I spent a good amount of time researching Neopaganism in college, but one of the most awesome things about it is how it isn’t book-based. There are guidelines but very few actual, set-in-stone rules. This particular form of spirituality tends to be very individualized, varying from coven to coven and individual to individual. Not only that, but Neopaganism has been a bastion of sex-positivity and LGBT inclusiveness – not on all levels, of course, but many people on the spectrum have found some kind of solace and belonging in Neopaganism.
That makes it ripe for erotica in a way that many of the major religions aren’t, at least without a certain amount of tension. A lot of the shame and guilt usually associated with sex doesn’t have to be present within paganism. There can be acceptance of non-married couples, polyamorous relationships and multiple partners, casual sex, BDSM and fetishism, LGBT characters, and so on. Even though not all of these communities are completely accepting in real life, the philosophy means that when you include paganism in the world you write, you can include that acceptance and manage to have spiritual characters that also don’t agonize about the morality of their sexual decisions. Sex is complicated enough without adding religious shame, am I right?
And even better, the sex itself can be elevated into a spiritual and literally magical experience. After all, who doesn’t like a good sex magic scene? Of course, sex magic works quite differently in fiction than in real life, and that’s where the usability factor comes in. In fiction, the magic is visible, reliable, more than prayers and wishes but practical, tangible magic. One might say that sex magic is the embodiment of the literary principles of sex scenes in erotica and erotic romance – the power of sex that results in very concrete, definable, and explosive change, as physically affecting as it is emotionally.
When it comes to the spiritual or religious in your fiction, Neopaganism is certainty one of the less troublesome philosophies to work with for erotica and erotic romance writers. It’s also evocative, sensual, sexually liberating, and versatile, making it easier to mold into what you need it to be without stepping on too many sensitive toes. Like non-spiritual-related magic, spiritual magic works as long as it’s consistent, and if you’re using spiritual magic, remember the cardinal rule: Do as thou wilt, an it harm none. Unless you’re taking a more left-handed path.
Granted, the definition of ‘harm’ is flexible. Wink, wink.