Tracy Elise: THE GODDESS & HER TEMPLE SHALL PREVAIL
Hosts Janet Kira Lessin & Dr. Sasha Lessin host a panel with Benjamin Wade, Sylvia Wade and Daniel Wade on All-Chakra Tantra on Aquarian Radio, Sunday, March 5, 2016 at 10 AM HST, 1 PM Pacific time, 3 PM Eastern. We talk about the trial and how we can help Tracy. Sentencing is April 8, 2016.
Talking Points for Tracy, Sylvia and Daniel
The Latest on Tracy and how we got to this place
How the Temple, a branch of the ONAC worked
How are the sacred practices of holy anointing & use of plant-based entheogenic substances used by the Oklevueha church branches used for spiritual experiences?
Treatment of Raid Victims
How the Catholic, Mormon and Presbyterian Churches conspired to destroy Native American customs and religion as well as take their lands and how does this extend to the machinations of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to confine Okelevueha membership to racially Indian populations rather than the racially-based church of the Native American Church the BIA sponsors?
“The density and lack of compassion the jury showed was quite sad. It seemed so surreal, almost like a tv show or a set up. The jury took a short time to deliberate. It did not go over the evidence, it did not consider “reasonable doubt.” Justice was not served.
“Now it is up to the appeals process and eventually the 9th Circuit Court of appeals. There I know the Goddess will prevail. Goddess Liberty and Justice reign supreme for all.” -Benjamin Landers Wade
Tracy Elise claims her Phoenix Goddess Temple is a church where seekers of wisdom could learn and experience “sacred sexuality.”
An Arizona jury felt otherwise.
Elise represented herself through a four-month-long trial, arguing she was a priestess, not a prostitute and that the money from customers were donations, not fees for services rendered, according to the Associated Press.
Elise’s son, Ben Wade, maintains his mother and the temple are victims of a statute that doesn’t recognize religious enlightenment comes in all forms.
“The statute said, ‘No, you cannot touch genitals.’ To us, our religion and our belief, the body is the temple,” Wade told AZCentral after his mom’s conviction. “The body is sacred. That may include the genitals. In fact, I’m pretty sure it does.”
The alleged erotic activities at the Goddess Temple came to light in February 2011, when the Phoenix New Times reported about the church’s “services,” includinggenital touching in exchange for “religious offerings” ranging from $204 to $650.
The newspaper went into detail about one session with a “goddess” named “Aphrodite”:
About 40 minutes into the session, Clayton turns over on his back. He doesn’t have an erection. Aphrodite proposes a prostate massage. She puts on a “finger condom” and inserts a finger into his anus, while simultaneously gripping and stroking his penis.
Five minutes of this, and Clayton’s whole body starts shaking. He lets out several loud moans, and Aphrodite cleans him up with a wet towel.
Elise and 17 other members of the Phoenix Goddess Temple were indicted seven months later in September after a police raid.
On Thursday, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery told AZCentral the Temple “was no more a church than Cuba is Fantasy Island.”
He added: “Accepting money for sex is against the law.”
Elise was shaken after the jury verdict, according to the Phoenix New Times.
“Your honor, I obviously didn’t expect this,” she said to Judge Sherry K. Stephens after the jury was led out of the courtroom. “This was a complex case, and there were many things the jury didn’t get to hear or see.”
Elise is due to be sentenced April 8. She faces up to 70 years behind bars, according to the New York Daily News.
After her conviction, Elise vowed on Facebook to continue appealing the verdict on grounds of religious freedom.
Hosts Janet Kira Lessin and Dr. Sasha Lessin interviewed Tracy Elise Sunday, February 7, 2016 on the Sacred Matrix on Revolution Radio (www.freedomslips.com).
Summary: Tracy Elise and the first amendment are under attack. America was founded on religious freedom, yet tantra temples and their members are being singled out and persecuted like a modern day witch trial. Our basic human, civil rights are under attack and unless we defend these rights for one, we risk losing these rights for all.
“The injustice the jury delivered is an unacceptable version of reality. The density and lack of compassion the jury showed was quite sad. It seemed so surreal, almost like a tv show or a set up. Proof we are in the iron age. It was confounding how the jury wore colors to match us and then only took a short time to deliberate. Not going over the evidence, and not looking at the reasonable doubt. We are sincere in our beliefs and justice was not served. Now it is up to the appeals process and eventually the 9th Circuit Court of appeals where I know the Goddess will prevail. For it is the very basis this Great Nation was Founded on, Goddess Liberty and Justice reign supreme for all.” -Benjamin Landers Wade
I see my life as dedicated to the restoration of equality between women and men in the realms of spiritual authority. The defintion of the creators as “God the Father” has virtually left all feminine wisdom silenced in the realm of morality. The fear that the male of the species has around the power of their root attraction to the female has forced feminine soul wisdom ‘underground’. We see this in the lack of sacred alternatives in sex education, and a growth in the secular ‘profane’ sex expressions of pornography, prostitution (sex for sale), the break down of pair bonds, sex addiction for many males and sexual shutdown for many females. My objective is to allow the ancient and powerful sacred sexuality teachings to emerge from all wisdom streams: Egyptian, Hindu, Buddhist, Goddess Worship, Druid/Pagan, Mystic Islam and Judeao-Christianty. This is a unifying temple, we are Gnostic and believe each person can access their Higher Power in their own unique way.
