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Tantra RDScott Discussion

Subject: Tantra RDScott Discussion

Completed 930628

Review Part 1

What follows is a review of Rose Dawn Scott's writings on Tantra that were
recently posted to alt.magick.  As I see it, Ms. Scott's approach is a very
thorough and well-written exposition on the right-hand path of tantra.
My own experience is with the left-hand or more spontaneous and less
structured path.  

Ms. Scott's knowledge seems to be based on very old and respected Hindu 
documents called 'Tantras' and associated with tantra generally.  My own
instruction comes largely from Kali and an exploration with my partner, 
my Abyss (the rought equivalent of a 'Scarlet Woman' or 'Sakti').


|Rose Dawn Scott


|[Title of document:]
|Thoughts on the concepts of devotion, commitment, service, and worship
|as per practitioners and aspirants to the Red Tantric Arts.

I note here that 'Red' involves two or more people and 'White' one.  This 
seems rather simplistic, yet effective.  The colors red, white and black
are often associated with the goddess and I've noticed a very important
connection between them throughout tantra and certain elements of
Indian culture.

|Tantric Sexual practices require faith; they also encourage the faith to
|develop. As intent is all-powerful in Tantra, elevating a simply
|physical act to a sacrament, you *must* truly believe that the sexual
|spiritual dichotomy is false.

Here and after I shall compare my experience of left-handed tantra (LHT).
LHT seems to require no faith.  It is completely proven in experience or 
discarded.   It is comprised solely of experiment and experience.

LHT requires no belief and contains no intellectual requirements of which
I'm aware (though a thorough grounding in all philosophies is valuable in 
that nonattachment to thoughts may be easier to maintain).  A common LHT 
assumption is that there is no real division between 'physical' and 
'spiritual'. The physical already *IS* sacred, and nothing needs to be 

Here also note that RHT tends to buy into the 'higher'-(i.e. away from this
gravity sink) 'is-better' mentality.  The Kundalini seeks the 'uppermost'
part of the body, physicality is 'elevated' to the status of spirit, etc.
In LHT I tend to either presume the opposite or adhere to a more central

|Eroticism also stimulates faith; when one
|sees concrete results one's faith is strengthened. Faith in one's
|partner leads to trust, trust to devotion, devotion to the recognition
|of the Siva/Sakthi principle within each man and each woman; thus is
|duality transcended.

In LHT I tend to posit that each wo/man IS Sakti/Siva and that within and
without are only relative directions with little evaluative basis.
Duality is not something to be transcended but fully experienced, along 
with any unity which we may discover.

|As the Sakthi principle relates directly to life itself, a man's
|attitude toward his female partner, and women in general, can be seen as
|symbolic of his reflection on life in general.

This much is similar in LHT.  I often see female and male AS Sakti/Siva,
and learning my relationship with this divinity is a very important
experience.  I tend to see all women as reflections of the Sakti form, 
with a mixture of Sakti/Siva as essence.  Men are reflections of myself,
my Sivaform, with a mixture as essence.  Personally I don't relate Sakti
with life, but with the life-energy, Siva being the life-consciousness.

|If a man truly views his partner as an embodiment of Sakthi, she will
|respond with true Bhakti and pure faith, becoming his high priestess and
|Initiatress; whereupon he will reveal himself as her Lord and Lover.

My understanding is that in LHT the woman may view her male partners (as it 
is not always assumed that one male and one female are the only combination) 
as embodiments of Siva.  I'm not all that certain that I like the connotations
of the title 'Lord', especially for tantra, though I know the very important 
value that this title has for the traditions of RHT in India and Wicca in the 
Western Mystery tradition.

|Fortunately, in the modern age, the patriarchal/misogynistic views have
|been much lessened, and women are now receiving their due as strong,
|powerful, sexual and spiritual beings. 

I am not as sure of this recession of misogyny.  I tend to think that there
is a very important dynamic going on here and that the world-hatred and
woman-hatred simply change forms if they are not resolved in some way.

