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The disastrous effect of Pornography on Theurgy


First off.....I'm no Puritan. I'm a huge fan of sex and its healthy expression. I'm a 31 year old American fellow; I practically grew up on the interwebz, and that means plenty of nudity and porn. Especially during my relatively barbaric early twenties. Lots of men my age will tell you they never enjoyed porn, or rarely watched it when they were young. These men are filthy,  filthy liars. It didn't become so mainstream because it was watched so seldom. There may be the occasional gent who avoided partaking, but I give him no credit; that sort of avoidance, built on fear of discovery and hidden shame, is shameful in itself. Like with most things, better to dare, be burnt, and learn than to sit in front of the fire with a trembling cowardice in the face of overwhelming curiosity. Just stay off of /b on 4chan, and you'll come out alright.

The issue with pornography isn't a Moral issue. As long as everyone involved is a willing participant, morality doesn't come into it. The issue is an Energetic one, a Magical and Theugic one, a matter of Power and mastery of the hidden Virtue.

A basic understanding of how the sexual force works and how it is connected to Thaumaturgy and Theurgy is necessary to come to a full understanding of the uselessness in regular consumption of pornography. To keep it very simple, the sexual force is directly connected to the vitality, magical and otherwise. Sexual potency and magical potency are almost a synonym. When you are drained and exhausted sexually, you are drained of vitality, of a particular Virtue that is a hidden hand in all of your magical work. This has little to do with the physical performance of sexuality; you can be sexually vital and strong, but still absolutely terrible in bed...

 This is a stored and generated force, that is only limitless during very altered states of existence. In normal waking life, it is a resource that is limited but renewable.

Watching ponography is like putting a struck match to gasoline; it burns through this force. It uses it up for no purpose behind fueling a continued fascination with the pornography itself. When porn is used in the context of a relationship, it is not so disastrous; sexual power is raised by the interaction between the partners. The pornography is then an aid to the directed desire of the couple, and not both the focus and consumer of the desire. During a magical working that explicitly involves the sexual energies (they all involve the creative sexual energies, at one level or another), the sexual power is raised and used to fuel the goals of the working Magicians. The power is raised and the goal is concentrated upon (this is, of course, the super-simple version), and the sexual forces invigorate and empower that goal, be it thaumaturgic or theurgic. This is all well and good, and quite useful. 

However, when watching pornography usually the only goal is pleasure-and there is nothing wrong with pleasure for pleasure's sake!-but more often than not the focus becomes the pornography itself, and the pornography becomes empowered by the sexual act. More and more often it is resorted to. If it's grip is strong, it desensitizes the Operant, making it more difficult for internal and external arousal to occur without it's stimulus. It fills the mind with gloriously impossible acts, and gloriously gorgeous participants. It becomes more difficult to be aroused by the common beauty that is available, and this is another danger. There is nothing wrong with fantasy, but having sex with your partner and fantasizing about someone else has a number of deleterious effects. It changes what is literally a magical act into a simple act of pleasure; instead of the mind focusing on the goal of the union and empowering it, the sexual force empowers the fantasy. It reduces the partner into a masturbatory aid of sorts, which is terribly unfair. This would be disastrous for an act of sexual magic. Mutual fantasy eliminates this problem, of course, if fantasy must be resorted to. The key understanding, I think, is that sexual union with a partner Generates sexual force, refines it, and even when used for pleasure it works to strengthen the bond of the participants when done correctly. Mutual respect and admiration is key; without those, it is simply masturbation with a partner. Watching pornography creates an artificial arousal that desensitizes in a way very similar to that of a drug; using it can make you dependent upon it. That is akin to being magically and sexually crippled. 

Now, I'm not saying that using pornography is always dangerous; it should be approached the way alcohol or any other strong intoxicant is approached. Very carefully.Yes, it is an intoxicant, and yes it can be addictive. It can have a terrible effect on your personal magic and the state of your energy body. The state of arousal, when focused on the pornography, empowers the pornography at the expense of your own reserves of vitality. Get in the regular habit of watching porn, and find yourself with reduced energetic reserves. The dream life dries up, as your various energetic bodies are deprived of sustenance and are left with little power. Your regular arousal, channeled into the medium that created that arousal, exhausts your Virtue. The dreams that where once vibrant and rich become muddy and faint, difficult to remember. Sex with your partner becomes less connective. There are many dangers, and they are insidious because they are subtle and magical dangers. They are not Moral, they are energetic. The magic of Adepts is no place for prudes-the sexual forces have to be understood and mastered. The effect is slow building but powerful. There is literally no point in bothering to evolve your energetic body if you are going to waste all of the vitality it needs to function. Your sexual power, your hidden Virtue, must be respected and wielded wisely.

I felt the need to address this because watching pornography is pretty much normalized for my generation, and even more so for the younger fellows. The magical dangers are very seldom spoken of, however, and they are important to address because for the Magician there is no moral reason not to partake. It becomes a matter of taste (or distaste), but these aren't enough. I find the method in which foie gras is produced extremely distasteful; I also loooooove me some foie gras and consume it occasionally. I certainly couldn't eat it every day, but it is a nice treat every now and again. I think that is a healthy attitude for pornography as well.

Just be aware. Getting wasted regularly on alcohol would have a disastrous effect on your magic; don't think for one second that pornography, as a stimulant, won't do the same. Cuidado, Fraters and Sorors. Achtung!

I'm sure folk are going to take issue with a lot that I've said here; the nature of the subject almost guarantees that. I welcome any well thought-out argument. 




  1. There is a concept called the psychological ur-text of a comment. Specifically, whenever someone says, "I'm not X, but..." it's a sure sign that A) They are X
    B) They don't like the fact that they are X
    C) They're going to say something X anyway.

