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Some thoughts about tantra

Date: Tue, 06 May 1997 22:02:33 -0700
From: Phillip & Leigh Hurley 
Newsgroups: alt.magick.tantra
Subject: Re: Some thoughts about tantra

S Stevens wrote:
> I have a question, and it was sparked by my reading of a book on Tantra a few
> years ago which I now really regret no longer having to cite and share.  In
> this book on Tantra, many non-sexual elements of Tantra and traditional
> Tantrick practices were explored.  The ritual eating of pork by a Moslem or
> Hindu follower, for example.  From reading this book I got a real feel for a
> part of tantra being rebellion, contraryness, exploration of the taboo.  This
> book dealt a lot in thee left hand path, needless to say.  In this context, the
> automatic assumption that sexual acts are involved when Tantrick ritual is
> discussed seems to me limiting.  Indeed, an aspect of the message the book
> seemed to be trying to give was one of tantra as rebellion from orthodoxy and
> mundane convention.  In a society as over-sexed as the modern West, it seems
> like deliberate acts of celibacy could be as powerful, possibly very much the
> equivalent of strongly sexual rituals and practices which originated out of a
> culture of rigid sexual mores.  If I had the book here, I could make the point
> more clear I am certain.  I just can't help but think, though, that unless the
> book was totally off base, a lot of the tantra I see people exploring places a
> good deal more emphasis on sex than is proper.  A few years back, some folk who
> hung around on my BBS and I formed a card-carrying group called the Junior
> Anti-Sex League (named after the group in Orwell's "1984").  In the enviroment
> of the time, (we were all hanging out on the fringes of the local "Adult" Chat
> BBSes), it seemed very magickal and to me at least very Tantrick to wave that
> card around some.  Am I making any sense?  All comments and replies are
> welcomed.

In my opinion as a "left hand" tantric - you are correct in the sense
that celibacy as well as sex can also be tantra, for really, all life is
tantra.  You are also correct that there is a common thread of
"rebellious" acts involved.  However, the importance of these acts is
not  rebellion or going against norms per se, so you cannot really call
something tantra just because it goes against cultural norms.   The
essence of tantra is for the tantric to be directly confronted with
whatever the tantric fears in such a way that it must be psychologically
dealt with - hence the chod ceremony and graveyard meditations to make
the tantric face death and come to an understanding of it.  Cultural
inhibitions, whatever their nature - sexual, gustatory, etc. are fears
which need to be worked out for the tantric to progress. And I would
strongly disagree with your statement about our culture being over-sexed
- I think western culture is VERY sexually repressed, though this makes
sexuality manifest in many strange and often disharmonious ways.  Most
people are walking around with a lot of psychic energy tied up in fears
and anxiety about sexuality - jealousy is the big one that comes to
   I would agree with you that most tantra being taught these days seems
to be nice little sexual meditations - true, it's only hitting on a
small part of tantra (though just learning to have good sex is a very
very big deal for most people).  Celibacy in and of itself is of no
intrinsic value (neither is having sex) - it's the understanding of the
person doing it that makes it powerful or not..

Make Love!  Leigh

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