex practices. Throughout all of these endeavors, the beckoning of the spiritual path whirls through me
The Bigger Picture
We need alternative forms of healing and magic to help us with the current ecological crisis on the planet. For four hundred years, we have operated from a mechanistic, deterministic worldview with no place for consciousness, and the harnessing of the subtle energies. This has allowed us to attempt to manipulate and exploit the world, with disastrous results. If we are to live in a safer, more harmonious relationship with the Earth, then we need to re-discover the study and understanding of meaning and intention, which are elements of magic. We need to start to understand that long-ignored part of our reality by beginning a thorough study of different forms of healers and their ability to work with different kind of realms and energies—if we are to survive.
Deeply internalizing the indigenous perspective, the unity of consciousness, i.e. spirit inherent in all matter, allows one to perhaps live differently in the world. My personal experience of this paradigm has most profoundly affected my interaction style with others.
In order to better imagine what the transformed experience might look like, consider the contrast how one might live in the world according to the materialistic paradigm. Materialism is essentially a framework of separateness, of atomistic entities bumping against one another. There exists nothing to form a connection between objects or beings, other than the decision to approach and engage. Since interconnection is not a prerequisite for consciousness, an effort or specific intention must be made in order to connect.
That effort to connect epitomizes great pain I felt at an early age, feeling so separate from everyone else. Embedded in a culture of objects (the paradigm of materialism), it is no surprise that I experienced this. The irony, of course, is that in a culture of objects, everyone likely feels that separation; our perceptions have been trained to see dualism as a result of the mechanistic paradigm we have been immersed in for the past few hundred years.
The indigenous, holistic paradigm of spirituality includes the idea that consciousness is not an object that can be separated into each person, but rather one, fundamental unified phenomenon, manifesting distinctly through all matter. Thus, when I look at a stranger at the bus stop, we are the same consciousness, experiencing itself in slightly different ways. In this new way of seeing the world, connection is inherent and fundamental, and transgender people are nuances of a whole. And transgender magic holds the balance, the paradox, of limitless Spirit incarnated into solid matter.
Holding paradox is just one way our transgender healers and spirit workers can act as guides, as humanity makes its next shifts, ecologically, politically, and socially, into a new world.
Spiritual Path of the Genderqueer Pagan Healer
Genderqueers—neither masculine nor feminine, but beyond both—challenge cultural norms, a third gender heralding the next phase in human evolution. As a transmasculine genderqueer, I have created a new identity for myself, and I tell my story to inspire others like me.
My breakthrough came when I researched my Eastern European roots and adopted and adapted granica, an ancient Slavic word meaning frontier. In my adaptation, granica are people who ”push the boundaries” of experience and imagination. It fits me perfectly.
In modern, Western culture, being genderqueer means living outside the accepted gender polarity. Unfortunately, society rejects transmasculine genderqueers like me, leaving us outcasts with nothing to offer and no role to play in our culture. Surely we are not genetic mistakes! Like everyone else, we can play a meaningful role in society—especially if we do so with an open heart, allowing deeper spiritual meaning and purpose to bloom.
The granica embodies meaning and purpose in genderqueerness. As bridge people, they offer insight to help with the tension that arises from gender polarity, and as frontier people they could very well foreshadow the next phases of human consciousness.
A great deal of pain and suffering arise from the fact that gendequeer people in Western culture lack a societal role and thus lack an internalized sense of purpose. The genderqueer often ”reflect[s] the heterosexual tribe’s fear” (Anzaldua, 1987, p.18), simply by being different, and ”difference” is not a cultural value in the West.
Indigenous Slavic Tradition & Myth
As a granica, my dreams and waking life meditations connect me to the ancestral world. My ancestry, a vast, unbroken chain of human experience stretching through millennia, have, likely, produced the occasional genderqueer within my lineage. When I ponder my ancestry, I have faith that I am not alone. These genderqueer ancestors can hold me, can understand my gender and my potential for healing on the planet. I honor my ancestors, and I particularly honor those Slavic ancestors who were ”like me.”
The Slavic language, like many others, connected me with an indigenous cosmos, a living tapestry of three genders, where each word possessed a masculine, feminine, or ”neuter” grammar and intention. When it came to humans, however, the ancient Slavs recognized only two genders, implementing an even stricter binary language form than in our current-day English. As opposed to English, which applies gender only to nouns, Slavic language applies gender to most words in the sentence, including verbs. In addition to masculine and feminine verbs, nouns and verbs are also classified as virile or non-virile. Virile refers to the masculine, and non-virile refers to feminine, animals, and objects.