    In this case your claim that you're not Puritanical or moral about this shows that, indeed, you are. Otherwise, you wouldn't have bothered commenting on it. In fact, you're using your magical theory as a rationalization to spread what you recognize as being Puritan morality. In fact, I'm sure that these truisms about magic and porn and energy are absolutely true...for you. Without evidence--not theory--to support your claims, it doesn't mean they're true for anyone else.

    Yes, it's important for you to spread your dogma. That's what people with Puritanical morals do. It doesn't make it ture.

  2. Wow. Heavy trollage there, anonymous. I did call it, though. Plus one for me!

    Now, let's get to it.

    Keep your ill-understood psychology to yourself. Your entire comment is rubbish.

    1. Sometimes, people actually say what they mean. This foolishness about "ur-texts" is weak and completely incorrect. If you think I'm wrong, let's hear an actual argument. Perhaps one that shows some basic understanding about debate.

    2.Proof? That is ridiculous. We are discussing Magic, not geology. There are no physical records, only observation and understanding based on research and experience. If you have any of either, please share. Otherwise, find a bridge to lurk under.

    Why are you so threatened by the idea that pornography may be negative for you? Why is that different for you than warnings about alcohol or tobacco, or other things that are dangerous in excess? And why are you so Anonymous, Anon? Not even a motto?

    I wait with baited breath for an argument from you with an ounce of merit.


  3. As for above... Clearly you were directing the post to discuss the effects on the development of the energy body and how not to waste it on something frivolous that will sap it out of you.

    Second of all, I may be a little biased because I am a substance-dependent type (well, sober now), and I hadn't necessarily thought about it this way. Though it does make a lot of sense.

    It may be a tad awkward to speak from personal experience on this one, but it does indeed make a bit more sense now why my HGA tends to urge me away from my old sexual ideal and into a new one. My sexual habits in general became quite a topic between me and my HGA. I had a hankering this may have something to do with it.

    I will be very frank. There have been times where it was late and I was like, "screw it. gimme some porn." before the performance of any daily rituals. I'd say 4 times out of 5, I just decided to lay there and pass out after the fact, rather than getting up and trying to dredge through the rituals.

    With this post in mind, it makes a lot of sense, really. And if truly understood in the context of the use of intoxicants (as it probably should), then that is definitely one area that needs to be handled carefully for me.

    Anyway, thanks for this, uh... "ballsy" post. (Oh god, terrible joke...)

  4. Care Fra Serpentis et Aquila,

    Thanks for the wonderfully honest comment! I had a very similar experience with the HGA, with it basically telling me to quit wasting valuable time on that. I've also tried to convince myself I'd get some ritual work done after partaking, and the days that actually happened are few and far between. It's definitely something worth being aware of.

    Thanks again for the excellent comment, Frater!

  5. Care VH Fr AIT,

    Thank you for this post. Bravo for it all. Briefly: I agree with your energetic analysis. We can actually go further in this analysis and if we are to do so, I believe the use of pornography IS shown to be a moral as well as energetic problem.

    Each of our subtle bodies is emanated from the one immediately superior it. Healers know that many etheric problems can only be fixed by addressing underlying astral-emotional problems. Emotional-astral problems are only permanently resolved by accessing the superior mental patterning that produces those problems.

    When we orgasm our etheric bodies release tremendous energy. The now depleted etheric body begins to immediately rebuild itself, drawing largely on the astral-emotional body. If our astral bodies are filled with love and affection for our partner, the repletion of the etheric body is tainted with that ‘vibration’. This explains why those people in happy, sexually active and loving relationships ‘glow’ – our etheric bodies are charged with love and recreated every time we have sex.

    However, if our sex is filled with hate, disgust etc, as in ‘angry sex’ or watching porn where a woman is subservient and abused, our etheric bodies are replenished with a violent energetic ‘tint’. When our orgasms are like this, we do not glow.

    Except in dysfunctional cases orgasm also affects the astral body. Occasionally the mental and spiritual bodies are involved, and the involvement (and creation) of these bodies is the aim of Tantra and western equivalents.

    When we orgasm our astral-emotional body is also depleted and rebuilds itself from the mental body. Now this is the important point – the mental body is non-local and transpersonal; it does not reside only with ‘me’. Whatever we think about we, in a small manner, connect with on the mental level. When we watch pornography we are connecting mentally with the mental level form of that pornography – the egregore of that pornography. Whilst this seems alarmist, we are very happy to accept we can link with egregores via intense focus and emotions in magic, and sex is very intense and emotional.

    Unless VERY CAREFUL when we use porn we are infect our mental bodies with the egregore of that pornography. This then becomes part of the basis for the replenishment of our astral-emotional bodies and explains why porn becomes an emotional addiction and why the emotions of the porn user is often effected, why they become less genuinely intimate and open.

    The mental level is assigned to the Ethical triad on the Tree of Life, showing the roots of the porn issue lies in the ethical and moral sphere. The understanding here is that we are not separate beings. Our mental level knows this and is in fact connecting indirectly with the porn stars, female and male. At these higher levels we ARE the woman who has chosen or been coerced or had no choice but to participate in pornographic degradation (MOST porn stars ARE degraded, so please no comments about the few who are not). We are also the men who believe their sexuality is so shallow and base it can be linked to violence and used as a means of power over. We are the pornographer who cares for profit over people and who makes money for temporal happiness by degrading the holiest power of the universe.

    So the issue to me is clear…it is a moral one…not in the sense of ‘porn users have no morals!’ but in the sense that using porn links us to, and supports an egregore where all sacredness is robbed from sexuality. Each use of porn grows that egregore slightly. Each personal use of porn makes us, at a deep level, aware of the suffering and degradation porn engenders, since at these levels we connect with what the porn stars feel and suffer with them. Then if we normalize porn use in our daily life, pretending it does not matter, we lie to ourselves. We cut off from our higher levels, and as you say VH Fr, the effect is disastrous.

