An authentic sacred sexual exchange is only possible if there’s openness, mutual respect and a spiritual intention between lovers. “By maintaining a clear realisation of emptiness in the midst of passion, it becomes possible to turn that passion into supreme bliss.” In Tantra, the male and female bodies are considered divine, and the female yoni and male lingam are sacred – and not solely erogenous – organs. It follows that erotic visualisations, words, etc. though perhaps the easiest way to get the sexual fire burning, don’t constitute the most appropriate focus to hold in a sacred sex context, where the immediate goal is not orgasm, but rather an energetic exchange at a much subtler and more spiritual level than the purely physical. Continue reading
Tantrikas work with goddess energy through the use of: mantras – sacred sounds; yantras – “diagrams for working with the energies of life”; mandalas – “graphic symbol[s] of the universe, specifically, a circle enclosing a square with a deity on each side”; and, also through ritual practice.
To go into more depth on just one of the above-mentioned methods, a mantra can be considered to be: “… an absolute sound, having no conventional meaning, [that] work[s] on the body and the mind by virtue of [its] vibrational quality.” Indeed, I’ve found very useful and profound to follow Sally Kempton’s recommendation of chanting the mantra shrim [pronounced shreem] to evoke what I understand to be the archetypal energies of the goddess Lakshmi. Shrim (or any other mantra) can be spoken or chanted either aloud or silently. Moreover, mantra repetition can form part of a formal daily meditation practice, or it can be used in response to events that occur in our daily lives. For example, whenever my rational mind begins to churn never-ending fearful or self-bashing thoughts round and around in my head like a washing machine, I find silently chanting shrim and connecting with Lakshmi to be an excellent method for bringing the nose-diving personality back onto an even keel. Continue reading
The over-arching Shakti, “the formless course of everything”  – a definition that’s strikingly similar to the concept of Tao – is believed to take the form of various gods and goddesses, which personify the “different energies that make up the multiple dimensions of existence and of our own consciousness”.
Cassandra Lorius gives further food for thought on the distinction between Shakti and other goddesses: “In fact, Shakti is not so much a goddess, as the creative force behind existence, who manifests in different forms. That’s why she’s not depicted as a single deity, but as a number of goddesses who represent the various qualities of this primal energy.”
Bearing in mind that abstract concepts are fluid and subject to perception, and as a neophyte to Tantra, I am tempted to situate the all-encompassing Shakti in the transrational sphere and put the various personifications of Shakti – for example, the different tantric goddesses like Durga, Parvati and Tara – within the transpersonal plane in the form of archetypal energies. “When [Tantric adepts] invoke a particular deity, they mentally bridge the gulf between the personal and the impersonal.” Continue reading
I’ve heard the term “goddess” used in various circles, suggesting there are different understandings of what this concept implies. I’ll present 3 separate posts that cover some of the results of my research into the tantric definitions of “the goddess”, starting with the overarching concept of Shakti. I’d be very interested to hear what your definitions of a goddess are. Joyful greetings, Sam 🙂
Shakti and Goddess Power (Part 1 of 3)
In relation to the feminine, Tantra places a huge focus on the goddess. But, what is a goddess? “She is the manifest deity in each of us.” The sense here is that the goddess is immanent i.e. the energy that underlies our physical bodies. In addition, the goddess encompasses all sentient and non-sentient forms: “The Goddess is not separate from the world, but is the world and all things in it.”
Van Lysebeth suggests that for a more tantric understanding of the concept of the goddess, the word goddess can be replaced with the term Shakti. Shakti is “the manifest universe and the power inherent in it”. Continue reading