Opening your vessel is the first deliberate step in the alchemical process. This process actually starts in the mind – the guardian of the threshold which guards your route to experience. The mind determines if it is safe to open to a new stimulus, and if it will meet our basic needs, sustaining us, improving our fitness for reproduction and reunion with nature, while keeping us safe from danger. If the perceived advantages outweigh the disadvantages, the mind will trigger the lower bodies to open to a new experience.

We can then open to take in energy and stimuli from our environment, in the process of harvesting from reality and increasing our locus of self. When we open, we find that the amount of energy that a human vessel can open to is functionally limited only by our physical capacity to hold and conduct that energy, the bravery, and ambition to open beyond our previous limits and the imagination to conceive that more is possible than the world we have known.

Thus, when our vessels are built and cleaned, we can then open our vessels to hold the or raw matter to be transmuted in the alchemical process, the materia. Opening our systems to take in foreign matter requires strength and vulnerability – the ability to be ‘wounded’ by life, opened, interpenetrated by reality, and the strength to bear the stretching and strain that leads to new growth. Into these deliberate, calibrated openings, we then insert the desired elements for our growth and integration.

The stretching and opening of your physical vessel is similar to a workout, where muscles exhibit micro-tears and rebuild themselves ever stronger, hence the term getting ‘ripped,’ ‘shredded,’ or ‘torn up’ as evidence of pushing yourself to your physical limits. In a workout, our desired ‘wounds’ become a source of strength if the work is done correctly, with good form, a knowledgeable trainer, and the proper nutrients to replenish a system pushed to its sustainable edge.

Opening your vessel occurs gradually in phases which correspond with your vessels’ capacity to safely, sustainably hold energy. Working on your own, it is important to open only to the extent that you can handle, and just a step beyond. I hold to the dictum, ‘One step out of your comfort zone is growth. Two steps out of your comfort zone can bring yield trauma.’ This pattern of ambitious leaping and backsliding is at the root of the expression, “Two steps forward, one step back.” The alchemical work proceeds fastest taken one deliberate step at a time.

While ceremonies can be conducted in a safe external container with a trusted instructor to bring an initiate two steps (or further) out of their comfort zone and safely bring them back, the most productive work happens in a practitioners’ daily practice, and in the interactions of their daily lives. Such work is ‘integrated,’ and no longer esoteric, but an extension of the practitioner’s experience of reality. This integration of greater openness, sensitivity, and experience is the fruit of a successful practice.

Again, each body can be opened to interpenetration with reality. As all bodies are interconnected to form the human vessel, a great deal of the alchemical work consists of honing these bodies to expand for greater openings and then strengthening them to hold more external matter to be transmuted.

Just as athletes train before game day, only a minority of your alchemical work will be spent in your peak experience. In daily work, opening is a self-reinforcing skill. The more you open, the more you strengthen your the ability to open further and hold more experience and energy within yourself. The purpose of daily practice is building a readiness and strengthening for the work of transmutation, the ability to open and hold more energy in your container. As you expand your capacity to hold strong, broad, or challenging experiences, more experiences will open themselves to you. This capacity comes in handy in times of need and can transform your experience of reality in waking life. The core of this practice is the remembrance to open, knowledge of one’s sustainable capacity, and the willingness to fill oneself to the appropriate limit.

We will focus here on the opening, and what that takes for each body:

Body How to Open Internally How to Open Externally What is Possible:
Physical Body Progressive muscle relaxation over the whole body, cultivating physical flexibility (yoga), Physical coaching, Sacred Sexuality, massage, cannabinoids, tranquilizers, barbiturates A relaxed, flexible body which is ready for action and can experience a full range of sensation.
Energy Body Pranayama (‘breathing into tension), circulation of energies, pushing and pulling energy. Energetic ‘transmission,’ sacred sexuality, amphetamines, psychedelics An open vessel to harness and harvest limitless energy from the universe and life and transmit to others/ personal projects.
Emotional Body Cultivating heart openness, examining triggers and building tolerance, staying ‘fully open’ emotionally in work and life. Practicing active compassion. Singing, artistic creation. Empathy (mirror neurons) Sacred sexuality,

Amphetamines, cannabinoids, barbiturates, psychedelics

Full range of emotional capacity, a Renaissance of creative activity, connection and shifting of group emotional consciousness.
Mental Body Holding the mind ‘in its center,’ achieving a meditative state in life. Removal of prejudices, being ‘open minded’ about others and reality. School, writings/programming

opening to ‘transmissions,’ psychedelics

‘Downloads,’ Rapid capacity to learn new information, use correct language, understand the what, why, and how of life.
Wisdom Body Seeking out wisdom, expanding beyond the bounds of the mind, language, and the ‘known.’ Opening to ‘transmissions,’ Psychedelics Open harmony with the forces of creation, becoming a vessel for wisdom in the world.