I have not yet noticed the things mentioned above in the US, where I live.
Yes, women are more often TOLD that strength, power, etc., are theirs, but 
seldom do I see that this attitude applies in PRACTICE beyond certain tantric 
subsets of society as a whole (within neo-paganism and Wicca, for example).

|So the one-sidedness of the
|early Tantrist teachings is no longer quite so necessary. Let me amend:
|perceived one-sidedness. For the male and female principles were meant to
|be honored equally; however, in the times, equality of the female often
|equalled the image, to the traditional ascetic swami, of female supremacy.

I am not sure what is meant here.  If 'one-sidedness' means a focus
upon Sakti, then I'd say that focus is needed in different areas by different
people.  Some of us (notably those like myself who have felt alienated from 
Sakti and hurt by Siva) will likely need more of a focus upon the feminine 
(e.g. Dianic covens), at least initially and perhaps for all of our life.

|Commitment for life involves a traditional marriage ceremony, either
|Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, civil, or whatever is best for the
|particular couple.

From my perspective (and I would be classified as a 'life-committed tantrik'
by this criteria), the emptiness of time destroys the illusion of 'life-
commitment'.  One is either entirely committed (in a very visceral sense)
or one is only partially so.  Social contracts, as this almost implies, are 
valuable tools and potential traps.

On the other hand, I'm overjoyed that Ms. Scott realizes the transreligious
element of tantra that I feel so many have overlooked (centering their
practice and theoretics in Hinduism or Buddhism). 

|Sexual service is the ability to use intuition to divine the sexual
|desires of one's lover, and to selflessly and joyously seek to fulfill
|those needs without any thought of getting anything back from it save
|spiritual evolution. True sexual service, given freely, is an act of
|worship, and a potent tool for the Tantric practitioner, neophyte, adept
|or Master.

I'd emphasize the above, though perhaps quibble with the term 'service'.  
It is quite easy to attach oneself to the notion of 'service' and I tend 
to attempt to foster an enjoyment of giving pleasure.  This allows me to
be pleasured in pleasuring others.  It has little to do with 'selflessness'
and more to do with the promotion of general pleasure through BOTH
receiving and giving.

My understanding is that in LHT there are no divisions based on 'skills' 
because there are no real 'skills' to be mastered.  People are often 
simply assumed to be unique in their capacities and no distinguishment 
is necessary for the tantric experience to take place.  

This is one of the main reasons that LHT seems to have no formal tradition. 
Without social structures there is nothing to perpetuate a 'tradition'.  
Those which call themselves LHT and promote such things as social 
structures and correct techniques are mistaken as far as I know.

End of Part 1 of 12 (all posted to alt.magick and soc.religion.eastern)
Tyagi Nagasiva
Review Part 2


|Rose Dawn Scott


|SADHANA: the *Art* of Worship:
|Ritualized worship before a private altar assists with focusing energies
|and channelling them toward the desired effect. Worship is a universal
|element of spirituality; and the Tantras teach that each man and each
|woman should honor the divine within themselves and each other.

Whereas 'the Tantras', i.e. the Hindu texts which seem so often to come from 
the RHT schools, may teach about what people should do, my understanding 
is that LHT seems not to be about teaching so much as group exploration, 
mutual learning and the weaving of apparent opposites.  

I will continually contrast here the RHT terminology of 'the divine within' 
and the LHT of 'the divinity of'.  It has become quite popular to assume 
that divinity has some location or placement.  My experience is that 
everything is divine and that I have only to come to know things deeply 
in order to realize this.

|Inner worship may be accomplished through spiritualized masturbation,
|meditation and Hatha Yoga, and such simple acts as eating, drinking, and
|going about one's daily business, as long as they are performed
|consciously and with discrimination .

Where RHT quite importantly focusses inward for many of its practices,
LHT seems to involve generalized attention - outwardly becoming sensitive
to the world around me, and inwardly becoming aware of my true nature.  In
this way for me there is no 'spiritualized masturbation'.  All masturbation
is beautific, especially as this is the will of the person involved with 
the pleasure.

