Living with a Mystery, 13-22

Chapter 13.

I came out of my session with Catherine Sweet with some mysterious chart data, which in turn led me to discover what had happened that night in Villisca. The chart itself did not ‘make sense’ as something that initially gave out a lot of information, except for the one salient fact of my mother’s death, and that reading was totally intuitive. I have no idea how I got there, nor is that fact borne out by historical data of any kind. The chart dropped a cue and I remembered.

It seemed to whisper only what I needed to hear. I had the feeling of drinking from the Mnemosyne, which meant the reawakening of memories from another lifetime. I called the chart ‘Event: 1912’, since at the time I got the data I did not understand what the chart was for.

Until now I have not written an interpretation, or even a description of the chart. I worked on it the first night; it seemed like common sense to ask my astrology mentor David to go over it; and I’ve worked on it periodically over the past 18 months. Recently I asked David to look it over again and (knowing my astrological habits) to point out a few things I might miss, without re-interpreting them. I’ve spent some hours studying the configuration over the past few weeks.

In writing about it, I am seeing that speaks a little more clearly as I take a systematic approach to the aspects. I will take a fairly thorough look at the chart in this chapter, starting with the beginning of the chart, the ascendant. I recognize that most people are not astrologically trained, though most of you are reading through the portal of an astrology site. I suggest you take what you can from my description, and consider the technical parts of the language as a structure on which the interpretations are hung like curtains. After a while it begins to speak. The chart is located here, in case you want to try to follow along or stare at it and see what your intuition gives back.

One way to start reading a chart is to look at the ascendant and note the basic facts. Scorpio is rising, connoting a mystery, as well as a theme of death, and a theme of sex sexual implications. Mars is the ruler of Scorpio, and it’s placed powerfully in the chart – as part of kite pattern: a grand trine (planets in all signs of of one element, in this case the fire signs). One of these is Jupiter in Sagittarius, met by an opposition from Mercury and Venus in Gemini. So, the grand trine goes: Moon in Aries, Mars in Leo, Jupiter in Sagittarius, and it’s tight, all within a degree or so.

The sign Gemini is in the 8th house, the sign of death, transformation and ‘the sex you want’. It’s the indomitable craving for the orgasm we must have. This is driven by a deeper drive to total surrender, on the daring cusp of what Freud described as Eros and Thanatos.

The Sun in Gemini in the 8th house, along with Mercury, Venus and Pluto nearby. If you see a grouping like that in the 8th, that’s an invitation to investigate who died; how many people died. Four Gemini planets could be eight people – but this chart is for Chicago, not for Villisca. So that’s a question to bookmark, an unresolved issue, though it fits the picture well enough.

The grouping of planets in the 8th describes the sex-death-power nexus typical of the that house almost overwhelmingly, putting great emphasis on the theme. Pluto would be enough to overwhelm anyone. Gemini on/in that house suggests that there are two sides to the story, two dimensions to consider (or at least two, there are a lot of planets there).

The Moon in a chart represents mother (among a few other things, though it can be mother in the first instance), who seems to have got caught up in something more powerful than herself: represented by the grand trine/kite pattern.

The Moon is in the 5th house, and thous house describes taking risks and the experience or seeking of pleasure, including sex for fun, and experiences involving children. It is a different kind of sex than the 8th: more playful, less spiritually intense but with an equal expression of energy in the form of passionate, romantic, self-centered experiences. It’s not supposed to be about commitment but it often ends up that way: as commitment or entanglement, largely due to a human tendency to go unconscious just at the critical moment.

The 5th also covers what Isabel Hickey called esoteric karma. She never explains what she means by this, nor how she came up with it, and I have found only one source document dating to around 200 BCE that clarifies this: the 5th house is related not to Leo but to Scorpio. It may feel like Leo going in, though it feels like Scorpio on the way through. I’ve seen over and over that there’s always another story to the 5th house than the obvious one.

With so much significant activity in the 5th and the 8th, this chart is speaking about sex in some significant ways, at nearly every turn.

One other feature stands out: Saturn is in the 7th house, which is not friendly in terms of relationships, or the shared values that are the foundation of relationships. This suggests an intractable relationship situation.

