On a recent trip to Colorado, I had an experience with a snake that will forever change my understanding about the true nature of the world and my place within it. The snake gave me two gifts: belief and a story. I want to preserve both the interaction that led to the first gift as well as the second gift itself.
I’ll first start with the interaction that led to the gift of belief….
After setting up the site that would be my solo home for the next 20 hours, I headed for the nearby creek to wash my hands. A snake darted out of my path and stopped about four feet away from me with its head in a sunny spot beside a tree. The snake was about the width of two pencils and about a foot long. It’s brown body had two yellow stripes that ran along it’s length.
I stopped to admire the snake and recalled the suggestion from Bill Plotkin in his book “Soul Craft” to talk with animals — if you are patient and dedicated, he says, they might just talk back.
There was part of me that read this suggestion and thought, wouldn’t it be cool if that were true? Can people really have conversations with animals? I’ve seen amazing videos (like this one) that present such compelling evidence. But I also had this strong inner skeptic: yeah right, talking to animals is just as crazy as the trees having feelings, or the rocks being “sacred.” The part of me that deeply knows the wisdom that exists in everything from soil to our cells is often drowned out by this loud, persuasive skeptic.
Here I was, in the woods, with a snake, by myself, with no chance of anyone walking by or hearing me. I felt inspired to take Plotkin’s suggestion and to talk to the snake. My one-way conversation went something like this:
“Hello snake. Thank you so much for letting me stay on your land tonight. Hey, I’m so sorry that so many humans are afraid of you. We have treated your kind so poorly. We put you in cages for entertainment or “educational” purposes.”
Then, I remembered another suggestion the book had — ask the animal to share their wisdom with you.
So I continued: “Snake, will you come to me in a dream tonight, and share your wisdom with me?”
And all the while, I’m yammering on, the snake is motionless, just staring at me.
“Snake, your species has been around for millions of years, you have so much wisdom and perspective. Surely, there is much you can teach me. Will you come to me in a dream tonight?”
Then I remembered my alone time the day before, and how I’d called in the spirit of bear who lives on the land. I can find the idea of bears sexually arousing (probably in some part due to this book), but I can find myself thinking erotically about other wild animals as well. It occurred to me to tap into the sex magic of snake.
“Snake, can I fantasize about you tonight? Give me a sign. I’ll count to ten, and if you move before I get to ten, I’ll take that as a yes. If not, I’ll take it as a no.”
The snake flicked its tongue.
I sucked in a quick break of air, and then the snake nodded.its.head.up.and.down. TWICE.
Then it slowly slithered away.
I watched it go and then felt tears well up inside. I let the tears out, along with the inner skeptic who was keeping me from having the deepest relationship with the natural world as was possible.
So that night, I stayed true to my word. I fantasized about snake.
Now, I’m not one of those people who find snakes really sexy. I like holding them, but you won’t find me at a party, scantily clad, wearing a real boa in place of a feather one. It’s just not the way I’m wired.
So as I thought about snake, while touching myself, we co-created a story — eco-erotica possibly? — that emerged when the snake’s sensuality combined with where I found the most pleasure in my body.
And this is the story….
The snake is small enough to fit in the gap between my big and second toes. As I lie on the forest floor, still barely warm, releasing the last of the day’s rays of sun, the snake slowly climbs onto my body by first entering through this tunnel between my toes. It moves up my foot, draping slightly down along the inner arch. Up over my ankle bone and diagonally across my shin, the snake feels like a smooth rope being dragged across my skin by a lover. I feel the curve its body makes as it navigates the outer edge of my knee. As it moves up my thigh, it dips down tracing a line toward my inner thigh and up my hip, just narrowly missing a caress of my outer lips. It crests over the top of my hip bone and turns sharply towards my pubic mound. Its wandering parts my hair, as if it is moving through soft grass, and it emerges into the soft pool made by my lower belly sunken between my pelvic bowl. It pauses in this bowl, waiting for the tail to catch up with the head. It rests like a twisted ribbon. I am acutely aware of its weight as my inhalation requires the slightest extra effort to compensate, and all my attention turns to feeling it rising and falling slightly with each breath I take.
Just as the resting snake begins to feel at one with my body, I feel the slightest contraction of the snake’s muscles as it begins its journey again. Streaming up the center of my belly, it turns left to synchronize the curve of its body to my breast. It glides tenderly over my collar bone and into the soft pocket beneath my neck as it turns right to cross the other collarbone and heads down and around my right breast. The snake pauses again, nestled in the small valley between my breasts. My awareness is solely focused on its cool touch on my warm skin.
