Tonight I will be singing at an Irish pub here on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, singing songs of Irish resistance to British oppression. The songs span centuries of Irish history and subjugation at the hands of the English and tell the tales of British invasion, British occupation of Irish lands, the British genocide of the Irish Gaelic people, the theft of Irish Gaelic culture, language, music, and traditions.
I will sing some songs in Irish Gaelic. I will sing about a people’s centuries-long struggle for freedom from its oppressor.
Interestingly, when I talk openly about the “Yes Scotland” vote, many of the dissenters are mostly Americans and have said that freedom from Britain is not a good idea for Scotland. This is shocking to me as these Americans are clearly forgetting their own history, that we went through this exact process over 200 years ago. The difference is that we achieved our freedom from Britain through bloody battle, and all Scotland has to do is vote “yes”. Of course, there will be growing pains as power shifts from the Crown back to the people, but that is no reason not to push for freedom.
The main dissenters in America for Scottish independence from Britain happen to be American economists. Who the hell cares what American bean-counters think about Scottish independence? It is Scotland’s right as a culture and as a people to divest themselves of imperial British occupation and oppression.
On a sidenote, I find it quite the ironic coincidence that the TV show “Outlander” is airing at this time and might even be helping to spur the Scottish independence movement, since it has such a strong storyline of the Scottish fighting the English Crown’s attempt to steal Scottish land and Scottish resources. To say nothing of the movie Braveheart or the older TV show “Highlander”, both of which dealt with the horrors of English invasion and rule in Scotland.
As I come home tonight from singing the tales of the Irish and my ancestors’ quest for freedom from Britain, my distant kinsmen in Scotland will have cast their votes, and the results of Scotland’s vote for independence will be officially announced. The world is watching as yet another nation shakes off the mantle of imperial British oppression. Today feels like a very important day, not only as an activist but as a person of Irish and Scottish descent.
Today, I read a great post by the awesome sexual health writer August McLaughlin in which she responded to a HuffPo piece about why couples need to schedule sex — with one of the reasons being to boost the man’s ego. In her response piece, August gives her reasons why a couple might not want to have regularly scheduled sex — she advocates having sex when you want to, and her points regarding that particular HuffPo scenario are solid. Women should not feel compelled to have sex just to soothe a man’s delicate ego. We put up with enough of that outside the bedroom. But the concept of scheduled sex actually ties in to my own orgasmic practice and my approach with helping others realize their orgasmic potential.
I wholeheartedly endorse regularly scheduled sex, especially at the beginning of a relationship, as long as both people enter the process honestly and equally. When a couple has made the leap from hand-holding to sex, there is so much to learn about each other’s bodies. The newness of the relationship should make arousal very easy with all those lovey-dovey hormones drowning your brain in bliss-vibes. Once the relationship is established, life and work and kids tend to take priority. That alone is a great reason to have regularly scheduled sex-time, to make sure you have that consistent connection that centers you both back to why you’re together in the first place.
And before dissenters blast me with “But sex shouldn’t be the basis of the relationship!” Well, then, you’ll have to explain 500 million years of evolutionary procreation and a big chunk of human biology, anthropology, psychology, and sexology. Sex is imperative to a good relationship, and at the foundation of both sex and the relationship is communication. Bad sex can often be attributed to bad communication. And even if you can’t have traditional sexual activity due to a disability or medical condition, there are alternatives; so yes, persons with disabilities can have enjoyable, satisfying sexual experiences. My point is that lovemaking can improve with regularly scheduled “training sessions”, or as I call them, “awakening sessions”. (Remember, part of the definition of “arouse” is “to awaken”.)
Sex with yourself as well as with a new partner should be scheduled to happen on a regular schedule, preferably daily. Unless you’re blessed to have an Orgasm Faery guarantee your arousal and climax, regular sexual activity is required to keep the body in orgasm-mode. The intent of the “awakening sessions” is to awaken the body and your capacity for increasing your orgasmic response.
The word “orgasm” comes from the Greek orgasmos and means “to swell”, therefore true orgasm is NOT the sudden release at the end of arousal. Technically, orgasm is happening throughout arousal with the climax being a sudden swelling and release of muscular tension. For many, this release is very physical, but for some this release is full-body and emotional as well. This is most confusing for men, who associate orgasm with ejaculation, even though these are different actions from different parts of the autonomic nervous system. High school sex education classes still teach that men “must” orgasm to expel semen for procreation. This is wrong — ejaculation is required for expelling sperm. Ask any man who’s ever needed Viagra, and he can tell you that orgasmic pleasure and ejaculation are not necessarily one and the same. (But that is a whole other blog post.) Because of the misperception of what orgasm actually is, men especially miss out on many orgasms during the arousal period because they don’t know to separate the subtle orgasm response from the explosive ejaculatory reflex. Men who have mastered non-ejaculatory climax orgasms love being able to have multiple climatic orgasms in one lovemaking session.
