Archive | Sensual

Winter’s Sensuality + Imbolc

I will be honest: Winter is not my favorite season for indulging in my sensual side. It’s cold, and I hate the cold (my husband knows that, when I die, I want to be cremated. I detest the thought of laying in a casket, cold, for eternity). And it’s been really fucking cold here the last week, polar vortex and all. I’ve had to wear two layers of everything this week: pants, shirts, socks, gloves. It’s made me feel warm but also slightly inflexible. 

What I’ve come to see in the depth of this cold is that there is a lot to appreciate about the sensuality of winter if I look at it from a different angle: what makes me feel warm, cozy, and safe. Then it’s easy. 

Hot tea with cream + lots of sugar (what is tea if not a vehicle for sugar and cream?)

Being covered in afghans while watching a movie

Favorite soups and warm bread

Coming in from the cold

Flannel sheets

The funny little chugging hum of humidifiers (I am the Keeper of the Humidifiers at my house)

Ass hot showers with lots of lotion afterwards

Long hugs (hugs and hugs and hugs)

Giving myself permission to be a lump

Indulging in social media more than usual

Small reading breaks through the day

The sound of frozen leaves crunching when I walk the dog

Getting creative about keeping sex warm and comfy

Sweating like crazy on my bike on Saturdays (feels good to get red-faced hot, sometimes)

Wool socks and gloves

The sun finally coming back 

Winter’s sensuality might be slightly harder to find, but it’s there. And it worth indulging in, if you ask me. Winter is a time when we need more joy, more connection, more warmth, and comfort.

 I hope you can find the time and space to find your sensual pleasures during this time of year. It is helping me keep my sanity when I feel downtrodden by the cold.


Photo by Aliis Sinisalu on Unsplash


Today is also Imbolc, the half way point between Winter Solstice (darkest day of the year) and Spring Equinox (when the light and dark are equal). I could not be happier for this day because it marks the time when farmers would have begun to look at the signs for when Spring might arrive and begin planning for the future of the year. A favorite ritual of this day is to “bless the seeds” for the harvest of the coming year. 

Earlier this week I was having a very day-dreamy sort of day and I kept bringing myself back to ‘reality’ and focusing on the work I had to do. Turns out, it was a perfectly good day to day-dream, astrologically speaking. I should have gone with my gut! In any case, I think “blessing the seeds” of the year isn’t just about what we have to do in a practical sense, but also about what our dreams are for the year ahead. Yes, we traditionally do this at New Year’s but there’s no reason we shouldn’t regularly indulge in our dreams and desires for what we wish to create- and Imbolc is a great time to do this. 

Here are some things I’ve been dreaming about:

Getting my book about the Sex Surge edited and to the book designer.

Our travel for the coming year.

Concerts I’m going to see this year.

Plans for my own personal retreat (something I haven’t done in a couple of years).

Severing the final bits of an energetic connection. I couldn’t decide if I needed to continue with a “compassionate, soulful, seeker who is healing” energy or just go subtle “psycho hosebeast“* energy- but what I realized is that I don’t need to do either. I can simply continue carrying the peace I feel forward into the future and let the rest go. I love the fact that being a woman (and a witch) means I have access to the full realm of feminine energies, including the toxic ones, when needed. 

The husband and I had a big, deep discussion two nights ago. The one where we re-visit everything about our relationship, what it needs, what it’s based on, what we want- is it still working? is this still what we want? At one point I actually offered divorce as an option to fix some of our current problems and we decided to take it. Just kidding. (My husband said the sweetest thing about my offer, “I could feel, from the bottom of my toes rising to the top of my chest, a giant, ‘NO!'”) So we’re walking into some new depth in our relationship and it’s weird and new, but it’s also good because it’s more truthful than ever before.

I’m definitely day-dreaming about my future work. Not sure what direction it’s going to go, but it will definitely change. That is- is it not? -the definition of day-dreaming.

Playing with ideas for finishing the decorating in my bedroom and making it a truly cozy nest that’s beautiful and unique.

I’ve been thinking about my spiritual practice a lot. I want to deepen it and get back to some studying I’ve neglected in the last six months. More meditation, more reading poetry and spiritual guidance, more practicing with the tarot. 

Figuring out how to increase my social justice work. What do I care about the most? Where do I want to put my time and dollars this year. Also, getting rid of people who think Jordan Peterson is some kind of intellectual.

What are you dreaming of for this year ahead? Now is the time to go back to your dreams, your seeds, and bless them with your work. It will be time to plant them soon- to take up the work that results in harvest. But for now, it will do to roll them in your hand, dreaming of what they might become, and offering them the blessings of hope and desire.

