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alt.magick.tantra FAQ


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Archive-name: magick/tantra/faq
Updated: 1999/11/04
Posting-frequency: monthly or by inquiry

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
---------------------- The alt.magick.tantra FAQ ---------------------

CONTENTS

     1.0  TANTRA, KAREZZA, SEX MAGIC, AND USENET
        1.1  What topics are fit for discussion in alt.magick.tantra?
        1.2  What topics should not be discussed in alt.magick.tantra?
        1.3  What distinguishes the newsgroup alt.magick.tantra from
              the newsgroup alt.religion.tantra?

     2.0  PHILOSOPHY AND HISTORY
        2.1  What is Tantra Yoga?
        2.2  Do you have to be a Hindu or a Buddhist to
              practice tantra yoga?
        2.3  Can a person with no religious affiliation practice
              tantra yoga?
        2.4  What is karezza?
        2.5  What is Taoist sex-alchemy?
        2.6  What is meant by "neo-tantra"?
        2.7  What is meant by references to "Western, non-religious
              tantra yoga"?
        2.8  What is sex magic / sex magick?
        2.9  Is a sex religion like tantra yoga the same as ceremonial
              or folkloric sex magic/k?

     3.0  TECHNIQUES
        3.1  What are the tantra yoga techniques that prolong
              intercourse?
        3.2  How do tantra techniques differ physically from karezza
              techniques?
        3.3  Are tantra yoga and karezza techniques the same as extended
              sexual orgasm (ESO)?
        3.4  Will refraining from orgasm harm one physically in any way?
        3.5  How can one interest one's partner in tantra or karezza?
        3.6  Can a solitary person practice tantra or karezza through
              masturbation? Can sex magicians work with masturbation?
        3.7  Do tantra teachers or sex magicians advocate any sort of
              "standard practice" religious ritual or physical
              techniques? If so, could you outline them?
            3.7.1  Yoni puja and linga puja
            3.7.2  Control of orgasm
            3.7.3  Avoidance of orgasm
            3.7.4  Passive copulation
            3.7.5  Eye-gazing
            3.7.6  Breath-control
            3.7.7  Circulation of subtle or aetheric energies
            3.7.8  Antinomianism
            3.7.9  Lifestyle
            3.7.10 Deity worship
            3.7.11 Meditation
            3.7.12 Use of asanas (postures) and mudras (hand gestures)
            3.7.13 Use of mantras (chants) and yantras (symbolic images)
        3.8  What are the goals (stated) and effects (stated and not)
              of tantra and karezza?
        3.9  Is it possible to learn tantra yoga or karezza without
              a guru or teacher?
        3.10  How can a gay practice tantra? Where is their kundalini?
               Isn't it the case that for tantric experiences and sex
               magic a male and a female are required?

     4.0  REFERENCE MATERIALS
        4.1  I would like to learn more about these subjects, but am
              extremely wary of "teachers" and especially so in this
              context. There are a lot of fakes out there.  Can you
              provide references that I can read to learn more?
        4.2  Is the Kama Sutra of any real significance to tantra
              yoga? It seems like an ancient marriage manual more
              than anything else.
        4.3  Are there tantra videos, courses, or seminars?

============================================================

1.0  TANTRA, KAREZZA, SEX MAGIC, AND USENET

1.1  What topics are fit for discussion in alt.magick.tantra?

        This newsgroup is for the discussion of tantra yoga,
        Taoist sexual alchemy, karezza, ceremonial sex-magick,
        sexual folk-magic, neo-tantra, the archaeology of
        neolithic and pagan sex-worship, the biological basis of
        sex-mysticism, Austin Osman Spare, T.O.P.Y., Paschal
        Beverly Randolph, Alice Bunker Stockham, human sexual
        anatomy as it relates to cosmological schemas and
        religious practices, Hermetic sex-magick, and related
        topics bound together by their common emphasis on
        sexuality, spirituality, religion, and magical practices.

        Remember when you post and read the newsgroup that while
        the specifics of Indian tantrism are of great interest to
        many of the people who post to alt.magick.tantra, they are
        of lesser or only general interest to others. Likewise, sex
        magic, sex-mysticism, and magical rituals including sex
        acts in the Asatru, Christian, Jewish, Gnostic, ceremonial
        magick, Thelemic, Hermetic, hoodoo, or neo-pagan traditions
        are of great interest to some readers in alt.magick.tantra,
        but of lesser or only general interest to others.

1.2  What topics should not be discussed in alt.magick.tantra?

        Flaming or disparaging others is never appropriate. In
        particular, the assumption that one's own path is the only
        "correct" way is offensive in a group as diverse as this.

        The fact is that people post here in search of some very
        non-tantric things, including bisexual tantric concubines
        (presumably. paid sex workers willing to supply a lesbian
        two-gal act in Hindu drag). Such antics are bound to upset
        or anger sincere religious tantrics in alt.magick.tantra,
        and may even tick off some of the non-tantric newsgroup
        participants who identify as sex magicians, karezzans, and
        students of sex-based folk magic.

        Advertisements for personal sexual services (e.g. massage
        or sexual surrogacy) are unwanted, although announcements
        of classes, courses, and new publications are acceptable.
        Sexual (im)personals are harshly frowned upon, although
        requests to meet other practitioners of in a given geographic
        region are fine. The line of demarcation between the former
        and the latter can be extrapolated from these fictional
        examples:

        :) OK:
               35 year old man, new to Boston, hoping to meet members
               of the local tantra yoga community. Please e-mail me
               if you are out there.

