When it comes to religion and gods, I don’t believe in them, but I find many of the metaphors and techniques within them useful. One metaphor I have found of particular value is to either hold someone else as a god or goddess; to hold another in a space of an object of worship, devotion and adoration. Additionally, being held in this light by another person can be an incredibly empowering and enlightening experience.
It is rare to experience utter devotion and adoration in our lives. In fact, I would guess that most people have never had the experience. I had never experienced it until my late twenties, when I became involved with learning techniques of Tantra. I had never truly given it until I began to practice Tantra with a partner.
“Devotion frees.” ~ Vigyan Bhairav Tantra
Devotion not only frees the devoted, it also frees the object of devotion, or the action one devotes oneself to. Devotion frees through love. To be devoted, truly and wholly, one must first surrender to one’s love. This experience in itself is freeing, and is only amplified by the acts of devotion that follow it.
One ritual sometimes practiced in modern western neo-Tantra is a massage and bath ritual. The practitioner, or teacher, or guide (whatever word you may choose is fine), acts as a devotee of the god or goddess whom he or she serves. The receiver, or student, or guided one, is held as the god or goddess, and simply receives the devoted actions of the teacher.
I’ll offer one man’s perspective of being treated like a god, and what that experience did for me, how it changed me, how it altered my perspective toward women, and how it altered my life.
It was and is one of the most enlivening experiences in my life and memory. To have a beautiful woman hold that kind of space for me, kneel down next to the tub, and bathe me gently, she coaxed me to breathe and emote, and to keep eye contact with her. She encouraged me to let go and make the sounds of what I felt in the moment as she devoted herself to caring for me. She looked into me, saw me, and held me as a true manifestation of the whole of masculinity, as a god. She asked me to tone and chant with her, and our voices merged with the sound of the room, filled the space, and our minds and souls seemed to join together, the light of candles and smell of incense expanded like liquid air.
During the experience, I felt as if for the first time. Emotions came powerfully. I could feel them well up and almost seem to overwhelm me, but they never did. I wept from the power of the love I felt. I was able to surrender fully to my emotions in a way I never had before. I felt energy course through me like electricity, enlivening every nerve, and waking me up to a larger truth; we have within us a divine nature that may be unleashed by being treated as divine.
After the bath, she asked me to step out, and as I reached for a towel, she simply shook her head “no” and took the towel before my hand reached it. She knelt down before me and gently dried my entire body from toe to head, one part at a time, gazing into my eyes for much of the experience. Somehow this drying was even more opening and revealing than the bath itself. I knew in that moment why ancient Jews viewed the washing of feet as such a sacred act. I felt truly upheld as a being of light and immeasurable power. I felt the strength of masculine love flowing from my center, filling the room, filling her.
And it was sexy, too, but not in that hard, strong and erect typical masculine expression of sex, but more that deep and eternal current that flows from the archetype of King or Lover: Ahimsa, Agape, the love for mankind, for the Earth, for the whole of life and the universe, the holding of the scepter of action that directs the flow of her divine energy. I had become the thunderbolt. I wept with joy. I weep now as I write this in the remembering of the experience.
“We are god – took us a long time to figure it out, didn’t it? – and it’s high time we stopped messing around with all this guilt crap and got down to business, which is, I think, creating Heaven on Earth. Let’s affirm our past and say goodbye to it and get to work on the present.” ~ Paul Williams, Das Energi
What I learned from this experience is that devotion really does free. In being treated like a god, I truly felt divine. I felt loved, held, understood, and accepted in a way I had never felt before.
In that experience, I realized the power of holding others in this space. Since then, I have given this experience to a number of women, some as clients in my healing business, and others as lovers or friends. The experience is always profound, for both the giver and the receiver of the devotion.
To devote oneself in such manner requires a kind of surrender to love and complete acceptance of the other that we seldom allow ourselves to experience, if at all. We usually approach those we love with a head full of stories about how that person is or is not this or that, how and where that other person is weak or strong, when that person has let us down or held us up, etc. To devote oneself means to let go of all those things and treat that other person like a divine entity to be worshiped. To surrender oneself to love that deeply frees one to an authentic expression of love, for true love is without limits, and demands that kind of deep surrender to emotion.
To have someone devote herself to me in that manner freed me to experience a kind of love not just for that one particular woman, but for all women everywhere, in a way I had never experienced before. I am eternally grateful to my healer, who held me as a god, and gave me the ability to hold any woman as a goddess. She healed not only myself in that moment, but also the women I’ve known since she gave me the experience. She gave me a direct experience of how to transform many of the toxins that exist between men and women in our culture: devotion.
If you’ve never had an experience of being worshiped like this, I cannot recommend it strongly enough. If you’ve never worshiped someone, I cannot explain how truly freeing it will be when you do. You must experience these things for yourself to truly appreciate them.