In the past week, a news story has come across my desk that reaffirms my desire to have little to do with being known as pagan. In this case, it isn't so much the case itself (although it is troubling), but the "pagan" response to it that irks me.


The case involves recent arrests of members of the "Phoenix Goddess Temple" on charges of prostitution. Apparently the temple calls itself "neo-tantric" and believes in the use of sexual methods for healing practices. And all this for a "donation" of $200+ for an hour of "healing massage", or if you want sex outright, that'll run you $400+ for a 2-hour session. I think even a blind person can see that if you're paying $400 for a woman to give you sexual gratification, that's the definition of prostitution. The fact that she's dressed as a pseudo-Greek goddess while doing it just makes it somewhat fetishesque. And just because she's using stones and oils doesn't suddenly make it worship.


So imagine my surprise on a well-known pagan news review site when the overall tone was one of how we should rally around these people, because this was clearly just an attack on the Goddess and the (apparently widespread) long pagan history of sexual temples, and as such was a clear-cut case of religious persecution. The reasons--the main one is because they had the word "Goddess" in the name of their organization. The other reason is because the centers often offered non-sexual classes in addition to providing sexual services for high fees. 


I don't know of any place busted for prostitution where the only thing they do is prostitution. Whether the place is billed as a tanning salon or a massage parlor or something else entirely, the presence of some sort of cover business is universal.


This isn't the first time that I've seen self-proclaimed pagans say that we should rally behind someone, regardless of who they are or what they are doing, simply because they call themselves pagan. It irks me to no end, and yet it seems to be the new norm.


So what do you think--in general, if someone calls themselves pagan, should we rally behind them (or automatically give them the benefit of the doubt) just because they say they are pagan?


In this specific case, what do you think--should we fully put our support behind Phoenix Temple or should we just let the legal system work as it will?


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Temple or Sacred Prostitution is an age old practice dating back to antiquity in many civilizations.

Should we support the Phoenix Temple? NO!



Brae has had to listen to me rant about this for a while now.  It's ridiculous!  Has there been religious prostitution throughout history?  Yes.  Does that mean that they should be exempt from following the law?  No!  Now, if prostitution was legal, go for it!  If they tried to stop them, THEN and only then would it be religious persecution.  I'm all for some of the things their website listed (which apparently most of the people supporting them didn't even bother to visit), but they need to be done in a legal way, just like everything.  You cannot scream about any type of discrimination if you are breaking the law no matter your race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.


It drives me up a wall when people say we need to support our "Pagan brothers and sisters" in cases like these when I know in a week when some "Pagan" comes along and kills a whole mess of people, they'll be the first people to scream and cry about how they aren't truly Pagan and we shouldn't support them.  Where does this odd line that dictates which Pagan criminals we should support lie?  Someone should inform me, I guess.

Well, I think a good rule of thumb here is; if it's breaking laws, laws in which everyone (not some select group) are expected to abide by.  Then for the most part, don't support it.  

I've seen that story too, (probably on the same site as you, Leisha) and I'm totally against supporting this so-called Temple.


Actually, I feel the most profound disgust at what these people have done. To me, when sex is used as a sacred act, then it should not be charged for, no more than any other sacred act. As for the whole "it's historical" thing, well, that doesn't justify doing it now, especially when it breaks the law.


It's OK to rally and support other pagans when there is clear discrimination etc, but when someone breaks the law, they break the law, and they should face the consequences - pagan or no.


Pagans are NOT above the law. I despise these people, honestly. When you use a religious cover for your illegal activities, you don't deserve neither support nor respect from the people of said "religion."

I have to agree with Leisha.  These "priestesses" charging between $200-$400 for two hours of work are making more than I make in my business for the same time investment.  They are not doctors, have no education costs to cover (students loans in prostitution?), and their overhead (rent, electric etc.) can not be any more per worker than mine are.  All because they have couched this crap in religion.