        :( NOT OK:
               35 year old single white male, good looking and
               well-endowed, in search of 25-30 year old blonde
               tantra goddess in the Boston area. E-mail replies
               only as I don't read the newsgroups. Send a picture
               with your reply.

         ;-( REALLY, *REALLY* NOT OK:
               Tantra - Yoga of Sex. Join our Tantric Club -
               a place for hot people who value and enjoy sex
               naturally. You will have an access to the best
               porno sight you have seen - with real couples! -
               and will have a great discounts on all our products.
               FREE to join and be a member. [URL deleted]

1.3  What distinguishes the newsgroup alt.magick.tantra from
              the newsgroup alt.religion.tantra?

        The creation of this newsgroup was a natural development to
        avoid the spamming of all usenet newsgroups with the keyword
        "sex" in their names that hit the net in 1996. Traditional
        tantrism, karezza, and various forms of sex magic(k) were
        being actively discussed in alt.magick.sex at the time; the
        name alt.magick.tantra was decided upon by a consensus of
        the members then posting to and reading alt.magick.sex.

        When alt.magick.tantra was created there was no usenet
        newsgroup extant for the study of tantrism as a religion and
        the creator of alt.magick.tantra (Josh Geller) did not seem
        to see a need to create such a group. When alt.religion.tantra
        finally was created -- in 1999 -- it filled a need for a more
        specialized venue where the specifically religious aspects of
        Indian tantrism could be discussed without reference to other
        forms of sex worship and sex magic throughout the world.

        The difference between alt.magick.tantra and alt.religion.tantra
        is one of content and approach:

        Alt.religion.tantra has as its sole objective the discussion of
        specifically Indian tantric religious practices.

        Alt.magick.tantra includes discussion of traditional tantra, as
        well as many other forms of direct sex-worship (e.g. veneration
        of the sexual organs or metaphorical constructions seen in their
        place) and other religious, mystical, and magical practices
        (e.g. contemplation of the absolute; homage, prayer, or service
        to a deity; invocation of powers, principalities, or spirits;
        etc.) in which sexuality or the sex act may form a part of a
        worship-service. In some cases posts deal with tantrism from
        the standpoint of comparative religion, treating it as one of
        many historical and pre-historic religious, mystical, magical,
        and/or philosophical systems in which sexuality is recognized
        as a prime factor.

____________________________________________________________

2.0  PHILOSOPHY AND HISTORY

2.1  What is tantra yoga?

        Tantra yoga is a general name for a confluence of mystical
        and religious systems developed in India over the past
        several centuries in reflection of certain traditional
        texts, called 'Tantras,' often attributed to divinities
        or mythological beings.

        Tantric systems maintain a variety of cosmological
        presuppositions, sometimes biological in metaphor (e.g.
        disks or wheels -- chakras -- of energy or 'prana' that may
        be found throughout the body and in particular along the
        spine), sometimes religious in character (e.g. the
        disciplines which attempt to influence the deities Siva
        and/or Sakti, thought to be resident to the human body).

        Typically yoga is an ascetic set of disciplines recommended
        by a historical or tutelary guru or instructor and is
        presumed to aid the practitioner in purificatory, conscious,
        or moral development.

        Tantra (sometimes "tantric") yoga in particular often
        includes a context of sexual symbolism, if not actual sexual
        activities, which are described as constituting this aid.
        Often there will also be an ultimate aim supposed (e.g.
        "moksha" or "liberation") which serves to bolster the
        practices based on a presumed cosmology (e.g. better
        rebirths or an escape from rebirth into the world).

        For a further historical description of some the varied
        traditions of Indian tantra yoga, see also
             
             http://www.hubcom.com/magee/tantra

        This site provides an overview of a variety of Tantras
        [texts], including many techniques and basic ideas. It
        also includes a bibliography that will point you toward
        more sources.

        Buddhist tantra yoga developed as an offshoot from Hindu
        tantra centuries ago. Some lineages of Chinese Buddhist tantra
        also incorporate concepts and practices from Taoist sexual
        alchemy. One contemporary teacher of Buddhist tantra yoga
        is Grand Master Lu, a Taiwanese-born monk working in the
        Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Some of his articles on
        contemporary tantric Buddhism are archived at these URLs

        Three Basic Homework Assignments for Tantric Practitioners:
         
          http://www.luckymojo.com/esoteric/religion/buddhism/tibetan/thre
ehomeworks.txt

        Consort Practice:
         
          http://www.luckymojo.com/esoteric/religion/buddhism/tibetan/cons
ortpractice.txt

2.2  Do you have to be Hindu or Buddhist to practice tantra yoga?

        Generally tantric yogis or yoginis are Hindu, and by this
        generalization we may presume that they accept a cosmology
        or have been assimilated by a culture which is Saivite,
        Saktiite, or, in some unusual cases, Vaisnavite. Some
        schools of Buddhism (but by no means all) endorse tantra
        yoga or tantric practices; this is especially true in
        Tibetan Buddhism. In addition, there are Taoists who
        incorporate tantra-like disciplines into their teachings,
        although they are not likely to use the term "tantra."
        It is assumed by most scholars that both the Buddhist
        and Taoist forms of tantra derived from Hindu sources
        centuries ago. However, with the popularization of books
        as sources of mystical disciplines, it is possible that
        some of the instructions provided by these cultures may be
        followed by interested people quite outside Hindu, Buddhist,
        or Taoist traditions.