PHOENIX GODDESS TEMPLE TIMELINE
1961 Tracy Elise was born.
1995 Elise divorced her husband, left her family, and moved to Seattle to pursue her spiritual interests.
2002 (June 21) Elise was ordained as a minister by Spiritual Healers and Earth Stewards.
2008 Elise founded the Phoenix Goddess Temple in Phoenix, Arizona.
2011 Local police raided the temple based on allegations that the church was a brothel.
Tracy Elise founded the Phoenix Goddess Temple of Phoenix, Arizona in 2008.
Fifty-year-old Elise, who serves as the church’s Mother Priestess, is a former housewife who previously resided with her devout Catholic husband and their three children in Fairbanks, Alaska. There Elise won Miss Harvest Queen at the State Fair and attended the local Pentecostal church, “where she says she spoke in tongues and served as precinct captain for Pat Robertson’s 1988 presidential bid” (Best 2010).
Largely as a result of her intense spiritual discontent, Elise reports, she divorced her husband and left her family in 1995. She has identified a particular moment that impelled her to relinquish her conventional lifestyle: “‘I remember I was in my little tract home, folding laundry, watching this A&E documentary about Simone de Beauvoir, about all the lovers she had, and thinking, “I’m never going to have that kind of life, that kind of excitement,” she says’” (Best 2010).
Elise relocated to Seattle, where she worked as a masseuse and explored Tantra, New Age religions and Eastern philosophies. She and an acquaintance, Vivian Ellis (Rainbow Love), jointly created a temple that offered instruction in Tantra. On June 21 st 2002, Elise was ordained as a minister by the International Assembly of Spiritual Healers and Earth Stewards at a summer solstice ceremony. Elise moved to Arizona in 2008 and opened the Phoenix Goddess Temple, a Neo Tantra, non-denominational and multi-faith “life force energy temple” created “to teach people about the sacred feminine aspect of the creator” (McMahon n.d.).
Elise identifies her religion as Tantra and states that the church offers lessons in “whole body healing,” available through a variety of class offerings and with the aid of various practitioners or touch healers. The Phoenix Goddess Temple website describes the temple’s mission in the following way: Our temple is an open source for all who wish to better know the Great Mother and her unique gifts for healing body, mind and soul. We seek to help women, men and couples discover their own divine connection between soul, light body and sacred vessel…. Our teachings are body centric, emanating from the resonating vessel, which is your own Sacred Self” ( Phoenix Goddess Temple n.d.). In the temple’s November, 2008 “Mother Sez” newsletter, Elise enumerated the church’s core beliefs and objectives as follows: “We help people recognize, sense, play with, direct and finally master their life force energy.”
“We work with many energy systems, the primary model being the Chakra Ladder of Light, which is recognized for over 5000 years by the Hindu, the Egyptians and Tibetan Buddhists.” “We revere the human body as our gift from the Mother Goddess, which gives the soul all opportunity to play and learn on planet Earth.” “We believe in the power of Now and in the power of authentic witness, one soul to another.” “Orgasm is a Holy moment, when Heaven and Earth merge in the body as ‘ Paradise right now’, before, during and after orgasm we feel connected to God/Goddess and all of Creation.”
The Tantric emphasis of the feminine as well as the masculine aspect of God features prominently in Elise’s discourse. She notes that little is taught “about the feminine face of God” and avows that “we believe that sacred sexuality and wholesomeness in sexual energy emanates from the woman” (McMahon). She also maintains that the temple and its healing ceremonies empower women. One of the temple’s touch healers, Wayne Clayton, has laid claim to divine or miraculous powers: “He says one of his clients in Chicago lost a breast to cancer, and after several healing sessions with him, she grew her breast back. He says another woman in Chicago, this one suffering from cervical cancer and a subsequent hysterectomy, grew her female organs back through energy work” (D’Andrea 2011). RITUALS The Temple describes its rituals as follows:
“As a Neo Tantra Temple, we bring together many traditions which guide us into right and loving use of the life force within our bodies. As Priests & Priestesses, we conduct this heavenly light into the physical plane, likewise, we lift form into higher frequencies of heaven! This up-down pillar of light exchanges continuously between heaven and earth, body, soul and Source ( Phoenix Goddess Temple n.d.) The temple’s central rituals consist of the various Tantra classes or healing ceremonies offered to “seekers.” These are organized into introductory, intermediate and advanced levels and involve instruction from or interaction with a practitioner.
Female practitioners are referred to as “goddesses” and generally assume goddess identities such as Shakti, Isis and Aphrodite. Male practitioners are commonly called “touch healers.” According to the Temple website, the church healers “seek to help women, men and couples discover their own divine connection between soul, light body and sacred vessel” and “offer group classes and one-on-one teachings and training, play shops and internships,” all meant to “make use of the gifts of the Goddess” and allow seekers to, among other things, “feel the light of your own soul” and “feel the chakra wheels spinning your self into physical existence.”