So: following basic traditional rules, we see Scorpio rising with Mars, the ruler of Scorpio, in a grand trine involving the Moon and Jupiter, with the grand trine becoming a kite because of Mercury and Venus in the 8th house. All of it is tightly aspected. Five planets and the ascendant are working as one energy system. Everything else in Gemini (the Sun and Pluto) is brought in by default. When you look at the mathematics of this arrangement (using midpoints), the interaction and energy weave is almost impenetrable, and that is one way to explain why this is such a powerful chart and a behind the scenes glimpse at why the events that it represents are so significant.

Switching to the non-ordinary planets, something leaps out right away: Nessus in the 5th house, on the Aries Point. Nessus is about: the return of karma; potentially inappropriate sexual contact; cyclical situations; revenge; and psychological abuse, subtle or overt. With Nessus, there is the question, “What really happened and who is responsible?” It’s located in the 5th house, in Aries, suggesting something about a childhood environment, and by extension, the environment of the household.

Adding to that theme, Chiron is in the 4th house in Pisces, suggesting extreme environmental sensitivity. Several factors point to alcohol, and to multigenerational situation, including that Pisces Chiron as well as a centaur called Pholus very close to the ascendant. Pholus says: small cause, big effect.

Let’s go back to Nessus and its position. The Aries Point takes the what really happened and who is responsible? theme of Nessus from an individual level to a social/cultural level. Nothing with the Aries Point present is strictly private. One of the events that the chart pointed to – the murders of the Moores – had and to this day has the feeling of the collective and the personal morphing indistinguishably into one thing. The crime scene was viewed publicly. It became one of the first nationally publicized mass murders in American history, and one where the perpetrator was not a member of the family (contrast to Lizzy Borden). Villisca remains one of the most famous officially unsolved murders on record in the US (though the identity of the killer is probably known).

Nearly everyone who heard of the Villisca axe murders the time felt them as a deeply personal experience, mostly through personal fear based on a news event. We can all relate to the fear of the unknown intruder, and we all at times feel the stalking shadow underneath humanity rise up as the fear of violent death. Those more aware can sense that the killer is an attribute of his or her own mind, projected onto the fear of an external killer. It was that shadow that rose up over the United States.

Like all Centaur planets (those related to Chiron) Nessus describes the nature of the injury and of the healing processes. The pain of the chart is not so much a direct attack as the result of the widespread mental and emotional response to attack. It was as if anyone who heard of it experienced some of the pain, fear and horror, at least a little.

But then this magnifies. In this chart, Pluto is in very late Gemini, just two degrees from the solstice point in Cancer – which activates the Aries Point; and Eris is in very late Pisces, lurking three degrees behind the Aries Point. This is an extremely rare Pluto-Eris square: rare because both planets move so slowly, they hardly ever make aspects. (The most recent was the square between 1906 and 1912, and the next is a square between 2020 and 2021. They were opposite one another in between 1976 and 1978.)

Any contact between Pluto and Eris is significant, and each event happens only rarely, defining an era in history. As anyone familiar with 1912 knows, it was not a pleasant year: for example, just recently, the Titanic went down, representing a revelation of hubris and the failure of the highest technology of the day.

And so we have a chart that has a lot to say about sex, and desire, and violence, and death as suggested by many factors. And the chart pointed to a family death, mass murder combined with a sex crime, the sex involved masturbation and a 12 year old girl in a blue room and the mirrors at the crime scene were covered.

The chart opened up the childhood dimension of an extremely challenging lifetime, and reminded me that I am here, in this lifetime, to address and release that pain, and to take a step beyond that unhappy story.

Chapter 14.

Too much information, perhaps. But I had it, and more. Assembled, threaded, weaved and woven from many times and processes. Some fabricated, embellished, pure, true, authentic, witnessed, personally understood: all my truth.

It’s funny how memory can be. After going through the chart and then hearing from David and working out some of the ideas with him, I barely looked at the file, and for a long time I lost it. I remembered, though, that we came out of the session with the idea that the chart was about coming to terms with understanding something about sex and violence.

