The importance in Honorable Sexuality is really the term 'honorable'... discovering what really honors you as a person. When it comes to sexuality, that answer is not universally the same.

Honorable Sexuality: Vision Magazine Interview With Wilbert Alix

Sydney L. Murray: Editor, Vision Magazine / San Diego, CA

Wilbert Alix is Director of the Natale Institute,
a shamanic training center based in Austin, Texas.

Sydney L. Murray: Could you define Honorable Sexuality?

Wilbert Alix: The importance in Honorable Sexuality is really the term honorable, discovering what really honors you as a person. When it comes to sexuality, that answer is not universally the same, many people love, but they love differently. Many people have sex, but they have sex differently. There's not a universal answer, therefore you must be willing to discover what honors you and in order to do that you have to explore your values around sex and sexuality. Not just in a intellectual sense, but in an experiential sense.

SLM: Have we lost our passion and how did we get romance, sex and sexuality so mixed up?

WA: Passion is really our life energy, it is what propels us, or compels us, to act on something. Therefore, in a culture that suppresses their sexuality, or in other words, makes it very unconscious, all you have to do is attach sexuality to anything and we notice it. We sell everything with it. There is a schizophrenia in our culture about it. 

Beginning somewhere around the 12th century there was this movement in the West, mostly in Europe, to contemporise spirit in order to control the lives of people by controlling their access to spirit. This is religion. Religion is probably the biggest business on the planet. Essentially what they had to do was convince human beings that something was wrong with them and that they needed to be redeemed. The church's business is redemption. One way they did this was to demonize sex. Well then, you're demonizing the energy that created you. You are demonizing the energy that propels you daily. When people bought into this, they really started feeling bad. They needed to get help, they needed to be saved and the church was saying, we'll do it for you, if not in this lifetime at least in the next. They got people to totally surrender their energy, and the ones that suffered the most were women. A woman's entire body is erotic, a man's entire body is not erotic. So when a woman suppresses her sexuality, her entire body suffers. She needs something to convince her that this suffering is worthwhile. 

For thousands of years prior to this sex was considered to be a legitimate path to healing and enlightenment. Most of the healers at this time were women or were dominantly a feminine energy. In the Native American tradition, for example, whenever a male child was born who demonstrated feminine characteristics, they would snatch him up and train him to be a shaman, because he had a healer's perspective. He didn't have a warrior's perspective, he had a healer's perspective.

SLM: Are we born with honorable sexuality?

WA: We are born sexual. Sexuality is an absolute. I could also say we are born loving, born passionate, I could say we were born spiritual, it's all the same. In order to understand it, you have to think in terms of content and context. We're not all born into the same context. Energetically we are born with the same content, we're all alive beings. Some people are born into a more liberal culture, some are born into a more suppressed culture. This is why there can be no real universal standard, because the world is not a universal standard.

SLM: Do you think that the sexual drama swirling around President Clinton will lead to recognition or healing in America regarding our societal views on sex?

WA: Any organism that is ready to be healed, or is in the process of being healed, first must be aware of its disease. So culturally this thing that is going on with Clinton is very interesting. As a culture, we are witnessing our naivete around sexuality and our need to be either vindictive or controlling about it. The first increment is in realizing that there are some things about our attitudes about sex and sexuality that need to be corrected. That's how most people are going to think about it. Of course if you're a healer, you see that it's something that needs to be healed. I think it's more positive then negative, but people need to start talking about sex and sexuality.

One aspect of the workshop focuses on moving energy from the sex chakra to the heart chakra, could you explain this?

WA: This is significant because energy moves up, it does not move down. When you understand this ultimately you ask: "Where does this energy come from?" The shamanic perspective is that this is the force of the earth and this force literally moves upward within us. A lot of people in their lifetime never seem to progress past their sex chakra. Their energy stays pretty well focused there. Masculine energy most certainly is energy that has accumulated in and around the sex chakra. Therefore, it is important to learn how to move this energy from your sex chakra to your heart chakra, or to help another person do that.