        For a comparison between Hindu and Buddhist tantra yoga and
        the sexual mysticism of other cultures, see also
             
             http://www.luckymojo.com/tktantradefinition.html

2.3  Can a person with no religious affiliation practice tantra yoga?

        Tantra yoga is a Hindu and Buddhist religious practice. Even
        stripping away the Asian parts of it will not remove its
        essential religious nature. The loose use of the term tantra
        these days to signify any sex-positive, sex-mystical, sex-
        magical, or sex-religious discipline is deplorable. Tantra
        includes and often transcends sexuality; preparation for
        sexual tantra includes serious work that is not sexual in
        nature, and tantra practices are diverse and conflicting
        on this topic even in their native cultures.

        For further study of classical tantra yoga, see the newsgroup
             
             news:alt.religion.tantra

2.4  What is karezza?

        Karezza is a term derived from the Italian (meaning "caress")
        which is applied to Western religious or spiritual practices
        in which slow, mindful sexual union (or masturbation) creates
        a path to the experience of spiritual ecstasy. Some of these
        Western practices arose during the 19th century, apparently
        by spontaneous discovery  -- although one American
        popularizer of Western sacred sex, Alice Bunker Stockham, is
        known to have travelled to India to study Hindu tantra yoga.
        While karezza shares certain common sexual techniques with
        traditional Hindu tantra yoga, it fits conveniently into
        Christian, Jewish, or Transcendentalist conceptual
        frameworks, obviating the need for the practitioner to adopt
        a culturally "foreign" religion.

        George Washington Savory is the most outstanding example of a
        writer working in the Christian religion with essentially
        tantric ideas. His book "Hell on Earth Made Heaven, the
        Marriage Secrets of a Chicago Contractor" (1905) is a
        straightforward application of tantric techniques stripped
        of any relation to Hindu or Buddhist cosmology and applied
        instead to Christian cosmology. He did not refer to karezza
        by name in his writings, but his location in Chicago and the
        time period in which he wrote indicate that he was familiar
        with Alice Bunker Stockham, the Chicago doctor who coined
        the term "karezza" in the late 19th century.

        For a further historical description of karezza, see also
             
             http://www.luckymojo.com/tktantradefinition.html

2.5  What is Taoist sexual alchemy?

        Taoism is a Chinese philosophy and religion which
        has been influenced by Chinese animism and Buddhism.
        It integrates a polar and complementary symbolism and
        ambiguous scripture to mystical and semi-scientific
        ends (life-extension, enhancement of consciousness,
        the transmutation of matter). Its anarchistic and
        revolutionary elements are balanced by an arguably
        quietist approach to nature-worship.

        The alchemy of Taoism focusses largely upon extension
        of human life (especially in concocting the Pill of
        Immortality), and the methods which are used to create
        it sometimes include specifically sexual activities in
        order to prepare the one who will be ingesting the Pill
        or to inspire the creation of some internal condition for
        which the Pill is merely a metaphor.

        There are complex systems of physical and/or psychic
        developments described within Taoist alchemical texts,
        often purely through implication (called "shadow
        language"), but sometimes in terms that are unequivocally
        sexual. Such texts at times seem to make explicit references
        to copulation, though interpreters differ in their instruction
        as to how much the reader ought take literally and how
        much to understand as solely symbolical. Features such as
        inner furnaces and crucibles, mythical animals such as
        dragons and phoenixes, and living species like tigers and
        tortoises become references to internal and external mystical
        and sexual elements only decoded by those who have the proper
        keys.

2.6  What is meant by "neo-tantra"?

        "Neo-tantra" is a term coined recently to distinguish
        between traditional Asian tantra yoga and modern syncretic
        techniques for spiritual sexuality being taught in "workshops"
        and through periodicals and books in Europe and the
        Americas. Neo-tantra typically makes use of the
        traditional tantra yoga asanas (positions), breath
        control, and meditation, but it is taught outside the
        framework of Hindu culture and religion. It differs from
        karezza in that its emphasis is not so openly eclectic and
        mystical. Unique to neo-tantra is a modern or New Age
        tendency to include massage (so-called "tantric massage"),
        Reichian body-work (e.g. "bio-energetics"), and even
        counselling (e.g. "sexual healing") to the course of study.

        Some prominent neo-tantra teachers (all of whom,
        regrettably, claim they are teaching tantra yoga) are
        Lori Grace, Margo Anand, and the Muirs.

2.7  What is meant by references to "Western, non-religious tantra yoga"?

        "Western, non-religious tantra yoga" is an oxymoron. Tantra
        yoga is always Asian in origin and always religious in nature.

        The term "Western, non-religious tantra yoga" may be naively
        applied to the syncretic Western form of sex-mysticism that
        is more properly called neo-tantra (see above), but since
        even the most heterodox of neo-tantra teachers strive to
        preserve and transmit truly mystical and spiritual insights,
        clothed though they might be in New Age self-help paradigms,
        they cannot really be said to be "non-religious."

        Very often the label "Western, non-religious tantra yoga"
        is just a cover for what were previously called "swingers'
        parties" or "promiscuity." As such, this term capitalizes on
        the paltry education provided to modern adults regarding
        sexuality in order to sell itself as a mystical tradition.
        These posers call what they are doing "tantra" merely because
        it involves sexuality. Spiritual and religious elements are
        removed in favour of mostly sexual instruction. While there
        is nothing wrong with instruction on the techniques of
        sexuality, categorizing this as "tantra," "sex mysticism,"
        or "karezza" robs these important references of their deeper
        meanings.

