Tantra is a spiritual and mystical path which essence is condensed in the first two verses of the 9th century “Spandakarika (Song of Vibration) of Kallata:”
1) Beloved Shankara (Shiva = unmanifested awareness), source of Shakti (=energy) opens his eyes and Universe resorbs into pure consciousness. He closes them and Universe manifests in him.
2) The vibration (Spanda), which is the very place of creation and return has no limit, because its nature has no form.
In those two verses lies the essence of the common ground of all Tantric beliefs.
There is no separation between the individual and the world. Consciousness without any form and any limit supports the Energy of the Universe which everything is made of. We are, at the same time, a conduit for this energy, and as well as its only reality. The microcosm represented by the Tantrika is a reflection of the Universe and, by itself alone, contains the macrocosm (the Universe or the Creation). Accessing the sensation of the vacuity that underlies anything, as well as moving away from the illusion that the individual is separated from the rest of the world, allows the perception of Shakti, the universal Energy.
The path of the Tantrika is a path of awareness (Shiva) that leads to the perception of Energy (Shakti) and non-duality (Advaïta).
It is always difficult to determine where a river begins its course. Any such attempt in the field of Tantra is subject to interpretations and subjective assessments. The coming proposal does not escape this rule.
Neo-Tantra, as of today, is one of the most dynamic currents of Tantra. Proposals about Tantra become more abundant every day. Creativity is huge and there are as many types of Tantra as there are group-facilitators.
Neo-Tantra is a path that was inspired from ancient traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and Indian Shivaism and adapted to the West by searchers, therapists, psychologists, yogis and meditators. One could summarize it this way : it is an experimental path towards more individual consciousness and personal vitality (life-force energy). This path combines breathing techniques, still meditation, active meditations, rituals and forms of inter-action between participants, all aiming at developing those two aspects of being : Awareness and Energy. Neo-Tantra, as well as traditional forms should lead to a non-dual way to look at life. Getting out of judgments and all forms of discriminations, so as to embrace life fully through all its facets.
As soon as we become more conscious of who we are and how we interact with the world, we become more alive and we can be both the actor and the observer of our lives. Thus, we can pacify our minds and our attachments, and let ourselves a natural space of vacuity, at our very centres. In our vision, Neo-Tantra has no other goal.
Tantrism is above all, a personal path towards enlightenment, an inner path towards a deeper perception that nothing is separated and that everything is Consciousness or Energy. It has fundamentally nothing to deal with relationship or with classes of sexual education. Nevertheless, Neo-Tantra has given much freedom and importance to sexuality. This is a very good thing when one considers the ambient neurosis about sexuality. But we do not want that the Tantric doctrine be used to justify any sexual orientation or behaviour. Freedom is freedom after all !
Tantra deals with the level of Consciousness and Energy that we manifest in our lives without excluding the intimate or sexual aspects. Sexuality is so repressed in our society and collective unconscious, that it leads many people to believe that Tantra is a lot about sexuality (such focus being enhanced by our conscious or unconscious frustration). But Tantra is not a limited path. It embraces all facets of life, including sexuality.
It has to be said that even some traditional branches of Tantrism have used sexual practice to sacralise and symbolise their mystical quest. As a result, the West and Neo-Tantra have associated the idea of Tantra with a quest for a better sexuality or relationship to one another. This misunderstanding has been aggravated by the belief that the union between Energy and Consciousness had compulsorily to be ritualized through the sexual meditation between a woman and a man. This is not true. Tantric enlightenment can as well simply be achieved through meditation when one deeply dives into the emerging and shivering feeling of any sensation of desire or joy, when diving into the infinite space that lies between breath in and breath out.
As a result, nothing from our teachings should be used to justify any relational or sexual preference, orientation or behaviour. A Tantrika is a free individual, free from the very moment he/she renounces to classify him/herself in a specific category. Anybody can be a Tantrika, regardless of his way of being or of considering life or relationship or sexuality.
In a SkyDancing Tantra Seminar, you should never be obliged to do anything that you don’t want. The exercise is not about doing something but about watching consciously how you react to various proposals. When the group-facilitator presents a practice, please consider it as an invitation, a proposal. Your exercise is :
- Check how you receive this proposal.
- Consciously assess whether it feels feasible to you or not and how difficult it looks to you.
- Make a decision to do or not to do
- Communicate it to your partner gently without any fear to hurt him/her or any guilt if you decide not to do what is offered.
Sometimes you can also decide to do less than what is proposed : example : the group-facilitator invites you to share a 3 minutes still and silent hug with somebody : You may decide to stay at a distance of 2 meters, or 1 meter, or to simply propose to your partner to take each other’s hands or to go for a full hug. You use all your creativity so to stick to the proposal without hurting yourself by going beyond your limits.
In other words, in a SkyDancing Tantra seminar, you can always do less (in particular in terms of shared intimacy) than what is proposed. Never more. (in the above example, no caresses on the back during the Hug).
Tantra is mainly an individual path. A path of freedom. You may want to attend a seminar either in a couple or a triad or as an individual. There are some specific Tantra Seminars for Couples to which you cannot access as a single. But as of today, all SkyDancing Approved Seminars offered by our Institutes are accessible to singles or couples or any form of relating or any form of identifying to a gender or not.
During our seminars, when you attend them as a couple, you are always free to choose whether you want to practice with your partner or not. Group-facilitators are trained to provide indications and time for couples to make a decision before each practice. Some of our couple participants always practice together, some other never split and some split from time to time after having taken the time to discuss and decide together. Choosing becomes an exercise of awareness for our couple participants.
Yes, you can, keeping in mind that for many people, SkyDancing Tantra is a life-changing experience. After having gone through our seminars, people often look at life very differently than before. Sometimes, when you come alone to a Tantra workshop, the change in you is so significant that it can disrupt your relationship patterns. A divide may occur and become so wide that the connection between the two partners becomes more difficult.
Take time to discuss this decision with your partner before attending Tantra workshops without him/her. Also, make sure that his/her resistances are not based on a misconception of what is Tantra. If that appears to be the case, suggest that your partner call a SkyDancing Teacher or Institute Director to express his/her fears. Maybe your partner will choose to come with you.
If the partner is still not interested after that, make your decision on your own. We have many individuals attend as a solo and find the experience enhances all their relationships. Be mindful that even when attending together, challenges can arise, through which many couples flourish and some struggle. These Trainings are powerful and yet they are not a replacement for marriage therapy. There is no right or wrong choice regarding the seminar; the question is, what is the better option for you and your relationship? Maybe it is better for your relationship to decline, maybe not.
- Margot Anand books. See on her personal page on this website.
- Lorin Roche : the Radiant Sutras
- Osho : the Book of secrets – The royal song of Saraha – Tantra supreme Understanding
- David Frawley : Inner Tantric Yoga – Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Godesses
- Keith Dowan : Sky Dancer – The secret Life and Songs of the Lady Yeshe Tsogyel