In the Renaissance the Italian word “cortigiana”, feminine of “cortigiano” came to refer to “the ruler’s mistress”, and then to a well-educated and independent woman of loose morals, eventually a trained artisan of dance and singing, especially one associated with wealthy, powerful, or upper-class men who provided luxuries and status in exchange for companionship.
The Courteseans were some of the most educated women in the world and were allowed privelges that wives and other women were not. They were also highly skilled in more than one art and could converse on many topics.
A Courtesan literally means an educated, artistic, and creative woman who is attached to the Court of nobility. She serves as confidant, muse, counselor, emotional intuitive, and lover. These women were exceptional in any era. They were highly educated when the average woman was not allowed to read.
They were artists and philosophers who affected culture when the day to day woman was not allowed out of the house. They were paid not just for sex but because they inspired the mind, and the heart.
Courtesans have existed all over the world for thousands of years. They have been called Hetaira, Cortigiana, Lucidora, Auletrides, Ganika, Zonah, Tawaif, and Oiran to name a few.
But a SACRED Courtesan is even MORE than that.She not only inspires the heart, mind and genitals, she inspires & heals the SOUL! She is in the lineage of a Temple Priestess, sometimes called a SACRED Prostitute. (Francesca Gentille)
The word prostitute comes from the Latin and means Pro (on behalf) Stituare (to stand). Or to stand in on behalf of. A Sacred Prostitute stands in on behalf of the Goddess and a Sacred Courtesan may stand in on behalf of the wife, girlfriend or goddess depending upon the activity she is performing.
Ishtar, the Great Whore of Babylon, was sometimes called the Goddess Har since she was the mother of the Harlots. These Harlots were not prostitutes as we know them, but priestesses, sorceresses, prophets, and healers. Sa cred Whores were known sometimes as the Holy Virgins of Goddesses such as Ishtar, Asherah.
Occult traditions such as Tantra, and magical orders which esteem the Holy Whore and the Sexual Healer persuade us to experience our divinity by immersing ourselves in the fires of sexual passion and when sexual desire is mastered and controled it is use to elevate us into high states of union with each other as God and Goddess and with the Divine. Sexuality becomes sacred when the Goddess residing in every woman is honored.
Reclaiming Female Power Reclaiming female power every woman can invoke the Holy Whore into her life with pleasure. The Sacred Prostitute is a woman who has reclaimed her Self and reconnected with her will.Most importantly, she is a woman who has reclaimed the sacredness of her body. The Holy Whore is a manifestation of "power with, power shared, and power for all." Our reclaiming of the sacred prostitute's spirit, humor, and sheer joy in the flesh could help our modern God remember his Goddess's bountiful tit and make some holy whoopie. When the Goddess residing in every woman is honored, the paradox of sacred sexuality can again manifest in our world.
The Goddess is as her people act: As above, so below. She is any woman who can surrender enough of her personal identity into an erotic experience that the Goddess may be experienced directly through her.
(Some of this information was excerpted from an article by Diana Rose Hartmann, M.A.)