Nonetheless, the larger ancient Slavic spiritual concept of duality actually stresses the achievement of balance between ”opposites.” For instance, light and dark were not necessarily seen as good versus evil, as in later Christianity and English. Certainly, light represented creativity and darkness represented destruction (Alexinsky, 1959, p. 294), but both were seen as equally important facets of existence. In fact, one pole of a binary system cannot even exist without the other (Johnson, 1997, p.26).
Ancient Slavic spirituality viewed water as one of the most sacred elements on Earth, and balancing or changing its polarity was a common method of healing. Water was believed to hold a negative charge. Shamans wielded a dowsing rod to change the naturally negatively polarized water into a positive, or healing, charge (Johnson, 1997, p.22). Shamans also took ice bath rituals, first imagining themselves immersed in a searing fire before actually diving into the frigid liquid (Johnson, 1997). In these ways, a transcendent experience emerged from the balance of two opposites.
In a similar fashion, I imagine the integration and balance of masculine and feminine within the individual self proves an imperative practice. The genderqueer occupies a third gender altogether, as a foundational social role, which houses the traditional binary genders within it. They possess the outsider’s ability to harness and cultivate both the male and female within themselves, while on a deeper level they remain beyond both. The genderqueer’s balancing of gender duality is not sought externally, through an ”opposite sex” partner, but rather in one’s one body and soul. The question still remains: How one can transcend duality (Anzaldua, 1987, p. 80), and actually understand an identity that lies beyond binary masculine and feminine? In order to embark on this perceptual adventure of expansion, we must ”develop a tolerance for contradictions and ambiguity” (Anzaldua, 1987, p. 79). The granica inhabits an in-between space, a ”third element which is greater than the sum of its parts, a new consciousness” (Anzaldua, 1987).
However, the first stages of new thinking can prove difficult as we stretch our minds and formulate language for new perceptions. Insights of genderqueer people can play an important social function, offering the first blossoms of this next phase through their lived experiences.
* * *
In order to fully understand the role and purpose of a contemporary Slavic granica, we must have foundational knowledge of the spiritual landscape of the indigenous Slavs. These people had an animistic, polytheistic spirituality, but before the development of a full pantheon, they worshipped the ancestors (Vynke, 1971, p. 651), or the Rozhenitsye, which translates as the ”mothers” or the ”fates” (Johnson, 1997, p. 147). The root of ”Rozhenitsye” is rod, or family clan, which originally represented its own social entity, worshipping its own specific human lineage.
Along with ancestor worship, a vast pantheon of archetypes, myths, and sacred figures filled the ancient Slavic spirit. Arguably, the most respected force or deity worshipped by the ancient Slavs was the Earth itself, the Mother Earth archetype. Even in the present day Christian paradigm, children are forbidden by adults to beat or hit the ground, because it is considered ”a sin to beat the earth, [as] she is our mother” (Johnson, 1997, p. 83). In Belarus, plowing was formerly forbidden until March 25th, because until then the Earth was considered pregnant (Gimbutas, 1967, p. 753). Thus, Mother Earth is seen as a mother figure, but also as the whole of the living Earth itself.
Despite the large amount of prominent male deities in the Slavic pantheon, Mother Earth remains a special archetype to this day, revered above all the others. She could be counted on for prophecy and intuitive knowing, alive in every motherent of people’s lives. One could confess their sins to the Earth, or listen for the coming of rain by leaning down and pressing one’s ear to the ground (Johnson, 1997). Mother Earth could also be called upon as a witness in matters of legal quarrels (Alexinsky, 1959, p. 297).
If we extend the archetype of the ”holy mother” into the later stage of life, the sacred crone, we meet Baba Yaga, the Bone Mother, the white lady of death and rebirth. Hero’s quest myths often describe how Baba Yaga put the hero through tests so that he might find eternal life (Johnson, 1997, p. 19). If the hero humbly sought her aid with respect, he received transmutation and healing. A fence made of human skulls adorned her fearful hut. Occasionally she appeared as a serpent, ”the primal energy of chaos” that lay at the root of the World Tree.
As a granica, I realize more now than ever the need for humans to learn to cultivate a new, adult relationship with all versions of Mother Earth, as we evolve our capacity for destroying her and every living thing. The Mother Earth archetype, although ancient, is very much alive, the spirit of our one living organism that gives birth to us all.