The ten thousand square foot temple houses a reception area, a Transformation Chamber which seekers enter to remove their clothing prior to instruction from one of the temple’s goddesses or male practitioners, and healing chambers, which contain “high altars” and “altars of light.” These sessions typically feature a lengthy massage with oils, sacred herbs and crystals, to stimulate the chakras, and frequently culminate in sexual stimulation as well. Elise considers her calling to be of a holy nature and regards sex as intrinsically connected to spirituality. She conceives of these whole body healing sessions as beneficial to the spiritual and physical welfare of the temple’s seekers. She has repeatedly extolled the healing power of the temple’s ceremonies, especially the sacredness of the orgasm.
Furthermore, “she herself seems to believe most fervently in what she calls ‘direct downloads from God,’ immediate communication from the divine that can take the form of signs, omens and physical sensations” (Best 2010). Elise understands herself to be receptive to such downloads.
ORGANIZATION Elise serves as the Mother Priestess and Mystic Mother of the temple. She oversees the goddesses and touch healers, leadssessions and classes, and organizes events. Temple participants include guests (who seek information about the Temples activities), seekers (“who have a spiritual practice or have had in the past, and are now feeling led to find new sources of energy, direction and connection to the Higher Power”), initiates (“who have found genuine soul-food in our temple”), brothers and sisters (“who have decided to really support the Goddess Temples”), priests and priestesses (“who have a gift for channeling light into matter”), and healers and guides (who have “gifts to give as well as receive”) (Phoenix Goddess Temple n.d. “In Temple”).
The goddesses total about fourteen in number and “come from diverse backgrounds: There’s a former accountant, paralegal, nurse, even a bank CEO, along with what Elise describes as at least three ‘runaway housewives’” (Best 2010). The goddesses typically work with male seekers, and the male touch healers provide instruction or healing for female seekers. In addition to the healing ceremonies, the church also holds a weekly Sunday brunch and worship service and offers Friday night sex education classes, Yoga Pain relief classes, Naked Life coaching and a monthly Healing Abuse/Trauma Circle.
There are two other Neo Tantra temples in Sedona, Arizona affiliated with the Phoenix Goddess Temple. At the conclusion of the session, participants are instructed to leave a temple offering or donation. They are advised to “look for the lotus candle on an altar in your transformation chamber. Your love offering is an active way for you to help restore the balance of Yin / Yang energies here on planet earth as every Temple of the Mother provides much needed Yin to the Universal Web of Life” (Phoenix Goddess Temple n.d. “Offerings of Support”). The donation schedule stipulates amounts between two hundred and eight hundred dollars, depending on the number of participants and guides and the length of the sessions.
ISSUES/CHALLENGES Phoenix Goddess Temple has encountered opposition from a variety of sources, including local residents, investigative journalists, therapists, and law enforcement agencies. Police visited the Phoenix Goddess Temple at its Scottsdale location in 2009 after residents complained. They charged the temple with city code violations, which resulted in the church’s relocation. Journalists have expressed skepticism about the Temple’s actual purpose. Journalist Jason Best interviewed Elise extensively for Phoenix Magazine and visited the temple in 2010. He wrote that while Elise asserts that she draws from the Indian philosophy of Tantra, “there is no single sacred text, no structured theology. In one conversation, Elise can toss off references to Buddhist philosophy, Biblical scripture and Celtic legend, throwing in a Taoist aphorism for good measure” (Best 2010).
Another journalist dubbed it, “nothing more than a New Age brothel practicing jack psychology techniques” (D’Andrea 2011). Professional therapists have expressed concern regarding the Goddess Temple’s healing techniques, especially the sessions for those who have suffered sexual abuse. The Phoenix New Times quoted licensed Arizona therapist Diane Genco: “If these non-traditional healers are not qualified or credentialed in understanding post-traumatic stress disorder and all the things that go with that — the ripple effects of trauma — it could be harmful” (D’Andrea 2011).
Some of the Temples own practices have reinforced suspicions about its actual nature. For example, before engaging in services at the temple, seekers are required to sign a waiver stating, “‘I acknowledge I will not receive any type of sexual gratification in exchange for money during my session’” (D’Andrea 2011). The waiver also states that all touching that occurs during the sessions is consensual. The church’s sizable suggested donations, coupled with its history of advertising on adult websites and in the adult sections of local newspapers, has fueled such speculations. Law enforcement agencies have consistently treated the Temple as a brothel masquerading as a church. In 2009, three of the Seattle Tantra temples that Elise had been affiliated with were raided by police.
Elise’s former associate Rainbow Love was charged with promoting prostitution. Following a six-month investigation, police raided the Phoenix Goddess Temple in September 2011, “having obtained a search warrant after initiating several undercover deals and determining that the Temple Goddess employees had been trained to use evasive vocabulary,” including terms such as “seekers” and “sacred union” (Caron 2011). Maricopa county attorney Bill Montgomery stated that, “We’re not viewing this in any way as somehow protected by the first amendment. This is not religious expression. This is a criminal activity and those responsible thought they were being too clever by half by coming up with different terms” (Caron 2011).