SLM: How has your life experience led you to develop Trance Dance, Honorable Sexuality and your other workshops?
 WA: My introduction to anything akin to Trance Dance started in my youth. I grew up in a black culture in New Orleans where there was a tradition that when slaves would run, Indians would take them in and give them shelter. This went on for hundreds of years which meant a mixing of cultures. When slavery was abolished one of the things these black men and women chose to do annually was to show respect for this Native American tradition by dancing, dressing and masking as Indians. I learned about rhythms, sound, movement, essentially what we call Trance Dancing. Although it was never called that. It was more festive. But in my late teens, early 20s, I really started looking a little deeper at what that meant. Why did we go out into the streets and just go nuts? Was it just a party? Or was it for something else? I discovered, in time, that this 'ritual party' promoted healing in my culture. To dance, sing and create rhythm together binds people together. We learn that we are stronger together than we are alone. 

We use a bandana in Trance Dancing. That concept was first introduced to me by Frank Natale, then by the much maligned Indian spiritual teacher Rajneesh. Rajneesh used a bandana or blind fold when he did kundalini and dynamic meditations. Rajneesh's perspective was that the Western mind was too populated with thoughts, it couldn't go empty. He needed to remove its dominant sense. Eventually I came to realize that in order to induce a trance state, you have to rob yourself of this sense of sight that you dominantly use to perceive reality. Our eyes are the only sensory organs in our body that grow directly out of our brain. So when you cover up your eyes, reality changes remarkably. 

I then studied religion and found out that prior to what we would call dogmatic, male-dominated, single model religions, there was a spiritual culture that danced. When you look at temples and cathedrals from the dome and look down, you see these elaborate patterns on the floors which were dance patterns. People would gather in these cathedrals and temples to dance, that was their way of communing with spirit. Therefore Trance Dance became an obvious thing that was necessary if we wanted to become a spiritual culture.

SLM: Is dance one of the oldest shamanic traditions?

WA: If you look at it in its origin, human beings worshiped nature. The shamanic perspective is that God is the intelligence found in nature, so they worshiped nature. One of the ways they did this was to energize their bodies with nature. They ate of nature and they mimicked nature. They danced like the wind, they moved like the water. They danced like an eagle. They brought into their being energetic states by mimicking nature. Whenever they were trying to heal themselves, they would ally themselves with an aspect of an organism or an animal. They believed that this animal spirit could heal them. They would dance the animal. They would also adorn their bodies with the animal and they would mimic how the animal functioned in life.

SLM: So, now we're rediscovering our own energy?

WA: Yes... and the most authentic way, I think, is passion. Now, passion is not as rational a reality as we are used to things being. We have substituted many things that were alive (passionate) with things that are kind of pseudo-alive. We substituted faith for trust, fear for excitement, and compassion for passion. We converted 'alive states' and energetically reduced them enough as to be controlled. Yet these alive states still pop through regardless. They have been demonizing sex forever, and we still do it. They have been demonizing passion, yet when we connect to a situation in which our lives are endangered, our passion emerges. So even though they have intellectually coated alive states, the fact is that whenever we all are on the edge of ourselves, we re-experience these things again. So I think we are beginning to realize that psychology just isn't going to cut it. There needs to be some other ways available for people who are sincerely interested in growing spiritually.

Trance Dance is not a traditional shamanic ritual as much as a neo-shamanic ritual. 'Neo' means 'New'. It ís shamanism mixed with a little technology. We are going to do shamanic dance rituals, but we're also going to use a powered sound system. I think that what we are doing (TranceDance experiences) is a good example of an intelligent use of technology to better our lives through creating high (passionate) energy, which is what technology can do so well.

What have you seen in your workshops on Honorable Sexuality that is a hopeful aspect of your work for our world and healing?

WA: The first thing that I find that people walk away with is a tremendous absence of guilt. That's enough, actually, if a person can significantly uproot this business about guilt, which is all connected to authority. Many find that sexuality is something that lives in their being, it's not a foreign thing. As a result of the workshop they find this energy they thought was going to extend their orgasm, which is true. But this energy can also be funneled in other ways. Some people find that their creativity is enhanced because they trust this energy more. In general, I find people have a greater lust for life. They are more passionate and energetic, and, of course, their sex life also gets energized which is a good happening also.