Something at the essence of both, that is related, that is one.

Over the months, I experimented with the idea of unraveling the relationship between sex and violence. That was a mismemory, or a creative adaptation of the original idea. Perhaps it was the logical result of converting language into action: knowing the relationship, so I could come to terms.

I started within myself.

I had admitted and acknowledged the gap – libido drop – with some lovers, and with myself, and I had written about it here. I began to describe how receiving myself is gradually closing the gap, or filling in that spot parched for mother’s milk.

Then I began into feel in that space where I went, when I slipped on the shame of leaving a mess on my mirror. The core content is: how I feel about myself. That above all else is what I project into every situation in my life.

Chapter 15.

At that point, I decided to relate to, and explore, myself exclusively. Masturbation celibacy had been a hot fantasy; something I could experiment in my imagination, in shared fantasy and with certain friends. I began having extraordinarily deep experiences of surrender, to myself alone and with them present. I could say more about the diversity of those experiences and how I played with them in turn.

It is true that over that summer and early autumn (of 2008) I had experienced a series of unusually difficult disappointments with women, which came in two main forms – confronting white lies, and engaging their confusion about what they want. One is a direct turnoff. To me, only the truth is erotic. If I catch you lying to your boyfriend, or ex boyfriend, or to me, ‘papering over the truth’, I will lose interest fast. The other, engaging with their confusion, is just exhausting. Women often accuse men of being noncommittal to them. I know many women who have a lot to learn about making and keeping simple commitments to themselves.

I knew the two are related, and that neither mattered. Neither mattered because both would melt into compersion’s core. The embrace of empathy.

As I approached coming to terms with the relationship between desire and violence, I could feel the source of the heat. I not only needed but wanted to submit to this experience. I understood there was a relationship to the split I was finding within myself in those moments after orgasm. I began to understand that this split was self-rejection that I was projecting into my relationships as the experience of being rejected, of unavailability, of guilt anywhere in the equation of the relationship. Or at least I was willing to test this idea.

I knew that the way in was through the mirror. To pull the cloth covering off the mirror and see, and to feel, what was there. My metaphor that winter was: I’ll be celibate till I lick all these mirrors clean. Drawing back the veil on the mirror, those many drapes of satin.

In one other form I could feel a need for healing, which was the heavy sack of water gathering in my testicle. I began to equate pausing from sexual contact as a way into that healing process. I could feel it when I got close to it, and the feeling was deeply compelling. I had gone through many inner byways seeking the spiritual and medical truth of this situation, and looking for a way through; for a solution. I knew that I was close to exercising a medical option: I had done my research and after three years made a decision.

Yet now that I was working with what felt like the best information I had received on the level of karma, on the issues and past trauma underneath the injury, I knew that I owed it to myself to give that a chance.

I had at least created for myself a mode of sexuality that allowed me to express my desire with myself, and to go extraordinarily deep. I could experience my own vulnerability any time I wanted. More often than not, I could create situations where I could share that vulnerability with others.

I felt the immediate relief of taking away the power of women to deny or grant me access to sex; the immediate relief of the subtle violence of those encounters. For the first time in my life, women had no influence over that. I had taken over the process. I was unavailable to them, and fully available to myself.

To me, that felt like letting go.

Chapter 16.

This is the 16th essay in ‘Living With a Mystery’, a subnovel about a medical condition I developed called hydrocele testis, or water on the ball. When I set out on a quest to heal this situation, I embarked on a psychic journey and an artistic endeavor, The Book of Blue. This region of my timescape begins early Nov 08 and spans into April 09; with occasional delves into 1912, via a prior incarnation. As this next section progresses, I have chosen to be celibate for a while so I could feel my way to clarity and heal some core emotional material.