    Thanks again. All good things to you :)

  6. Wow, attention grabbing header brother! LOL ;0)

    Well, I must say when it comes to sex and pornography I tend to very libertarian. My sense is with spirituality and magic in relation to sex and porn it's not so much the porn or the type of sex itself that is the problem as it the relationship we ourselves have to that - with which I mean to say if there is some sense of shame or self-disgust around it then that shame and self-disgust tends to be the pollutant.

    Porn just is. What it means we project on to it. For some all sorts of bizarre sexual acts are in fact extremely sacred (such as certain BDSM practices). Some describe it as a path to the Divine. I think this has to do with breaking taboo and the way this potentially shatters the strangling grasp of the conceptual mind. There are parallels in Hindu tantrism where the an initiate would seek out sex with a leper or those considered otherwise 'unclean' as an act of devotion to Kali, for instance.

    To me, the western world seems to be in the grips of a pervasive sex-negative attitude. The notion that certain kinds of sex or sexual expressions are sacred and others are profane seems entirely constructed. It culturally, spiritually and socially relative. Sex just is.

    And male sexuality in particular is very visual - hence the enjoyment of pornography amongst men. I don't personally feel or see harm in it. I worry that problematising it by conceiving of it as spiritual obstruction of some sort is potentially more harmful than than the porn itself. Though, you have to be true to your own journey and integrity - if this is where it is taking you right now then you have to honour that and work with it.

    While balance and virtue are good things, I would gently encourage that you not place it too much at odds with your spiritual path - that moral dissonance might become an unrelenting torment.

  7. Care Fra Balthazar,

    I know, right? =) There's no way to say "porn" in a title without it grabbing the eye, haha.

    I do understand what you mean about sex positivity; I just think the energetic realities make it necessary to approach porn with care, especially for those of us who actively practice Magic. It isn't the cleanliness or lack thereof that are cause for concern, but the effect upon the person using this particular stimulant. I may think porn is a completely positive modern expression of sexuality...that won't change the effect regular indulgence has on my energetic form.

    I do think that porn is a bit tawdry...where it not, it would be no fun! That doesn't make it repugnant, as far as I'm concerned.

    Unfortunately, that perspective doesn't do much to dull the effects of over-use, from what I've seen. To continue with the alcohol analogy, I find no moral issues with having a nice cognac..that won't stop any number of horrors from descending upon me if I partake of that cognac too often.

    I agree with you that sex is sex. Sex and Pornography, however, are not synonymous.

    When referring to Virtue, I was using it in the magical sense, and not the moral sense. In our Art, Virtue alludes to the hidden power of a thing, and not adherence to some set of moral rules. The hidden power in this instance is the Operants Sexual force. Ha, in Most instances it is the sexual force. =)

    Thanks for the great comment, Brother!

  8. Care VH Fra Peregrin,

    You honor me too much, brother--I've yet to take the grade for VH yet, but do appreciate the warmth of your greeting.=)

    Some very interesting things you bring up in your comment. I think your energetic analysis is spot-on, and more thorough than mine by far. Thank you!

    I do disagree about the moral bit though, as far as the women involved in porn are concerned. From what I've read, the vast majority do not feel degraded; many feel empowered, more seem to feel ambivalent by their role. Ultimately it is for them to decide if they are degraded or not. I may find a particular act they engage in degrading, but my feelings on the matter aren't necessarily the same as hers. With something as powerful as sexual expression, it is easy for us to project our own mores upon the performers. Especially for those of us who are feminist (and, now having learned the definition, we all should be) there is an urge to want to limit what seems like obvious degradation. Whether they are degrading themselves, in the end, is a choice they have to make.

    Porn plays upon the societal norms to titillate...the performers are very aware of what folk find to be degrading, and often engage in acts that will be perceived that way, because people get a kick out of watching degradation and will pay for it. That doesn't mean they actually feel themselves to be degraded. Many seem to believe they are truly acting out a role.

    It is truly a complicated subject--the morality part anyway. I feel that the energetic part is simple.

    Thanks for the wonderful comment, Frater!

    In LVX,


  9. Care H Fra AIT,

    I would like to thank you and this is I have suspected. There is a teaching that says "spilling the sacred liquor!" is forbidden and that care should be taken in preventing that from occuring. This is perhaps overkill and is perhaps not relevant to western occultism. I guesses rightly that the midle path is well suited to most westerners.
    What is your view on this out of interest ? I don't feel that sex is a negative thing and it should be considered perhaps as an expression of the self especially if making love to your spouse is the ultimate expression that man can have ( making love ). It is a sacred and holy thing and therefore our responcibility is to treat it as such.

    One person said that discipline is part of the path and to discipline ones self to to have good judgement and restrain ones self from over using anything, a good balance should be key.

    But the other part is to be loving and forgiving - we are all human and are prone to mistakes and will probrally continue to do such things. Don't be harsh on yourself generally.

    I thing of this as a guide to the use of the sacred sexual energies in love and compassion. Perhaps the sex should trascent the physical but be made into a thanksgiving to the other person on my life personally. I will be honest this hasn't always been the case, but i have learnt my errors.

    If you have any other thoghts about my opinion please express yourself and I will gladly listen to your opinion.

    I thank you again for sharing your heartfelt and honest opinions on this topic and that goes for all fraters and sorors that have written here.

    Love be with you all.

  10. I pretty much with Balthazar on this one, with one exception: there have been a couple of recent studies which have found that women respond just as strongly to erotic images, regardless of what they typically admit to.