Mother Earth sits in the depths of my soul, a strong, quiet, and calm figure whom I call Blue Woman. She speaks to me occasionally, through intuition or through a voice when I call on her, and she always speaks the truth of what I need to do in a given situation. She lies at the foundations of my connection to the universe and has given me two dream-like visitations.
Besides Mother Earth, the rest of the pantheon largely comprised male deities. Svarog, the Slavic version of Zeus, and the father of the other gods, ruled the sky. Dazhbog, the son of Svarog, was the sun itself. Svarovitch governed craft of the primal fire, similar to the Greek Hephaestus. Czarnebog, or Volos, reigned over the underworld, the realm of the dead. Perun, the Thor-like thunder god, mastered lightning and other furious forces of nature.
Ancient Slavic Androgyny and Shamanism
At last, we arrive at what is almost a third-gender god. Enter Jarilo, the only gender-bending, cross-dressing god in the Slavic pantheon, portrayed as a young man dressed in white woman’s gown, barefoot, a crown of wild flowers around his head and a fistful of wheat in his left hand, riding a white horse. The Slavs celebrated this Dionysian god during the summer solstice, as the god of sexual passion, representing the height of the life force. His effigy was ritualistically burned at the end of the summer solstice celebrations (Johnson, 1997, p. 37). The name Jarilo came from the root word ”Jar,” which meant exceptionally powerful (Vynke, 1971, p. 657).
My granica identity holds Jarilo as particularly important, because he is the only symbol of androgyny, an ”almost third” gender that exists within my ancestry. My personal interpretation of Jarilo is the positive faggot archetype, which characterizes the ”masculine sexual receiver.” Unlike its counterpart female archetype, which receives and gives birth to human life, my personal interpretation of the masculine bottom, or ”fag,” is a vessel for divine inspiration, designed to create art, beauty, and expression, all pathways to spirit. He expresses himself as a youthful feminine boy, though internally androgynous. I currently draw my inspiration from Jarilo in my social expression; it is the external face of my deeper granica identity.
Beyond the mythological world of gods, the shaman, or healer, proved crucial to indigenous Slavic spirituality—often mediating between the human and the spirit worlds (Tokarev, 1969, p. 53).
Ancient Slavic shamans and healers each performed healing using their own unique and individual methods (Johnson, 1997, p. 57). These people went by various names, such as čarodejky (sorceresses), vedmy (sages), strigy (witches), veštkyne (prophetesses), sreči, doli, volchvi, čarodeji, veduni, bajalniki, vorožci, nauzniki, volšebniki, znachari, and lastly, žrec, which is derived from the word žreti, meaning to offer sacrifice (Tokarev, 1969, p. 59).
The granica acts in a fashion similar to the Slavic shamans, as they mediate between genders, so vastly opposed in our culture that they practically constitute two ”worlds.” The granica could indeed fulfill the role of a modern shaman, able to share in the ancient practices, interweaving them with new ones. As a granica, I inhabit the borderlands of gender, which in our culture are so deeply ingrained in our psyche, that the frontier of gender is the frontier of consciousness. Thus, they act as bridge people in mediating conflicts that arise amidst the polarized tension of the genders. There are various ways to help mediate these conflicts. Slavic shamans often used specific methods in order to access various powers in different realms.
The true magic of ”magic,” is not incorporating new skills, dazzled at novel abilities, but rather the life-affirming satisfaction and relief of re-membering familiar currents long forgotten. My spiritual journey has, to my surprise, always aligned with that understanding. When I use the word spiritual, I’m implying an interconnectedness with the rest of the cosmos and holding faith that there is more to nonphysical realms than our barely perceptible inkling of them. The first ”spiritual” memories I can speak to, were visions of what looked like the Virgin Mary.
I recently proposed to a couple of friends a different kind of ”healing,” in the form of manifesting work. I have been doing this for myself my whole life, never considering it anything otherworldly. It involves movement and music, coupled with kinesthetic rhythm that puts me in a very specific state of consciousness. It takes finesse, because if I am significantly emotionally attached to the outcome, it doesn't work. Thus, I can manifest things for myself I'm less anxious about, such as money, interviews, environmental situations, and friends, but have little success in the realm of love, sex, and relationships. Fortunately for these friends, work, money, and lifestyle are things that they need manifested.
There is a process I have been doing my whole life, very organically, only now realizing that it is a kind of ritual.
Let us say I want to see something happen. I create a snapshot or a very short scene. If I wanted to see myself around a certain kind of group of friends, I would imagine a series of photos of me with those people, and maybe even a short scene of me interacting with them.
