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Learning Trad or Neo Tantra

From: Re O'Stat 
Newsgroups: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick.tantra,alt.religion.sexuality,talk.religion.newage,talk.religion.misc
Subject: Re: Learning Trad or Neo Tantra (was Question....)
Organization: Tantric Psychological Association
References:   <8auqsh$> <>
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Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2000 16:35:45 GMT
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Xref: alt.magick.tyagi:22123 alt.magick.tantra:14759 alt.religion.sexuality:40974 talk.religion.newage:120857 talk.religion.misc:311465

In article <>, catherine yronwode 

> >
>  I have never heard the term "California Tantra." -- teachers of
> neo-tantra are located all over America and Europe. There is a
> neo-tantra group called Skydancing UK or something similar in the UK...
> and there are MANY such groups in Hawaii -- "Oceanic Tantra," the
> Kuteras, Lori Grace, etc.

The term "California Tantra" was first suggested in Feurstein's book, 
_Tantra_ where it is used in a derrogatory sense. I do not agree with 
that assessment, although I do agree that some Traditional Tantrics may 
not recognize some of what is taught as Tantra at all.

> > >Traditional Tantra is a system of spirituality which includes such
> > >things as worship of the gods and goddesses, techniques of magick,
> > >healing methods and divinatory methods. Traditional Tantra is not 
> > >simply a few exercises or methods, it is a way of approaching life. 
> > >Unlike many other approaches to life, Traditional Tantra (IMHO) 
> > >focuses on what could be termed the 3scientific method.2 That is, 
> > >merely because some book or some person says something does not mean 
> > >it is true. Rather, they are merely guidelines. Only personal 
> > >investigation, experimentation (aka ritual) and successful result can 
> > >yield truth.
> > 
> > most of these things don't really separate all neo-tantra from
> > traditional tantra. some neo-tantric paths are inclusive of the
> > whole lifestyle, for example, and include the particulars that
> > you mention, inclusive of an empirical standard of operation.
> I agree. It's not exactly an "either-or" situation -- there are
> traditional tantrikas who embrace less of the "experimental" method than
> some neo-tantrikas. We have seen, for instance, in this newsgroup, a a
> lot fo posts from traditional tantrikas who dogmatically follow their
> guru (P. R. Sarkar) without the kind of "investigation" one would
> normally attribute to tantric practice. 

 Unfortunately, that is so. In the Traditional Tantra I am 
familiar with, the Guru/Chela relationship is based on the concept that 
the Chela is being led around by his/her uncontrolled/unconscious ideas 
and desires.  This brings ill health, lack of control in the Chela's 
life and a non-spiritual path (or spirituality by rote). By doing 
whatever the Guru says, the Chela should learn how to control his/her 
mind and actions to overcome these problems. Unfortunately, such 
devotion to a Guru can lead to a personality cult attitude where quoting 
the Guru becomes more important than understanding oneself. This, IMO, 
is a fault of the Guru and takes the Guru's teachings out of the realm 
of Tantra and into the realm of gaining power over others. It happens in 
all systems with strong leaders, but IMO is the exception that proves 
the rule.

> > >One of these investigations includes that of sexuality and the 
> > >varioius things which go along with it, including medicine, healing, 
> > >energy work, better relationships and more.
> > 
> > it seems a great deal of neo-tantra focusses on sexuality as a means 
> > or end, so this is a probably characteristic difference as a 
> > generality.
> I would say that most neo-tantra STARTS with sexuality and may proceed
> to sirituality more or less completely. 

Perhaps, but in my experience most Neo-Tantra starts with 60's-style 
body games and ENDS with sexuality. I have met many Neo-Tantrics who 
have confused afterglow with Samadhi.

> > >Tantric practices may produce "sidhis," magic powers, in some
> > >practitioners. This are considered to be a hindrance to spiritual
> > >development. IMHO, however, if you do not get caught up in them and
> > >leave the spritual path, they can be quite remarkable. In other 
> > >words, they can be developed and used, although that is not the 
> > >intent of Traditional Tantra.
> > 
> > this is the traditional description of tantra with respect to siddhis.
> Well, it is ONE such traditional take. The Siddha Yoga group of
> Muktananda was traditionally tantric and in the 1960s, when i briefly
> joined, actively accepted siddhis as "proofs" of spiritual attainment. I
> am not sure if this is still the case since Muktananda's passing and the
> group's acceptance of his daughter Guru Mayi's teachings. 