    Otherwise, regarding this "loss" of energy: this is not a problem I ever hear about from female occultists. And I don't think it's because they're not looking at pornography, because I do, and I've never experienced this. Physiology may be a factor, although I would speculate that it plays a more psychological role. (I've never ejaculated, but I imagine it can be an intense and occasionally terrifying experience.) Your thoughts?

  11. @ Soror VVF

    I've never heard about female mages having this issue either. I'm fairly certain that ya'll have different mechanics as far as the depletion fact, if my understanding is correct, you're pretty much an endless well of sexual power and completely indispensable when it comes to Hermetic Alchemy for those reasons.Women are the key to the whole deal. That's what the Magdelene and a few others have said, anyway, and my experience with my Wife seems to confirm that. I imagine this power is at root of a lot of the fear of Witches and Sorceresses.

    Even our favorite misogynist Crowley couldn't do the work without involving women....I wonder if he resented that? He definitely tried to reduce the power of the female role in his operations, using women instead of working with them. A shame. The results when you work with a loved and respected female co-magician are worlds apart from what can be accomplished using a woman as some sort of tool. VH Fra Peregrin alluded to the reasons for this in his comment.

    I'm sure I've digressed....anyway, yeah, I'm going to say it doesn't work the same for women, but I'm not a female mage and so cannot say for sure. How about you educate me, Soror? =)

    Also, your blog is awesome.

  12. This is something I've wanted to see honest discussion on for a long time. Unfortunately, this being the internet...

    Thank you for approaching the subject in an honest and open way, brother (and for fending off the trolls!).

  13. Hello again Honoured Frater (sorry for the advance very honouring :)

    Yes, from my teaching traditionally the issue of depletion is completely different between women and men exactly as you describe. The difference lies in the emission of semen. For example, in Tibetan Vajrayana and other traditions this is very clear, even from public teachers like HH the Dalai Lama:

    “...entering into union with a consort of the opposite sex, by means of which the elements at the crown are melted, and through the power of meditation the process is also reversed. A prerequisite of such a practise is that you should be able to protect yourself from the fault of seminal emission.”

    In Tantra and western equivalents, retention of the semen is vital and it is only released for specific purposes, it being literally a sacred substance and vessel for the higher forces. This of course is direct contradiction to pornography where semen is often used as symbol of dominance and humiliation over women. Personally, I cannot see how we can reconcile recreational use of porn and membership of sacred traditions such as what is clearly being promoted as being in the Higher Orders of your GD tradition, Frater. Other manifestations of the GD may have no such Higher Orders utilising sacred sexuality, but my points in my previous comments still stand.

    Of course, as you say Frater we cannot approach this issue just by denying (or lying) about our attraction to porn and self-based sexual expressions. I think one of the best comments on porn comes from the Simpsons when Bart uses their new Cable TV to show porn to his guy friends:

    "TV: And now, the `Top Hat' channel is honored to present... `Broadcast Nudes'.
    Gang: Oooooohh...
    Milhouse: Gross!
    Martin: Yet strangely compelling..."

    We have to honestly face and accept the strangely compelling attraction of porn and work to transform it, redeeming the sacred force within us.

    Thanks again for this important topic :)

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. Ave,
    Anonymous Soror here, posting this way so I can speak more candidly and personally about this issue. I really appreciated Peregrin's description of how the astral and higher bodies recharge after an orgasm. This is similar to what I've experienced.

    There are (at least) two types of female orgasms: the G-spot, which is in theory infinitely renewable during a single encounter, and the clitoral orgasm. There is magical energy in both, but in my experience, the G-spot one is more useful for mystical work. A real clitoral orgasm, IMO, is much like a male orgasm but without the emission (we just don't have that hardware... ummmm... pun not intended.) The G-spot orgasm brings the energy higher, while the clitoral orgasm drains the various subtle bodies.

    Personally, I am only able to have a clitoral orgasm with the aid of a vibrator, and after that I am sexually "done" for some time. For me, the need for a vibrator is more important to transcend. I also look at porn sometimes. The point I want to make is, it's really the fantasy, not the pornography. An image seen is an image, whether in the astral imagination or in the physical. If porn is an aid to fantasy, our problem is with fantasies and not with the pornography itself. I think this is a really important point. It's the fantasies (not necessarily just visual) we feed ourself that influence our subtle bodies up in a certain way.

    As a woman, my "power" or "virtue" rises and falls in connection to my menstrual cycle. Just prior to my period, my emotional energy is way way higher, and if I am able to control it (which I rarely am) there is a lot of power there. Menstruation drains the female, just like emission drains the male. In my experience, PMS is basically the energetic condition of a woman who is unable to cope with this high energy level, before the body releases the menses. I find myself "burning off" that extra energy I can't handle magically with clitoral orgasms. As above, so below: the menses have a lot of magical energy, so the woman has a lot of magical energy. But I have yet to find any way reliably to balance the energy at the higher points of the cycle; generally my sexually energy just ends up fermenting into irritation and weepiness... which isn't a fitting sacrifice on the altar to the Highest. I would love to hear the thoughts/experiences of other Sorors on this one.

    One last thought on pornography... or should I say, "fantasies," I have some psychological training and am thinking about how paraphilias (fetishes) are some of the hardest conditions for therapists to treat. Hardly anyone who has a deep-seated fetish like that really gets over it, at least not with therapy. When someone has a fixation like that, it's just hard to treat. The imprint and the reward-reinforcement cycle is that powerful. I wonder if sometimes there's greater wisdom in accepting our bodies and minds as they are... putting it in the hands of the HGA rather than our own hands.