Where RHT places important emphasis upon discriminative capacity and
consciousness in order to give value to 'daily activities', LHT seems
to involve coming to KNOW the divinity of these activities without
attempting to change them in any way.

|The Tantric Black Hat offshoot of Tibetan Buddhism prescribes a method
|of 'inner worship' for the White Tantric practitioner: 

I interrupt here to note that this seems a valuable visualization
for ANY individual, and not just with gods flitting about oneself.  Imagining 
the experience of being the gender to which one was not born, during sex and 
otherwise (through strict visualization and through role-play) has been 
a very important way for me to come to know the Sakti elements of my being.

|"Visualize your
|body in the form of the wisdom-goddess, a virgin girl, naked, with hair
|flowing. Visualize yourself as her, in the center of an effulgence of
|light, holding an elixer bowl close to your heart and garlanded with red
|flowers. Think to yourself that the Guru enters you through your open
|Yoni and resides in your heart. Then see the wisdom-goddess above the
|crown of your head. Just having consummated the act of love, she is
|naked, with disheveled hair, and her Yoni is moist and overflowing with
|abundant sexual secretions. Her three eyes are open and filled with
|erotic emotion, looking toward the vast expanse of the sky; which as she
|begins to dance, becomes filled with Herself."

I think this is a very wonderful visualization and, as I said before, I'd
recommend variations on it, both as a means of coming to understand one's
own energies and to comprehend the experience of what is called 'the
other gender'.

|The term Sadhana is an individual act of worship, encompassing
|commitment , study and actual practice. The urge to step aside and
|concentrate on Sadhana only, leaving the mundane behind, is latent in
|all and strong in some. However, Sadhana should ideally involve every
|act, and not be seen as separate from one's overall life.

I don't know about this latent desire to escape the world or a division
between Sadhana and life generally.  Is this recommendation simply
to prevent people from becoming wandering tantriks?  What does 'step
aside' mean here?  To what and from what is one stepping?

If the distinction here is drawn between 'life as we were taught in society'
and 'life as a tantrik devotee', then I'm not sure of the value of reinforcing
one's involvement with the former.  I feel that living FULLY in Sadhana is
quite important, and if this can't be done while maintaining one's former
lifestyle, then abandoning it would seem quite a valuable road, though
not the only available.

End of Part 2 of 12
Tyagi Nagasiva
Review Part 3


|Rose Dawn Scott


|The physical body is a Temple of the soul, and microcosm of the entire
|universe. The bodily Temple, as with many traditional Hindu and Buddhist
|Temples, contains gardens, rivers, sanctuaries, and gates; as well as
|containing all the elements of the world: earth, water, fire, air, and

I wonder how 'soul' is meant here.  From my perspective this is quite
exemplary of RHT in general.  Here a valuation is stated in which the
'physical', 'material' (mater/mother) is in some way the House or Vehicle
for that 'soul', 'spirit' (spiritus/breath) that lies within.  LHT seems to
involve much more of an emphasis on the value of the feminine, Mother,
and therefore matter, the material or physical, yet I would assume this
will vary with the individual.

I presume that the original Sanskrit for 'soul' was 'atman'.  If so, this
has quite different ramifications than does the loaded word 'soul' from
Christian theology.  In this way I am suspect of all 'Hindu philosophy'
which posits 'soul' as a useful translation.  My own preference is 'self',
which is manifested as the subjective and objective experience of bodily

|Eastern tradition holds that the
|soul enters and leaves the body through the Gate of Brahma. 

I have heard this previously, and that this Gate is the central point
between the eyes on the forehead (the 'third eye').  It would seem to be
a very important and symbolic focal point for meditation.  Also, in
Western occultism the 'astral body' is sometimes said to leave through
this 'door' during 'astral travel' or an 'out of body experience'.

The beauty of calling it the Gate of Brahma is that it implies that the
two eyes 'create' the dualistic world and that the third eye is the
ultimate and nondual Source.  Of course this is one of the preferences
of the RHT, whereas in LHT I am as fond of dualism as nondualism, not 
being centered in any particular thought-system, but in experience

|Although the bodily Temple may be entered via any gate; it is the Gate
|of Brahma which leads to higher spiritual realization.

Here we again come upon the notion of 'higher spiritual realization' which
is so common at least in Western occultism and RHT.  The focus tends to
be upon the head, upon intellectual and imaginative practices and images,
and, especially within the language-system, less to do with the lower
energy centers.  

My impression is that this may be intentional or it may simply be the 
conventional translation from Sanskrit.  Not being able to read Sanskrit,
I am skeptical and have reached no conclusions in this regard except that 
most of those who teach in English seem way off-center.  It would be the
equivalent psychological effect of always using 'man' for the plural of 
human and 'he' for the generic gender.  It is off-center and essentially 
destabilizing or indicative of imbalance.