This brings me to another point. Get rid of the goal of orgasm. Men are taught to be very goal-oriented, which is why they can miss so many good feelings during the journey to climax. Men also are under the incorrect myth that women have more capacity for sexual arousal and more orgasms than men. This is not true on the subtle body level. Men have the same capacity as women for hours of orgasmic bliss, especially if the man has learned ejaculation control. If so, the whole session is a swelling of pleasure, wave after wave of orgasms, and multiple climatic experiences with no refractory period necessary. The orgasms just keep building until he’s ready to stop.
But how do you get to that point of awakening? The same way you get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice. How do you work that practice into your busy life? Schedule, schedule, schedule.
Because I come from a Tantrik perspective, I am an advocate of regular, scheduled practice for a number of reasons but mainly because awakening the subtle body is a meditative practice for me.
Orgasm is a learned response, and your body needs regular practice to become proficient. Yes, there are times when orgasm happens by itself, but that is not the case for most women, considering so many women have never orgasmed during penetrative sex. Orgasm is a dual response: the physical body and the subtle body. Most men know how to jerk off, and most women know how to rub their clit to soreness. That does not ensure an ecstatic experience. I think we’ve all experienced at some time or another the physical orgasm that was just located to the genitals, and we somehow felt disappointed.
Today, in fact, is the day my daughter heads back to school, and I am finally alone at home again, something I don’t have on a regular basis when school is out for summer. Every summer since my initial awakening, my practice is minimal to non-existent due to privacy issues (thin walls … I’m loud). During these nearly three months of little to no practice, I can most definitely tell a difference in my arousal levels, my “swelling” responses, and the intensity of my climaxes. I still have spontaneous orgasms and my stealth O’s, but going nearly three months without my super-orgasms is like being accustomed to a daily round of the 1812 Overture but having to settle for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star instead. Not cool! Thank goddess, school is back on!
No one would tell a wannabe concert pianist that he should practice only when he really has the urge to play. He would never become proficient enough to call himself a concert pianist, much less to play a gig at Carnegie Hall without dedicated, routine practice. When it comes to orgasms, we have to practice regularly, learning how to play our body as an instrument of pleasure the way a musician plays a piano or oboe or guitar with expertise and ease.
As I teach my clients, the subtle body is the real wonder when it comes to orgasmic fulfillment. But awakening the subtle body requires specific steps done repeatedly and routinely over a span of time. Yes, you schedule your orgasm-awakening sessions the same way you schedule your daily shower or your gym workout or having dinner ready by a certain time. Have your sessions at the same time, preferably daily, but at least three times per week, and under the same circumstances. As with any exercise, routine repetition allows the body and more importantly THE MONKEY MIND to know, “Oh, we’re doing this now. Okay,” and settling into that higher bliss state begins to happen more quickly and more effortlessly. Then, when you’re in the moment with a partner, you have a reference for where you want to be in your arousal and you can get there more quickly — you’ve done your practice, practice, practice, and now you’re ready for Carnegie Hall. Orgasm becomes not just one major release, i.e., climax, but a true swelling of sensations and experiences that grow and expand exponentially for hours if you want, until you’re ready to come down from that higher bliss state; and even then the long, slow descent can be as throbbing, undulating, and breathtaking as the journey upward.
When we do not practice our sexual-ness and sensual-ness and awakening-ness in a dedicated, routine practice, our sexual response lessens. Regular arousal can even lessen. Arousal and even vaginal fluid are dependent upon hormones; if you neglect keeping your hormones happy, your hormones won’t be there to keep you happy.
For most people, their sexual “practice” is sporadic, and yet they expect Carnegie Hall-worthy orgasms to result. And when the arousal and/or the climax is less than what was hoped for, people often turn to other means of artificially increasing the odds via vibrators and/or porn, neither of which helps your body awaken to its own amazing potential. Vibrators can damage the nerves, and porn keeps you in your fantasies in your head when your focus should be entirely on your body and the awakening responses to stimulation.