2.8  What is sex magick / sex magic?

        Ceremonial sex magick (often spelled with a k) is the ritual
        utilization of sex -- or a context in which sexual energy is
        used -- to produce magical effects. It is often considered
        in a two-fold evaluative system divided into low magick (i.e.
        materialistic, sometimes selfish) and high magick (i.e.
       .mystical, spiritual, or religious) The energy from the sexual
        activity, which is sometimes supplemented with ritual
        incantation or imagery, either facilitates or is applied to
        the change desired, and often sexual effluvia are used within
        sigils, consecrations, or spells so constructed.

        Some prominent sex magicians of the 19th and 20th century were
        Paschal Beverly Randolph, Theodor Reuss, R. Swinburne Clymer,
        Austin Osman Spare, Aleister Crowley, and Kenneth Grant.

        For more information on the sex-magical theories taught by
        Paschal Beverly Randolph, see
             
             http://www.luckymojo.com/tkpbrandolph.html

        For those interested in the sex-magick of Austin Osman
        Spare, a web page of introductory material is at
           
           http://www.luckymojo.com/austinosmanspare.html

        In folkloric terms, sex magic (never spelled with a k) is any
        use of a charm, incantation, amulet, talisman, ritual, herb,
        sexual effluvia, oil, potion, sigil, sachet powder, incense,
        candle, and/or bath to obtain magical results in the sexual
        sphere. Typical results might be to obtain sexual desires
        (e.g. "love-drawing"), to stop another from enjoying
        complete sexual freedom (e.g. "hoodooing a man's nature"),
        or to control and dominate another through sexuality
        (e.g. by constructing a nation sack), increasing sexual
        vigour, attracting a new lover, aiding fertility and
        conception, or gaining a proposal of marriage

        Generally, practitioners of sexual folk magic seek to obtain
        results in the realms of sexuality and relationships, while
        those involved in ceremonial sex magick may have similar goals
        or may wish to use the energy of sex or its physical adjuncts
        (such as semen, menstrual fluid, or vaginal fluid) to achieve
        other goals, including money-drawing, improved health,
        casting curses, contact with discarnate entities or spirits
        (e.g. the dead, angels, demons, and deities), mental telepathy,
        psychic visions, and so forth.

        For practical lessons in folkloric sex magic, see

        Introduction to African-American folk magic (hoodoo) at
             
             http://www.luckymojo.com/hoodoo.html

        Folkloric love spells and love-charms at
             
             http://www.luckymojo.com/lovespells.html

        Assorted folkloric and ceremonial magick love spells at
             
             http://www.luckymojo.com/altmagickfaq/fukspls.html

        How to make and use a nation sack at
             
             http://www.luckymojo.com/mojo.html

        Hoodoo spells of female domination at
             
             http://www.luckymojo.com/femaledomination.html

2.9  Is a sex religion like tantra yoga the same as ceremonial sex
      magick or folkloric sex magic?

        Ceremonial magick is a Hermetic enterprise which assimilates
        what it can from a number of global mystical disciplines as
        it is able to apprehend them. Tantra yoga has preceded
        ceremonial sex magick (of various types) by centuries, but it
        is often re-interpreted within the Hermetic framework to add
        mystery and draw membership. It is often engaged by individuals
        who are members of an occult group and often presumes the
        "expertise" or "power" of physical (rather than merely symbolic)
        sexuality as a part of the ritual.

        Folkloric sex magic has roots that go back to the neolithic
        period. Insofar as tantra yoga is thought to derive from a
        prehistoric form of goddess-worship, it shares some imagery
        and beliefs with folk magic, such as the notion that there
        are special magical consequences attendant upon contact
        with menstrual blood or other sexual effluvia. However, the
        distinguishing characteristics of yoga -- body postures,
        breath control, and meditation -- are generally absent in
        folk-magic. Folkloric sex magic is most often embarked upon by
        solitary practitioners or by professionals (e.g. a root worker)
        on behalf of a client. It often presumes the efficacy of an
        object (herb, mineral, charm) or an incantation (spell or
        prayer) in the manipulation of sexuality.

        Tantra yoga is usually undertaken with the guidance of a guru
        in a religious group and often presumes the "inferiority" of
        practice which includes mere sexuality. It generally involves
        a great many supplementary beliefs about cosmology and the
        nature of divinity that go far beyond magical workings.

        Hindu tantrics seem to regard magic per se as a byproduct
        of mystical endeavour, rather than something which infuses
        the accomplishment of mystical disciplines. This premise
        is at odds with how a variety of Western occultists (e.g.
        Aleister Crowley) have portrayed their mystical systems --
        Crowley, for instance, placed yoga as a *precursor* to
        his sex-magical practice.

        For further comparison between sex magic and spiritual sexual
        practices see also
             
             http://www.luckymojo.com/tksexmagic.html

____________________________________________________________

3.0  TECHNIQUES

3.1  What are the tantra yoga techniques that prolong intercourse?

        Traditional tantra yoga techniques include visualization,
        selection of certain positions, breath control, various forms
        of manual pressure on the genitals, and muscle relaxation.

        More remains to be written, but for now, see
             
             http://www.luckymojo.com/tknorthaustin.html

3.2  How do tantra techniques differ physically from karezza techniques?

        Tantra yoga places more emphasis on visualization, asanas
        (body positions), and breath control than karezza does. In
        addition, each tantric school's style is relatively fixed
        and even dogmatic, whereas karezza is eclectic.