This is one of the ways of determining the balance of a tantric instructor
of the right-hand path.  She will of course be interested in structure and
forms, yet if she uses language and bodily cues that bespeak an imbalance,
then this is something which may indicate a need for caution.

|Hold nothing back out of embarrassment or
|doubt; true worship is not an act of rote but of spontaneous and total
|love. During Tantric lovemaking, such worship of one's own bodily Temple
|and that of the partner produce fulfillment of all desires; Tantric
|sexual love is an act of great magical and spiritual potency.

The language is prohibitive (who worships the Temple rather than the 
divine?), yet the sentiment here is similar between RHT and LHT.  I find
that true worship is a unification of format and spontaneity, a weave of
structure and structurelessness.  This may be approached from different
angles and that is the value of the 'two hands' of tantra.  The RHT is for
those who would pursue structure first.  LHT is for those who would learn
spontaneity previous to structure and repeated rite.

People settle into that for which they have the most attraction and
their tantric experience will vary depending upon their conversation
with either path.

End of Part 3 of 12
Tyagi Nagasiva
Review Part 4


|Rose Dawn Scott


|In Tantric tradition, sexual union is considered the highest form of
|Hatha Yoga (as well as many other things, but we're talking Yoga

An interesting and controversial claim.  Important points to consider
here are what may be meant by 'sexual union' and what is meant by 'Hatha

|Practiced alone, the 'union' takes place between the solar and
|lunar energies within each body, the upper and lower life energies, the
|body and mind. 

This cosmology - the solar and lunar - once more bespeaks an
extraterrestrial focus, and thus may prove inferior in the long term.
Alternatives might be stellar/light and terrestrial/dark or even
mountain/dynamic and valley/magnetic.

|Practice of Yoga as a conscious means to transcend
|duality takes place on both physical and mystical levels. 

Note the imbalance here.  Not only is this statement transdualistic,
but it presupposes that the 'physical' and 'mystical' (by whatever
definition) are essentially different states or 'levels'.

In LHT I make no such suppositions and this is one of its values for me.

|Naturally, the
|rejuvenation and perfection of the physical body also makes it much
|easier for Tantric sexual union to lead to higher transcendental realms,
|as aches, pains, and imbalances would naturally impede such evolution.

Here is another common assumption.  That the physical body NEEDS perfecting
or some sort of purging is widely maintained.   In LHT I tend to assume that 
the body is perfect just the way it is and that my experience of this divine 
form will vary depending upon my activities and attachments.

Note also the rejection of pain and the preference for states of DEtachment,
indicated by such phrases as 'higher transcendental realms'.  I don't know
where Scott gets her ideas about 'evolution', but if one accepts the idea
that time is empty (i.e. that past and future are not present realities),
then 'progress' in regards the tantric experience is not only somewhat
difficult to understand but may actually impede its manifestation.

In those cosmologies and metaphysical theories which attempt to escape the
bodily experience and put a lesser value on the body in particular (despite
any focus there within the rest of 'practice') this kind of goal is common.
'Getting high' with various means is a way to desensitize and move away from
the sometimes pleasant and sometimes painful experience which is being
human.  This is a valuable practice and a dangerous goal.

End of Part 4 of 12
Tyagi Nagasiva
Review Part 5


|Rose Dawn Scott


|According to the Kena-Upanisad: "Through knowledge of the Self we obtain
|power; through inner vision we obtain Eternity." This is a way of
|expressing that *acquired* knowledge; that taught by a guru or learned
|from books, will certainly awaken the true Self; however, only through
|going deep within one's own mind and heart, can the truth be
|grasped--acquired knowledge transformed into Knowledge.

Here begins the essential dualistic premise in an attempt to transcend
dualism.  The positing of the 'Self' in comparison to the 'self' is quite
common in many metaphysical systems, and the path of RHT is no exception
it seems.  My experience of LHT is that there is an essential identity
between all apparent opposites, though our experience of them may vary

The focus upon the guru is traditional here, and I suppose that it is
Ms. Scott's own Western influence that brings her to add the possibility
of learning from books, as I've seldom seen this in the popular tantric
literature to which I've been exposed.