 

The Physical Body

Opening your physical body leads to more sensitivity to the environment, increased capacity to respond to outside forces, and the ability to take the moment into your flesh.

Your orifices are a great place to start opening any of the lower bodies. We open our bodies through the senses and our organs of digestion, procreation, and excretion. The mouth, ears, eyes, nose, anus, and genitals are all places where tension or restriction can be held. Tension can build up around these areas, especially the genitals and anus, which restricts the vessel’s ability to open into spirit. Relaxing these lower areas can make more space to hold more presence. With this enhanced presence, you can perceive more and open in higher areas.

The senses can be opened through isolating each sense individually and deliberately heightening the experience of touch, taste, sight, sound, and smell. Blindfolded in a room without sound or other movement, the slightest touch of a feather can be felt fully, by the full mind. In deep meditation at dusk, the sight can be honed and focused, and the eyes taught to drink in vision rather than projecting outside the self to see. The smells and tastes of delicious foods or exotic flowers, enhanced, can bring an almost orgasmic sensation. Likewise, the music of the great masters, Eastern or Western, can travel up the spine in an almost-sexual rush. Honing the senses one by one allows them to blend with the energies of the deeper body, rendering perception more open through its strengthening and development. This systematically enhanced perception enhances the function of all the higher bodies, which are based on the quality of their sense inputs. Thus, while this practice includes ‘filling your vessel’ and digesting the sense-perceptions you take in, I note it here under opening, for the enhancement of perception does more than any other method to upgrade what a practitioner can perceive, and thus what they can alchemize, in everyday life.

On the muscular level, a tight physical body can be manually opened through active relaxation and stretching. This not only keeps the body limber, but it opens channels for the energy body to hold more, opens the cavities of the lower body to act as reserves or batteries of energy, and allows for greater stamina, physical capacity, and sexual functioning. Again, relaxation and stretching of the lower body, especially the diaphragm of the perineum and anus, gives outsize results, as it yields an opening for the inflow of energy to buttress the floor of your vessel.

Human bioenergy travels through the fascia, the connective tissue that binds muscle to bone and acts in the joints. While energy is used by the muscles, its transmission through the body takes place through this connective tissue, which is opened through stretching. If the body is tensed, this tissue will be compressed, and energy will not flow as easily.

Progressive muscle relaxation means bringing awareness to every muscle group in the body and deliberately relaxing them, one after another, until finally, the entire body is relaxed, loose, open and conductive. This can be done through passive awareness, in a process like yoga nidra, or through actively clenching and tensing each group and then relaxing them. The former method builds relaxed concentration, while the latter heightens the contrast of tension and relaxation, allowing a newcomer to feel the difference between a tensed and relaxed body.

The physical body can be opened via external means. Massage is the most obvious way to open the physical body, as it employs a professional to physically knead out the tensions in the human form. Sacred sexuality also relaxes the body, both through the physical stimulation, the release of libidinal tension, and the training in relaxed awareness which is a prerequisite for Taoist or Tantric sexual techniques. Sexual circulation, properly initiated and conservatively practiced, may be the most efficient way to relax and open the physical body and circulate the energies of the self and others.

Chemical substances can also be used to relax the physical body. These come with the danger of addiction, attachment, and dependency, and used in excess, can damage the structure of the nerves and internal organs. Tranquilizers like sleeping aids and barbituates such as alcohol decrease nerve firing, sensitivity, and reactivity. Cannabinoids promote a relaxed consciousness, but used unconsciously can also promote severe dissociation, diminishing the conscious will. While cannabinoids can be used to test the will and enhance the capacity to focus, that is an atypical use case. For this reason, I prefer active relaxation techniques and sexual circulation to any external chemical induction of physical opening.