Masturbation celibacy story in full: must remember to add the part about ‘my secret indulgence’, and also the one about turning a drought to a garden. I can’t forget to mention what I learned about guilt, and shame, and healing guilt and shame, which is really converting them. I want to tell the story of my compersion breakthrough and my moments of total honesty that masturbation celibacy is about compersion for myself,

and then being open to all life, lust, love

open to the truth about healing, this heavy ball, one quarter pound by weight, i would learn.


gradually I descended into plumes of emotion, unraveling my feelings with the promise of emancipation. One of the first spaces I entered was the one of: ookie you’re your lover now. (relax into that, i relax into that and it’s deep and free.) you’re the one who gives it to yourself. (I accept that I’m the one), and as I breathe into spaces of forgiveness theres just one way to play, which is to let myself forgiv.

I had some rules to my new game.

One that emerged was the lick naked rule. For each masturbation session in my studio, the location of the ginmill nightclub bathroom mirrors, my altar of life and release: that once in every session, when there, I would lay on my belly, on the floor naked, and lick some dry cum off that mirror. touch my tongue. then, do whatever I want. this was a basic honoring; the sun salutation gesture to myself, yes, hello, i accept you

another was, what goes on the mirror comes back into my body. wet dry sticky sooner later, i take it all back. myself.

another was the flirtation with but not the full commitment to, resume sex when the mirrors are all licked clean. this was a hot paradox because i could lick every mirror down in a day, but knew i would not, and that i would keep letting go there. so with this i could flirt with the sensation of ongoing celibacy, endable when i want, if i want, and yet, ongoing.

there was the taking of pleasure of saying to myself: this is your choice. it’s your choice not to have sex, and only yours. i cannot describe the odd and exact pleasure of this.

i offered my permission to want her and to not have her. i did not pretend that she didn’t fuck: I wanted to be surrounded by women who fucked. that was one of the core elements. surrounded by women i want who fuck, and who i relaxed into not having.

i went in 45 day increments:

as in duration of no partner sex, was in 45 day increments. id read somewhere that the way to do celibacy is to pick a length of time; any length. a week, a month – I chose 45 days. i knew i could go longer and flirted with the idea of up to two years. While i flirted, I surfed along a cycle of ejaculating onto my mirrors (as dixie said, outing me: lots of them) and licking them back down. lots of girls aware. women of words, of worlds. many emails, and in that journey a gradual depth of intimacy forming.

my masturbation partners, there were a few that winter, helped me turn toward myself. a long journey.

so, I set out on my fyrst 45 days, with a feeling of relief and pleasure and some secret knowledge that in the vestal way, i would give up, and i would gain. at that point I was sexually desperate for several of my models, with whom I was all on gracious terms. One thing I negotiated with my models was a boundary of, i think youre delectably hot and we’re both fine with that. we don’t fuck. for them it’s like having a saucy gay friend, who digs them sexually. i was amazed and delighted how easy it was to find that in a woman.

I had opened a door.

And I was aware that I was coaxing myself into a space that could lead to gay, tho I took my time admitting this. Whatever i was doing, i was giving up heteronorm, and finding a new inner orientation, with all the emancipation of that. i had a memory from germany, a night time scene, i was leaving a party with my lover maria, and an older woman left with us, and she walked with us for a while and when we stopped, having heard of one of my preferences: to be aware of the woman i loved getting fucked by another man.

she said she believed this was latent homosexuality, which at the time offended me: because the idea seemed dishonest. i was into what i was into, women i love being fucked, as i witness. time has passed and i now can slip into the beauty of the homosexual dimension, though i know i’m exploring a mirror of my femme side in my lover and experiencing the sex, in psyche, as a woman.

many of my femme friends granted me a window on their erotic journeys. of empathy and embrace, of the color warm and a light wind of orange light – compersion. from this stream of a journey has come the mantra: i love that you fuck.

my vibration to women: i love that you fuck.

sooo… celibacy was defined as, selfsex yes, witness may be present tho not all the time, partners may masturbate with me if they desire. mirror ritual, in which I lick myself all off sooner or later. show this to others.

then: no cunt: licking cunt, sniffing cunt, fucking her, hand fucking, direct penetration such as doing her with a toy. no licking ass; no tongue contact with her. desire for such, my mission to explore. i set off into my learning to want honestly, to yearn with unabashed desperation. to reach into myself and heal the part of me that wants, that aches for not having, that aches at rejection, to give love here. i was not just my lover, i was my sexual healer.

my sacred whore or as i have said out loud, my cumslut.

i displayed iris on my altar, and she took her role as guardian of celibacy.