I don't have that answer, either.

> > I'd suggest that less neo-tantrics believe in or focus on siddhis in
> > any way whatever, being somewhat more skeptical of mystical powers.
> > the neo-tantrics do at times include such a focus, however, and there
> > are probably even neo-tantrics whose OBJECTIVE is their development,
> > I have no idea (what might be called 'tantric sorcery' and should be
> > some portion of the discussion of the alt.magick.tantra newsgroup,
> > though this is controversial, as recent disagreements about amulets
> > and other magical items within that newsgroup have shown).
> > 
> > >Similarly, the sexual practices of the Tantrics, designed to induce
> > >healing, longevity and spirituality, also may result in
> > >3enhancements in the sexual life2 that you are inquiring about.
> > 
> > it seems to me more often neo-tantrics do not SEPARATE the
> > spiritual from the sexual, the assumption being more often in
> > the opposite direction: identifying the sexual as comprising
> > the entirety of or key to the spiritual. this may be quite
> > controversial to a culture which regards asceticism as more
> > indicative of spirituality than hedonism (many traditional
> > religious regard asceticism as the around which spirituality
> > must swing; this appears to be in part that to which Buddhism
> > was reacting with its 'Middle Path', for example.
>  Yes, again, i think that the neo=tantrics BEGIN with sexuality and
> proceed from there -- to health, longevity, spirituality, or whatever
> goals are sought. 

Respectfully, I disagree. It has been my experience that for most people 
on the Neo-Tantric path, the initial goal is the sexuality and then they 
remain seeing maithuna as a goal in itself. For example, I know of one 
teacher who instructs Yoni massage by dividing the Yoni into 10 parts 
and associating them with the 10 Mahavidyas. Most people studying the 
technique, however, are more interested in pleasure and orgasm than in 
the Mahavidyas! There is certainly nothing wrong with pleasure and 
orgasm, but the extension of the techniques to health, spirituality, 
etc., are, for the most part, ignored. At best, they are merely 
tangential to the sexual activity.

> > >On the other hand, Neo-Tantra is a combination of a bit of
> > >[Traditional] Tantric teachings and attitudes combined with
> > >exercises and beliefs that come more from Esalen, pop-psychotherapy
> > >and the swinging lifestyle.
> > 
> > this seems to me too much of an over-generalization, though,
> > not having examined all the various neo-tantric forms I cannot
> > gainsay you at this time. 
>  I sure can! As i wrote in another post, this is both dismissive and
> inaccurate in that it overlooks the other roots of neo-tantras --
> hermetic sex magic, 19th and early 20th century  American sex-mysticism
> (e.g. karezza, magentation, bosom love, eulis, anseiratic mysteries, et
> al) which definitely were part of the hippie-mix that incorporated
> tantra yoga in its eclectic endeavours. To give but one exampole -- i
> was the co-author of an article on karezza and its relationship to
> tantra yoga that appeared in the East-West Journal way back in  1976 --
> and i swear that i have NEVER been to Esalan or been a practitioner of
> pop-psychology or "the swinging lifestyle" (!!!). 

Respectfully, I must disagree. While some teachers are familiar with 
some of the topics you discuss, most of the ones I have met or read know 
nothing of these subjects, or, at best, have heard of them. And while 
your article appeared 25 years ago, the number of articles on the 
subject by others are very limited. So while some people at Esalen may 
have been familiar with Karezza, Conjugial Bliss, etc., most 
Neo-Tantrics do NOT go back to them. Their techniques and philosophy are 
traceable to Esalen, pop-psychotherapy and swinging.

> Frankly, i think that "the swinging lifestyle" is a great impediment to
> emotional intimacy, and leads to lengthy soap-operas, but that's not
> relevant to this discussion. 

I agree that this is so for many people. It is relevant primarily in the 
sense that the arguments in favor of swinging are often used by some 
Neo-Tantrics as a defense for practicing with more than one partner.

>  Good advice -- but i also think that Andre Von Lisbeth's "Tantra the
> Cult of the Feminine" is a good intro to BOTH traditional tantra and
> neo-tantra (in the form of karezza, which is discussed therein). 
> cat yronwode 

I would certainly agree.


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