 

Energy Body

Whether open or shut, our energy bodies are continually picking up energy from our environment and sending signals to our minds. If we are conditioned to respond to energy with possibility, we deepen into the perception of energy – if we see this energy as a threat, we trigger our muscles to close up and retract from the stimuli. If this retraction becomes habitual, we may not even realize that a retraction is taking place, and our world will become ‘safer,’ defended from energetic sensitivity, but also smaller and subtly tense, as our physical bodies are conditioned to think they are constantly surrounded by stressors. Through heart disease, mental illness, and the drugs and food people intake to combat anxiety, stress is now the number one killer in developed nations. Opening the energy body and convincing the mind that it is safe to open is crucial for maintenance and development of our vessels on any level.

With open energy bodies, we can do more than release tension: we can also flexibly influence the energy from the surroundings by being open to receive it. Opening to the presence of outside energies is the basis for a relationship, an interpenetration with a greater reality.

Various practices can be used to open the energy body. While this is by now a common refrain, yoga, meditation, and breathwork all have components which affect openings on the energy body. Stilling the mind allows for the perception of subtle layers of reality. Yoga stills the body and releases tension, allowing for the internal opening to energy within the container of the body through the lines of fascia, or connective tissue. And breathwork opens the energy body to take in energy from the outside world, and allows a deeper relationship with the energy contained in the breath. While none of these practices encompasses the whole of the alchemical process on all bodies – and it is a common error to mistake a beautiful, effective part for the whole – they are useful, and in many cases crucial to facilitate sustainable, balanced development of the energy body.

The energy body is most efficiently opened through your areas of greatest tension, which in Western society tends to be the stigmatized lower openings of the anus and genitals. Because relaxing these areas can bring about rapid energy body initiations, this is why sexual techniques can be so transformative in the West, and are a perennial fascination. For this reason, they are also the most important to use carefully – possibility for intense change is imminent when the lower body begins to relax, which is why most people are ‘anal retentive,’ ‘tight-assed,’ and puckered. Relaxing this area brings changes into a person’s life. Change destabilizes and must be carefully cultivated to be acceptable to the conscious mind. Sexual openings can bring change very quickly but must be taken very carefully, as they involve other human beings with their own objectives and capacities. I’ll speak more on sexuality and drug use at the end of this chapter.

 

Emotional Body

The emotional body can be opened by free expression – by letting your emotions out. This is where the upper orifices can take their part in opening – most specifically the mouth. When energetic pressure builds up in a situation, the most effective way of releasing that pressure is through speaking what is real for you. This releases energy that would otherwise be translated upwards into thoughts, judgments, and perceptions, and removes it before it builds up. While this is a ‘cleaning’ step, this expression also opens the mouth to expressing your depths. When these depths are expressed, the conscious mind gains links to the subconscious and unconscious spheres. Thus, ‘speaking your mind’ is actually a key factor in self-knowledge, for it opens the conscious mind to identify with what is there.

Opening can be facilitated by the creation, and especially the successful performance of any creative art. Artistic creation brings different parts of the brain together for one finished product. The best art, created with the proper intention, summons aspects of your deep light and deep shadow self to be seen, felt, and integrated into your conscious awareness. Singing, writing, art, music, all creative endeavors are welcome here. Most efficient and most daring are the arts which are freely expressed without premeditation – freestyling, stream of consciousness writing, improvising at the piano or guitar, painting by feel.

Glossalia, or ‘speaking in tongues’ is a form of spiritual scat – a vocal stream of consciousness in harmony with the surrounding currents of nature. This is why speaking in tongues can be seen as an inundation with spirit – if done without shame, it can be a robust means of accessing a connection between the conscious mind and the pervading force of spirit. Freestyle art conjoins different realms of experience. The best art blends the conscious mind with these rarified realms in order to create a living bridge between the two. This bridge becomes accessible whenever the art is directly revisited. Artists can create their bridges to bridge similar gaps for others. The job of the artists is to facilitate the relationship between different aspects of the self and connect others in this shared feeling. Thus, arts are an ideal way to open and express the emotional body and to connect with others through it.