Before I continue I must insert that I cannot be emotionally attached to the outcome, of whether this comes to be or not. If I am emotionally attached, and obsess about something, it will never come to be.
Thus, my intention balances excruciatingly delicately and precariously with emotional attachment; I calmly sift through the images and scenes in my visual imagination, while I go for a walk listening to music. I hold a very specific pace of walking. My feet are completely present to the nuances of the pavement. When I walk, the bottom surface of my feet indulge in each kinesthetic nuance or each pebble and crack, enjoying the texture, to the rhythm of my footsteps.
The music I choose and the feelings it invokes, blends with the rhythm of my feet and the texture of the ground. In a nutshell, I go into an altered state of consciousness where I am functional enough to not get hit by a car, but in a distinctly different state of consciousness than ”normal” waking life.
When I was a small child, I had other ways of going into trance. I would take a squishy rubber ball and just bounce it, for an hour straight. The teachers thought I was nuts and were worried I was not social enough.
That trance state of consciousness, is the most pleasurable, most natural state of consciousness for me. It is as if I was born to do it. It just feels good. Not necessarily purposeful or higher meaning, just very fundamentally pleasurable.
If I do this practice as described, the intended scenario comes to pass between one to twelve months, depending on the magnitude of the intention. My understanding of this phenomenon, is that I set an intention and go into an altered state that facilitates that intention transferring from my imagination to the collective waking state.
Lowering to an even finer level of detail, I can provide a more specific example of this manifestation work:
One day I suddenly realized that a looper pedal, about two hundred dollars, would revolutionize my ability to perform as a rock musician. But I didn't have a spare two hundred lying around. So I ”did my thing,” and later in the day, a belated Christmas card (belated by three weeks!) arrived from my Aunt Linda from North Carolina, who I talk to once every three years, with a fifty-dollar dollar check in the card. That was enough for me to request a more palatable amount of money, one hundred, from my dad, and then pay the remaining fifty myself.
Only recently have I decided that I could offer this manifestation work to other people. Since my life has involved many a struggle with aloneness and selfish only-child insecurity, practicing this for others will help me grow and work around my envy of others having ”abundance,” and also be helpful for you. In order to do so, I would want them to give me the description of what they want, in the form of a snapshot or brief scene.
I included a disclaimer, that they would be my guinea pigs. I do not lay any claim to knowledge of the consequences of such things, but I can say that it's so natural to me that it's practically my default state of consciousness, so it feels very ”right” to me, since it's in the service of love and source.
I often tell people that my gender is a performance, that if I truly identify as anything, I am a creator. Manifestation is what I have always done, using source energy to create art, persona, as well as manifest life circumstance, which is my primary magic. As a young man with a female body, Spirit impregnates me with melody and stories. I give birth to symphony and revelation. We confuse, tease, flip paradox like pancakes of revolving meaning and symbol. How precious!
A basic intention of sex magic, is to either harness or sacrifice sexual energy for the purpose of healing. For instance, I once helped heal my lover, Annie’s, anxiety by imagining and sending this energy to her, my sexual energy represented by my fist inside her taking all the energy, anxiety, frustration, and channeling it up and down her body, eventually pulling it out through her cunt in an explosive orgasm, releasing it back to Spirit.
Annie, an adept witch herself, suffers from endometriosis. I wrote down the following as a healing practice I performed for her benefit:
My intention for this healing is to help heal the hellish chaos in Annie’s uterus, namely her endometriosis. So I will perform a practice that harnesses my sexual energy in a focused way, channeling it to Annie, so that my focused energy acts as a laser beam that wraps around her uterus area, the target, and sucks all the chaos out of her while focusing the menstruation process to work as it should without pain and bleeding elsewhere in the body.
I’m naked. This is important from the beginning because it expresses my honest open vulnerability to the cosmos, to the ancestors, to the holy mother. No shred of shame, and no shred of hesitation should be shown. I come as the willing sacrifice.
I take my two sex objects, a dildo and a butt plug, and place them on my ancestral altar. After performing my initial tasks, lighting the incense, replacing fresh water and vodka offerings to my family, and swirling spirals of sage smoke around my body, I kneel. Drum in hand, I lightly pound a shamanic beat, focusing on my breath, entering the meditative state. As I breath slowly and deeply, drumming into trance, I focus on the dildo and butt plug, focusing my sexual energy on them, so that they will be filled with my magic, the healing magic required to channel through me.
