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Sexual continence

Posted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:33 am
by solar_trip
As a ritual injunction, purity often appears in the grimoires. Sometimes this can refer to a particular diet and fasting, but something I find is less often discussed is sexual continence. Should it be assumed that all sexual activity is cut out prior to an evocation attempt? How long before the ritual should one remain this way? Are there general rules on the subject that can be drawn out from various grimoires?

Abramelin offers his magical son particular rules to either begin his operation prior to marriage, or, if married, to only sleep with his wife, and towards the final phase of the operation, to avoid her. The wife, as well as anyone else, was also to be kept out of the prayer room.

Crowley's 'Energised Enthusiasm' approached the subject to some degree, as did some of Pascal Beverly Randolph's writing on sex magick. We have the taoist and ayurvedic injunctions against the wasteful emission of semen, either through sex or masturbation, but few resources on the exact rules for purity prior to taoist magical ceremonies, or hindu ritual. Brahmacharya (sexual continence, including the mental control of lustful thoughts) is considered a virtue to some Hindus, but the ritual use of maithuna (sexual intercourse) is recommended for some tantrics, depending on their tradition. The biblical Onan wasting his seed was considered sinful, and some Jewish and Christian commentary holds this to applies to masturbation. On the other hand, the Egyptian Atum was considered to have created the universe by masturbation.

I was wondering what practitioners here's thoughts on the subject were, in relation to their own ritual work. If it's not too personal a question - how often do you masturbate when single? Do you avoid masturbation prior to ritual, and if so, for how long? If you have a partner, for how long do you stop having sex before proceeding to ritual? Does sexual release have a noticeable effect on ritual to you, if at all?

If possible, I would like to avoid discussion of masturbating onto goetic seals or offering sexual energy as some kind of 'payment' to demons; that kind of thing. I'm more interested in how people view ritual purity as recommended by the grimoires, and how they figure this into their own work.