        More remains to be written, but for now, see
             
             http://www.luckymojo.com/tktantradefinition.html
        and  
             http://www.luckymojo.com/tktechniques.html

3.3  Are tantra yoga and karezza techniques the same as extended
      sexual orgasm (ESO)?

        Some of the physical techniques are the same, but ESO and other
        so-called "sex-positive" teachings do not contain a mystical or
        magical component. Interestingly enough, however, people who
        learn the techniques of ESO often report "spontaneous" mystical
        experiences. A theoretical model explaining the biological
        basis of this phenomenon can be found at
             
             http://www.luckymojo.com/tkbiologicalbasis.html

3.4  Will refraining from orgasm harm one physically in any way?

        Apparently not, but overemphasis on avoidance of orgasm may
        lead to a special form of "performance anxiety" or to some
        temporary physical discomfort, especially in men.

        In the practice of sex magic(k), orgasm is often the focal
        point of the ceremony or spell, and its resultant products
        (e.g. mingled sexual fluids) may be ritually consumed,
        offered to a deity, or used to create a sigil or talisman.
        Such mingling requires that both parties be free of
        sexually transmitted diseases, for these can be more
        harmful in the long run than refusal to have an orgasm!

3.5  How can one interest one's partner in tantra or karezza?

        That would of course depend on the type of person one's
        partner happens to be. Those who are open to sexuality and
        mysticism are more likely to be persuaded to study or
        experiment, and, personal tastes being what they are, the
        presentation, style, or education of instructors may or may
        not conform to one's partner's tastes or ethics.

        A good place to start is by sounding out in discussion what
        the partner's interests and possible limitations might be in
        the investigation of sexual mysticism. If sexuality turns them
        off, then more ascetic and symbolic disciplines may become
        valuable introductions to the subject matter. If mysticism
        brings goose-bumps, then framing the enterprise as an
        exploration and study of consciousness (and the outer limits
        of ecstasy) may prove to be more palatable.

        The important thing is not to push too strongly or put such an
        emphasis on the study of the subject that it becomes tantamount
        to an unintentional ultimatum. Sometimes talking about matters
        of intimacy is much more frightening than actually *exploring*
        them, and with the right level of patience, understanding, and
        flexibility, combined with a sincere desire to make it the
        project of a *combined* effort, any obstacles may be overcome.

3.6  Can a solitary person practice tantra or karezza through
      masturbation? Can sex magicians work with masturbation?

        To "practice tantra" is not the sole privilege of the
        partnered or polyamorous. First, the wide range of
        descriptions for the practice and its goals allow a variety
        of possible objectives, and second, the exploration one
        does on one's own easily becomes invaluable groundwork for
        what one does with any future lovers.

        Although some tantric gurus forbid the practice, many
        neo-tantrics find the ritualization of masturbation to be
        liberating, some integrate it into their devotionals
        (fucking their god, for example, or dedicating their
        pleasure to a deity as an offering), some explore the
        parameters of their sexual excitation and arousal cycles,
        and others try to integrate an attitude toward themselves
        and their aesthetic relish that has the propensity to lead
        to very important life-transformation.

        Masturbation serves in a two-fold manner as an effective
        neo-tantric practice. It combines, especially within a
        puritanical culture, the violation of the cultural
        dissuasion against self-pleasure with an ecstatic
        experience that can develop mystical results.

        Sex magicians are somewhat divided on the subject of
        whether masturbation is an efficacious method of working.

        Generally speaking, folk magicians have long used
        masturbation as a technique to produce sexual fluids
        needed in spell-casting. For instance, in African-
        American hoodoo, it is common for a single person
        to dress a lodestone with his or her sexual fluids
        as part of a spell to attract a lover. Such an act
        is masturbatory in nature, and is considered perfectly
        good work.

        Some 19th century hermetic and ceremonial sex magicians
        (e.g. Paschal Beverly Randolph) decried both masturbation
        and coitus reservatus as "unnatural." Possibly they were
        under the influence of then-current negative attitudes
        toward masturbation, but be that as it may, their stated
        objections were usually that masturbation did not fulfill
        the alchemical, magnetic-electrical, or other dyadic
        premises underlying their sex magical theories.

        Most progressive 20th century ceremonial sex magicians find
        uses for masturbation as a technique. However, even among
        those most accepting of sexual variety, some demote
        masturbation in favour of other, preferred practices (e.g.
        the sex magician Aleister Crowley, who advocated anal sex
        leading to the consumption of mingled excrement, blood, and
        semen).

3.7  Do tantra teachers or sex magicians advocate any sort of
      "standard practice" religious ritual or physical techniques?
      If so, could you outline them?

        There are no universal standards for ritual work in tantra
        yoga. However, the following techniques for inducing ecstasy
        are used by many teachers in tantric, neo-tantric, and
        non-tantric schools of sex-worship and sex-mysticism:

   3.7.1  Yoni puja and linga puja
            Worship of the generative organs is found in many
            schools of tantra yoga. This can take the form of
            presenting offerings of flowers and/or food to the sex
            organs of a living man or woman, to a statue of a deity,
            or to a simple effigy that symbolizes the yoni (vulva)
            or lingam (penis). In karezza, such worship is modified
            and subdued, but is found in the form of offerings of
            flowers, poetry, and other tokens of affection to the
            lover. In neo-tantra, meditative sexual massage is
            sometimes seen as a form of puja.

   3.7.2  Control of orgasm
            Volitional control of the male orgasm is taught in all
            branches of tantra yoga as well as in some tantra-like
            practices of non-Asian cultures, such as karezza and
            neo-tantra. Karezza writers also advocate volitional
            control of the female orgasm.