As I focus by breath, my gaze, and my energy on these toys, I contemplate my role in this ritual as the bottom vessel, ready to be fucked, to be rammed full with these objects, so that I act as a channel for Spirit, the ultimate top to fuck volcanic power into me. In contemplating this I grow wet and hard, and I know it’s time.
Saying thank you to my ancestors, and asking them to walk with me, I take the toys to my bed, and I slowly slide the cock into me, through my slippery wetness, fucking myself moans out of my throat. I lube up my asshole and slide the tip of the plug in.
As I feel the approach to orgasm, I reach the point of no return, that plateau state of power preceding orgasm where one can hold multiple states of consciousness at once. In this state, fucked sore and ready to release in ecstasy, I say my intentional healing prayer for Annie:
Spirit, we channel this medicine to Annie
come to her through the ocean
guide this orgasm, the blaze of my cum to her sacral place
to her beautiful but suffering uterus
to the endometrial cells
penetrate them with light
bring them all down, bring them all down
May she feel only glowing love and a healthy bleeding
My prayer is my offering...
As the last word escapes my breath I begin to orgasm, the magic objects inside me grinding against my soft flesh ablaze with cascading waves of exalted rapture. In this peak I revel in the active magic of this ritual, my delight a celebration of Spirit, and the ability of us incarnated masterpieces to know our true nature and to act by it.
I lay my head down on my bed with a great sigh, content that I’ve completed the ritual precisely as it came to me through the creative channels of cosmos. May my intentions manifest true, with harm to none and healing love to myself, to Annie, and all beings.
One can also use manifestation work in sex magic. On another occasion, my lover, Annie, was planning on a beach weekend vacation with her partner. Since she suffers from endometriosis and every period of menstruation is not only excruciating, but causes an extreme bloating of her stomach, she wanted me to assist in the delay her bleeding, so that she could enjoy the weekend.
I first took the idea, in the form of a snapshot image, along with the feeling of her waiting to bleed, about to bleed, but not yet bleeding. I held this idea constant in my mind, letting it hover in my awareness without emotion, judgment, or conclusion. As I slowed my breathing and went into a more drowsy, daydream state of consciousness, I began to transform the imagined scene, into a felt sense of gnostic ”knowing.” When one simply ”knows” something, such as the color of one’s shoes, or one’s name, there is a subtle quality to that specific state of consciousness. It’s not an argument to be defended, not an emotion that plays in the body. It is a very evenly spread valley of energy that lies still in my belly and mid-abdomen areas. It is such a light energy, that it is easily broken or pushed into disorder by doubt or any poking of the logical-rational mind. Thus, this kind of practice is best done in a drowsy, meditative, daydreaming state of consciousness, to lessen the likelihood of strong rational-logical (or emotional!) reactions.
I alternated between that practice, and one that works in a more physical way. I lightly focused on her uterus, holding that area in my imagination visually, and imagined an orange-yellow energy squirming around in and around her uterus, the energy that causes it to contract and release the blood and the eggs. I imagined that energy beginning to squirm upward, so that it was my power, my force, intentionally tugging on that energy, keeping it balanced against gravity, preventing it from working downward and starting the menstruation process. All of this ”force” and ”tugging” is, in reality, a very subtle action, not enough that Annie would feel me, but enough, as I said, to prevent the system from working downward through her passage.
As context for this process, I have been able to temporarily delay my own bleeding, my entire life since I began adolescence. I would only delay it for a day or two if there was some circumstance that would make bleeding inconvenient. This was the first time I’ve ever attempted it on someone else, and the first time I have been aware of every nuanced detail enough to write these words. The bottom line of this practice, is that just like any magical practice, the intention and the work must be performed under a certain state of consciousness, usually the meditative alpha state, which can be induced through drumming, breathwork, and meditation practice.
At the root of sex magic is the practice of subtle energy exchange. The most powerful offering I can produce for my ancestors and the spirit realms is my own sexual energy, my cum. Fucking is the exact presence of immanence and transcendence, of the earth soil-lust of sweat and cum, nestled in the spider web split between god-worlds.
To elucidate this point, I created a practice called working with the “Sex Bardos,” taking the word bardo from the Tibetan spiritual tradition to represent a “between” space. We genderqueers don’t fuck to unite the masculine and feminine. We fuck to crack open worlds, as is our birthright. In a nutshell, this way of working with sex magic is to develop a heightened awareness during the transition into orgasm. Normally, during sex, the energy builds and the blood is driven in pulses to the genital area, building until reaching a ”point of no return,” which soon bursts into orgasm, after which the energy suddenly drops off, and the tension finally resolved. Typically, people are unconscious of the process other than pleasure, and the goal is the orgasm.
