As I wrote about here, I’ve always found myself with at least some resistance to spirituality, even though I’m simultaneously drawn to all things spiritual. I feel better after I meditate, but getting me to sit down crossed-legged in front of my altar is like pulling wisdom teeth. I love going to dharma talks at Green Gulch Zen Center, but as much as I resonate with the Buddhists, they just feel so… zen. I find myself wanting to wear a red dress and burst into song in the middle of a group meditation. As much as Jesus is my favorite, I find myself strangely drawn to Hindu goddesses like Kali.
It’s been this awkward push-pull for much of my adult life.
But I finally found a spiritual teacher who helped me understand my mixed feelings about spirituality – and the great news is that she has a new book out!
INTRODUCING SERA BEAK’S RED, HOT, & HOLY!
If you don’t know Sera, she’s a Harvard religion scholar who is fascinated by the Divine Feminine, and in case that sounds too dry, she’s also a sacred prostitute (you’ll have to read the book to understand what I’m talking about!) Sera is committed not just to the high-and-mighty masculine realms of conventional spiritual practices, but to the dark-and-dirty, red wine stained, blood RED realms of deep, rich, earthy feminine soul work. In other words, Sera is all about helping people reach the Divine via the wisdom, intuition, bad-ass truth and the sexy sauciness of the feminine that exists within us all, regardless of gender.
I absolutely adore this book. I mean I gobbled it up in 2 days during a hectic week when I really didn’t have time to find my feminine soul. It was that good.
I won’t spoil any of the juicy parts (and oh boy, this memoir of Sera’s love story with all things Divine is HOT HOT HOT), but let me share with you one of my favorite parts.
Spirit Vs. Soul
Sera makes a clear distinction between spiritual practices that nourish “spirit” versus spiritual practices that nourish “soul.”
Spirit = Divine Masculine
Soul = Divine Feminine
Here’s the difference:
“Oneness, nonattachment, neutrality, emptiness, perfection, peace, equanimity, clean, constant, calm… zzz… whoops, I dozed off there for a minute, undifferentiated illumination, God realization, enlightenment.”
“Ecstatic, dynamic, evolutionary, full, sensual, erotic, passionate, messy, explosive, energetic, emotional, imperfect, fiery, enlivenment.”
Still don’t get it? Sera goes on…
Divine Masculine Vs. Divine Feminine
“For me, the Divine Masculine feels still; the Divine Feminine feels like movement. The Divine Masculine feels like no thing; the Divine Feminine feels like every thing. The Divine Masculine feels impersonal; the Divine Feminine feels personally invested. The Divine Masculine feels cool and collected and even a bit chaste; the Divine Feminine feels hot and bothered and more than a bit salacious. In my inner wisdom, the Divine Masculine looks clear, and the Divine Feminine shimmers like a rainbow. The Divine Masculine works it out on a yoga mat; the Divine Feminine prefers a claw-foot bathtub. The Divine Masculine drives a Prius; the Divine Feminine speeds in a convertible Caddy. The Divine Masculine fasts. The Divine Feminine feasts. The Divine Masculine sits cross-legged under a tree all day; the Divine Feminine dances around a fire all night. The Divine Masculine sounds like OMMMMMM; the Divine Feminine sounds like AHHHHH or WOOO HOOOOOO!!!! Or a guttural scream. Or a sob. Or a belly laugh.
While both aspects of the Divine feel familiar and necessary, for me, the Divine Masculine appears more spiritual, even though the Divine Feminine feels more natural… Masculine does not equate to male, nor does feminine equate with female. Some of the most divinely feminine humans I know are men, and some of the most divinely masculine humans I know are women… However, what’s crucial to notice is that most of us have forfeited our divine femininity in order to fit into a masculine spiritual “norm.”
I don’t know about you but reading this book ignited something in me that left me yodeling a “Holy Hallelujah!”
It’s like one big giant permission slip to be all of my gritty, raw, real, messy, expansive, shadowy, wise, intuitive, disciplined, naughty, sexy, rebellious, pious, spiritual, soulful, Divine, light beam self all in one package of a body that has been irreverently but reverently captured in boudoir photos.
What Does Being “Spiritual” Mean To You?
Share your thoughts in the comments.