Eighteen people were arrested; charges of prostitution, pandering and conspiracy were levied against over thirty members of the temple. Elise was incarcerated in Maricopa County, with bail bond set at $1,000,000. For its part, the Phoenix Goddess Temple has vigorously defended its legitimacy. The goddesses do not deny the existence of the Temple’s sexual practices; they simple assert that “at the core, what distinguishes their ‘practice’ from common sex work is the matter of their intention” (Best 2010). Elise argues for the holiness of the orgasm: “You have absolute peace, you do not fear death, and you have no experience of lack or separation. The point of religion is peace of mind, returning the physical body to what is eternal, so I have to ask, how is what we’re doing not religion?” (Best 2010). As for her personal legitimacy, Elise has responded that she is “under the jurisdiction of the most high” (D’Andrea 2011).
REFERENCES Best, Jason. 2010. “Oh, Goddess: Tracy Elise is Preaching Her Gospel of Transcendence Through Pleasure to the Valley, Which Raises One Big Question: Can Sex Be a Religion?” Phoenix Magazine. March 2010. Accessed fromhttp://www.phoenixmag.com/lifestyle/valley-news/201003/oh–goddess/2/ on 21 October 2011. Caron, Christina. 2011. “ Phoenix Goddess Temple Raided as Alleged Brothel.” ABC News. 9 September 2011. Accessed fromhttp://abcnews.go.com/US/phoenix-goddess-temple- raided-alleged-brothel/story?id=14481945 on 21 October 2011. D’Andrea, Niki. 2011. “ Phoenix Goddess Temple’s ‘Sacred Sexuality’ Is More Like New Age Prostitution.” Phoenix New Times. 17 February 2011. Accessed from http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2011-02-17/news/feature/4/ on 21 October 2011. McMahon, Pat. n.d. The Pat McMahon Show. Accessed from http://www.phoenixgoddesstemple.org/index.php/home/temple-in-the-news/603-mother-priestess-tracy-elise-wpat-mcmahaon-hard-questions on 21 October 2011. – See more at: http://aquarianradio.com/guests-2/tracy-elise-bio/#sthash.r3AqnQ6l.dpuf
Healer & Tantra Coach, Holder of Sacred Space for the Mother Goddess; School for Divine Union through energy & light practices; Neo-Tantra, Egyptian Mysteries & Polarity; Magnetic Tantra & Whole Body Healing; Ordination & Priestess Path Senior Sister; Teacher of energetic health, feminine mysteries and Ladder of Light activation
I empower women, men & couples, all orientations to sense, activate and consciously direct their human energy matrix. My main ministry with women is to train and ordain them as Priestess embodiments of the Ancient Mother Goddess; for men, I guide and assist them in directing their ‘root’ energy in a wholesome and holy manner ‘up the Ladder of Light”. I also create and hold sacred space for all guests, members, practitioners, teachers and guides for the self-sovereign exploration, expansion and connection of their holy body, soul and energy matrix to All=That=Is, in a divine Mother/Father ReUnion. I train Whole Body Healers, teach the ancient ways of consecrating altars, the creation of transformation chambers for inner healing work and the right livelihood administrative aspects of being “in service” to God/Goddess.
Meet with those magentically drawn to the relgions of Tantra, Goddess Worship and Energy Healing. Hold space for all inter-faith teachings which lead to a One-ness for all spiritual paths. This is accomplished through the human energy field, resonating in the holy physical body (sacred vessel for the soul). My works has focused on combining lost ancient temple arts with modern science around what Deepak Chopra calls the ‘quantum mechanical body’ (human light body). My primary motive is to provide safe and sacred space for Divine Feminine wisdom to be heard and felt in the modern era.
Activities and Societies: Original Mystic Sister (2005 – present), Spiritual Feminist (1967 – present); Study of the Lost Years of Jesus (1987-present); Sedona Temple (2005-present); School of 1.org (2002-present), Ordained Interfaith Minister, Spiritual Healers & Earth Stewards (2002) the Venusian Church/Paradise Now (2003), Found-Her of the Mystic Sisters (2005), Ordination program “Priestess Path (2005, 2009,2010,2011)
- Gaia eco=sex
- cosmic connections
- East/West fusions
- direct miracles through the Ladder of Light
- Sacred Sexuality
- Soul / Light Body Activation
A preview of what LinkedIn members have to say about Mystic Mother:
My apologies Tracy, as I just now came across your request on Linkedin, I rarely spend much time here – as of yet. To Whom it May Concern, In my experience, Tracy Elise is an exceptionally dedicated, sincere servant leader, who is unmistakably devoted to serving the public´s need for professional assistance, as well as religious guidance, in the interest of actually transforming of a wide spectrum of unhealthy traditions that restrict our ability to help one another via spiritually-based sensory, sexual and psychological therapeutic techniques. In my view, her methods are designed to support the growth of evermore conscious “sacred” relationships.
