Tantra & Shamanism
Very often the word “Tantra” conjures up a range of ideas and myths that can make one a little nervous – or even put one off entirely – until you actually try it. So, here’s a little introduction to Tantra, to help create more understanding and ease.
So, what is Tantra really about?
Tantra is a path for people wanting to know themselves, deepen awareness and celebrate all aspects of life. The word has been used to describe a wide range of practices and traditions from the Kashmir Shaivism and Buddhist Vajrayana to more new age practices that include psychotherapeutic approaches and bioenergetics.
Tantric methods are designed to strip away layers of false shells that we’ve accumulated.
The essence of the path is that it is not so concerned with philosophies about life, as the direct experience of it, itself. It gives us methods to directly experience ourselves and actualize our potential. It is not so much a believer’s world but one of alchemy and a knowing that comes from living. Polarity, the interplay between the masculine and feminine forces gives passion to life. By skilfully playing out these poles we can energize our practice with enough juice to transcend duality (our own limited point of view). If the polarity is neutralized then its like living with a dead battery.
These polarities are sometimes represented by Deities such as Shiva and Shakti and on a grand scale represent consciousness and its meeting with the manifested world. Tantra is inclusive —it uses all at it’s disposal in order for us to deepen into our nature. The key word is acceptance— in accepting yourself, your desires and your quirks there is an opportunity to deepen.
Unlike other systems which attempt to shape you through control and effort, Tantra allows you to indulge your desires but with awareness so they deepen beyond surface desires and needs towards the ultimate desire for love and awareness.
Sometimes this can leave us a little shaky because we are accustomed to the comfort of our beliefs, but ultimately, it leads to a deeply satisfying state which is more rested in our true nature.
The act of lovemaking in all its facets is included in Tantra but it is certainly not limited to that. In the classic text the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra there are 112 methods for awakening, and only 6 of these are directly related to the sexual act. Life is deeply sexual, the whole energy of life can be seen as sexual energy, of creativity, as the interplay of consciousness and love, masculine and feminine energies. When we expand the limited concepts of sexuality to include all of the interplay0 of life then we can state that tantra is about awakening through sexuality.
James Stevenson, Tantra Teacher
The interplay between the masculine and the feminine forces gives passion to life.
Tantra is the path of transformation. Transforming negative energies into positive ones doesn’t require particular skills, but instead to Love, everything that is arising in us, unconditionally. Tantra is inclusive —it uses all at it’s disposal in order for us to deepen into our nature.
The key word is acceptance— in accepting yourself, your desires and your quirks there is an opportunity to deepen.
This inner practise can be done by anyone at any time. All we need is a willingness to accept ourselves totality and let go of pretension and pseudo personalities, as well as guilt and shame. Once acknowledged, shadows no more obstruct our potential but they bring a depth to the glorious light shining within and around us!
James Stevenson, Tantra Teacher
So, what is Shamanism really about?
For ages on our planet conflicts around sex issues have been a major cause of sufferance, addiction and frustration. As we move into a path of rapid spiritual reawakening it is vital to acknowledge these wounds and strenuously promote ways to heal them.
Shamanically each human being, no matter how conditioned or unaware, is an inherent part of the web of life. This means that together with their separated personality, they experience the interaction with a multidimensional identity, which is their true self.
When more individuals join together with the intent of giving creative space to their true multidimensional nature, they amplify the access to the web of life and the unity of human consciousness, creating the conditions for radical healing shifts in human values.
Shamanic approach always includes the realm of the body as an entry to other dimensions. It also emphasise the need for the body to purify from toxins or impurities.
The medicine used here is connected to our inherent Sexual Energy or Life Force Energy that can help to transform and empower our physical, mental, emotional or spiritual self.
Sexual energy, when properly used, can shatter our separated perception of life.
The first step in the above respect entails fully acknowledging sexual conflicts, frustrations and grievances, allowing each party to express their feelings, without rushing a resolution of the issues themselves.
This implies that transparency and the availability to release are the primary steps in healing, together with the capacity of translating sexual personal history into sexual collective history, which means thinking in terms of the global community, instead of our personality.
From a multidimensional and shamanic perspective, Sex is regarded as a symbolic representation of the energy pervading the web of life, often described as an ongoing multi-dimensional intercourse between the earth and the sky, the seen and the unseen.
Sexual energy can be a sacred gateway leading beyond consensus reality, right into our core multidimensional identity.
Sexual energy, when properly used, can shatter our separated perception of life, unveiling an ecstatic experience a billion times stronger than the most desirable orgasm. This is why sex is so heavily manipulated, repressed and misunderstood.
The greatest taboo is the experience of ecstasy, the mystery of death, the release of our human separated reality and the unveiling of our multi-dimensional nature.
Sexual interaction involves enormous exchanges of energy. Apart from the conscious reality of those who seem to be involved there is much more going on, which is what creates the energy. Most relevant forces are engaged in sexual activity, yet we miss their impact if sex is approached with lack of awareness.
The sexual union provides a multi-dimensional evidence of unity, encompassing the physical, the emotional, the mental and the spiritual body.
The point here is not whether to have sex or not. It is being aware of what is truly happening behind the veil of sex, no matter how we experience it, getting out of glamour and prejudices, unconsciousness and denial. Shamanic approach always includes the realm of the body as an entry to other dimensions. It also emphasise the need for the body to purify from toxins or impurities.
In Sexual Shamanism, erotic energy is considered creative life-force energy, arguably the most powerful energy we have access to. As such, we may utilise it for multiple extraordinary feats, such as healing, manifestation and connection to the divine, among others.
Conscious use of sexual energy, whether through physical interaction, shamanic work or imagination, can be a fast track to the awakening of our multidimensional nature. It can also provide inspiration, healing and luminous transformation for human communities and the planetary environment.