   3.7.3  Avoidance of orgasm
            Male avoidance of orgasm is central to certain branches
            of tantra yoga as well as some tantra-like practices of
            non-Asian cultures, such as "male continence." Karezza
            teachers recommend avoidance of both male AND female
            orgasm except at specific times (e.g. when the woman
            is menstruating or when the couple wishes to conceive).
            The degree of emphasis placed on orgasmic avoidance
            varies from teacher to teacher. In some radical Indian
            lineages of tantra yoga, irreversible genital mutilation
            of the male has been practiced to ensure the complete
            impossibility of ejaculation. On the other hand, it
            should be noted that there are sexual mystics, such as
            the spiritualist sex magician Paschal Beverly Randolph,
            who believe that avoidance of orgasm is a metaphysically
            dangerous and possibly demonic enterprise and argue
            strongly aginst it as "unnatural."

   3.7.4  Passive copulation
            By this is meant very slow, mindful penis-in-vagina
            intercourse. Depending on the school of tantra and the
            individual preferences of the partners, this may involve
            no movement by either party, minimal movement by both
            parties, or no movement on the part of the man but some
            on the part of the woman. Passive copulation can be
            undertaken in any number of positions. One classic is
            the Hindu and Tibetan pose in which the woman sits in
            the man's lap, commonly known by its Tibetan name,
            "yab-yum" (which means "father-mother"). Among those
            who practice karezza, more conventional Western sexual
            positions such as lying side-by-side or woman-on-top
            are preferred for passive copulation because they
            require less effort and training. Taoist sexual alchemy
            texts advocate the woman-on-top position.

   3.7.5  Eye-gazing
            This is recommended in most schools of tantra yoga and
            also by those who practice karezza. This is a form of
            meditation in which the partners simply look into each
            other's eyes for long periods of time.  This may be done
            during passive copulation or during more active
            intercourse.

   3.7.6  Breath-control
            Some form of this is common to all branches of tantra
            yoga, as it is part of the yoga substrate from which
            tantra yoga grew. Different breathing patterns are
            recommended by teachers in different schools of tantra
            yoga. Some of these involve hyperventilation, holding
            the breath, and other counter-natural patterns of
            inspiration. In karezza, synchronized slow breathing is
            deemed sufficient breath-control. Taoist sexual alchemy,
            in keeping with the Chinese interest in mystical numbering,
            goes so far as to prescribe batteries of counted breathing
            rhythms performed in conjunction with pelvic thrusts (e.g.
            81 thrusts). In any form, breath control helps the
            participants key into the neurological basis of orgasm
            control. Synchronized breathing also helps the partners
            align their peaks and valleys of sexual arousal and
            spiritual bliss.

   3.7.7  Circulation of subtle or aetheric energies
            This is spoken of in almost every branch of sex-magic
            and sex-religion. In some schools of tantra yoga, the
            ascent of subtle energies up the spine and through a
            series of energy points on the body (chakras) is
            envisioned and experienced -- especially by those whose
            teaching style is heavily influenced by kundalini yoga.
            As applied to tantra yoga, this kundalini-influenced
            vision of sexual union presents the energy as rising
            upward around each person's spine in twin currents (ida
            and pingala) surrounding a central core (sushumna), then
            joining at the top (crown chakra), and joining in union
            with the kundalini in the partner's crown chakra. Western
            sex religionists and sex-magicians also refer to such
            subtle energies, but they are envisioned in different ways.
            The 19th century writer Paschal Beverly Randolph presented
            an elaborate electro-magnetic and gender-specific model
            for the exchange of energy between two people who were
            engaged in frontal-contact coition. The early 20th century
            writer George Washington Savory experienced deep spiritual
            bliss and union with the divine from the aetheric energies
            he received when nursing at his wife's breast; she in turn
            described the nurturing and healing energy embodied in his
            semen. Followers of the 20th century psychologist Wilhelm
            Reich perceive the flow of "orgone" energy aroused during
            sexual contact "streaming" up the frontal surface of the
            body. Taoist sexual alchemists describe the "circulation
            of chi" (vital energy) in the body at different stages of
            arousal, culminating with the upward passage of chi along
            the "meridian" system, through "gates" and into the head.
            Direct experience leads many practitioners of most forms
            of Western sacred sex to describe a state in which their
            bodies seem to physically merge, blend, or become one with
            each other, with a free flow of energetic sensation shared
            between their central cores.

   3.7.8  Antinomianism
            Some schools of tantra yoga encourage antinomianism
            (breaking of cultural taboos, e.g. against eating
            certain foods or against having sex with people of
            certain social or familial rank). Karezzans do not
            encourage antinomianism. Among sex magicians, opinions
            are divided. Paschal Beverly Randolph was a fierce
            proponent of monogamy and intoxication with hashish
            (then legal!); Aleister Crowley advocated "orgies"
            of illegal drug use, and engaged in such taboo-
            breaking "magical" acts as self-cutting with razor
            blades, the eating of excrement, and defecation on a
            friend's carpet after a private display of homosexual
            sodomy.

   3.7.9  Lifestyle
            Some schools of tantra yoga and Western sex-mysticism
            encourage sexual promiscuity, while others insist on
            sexual monogamy or even (hard though this may be to
            comprehend) celibacy. The question of whether one
            should live as a "householder" in society or remove
            oneself to a monastery (ashram), or take up the path
            of a wandering renunciate (sadhu) is also endlessly
            debatable within the many schools of tantrism.

