LaSara FireFox is a sex educator, published writer, and Pagan Priestess residing “in the wilds of Northern California.” A second-generation witch and an activist from a young age, she has spent over half her life leading workshops and rituals, these days focused on helping women and couples get in touch with their bodies, sexuality, and confidence in essence, helping people learn to nourish their sexuality and personal power.
Car troubles kept our paths from crossing during her recent workshop tour of the Pacific northwest, but we managed to chat by email. Currently she is at home with her two “very smart and beautiful” young daughters, and her “amazingly handsome, bright and talented” husband, hard at work on the manuscript of her upcoming book, Sexy Witch: Touching the Power Inside, scheduled for publication by Llewellyn in Fall, 2005. This “guidebook for self-discovery” will offer rituals and magickal techniques with which women can deconstruct and rebuild their relationships with their bodies, sexuality, and power.
What will be covered in your upcoming book that isn't available anywhere else?
Sexy Witch will have a substantial amount of cultural context like hidden histories, commentary on the impact of advertising on our sexual self-image, opportunities to work out how the framework of imprinting that each reader has experienced has impacted her life, her sexuality, her self-awareness and self-esteem. My goal is to generalize the experience of our wounding a bit, to put it in a cultural context, so that we can stop blaming ourselves for how f**ked up we are. I feel that a lot of women end up feeling isolated in their pain, and somehow responsible for it. I hope that by creating awareness around the cultural influences, that we can let our identities as victims, or even survivors, go a little bit. I hope to offer a path to empowerment through healing, as opposed to through claiming the victimization aspect of being female.
Your workshops and intensives focus on empowering people in various ways. What sources of power do you aim to help people find? What are your preferred ways to do this?
My favorite form of empowerment is SELF-empowerment, and also sexual empowerment. I think it is so important to come from a place of really understanding as much as possible about oneís self, and being open to that self changing, sometimes rapidly and extremely, over time. My preferred ways of getting people to a place that really encourages that sense of self-discovery is by working with body awareness, something I have started calling “full body listening” (which is not the same thing as what they refer to as full body listening in theater arts, but similar) and staying present in the moment. Sounds kind of corny, I guess, but the truth is the present moment is the only place we have the power to create actual change.
Specifically, your Pussy Gazing and Worship workshops work with loving crotch contemplation. What can people gain from a positive relationship with their sex organs?
Well, there are so many things to gain from having a positive relationship with our sexual organs, internal and external. The pussy and cock are a great, scary, amazing place to start. So many of us male and female have some serious shame issues around our organs of sexuality. And it can be so illuminating to face that shame head-on, so to speak.
A very interesting study is being conducted by Laura Berman, Ph.D. Itís called the Genital Image Survey. Dr. Berman is interested in finding out whether genital self-image has any relationship with sexual dysfunction in women, and has claimed that poor genital self-image contributes to an overall sense of low self-esteem. It makes perfect sense to me. I mean, if we have a negative relationship with the very image of what makes us female, than how can we feel very good about the rest of what it means to be female?
Also, I would argue that it would be difficult to invite a sexual partner to enjoy your Venusian delta if you have a difficult time with the idea of visiting there yourself. Another very real reason to create an intimate relationship with oneís own genitals, inside and out, is as a way to monitor your own health. Your gynecologist sees thousands of cervices, and isnít going to remember what yours looked like last time. Chances are, even if you are looking at yours only at your annual check-up, you will have a better ability to recognize changes. Just to clarify, we donít get out the speculum at the Pussy Gazing or the Worship workshops , but changes can occur on the external genitalia, too, and knowing what your terrain looks like down there can give you a real sense of self-protection, ownership and empowerment.
While you're busy helping so many people, what are your personal sources of power?
The emotional support and friendship I receive from my partner is a huge source of sanity and energy for me, as are my relationships with our two lovely kids. Community is also a really important aspect of my recharging process. When I say community, I mean getting together with people who are really on the same page as I am in a lot of ways. People I love, like, care for, share with. People who are my true peers, friends, and in a very real sense my family.
Working is also a profound source of strength and power for me, both teaching and writing. When I am really feeling the flow, enjoying the process whether itís the process of sitting at my machine and cranking out word after word, like magick, or the process of riding the energy that a group brings to the floor for any given workshop I feel great! I can get totally high off of both aspect of my work. And, when I am having a positive effect on my little corner of the world, I feel very aligned with what I feel is my purpose in life. So, I love my work!
Taking care of my body is also key. Exercising. Eating well. Fasting when I have the time, attention and energy for it. And letting loose and having some real, debauched, Dionysian fun chemically enhanced or not can also be totally inspiring.
