You've heard of "50 Shades Of Gray". Now try 50 shades of Tantra
Hoping to get your pulse racing, your kundalini rising, and your chakras spinning like tops? Explore which path of Tantra will get your aura started. I imagine that 50 shades is actually a modest estimation. This is increasingly true in this modern age, especially now that Tantra is becoming so popular here in the West. Tantra has been around for thousands of years and continues to evolve as Eastern philosophy meets Western psychology.
Allow me to guide you toward the shade of Tantra that suits you. I will describe five paths of Tantra. Each path is represented by a color. Within these five tantric paths, there are easily 10 variations or shades of interpretation available, which would give you the proverbial 50 shades of Tantra.
1. White Tantra. This is used to describe a spiritual path of Tantra which incorporates meditation, breath work, sounds and postures. Although all of the major chakras or energy centers are recognized in this practice, it is the upper two chakras (the third eye and the crown chakra) which seem to get all the conscious attention. These are the energy centers that connect with our intuition and spirituality.
In this culture we tend to equate Tantra with great sex. However, the white path doesn't really focus on the physical act of sex at all! White Tantra is primarily a solo practice between you and spirit. Although this is a solo practice, White Tantra does acknowledge relationships as having merit. The various people who come into our lives are said to provide us with a mirror to help us learn and grow.
Personally, I define Tantra as more of a philosophy than a religion. However, I recognize that there are some people who practice Tantra religiously. Some forms of Tantra have become so intertwined with the beliefs of a specific religion such as Hinduism, Taoism or Buddhism that it is difficult to sort out where the religion ends and the Tantra begins. Within the practice of White Tantra, sexual energy is often re-directed or channeled towards spiritual transformation, creative endeavors, healing, expanded awareness, and what some might refer to as enlightenment. Sexual activity is not strictly "forbidden" by most of the White Tantra practices; however, quite often followers of White Tantra are influenced by religious teaching that value chastity, sexual abstinence or celibacy.
If you are an individual who is seeking a journey of spiritual enlightenment or a deeper connection with God or spirit, then perhaps white Tantra is for you. Kundalini yoga is a popular practice in this culture that is often categorized as White Tantra. However, if your reason for exploring tantra is primarily in hopes of learning new ways to improve your sex life, you may be disappointed.
2. Red Tantra. This is a path of Tantra best known for bringing us tantric sex. Red Tantra is primarily a practice that you do with your partner. The union between you and your beloved is seen as a form of god and goddess worship that creates not only a bond with your partner but a bridge or connection to the divine god and goddess. You and your partner embody the god and goddess, and when you come together to make love using Tantric Rituals, you join body, heart, mind and spirit. All of the chakras or energy centers of the body are involved in the connection. The intention is to create a piece of heaven on Earth that transcends the physical act of sex. By incorporating Tantric practice into your love life, you can reach not only higher levels of pleasure and connection, but a higher spiritual vibration as well.
My understanding is that in India, Red Tantra was originally a highly advanced spiritual practice that was only taught to those who had achieved a level of mastery of the White Path of Tantra. Today there are secular forms of Red Tantra in the West that do not require followers to achieve any mastery. The focus of this more secular form of Tantra is primarily on exploring bliss, ecstasy and all the pleasurable sensations you can achieve during love making. Tantric Sex is now something that couples may explore, with or without the original spiritual intent.
Red Tantra is known for luxurious love making sessions that last for hours, ideally leading to multiple, full-body orgasms … with or without an ejaculation. The more secular forms of Red Tantra focus on erotic and romantic love, activating mostly the lower chakras" the primal, sexual and sensual energies of the root and sacral chakras. However, without the spiritual component to the practice, the upper chakras do not receive as much attention. The sacred forms of Red Tantra lead to a sense of euphoric oneness not only with your partner, but with the universe and God. The more secular forms of Red Tantra encourage couples to spend lots of time making love and exploring heightened levels of pleasure. However, this secular practice lacks the experience of spiritual love, and the universal connection that is the point of the sacred practice of Red Tantra.
3. Pink Tantra. This refers to a heart-centered path of tantra that blends many of the elements of White Tantra (generally without the tendency to embrace a life of celibacy) with some aspects of Red Tantra (without the need for a full time tantric partner to practice with.) Within the path of Pink Tantra, all of the chakras are acknowledged. However, there seems to be an emphasis on the importance of the heart: opening the heart chakra and healing the heart. Compassion, acceptance and forgiveness for others and for our self are central themes to this practice. Pink Tantra teaches us to cultivate love without attachment, ownership or expectation. With Pink Tantra love is seen as the impetus for healing and transformation.