  16. It most certainly does drain etheric energies! I used to feel like crap all the time, my creativity was shot, and I was very prone to being agitated by little things almost as if my "shields" were low and I was susceptible to influences because of a low etheric immune system of sorts. One acquaintance said that after doing it 8 times in 1 day, he felt like he'd been doing coke all day the day after. People must be honest with the subtle energetic balance the power of the sexual force provides the rest of their system.

  17. @ Fra Pallas Renatus

    Thank you kindly, Frater. Gotten some very interesting and varied responses thus far. Definitely touched a nerve...

  18. @ VH Fra Peregrin,

    Thank you for sharing your understanding about the importance of seminal retention in the Eastern tradition...I've thought that the Eucharist makes this unnecessary for Western Practices, perhaps even at cross purposes. Mind you, I have not been initiated into the methods of the RR et AC, and only know the methods that I know...which involve a co-mingling of the sacred waters.

    I haven't looked at the morality standpoint from that's definitely a tricky one. I'd have to do more thinking on it; the question I'd have is whether the seminal fluid is naturally something sacred, or if it becomes sacred in the way Sacramental Wine does. Through blessing and intention. I use wine for any number of things that aren't sacred, but when it's time I have no difficulty making it holy. I've always thought the seminal fluid was no more (or less) sacred than the rest of the bodily temple, and that it only takes on it's true Sacred aspect when it becomes a vehicle for Spirit through Magic.

    What are your ideas about that, Frater?

  19. @ Soror Anon,

    Thank you for the excellent comment! You've brought up some very interesting ideas and some little known information. There are so few Sorors speaking on these matters these days; it is truly special to hear your experiences and understanding. The menses and their relation to the feminine energetic body is especially intersting.

  20. This is certainly a thought-provoking post, A.I.T. Well done!

    One of the things that I haven't seen mentioned here yet regarding seminal retention in the Eastern traditions is that the original Taoist teaching was that it led to greater health and vitality. Unfortunately for that aspect of the teachings, modern science has shown this belief to be absolute bunk. There are a number of authors who are otherwise excellent such as Mantak Chia who are still pushing this idea, and claim that even though there may not be health benefits to it there are still "energetic" benefits that are difficult to quantify.

    There is a concept in behavioral psychology called drive satisfaction, which occurs when is the "balance point" is reached for a particular biological drive. In my experience, times when I am at what feels like this balance point is when my magical power is at its greatest, at least according to the probability testing I've done on my ritual work. Indulging in sexual activity beyond that point seems to decrease my effective power but abstaining in such a way that my physiological state remains below it has the same effect. So I guess I'm agreeing with A.I.T. that moderation as far as sexuality goes increases magical success - so long as we keep in mind that every individual has a different sex drive and what constitutes "moderation" for one person may very well be totally inappropriate for someone else. As far as solo sex goes, it seems to me that it can play a reasonable role in terms of keeping one's physical state at the drive satisfaction point if you find yourself in a situation in which your own sex drive is higher than your partner's, and when used in this way I've seen no detriment to my magical practices from it.

    On the pornography issue, though, I find myself agreeing with Soror Anon - fantasy is fantasy, whether it's written down, enacted, or imagined. Pornography is really only a problem when it becomes a necessity for sex, and this is not the case with the vast majority of people. If it were, humanity would never have been able to reproduce in sigificant numbers before the advent of the media age. A lot of the hype and hysteria surrounding pornography is based on lazily equating it in some way to drugs, an analogy that is used in this article and which according to neuroscience is completely wrong. Drugs are substances that alter the chemical balance of the brain in ways that its homeostats cannot easily cope with, while porn is fundamentally just information. Information is not a chemical, and a behavioral compulsion is not an addiction. They are two completely separate things, but folks from the substance-abuse movement looking to expand their base of potential customers conflate the two all the time.

    I elaborated on this further over on Augoeides with regard to the brief dust-up over "i-dosing," which suffered from the same problem - trying to draw some sort of equivalence between chemical drugs and information. I won't re-post my remarks here as they are fairly long, but if you're interested in checking them out you can find them here.

  21. Thank you Fra Ananael; great comment, and solid contribution to the discussion.

    I have to say that I completely disagree with your ideas re comparing pornography to drugs. Anything that gives pleasure can be habit-forming, and anything that stimulates a base drive even more so. You have to take into account behavioral science, and not just neuroscience, when considering this. (In my opinion, of course.) A behavioral compunction is certainly an addiction; it just isn't a Chemical addiction. There are no shortage of individuals who've destroyed their lives with a behavioral addiction to one pleasant thing or another who would attest to that.

    I disagree with the idea of "fantasy being fantasy" as well, as if there are not varying degrees and effects based on the medium of delivery and the nature of the fantasy. That's like saying "drugs are drugs", and prosecuting possession of Tylenol with the same severity as Crack cocaine. (This is clearly an exaggerated examnple.) There are harmless fantasies and helpful fantasies. Porn isn't so much a fantasy as a depiction of a real act; there is some difference there. If there weren't, people would still be using their imaginations for solo time instead of spending money (or not, haha...plenty of free stuff on the net) on porn.

    I'm a regular reader at your blog, (on lurk status), and will definitely be reading your new entry. Thanks again for sharing your well thought-out positions!

  22. To Soror Anon,

    I think whatever type of orgasm a woman can rely on and enjoys most is probably what's best for her ritual work. And about clitoral orgasms - female ejaculation has been documented. Nobody can seem to figure out what kind of substance these women are expelling, although it does resemble semen.