For a couple, scheduling regular awakening sessions can be a much-needed time to learn each other’s bodies. After all, do you automagically know what to do with a penis if you’ve never had lots of time to play with one? Do you know what to do with a vagina if you’ve never had a languid evening to explore inside one? An awakening session is for the awakening — orgasm may or may not happen. However, the more you do it, the more likely spontaneous orgasms will be a regular part of the experience. This greatly benefits the orgasmic response during lovemaking as well as deepening the bond between partners. No stress, just exploration and awakening. Though, I would be very surprised if such juicy exploration and discovery didn’t lead to sex. (Enjoy!)
In some Tantric traditions, scheduling sex on a daily basis is an important part of learning and growing and sharing. Some teachers have clients set aside a week or 14 days or even 21 days to do nothing but make love. If they aren’t going to the bathroom or eating a meal, they’re making love. There is something deeply intimate and intense that happens when you are that committed to being so connected with another person. For most people, this kind of “sexcation” is impossible to arrange, but it is possible to schedule that hour per day when it’s just the two of you: awakening, sharing, and loving.
Approach the awakening session as an active meditation. Allow and receive. Let the subtle body do its thing. Relearn what it means to orgasm and feel pleasure. Soon, you’ll have orgasms while walking down the street, shopping at the grocery store, standing in line at the post office. You’ll have laugh-gasms, heart-gasms, foot-gasms, scalp-gasms, face-gasms, arm-gasms, soul-gasms, and more-gasms — all of which will enrich your lovemaking as a couple. As you progress with your daily, scheduled practice, you will learn a whole new respect for the wisdom of the body as it takes you to levels of pleasure that are unimaginable until you actually experience them. Have you ever had a climatic orgasm so powerful, you could feel that you were the universe? You could feel all of eternity with your fingertips? I have. And you can, too.
Now, get out your calendar and commit to daily awakening sessions for at least a week, but preferably for one month. You’ll be amazed how you’ve grown orgasmically in so short a time!
Aroused and practicing,
Today is June 21, 2014, and it marks 18 years since I self-initiated as a witch. The ritual took place in my backyard with a number of fellow witch-friends in attendance, along with too many mosquitoes and June Bugs to count.
I had been on this road to witchdom for a couple of years, having searched for a spiritual tradition that was in keeping with my ancient Gaelic ancestors. I was even in a coven for a while, but their tradition was American eclectic and had way too much Wicca and ceremonial hogwash for my tastes. Unofficially, I had been on this path my whole life; it had only been a couple years prior to my self-initiation that I had begun to take on the mantle of witch and pagan.
As I related in my Samhain post, being a witch in reality is nothing like what TV and movies pretend it is. “Witch” is usually used as an insult, particularly against women. This past Samhain, I bought a sign that says, “You say I’m a Witch … like it’s a bad thing.” And for me, the word “witch” is utterly fabulous.
The word witch is thought to derive from a Germanic root word that alternately can mean “to be strong” and/or “to know” or “to be wise”. The term witch was used to refer to the local wise woman, the woman who knew the healing arts, midwivery, burial preparations, and often, relationship advice. Witches were the keepers of arcane knowledge from birth to death, and that scared the men in charge of Europe’s misogynistic religion and governments. Insecure men have always feared women’s ability to create life, and that fear was never greater than in the centuries of patriarchal rule before modern science could explain some of the mysteries of human biology.
I have often said that someday I hope to be able to call myself, fully, a witch — to truly be a wise woman. I’ve found that it takes much more than just calling yourself a witch to actually be a true witch. I’m not talking about covens and initiations either. You’re a person who strives to live in a wise way, a beauty way, the “Red Road”, according to the laws of Nature and Karma, or you don’t.
Many arguments can be made over who is a real witch and who isn’t. That’s another reason I left a coven and ventured out on my own. I just wanted to do what felt right to me and was in keeping with my Irish and Scottish heritage. Along the way, I’ve studied many religions, and I’m particularly smitten with the teachings of Indian religions as they pertain to enlightenment, reincarnation, and expansion of universal consciousness. While I will call myself an Energist, for reasons I’ll explain in another post, there is no actual name for what I do — it’s just Trish Witchyness.
Recently, an instructor from Pittsburgh University interviewed me for some doctoral work he is doing. He wanted to know about my spiritual path and how I do my “thang” as a solitary witch. We talked for several hours over the course of a few days, and it was a great conversation that brought back many memories along my journey.
I recounted a tale from when I was a child, about seven years old, when my mother wanted me to stop making mud pies in the backyard to get ready for church. I asked why we had to go to church. She said it was to worship god in his house. I asked her why we had to go to church to worship god because a church was made by men while the earth and water I was concocting into mud pies was actually made by god. Furious that I was questioning her religious bullshit, she growled for me to get inside and get cleaned up, and away to man’s building we went.