Relationship of any deep and vulnerable kind can lead to emotional openings. Friendship, sexual relationship, familial ties, all bring up different levels of vulnerability and shared presence. When a relationship is sufficiently compelling that it is stronger than the boundaries which protect against pain, it brings the potential for opening.

The stronger the bait, the stronger the emotions which will be released. The evolutionary pressure to mate and reproduce is an excellent driver of positive emotions and love. This is counterbalanced by the neurochemical addiction to oxytocin which physical lovemaking produces. This is why the traditions of ‘courtly love,’ were so prevalent in the medieval era – a knight would project his image of the sacred feminine onto a distant lover, and use this desire as alchemical fuel to perfect his communion with self. Samurai would commonly find a love whom they would never reveal, fighting fiercely to defend their secret lover, who was always imminent yet deliberately unattainable in the flesh, or in the mind. They thus turned their physical desire into potent spiritual fuel which gave them the strength and determination of many men. Though this projection and sublimation process encompasses many steps of the alchemical work, desire of any kind is an amazing tool for emotional opening. When that desire is restricted physically in order to blossom into emotional fuel, it can result in rapid deepening of the capacity to feel and convey emotions.

 

Mental Body

The alchemical process starts by opening the mental body to the possibility of alchemy. The mental body then relaxes control of the other bodies to take in material in alignment with its perception and capacity for transmutation.

The alchemical process starts by opening the mental body to the possibility of alchemy. The mental body then relaxes control of the other bodies to take in the material in alignment with its perception and capacity for transmutation.

The mind must be open in order to see the possibility of beneficial exchange, and alchemical transformation in general. The conscious mind is the ‘guardian of the threshold,’ and any new sensation or stimulus which enters beyond the mind must convince this guardian that the benefits of its inclusion outweigh the risks of opening. This is why, though the mental body is the fourth of five limited bodies, the alchemical process starts with the mind’s decision to open.

Opening one’s mind happens through releasing of fixed concepts and relations and using imagination to approximate a better world, which exists as a latent possibility and which the body and mind can gradually make real. This process of creating an imaginary relation between yours and others’ best selves and linking that to the established network of your conscious, subconscious, unconscious, and superconscious mind (or higher self) is called squaring the circle. First, this requires the imagination that a ‘circle,’ or a rounded, integrated self, exists. Then comes the craft of opening the mind to hold the form, and filling the vessel to take in materials to craft this state in the form of your five bodies. This process is repeated again and again, crafting a smoother and more refined vessel capable of greater and greater transformation. It starts by opening to the possibility of transformation itself.

Positive imagination is the ability to see someone as their best self, and actually create the space for that outcome to come into being. This also applies to your self-conception. Imagining yourself in your truest beauty is a prerequisite for becoming your most beautiful self. This is true for your surroundings, your life circumstances, to any relationship between yourself and a projected ‘other.’

Opening to possibility requires a different type of mind than is common in much of society. We learn to ‘size up’ situations almost immediately, forming judgments within the first few seconds of a first encounter. It takes active work to ‘stay open’ after this judgment has been made, and to not close off after enough data is given to make a judgment regarding the possible outcomes of the interaction.

This is not to say that you should exist in a state without boundaries, which will be discussed in depth in step five: sealing the vessel. It is not ethical to feed others with your energy if that energy will be utilized to perpetuate illusion or environmentally destructive behavior. Bad energetic investments are never rewarded, either in nature and in the human world. Yet the process is not possible if you are too wary to open to the base material of reality. Provided you are brave enough to open and have the awareness to understand your capacity, the digestive fire and clarity to break down and integrate most incursions into your field, and the wisdom to construct your energetic portfolio for sustainable long-term returns in harmony with environmental conditions, you can open your mind to new opportunities. It is easier to open your mind once you have built a strong vessel, knowing that you can re-orient in time and construct boundaries are necessary to facilitate long-term growth. If your capacity for digestion is strong, you can take in more energies and transmute them in to fuel. You can open on specific frequencies for specific purposes, guarding against energetic imbalances and boundary-less connection which creates ‘leaks’ in your vessel. Yet, all learning, all perception, all interaction with the world, starts with opening.We open through the senses – through the nerve endings in the skin, sight through the eyes, hearing through the ears,