    I disagree about menstruation being inherently draining. Everyone experiences it differently, for one. But individual hormonal balance is the issue at hand, above and beyond anything spiritual. (Taking hormonal birth control for a couple of years made my cycles a hell of a lot more manageable, even when I'm not on it.) Outside of that, eating well and maintaining your overall physical/emotional health affects how shitty/awesome your periods will be. In all honesty, the women I know with the crappiest cycles are the ones with chronic health problems (not their fault) and the ones who are generally unhappy and stressed (not their fault either, but fixable.) Or they straight up have a glandular problem, which may be treatable. If all else fails, I recommend pretending that you are a werewolf. Seriously. Get into it.

    'Cause if there's a spiritual issue to be confronted, it's the relationship between blood and dark scary things that go bump in the night. When you're menstruating, you are a dark scary thing that goes bump in the night. Let it make you feel powerful, instead of powerless.

    To Frater AIT,

    Yes, thinking of it as a "well" or wellspring is a very good way to describe it. The tendency of some texts to conceptualize it more as a "vessel" waiting to be filled is a way of diminishing a woman's self-sufficiency, in my opinion. I think you're very right about how there are men who feel threatened by that.

    To Ananael,

    I was waiting for someone more male to challenge the whole seminal retention thing. Thank you!

  23. A behavioral compunction is certainly an addiction; it just isn't a Chemical addiction. There are no shortage of individuals who've destroyed their lives with a behavioral addiction to one pleasant thing or another who would attest to that.

    While to some extent here we're disagreeing over a definition, as I state in my article on Augoeides the problem arises when the definition gets in the way of treatment. There's a big propaganda push going on right now from substance-abuse treatment programs arguing that behavioral compulsions can be treated the same way chemical addictions are, and that idea is scientifically wrong and potentially quite destructive to anyone who embraces it.

    Behavioral "addictions" are generally forms of OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder. Psychotherapeutic methods like 12-step do nothing for these conditions and people who are convinced otherwise can wind up wasting a whole lot of money on a program that is useless to them. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help, but it's primarily the "behavioral" portion that does the heavy lifting. Generally OCD requires some sort of SSRI drug therapy if it is severe enough to interfere significantly with someone's daily life activities.

    So if you want to define the two conditions as "chemical addiction" and "behavioral addiction" based on similar features I suppose that's your prerogative, but I think that doing so can lead to some semantic confusion.

    As far as fantasy goes, don't get me wrong, I agree with you completely that some fantasies are more problematic than others. But it seems to me from your comment that you're arguing a bit of a double standard here. If you're going to claim that anything stemming from a pleasurable brain sensation is an addiction on those grounds, you really need to take into account research that shows imagining and perceiving are nearly identical from a brain function standpoint. So looking at a picture should be no more problematic than imagining a scene, provided the content of the image and the fantasy are similar.

    And as far as porn versus imagination goes, don't most people do both, depending on their mood on a given day?

  24. @Fra Ananael

    I love debates.

    You are very knowledgeable about therapeutic methods (I've seen your resume, haha)and I'm certainly not going to debate you about those, as I will lose. =) For what it's worth, I think you're right on. Equating the two has to create an issue where treatment is concerned; however, since we are talking about energetic issues resulting from overuse of sexual imagery, I don't think that's a concern. The treatment is pretty simple.....moderation. In my opinion.

    The two may have different definitions, but they are branches from the same root, still addiction. I don't think being accurate creates any semantic confusion.

    I haven't claimed that anything stemming from pleasure Is an addiction, but that anything pleasurable Can be addictive, which is just the plain truth. The distinction there is important.

    Now, I may not have seen the research, but I can tell you from experience that imagining a...uhh.."scene" no where near as potent as watching said scene being acted out by two living human beings in high def. I've got a pretty well honed imagination, and it doesn't stand up to blunt and visceral video from the physical. If yours does, than I salute you!=)

    If the brain function is the same, perhaps it is because the function for processing imagery is the same regardless of the nature of the image. That doesn't mean that they will have the same impact on the mind itself, though.

    I'm certain everyone uses both, although I've never heard of someone who enjoys porn deciding to go all-imagination when porn is available.

  25. Based on my limited understanding of neurochemistry, all forms of addiction are chemical. Regardless of how you classify it, it boils down to a chemical issue in the brain. The physiology of addiction is the same regardless of the chemicals used to meet the need. Dendrites, basal ganglia, and the pleasure centers of the brain are where it all resides.

    Regarding the seminal retention, preseminal fluid, as many "pull out" practitioners have discovered, often has more sperm than the actual ejaculate. And it leaks plenty regardless of achieving orgasm. The Tantric method of holding in the semen isn't about witholding the seed, or anything biological, it's purely energetic with the physical control being the gateway to the spiritual experience.

    There's more to it than just not cumming though, something that doesn't get discussed openly often, and I don't know if I'm supposed to talk about it, so I won't. But tantric not-cumming is only half the story.

  26. @A.I.T.

    You're right that in the context of this discussion the definition of addiction is something of a peripheral issue, and were it not for some of the nonsense I see posted elsewhere regarding treatment methodologies I probably wouldn't have brought it up. On the energetic issues I think we're mostly in agreement. And I'm sorry that my last post mischaracterized your comments - I was typing quickly and what I was trying to say was what you just posted, but it didn't quite make it into the message that way.


    The difference as far as the brain is concerned is that when the perception of information changes the state of the brain it is using its own internally generated chemical messengers to produce the shift in neural activity. The brain has fully evolved over millions upon millions of years to regulate these messengers effectively and efficiently.

    The problem with chemical drugs is that they flood the brain with molecules resembling the internal messengers at levels that the regulatory mechanisms never evolved to handle, especially in the case of laboratory-engineered pharmaceuticals that are much more potent than their natural alternatives.

    This sort of thing is not generally possible with perceived information because most of the time the brain won't produce messenger chemicals beyond relatively safe limits. But externally administered drugs in effect play by different rules.

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. @ Ananael

    No worries!

