We are known by many names, of both positive and negative connotation: dakini, qadishtu, tantrika, harlot, temptress, sacred wife, temple whore. I’ve found myself using the term Pleasure Priestess as of late, to describe the spiritual woman who is dedicated not only to honoring the Divine Feminine and Sacred Masculine, but to living a life based on the joys that sensuality, sexuality, and intimacy can provide.
There are many informational sources and guides to aid the Pleasure Priestess on her journey. Here’s a list of my 13 favorite books that provide spiritual, poetic, and sensual knowledge for those of us who enjoy a passion-filled existence.
- The Radiance Sutras by Lorin Roche – A #swoon worthy translation of the ancient text known as the Bhairava Tantra. Presented as a poetic exchange between the god Shiva and his consort Devi, the book offers new commentaries on each of 112 Sanskrit teachings, as well as guidance on embodiment, meditation, and personal spiritual practice.
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo – A beautiful, timeless story about getting to the heart of your desires, and how the universe shows up to support you. Full of quoteable prose and a quick, easy read.
- The Sacred Prostitute by Nancy Qualls-Corbett – A wonderful combination of history and musings on ancient priestess and the sacred act of pleasure giving.
- Burlesque Yoga Sex and Love by Anne Key – Set in picturesque Albuquerque, New Mexico, this memoir explores what it means to connect the body, mind and spirit through the practices of yoga and burlesque.
- Sacred Sexuality by Michael Mirdad – A how to manual, full of easy to read information on sacred sexuality for individuals, couples, and groups.
- The Captain’s Verses by Pablo Neruda – It’s Pablo Neruda poetry. Need I say more?
- Sexual Secrets: Twentieth Anniversary Edition: The Alchemy of Ecstasy by Nik Douglas and Penny Slinger – A guide to sex and mysticism, revealing the wisdom of the sages of India, Nepal, Tibet, China, and Japan whose teachings on sexuality unveil how physical love can be the pathway to spiritual liberation.
- Awakening Osiris by Normandi Ellis – A gorgeous translation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Poetic, romantic, and affirming of one soul’s power.
- The Spirit of Intimacy: Ancient African Teachings in the Ways of Relationships by Sobonfu Some – Using insights and wisdom from West Africa, the author discusses the role of Spirit in every marriage, friendship, relationship, and community, including ancient ways to make our intimate lives more fulfilling and secure.
- Embracing the Beloved: Relationship as a Path of Awakening by Stephen and Ondrea Levine – How to use the ins and outs of a romantic relationship as a means for inner growth, healing, and spiritual awakening.
- Descent to the Goddess: A Way of Initiation for Women by Sylvia Brinton Perera – An initiation into the feminine mysteries and the inner self through the study of Mesopotamian Goddesses Inanna and Ershkigal. A powerful tool on your journey of healing role-determined behavior and the negative influence of society.
- The Nag Hammadi Scriptures – A complete, up-to-date, one-volume, English-language edition of the renowned library of Gnostic manuscripts discovered in Egypt in 1945. It includes the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, and the recently discovered Gospel of Judas, as well as other Gnostic gospels and sacred texts – including references and prose on sacred sexual practices.
- The Goddess Guide by Priestess Brandi Auset – Of course we must end with the shameless self promotion of my book! This quick reference is a must for those looking to gather simple info on a particular Goddess in order to start their studies. And the correspondence guides of attributes, color, and regions makes a handy decoder ring for those times when you have a pieces of a Goddess, but can’t quite catch her name.