What is NeoTantra?
“Tantra is a Tapestry of knowledge weaving together the threads of yoga technique.”
~ Dr. Lorin Roche, The Radiance Sutras
"The philosophy of Tantra, which most people mistakenly think is only about sex, is actually about weaving. The word Tantra literally means "loom" and the verb tan means "to stretch." Tantra is the spiritual practice of weaving together opposite energies, specifically the upward and downward currents of Shakti and Shiva, of yin and yang. Sexuality, a subset of Tantra, is a sacred act that embodies this union on the physical plane. The ultimate balance of these two forces, however, occurs when we bring them through all the chakras and balance them in the heart.
Tantra seeks to obtain enlightenment not by renunciation, but by embracing the full experience of living. Tantra delights in the senses, desires, and feelings, and is focused on the expansion of consciousness that comes from a dynamic, sensate connection to life. Tantra does not advise us to cease action, but to transform our acts into creative evolution. Tantra is the harmonious weaving of primordial opposities: mortal and divine, male and female, Shiva and Shakti, spirit and matter, Heaven and Earth."
~ Anodea Judith in Eastern Body, Western Mind
“Tantra is a spiritual path to enlightenment, but unlike most mystical paths, Tantra includes sexuality as a doorway to ecstasy and enlightenment. The essence of the Tantric teaching can be summarized as this: choose with awareness that which gives you joy, and it will lead you to Spirit … Many people today mistakenly believe that Tantra is a spiritual bastardization of sexual therapy, an excuse to indulge in sensual games, an addition to hours of sexual orgams. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Tantric path teaches us to embrace and unify the ordinary, the erotic, and the sacred dimension of life, which all have their roots in Spirit …
Tantra challenges the belief promoted by most spiritual and religious paths that we must suppress or transcend our sexuality to practice meditation or awaken our Spirit. Tantra arose in rebellion against these ascetical and life-negating creeds. It acknowledges that sex is at the root of life and that to make human sexuality and erotic union a form of worship and meditation is to practice reverence for life, leading us directly through the pleasure of the senses to spiritual liberation. Tantra teaches that we master desires not but avoiding them but by immersing ourselves in them … We need not suffer by sacrificing pleasures. We can cultivate them as opportunities for awakening.”
~ Margot Anand, The Art of Everyday Ecstasy
“Tantraism can be defined as a system of belief and practices intended to stretch the human mind, to guide its adherence to higher knowledge, or gnosis”
~ George Feuerstein, Sacred Sexuality: The Erotic Spirit in the World’s Greatest Religions
Tantric practices were first developed around the fifth century as a revolt in response to the Aryan invasion of India.
The Rig Vedas are ancient texts from India that describe the word Tantra as a weaving as if on a loom. Tan of Tantra means “to extend, stretch, spread, shine”. Tra of Tantra means technique. Therefore Tantra is a way to stretch and extend ourselves as we explore our edges.
Tantra is about embracing and celebrating all of ourselves and everything in existence as Divine. Tantra is about waking up. Margot Anand calls it the rocketship to enlightenment. Enlightenment isn't something to be attained, it is possible right here.
Tantra is divided into the left-hand path (vama-marga) and the right-hand path (dakshina-marga) and is practiced in both Buddhism and Hinduism. The left-hand path focuses on sacred sexuality and the right-hand path uses symbolic metaphors of the union of Shiva and Shakti without any sexual practices.
Tantra is about more than just sex and includes Tantric texts, rituals, mantras, mudras, yantras, pranayama, chakras, energy and a deeper connection with yourself, your partner(s) and the Divine. Honoring the traditions, lineage, sacred texts, and rituals from classical Tantra is important.
Some of the challenge is that there isn't one simple definition. Tantrikas across history have been rulebreakers and changemakers so cannot be confined to little boxes.
Sets of practices
Weaving of energies and relationships
Toolbox of techniques
Repetition of mantras
A way of being in the world where all is sacred and honored
Does your practice take you into closer connection with God/Goddess/The Divine (whatever that is to you)?
Are you able to dive more deeply into love?
Awesome! Keeping doing that! This is what changes the world.
What is Neo-Tantra?
Tantra originated in India and was brought to Westerners by Osho at his Ashram in Pune, India. Margot Anand was the first Western teacher invited to teach Tantra at his ashram and she later brought it back to California and then out to the rest of the world. Neo-Tantra is thus an evolution of Tantra based on ancient principles with a focus on sacred sexuality and adapted for those in the West.
Tantra is a vast subject and at its core is a deeply spiritual practice that celebrates sex as an art form and act of worship. In the West, most people practice Neo-Tantra which includes the celebration of conscious sexuality, using pleasure as a tool for transformation and empowerment. Tantrikas hold that everything including the body and sexual energy can be a vehicle for awakening.