I breathe into the spot where it rests between my breasts. I sigh, and it continues its visit, but even more slowly this time. It’s like the game I played as a kid — one person closes their eyes, and the other slowly tickles the inside of their arm from the wrist to the elbow. The job of the person whose eyes are closed is to say stop when the tickle gets to the middle of the elbow. But this always turns out to be incredibly hard to do… the anticipation, the feeling, the loss of sense of where your body parts are, often results in a “stop” when the tickler is still inches away from the target. The snake and I play our own version of this game. When would it get to my belly button?
The snake moves so slowly, it feels as though my torso stretches on forever. Finally, I feel the cool body cross over my belly button and start making it’s way through the soft grass on my pubic mound. And when I thought the snake couldn’t go any slower, it dives its head down, parting my lips, caressing over my clit, before reaching for the ground between my legs. The body of the snake seems to pass through my lips for a pleasurable eternity. As the snake’s tail passes across my body and onto the ground, I shudder — stirring the intense pleasure that the snake had conjured up.
As I continue to lie on the ground, my mind retraces the snakes path up and down my body remembering the softness, coolness, and weight of its being. Suddenly, I feel the flick of a snake tongue on my left shoulder. Instinctively, I know to move my arms, placing them on the ground above my head. Once I have returned to stillness, a large, dark head of a snake mounts my body from the side, just under my left breast. The pressure of this snake on my ribcage takes my breath away. My body contracts in shock and to hold the weight of this snake, which makes the first snake seem like a mere tickle.
The snake’s long body continues to scale mine. It turns its head towards my feet, slides down the side of my belly, up over my hip bone, and down along my left leg. With all of its weight along my left side, my body wants to roll towards it, spooning myself around it. Instead, I root my right side to the ground, lying solidly on the earth with my heart open to the heavens. Slowly, it slides off my foot and onto the ground, finally losing all physical contact with me. My muscles slowly release and my breathing returns to normal as I readjust to only feeling my own weight against the earth.
A quick flick of the tongue signals his return. This time, I feel the flick on my soft, outer labia. I gasp for air as the snake mounts my body again from between my legs, its slick, cool, heavy body sliding across my pussy. The initial wave of pleasure follows the snake’s head as it slowly climbs up my torso, between my breasts, and up towards my neck.
The snake’s face meets mine and it pauses to look in my eyes. It flicks it tongue a few more times, I let out a moan of pleasure, and the snake shifts towards my right shoulder and slowly proceeds down my right arm and hands that are outstretched over my head. I feel shocks of ecstacy rattle from my pussy to the tips of my fingers as the snake’s long body continues to be pulled between my legs and stretches into my outstretched arms. Finally, the tip of the snakes tail passes through my pubic hair and the absence of its weight feels as present as its body did.
My body begins to rock and undulate with pleasure, just as the snake’s body did as it navigated through the peaks and valleys of my body. I feel the wetness of my pussy along with the wetness of the forest floor as the dew from the night air begins to settle around me. By body longs to move side to side and I find myself rolling onto my belly so my heart can be closer to the earth. As my body continues to pulse and wave, I push my hands into the dirt, lifting my body off the ground and onto my hands and knees.
Coming to rest in child’s pose, I feel myself bowing in sacred reverence to the forest and her serpentine lovers. Cracking sticks and crunching leaves remind me that I am not alone in this forest clearing. I start to breath heavily, wondering what creature is going to visit me next. A man, as dark as the night has become, emerges through the trees. His hair, a bundle of snake-like dreadlocks, are loosely pulled back at the nape of his neck. He is as aroused as I am.
He approaches me slowly, resting as his knees nestle between mine on the forest floor. His hands connect with my hips and my body responds to his gravitational pull. I feel his hard pelvic bones and warm cock pressed up against me as I deeply inhale the scent of his sweat mixed with the cool night air. I arch my back, reaching my heart to the sky, inviting him inside. I exhale as I feel him slide himself inside of me.
He leans forward so his body meets mine. His hands slide from my hips up to my breasts and he lifts me up so we are both upright on our knees, our pelvic bowls nestled together and our backs arched to the black sky. One of his arms continues to cradle my breast while the other hand slides down to hold my pubic mound, my hair resting in the palm of his hand and his fingers on my clit. Our bodies begin to move in unison as he pushes himself deeper into me.
I feel him begin to howl at the moon long before I hear it. His guttural voice echoes off the trees surrounding us. I join him in the howl. Knees on the earth. Chest open to the sky. The union of the divine masculine and feminine. Offering our call of pleasure to the forest.
Our howls are slowly joined by other voices, not so far away. As we howl, the moon breaks through the clouds, illuminating more bodies intertwined throughout the clearing. Lovers weaved in various forms of pleasure and connection, all using earth as our house of prayer.
My call shifts from a howl to a crescendoing of orgasmic pleasure. As I release in ecstasy, I hear the other voices begin to do the same. A chorus of pleasure, echoing off the rocks and trees, reaching all the way to the stars and deep into the earth.