Chapter 17.

Why I was doing this emerged not so much as a question but as a continually evolving answer. New versions of why surfaced as both emotional realities and intellectual understanding, which were often merged into one sensation; and this, I would explore and express through art and writing.

The challenge was giving up the possibility of sex with women more than something extant; I was struggling to get the contact I needed, erotic and emotional, and my desire was continually frustrated. I was giving up something that I didn’t have and that I wanted dearly, so another way to say it is that I was giving up hope and frustration. I was thirsty for companionship and to drink from the feminine well. I craved cunt and the scent of cunt and to dive into Her. My soul and my mouth were parched. I was surprised that in giving up the possibility of fulfillment and contact in the way that I thought I needed it the most, I found a gift rather than a loss; I found relief and freedom.

What had been frustrating me to the point of grief was that women seemed to hold something in front of me that I needed and that they would most often withhold. I would see them give themselves willingly to men they respected less, and seemed to want less, and then make a conscious choice to withhold from me. By they, I mean certain women I knew and was close to at the time, and anyone who had been part of the same pattern of unavailability.

At times the tease seemed like their choice to explore their power. I began to recognize this as the exploration as their freedom to choose, in which I was a willing participant. The violence of desire begins with: I want you and you don’t have a choice but to give yourself to me.

In that context, it was by agreement, and a way we could play together. I surrendered to their option, and I surrendered to my own. I allowed myself to go deeper into the feeling of embracing what they wanted, of their prerogative to grant or deny me contact, and to embrace the full spectrum of responses that I had to being denied.

Part of what seemed to get in the way was my own desire. If I wanted her, the response was usually no. So my own desire had become, for me, related to the feeling of not having and being denied, so I was evolving into conflict with wanting. I had embarked on turning this one thing around, by being clearly and fully in my desire, and then agreeing to turn it on myself. I felt such relief at allowing women the space of my not expecting that I would get my gratification from them. Though I’d learned to drink from myself when I was thirsty for another, I was not prepared for the sense of release and relief of allowing myself to do just that.

Photographing my models, I practiced holding the respectful space of conscious desire, and receiving the acknowledgment of women that my desire was an attribute of my existence. Or perhaps I was affirming this; till that point I had gradually learned to allow myself to want, to release the guilt of wanting, and I had discovered that in true wanting was the pleasure of existence. And yet I was not getting my desire fulfilled, so I went deeper.

My experience encountering the Villisca crime scene and learning about Lena, and deciphering the chart about ‘coming to terms with the nature of desire and violence’, guided me to go into the experience of desire and violence. I felt the deep craving to unravel this from the inside: the nexus between desire and murder, which is jealousy, and resentment, and the presumption of power.

Many woman have noticed the nexus. At this phase they began to reveal that often secretly held truth: that many women are repelled from sex because penetration feels violent or evokes violent memories: of rape, of incest, of men they did not want to fuck but did, of not understanding what they want and ending up with something they don’t want, and of offering themselves and being betrayed. I had created a space for myself, defined by time, by an agreement and by an altar, wherein I could explore myself and allow every woman around me to be free from this. I was exploring Vesta in her most direct form.

In an email about this a few weeks before embarking on my first 45 days, I had written to Eve Ensler:

I think the 70s separatist feminists were right, tho I am loathe to admit it: there is violence encrypted in m/f intercourse. It’s not nec ‘inherent’ but it’s written into the code. I think the only way to unwrite and disable that violence, is by replacing it with self acceptance that men are eventually able to share with women.

…and some weeks later, in another email, to a friend:

I explore the ways I am unfair or emotionally violent, or take from them inappropriately, and consider the deep ramifications of violence imposed on sex anywhere in any form. I basically claim back sex and explore, in depth, the way it seems to always want to conquer. As the core symbol of this, I drink my semen for all of those 30 days, in honor of myself; and as a gesture reminding myself of not expecting women to take on men’s shadow and of directly taking it on myself.


