As I wrote about here, I’ve always found myself with at least some resistance to spirituality, even as I’m simultaneously drawn to all things spiritual.  I feel better after I meditate, but getting me to sit down crossed-legged in front of my altar is like pulling wisdom teeth.  I love going to dharma talks at Green Gulch Zen Center, but as much as I resonate with the Buddhists, they just feel so… zen. I find myself wanting to wear a red dress and burst into song in the middle of a group meditation. As much as Jesus is my favorite, I find myself strangely drawn to Hindu goddesses like Kali.

It’s been this awkward push-pull for much of my adult life.

But I finally found a spiritual teacher who helped me understand my mixed feelings about spirituality – and the great news is that she has a new book out!


If you don’t know Sera, she’s a Harvard religion scholar who is fascinated by the Divine Feminine, and in case that sounds too dry, she’s also a sacred prostitute (you’ll have to read the book to understand what I’m talking about!) Sera is committed not just to the high-and-mighty masculine realms of conventional spiritual practices, but to the dark-and-dirty, red wine stained, blood RED realms of deep, rich, earthy feminine soul work. In other words, Sera is all about helping people reach the Divine via the wisdom, intuition, bad-ass truth, and sexy sauciness of the feminine that exists within us all, regardless of gender.

I absolutely adore this book. I mean I gobbled it up in 2 days right before filming my public television special, when I REALLY should have been rehearsing my lines. It was that good.

I won’t spoil any of the juicy parts (and oh boy, this memoir of Sera’s love story with all things Divine is HOT HOT HOT), but let me share with you one of my favorite parts.

Spirit Vs. Soul

Sera makes a clear distinction between spiritual practices that nourish “spirit” versus spiritual practices that nourish “soul.”

Spirit = Divine Masculine

Soul = Divine Feminine

Here’s the difference:


“Oneness, nonattachment, neutrality, emptiness, perfection, peace, equanimity clean, constant, calm… zzz… whoops, I dozed off there for a minute, undifferentiated illumination, God realization, enlightenment.”


“Ecstatic, dynamic, evolutionary, full, sensual, erotic, passionate, messy, explosive, energetic, emotional, imperfect, fiery, enlivenment.”

Still don’t get it? Sera goes on…

Divine Masculine Vs. Divine Feminine

“For me, the Divine Masculine feels still; the Divine Feminine feels like movement. The Divine Masculine feels like no thing; the Divine Feminine feels like every thing. The Divine Masculine feels impersonal; the Divine Feminine feels personally invested. The Divine Masculine feels cool and collected and even a bit chaste; the Divine Feminine feels hot and bothered and more than a bit salacious. In my inner wisdom, the Divine Masculine looks clear, and the Divine Feminine shimmers like a rainbow. The Divine Masculine works it out on a yoga mat; the Divine Feminine prefers a claw-foot bathtub. The Divine Masculine drives a Prius; the Divine Feminine speeds in a convertible Caddy. The Divine Masculine fasts. The Divine Feminine feasts. The Divine Masculine sits cross-legged under a tree all day; the Divine Feminine dances around a fire all night. The Divine Masculine sounds like OMMMMMM; the Divine Feminine sounds like AHHHHH or WOOO HOOOOOO!!!! Or a guttural scream. Or a sob. Or a belly laugh.
While both aspects of the Divine feel familiar and necessary, for me, the Divine Masculine appears more spiritual, even though the Divine Feminine feels more natural… Masculine does not equate to male, nor does feminine equate with female. Some of the most divinely feminine humans I know are men, and some of the most divinely masculine humans I know are women… However, what’s crucial to notice is that most of us have forfeited our divine femininity in order to fit into a masculine spiritual “norm.”


I don’t know about you but reading this book ignited something in me that left me yodeling a “Holy Hallelujah!”

It’s like one big giant permission slip to be all of my gritty, raw, real, messy, expansive, shadowy, wise, intuitive, disciplined, naughty, sexy, rebellious, pious, spiritual, soulful, Divine, light beam self all in one package of a body that has been irreverently but reverently captured in boudoir photos.

If attending to the Spirituality stone in your Whole Health Cairn is part of your Prescription for Whole Health and happiness, you’ll want to be sure to watch Sera’s book trailer here and order Red, Hot & Holy here.

What Does Being “Spiritual” Mean To You?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

With red, hot & holy love,

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  1. Embodhi

    Sounds like she’s talking about the classical Hindu gods and goddesses (as I understand them).

  2. melissaburchcchrshomna

    Lissa, thank you for introducing this new book. I remember when I arrived to Auroville in India and discovered that there was a spirituality community that combined both: the male energies (ground of being) and the female energies (shamanic). I found home…not split in myself…integrated and true.

  3. Kelly Flanagan

    I love Sera’s work. I read her book “The Red Book” a few years ago and it spoke to me in much the same way. It’s funny because I did Caroline Myss’ “Sacred Contracts” wheel and the prostitute archetype came up in my spirituality house. I was confused at first, but after reading Sera’s work – I totally “got” it. To me, the divine masculine is structure, order, ritual and religion, and the divine feminine is, well…NOT. But I feel I need both. I love that I live my life through my intuition, but I don’t feel I can start my day without my prayers, meditation and clearing. That is when I feel like I am my best and highest self.

  4. Sarah Haykel

    OMG, I LOVE THIS and I am inSPIRED to support men as well too to connect with their inner Divinity through some form of sacred sensuality! I don’t know if it will involve sex, per say, but just beingness together: sharing a mutual space of authenticity, Divine light and sparkles, sexiness and shared connection, honesty, realness, sensual touch, hugging and loving communication.

    That sounds good!

    Love you Lissa, Sarah

  5. Nathalie Bertrand

    I couln’d have explain my thinking better. This book seems to have been written for me. I had boudoir pictures taken of me about 15 years ago! And felt like I was expressing all fiminity at the same time I was learning meditation and learning about the buddha? Something in you found the heart of me that fits exactly in that new book. Can’t wait to read it…

  6. Nanette

    I have real issues gendering my spirituality. I don’t feel the need to further compartmentalize my experience within the confines of the over-culture which insists there are just two genders. While it may work for some I feel as though it further entrenches a dichotomy that doesn’t really exist (e.g. society made it up – a.k.a. constructed).

  7. ADiening

    Genius!! That dance video irked me in a great way and I’ve been thinking about it for two days now..

  8. Mary Straub

    OMG! Every word of this blog gave me chills of knowing! At 62 I’ve studied every spiritual path EVER! I belong to two Sanghas and I’ve wandered around churches looking for my place. I found my passion and aliveness in Adam Lambert and was totally certain that it was part of my spiritual path. When I read this “It’s like one big giant permission slip to be all of my gritty, raw,
    real, messy, expansive, shadowy, wise, intuitive, disciplined, naughty,
    sexy, rebellious, pious, spiritual, soulful, Divine, light beam self all
    in one package of a body…” I got it! I put Sera’s first book, “The Red Book” on hold at the library. Thank you for this excellent review, Lissa. I keep reading it just for the total upliftment I get when I read about my passionate soul-loving self in almost every word!!!!

  9. my phone

    Thanks for the heads up on the book. I’m spiritual, not religious in the doctrine sense. I’ve had several deep spiritual experiences that let me know I’m not alone but there is no gender involved. We are yin/yang as well so why do we need to put a gender to the divine? I love reading all your blogs. Have a lot of catching up to do and just received your book in the mail.


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