Search This Blog

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Creativity (An 8-Part Series): Part VI - The Virgin and the Sacred Prostitute

By Kristy McCaffrey

Don't miss
Part I   - Imagination
Part II  - Domestication vs. Wildness
Part III - Shape-Shifting
Part IV - Forbearance
Part V  - Maiden/Mother/Crone

Both the virgin and the sacred prostitute archetypes create strong images and strong aversions. We all like the virgin, despite the implication of her naïveté. The prostitute? That couldn't possibly apply to us, right? And why include sacred before it? Isn't that a huge misappropriation of the underlying meaning of the word?

The virgin is best described as pregnant with possibilities. This is a self-contained energy, harboring all that's needed for creation to bloom forth. Virginity was revered because the energies of the body, the mind, and the spirit remained clean and untouched. Within this state, ideas can be nurtured without taint and corruption, much like a virgin forest contains all it requires to sustain itself. The dark side is the condemnation of the sensual side of life via a prudish disgust. To repress this energy is to stop the flow of creativity altogether. Celibate monks and nuns learn to channel their sexual energy rather than repress it.

The sacred prostitute is a form of psychic energy related to eros. It's an avenue of generating strong passion, which certainly applies to a sexual nature, but encompasses a broader context as a passion for creative endeavors. This archetype is related to ancient love goddesses such as Aphrodite, Isis, and Ishtar. This is not to be confused with the darker aspects of prostitution—sexual abuse, sexual addictions, rape, or any type of manipulation using sexual energy. The practice of sacred prostitution—the sharing of erotic energy to heal on physical, mental, and spiritual realms—brings transcendence. Many art-forms attempt to achieve this state.

Every woman has an aspect of the sacred prostitute within. The artist, when truly embodying her work, allows herself to be a conduit from the world of matter to the world of spirit, sharing herself with one and all. Her work lights the way for others.

According to Carolyn Myss, the prostitute archetype "engages lessons in integrity and the sale or negotiation of one's integrity or spirit due to fears of physical and financial survival or for financial gain." This universal archetype is related to selling one's talents and ideas, and how selling-out can trigger a downward spiral of self-esteem and self-respect. Anytime you consider shifting your faith from the Divine in the world to a physical satisfaction, the prostitute can be your greatest ally, keeping you on the path of highest enlightenment.

Works Cited
Beak, Sera. Red Hot & Holy: A Heretic's Love Story. Sounds True, Inc., 2013.

Myss, Carolyn. Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential. Harmony Books, 2001.

Don’t miss Part VII in the Creativity series: Synchronicity

Until next time…

Connect with Kristy


  1. Very interesting. The worship of the virgin is something we can easily grasp, the sacred prostitute less so. Aren't we all a bit in awe of people who embrace their wild side and still manage to control it, rather than it controlling them? Very thought provoking piece.

    1. Hi C.A.--
      It's a delicate balance at times between these two energies, and some people navigate it better than others. But if we hope to have longevity with our creative lives (i.e. a career), we need to learn how to manage it. We need that raw wildness to create, but we must also temper it so the work (and ourselves) don't careen out of control. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Kristy,
    I haven’t read Caroline Myss’ works in depth, but I am familiar with her writings about determining your archetype and the ‘Four Archetypes of Survival’. The four archetypes of survival is a good place to begin to better understand the concept of the sacred prostitute and how it can function as a positive rather than a negative.

    1. Kristy,

      I want to add that this series has been a wonderful 'whet your appetite for further reading and study' experience, and learning, for me.

    2. Kaye,
      Carolyn Myss has done some wonderful work with archetypes which I highly recommend. And yes, we all carry some aspect of the prostitute within us. The negatives, of course, are obvious, but the positive aspect keeps not just true to our integrity with others but more importantly with ourselves.

  3. I can't help but associate songs with the "Sacred Prostitute" like "Born to be Wild". I rather like a woman who has loved and lost and found some lessons about life along the way.
    Honestly, when I write I don't consciously think about archetypes. But at the end of the story, I can see which archetypes I have chosen.
    Kristy, you've certainly brought to light the real inner working of the "sacred prostitute" archetype in this article which I didn't realize were there until a spiritual enlightening.

    1. Sarah,
      I too love stories where the woman is a bit "wild". I think most writers are using archetypes, whether they realize it or not. It can tie a lot into the theme of a story. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Every time I've tried to comment since yesterday the comment disappears.*Sigh*.

    I find this whole series incredibly fascinating, and useful. So many times the concept of creativity and all that goes with it is glossed over, missing the point that it takes the total to bring something to fruition. Thank you so much for bringing all of this together in an easily understood matter. Thank you. Doris

    1. Doris,
      I'm glad you're enjoying the series. Rooting around in our creative depths isn't something to be taken lightly, and the work can be demanding. But it's always worth it.

  5. I love this Kristy. This is a way of looking at things that I would not have thought of. This is such a great series. I'm so glad you decided to write it!