She has been using both touch and intention to heal “us” emotionally and physically, so our true nature is freed to explore and learn, un-obligated by the many superficially imposed fears that typically accompany social conformity. I understand how widely shunned, as well as profoundly misunderstood, are these aspects of social/relational health and well being – to date. All the more reason to support the courageous and important work Tracy Elise has chosen – as a servant of Love and Joy and Freedom – for the greater good of all. Sperry Andrews, co-director Human Connection Institute
I have known Tracy Elise for several years, and have worked with her both as a wellness provider and as a client. Tracy is a heart-centered, warm, loving person who truly believes in the spiritual path on which she has embarked. I would recommend her to anyone seeking to find their own correct path in life.
Written Thoughts by: Tracy Elise, Oklevueha Native American Church Medicine Woman and Elder Medicine Woman for ONAC Mother Medicine Wheel
Since the beginning of time, Great Spirit has given humans life as the beloved children of Mother Earth and Father Sky. Our eternal soul “earth walks’ between the Father’s realm of Fire (Sun) and Air, and the Mother’s domain of Water and Earth. WE are made of these elements. They nourish us body, mind and soul.
Holy anointing is a ceremonial practice designed to restore your sense of being fully alive as a soul in a physical body. This ceremony frees you from feeling ‘stuck’ in an energy grid produced by repetitive tasks and programmed reactions into a new, expanded matrix which accesses the greater web of life force energy.
To “heal” is to “make whole” and to be “whole” with all of Creation is to be “holy”. Holy Anointing by the Laying on of Hands Ceremonies are found in all of planet Earth’s major religions, especially the Indigenous cultures of the Oklevueha Earthwalks Native American Church.
Oklevueha Native American Church celebrates all life blossoming into being through the weaving of these elemental gifts from Mother Earth and Father Sky. Our Soul is the “Sol” or “sun” in you, illuminated through Grandfather Sky. The human body is our great blessing from Mother Earth, our “Ma – Matter – Mother”.
When these elements of earth, water, fire and air are in balance, we enjoy great health and vitality. When any one of these elements is lacking, our health suffers, leaving us disconnected from life. Holy Anointing by the Laying on of Hands Ceremony provide consecrated, prayerful touch which grants immediate restoration and balance. During and after this ancient ceremony, wholeness is felt throughout our entire being, resonating from the cellular level all the way through our bone, blood, tissue, skin and hair.
Holy Anointing with oils http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anointing, along with Holy Anointing by the Laying on of Hands Ceremonies heal http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laying_on_of_hands are traditions recognized by all of planet Earth’s established religions. Christians know of Mary Magdalene’s anointing of Jesus Christ before His death and resurrection. The old testament teaches us to anoint to heal the sick and also, as a ritual to dedicate the body, place or object towards the divine purpose. In the 5,000 year old Hindu tradition of Ayurveda (“Science of Life”), the sages of India teach that we should self-anoint with oil in the daily ritual of Abhyanga.
When we access a Medicine Person’ s skill and sacred intent, we enjoy great benefits, including deep physical relaxation, a calm and soul-full center, and a deep letting-go of all that we have held onto which does not contribute to our highest good. Here in the Americas, Indigenous people continue to live in close harmony with nature, we have not forgotten the ancient gifts from our Mother.
First Nations people realize that humans are ‘one’ with all of Creation, and that we are not separate from Source. ONAC’s belief in this ‘wholeness’ and a ‘one-ness’ with all that is contradicts many orthodox doctrines. Many people have been raised with the concept of original sin, which teaches us that we have fallen away from right relationship with the Great Creator, and that we must control and even deny our body to be closer to God.
This feeling of being separate from Creation and the Creator is the source of much illness, depression and even death in the modern culture. This programmed separation eventually creates feelings of powerlessness. We begin to believe that we cannot affect change. By choosing to partake of a Holy Anointing by the Laying on of Hands Ceremony, we let go of the overwhelming stimulation of the mind and allow the body’s self-healing powers to take over. During the ceremony, our body restores health through the Mother’s gift of loving touch, natural herbal and flower essences, oils, stones, crystals and sacred waters.
In the Holy Anointing by the Laying on of Hands Ceremony, your Medicine Person will provide:
Conscious loving touch, just as your mother would cradle your infant body, conscious loving touch gives comfort and strength to the body, sacred vessel of our soul. This hands-on healing can occur entirely clothed, or in a state of original innocence (the nude body as birthed by your Mother). The degree of covering or nudity is always self-determined by the recipient at the time of the each healing ceremony.
Personalized essential oils are offered for aromatherapy, energy activation, and each plant’s unique medicinal properties. You will be able through conversation with your Medicine Person, and by direct sensory perception (smelling), to chose plant essences from Nature’s own pharmacy. The Mother has provided thousands of natural herbal cures which help to shift your body back towards it’s own perfected state.
Whole Body Healing is a ceremony designed to take you from a norm of compartmentalization (differing zones of sensation from wearing clothing, jewelry, shoes, etc). to a state of well being and whole-ness. This protected, connected, infinitely loving experience returns us to the unlimited nourishment of our Mother’s womb.
Holy Anointing and conscious, loving touch for the entire body allows us to experience our original physical self as the ‘star that we are’. The human body is a 5 pointed star, which reflects our soul’s heavenly home. Your head and face are the top point of the star, with arms and legs outstretched completing the celestial star body.