May your desires feel beautiful, joyful, and worth your time.

Big love from the path,
Joanna :: xoxo

* it actually looks like the psycho hosebeast energy worked. yay! but also, after a couple hours of it, I realized I didn’t need it. so, also yay.

And hello to any new readers from my other site. Welcome! P.S.- Don’t sign up for the newsletter, I never send one. :o)




when prayer doesn’t work

‘nope. fuck that. your body is still your body. your arms still wings, your mouth still a gun. you tragic monster, misfiring bird. you have all you need to be a hero. don’t save the world, but do save yourself. when prayer doesn’t work: dance, fly, fire.’

Danez Smith || “Director’s note: a note on the body for my 20 year old self.”

::: ::: ::: :::

Sometimes prayer doesn’t ‘work’ because we don’t get what we want. And sometimes it doesn’t work because we can’t connect to Center, to The Something. I have had years of being disconnected, when prayer didn’t work in either of these ways. And it was always the body that carried me through. Something within me that would not let go- call it ‘faith’ or ‘heart’ or ‘soul.’ There are always paths to the sacred when prayer does not work: body, arms, mouth.

How do you save yourself, fellow travelers? When prayer doesn’t work, what is your path?

Big love from the trail,
Joanna :: xoxo




New Moon in Capricorn

Hey, babies- so glad you’re here on this dark moon night. I swear my energy is so aligned with the moon and the planets. Saturn is moving into Capricorn as well (and will stay there for 3 years or some such thing) and I can just feel myself feeding on the energy of that. My INFJ personality really loves surprises, but I do best with a foundation of healthy habits. And Saturn in Capricorn is all about that- so I’m just digging it.

Anywaysies….let’s talk about this gorgeous new moon. Here’s whatcha need ta know!

From Big Sky Astrology:

We live in tough times, and there is a lot wrong with the world that is unfair and isn’t our fault. But Capricorn taught me this, and some days it makes me angry as a hornet: Just because something happens that is unfair or isn’t our fault doesn’t absolve us from our responsibility to try to achieve the life that we want. Whenever someone tells me about their problems and rattle off a long list of reasons why overcoming them is impossible, I know I’m hearing the self-imposed limitations of their Saturn. And the Capricorn Three Kings rise up in me to tell them, “Start focusing on what will work instead of what won’t work. Take back your life.”

The tough voice of Capricorn dominates this New Moon cycle, and I am deeply grateful for it. We focus so much on Capricorn’s toughness that we overlook its message of empowerment—that we are the authors of our lives, writing each chapter in real time through our decisions and choices. Yours is a story only you can write, and it’s one that the world is waiting to read. Make it the best one you can. 

::: ::: ::: :::

From Forever Conscious-Intuitive Astrology:

At the time of the New Moon, there will be a line up of the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, and Pluto all in the sign of Capricorn. This rare alignment is known as a stellium.

Capricorn is a cardinal earth sign which means that it holds the energy of leadership, hardwork, determination and groundedness.

Capricorn is represented by the mountain goat, and if you have ever seen a mountain goat, you would know that it is able to use its nimble feet to climb higher and perch itself in places that most other animals would not be able to get to.

This is a good way to describe the hardworking energy of Capricorn, and with so many planets, plus the Sun and Moon aligning in this constellation, we are all going to be able to make a leap of progress as we climb our own mountains.

This is the perfect time to take action in your life and begin making small, practical changes in order to bring more joy, abundance, love, success, and whatever other feel-good emotions you want into your life.

Capricorn is a very practical sign, so this is not necessarily about making bold, shocking moves in our lives (unless we feel called to do so), rather it is about making small yet effective shifts to get us closer to where we want to be.

For the last few years we have really had to focus on clearing and planning, but now we are getting a lot of support to actually put our plans into action. January is one of the most action-focused months of the year, so use this energy to your advantage and don’t be afraid to push yourself a little higher.

While this line up of Capricorn planets is really going to help us find our ambition and strength, this New Moon has a soft, intuitive energy as well.

While this is a great time to take action and express yourself outwards, there is also this energy pulling us to go deeper within ourselves and to really connect to that heart center. 


Climb the mountain; change the view.

Photo by fynn lehnert on Unsplash


From SheWhoIs:

Conflicts, cravings, and chaos. Those actively pursuing spiritual awareness and raising their vibration are most likely sensing disturbance and change at levels not noticeable to others. Odd pains, heaviness of limbs, a desire to sleep, foggy thinking and strange dreams are common. However, lovely synchronicities such as thing needed suddenly appearing, unexpected opportunities, and welcome surprises also accompany this energy. This moon longs to love, but karmic adjustments are forthcoming. Things are not what they seem; trust your intuition now more than ever. 