    @Fra RO

    I wonder how many secrets the Tantrikas have left at this point....

  29. Care et H. Frater,

    i once again bow my head before you! You seem to have such a deep and thorough understanding of Magic and its energetic principles that iam simply amazed.
    Great to know you, although only virtual so far.

    Fraternally in L.V.X.,

  30. Care et H.Fra.L.e.N.e,

    You are too kind, Frater, and thank you! I'm hoping we can continue to get to know one another, and better, as the years go by.

    In LVX,


  31. Care et H. Fra. A.I.T.,

    I fully support your views in this matter. With the risk of telling to much: Sacred sexuality between a couple lays much of its focus and success in the union between them two. Putting your sexual focus outside of this dyad (such as watching a video of another couple) is detrimental to the alchemical process.

    Regarding addiction, working as a case-worker daily with addicts I find that the behaviour based addictions is as hard to combat as the chemical based ones, perhaps even harder with the former. I suppose it is easier to externalize the problem if you can blaim the drug, and therefore leave it behind you; it's harder with sex as this is such a big part of your being. Both forms stimulates the pleasure centres of the brain.

    Thus I don't make to much of a distinction between drug addiction and behavioural ones, such as sex or gambling. There is also a compulsatory (or obsessive) and ritual component in putting a needle into your vein. One amphetamine addict once told me that the greatest compulsion or drive he felt was in prepareing the shot and putting the needle into his vein. He almost imediately afterwards felt guilt and regret, even before the drug started to have its chemical effect. All this tells me that psychology and behaviours never can be separated from neurological phenomena.

    It is also my experience that drug addicts often have compulsatory or addictive sexual behaviour, with pornography as an important ingredient (not seldom obsessive). This is especially seen with amphetamine addiction, which has a very strong sexual component. But I have observed this also with other drugs. Even when they are clean chemically, the sexual and pornographical obsession remains.

    Drug abuse is for me also an obsession. I'm surprised that no one occultist yet have proposed an occult explanation of addiction. Instead they propose behaviouristic (KBT) and drug therapeutic remedies (SSRI), and speculate with neurology. The obsessive component is a key in my opinion.

    In Licht, Leben und Liebe

  32. Care et H. Frater A.I.T.,

    This is so wonderfully and candidly explained ! I whole-heartely agree too with V.H. Frater S.R.

    Pornagraphy can be a potentially addictive deterent that can really hinder spiritual progress. All the more due to it's direct link to sexual impulses and stimulus centers in the brain.

    I will share something here-I have seen first hand what an addiction to this can do to someone and how it hurts personal energy, relationships and self-esteem. Once a long time ago, I dated a man that confessed to being a porn/sex addict, as well as a narcotic addict and alcoholic in recovery. Not that this was entirely bad, since he was trying hard in recovery to become whole again, but he was completely desensitized from the act of sacred union - needless to say the relationship was very, very short lived. I was exhausted with trying to help heal someone that did not love me.

    Earlier on in my life also, my ex-husband had gotten into porn so much, even became a particpant in films himself, that it destroyed our marriage along with other very serious issues, and I divorced him.

    The crux of the message I am trying to convey with these experiences is this :

    People just don't realize how sexual energy is directly linked as a foundational, creative force that is not to be abused or taken lightly. Sex should never become just a habit and is like anything else when taken to excess. Likewise, not having sex, the other extreme, is not considered healthy either.

    I am pleased to mention that after some very dark experiences with the aforementioned, I have been with a magical twin soul for a number of years now with whom healthy, sacred sexuslity is also very important and being both serious magical practioners we are both keenly aware of those energies and treat our sex life as a Divine gift. Needless to say, neither one of us watch porn at all. It's not that we are prudes, far from it. It's just that we don't need it !

    I must add that in a number of sexual magic practices, to my knowledge, a certain amount of abstinence is required to build up sexual energy prior to any workings directly utilizing that energy. The genitals become just as any other magical tool and need to be " put away " until such time they will be used. One example of this readers can reference directly is in a book by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki of the Servants of the Light, titled " The Tree of Ecstacy" . Those wishing to undertake sexual magic workings must abstain from sexual activity the culminates in an orgasm for a specific time period before doing a sexual magic ritual and concentrate on raising energy during that time, not disspating it, which orgasm does. In reality, that means a type of magical chastity!

    Pax et LVX,

    H. Soror M.D.L.L.

  33. Care et VH Fra S:.R:.,

    Thank you for commenting about your experience with treating the damage this sort of thing can cause, and for sharing some about the importance of a strong connection for participants in the alchemical sexual dyad. Your experience as both a case worker and an active and practicing Hermetic Adept give you special insight into this sort of thing, I think.

    I think it's interesting as well that you don't see much in the way of occult analysis of the drug-addiction phenomena. There is a deep well of cause and plenty to explore from an occult perspective; perhaps they fear falling under the daggers of materialists, who will say that many of the occult issues that occur--such as creating magical reinforcement of the negative habit through ritualization and worship, and infection by larvae or other negative entities--are absurd. I'm not sure; yourself and Fra Ananael are probably the most qualified Magicians amongst our peer group to write about that aspect of things. If we are to have this article, I believe it must come from the two of you. =)

    In LVX,


  34. Care et H.Soror M.D.L.L.,

    What a wonderful and thorough comment- I love that you've spoken through experience here; there is no authority like experiential authority.

    I'm also glad to know that you've come through that dark experience and met a true spiritual partner. Having met both yourself and the gentleman in question, and seen you together, I think that perhaps the previous pain was worth every moment as it led to your current deep Union!