ONAC Medicine People use organic, cold pressed ‘food grade’ oils which are warmed before application. This gentle heat penetrates all layers of the skin. Your Medicine Person may pre-activate your skin’s sensory receptors through light touch, tantric breath work, plant brushes, silk fabric, fur or feathers, all of which may be used to amplify feeling in the skin, which is the largest single organ in the body.
Warm oil is poured along the limbs, back, torso, hands, feet and neck. You may or may not chose to have the scalp, face and ‘third eye’ anointed as well. Holy Anointing can be a luxurious drenching or a light application, depending on your preference. Long gliding strokes over limbs and muscles, along with clockwise circular motions over your joints, chest and abdomen relax the body while opening maximum energy flow. Clothing-on ceremony focuses on opening and healing the mind by anointing the third eye, heart, hands and feet, all of which are powerful channels of energy flow into the body.
Whole Body Healing may also include far-infrared radiant warm stones, cool stones and various types of crystals. Technique is not as important as your healer’s heart-mind intention. Great Spirit intuitively guides an ONAC Medicine Person’s hands. Much rejuvenation is accomplished through the silent language of body-to-body wisdom.
Holy Anointing is a ceremony of Gratitude, loving touch and prayerful intent. You will emerge re-connected in mind, body and spirit with your higher self and with Source. Magnetic energy exchange during your healing generally opens new pathways of flow. Exhilarating expansion, connection, and empowerment are the fruits of this ritual, permeating both the receiver and the giver of Holy Anointing by the Laying on of Hands Ceremony.
Soul, the “Sol” or sun in you, a gift from the Father Sun. The Sun is the Son, and so males are associated with light, heat and illumination.
Sacred Vessel is the body, or temple of the soul, and is a gift from the great Mother. Without a body in form, we could not walk this earth.
Anointing is the application of oils to the body of a person who is intent on creating a stronger connection with divine Source.Holy designates that which is recognized by many to be a place, object or person who is consecrated (dedicated with sacred intent) towards strengthening our connection to Source. This ceremony provides a very different type of divine alignment
Indigenous peoples have always seen the Great Creator in every aspect of nature; stones and crystals, plants and trees, sacred waters and the purifying aspect of smoke and the warmth and illumination of fire. Our Transformation Chambers contain all of these elements to help make you feel whole at the cellular level; incense, sage, and sweetgrass are burned to carry our intentions upwards to the Father; sacred waters in fountains or ceremonial bowls; candles flicker with the illuminating power of fire and light, and living plants, stones, crystals and herbs help ‘ground’ the body to the earth plane of existence. You are Self Sovereign, powerful and loving, and created in the image and form
HBO STAR AND BUNNY RANCH OWNER DENNIS HOF TESTIFIES IN PHOENIX GODDESS TEMPLE TRIAL
Courtesy of Dennis Hof
Dennis Hof, HBO reality TV star and owner of the Bunny Ranch, a successful chain of Nevada brothels, testified this week in the drawn-out trial of Tracy Elise, founder and lead priestess of the now-defunct Phoenix Goddess Temple.
For more than three hours of direct examination, he talked about how brothels operate in Nevada and around the world, the services or various “party” options provided at his businesses, and various prostitution myths. But the main point of his argument was that a prostitute’s motivation is money, whereas Elise’s motivation was sexual healing.
“My business is about sex . . . negotiating and getting the most amount of money,” Hof told the jury. “It’s not about touching and chakras.”
“In your opinion, Mr. Hof, am I a prostitute?” Elise, who has acted as her own defense attorney since 2013, asked him.
“No, I look at you as more of a healer or educator,” Hof replied.
Elise was one of 40 people arrested by the Phoenix Police Department in 2011 after a New Times cover story said the temple’s “sacred sexuality” healing practices were “more like new age prostitution.”
The story, a Phoenix Police Department vice squad detective testified last week, tipped off the department and inspired it to launch an undercover investigation.
Elise and others were accused of running a house of prostitution disguised as a church, and she remains one of two defendants refusing to take a plea bargain with the state.
She is up against dozens of felony charges for prostitution, illegal control of an enterprise, keeping or residing in a house of prostitution, pandering, and money laundering. If found guilty, she faces 70 years in state prison.
But Elise is steadfast in her argument that what she and other priestesses and practitioners did at the temple was not prostitution but sacred sexual ceremonies and tantric-healing sessions. She also claimsNew Times’ story was biased and contained inaccuracies.
Through her direct examination of Hof, Elise attempted to highlight the difference between healing and sex for money, as well as the significance of her temple’s donation-based system.
“Mr. Hof,” she asked, do your brothel employees ever do sessions with clients “where anything could happen or nothing could happen?”
“I don’t know prostitution to operate like you’re discussing,” he replied. “And I own more brothels than anyone in America.”
“Would any of your ladies extend the [session] without receiving any extra money?”
“No, and we wouldn’t allow them to,” he said.
“If you attempted to run the Bunny Ranch like the Phoenix Goddess Temple, would you stay profitable?” she asked.
“I wouldn’t do it because I know it’s not possible as a business model. It wouldn’t be profitable.”
A photo from inside the Phoenix Goddess Temple.
