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Margo Anand

The Tantric Attitude Towards Sexuality & Magic

from The Art of Sexual Magic
by Margot Anand

It is said that when the god Shiva, the embodiment of pure consciousness, merged in sexual union with the goddess Shakti, the embodiment of pure energy, their Tantric embrace resulted in the creation of the Earth, the stars, the moon, the animals... in short, their lovemaking resulted in the creation of the universe itself.

This beautiful metaphor contains an important truth, for in our evolving understanding of this mysterious universe it has become apparent that all energy and movement, and therefore all life, occurs between the attraction of polar opposites.

It is the movement between the negative and positive poles that creates electricity. It is the attraction between the male and the female that creates new life. The dynamics of the universe are dialectical, apparently in a conflict, but occurring within a larger context of unity and wholeness. This is the understanding of the Tantra vision.

Tantra, in essence, is the path of acceptance, of including the higher and the lower, the earthly and the spiritual. It allows God and the Devil to a hold hands, as two poles, or two aspects, of a single energy. It encourages spiritual seekers to practice sacred sexuality as a means of self-realization. It embraces both sex and magic as valuable tools on the path of transformation.

In addition, Tantra recognizes the female principle as being equal to the male, an important step in the cultivation of sexual energy for magical and spiritual purposes. As Chogyam Trungpa notes in his introduction to Women of Wisdom, a fascinating account of six Tibetan female mystics: "Western culture splits the feminine between the prostitute and the madonna. In Tantra we see the emergence of female images which are sexual and spiritual, ecstatic and intelligent, wrathful and peaceful."

In Tibet, where the practice of Tantra reached its greatest heights, certain paths of spiritual development included, after long periods of preparation and purification, ritual sexual union between the teacher and the student. In this Tantric embrace, this merging of two bodies, two hearts, two spirits, secret knowledge would be magically transmitted from the master to the disciple.

Sexual energy would be channeled up the spine through certain forms of breathing and visualization, accessing higher and higher state consciousness. At the auspicious moment, the secret teaching or knowledge would be transmitted energetically as the two beings merged in ecstatic union.

One aim of such sexual practices was, as Chogyam Trungpa describes to "dissolve the sense of inner and outer and plug into a sense of all-pervading energized space which is primordial wisdom and a kind of burning transcendental lust and bliss." Another, more specific, aim was to create a rainbow body of light" that would endure after the physical body ceased function. Still another was to access certain types of dakini energy — qualities of the divine feminine principle in order to transcend the limitations of the human ego.

I once had the good fortune to work intensely for several years with a Tantric teacher in sexual magic. He would visit me unexpectedly, in the secret hours of the night, and would invite me to engage in intense breathing exercises that would quickly generate a fiery energy in my body. Then, making love with me in a very slow, conscious way, he would direct me to focus this fiery energy in the area of my heart.

After some time I would begin to have very powerful visions. I remember one that was particularly strong, in which I saw myself as a buddha, or spirit being, sitting meditatively and blissfully in a cave. As I watched, the cave became red in color and started to pulsate, so that soon I became aware that my buddha-being was sitting inside the cave of my own heart. A feeling of heartfelt bliss began to expand, along with the size of the cave, growing bigger and bigger until it filled the entire universe At this point, I was able to radiate love and compassion to all living beings, unconditionally.

Thus I received very special information about what my teacher later described as the "wisdom of the heart." The fact that I had been able to experience this wisdom made his teaching real, existential, instead of mere knowledge.

The emphasis in sexually transmitted Tantric teachings tends to be mystical rather than magical, but the same approach is used for both arts. It is a matter of choice: whether you wish to reside in a state of mystical union with the universe, or whether you wish to harness the universal powers deriving from that union for the purpose of earthly manifestation.

In the Tantric tradition of Tibet, magic and mysticism flourished side by side. It was left to the initiate to decide how to use such powers. It was really a matter of personal integrity and responsibility, an attitude that is as valid today as it was then.

© Margot Anand. All rights reserved.