    What you mention about magical forbearance is absolutely true, and is directly related to the power and concept of magical Sacrifice. I personally have used it instead of the animal and blood sacrifice required to create some of the classical talismans from the Picatrix and Agrippa, to great effect. To such effect that I wonder if the "animal" sacrifice is not an outright blind or allusion to sacrifice of the animal nature. There's no telling, with those old Wizards. Tricksy fellows.

    Thanks for the excellent comment, Sister!

    In LXX,


  35. @A.I.T

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, but frankly putting together an occult model of obsession is a remarkably difficult problem. We're finally getting to the point where we understand the basic idea of what is going on neurologically, but trying to develop a magick-based superstructure on top of it is a whole other problem.

    Basically, there are three brain systems that perform the various mind-functions that we experience - the thinking system, the feeling system, and the conditioning system. Imagine them forming a triangle, so that each system is connected to the other two. Connections can be either excitatory or inhibitory. The thinking system is what we normally consider the "conscious mind," the feeling system is what produces the feeling-tones associated with thoughts and actions, and the conditioning system repeats behavior that is positively reinforced up to the point of drive satisfaction - at least in normal people.

    In obsessive people, either the conditioning system sends much stronger signals than it ideally should to the other two systems or the drive satisfaction point is never reached. In effect, the conditioning system does not operate normally. This appears to be an inborn problem - although certain types of drugs may be able to create it by causing selective brain damage at high doses (meth, for example) - rather than anything cognitive or environmental. Hence the recommendations of CBT and/or drug therapy - little else has been shown to work well.

    About the closest I've ever been able to get to an occult model of this would be to use the Tree of Life, mapping Yesod to the conditioning system, Hod to the thinking system, and Netzach to the feeling system. The connections between the three systems can be represented by the corresponding cards of the Tarot. This then suggests that to address a drive satisfaction problem rooted in the conditioning system itself you would work with Yesod, and to address problems with signals running to the other systems you would work with the paths of Resh and Tzaddi.

    Of course, that's all speculation - I'm not an obsessive person myself and so far nobody has volunteered for any magical experiments to tell me whether it's helpful or worthless.

  36. This is a response to Ananaels comment re: neurology. Just because we know what is happening in the brain (or rather only because we can see what areas are affected by certain human activities) doesn't rule out any occult or purely psychological (or psychosocial) causes to a disfunction, such as obsessive behavioiur, autism, addiction, etc. As an occultist I see the plane of ideas and thoughts and emotions also partaking on subler planes than that of the physical. What we see in the brain is the effects of astral (and even higher) activites. Like Peregrin has said so eloquently, a higher plane of existance is in a causual relationship to the lower.

    To a psychotherapist of the psychodynamic shool (psychoanalysis) purely neurological explanations are irrelevant to the understanding of human behaviour. We have our own models of understanding and diagnosis which takes its basis on human experience. So should also be the case in spiritual (or occult) healing. Thus the neurological perspective is WAY to limiting and reductionalist in the understanding of human nature and behaviour, in my humble opinion.

    I have written a short essey on this subject of the occult understaning of the brain on my blog, but unfortunately it is in Swedish. But there is an translation button. I append a link to it (with the translation):

    The language is a bit scrambled but I hope it's readable. These ideas or not my own, I must add. They are based upon a Qabalistic-Hermetic view upon the world, which in my personal view greatly surpassed contemporary neuropsychiatry. If I would have embraced a purely materialistic neurological world view I would have taken courses in medicine instead of entered the path of initiation.

    In Licht, Leben und Liebe

  37. What a thread. Came and checked this site out after hearing you on Gordons Podcast Chris. I reckon myself a novice in the mystic traditions but in the realm of mystic masturbation I wield some experience, I reckon. Post wont have much to do with pornography but will be about masturbation, literally and figuratively so I figure it contributes: Was a popular kid and then a not popular kid in highschool. Slowly I got ostracized by my friends and became a loner more and more closer to graduation (normal around here?) due to mystic interests I could not shake. I was an asshole too, and other things but beside point also. Anyway, read a lot of books and had lots of opinions but one of the most concrete one was my concept of masturbation. I felt like we were all caged masturbators incapable of communication except through cum spray - intellectual cum, emotional cum, cum, etc - seemed the base for all activity and the decider for all the paths and angles people pursue to do it. This was before any real type of mystic experience was had, euphoria maybe, but the B.C./A.D. moment you talk about with Gordon has yet to happen to me, although I can intellectualize it. Or maybe it has. Brain fog. Anyway, being a loner with no girlfriend and not much hope/interest in getting one I would masturbate a lot... sometimes I would take late night walks down to the school through the bush and climb the roofs to masturbate on top of the gymnasium at the stars, or on the oval or wherever the Gods felt like directing me. Smoke a joint maybe. Make sure no ones walking there dog haha. Was my first ritual probably, before I was Serious about such things. I would tell my friends about it..
    'jerked off on top the gymnasium sent my jizm streaking across the night and onto where the 10th graders sit..'
    'the fuck man'
    never felt ashamed though; still get a masturbatory pleasure? now posting this. It just seems like such a basic, pleasurable act. Basic with a capital and spread out across the spectrum of experience. I am not learned in any particular discipline or tradition, it all confuses me to be honest. But if I have any touchstone to my magical ideas about the world or where any of my mystic experiences sprouted from (not always masturbating when they happened) I think back to jerking it to the stars on that gymnasium roof to whatever girl I was crushing on at the time. heh.
    A lady here mentioned her menstrual cycles being relative to her power levels. Perhaps I should make a ritual around cumming on every full moon or elaborately around the phases? heh. (Have a girlfriend now even)
    Didn't mean to deviate too much from the discussion but I think it touches on it well enough. If you can ritualise your pornography/masturbation/orgasm in a positive way, who can tell you what? Didn't Crowley eat shit?
    Glad I Came Here.



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