Jamie Peachey/New Times
During the state’s cross-examination, Hof was challenged on some of the assertions he made about the prostitution industry, particularly his statement that a prostitute almost always would demand to be paid before the act.
“Would you agree that if someone was trying to run an illegal operation, they might do things a little different than you do at your brothel?” Deputy County Attorney Chris Sammons asked.
While Hof, who was born and raised in Phoenix, replied “yes,” he ended up turning most of his answers to Sammons’ questions into a rant against Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery for grandstanding and failing to go after the illegal prostitution in Phoenix.
Sammons asked Hof about his own sexual past — dating only young women, sleeping with his employees, and helping a woman sell her virginity over the Internet — but was met with hostility:
“Don’t question the morality of what I do,” Hof sneered.
Hof was clear that he didn’t believe in Elise’s tantric or sacred healing abilities prior to his session with her but that he was “totally surprised [to] actually have felt something shift in [his] body.”
“You gave an opinion that Ms. Elise is not a prostitute,” Sammons said, but “you’re basing it off your experience yesterday?”
“Yes,” Hof replied confidently.
Prosecutors appeared frustrated with Hof and his insistence that Elise was a healer and that the Phoenix Goddess Temple did not appear to be a brothel, but they declined to comment on the testimony. (Sammons deferred to the County Attorney’s Office, which did not respond to a request for comment.)
“The cross-examination was a joke,” Hof told New Times after leaving the witness stand. “They got nothing out of it. It was an attempt to discredit me . . . I don’t think it worked at all.”
He accused the city and county of “going after the Phoenix Goddess Temple because it’s a good headline grabber” in the local and national news.
“A temple — a church — selling pussy. That’s a great case,” he said. “[But] they weren’t selling it. They were doing some type of experience . . . and gentleman were giving a donation in some of it.”
Hof, like Elise, is confident that she will be found not guilty.
“I think my testimony showed that Tracy wasn’t running a house of prostitution,” he said. “Think about it: If it’s just about sex, why would [guys] have sex with a 60-year-old when they could get it for the same price with a 20-year-old?”
Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act
The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), Pub.L. 106–274, codified as 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc et seq., is a United States federal law that prohibits the imposition of burdens on the ability of prisoners to worship as they please and gives churches and other religious institutions a way to avoid burdensome zoning law restrictions on their property use. It also defines the term “religious exercise” to include “any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.”  RLUIPA was enacted by the United States Congress in 2000 to correct the problems of theReligious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993. The act was passed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate by unanimous consent in voice votes, meaning that no objection was raised to its passage, so no written vote was taken.
In 1997, the United States Supreme Court held the RFRA to be unconstitutional as applied to state and local governments, in City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507. Unlike the RFRA, which required religious accommodation in virtually all spheres of life, RLUIPA only applies to prisoner and land use cases.
In Employment Div. Dep’t of Human Resources v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872, 883–85 (1990), the Supreme Court held that a substantial burden on religious exercise was subject to strict scrutiny where the law “lent itself to individualized governmental assessment of the reasons for the relevant conduct.” It was not a case permitting exceptions for freedom of religion when generally applicable health and welfare regulations were in question, and it should be remembered that Smith lost this case (involving a denial of unemployment benefits where the litigant had used illegal drugs in a religious ceremony). In line with the scrutiny regime established in West Coast Hotel v. Parrish in 1937, the Court ruled that unless the law is not one of general applicability, regardless of specific circumstance, government may act if policy is rationally related to a legitimate government interest, even if the act imposes a substantial burden on the exercise of religion.
In the 2005 case of Cutter v. Wilkinson, five prisoners in Ohio – including a Wiccan, a Satanist, and a member of a racist, allegedly Christian, sect – successfully sought to apply the protections of the act to their religious practices. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit had held that RLUIPA violated the Establishment Clause by impermissibly advancing religion by bestowing benefits to religious prisoners that were unavailable to non-religious prisoners.
The U.S. Supreme Court disagreed, unanimously holding that RLUIPA was a permissible accommodation of religion justified by the fact that the government itself had severely burdened the prisoners’ religious rights through the act of incarceration. A concurring opinion by Justice Thomas noted that the states could escape the restrictions of RLUIPA simply by refusing federal funds for state prisons.
Cutter v. Wilkinson only concerns the prisoner portion of RLUIPA. The court explicitly declined to extend the rule to land use cases.
In a unanimous opinion issued March 15, 2011, that reverses the three-judge panel’s May 2010 ruling, a limited en banc panel of 11 judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that anOrange County courthouse lockup is an “institution” under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, meaning a Muslim woman who sued after being forced to remove her headscarf in front of strange men is entitled to the act’s protections. The case is Khatib v. County of Orange, 08-56423. The lawsuit started as a result of court bailiffs ordering the woman to remove her headscarf while she was temporarily being held inside the courthouse lock up while a county court judge was deciding whether or not to revoke her misdemeanor probation (she was released that same day after the judge decided not to). The District Court had dismissed the case, with said dismissal being upheld by the three-judge appellate panel. The case has now been reversed and sent back to the trial court for further proceedings. It is the first time that a temporary holding facility (like a courthouse lock up) has been deemed to be an “institution” under the Act. The law, passed by Congress in 2000, prohibits the government from imposing a “substantial burden” on prisoners’ religious practices unless officials can show a compelling need for the restrictions. The Obama administration joined Khatib in arguing that the law applied to courthouse holding cells.