Intentions should focus on what ultimately aligns you with your desire, nature, and path. Prepare for resistance of things who do not serve and set them free. Many will be given most cosmic responsibility at this time, be present and answer the call. Time will shift in your favor, as well as circumstances, if you do not neglect what is being asked of you, in full consciousness and conscientiousness. Do not be afraid to ask for love. 

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Mystic Mama shares:

New Moon in Capricorn is calling us to rise from within and move forward with our deepest knowing.

We began the year coming to terms with what is no longer working and what needs to be let go of and now it’s time to move onward and trust in the unknown journey that awaits.

The beauty is we can choose to learn from our past and use our experiences as the fertile soil that will one day shoot new sprouts. Just as the dandelion seeds are carried in the wind to new ground, so we are held in the great continuum of life as it unfolds.

Pallas Athena, Uranus and Eris, that powerful trio is challenging the Sun/Moon/Venus precipitating crisis in our relationships, in the way we conduct our business, in the rules we break, in our ideas of what is ethical behavior, in standing up to address disempowerment and hypocrisy.

Athena and Eris, feminine warrior goddesses, are guiding Uranus to shatter what has gone before.

This has been an ongoing influence for months…Pallas adds additional support for the disempowered, the artistic ones, the energetic healers, political strategists, and activists. [from Pat Liles at The Power ]

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Fellow travelers, I’m feelin’ this so clearly. I hope you are, too- if it suits you! Thanks for taking the journey with me and I hope whatever intentions you plant this new moon arrive with joy and ease.

Big love,
Joanna :: xoxo




twelve twelve twelve

Five years ago today I asked two friends to help me with a project. Twelve is my favorite number and I wanted to do something really special for 12/12/12. It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance. I asked an artist friend to paint me. I wanted to celebrate myself, my body, my spirit, and do something different. It was a wonderful day, and made me feel both empowered and magical.

Looking back now, I realize it was my first step into the discovery of my sensual self.


My friend, Natasha from Zen Bubble, was the artist.


The finished product. Pre snake tattoo.


I finally made peace with my post-pregnancy belly with this lotus and waves.
[My deltoid and bicep are my favorite part of this photo, though.]


This is probably my favorite photo of the whole shoot.
Maybe this was the start of The Naked Mystic, too.




Three Things I Learned at My First Burlesque Show

When I was in the Sex Surge, one of my best tools for dispensing sexual energy was dancing. I’d dance in my bedroom, in various stages of undress, and move in whatever way my body wanted to. Undulating arms, slow hip sways, circles with arms uplifted, pulsing chest- whatever worked, whatever my body wanted to say. (So, straight up- I know me talking about this and describing myself this way probably turns on a few folks. Fantastic; you have a good time. But what I’m really here for is telling the truth. My truth. The truth [as well as I know it] about sex and desire and spirituality and growth. Turn on is awesome, but truth is even better.)

I also really wanted to take a burlesque class during that time. I even signed up for one, but it was cancelled. In any case, I was fascinated by it- the sexuality, the sensuality, and removal of clothing. It looked like a lot of damn fun not only to perform but also to engage the audience and entrance them with my body.

Well, I finally went to a real burlesque show two nights ago and it was fantastic. There were five performers and it centered around the theme of ‘winter wanderings.’ There was a fun number where the Elf on the Shelf (who, honestly, I detest) was reimagined as a closeted rebel dancer. And one where the performer started out as the Snow Miser, with lots of layers, and then gradually undressed herself to be the Heat Miser, with some fantastic undies that would heat anyone up.

As with anything, I was looking to gain insight and definitely found it. Here’s what I learned.

I am definitely not 100% heterosexual. (And I think it’s the rare person who is, honestly. Most of us wonder ‘what would it be like with <someone of the same gender>?’ which is totally natural, fwiw.) I think all bodies are beautiful. And certainly women are part of my fantasy toolbox, but the question of whether I’d actually be sensual and interact with a woman was always sort of ‘I don’t know’- because it definitely happened at clubs, but never with anyone I thought was cute. But, yeah- some chicks are hot and that is all there is to it. And if one of them wanted to press her body up next to mine, I wouldn’t have minded. I just wanted to run my hands along those legs.

Of course, the thing is, that’s not part of what my partner and I allow in our marriage, so it will remain a fantasy. But that’s just super clear to me now.


Maybe my post-breastfeeding boobs aren’t that bad. Like a lot of women, I have been saddened by the aging demise of my breasts. The aren’t perky. They are lower on the frame than they used to be (which might also be a biking joke, idk). I enjoy seeing them in my sports bra when I’m working out more than my lingerie, honestly.