Finally our voices quiet. The dark man and I stay connected. I surrender completely with him on top of me. His weight grounds me back to the earth and I am reminded of the weight of the snake moving across my body. Eventually, I can no longer tell the place where my body stops and his starts. Or where the earth ends and skin begins. I feel his pleasure mixing with mine, and our collective pleasure circling back into the earth — our gift back to the land, the snakes, and all creatures who love this sacred forest.
I was introduced to a new concept/ movement/ idea this summer, called Ecosexuality. I received an invitation to participate in the Ecosex Convergence event and I was intrigued to learn more. The event promised to be a combination of permaculture, large group rituals, earth-based spirituality, and ecosomatics within a sex-positive container.
My hubby and I attended the last 3 days of the 5 day event. The land on which the event was being held was spectacularly beautiful and clearly very sacred land. We pitched our tent with plenty of spaciousness, enjoyed really good vegetarian food at each meal, and took full advantage of the forest sanctuary they named after Lilith to commune with the divine and to connect sexually with each other.
The trainings and workshops were informative and thoughtfully conducted. The large rituals were interesting to observe. While I didn’t feel significantly called to them, I appreciated the thought, intention, and creativity with which they were conducted.
What I took away most from the event (other than savoring the delicious connection in the woods with my beloved and a spark of inspiration to explore my pleasure) was a new found curiosity around the Ecosexual movement.
The concept behind the Ecosexual movement is that we shift from a relationship with Mother Earth to one with Lover Earth.
I purchased and read the new anthology “Ecosexuality: When Nature Inspires the Arts of Love” as well as many of the foundational texts that are supporting this movement.
The Ecosexual Pioneers are a small, but visionary group who are utilizing their artistic talents and deep personal connection to the Earth to articulate a new vision about ways to relate and interact with the Earth and all of its inhabitants. They suggest that the mindset of how we treat a mother and how we treat a lover, are significantly different enough to adjust the very way humans view, interact, and make decisions about our relationship with the non-human world. Charles Eisenstein talks about this shift in the anthology:
“Eco-sexual awakening is a direct response to hitting these limits [of what the earth can give], the weaning age of abundance and the ending of our civilizations childlike relationship to the earth. We face the necessity of treating earth not as a mother – a boundless provider of all we need and want – but as a lover, with whom we give and receive in equal measure.”
I am appreciating this movement’s effort to make the “green” movement more holistic — to include human sexuality as a key factor in the world’s ability to have a more sustainable relationship with the Earth. In my experience of the environmental movement, human sexuality is never discussed, let alone valued or leveraged. That is no surprise given that in most cultures, human sexuality is forbidden, hidden, and demonized. And in more “progressive” cultures, human sexuality is at best marginalized, called offensive, and subjected to shame, control, and fear.
In the Ecosexuality anthology, author Gabriella Cordova asks the fundamental question: “… how can a species at war with its own nature be able to love nature?” If we can’t embrace, redeem, utilize, cherish, and find peace with our own wild, sexual natures, how can we expect societies to protect, support, and have a symbiotic relationship with the wild plants, animals, and land that comprise the rest of the inhabitants on planet Earth?
Anthology author Robert Silver says, “Many have heard the saying that a chain is only as strong as the weakest link. For many people, that link is sensuality and sexuality.” I’m intrigued by the idea of looking at my relationship to human sexuality as a mirror for my culture’s relationship to nature.
This relationship is at the very heart of my pleasure project. What lessons do I learn when I explore my own pleasure that apply to my relationship with Earth as well?
I may not go so far as to have an eco-wedding to marry my new Lover Earth, but recent events (including a conversation with a snake, story coming soon) have led me to believe that pleasure, sensuality, sexuality have an integral role both in my own personal development as well as my understanding of how I fit into the larger ecosystem on our planet.
This is a long one, as I’m catching up after days of traveling…
Day 8 – Half Moon- Pleasure today came in the form of lounging in bed, the colors and smells of the farmers market, and pepper ice cream served on butter soil. My meditation time came in the form of a gifted sensual massage. I was finding my mind zoning out and leaving my body. I tried using vocalization to help stay present.
Day 9- Feeling under the weather, so instead of a meditation, I treated myself to snuggly time in bed. A communal dinner with dear friends for dinner to celebrate life and love brought the most pleasure of the day.
Day 10- A quiet morning soak. Sweet relish on my breakfast sandwich. Pauses in a hike to listen to the sounds of nature. A late night omelette made with love. Learning from the evening’s hot tub meditation of my ability to stay more present in my body when my eyes are open then when they are closed.