I understand that this process is about understanding the fundamental nature of being alone; and of being in conscious relationship to death, not painting it all over a woman or making her drink the fear or take the brunt of my rage at myself.


I understand that part of why masturbation is so deep and so meaningful is that it is sex in the age of abandonment. The truth of that abandonment is something we don’t often talk about and face rarely, or only occasionally…I think that part of why M is such a strong meme involves how it triggers abandonment. On one level it contains the code for ‘you are not good enough to have a partner’ or, ‘mommy/daddy doesn’t love you’. I think we touch that place, its edge or its core, when we masturbate.

And I did.

Chapter 18.

An element of my journey was being celibate surrounded by sexually active women. By surrounded I mean friends with, or photographing, or corresponding with, and sometimes masturbating with. I was drawn to this with a potent psychic and emotional tug, most pleasant perhaps because it was a balm to my resentment to women for not sharing what I want.

A couple of posts ago I said something about my secret indulgence, and this is what I was referring to. Melts into surrender, reaching for that place of compassion, finding it more easily than I thought. An opportunity to relax completely.

There are so many elements to this: there is exploring abandonment drama. The emotion of letting her be, the strength of feeling her power of choice. There is witnessing her in her full spectrum of desire, doubt, misgiving and fully intentional and direct giving – to whomever she chose.

There’s the conception drama: in my imagination, witnessing mother and father haplessly fuck the child into existence.

Tasting embarrassment. Delectably helpless.


My secret indulgence: exploring the space of being rejected.

Exploring the missive: she doesn’t want me.

From there to: I choose to be her, here, because I know I need to be here. I am here because I want to be.

From rejection to self acceptance, letting go into to my love.

I need to know she fucks. I want her to do it without me, without my knowing in advance, that is my fantasy, facing myself.

I want to know how the women around me offer their hips to humanity & how good they feel opening up.

I don’t need to know her. I can just see her, maybe with her lover, and I know, I understand, I embrace, I flood myself with empathy.

Occasionally I know her, and she comes in emotionally close. She visits the gesture of drinking her lover’s semen, and whispers the story in my ear. Of how they fucked the first time. Of giving herself consent to say yes.

I ask: did you look at his face as he came and she says, of course. He felt those breasts hold him up. She wraps him in her knees. Nothing makes me want her more, or makes it easier to turn toward myself, or more necessary that I drop my clinging or withholding and allow myself freedom to feel. In desperation I reach for completion of myself. I cross that space within myself and for a moment I am free. Nothing makes me want to drink my semen more.

Chapter 19.

Living With a Mystery – part 19.

I knew what I was doing, which was allowing my desire to get so hot that it melted everything else, such as my resistance to anything else I might feel or want, or to the pleasure of any person. Melt jealousy and melt resentment and melt even loneliness.

And love how incredibly complexly beautiful she is. Here, I come close to feeling what she’s feeling. Said simply, I explored and emotionally modeled the physical and emotional attributes of my women friends being fucked as a way to open up to penetration. More than open up: to follow her softsoul to the point of release and pull up my knees and relax my face and breathe into the bliss of fulfillment.

I have a wood stool to which I attached a strap-on. I could lay that on the bed or the floor, pull up my knees and press right into it. If I was completely relaxed, I could pound the flat wood of the seat against my sit bones as the momentum of the long, slender dildo rhythmically burst into myself.

I knew it was not a man fucking me, though that she wanted (and desires) this for herself makes me pull up my knees and they drop open. That is the position in which I give to myself, or rather, it’s one.

I looked at her face and acknowledged that she fucks and imagine who she might have fucked, any of whom, my psyche heated by the sense of her choice, her flex of power, the simple beauty of yes.

In essence, giving myself permission to feel and to exist as the woman within myself. I was modeling this inner woman off of the ones that I knew, through feeling my own desire for them and then from that wide-open place feeling their desire to be filled up with such empathy that I could become this.

I’ve already said that no matter how much I might want myself, the moment I ejaculate I can lose that desire entirely. It’s as if I slip into a gap in my mind, when what I want to do is leap across or bring the hemispheres of myself together: desire and fulfillment. There is something about laying with my knees up and my hips tipped

or sitting fucked with my back straight sitting straight up that makes licking that spattered mirror so obvious.