When I was nine, I was forced to become Catholic. I knew instinctively the church was evil. Maybe it was a past-life memory of being burned at the stake or something … or being an observant child, I could see through the hypocrisy and the double standards of the Catholic church when my mother, the recreational martyr, fell for all of it hook, line, and sinker. One day when I was 10, I asked one of the priests, “Which is worse: always to believe and never to question, or always to question and never to believe?” He sputtered, clearly unable to answer me, then a moment later began spewing some dogmatic drivel that I could tell even he knew was inadequate.
I hated the Catholic church, I hated my mother, I hated Catholic school, I despised it all. When I was 17, I graduated from Catholic school, and I vowed never to return to the church. I almost did not attend my best friend’s wedding because it was a wedding mass. So was my sister’s.
At age 17, my life changed when I met an American Indian ballet dancer at a major competition. His poetry about his spirit animal connected directly to the heart of me. But I’m not Indian. He suggested I begin searching for answers with my heritage, and so my journey into the incredible world of the Gaelic people and spirituality began. I knew I was home as I learned more and more about pre-Christian Ireland and Scotland. Even with the invasion of Christianity on the Gaelic peoples, many of the traditional stories and customs had survived. Considering how much of the pagan culture was absorbed and outright stolen by the Christian church, finding the links back to pre-Christian European spirituality is doable and documentable.
When I was 21, I volunteered with a ballet company in New Orleans. One day, I decided to go inside a huge cathedral — St. Patrick’s, I think it was. I went to one of the last pews and knelt. And waited. And waited. And waited. I looked around. Nothing. I bowed my head. Nothing. I looked at the shiny brass and gold trinkets, and the porcelain statues, and the stained glass, and the wooden reproduction of Jesus on the cross. And felt nothing. I began crying. Because I felt nothing. I left. Still crying. I wanted to belong somewhere, and this was never going to be it.
I didn’t have a name for what I was or what I believed at that time. About a year later, a theatre friend asked if I’d heard of Wicca. I hadn’t, but when I looked into it at the library and bookstore (this was pre-internet), I resonated with some of what I read, but not all of it. Some of Wicca seemed as regimented and hierarchical as the dogmatic church I despised. Turns out that Wicca was founded by two former Anglicans. And as another friend used to joke, “Episcopal is just Catholic with an ‘E’.”
It was that journey (and the dawn of the internet) that allowed me to find other soul-path querents who go by many names: Wicca, Witches, Pagans, Neo-Pagans, Druids, Eclectic, Ceremonial Witches, Asatru, etc. Too many to list. The coven didn’t work out, but it allowed me to see what I didn’t want on my path. I left in the Spring, and it was that Summer Solstice that I held my self-initiation in my backyard on June 21, 1996.
Walking the witchy path has not been easy, especially considering I live in Mississippi. Being “out of the broom closet” has been a challenge from Day 1. I have endured personal taunts and threats, rude comments left on my vehicle (thanks to my “Born Again Pagan” bumper sticker) whenever I went to the store, work, the post office, the gas station. I even lost a job because I wasn’t Christian. But like any other closet a person chooses to come out of, being free trumps being a slave to the ignorance of others, especially here in the Bible Belt.
I composed a musical, Witchcraze, to correlate the terrorizing good ol’ boys of the Bush regime with the torturous witch trial masterminds of 1692 Salem. Having studied in depth the arrest warrants, the trial transcripts, and the re-trial transcripts, I can say for a fact that nothing I have endured comes close to what was done to the women of previous centuries, when “witch” was a label that carried heinous torture and a death sentence.
So, I’m a witch. And I’m a pagan. And an Energist. And a tarot card reader. And a Libra. And a Tatrika and yogini. And a composer, and a nerd, and a bookworm, and a Democrat, and a Streisand devotee, and a single-mom, and a wannabe chef and cafe-owner, and a kettlebell enthusiast, and I’m right-handed. Pick any of those labels, and someone is going to have a problem with me because of how they perceive that word and what they think it stands for.
I am a writer: a lover of words and sounds and syllables. I know what “witch” means, and to me, witch is a beautiful word. Witch is a sacred word. Witch is a word women (and men) have died for, and it is a word I choose for my goal in this lifetime: to be a wise woman, to be a strong woman, to live a life of expansion and understanding. Most of all, hearing or seeing the word witch makes me feel something. I feel a connection to all the women (and men) who defied oligarchical, elitist oppression to live and die free as freethinkers and religious and political dissenters. And that makes my activist heart proud.
Aroused and witchy,
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