But! The burlesque show reminded me that, hey, boobs are boobs and they are all pretty fantastic. The 30 year-old woman who hadn’t breast fed *also* had flat boobs. And so maybe mine weren’t that awful by comparison. Also: I think really good pasties probably help any set of boobs. So, I might need to get me a pair. There was also a woman there- 50+ and full of curves- that made me think maybe my 42 year-old body would work okay in a burlesque number. Maybe I just need some cute boy shorts to cover the crepe-y skin below my bellybutton. And a bustier and some heels. And after that I think I could definitely do my own number.


Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


Taking it all off slowly is so fucking hot. So, I learned that you can get a cute little skirt to button to the bottom of your bustier and that you can take it off, ever so slowly, as you dance. Gloves, jacket, skirt, bustier skirt, bustier, bra- and you’re left with undies and pasties. And the slower you go, the better it is. I’ve talked about this before. Some of the dancers had to move quickly based on the song they were dancing to, but the slower they went, the better it was. I caught my breath and gritted my teeth in anticipation when one woman spent a full minute taking off her glove (her glove!). Anticipation- when you know satisfaction is on its way- is one of the best things ever.

One of the things I’ve learned in my everyday life this past week is about the magic spot between fear and desire. When there is something you really want, but you’re afraid of it (doing it, getting it, going through the experience of it)- that is a very sacred place. It is the place of full potentiality; the place just before they light the fuel to put the rocket into orbit.  And if you can tip over into letting desire lead you through fear, it feels really wonderful to get to the other side. It feels kinda like fireworks in your body, honestly. I feel like this about trying out burlesque for myself- I want to, but I’m afraid. But I think the desire will pull me through.


So, now I’m thinking about taking a class and getting an outfit and dancing to some fantastic holiday song.  And I’m not sure I’d make it on to an actual stage. But if I do, I’ll let you know. I’ll be untying lots and lots of bows on this package.

::: ::: ::: :::

06 Dec 2017

After I published this post I was screwing around on Pinterest and I saw a picture that read, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I stopped and stared at it for a few minutes and realized that within this post I had stolen my own joy.

This time last year I was getting ready to do a boudoir photo shoot (yes, that kind) and my body had started betraying me in ways I found depressing. I gained about 15 pounds and lost about 1/3 of my hair over the next three months. I felt truly awful in my own body. Incredibly uncomfortable about how it felt to have that extra weight on and watching my beautiful brown hair fall down the drain each day. It was painful and depressing and made me ugly cry a few times. (I really loved my hair. Like, really.)

[This is not about body shaming or weight shaming. I believe we can feel happy in our bodies at whatever size suits us. I don’t begrudge anyone their extra 10, 20, or more pounds above their ‘goal weight’ – my body simply did not feel comfortable for me.]

Over the course of the Spring and Summer my doctors and I began to suss out what the problem was and start to fix things. Over the last six weeks I’ve finally dropped the extra weight and begun to see evidence that my hair is growing back. I feel like myself again.

What I learned over the Spring and Summer was that I still had issues with what patriarchy demands my body to be (lean, pretty, un-aged, sexy) and that some of my sense of worthiness resides in a fit, pretty, sexy, un-aging body standard. And that sucks.

I proceeded to work on removing the unworthiness I felt and the voices of patriarchy that make demands of my body, but what you see here in this post is another example of it. I looked at something I wanted- to try burlesque- and found my body inadequate compared to what I saw the ‘standard’ was. I also made judgements about my body based on what I thought an audience would like to see. What the actual fuck do I know about what people want to see when they go to a burlesque show? Exactly nothing.

What I did in the course of making these comparisons and judgements was steal my own joy. Because you know what? I love my body. Even when it was more pounds than felt comfortable and less hair than felt beautiful (by my own standards). I really, really love my body. It has its troubles, but my body does so many beautiful things. It smiles and laughs and twirls and orgasms and speaks and curls up and shivers and dances and loves. I really, really love my body.

So, perhaps the most important part of this post comes after the original writing. The remembering of how much I love my body, and that comparison comes from standards outside myself, and that I do not need to steal my own joy.

If I ever dance burlesque I’m sure I will have judgements about myself- but hopefully they are only because I’m a beginner, not because I am inadequate. There is always work for women to do to carve out the bullshit that patriarchy feeds us. And you can see some of mine on display right in this post. But that’s how we grow. We find the wound, we see it, we acknowledge it, we clean it out. And then it can heal. And healing is one way to reclaim our joy.