We open through the senses – through the nerve endings in the skin, sight through the eyes, hearing through the ears, taste, and speech through the tongue, smell through the nose. The mind processes these in thoughts, and communicates to the senses of other beings through the same mediums. Opening the senses will change the mental impressions and expand the range and capacity of interactions. Over time, the process of sensitization will allow the mental body to link with the emotional and energy bodies directly, without needing to utilize the physical senses for communication. Two adepts of similar capacity can have a connection in the language of energy, magnetic fields, and emotions without sharing words. These inputs are processed by the mental body and returned by the energetic and emotional bodies directly, without the intervention of the senses. Like a physical conversation, these modes of communication foster the increasing nuance, range, and capacity for communication when successfully undertaken.

Through all of these communications, the mind remains the gatekeeper for communication, the first sentry to decide when to open and shut the ‘lower’ bodies. It is for this reason that on any level, whether mundane or cosmically rarefied, the alchemical process starts in the mind.

 

Wisdom Body

Opening to wisdom means a silencing and surrender of the four lower bodies to a more subtle input than any of their separate streams. Opening to the frequency of the wisdom body, you open up to fundamental truths of nature and reality which the unbound mind will put words to, the emotional body will feel, the energetic body circulate and take the shape of, and the physical body move towards. Yet if any of these bodies are moving towards their separate goals: endorphins in the physical body, energetic desire, or emotional fulfillment or aversion, or mental control or stimulation, then the voice of the greater wisdom body, the collective consciousness which unites groups of people, the species itself, and even larger consciousnesses, will be limited and distorted by the conditioned desires of the lower vessels.

This wisdom permeates us, as the fields of reality which continually penetrate us. Yet the default state of humans is to remain separated from direct contact with reality. A human is first shielded from direct contact with the wisdom body by their mother, who filters reality for them. This expands to both parents, to school, a national government, a religion, a profession, and the stratified network of social and economic classes, friendships, relationships, and family ties which, if energy is invested in their maintenance, grants a person participation in larger groups. These groups act as an electromagnetic shield against the direct energies of reality itself. They blunt the impact of nature. If energy is divided among enough of these groups, or if these groups have patterns which numb the impact of reality or dissociate from life, then they can cause the group member to have a skewed aperture to reality, or worse, numb direct contact entirely.

This is like the earth’s electromagnetic field, which blocks humans from receiving the full spectrum of radiation from the sun, as well as more exotic cosmic radiation from farther afield. In order to access these frequencies, a person would have to journey beyond the earth’s magnetic field. In this metaphor, such spacewalks happen through ritual. In ritual, specific conditions are met to either reach ‘escape velocity’ to go beyond the gravitational field of established beliefs, or to open a localized portal so that forces beyond the field can enter into the space of earth – their density is matched in the localized field, and they have a place to materialize in this plane. Both of these are only gateways, for the end goal of the alchemical process is to integrate these expanded states and portals into everyday reality, expanding beyond the ‘gravitational field’ and ‘electromagnetic corona’ of the earth itself to incorporate beyond-states into everyday reality.

As the increasingly unshielded psyche opens to the forces of life, there can be many trials. They can come into contact with the forces of the collective unconscious, open to forces beyond those normally permitted on earth (as they are no longer protected by group bodies from ‘demons’ or negative thoughtforms which these bodies unconsciously protect against), and wrestle with the unconscious tendencies of their ego when offered the possibility of limitless expansion beyond conditions normally prevalent in group dynamics. Opening the wisdom body offers the potential for dynamic growth, harmony with the forces of nature, and becoming a vessel for the greatest transformations possible to the human body. It also raises the possibility of insanity, ‘possession’ by exotic forces of the self and the collective field, and profound dissociation from the other bodies. For this reason, ritual opening of the wisdom body is not recommended alone, without substantial foundation, grounding, and preparation.

The active alchemical process starts with opening. Like learning any new exercise, this process is most sustainable when slowly, carefully integrated. The excitement of alchemy is realizing that rapid change and evolution is possible. Yet if that excitement burns without caution, a would-be alchemist can rise to a great height and burn themselves out, dropping from the sky. This is the source of the Icarus myth. Icarus was the son of Daedalus, the inventor, and scientist who plumbed the secrets of nature. He went too high, too hot, and too fast. His wings were wax because he did not learn to bind them to his nature. They were borrowed and melted in the intensity of the alchemical process. Icarus went up alone, without support from one who had been there before. In his adolescent arrogance, he cost himself the capacity for stable, steady, sustainable growth.