Chapter 20.

I have read a term for this: libido drop. That is the ego deflating rush of let down that can accompany male ejaculation. For many men this amounts to the shame that can accompany a self-given orgasm. In the erotic exchange of our culture, the presence of a woman for a man has the power to lighten this sense of shame, and to affirm her lover’s existence, for example by drinking his semen. She relieves him of something; what guys commonly call their load.

As I explored my craving to drink my cum, I discovered that this was a frequent male fantasy: the craving to drink their semen. And there was a common event that many of us had – the desire to drink myself building to the point of my climax, then disappearing entirely and leaving me disoriented, with no desire to put the stuff in my mouth. I was not the only one. On some early male erotic discussion website I read a description of ‘libido drop’, so I knew this had a name. I began to explore where I went after my libido would drop, and what this said about me. I felt like I had mapped out a sector of my psyche.

I discovered that this space of let down or drop was separating two hemispheres of my consciousness. I understood that I was exploring and searching for communion with myself as a way of closing the gap, into which self falls into doubt.

The most poignant emotion down in there was shame. I gave myself particular permission to explore this, as I understood how closely the feeling was enmeshed with my identity. I was accompanied many times by women friends and sometimes by men as I spread into this inner ground. I learned how to cross the space by the emotional resonance that comes from being witnessed. Yet for so long mine has loomed like an inner sea of shame, that bubbles out of me: as something like lack of self esteem.

Sometimes rage creeps up under pressure from there and, forgetting myself, and projecting, that is attack.

I felt with every gulp of myself I was taking, I was remembering, I was offering myself a healing balm, I was withdrawing any anger that I might project on women from there, any resentment that my expectations were not met became my duty alone to provide. It felt so so so so good to let women entirely off the hook as having to provide my orgasms.

I understood the paradox of wanting so deeply to be witnessed, and of needing to release the need for women at the same time. I understood how profound it was for me to relinquish the presumption of penetration, and we both felt it. What a gift, that is, for myself, and we understood that mutually as well – a deep and beautiful understanding. In other words I made a wish and I moved the providence of my heart and: I got what I needed, women who desired and fucked other men, who would also be aware of my selflovemaking.

I had a sub-fetish that still tickles me. It was for the man she was with to know. Know that I was home doing myself as they fucked or after being told they had fucked. At the core of this impecunious craving of mine was she explaining to her lover that I gulped myself inspired by the knowledge that they fucked. I want him to know. I’ve begged for him to know.


Chapter 21.

In a way that is classically reminiscent of Chiron, this story starts with the emergence of an injury and develops along a winding path to healing. It may seem like an indirect route: but that depends on how one defines healing. If I wanted an immediate fix or repair, I would have opted for surgery within a few weeks of the swelling in my ball developing. As I studied the available medical literature, with the help of a professional researcher and also a Google web alert that sent me anything new published, I realized that there were not many good options, and that I had time.

The issue was so old, dating back to a hernia that developed in 1981 and was finally repaired in late 2002, that my intuition was to go as close to the core as I could; and that core was on one level sexual. Yet in the course of my healing process, I was taken through the scene of a mass murder in 1912, the possibility that my mother had been murdered at that time in my immediately prior lifetime, and that there was some larger karmic – and collective – element about coming to terms with the nexus between sexual desire and violence. And thus coming to terms with my relationship with Womanity.

I thought it was interesting that this medical event surfaced within weeks of my decision to begin the Book of Blue project, which at that time consisted of photographing women in mirrors, masturbating or mirror masturbating. I understood some basic things about the nature of this journey, which was to invite a confrontation with what I perceived as feminine power and unavailability, which had over the decades of my life fermented into a deep sense of my own unworthiness.