Pink Tantra is a great path to follow if you are currently single, struggling with your current relationship or for those who adopt a more open love style such as polyamory. Pink Tantra provides techniques and practices to help you heal from past heartaches, to improve your overall feeling of an emotionally balanced life and to connect with your true self. Pink Tantra recognizes the importance of polarity between masculine and feminine energy. Practicing Pink Tantra will often result in you attracting a good potential mate who complements and resonates with your energy.
If you are already in a love relationship, this practice will ideally deepen and strengthen your partnership. If your relationship was struggling, you may experience a rekindling of an emotional and passionate connection with your partner. However, this practice encourages personal wholeness. Sometimes this practice will enable someone to leave a partner who is abusive or otherwise keeping them from being an authentic expression of their true self.
4. Black Tantra. This is a path of tantra that incorporates magic and is clouded in mystery. Sometimes Black Tantra is referred to as Dark Tantra. Some have compared this path of Tantra to the black magic of voodoo. Black Tantrikas are often feared in India. I suspect that there is a lot of misconception of this path because it is not practiced openly.
The teachings are intentionally well guarded to protect it from being misused by those with less than pure intentions. Black Tantra has not been widely or openly practiced in the US. One aspect of Black Tantra that has made an impression on our Western consciousness is sex magic, which is a little like practicing "the secret" with the powerful addition of using sexual energy to manifest your intentions. Integrity and discretion are extremely important to the successful practice of Black Tantra.
Generally speaking, it is extremely difficult to find anyone willing to teach you the most powerful techniques of Black Tantra without undergoing a vigorous screening and initiation process. Here in the US, as well as many parts of Europe, we tend to be very skeptical of anything magical, mystical or anything that cannot be explained by our current understanding of science. If this magical Tantra is what you are seeking, it is possible to find it if you persevere and are willing to follow the protocols of your teacher, but it tends to be a lot harder to find than the other types of Tantra, and unfortunately easily confused with an entirely different form of Tantra with a similar name that I will describe next.
5. Dark Tantra. This is sometimes mistakenly called Black Tantra by those who are not aware that the term Black Tantra has already been taken. This alternative meaning refers to a fusion of a tantric sex and BDSM. I believe this path has emerged in very recent times. My understanding is that "Dark Tantra" was "invented" here in Western culture I believe by people who really had a very limited or perhaps no understanding of the original meaning of Dark or Black Tantra. Basically, Dark Tantra seems to be a secular sexual practice that doesn't have much to do with the spiritual practices of Tantra.
I have heard some argue that there is a spiritual aspect to this Dark Tantra. I can imagine that this could be true for some individuals who are on a path of exploring their "shadow" or seeking to sink deeper into trust and surrender, but based on conversations I have had with people who claim to be exploring Dark Tantra, I believe that it is more often practiced as a form of self-expression and sexual exploration than for the purpose of spiritual enlightenment.
My Tantric Path would fit most closely into the category of Pink Tantra. I do use some aspects of White Tantra, such as meditation and breath-work. I also introduce some of the teachings of Red Tantra, particularly to the couples who come to see me. However, most of my clients are either single or married to partners who do not support or participate in their practice of Tantra. This limits my ability to teach Red Tantra as it was intended.
I am familiar with the concepts of sex magic, and have taught some workshops about how to use sex magic to manifest our desires; however, I do not consider myself to be an authority on the subject of Black Tantra. I incorporate some aspects of "sensation play" into my sessions; however, I would not characterize what I do as Dark Tantra either. I am in charge of the session as the goddess (healer and teacher) and expect to be treated with reverence; however, I am not a dominatrix by any stretch of the imagination.
I fully support people's right to choose a life style such as BDSM if that is what they are into, or to experiment with whatever aspects of BDSM appeals to them as a form of self expression or to spice up their love life. However, it is not really my personal hot button or mission to teach this Dark Path of Tantra.
My modalities of choice are love and light which resonates well with the heart centered practice of Pink Tantra. If you would like to speak with me about incorporating Tantra into your life, either via a verbal life coaching session or a healing Tantra session, then please take a look at my website and contact me ASAP.