In this practice, we focus on the period between the point of no return (PONR), and the orgasm itself, but not going into the orgasm, not yet.
This period is a bardo, a transition in states of consciousness also known as the between. For a brief motherent, there exists a subtle crack in reality, between realms, which, if accessed, allows one to expand consciousness, enter other realms, receive healing, guidance, or countless other possibilities.
The bardo, the microseconds preceding orgasm, can be characterized by a complete lack of control. If one can maintain awareness through this uncontrollable helplessness, their full awareness gives the perception of holding onto that motherent, in which one can:
*Receive divination insights or answers, or the diagnosis for healing
*Harness the energy in the lusty, swollen gentials and channel it throughout the body and chakras, even out to one’s aura or one’s partner.
*Call in other entity/ies to channel through you or your partner, or to receive the offering of your sexual energy.
*Peer into the crack between realms and behold the astral realm, including an altered state of expanded consciousness
Finally, one enters the orgasm state carrying the intention or whatever was received in the bardo, through. the orgasm completes or resolves whatever intention or insight was received or witnessed in the bardo.
The Sex Bardo practice can be done with one or more partners, although if more than one person is involved, it would be the safest and most powerful to have one shared intention.
An Emerging Granica Cosmology
The ancient Slavs, like many traditions of their time, believed in specific domains of spiritual power. These could be areas, places, or beings in nature, or they could be zones in the body. Unlike the seven bodily energy zones of the chakra system, the indigenous Slavs named three basic zones in the human energy body. Each energy center possessed a particular intelligence and intuition. These centers consisted of the head, heart, and dziwot, located in the lower abdomen area. The head represented the mind, the cerebral intelligence found in analytical thinking and strategizing. The heart center represented the place of emotions, feeling, and also the capacity for higher love. The dziwot represented the primal root chakra, the source of sexual and primal energy, and ultimately a connection to the one divine unity. One could actually learn to think or feel through these three different energy centers (Johnson, 1997, p. 114), depending on what a situation or circumstance called for.
As a granica, I work to become more aware and in tune with these various energy centers, and I practice meditations focused on each one, so that I can learn to perceive the world through each center, as my ancestors did. I find the dziwot most interesting, because it can be used in processing the darkness of the human psyche, or shadow. In fact, I incubate creativity within my lower abdomen (the dziwot). As this source-sexual energy bubbles up through my core, I utilize the dark creativity to alchemically create the light of new ideas.
Through life, death, and rebirth, the granica integrates all parts of existence within themselves, embodying a microcosm of the greater universe. As a beyond-the-spectrum genderqueer, I feel the process of realizing my full gender identity involves expansion—as opposed to transitioning from one category to another. This process of slowly transcending and including allows me to incorporate more and more of the infinite possibilities of gender that exist within myself. Much of this beautiful new territory itches to be explored; the universe naturally seeks to expand.
In the way that the universe houses self-symmetric concepts, the development of human psycho-spiritual dynamics parallels the development of an infant. For instance, many say that humans are in a state of adolescence with regard to the Earth. We hurt one another, trash the planet with our garbage and pollution, and live a harshly self-centered lifestyle. In order for any hope for the planet, we need to grow up, develop a respect for elders, and develop into a more mature phase. I believe that the granica can help move us safely into that mature phase. A new cosmology will emerge, told by the granica storyteller:
In the beginning, the infant universe formed one vast primordial expanse. This one song flowed through time with majestic unity. However, it felt the desire to want to know itself, to experience, to reflect. Thus, it decided to create a polarity: the self and the other. A great line was drawn through the stars: light and dark. Through the natural evolution of complexity, two spirits emerged, intertwined, a braid of polarized tension, so that the cosmos could experience itself more intensely, more creatively. It formed the feminine: steadfast, caring, quiet, and strong. In contrast, it formed the masculine: an uncontrollable curiosity pushing forward with brimming life force. Then tension between the opposites of masculine and feminine became a hunt, through the whim of Eros, another cosmic artery. Together they danced about one another. The tension of the binary lived, and the cosmos rejoiced!
As the two polarities merge, a third unified cosmic artery forms, a restless curiosity, with the urge to poke its nose into every crevasse, the soul of exploration . . . ”what's this? what about that?”