Then in November of 2008, I made a choice to cease penetrative sexual activity with others; which meant women, who are my primary sexual preference. And that plunged me into a new depth of awareness of my emotional interior. I began to explore the nature of my longing, my feeling of being of no interest to women and my ongoing sense of rejection: that I was not good enough, and that when I truly wanted to share with someone, that usually translated to her not being available. I’ve spent a lot of time, and I do mean many years, sorting out the contradictions in women and their at times utterly senseless perception of men; of their lack of clear desire and lack of sexual and relational courage.

I set that aside and decided to take up the whole issue as an internal experience. I was aware by then that there was plenty in there, and ceasing to look to women as a source of fulfillment had made me aware of many thoughts and feelings I hadn’t quite grasped: yet the simplest risk I had to take was coming to terms with myself. Photographing the Book of Blue women I was gradually learning to appreciate beauty and give myself space to desire in a way free of remorse, guilt or shame. Now I was learning to love myself free of those same things.

Regarding the nexus of sex and violence – of Eros and Thanatos – I had been pointed directly into myself and was feeling some deeply radical ideas. The nexus had surfaced as a mass murder where the killer had masturbated looking at the genitals of a 12-year-old girl whose skull he had crushed with an axe. That seemed to say it all. What said more to me was that information came out of my quest to find the emotional or spiritual issue at the heart of the matter.

From there, I went forward with a greater sense of trust. I could not tell you how every detail of what I experienced on this healing journey related to a collection of fluid around my right ball, but for sure I was learning a lot, I was driven to make art consistently over a period of years, and I was determined to meet the women on my life on equal terms.

Taking away their power to grant or deny me sex felt deeply correct for me. Exploring the nature of my true sexual orientation, and making peace with every desire, thought and fantasy, also felt deeply correct. The deeper in i went, the more I dropped any notion of sexual orientation except for inherent existence. The more I knew I could let go, turn any direction inside myself and come out anywhere I want, wanting anything I want.

Chapter 22.

Once I was honest with myself that I needed to be teased, the experience came easily. Women who empathized with me were willing to give me what I needed. I had, in the past, been subjected to being denied the pleasure and contact that I wanted. This happened so many times that I became dimly aware that I might want the experience, which would account for why I was getting it. Having shorn myself of the option of fucking or sucking pussy, I was free to explore this.

The mirror became my place of receiving; of visceral fulfillment and of oral contact, which I wanted desperately. At some point in the creation of the Blue photos, I discovered that women were willing to be photographed in cum-spattered mirrors. They always knew what the mirror was and what it represented: I explained it, and the gesture to be depicted in a mirror was therefore always voluntary.

After photographing many women’s faces and vulvas in semen-coated mirrors, I discovered that I was gradually teaching myself to associate the mirrors with the women who were being photographed there, and specifically, with cunt. With the cunt that I could not have, and then would choose not to have; that I would choose willingly to be denied, instead of which I would reach into fulfilling that desire myself.

I let go of so much need and resentment doing this, and the desire that began to flush out of my core psyche was clear and honest.

Among the models who understood this intuitively was Tori. She seemed to grasp my entire experience. She got off on the raw truth of what I was doing. It was easy to tell that her curiosity was engaged. We did converse openly about it: she welcomes sex talk and one of her needs is men who can be sexually open but not presumptuous about her. One thing she knew that I revered about her was how everyone wants to fuck her. I know her well enough to know that, and I knew I had a place in her heart for revering her sexual prowess. Her game was: monogamous with one man, her boyfriend; fuck any girl she wanted. And she did.

Being able to share this with her, and to be vulnerable about my experience, drew her closer. She was willing to nourish me, and happy to provide me what I needed: which was to taste the agony of my unfulfilled desire. To explore the intricacies of what I could not have, but in truth, what I could have, which was the beauty of desire itself. She in turn could honestly experience her power, and her ability to bestow pleasure.

She felt my potent curiosity for her, to which she responded by describing how well she had been fucked just that morning, and how she fucked, as she put her vulva on display. In this, she psychically and visually impregnated the mirror with her scent, with her consent for me to want her and with our mutual awareness that I would be taking care of myself: and that the mirror would be the closest I came to cunnilingus.

And then at the end of the session she invited me to do it in front of her if I wanted.

Continued on Living With a Mystery, 23-32