Relatedly, but dipping into food-related vocabulary, what feeds your creativity? What feeds your sexuality? Where do you find food for your energy, motivation, and work?
My creativity is fed by many things. By moods and my experience of them, by ideas, by great conversation, by great sex, by love, by art, by thinking of how the world could be, and working to make it that way, interaction by interaction.
My sexuality is fed by dedication to the path of the sexual explorer as a path of revolution, and by enjoying the possibility of experiencing uniting with another or others in a physio-mystical manner. By finding a moment of oneness, and recognition of the divine, through sexual merging. Need, desire, want, passion and even jealousy all feed my sexuality.
My food for energy and motivation is the food that I eat, and the energy and influences that I ingest as well. And, the awareness that becoming more and more healthy (even or perhaps especially in our more hidden indulgences) is also an act of revolution. That by owning all that we are, and being accepting of it, we are creating a larger world of experience in which to live.
And what feeds my work is a grand desire to leave this word a better place than I found it when I go. I have always felt that that was a basic aspect of my responsibility to the world. Now I know that I would love it if everyone felt that way, and we were all working towards that simple, but not always easy, goal.
And since this is the Food issue, what role does food play in your life? Do you have favorite things to eat on particular occasions, and overall? Do you lead any women's or sexuality-related rituals involving food?
I incorporate eating as an aspect of many of the rituals that I conduct with women, especially the ones focused on sensuality, nurturance and honoring the body.
My favorite food is Sushi. I take myself out to Sushi when I really want to do something special for myself. It is so clean feeling, so alive, vital and sensual. Other treats I like are, and I know Iím odd here, but here goes sauerkraut, pickles, pepperonccinis, capers. I like pickled, tart, salty treats. Sweet is not nearly as appealing to me as a nice savory treat. I also love good beer, and a nice cocktail.
I have become very friendly with fasting, too, recently, and for me that is not always a total absence of food. I did a ten-day juice fast just before my birthday this year (in May). I used all organic fruits and veggies, which I juiced myself. It was a totally amazing experience, on so many levels. Very liberating, and hugely empowering.
Iím kind of an extremist at times, and I am learning to have a good spectrum of extremes, with my ultimate goal being a sort of balance between really clean living and Dionysian excess, which I am finding are not truly paradoxical. Itís a spectrum, and I am finding a bit of enlightenment from all the different vantages I allow myself. Itís great!
As a mom, you've been a source of food. Did you enjoy feeding your babies? How do you like feeding other people?
I had a hard time with the nursing the first time around, because I overproduced and kept getting really engorged, and then would get breast infections. It wasnít fun for the first few months, but we got through it, and my first daughter nursed until I was three months pregnant with my second. Aurora, my older daughter, was 27 months when I weaned her. I had to temporarily wean my second daughter, Solome, at 9 months because of health problems I was having. I pumped for the six weeks she couldnít nurse for, and still had milk, but she refused to go back to the breast. I was heart-broken. I really wanted to nurse her for longer, especially since I donít think Iíll be having more kids. So, my relationship with the memory of nursing my kids is a little bit wounded.
But over all, lactation is pretty amazing. Milk became a huge part of sex for me when I was lactating. That can actually be kind of hard to avoid...I often had milk just start spraying out as I was getting aroused. My partner got into it, too. It was pretty hot, and I am glad we could both go there with it.
I also did some erotic massage work when I was breastfeeding, and I had clients who came to me just for the milk. It really felt very much like being the Goddess to have grown people nursing from me. There was also a celebration I was at when I was lactating that was quite magickal. A smallish group of us were out on a chartered tour of the bay (in the SF Bay Area) the night of the full moon in April, and everyone was enjoying the amazing food, views, drink and friendship. Somehow, as the moon hit zenith, I ended up gracing the prow of the boat, facing the deck, with arms up-raised to the sky as a line of people formed to drink from my breasts. It was like Ishtar had dropped straight into my body.
On the more mundane level, I love to host gatherings, and having barbeques and potlucks, both of which everyone contributes to, is my favorite way to work it. I am intensely into creating the space to bring people together, and keeping the energy flowing through that space while people are in it. Cooking is not the largest contribution I make to a party, and I often leave it up to others.
My partner, Bobby, and I share cooking responsibilities in our home, and we usually eat pretty simple fare. We do have a wonderful dinner ceremony that we have been practicing for nearly a year now, which we simply call “Thankfulness.” As we eat dinner each person at the table takes at least one turn sharing something we are thankful for that has occurred to us during our day. Gratitude is such a vastly important concept, and sitting with thankfulness is a wonderful way to share what is often our only shared meal of the day.