Zoning and land use
In religious land use disputes, RLUIPA’s general rule is the most commonly cited and challenged section. It provides:
- General rule. No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation in a manner that imposes a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person, including a religious assembly or institution, unless the government can demonstrate that imposition of the burden on that person, assembly or institution
- is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
- is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
- Scope of Application. This subsection applies in any case in which—
- the substantial burden is imposed in a program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability; or
- the substantial burden affects, or removal of that substantial burden would affect, commerce with foreign nations, among the several States, or with Indian tribes, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability; or
- the substantial burden is imposed in the implementation of a land use regulation or system of land use regulations, under which a government makes, or has in place formal or informal procedures or practices that permit the government to make, individualized assessments of the proposed uses for the property involved.
42 U.S.C. § 2000cc-5(a).
During these disputes, the correct interpretation of the term “land use regulation” is almost always an issue. The statute defines “land use regulation” as “a zoning or landmarking law, or the application of such a law, that limits or restricts a claimant’s use or development of land (including a structure affixed to land), if the claimant has an ownership, leasehold, easement, servitude, or other property interest in the regulated land or a contract or option to acquire such an interest.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc-5(5).
RLUIPA’s effect on zoning
Currently being litigated is the conflict RLUIPA presents to municipalities’ zoning and regulating rights. Through RLUIPA, Congress has expanded religious accommodations to a point where it appears to restrict municipalities’ zoning power. Arguably, RLUIPA gives religious landowners a special right to challenge land use laws which their secular neighbors do not have. But those defending RLUIPA would say this preference toward religion is in the First Amendment’s religion clauses, so the law is just administering the Constitution itself. Even if a zoning law is void of discrimination, the court reviewing a challenge will apply strict scrutiny to the city’s regulation.
Is eminent domain a land use regulation under RLUIPA?
Litigation focusing on the term “land use regulation” occasionally asks courts to decide whether RLUIPA applies to eminent domain proceedings. Generally, courts deciding this question have held that RLUIPA does not apply to eminent domain because it is not a “zoning or landmarking law.” Instead, these courts have held that zoning and eminent domain are two completely different and unrelated concepts. The main argument to support this conclusion is that zoning and eminent domain are derived from two separate sources of power. The zoning power is derived from the state’s police power, while the eminent domain power is derived from the Takings Clause of the United States Constitution’s Fifth Amendment. However, at least one court has applied the RLUIPA in an eminent-domain case because the authority to condemn the property came from the city’s zoning scheme. A court may be more inclined to find that eminent domain falls within the scope of RLUIPA if it was authorized by a zoning ordinance or comprehensive plan.
To date, no cases questioning RLUIPA’s application to eminent domain have reached the Supreme Court. A 2003 Seventh Circuit case, St. John’s United Church of Christ v. City of Chicago, was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the court declined to hear the appeal. A refusal to hear means that the Supreme Court did not consider the Seventh Circuit Court’s decision to be obviously wrong on the legal merits, or that the facts of the particular case could have broader constitutional implications. The Supreme Court generally has a substantial workload and tends to refuse appeals which have already received due process in lower courts. A refusal to hear a case does not preclude hearing a similar case in the future, if the court feels that further judicial review is needed.
Cases interpreting RLUIPA’s application to eminent domain
St. John’s United Church of Christ v. City of Chicago
The controversy in this case centered around the expansion of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. In order to expand this airport, the City needed to acquire 433 adjacent acres of land through condemnation. Among the properties to be condemned were two cemeteries, one owned by St. John’s United Church of Christ, and the other by Rest Haven Cemetery Association. In their amended complaint, St. John’s and Rest Haven alleged that condemnation of their cemeteries was a violation of RLUIPA. After a revision to the O’Hare Modernization Project, Rest Haven’s cemetery was no longer faced with condemnation and this church dropped out of the lawsuit.
St. John’s Church argued that the condemnation action substantially burdened its freedom of religious practice because “[A] major tenet of its religious beliefs [was] that the remains of those buried at the [St. John’s] St. Johannes Cemetery must not be disturbed until Jesus Christ raises these remains on the ‘Day of Resurrection‘.” This Court had to decide whether eminent domain fit within RLUIPA’s definition of a “land use regulation.” The Court held that eminent domain was not a “land use regulation.” The Court cited the case of Faith Temple Church v. Town of Brighton to support its position that “zoning and eminent domain are ‘two distinct concepts’ that involve land in ‘very different ways’.”
St. John’s Church also argued that the O’Hare Modernization Act, which authorized the condemnations, was a zoning law, and it invoked the protection of RLUIPA’s in condemnation cases derived from the Act.The Court rejected this argument and suggested that Congress would have included eminent domain in the language of RLUIPA if it had intended for the statute to cover eminent domain. After considering the case, the Seventh Circuit Court denied St. John’s motion for a preliminary injunction.