Day 11- An intense meditation. Playing with keeping my eyes open and focusing on the masculine and feminine portrayed in an art piece in my bedroom. Feeling into what parts of my body felt feminine that day, and which felt masculine. Witnessed how my pleasuring took on a very masculine, penetrative quality and how my body responded in such a feminine way with amrita.
Day 12- A celebration of another year around the sun as individuals and as a couple. The forest smell and beautiful tree roots tickled my senses. The best breakfast burrito in the world satisfied completely. Sunshine on warm, naked skin was such a gift. My meditation was done in partnership today — delicious physical, emotional and sexual connection with my husband.
Day 13- Today I spent traveling and sharing a room. I didn’t make additional time and space for a meditation today. But I experienced plenty of pleasure. Spinning down giant sand dunes. A long nap on the plane. A warm shower before dinner.
Day 14- Experiencing so much visual pleasure being out in wild, nature. Red roots reaching into the water, named after the Goddess Kali. Moving energy with tai chi. Connecting with an incredible spiritual teacher and shaman. My pleasure meditation time was alone, naked in the woods, next to a stream. Dedicated my meditation to bear, who lives in the forest where we were staying.
Day 15- So much learning about and experiencing pleasure throughout the day. Meditated on a quartz crystal seat hundreds of feet above the earth, placed there for that very purpose by ancient humans. Had a two-way conversation with a snake. Later, let snake influence and direct my meditation for the evening. The story that we created together was erotic and powerful.
Day 16- Waking up to squirrels chattering. I loved snuggling in a cozy sleeping bag inside a hammock while having uninterrupted hours to think and journal.
Day 17- Pleasure of all forms today: the sight of aspens turning gold, the taste of a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin, playing games with friends over lunch, laughing at a bloody nose being curbed with a tampon, the hugs from my family at the airport, and intense cuddling as I fell asleep in the arms of the man I love.
Day 18- A hike in the forest. Styling the mossy hairdo of a log along the path. Deep and genuine conversation with a friend. Feeling the satisfaction of demonstrating the brilliance of my favorite artist.
Day 19- A very interactive and co-creative meditation process today. Three bodies. Too much coconut oil. Lots of pleasure, relaxation, and experimentation. Pleasure came today in the form of connection, deep conversation, heart-felt sharing, and listening with friends… in triad, over dinner, and in the hot tub. I also enjoyed seeing a little boy waiting out on the porch for certain little girls to come home.
“Across time and space, people have personified natural forces and fundamental principles in an effort to give names to what we do not fully understand. The natural world has been seen as sacred: elemental forces known as divine. …Yet today, most Westerners live in a world that has been stripped of spirit — the Earth is perceived by many as inert, the erotic is often interpreted as obscene, sexual desire and expression are found to be offensive, and the force of Eros is confined to little more than the physical arousal sensed in one’s genitals.”
From: “Ecosexuality” by SerenaGaia Anderlinin-D’Onofrio and Lindsay Hagamen
In December, only 9 months ago, I read a book that has so significantly changed my life, I’m inclined to think about my timeline from a “before” and “after” perspective. This book has given me hope, new perspective, inspiration, reassurance, a sense of peace. And quite surprisingly, it’s inspired a project.
Now in my third reading of “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible” (by Charles Eisenstein), I’ve taken away many ideas and inspirations. The inspiration I feel most called to is to choose and celebrate pleasure.
Charles says: “To choose pleasure… is to set in motion a process that upends the Story of the World.”
The book outlines the old story of the world: that we are all separate, disconnected individuals fighting for limited resources from a world that is meant to be conquered. It also paints the new story of the world: that we and the earth are all interconnected and that we are all working towards a common goal. If the old story of the world is true, then there is very little space for pleasure — rather it seems that pleasure would be a hinderance to productivity, efficiency, and getting our share of the resources. If the new story of the world is true, then pleasure is a key component. If my pleasure is your pleasure, and your pain is my pain, why would I make any other choice?
So what if Charles is right that the true nature of the world is that we are all interconnected? Could choosing pleasure truly be a revolutionary act that makes it easier to see and feel that interconnection?
What if pleasure is the path to radical change for the world?
In looking at my own experience over the past few years as I’ve studied how to make stronger connections through my words (NVC) or through my body (tantra), I see how much personal transformation has occurred for me. This learning and growth has been intentional, yet not focused. What would my life look like if I consciously chose pleasure? Could I make the new story of the world a little more possible by prioritizing pleasure over productivity and efficiency?
The more beautiful world MY heart knows is possible is full of deep connection, dance, play, food brimming with flavor and vitality, tender touch, loving words, natural beauty, and the sounds of children laughing.
Starting today, I’m committing to let pleasure be my compass to the more beautiful world.
And this blog, is my psychological striptease — a titillating and exposed stage on which to reveal my experience of choosing pleasure.