I have been crushing on Lux ATL for ages and it’s not difficult to see why — the stripper-turned-teacher-turned-stripper-again has racked up more titular hyphens and slashes than mere mortals can keep up with. She’s got a podcast, leads workshops so good they’re going international, and is on a mission to help you cultivate your personal badassery with her latest offering, the Stripcraft Spellbook. And, I mean, when someone says “let me save you 16 years in the traphouse and 3 degrees,” you shut up and listen to their advice.
Lux ATL is known by the moniker “stripper with a PhD,” and you can decide for yourself which of those things you’re most impressed by. I don’t mean that in a gross ooooh, dichotomy way like Teen Vogue’s been getting recently for providing good post-election coverage, but quite literally. Both of those things are impressive enough — I am awed by booty isolations and scholarly works reconstructing the lives of wrongfully institutionalized mid-twentieth-century women, thank you very much. Adding them up to make a world-changing feminist game-plan, then, is next level shit.
Enter Stripcraft, a sensual dance workshop that teaches women hot moves like fierce, unapologetic confidence and shameless vulnerability. The patriarchy has so thoroughly tied sexuality up with the male gaze and performativity that it can be hard to find an authentic self, let alone have that authentic self shake it in front of friends or lovers (or even a mirror). This, in turn, is just one of the things that disconnects us from our bodies. Stripcraft works to undo the pressure that makes sensual dance and self-expression shameful or paralysing — it’s two hours of sex-positive, feminine black magic that puts you first.
In November, Lux hosted the first Stripcabin, a three-day retreat she describes as a “pro-woman self-realizing good fuckin’ time!” Cabins aren’t for everyone, though, so next up is Stripcastle, held in June 2017 in a real goddamn castle. In tandem with all of this, Lux has been at work on the Stripcraft Spellbook, an interactive multi-media experience for those of us looking to DIY our personal revolution right at home. The Spellbook had a limited release last month and is currently sold-the-fuck-out ‘til sometime in 2017, but Lux is giving Slutist readers a secret link to get in on the fun.
The best description of what all the Spellbook is has come from Lux herself: it’s the holy book of feminist empowerment and stripper-style dance rolled into one interactive online sisterhood. Mic drop, right? “I came to realize that my strength as a dancer was not crazy tricks,” Lux says. “It was fundamental, sensual movement — real-deal, stripper style movement. That’s where I grew up. I did not learn this shit in a pole studio. I learned this on the Paper Moon stage, on the Oasis stage, on the Pink Pony stage. I grew up in strip club culture, and I came to realize that that kind of movement was something women wanted to experience.”
Synthesizing every last bit of Lux’s knowledge, the Stripcraft Spellbook is structured like a lunar grimoire to tap into the blasphemous energy of the witch. It’s an eight-phase journey incorporating incantations, mind spells, and body spells rooted in feminist theory and containing step-by-step instructions, available both digitally and as a printable pdf. That the witch, an icon resonating with so many of us, appears here is no coincidence. Pam Grossman, a teacher of magical practice and history, defines magic as “‘symbolic action with intent’ — ‘action’ being the operative word” and goes on to call witches “midwives to metamorphosis.”
Lux is no stranger to metamorphosis: “The question that I get a lot from people is how did I get from there to here?” she writes in one of her email newsletters, candidly describing the backstory and motivation behind her project. “It’s a pretty unconventional journey. When I quit the academy a few years ago, there was no model for the life that I wanted. I didn’t even know what I wanted. It took me about three years to forge the path. Now I understand. I understand the steps that it takes to identify, define, hone, and own your unique badassery. I asked myself — how can I best use my talents and skills in the service of women? The Stripcraft Spellbook was the answer.”
Witchcraft has long been a symbol of counterculture in its most basic sense: witches counter the patriarchy by claiming their bodies, claiming their power, and claiming in each other a sense of community. They live at the borderlands of birth and death, fluid and always creating, connected to nature and beyond. Their sexuality is potent but not centered around the male gaze — it is not for the benefit of other people at all, unless they will it. And it is this sex-positive, antagonizing power that you’ll access with the Spellbook, because another tenet of Lux’s teaching is a thorough rejection of the scarcity model insisting that there is only so much love and attention to go around, and that we are all in cut-throat competition for it. Part of magic, part of witchcraft, is looking at that and thinking hmmm, nah. “They teach us,” Lux says, “that we are catty, that we ain’t shit, that we are dirty, that you don’t want to be like other women, that to be awesome means to rise above womanhood, to transcend these breasts, this breath, this heart.” Nah.
Get the Stripcraft Spellbook through this super special Slutist link! You can see the trailer for the Stripcraft Spellbook below, or read more information at Lux’s website, too.