by Margot Anand: Many people mistakenly believe that Tantra is a spiritual bastardization of sexual therapy, an excuse to indulge in sexual games or orgies, an addiction to hours of sexual orgasms…
Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Tantric path teaches us to embrace and unify the ordinary, the erotic, and the sacred dimensions of life, all of which have their roots in Spirit.
The beauty and wisdom of Tantra is that it enhances sexuality as a doorway to the “ecstatic mind of great bliss”. Truly, at the peak of orgasm, we pierce through the illusion of fragmentation and separation, and glimpse the unity and interconnectedness of all beings. And through the other–our partner–we fall in love with life.
Because sex holds this great potential for opening our being to the experience of ecstasy, Tantra has for millennia taught the cultivation of sexual love as an art, as a skillful spiritual practice. Then, as now, Tantra challenges the belief promoted by most spiritual and religious paths that we must suppress or transcend out sexuality to practice meditation or awaken our Spirit.
Tantra arose in rebellion against the repressive orthodoxy of the Hindu priesthood, the Brahmins – especially against the idea that one had to be celibate to gain enlightenment. Tantra acknowledges that sex is at the root of life and that to make human sexuality and erotic union a form or worship and meditation is to practice reverence for life, leading us directly through the pleasure of the sense to spiritual liberation.
As a therapist, I knew that the process of healing emotional wounds by focusing on the past to find their source was limited. Although it can bring about healing, it all too often promotes a fascination with the problematic. Furthermore, when we focus obsessively on our problems and pains, the ecstatic potential in most of life’s moments goes unrecognized and unacknowledged, and our lives are emptied of a sacred and joyous dimension. Life appears problematic rather than ecstatic, more a puzzle to be solved than a pleasure to be cultivated.
I realized that existential or psychological pain was actually the absence of ecstasy. It was the outcome of being cut off from the source of one’s being, the source of life. On the other hand, cultivating ecstatic states of consciousness and learning how to integrate them into our lives can have profoundly healing effects. I have come to believe that our suffering has its roots in the loss of ecstasy and that reclaiming our natural ecstasy holds the key to our healing and our liberation.
Over the years, all that I had discovered coalesced within me into a new shape and meaning. I called the body of knowledge and the ritual practices I had developed over many years “SkyDancing Tantra: The Path to Bliss”. This path came to me as a revelation rather than a tradition. Yet the path of the SkyDancer is indeed one that goes back to eighth-century Tibet, when Yeshe Sogyel, the consort of Buddha Padma Sambhava, was called the “SkyDancer”. Together they developed Tantric Buddhism.
Originally, the SkyDancers were wild, free ecstatic “dakinis”, also called feminine buddhas or female awakeners. The word dakini means “woman who dances in space” or “woman who revels in the freedom of emptiness”. SkyDancers were, and are, women of passion who were profoundly devoted to spiritual awakening. The path of the SkyDancer is a path of spiritual partnership that teaches the complete reciprocity of male and female practitioners as they learn the art of integrating ecstatic states and ecstatic practices in their daily life. It reintroduces in our world the understanding that to heal the world, we need to rediscover and respect the fact that women can be and are awakeners and initiators and enlightened teachers.
SkyDancing Tantra is a unique path that weaves together traditional Tantric, Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist teaching with my studies in humanistic and transpersonal psychology, bodywork therapies, sexology, yoga, music, and metaphysics.
All of this works with human energy systems through the use of light, music, movement, visualization, and particularly (and primarily) the energy map of the chakras. The tantric chakra system offers a perfect map for the transformation of energy and consciousness, from raw lust to love, a visionary power, and finally to awakening.
SkyDancing Tantra teaches us that when we learn to approach life with a relaxed body, an open heart, and a peaceful mind, we can access ecstatic states and learn to weave them into the daily fabric of our lives.
It is crucial to understand the sacred dimensions of sex. Sex lies at the root of life, and we can only learn reverence for life when we learn reverence for sex. People in this culture need training in the art of love. They need to understand that sexuality is a very natural instinct, and there is nothing wrong with it. The damage to human society caused by the condemnation of sex is incalculable. Instead of celebrating sex as the creative force it is, we have turned sex into a furtive, guilt-ridden affair. This has misguided and influenced our entire world view. There is a tremendous effort being made to heal the planet, save the rain forests and to bring peace to warring ethnic and religious factions and yet how can any of this happen when the very source of human love is poisoned?
There is a powerfully creative force associated with our sexuality. It is possible for each of us to become a magician and use that force to heal our life and transform our vision–to realize our dreams. We have all sorts of programming blocking the flow of our sexual power. We need to be open to be able to face those demons, to look at the shadow with all honesty, knowing that truth is erotic. The more you can share your truth, the deeper and the more erotic it will become in the long run.