It is nearly impossible to counsel someone set on rapid expansion to go slowly. Yet with proper caution carefully dispensed, a neophyte can recognize their mistakes early, correct their course, and offer counsel to others on the path to proceed with caution, but by all means, proceed. ‘The spiritual path is strewn with dead bodies,’ and most are still physically alive. Growth can be arrested by the trauma of a sharp fall from grace, or from the lack of ambition to begin the journey at all. May your ascent be careful, continual, and blessed with a sustainable insight integrated with your deepest nature. May you open to truth which you can integrate, and open more. May you have the boundaries to understand what will serve your development, and the bravery to digest old fears within your time and capacity. May you know love, and open to yourself as its living emanation.

 

A note on using sexuality and chemical substances to open your container:

I will not here explicitly advocate the use of chemical substances for opening your container. In respect of your freedom, such a decision must always be yours, and yours alone to make. While various chemical substances can also be used as sacraments to ‘open’ the bodies, it is ideal that such substances are used responsibly and sustainably in order to internalize their results, rendering them repeatable in sobriety after a refractory period of integrating the changes into human psyche. Indeed, intelligent, balanced, and open substance use, in the right setting with the right people, can lead to rapid evolution and enhancement. But these substances are not without their perils. The dangers with substance use on the alchemical path are twofold: they can create dependency in order to maintain certain states of being, and in deliberately changing the wiring of the brain, they can damage the structure of the mind and body in their overuse. Substances are by definition not sustainable: in excess they can harm the internal organs and the brain. Yet like any experience, they can open strange, exotic doors in the mind which reveal latent patterns, and can unlock the enhanced energy to deliberately adjust the psyche. In overdose, they can break the psyche, requiring months or years to revocer. This warning holds for all psychotropic medication, whether prescribed by a doctor or personally sought out.

Yet, sex is also a ‘sacred substance,’ which must be used responsibly in order for optimal growth and development. Sexuality and substance use is actually quite similar in the spiritual path, and both are in similar positions within ‘left hand’ spiritual practices like Tantra. Why include sexuality with substances as external means of opening? Sexuality bridges the gap between a substance and an internalized practice, as it requires another consenting person to facilitate the deepest union. The sexual merger of ‘two becoming one’ replicates the merger of the solo practitioner with reality itself. Like substances, sexuality can be used for limited pleasure or to consummate an internal union with the highest and open to living love. Unlike substances, sexuality can be stopped at any time, while substances last relative to the dosage and sensitivity of the taker. While intention is important in sex as well as drug usage, there are advanatages and disadvantages for each. Sacred sexuality requires a merger of intentions, and requires substantial physical, energetic, and emotional resonance and specific techniques in order to bring the act to consummation. Drug use requires only one intention – your own – yet also requires insight into proper dosage engineering of the internal and external environment.

Sexuality differs from chemical substances in its effect on the brain and body. Sexuality with ejaculation or without full resonance between both partners in the mutual opening of sexuality can be depleting, but is less depleting than a failed experiment with drugs. While an ‘overdose’ of sex can lead to some mental dependency and physical depletion, but nowhere near as much as a drug overdose. And very few people have suffered serious health crises due to the overuse of sex – though financial and psychological crises are frequent consequences here. Additionally, there are consequences for not having sex or circulating sexual energy: frustration, listlessness, erratic mood and behavior, while the only consequence for a lack of drug use (in an un-addicted non-user) is life without the specific expanded experience of the substance in question.

The phrase, ‘don’t stand in the doorway’ applies here – in fact, it was made for this experience. Sexual and especially chemical means of opening bring a practitioner to a doorway to a new realm of expression – they must step through in their actions in daily life. While ritual journeys into the great beyond can include sex or substances, the daily work of integrating these expanded states into life is the ‘chop wood, carry water’ of daily practice. This is work. Sexual and drug journeys feel far more like adventure and play. Yet these modes of connection, without extreme skill and nuance in their use, can lead to a diminishing of the physical vessel to feel and enjoy them, while daily practice starts slowly, yet increases in effectiveness over time.