This original ancestor now calls me home. Like Baba Yaga, I snake through every experience, every crack of the cosmic psyche.
As a genderqueer, I am a part of the story of my Slavic indigenous ancestry, a lineage that worshipped the Earth as one organism saturated with purpose.
Since there is no established role for the granica today, the responsibility rests in our own hands. If truly there is no positive social or spiritual role for me as a transgender spirit-worker, then I will create that role myself! As the new few decades roll by, if we can harness enough support and love for this cause, I envision the slow but steady recognition of transgender shamanic workers like myself, stepping up, realizing, and then actualizing their paths and roles. Eventually, ultimately, we can establish a physical center, a university-meets-monastery, where people can train as I did, or learn about the transgender experience and more specifically, transgender spirituality. Classes will be taught. Workshops will be facilitated. Spiritual queers like myself will live there and train, and some will give sermons to those who want to listen.
However, although I certainly intend to walk my path regardless of who or lends me aid, collaborative change can often be the most effective. Behind the scenes of this vision lie donors and organizations, people to write grants and people to fund the projects. This is where you come in, at the very beginning.
If you choose to act as my patron and donate your support in the form of my income, $2500 per month, you are directly creating the first link in this chain. We would design a legal contract detailing the expectations, forming the foundations of trust in this business friendship. Part of this contract would include my daily work schedule and how I deliver to show for accountability (see Appendix II for a blueprint of what this looks like).
I take this rich story of the Slavic granica into the future, embodying an identity that most do not yet recognize. I see the granica as a way to help humanity push forward into the next phase of consciousness. And as I stand in the borderlands of perception, I say to the rest of my human kin: Welcome to the frontier!
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Anzaldua, Gloria. (1987). Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. San Francisco:
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New York, NY.
Gimbutas, Marija. (1967). ”Ancient Slavic religion: A synopsis.” To Honor Roman Jakobson.
Essays on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday, 11 October 1966. (pp. 738-59). The
Gimbutas, Marija. (1971) ”Religion.” The Slavs. (pp. 151-70). New York, NY.
Pettazzoni, Raffaele. (1954). West Slavic paganism. Essays on the history of religion.
(pp. 151-63) Leiden.
Pikorz, J. (2013). Granica: A queer frontier for human consciousness. Witches and Pagans.
Sedov, V.V. (1981). ”Pagan sanctuaries and idols of the Eastern Slavs.” Slavica Gandensia. 7-8:
Tokarev, S. A. (1969). ”Niederle’s views on the religious beliefs of the ancient Slavs in the
light of the latest research.” Ethnoogia slavica 1, 47-66.
Vyncke, Frans. (1971). ”The religion of the Slavs.” Historia religionum. 1, 649-66. Leiden: Brill.
Summary of Basic Training Practices
1. Nutrition and Exercise
Establishing a period where one begins to exercise and eat a diet of fresh, nutritious food that is appropriate to their individual body’s needs. Depending on how attached one is to food, this process may take many years. Nonetheless, it is essential. How can one expect to hone their mystical skills if they cannot even control what they put into their body?
2. Breath Meditation
More of a side practice, the purpose of breath meditation is the development of mindful awareness. This ability lends a groundedness to these other practices, increasing their effectiveness. One sits in a comfortable position, and focuses on breathing from the lower abdomen, imagining thoughts as bubbles, observing them, and then letting them float away.
3. Shielding Practice
As the foundation of energy work, shielding practice forms the root of any magic training, fine tuning awareness of the perception of boundary between self and other. This is an especially important practice for me, since I get easily overstimulated by people’s energy. Shielding first starts by using the visualization of colors, forming a radius of two to three feet around the body. Along with that visualization comes a somatic “pushing out” of energy, and possibly a verbal prayer, establishing a boundary of protection around the body. As part of my training, throughout the day I occasionally “check in” with myself, to notice what I’m feeling or thinking, and feeling whether those are coming from me or possibly from somewhere or someone else.
4. Dream work: incubation, interpretation, and lucidity
The dream state seems to facilitate certain kinds of experiences, such as visitations from ancestors or other beings that I want to connect or share wisdom with. I keep a dream journal so that every morning I can sketch and jot down what dreams I had, and ponder them throughout the morning. Usually I have two to three dreams I can remember, and they often provide me with a deeply meaningful symbolic context of what is happening in my life, what I need to take notice of, what might help, what might not help, etc. I incubate dreams when I have a question or intention that I set before going to sleep. The practice of lucid dreaming is also helpful in conversing with dream beings, or simply practicing lucidity, so that I might be more lucid in other states of consciousness, such as waking, falling asleep, meditating, and even through the dying process.