Being a Traditional Wiccan, I have big issues with people charging for religous services.  Now, I know that other pagan and non-pagan religions have no such prohibitions, but when a supposed non-profit organization is making way more money than can be called a break even venture I have a problem with it.  The same goes for the LDS, Catholic etc. churches who make money hand over fist and enjoy the tax shelters that I as a small business owner cannot.


What people do with their own bodies, and with whom they choose to share them with, and even how they express their spirituality is none of my business.  EXCEPT, that is, when they are breaking the law in my community and sullying my name by proxy in the process.  See, I am a Phoenix resident who also gets the label "pagan."

Hey Daniel,


Thanks for indirectly reminding me of another point that was brought up. ;)


Some of the people saying that we needed to support these folks said that if we didn't, then the police could come in and arrest anyone attending a skyclad ritual, because 'it would be seen as the same sort of thing.' That kind of hyperbole troubles me, because it's pretty easy to get people's emotions riled up, but the reality is that I don't know of any place where a group of individuals standing around sans-clothing in the privacy of their own homes is illegal, so there's no danger of wild police raids. (And out of the few traditions that still do some skyclad practices these days, almost all of them have prohibitions on money for training or even if someone wanted to try and claim that it might lead to sex, there's no money or goods changing hands, so no prostitution act!) 


These days it seems like people get so emotionally worked up with outrageous "what ifs" that society is more afraid of what might be than actually taking stock and taking action on "what is". Sadly, that's not just a pagan seems to be everywhere.

At least in my state, a skyclad ritual would be considered a "private party on private property" (i.e. a trad coven of <13 in a private residence) and would never be raided.  Now, if we had a line of people parading in and out paying money for sex, that would be a bit different.


Perzactly! :)

Daniel said:

At least in my state, a skyclad ritual would be considered a "private party on private property" (i.e. a trad coven of <13 in a private residence) and would never be raided.  Now, if we had a line of people parading in and out paying money for sex, that would be a bit different.


If this happened here, there would be a chance for them to be legal. As per a law of 1999 prostitution in Greece is legal and regulated, complete with receipts, taxes, medical checks etc (see:, also: Section 5).


Now, in this case (which I admit I didn't know about till now), it seems to be an outright illegal activity, also with elements of deception since a) it advertizes as a religious organization and service and b) it's an added, "special" feature.


The amount of money they charge is irrelevant to me; the same goes for the dilemma of "to charge or not to charge for religious services". In Greece, save for willing donations, charging money for religious reasons is generally seen as fraud and there are numerous cases of such people being arrested for said crime.


I would not support them, for a number of reasons, including the fact that I do not consider religious prostitution as something worth reviving.

Well  it pretty darn simple.!!! "If it walks like a duck fly like a duck an quacks like ye old duck then I'm right danm sure it a freaking DUCK".  The sad thing to me ( I have to be careful not to go on a rant here) is the loop job folks that will run off all willy nilly grabbing up their swords of magic fairy light screaming "Remember the burning times" to tilt at the wind mills that are mistaken for just plain and simple laws of the land.

  An I just bet y'all a couple of duck feathers the nice folks at said brothel oh I mean temple will pull on the heart string of the misguided fools that think of this a "Pagan" persecution.(an get some danm fools to help out with their legal fees to boot)

I swear  y'all it a good thing that at least we don't have TV preacher with bad hair do's and dimples(we don't do we) cause some of "our" Brothers and Sister would by snake oil if you put a pentagram on it and said you were selling to heal bad spells and garden slugs an oh ya 10/% went to the Pagan mobo jumbo  pull the wool over our eyes fund. (well it was not to big a rant)

 Bottom line if your paying to get lucky, you ain't that danm lucky

I have nothing against prostitution itself. I think this cuts down crimes like rape. I also think that if someone wants to be a prostitute or get money for sex that his his or her business.


I just don't think that Pagans as a whole community should support or include religious prostitution. It makes us prostitutes by association.

Oh I forgot in my last post so I'm guessing that the 200 smack a roony Healing Massage came with a "Happy Ending" (Yes pun indented)

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