   3.7.10 Deity worship
            Some branches of tantra yoga and tantra-like sexual-
            spiritual practices of non-Hindu cultures involve the
            devotee in the worship of a sexualized goddess or god
            (e.g. Siva and/or Shakti as Durga, Parvati, Kali et al);
            some take this farther and ask that the devotee worship
            the sexual partner as a living incarnation of a sexualized
            goddess or god; others subsume the practice of spiritual
            sexuality under the worship of a deity who is not
            sexualized. Taoist sexual alchemy does not decree the
            worship of a sexualized deity, although the lover is
            identified with a mythological figure (the Green Dragon,
            if male, and the White Tiger if female). Karezzans
            presume that one will experience religio-sexual-mystical
            bliss, but may frame this in terms of the individual's
            ascent to "heaven" or "celestial realms," or may seek to
            dedicate the resultant ecstasy to the deity-of-choice
            (e.g. Jesus Christ).

   3.7.11 Meditation
            Some schools of Hindu and most schools of Buddhist
            tantra yoga advocate meditation. The form this takes
            varies by the base-religion that underlies the tantric
            practices. Hindus tend toward visual meditation (e.g.
            on a "yantra" or geometric diagram symbolizing sakti
            {female energy} or on the figure and form of the
            deity-of-choice (e.g. Kali, Siva, etc.) and sonic
            meditation (e.g. on the sound "om"). Tantric Buddhist
            meditation is as varied as the many schools of Buddhism
            themselves. Taoist sexual alchemy mentions meditation
            rarely; usually in later texts that have been
            influenced by Hinduism. Karezzans treat little of
            meditation in the Asian sense, describing it in
            Transcendentalist terms, which correspond to what
            some Asians call "contemplation."

   3.7.12 Use of asanas (postures) and mudras (hand gestures)
            Most teachers of Hindu and Buddhist tantra, as well as some
            neo-tantra teachers, tell students that tantra yoga is
            facilitated by the use of certain asanas (bodily postures)
            while engaging in intercourse. They may also advocate the
            use of special mudras (ritual hand gestures) while in
            coition or as part of yoni puja or linga puja. To many
            Westerners, the asanas seem odd or forced, but when one
            understands that they grow out of the ancient tradition
            of hatha yoga, in which the ability to attain and maintain
            difficult body postures is part of a regimen of ascetic
            disciplines, their application to in a sexual context
            is more clearly understood. Likewise, the mudras assume
            two contexts in light of Indian culture: they are gestures
            made by the deities (and have hagiographic import in the
            identification of deities in religious art) and they are
            also gestures the devotee can make as part of a service
            to a particular god or goddess. For an -- unfortunately
            uncredited -- adaptation of a chapter from an undated
            tantric text called Vamakeshvaratantra, describing
            the use of the major Hindu tantric mudras, see
                 
                 http://www.crl.com/~tzimon/Workings/mudra.html

   3.7.13 Use of mantras (chants) and yantras (symbolic images)
            Tantra yoga is not alone among the various types of Indian
            religion in its use of mantras (chants) and yantras
            (symbolic images) to aid meditation or self-realization,
            nor are such aids found exclusively in Asian religions.
            Repetitious prayer and the focus of vision upon sacred
            images is a world-wide phenomenon, and it is not restricted
            to religions in which there is a sexual component. All
            that aside, the characteristic mantras to deities such as
            Siva and Kali are considered highly useful to the tantric
            devotees of those entities, as are such symbolic images
            and representations as the downward pointing triangle and
            numerous elaborate variations of interlocked triangles.
            For the non-Hindu practitioner of a sex-based mystical
            system, other prayers and symbols may be of greater use;
            the disciples of Austin Osman Spare, for example, focus on
            a form of self-encrypted writing called sigilization
            during sex-magical rites.

3.8  What are the goals (stated) and effects (stated and not) of
      tantra and karezza?

        The stated goals vary by the branch of tantra or tantra-like
        sexual-spiritual practices of non-Hindu cultures one is
        considering. They range from literal union with the godhead
        to enjoying sex more, with plenty of stops along the way for
        intermediate goals. A good middle ground may be to
        experience spiritual bliss through sexual pleasure, to
        witness the incarnation of deity in one's lover, and to
        experience union with that divine incarnation on all the
        levels of visual, emotional, mental, physical, and
        spiritual existence which one can perceive.

3.9  Is it possible to learn tantra yoga or karezza without
       a guru or teacher?

        Some teachers of tantra yoga insist that a guru
        must initiate one into tantra. Most authorities
        within Hindu tantric communities caution that
        guidance is extremely important and that getting
        disciplines out of (possibly erroneous) texts may
        be hazardous to those who are not properly
        prepared.

        On the other hand, karezza promotes learning from
        observation of one's partner -- a mutual
        initiation, as it were.

        Many people report that they have received a
        "transmission" or "revelation" about sacred sex
        through conversation, or by reading old books,
        usenet posts, or pages on the world wide web.

3.10  How can a gay person practice tantra? Where is their kundalini?
       Isn't it the case that for tantric experiences and sex magic
       a male and a female are required?

        Gay people can and do practice tantra yoga.

        In the first place, kundalini energy is not a requisite
        theoretical part of the composite and diverse systems of
        Hindu and Buddhist tantra. (See section 3.7.7 of this FAQ)

        In the second place, even among those tantrikas who use the
        kundalini model of energy flow, kundalini's rising energy
        currents are conceived as being the same in homosexuals,
        bisexuals, heterosexuals, celibates, intersexes, and eunuchs.

