I’m highly aware of your desire to learn everything you can about the Phoenix Goddess Temple bust from last Wednesday. I experienced a similar sensation this morning as I thumbed through repetitive news stories that put you to sleep before tasting one sip of coffee. Yet WHAMO!
Here it is: Herodotus, a Babylonian Temple of Ishtar, a sacred Corinthian Vestibule for Aphrodite, the Kama Sutra, ie a rapturous barrel of realization, inner founts of energy by way of ‘touch healing’ goes a long way. A lineage of religion and sex fully-fused together is not such a new idea after all.
I’m beginning to wake up now, as I slurp another mouthful of java out of my trendy Abbey Road coffee cup; I (shamefully) ogle pix of a variety of these goddesses from an article I must recommend to you. This feature actually figures big in the bust, what with a vice sting conducted after the piece was posted.
Expertise on the cult of the Phoenix Goddess Temple can be gained by reading: Phoenix Goddess Temple’s “Sacred Sexuality” Is More Like New Age Prostitution, by Niki D’Andrea (published in the Phoenix New Times on February 17, 2011). Niki gets the inside scoop in ways you’ll want to experience to the max.
It’s not exactly a cut and dry prostitution ring, yet that’s the way the Phoenix police characterize it. “This was no more a church than Cuba is Fantasy Island. And let’s not mix religious freedom and religious practices with criminal activity,” says Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
Don’t know how appropriate the crack about Cuba and Fantasy Island is? Perhaps Bill’s comment is a reference to a traditional, organized crime portrait of Cuba, that predates the Castro revolution of 1959. Looks like a sophisticated fertility cult to me. Cults such as this have been around for thousands of years. Babylon, Greece, India. These days USA has Las Vegas!
The details (careful wording of euphemisms) for this New Age operation of ‘spiritual therapy’ were sifted through with a fine tooth comb. Phoenix police Sgt. Steve Marlos explains how the interchangeable wordplay works.
“Instead of Johns, they were called seekers. Instead of sexual intercourse, it was called sacred union. Women were not called prostitutes, they were called goddesses. Instead of a brothel or a house of prostitution, they called it a church.”
Tracy Elise’s story itself doesn’t exactly read like a repeat of Jim Jones’ People’s Temple fiasco. Elise experiences an awakening one time when embracing an unidentified man. This miraculous embrace induces her to leave her square husband and move to Seattle, where she learns her chops at a massage parlor. Tracy graduates to a Tantra Temple and consummates her education.
She exports her skills to Arizona in 2008 – first in Scottsdale, then to Phoenix after Scottsdale’s zoning codes force her out. A great deal of refinement exists in the current loose configurations of theology and visible ceremonies employed by the Phoenix Goddess Temple. Creativity unleashed! Inhibitions abandoned!
Palm trees, Decorum fitting for the Sheik of Araby! New Age art, incense, votary candles, coconut oil, faintly riffing sitars – a red room, a Persian Room, an Egyptian room, a green Heart Chakra room. Goddesses in diaphanous sarongs doling chakra-to-chakra titillating sensations. Stop! Enough, you’re under arrest! *(Here she blows!)