Internal practices for opening have an additional advantage over chemical or sexual means of union. Internal practices are the renewable resources – they provide sustainable energy and should be the basis for the overwhelming majority of our spiritual practices. Substance-induced states are like rockets which burn a huge amount of non-sustainable fuel in order to achieve ‘escape velocity’ from the gravity of your current way of being. Substance-induced experiences, be they with a sexual partner or a sacred substance, are deliberately induced peak experiences. They are only useful long-term if their insights can be integrated into daily life without a substance or a partner to trigger the effect.

If you choose to use substances, it is very important to ensure that you are in a safe container, that the quality of the substance (or partner) is high, and that you replenish yourself afterwards with nourishing nutrients, emotions, and experiences in order to integrate the maximum from your exploration. It is crucial to integrate after the fact to ensure maximum gains. Know that any sufficiently strong substance contains with it a refractory period, where the brain will be rebalancing and reintegrating the experiences it has encountered. This period can range from a few days to six weeks, in the case of psychedelics, and that is with a safe dose. Overdoses can deplete a vulnerable system for months or more.

Some practical considerations: I do not recommend the use of psychedelics more than once every three months, amphetamines more than once every three months, cannabinoids more than once every month, and barbiturates more than once every week. I do not recommend the use of opioids except in temporary cases of extreme pain, and then very sparingly, as tolerable amounts of pain are a great tool for growth. I do not recommend the use of casual drugs or casual sex, as both tend to be addictive and depleting to higher centers. In such casual rituals, without holding a firm container, you can lose energy in a few hours that took a few weeks to accumulate, hone and develop.

Sacred sexuality can have a huge effect on the energy body. It’s easy to see why. Sexuality itself is an amazing opener for the lower body which is rarely accessed in the hypercognitive ecesses of western living. Sex can be seen as a yoga unlocking the hips, thighs, and abomemen, an area which stores immense subconscious conditionings. Good sex includes asana, pranayama, and evocations of the deity and the in spontaneous cries ‘Oh God’ or ‘I love you’ which incorporate the best aspects of mantra. The moment of orgasm opens the deep brain to reset subconscious and unconscious conditioning – if the energy body is fully open in this moment, it can be the most efficient way to reprorgram long-held trauma or to set intentions into the world to bring new creations into reality. Sex magic is real – yet it must be used responsibly. It opens doorways to both light and shadow. For best results, it is ideal for the practitioner to understand the consequences of both blinding light and terrifying darkness, and build a container to hold both in one.

For a male, relaxed concentration is required to stay continent throughout the practice, while females first learn to surrender to the moment – both practices which can be honed in meditation. Finally, breathwork is mandatory in sacred sexuality for the circulation of sexual energy. The presence of sexual endorphins provides ample bait for learning these complex, delicate techniques, which can translate naturally into a personal meditative practice. The work of Montauk Chia with Taoist sexual alchemy is extremely helpful here – he offers simple practices to utilize sexual energy to open the internal vessel.

Important to note: sexual energy is the most powerful internal fuel of the physical vessel. It should not be used as a means of making energetic doors which are not there. Your vessel should be thoroughly cleaned of refuse or blockages before attempting sexual circulation, or internal damages could arise when pushing massive amounts of against a blocked channel.

I make these warnings and continue to make them because with sex and drugs, you have the firepower to blow open your physical, energetic, emotional, and mental vessel. You could blow a door open to aspects of the wisdom body that, refracted through a normal human vessel, could result in insanity. You could feel things you can’t unfeel, see things you can’t unsee. Or you could blow open the mind and body so much that it takes years to feel again fully, if ever. I have been to these places, and personally experienced the years-long consequences of moving beyond my capacity to hold these energies. In engaging in these realms, I am now highly aware of my capacities and limits. I recommend the same for you, for the boons of continual, savvy practice in any realm without the dangerous excesses I have fortunately lived through. Not everyone on the path is so lucky as I have been, and as a survivor of excesses, it is my responsibility for those who have not been so lucky as I. If you choose to use any substance, if you choose to transform sex into a sacrament, please do so responsibly, for your sake and the sake of your loved ones. It may be a slower path, but in the years to come, you will be glad for your forebearance, caution, and the long-term returns it brings.