        Finally, the history of Hindu tantra yoga ritual artwork
        contains many graphic examples of the ritualization of male
        castration (severing of both the testicles and penis) as part
        of an extreme devotionary act dedicated to Shakti in her
        wrathful form of Kali. Ritual castration is not condoned by
        the Indian government at the present time, but insofar as it
        was admired, advocated, and institutionalized by certain
        (minority) tantric gurus and their students in the past, it
        is evident that a male practitioner's sexual orientation
        and/or his capacity to function as a vaginal penetrant are
        NOT relevant to his acceptance into certain schools of
        tantra yoga. This information is not presented with the aim
        of equating homosexuals with castrati, merely to indicate
        that the penis-in-vagina coupling of heterosexual male and
        female bodies is not central to all schools of tantric
        teaching. (Ritual castration, by the way, was not limited to
        Indian religious practice: male members of the Near Eastern
        cult of Cybele also offered their genitals to their goddess;
        likewise, ritual male castration made inroads into early
        Christianity, although it was condemned as excessive during
        the late Middle Ages.)

        In folk magic, there is no barrier to any kind of homosexual
        magical working. For instance, a spell formula such as
        "Follow Me Boy" can be used interchangeably by heterosexual
        women and gay men to attract a male lover.

        Among hermetic and ceremonial sex magicians, opinions about
        homosexuality are sharply divided. One famous bi-sexual
        sex magician, Aleister Crowley, went so far as to declare
        that homosexual rites were in many ways superior to
        heterosexual workings, but he also claimed that lesbian
        couples were incapable of sex magick at all, due to their
        inability to produce sperm, which he believed was an
        essential ingredient in the work.

____________________________________________________________

4.0  REFERENCE MATERIALS

4.1  I would like to learn more about these subjects, but am
      extremely wary of "teachers" and especially so in this
      context. There are a lot of fakes out there.  Can you
      provide references that I can read to learn more?

        Self-teaching or mutual teaching with a partner is
        definitely acceptable in the realm of Western sex-
        mysticism and neo-tantra, even that which is very
        closely modelled on traditional Indian and Tibetan
        tantra yoga.  Because the opportunities for sex-abuse
        must be considered, we do not recommend that you take
        any class from a teacher without a thorough
        investigation of his or her reputation,

        Generally, in the newsgroup, the single book most often
        recommended to beginners who ask for a text on tantra is

           "Tantra: the Cult of the Feminine" by Andre Von Lysbeth.

        This book contains a basic historic and cultural
        introduction to Indian culture, Hindu tantra yoga,
        Saktiism, and karezza, with pragmatic explanations of
        how to perform the mystical, yogic, and sexual practices
        recommended by a variety of ancient and contemporary
        schools of tantra yoga, Western sex-mysticism, and
        neo-tantra.

        For those who ask about Taoist sex alchemy, the book most
        often recommended in the newsgroup is

           "The Art of the Bedchamber" edited by Douglas Wile.

        This consists of English translations of the 22 extant
        Chinese texts on the subject, with detailed cultural,
        historic, and linguistic commentaries by the editor.

        An often-recommended book about Hermetic and ceremonial
        sex-magick is

           "Modern Sex Magick" by Donald Michael Kraig.

        This presents, among other things, a basic overview of the
        ritual sex magick of Aleister Crowley and his associates.

        A further short list of texts will be appended if people
        contribute. For now, see the lengthy bibliography at
           
           http://www.luckymojo.com/tkbibliocontents.html

4.2  Is the Kama Sutra of any real significance to tantra yoga?
      It seems like an ancient marriage manual more than anything else.

        The Kama Sutra is an ancient marriage manual. It reads
        like an old-fashioned sexual self-help book. It is highly
        coloured by local cultural beliefs, too, regarding the
        status of women, of marriage as an institution, and even of
        children and pets. We consider it more of a curiosity than
        anything else -- and we consider 19th and 20th century
        interest in it a significator of Western culture's
        fascination with "exotic" (i.e. foreign culture) sex. The
        Kama Sutra is no more or less about sexual metaphysics or
        sexual spirituality than a standard American "how-to-fuck"
        book would be.

4.3  Are there tantra videos, courses, or seminars?

        Most materials currently available on video or taught in
        workshops and courses are more properly considered to be
        neo-tantra, not tantra yoga.

        A short list of available materials will be appended here
        if people contribute. For now, see the link-list at
             
             http://www.luckymojo.com/tkwebsites.html

============================================================

        Contributors:
             catherine yronwode (cat@luckymojo.com)
             tyagi nagasiva     (nagasiva@luckymojo.com)
             Matt Atkins        (matkins@io.com)
             Shava Nerad        (shava@efn.org)
             Tzimon Yliaster    (tzimon@xiqual.com)

        Editors:
             tyagi nagasiva     (nagasiva@luckymojo.com)
             catherine yronwode (cat@luckymojo.com)

        Modifications to this FAQ, as well as new questions
        and answers, should be discussed in alt.magick.tantra
        rather than via private e-mail.

____________________________________________________________

        Copyright Notice:
                copyright 1999 catherine yronwode, tyagi nagasiva,
                and Matt Atkins; reproduction for profit or for
                non-electronic distribution prohibited without the
                express permission of the copyright holders.

        Editors:
             tyagi nagasiva     (nagasiva@luckymojo.com)
             catherine yronwode (cat@luckymojo.com)

============================================================

EOF

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