5. Ancestral work
At the very least, I make a daily offering on the ancestral altar. Offerings include water, incense, a hard boiled egg (usually the first of the dozen), and most importantly, vodka. For the Slavs, vodka was always the offering of choice. I call upon my ancestors regularly, reciting the names of my grandparents back until we have no record, and after that, refer to the rest of them. I may call on specific ancestors, such as the queer ancestors, but always with the preface “of love and light,” to prevent the attraction of any ill will. I call on these ancestors simply to strengthen my connection to them. I may call on them in meditation, in prayer, or before bedtime, so that they might come in my dreams. Occasionally I may call on them for some kind of help, but usually I just want to get to know them better and ask them what I can do to respect their memory, or listen to any wisdom or advice they have to share with me.
6. Sex Magic and Taking a consort (i.e. a lover)
Having one or more lovers is not about ensuring that my sex drive is satisfied, but rather the practice of sex magic with others. Of course, if no lover is around, solo sex magic can be incredibly powerful. Since magic and “paranormal” intuition and intelligence comes to me primarily through my sexual energy, it is important that I keep in practice of honing this energy, using it in a healthy way for my magic and healing. Involving a consenting lover in my spiritual practice can potentially create far more powerful healing than merely by myself, depending on our intention.
“Manifestation magic” means exactly what it looks like. There is some desire I create in my imagination, and I bring it to life, so to speak, in the outer waking world:
-I set a loose intention.
-I create a short scene or photograph, similar to a movie, and play it in my mind.
-Hold this scene lightly. If there is too much emotional attachment, the manifestation will not work.
-Then, I go for a walk, and play specifically chosen music that fits with the rhythm of my steps.
-In this state of consciousness, I play that scene over in my head.
-I usually get results within 1-12 months, depending on the magnitude of the desired scene.
This entire idea and process seem almost too good to be true. However, there are always an abundance of factors one cannot foresee, thereby manifesting quite a different or slightly shifted or twisted version of what one wanted. The advice “Be careful what you wish for,” comes alive in this practice. Furthermore, the state of consciousness necessary to manifest is extremely subtle and takes delicate finesse.
I fill up a dark, ceramic bowl with water, and place it on my ancestral altar. I then kneel, and meditate on a question or scenario, something on which I wish to have some insight. After my intention is clear, I either, un-focusing my eyes, gaze into the water with my hands in my lap, or I gaze while raising my fingers and playing with the water, perhaps using stones to watch the water drip as I raise them, or swish the water back and forth, peering at the patterns and eddies that form. The movement, sound, and look of the water all facilitate that more intuitive state of consciousness, from which insights or images might appear, that ideally lend clarity to my question or intention. I can use many different tools for divination: water, candles, tarot cards, runes, you name it. Divination is not about the tools; the tools are a vehicle for focusing one’s consciousness in a particular way. Just like my Slavic ancestors, I possess a predilection for water as a divining tool. The way water flows, drips, and sounds, drops me into a state of consciousness where I can access my intuition to make connections and understand the context of the situation at hand.
Upon the informal decision to agree to become my sponsor, we will design and negotiate a contract outlining the details of how I am to receive my stipend, the services I offer to you and others, other potential paid opportunities I may accept, and whatever further agreements we decide.
Accountability and Compensation: Healing and Ancestry Sessions
In the event that my “patron” be an institution, I offer weekly classes on consciousness and sexuality and/or queer spirituality.
In the event that my “patron” be a person, I offer personal consultations on ancestry and/or dreams, and energy healing, at the level at which I am training.
The details of this work would be outlined in full in the contract described above. In addition to classes or sessions, accountability would be met through regular (e.g. monthly) meetings with me to discuss my experience, progress, barriers, ideas, or whatever else arises, to maintain a trusting, working connection between myself and patron/sponsor.
The contract will include a section describing the details of how, once a period of time has passed, or as my training reaches its final stages, I take on an apprentice, so that I pay it forward and pass along the knowledge and practices I’ve acquired, on to a new practitioner who will be sponsored and trained after me.
This is only the beginning of a tradition I hope to co-create with others, so that after enough time has passed, we can ultimately own or rent a center, a kind of queer monastery, that offers classes, workshops, training, and possibly even housing, to those devoted to a queer spiritual path of healing and/or teaching. Until then, we begin with the first step, my own training.