In any case the sentiment expressed here is quite important.  Information
yields ability, potential.  We are only able to apply this to ourselves
when we can understand our relationship to it, and this requires that we
develop a very deep self-perception.

I've also found it important to distinguish knowledge which is information
from knowledge which we acquire from direct experience.  Some prefer to
use the term 'Knowledge' to represent this, and sometimes make very
wonderful puns in regards the biblical word 'know' which implies sexual

|Seemingly contradictory to the principal of expansion/contraction at
|first glance, although completely in accord with it, upon deeper
|examination, is the belief that all phenomena is *empty* by its very

Now here is something more along the lines of my own preference with
respect to philosophy.  The Indian philosopher Nagarjuna made popular
the concept of 'sunyata', which has been variously translated as
'emptiness' and 'voidness'.  I find that this concept is quite important
to tantric theory, since it posits a kind of nondual approach to the world
of forms, as expressed below.

|The primordial form of emptiness is the primal force of
|perpetual nothingness, the tension in the moments directly before
|Creation; continues its existence within the void; and is the source of
|blissful consciousness. 

I'm not sure I really understand this assertion.  Lovely, yet perhaps
ultimately meaningless in a very literal sense.

|Tantra assigns no negative qualities to this
|'emptiness,' but teaches that in order for emptiness to be experienced,
|consciousness must be put into effect.

This is also my understanding.  I wonder what is meant by 'Tantra assigns'
here.  I might question the actual meaning of 'no negative qualities', but
the statement conforms to many standard texts as I have known them
(only refractorily).

|[Re: the recommended practices]
|I believe you'll find
|that, if practiced to the ultimate of one's ability, they will become
|powerful stimulating erotic images, which lift sexual arousal to new
|heights, serving as a connective agent from physical longing, to
|spiritual longing; from physical release to cosmic release. There is
|nothing in this world or the next, like Tantric orgasm.

My understanding of 'tantric orgasm' would be the equivalent of the
Great Work in Hermeticism.  Perhaps my concepts are overly grandiose.

|"After one has meditated upon Brahma, visualize the Supreme Yogi
|and his Cosmic Consort, with all the force of one's soul. By constantly
|knowing: AUM TAT SAT, This is I, one becomes Siva or Sakthi. A complete
|consecration of oneSelf takes place after the offering of this flower to
|oneSelf: 'I am god: all instruments of worship, be they food, perfume,
|incense, flowers, become divine through my recognition of them as such.
|I am the abode of god. I *am* goam.' Thus should one meditate, bringing
|everything to god and god to god, making all pure and eternal through
|the recreation of god in oneSelf." --KALIKA PURANA

'I am god.'  This is the tantric motto for which so many people have
been killed.  That it occurs in a Kalika Purana is not surprising to me.

Part 5 of 12
Tyagi Nagasiva
Review Part 6


|Rose Dawn Scott


|Tantric tradition does
|not neglect the "mundane" aspects of sexuality, such as simple release;

This is a traditional RHT comment, dividing the world into 'mundane' and
'spiritual'.  My experience of LHT is that these two are assumed to be
identical and through discipline and enjoyment we can come to know this.

|Tantrically, these [supranormal] powers should be used as an aid to
|Union and Transcendence, and not sought as an end, in and of themselves.
|Many powerful Yogis, having developed Siddhi, become egotistic about
|their abilities, and find themselves, to their dismay, de-volving rather
|than e-volving!

Moralism creeps in here as basis in metaphysics.  The word 'should' is a
dead giveaway.  'Egotistic' is the second signal, concluded in a progress-
oriented supposition which makes the imperfection of the cosmos within
the path of RHT so easy to postulate.

|During completely abandoned and surrendered lovemaking, the senses are
|unrestrained. While this may sound bad, it isn't--for the breath of love
|will naturally balance the elements in the body.

I don't know exactly what this means, though it sounds as if it refers to
certain pranayama techniques.  However, the terms 'abandoned and surrendered'
are more directly in line with LHT as I know it, as is the concept of having 
'unrestrained senses'.  Indeed LHT lovemaking seems to involve no restraints

Part 6 of 12
Tyagi Nagasiva

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