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3 Practitioners

Neotantra, navatantra (Sanskrit: , nava 'new') or

tantric sex, is the modern, western variation of tantra
often associated with new religious movements. This includes both New Age and modern Western interpretations of traditional Hindu and Buddhist tantra. Some of
its proponents refer to ancient and traditional texts and
principles,[1][2] and many others use tantra as a catch-all
phrase for sacred sexuality, and may incorporate unorthodox practices. In addition, not all of the elements of
Indian tantric practices are used in neotantra, in particular
the reliance on a guru. As the interest in Tantra has grown
in the West, its perception deviates remarkably from the
Tantric traditions. It was seen as a cult of ecstasy, combining sexuality and spirituality to correct Western repressive attitudes towards sex.[3] Hence for many modern
readers Tantra is now synonymous with spiritual sex or
sacred sexuality, a belief that sex should be recognized
as a sacred act capable of elevating its participants to a
higher spiritual plane.[4]

Sir John George Woodroe, also known by his

pseudonym Arthur Avalon, was a British Orientalist
whose work helped to unleash in the West a deep and
wide interest in Hindu philosophy and Yogic practices.
Alongside his judicial duties he studied Sanskrit and
Hindu philosophy and was especially interested in Hindu
Tantra. He translated some twenty original Sanskrit texts
and published and lectured prolically on Indian philosophy and a wide range of Yoga and Tantra topics.[8]
Woodroes The Serpent Power The Secrets of Tantric
and Shaktic Yoga, is a source for many modern Western adaptations of Kundalini yoga practice. It is a philosophically sophisticated commentary on, and translation
of, the Satcakra-nirupana (Description of and Investigation into the Six Bodily Centres) of Purnananda (dated
around AD 1550) and the Paduka-Pancaka (Five-fold
Footstool of the Guru). The term Serpent Power refers
to the kundalini, an energy said to be released within an
individual by meditation techniques.[9]
Pierre Bernard was a pioneering American yogi, scholar,
occultist, philosopher, mystic, and businessman.[10] He
claimed to have traveled to Kashmir and Bengal before founding the Tantrik Order of America in 1905.[11]
He eventually expanded to a chain of tantric clinics in
places such as Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, and
New York City. Bernard is widely credited with being
the rst American to introduce the philosophy and practices of yoga and tantra to the American people.[11] He
also played a critical role in establishing a greatly exaggerated association of tantra with the use of sex for mystical
purposes in the American mindset.[10]

Historic sexual practices in traditional Tantra

The practice of Tantric Buddhism in Western Xia led

to the spread of some sexually related customs. Before
Uighur women in Shanxi in the 12th century could get
married to men of their own ethnicity when they reached
30 years old, they would have sex and bear children with
multiple Han Chinese men and their desirability as a wife
corresponded to whether she had been with a large number of men.[5][6][7]
Many teachers of this version of tantra believe that sex
and sexual experiences are sacred acts, which are capable of elevating their participants to a higher spiritual plane.[12] They often talk about raising Kundalini
energy,[13][14] worshiping the divine feminine, activating
2 Tantric sexuality
the chakras.[15] In this context, the word tantra, generally refers to the set of techniques for cultivating a more
See also: Tantra and Tantra massage
fullling sexual or loving relationship. On the other hand,
there are also some truly dedicated scholars and teachers
As tantric practice became known in western culture, in the eld of modern tantra.
which has escalated since the 1960s, it has become identied with its sexual methods in the West. Consequently,
its essential nature as a spiritual practice is often overlooked. The roles of sexuality in tantra and in neotantra,
while related, are actually quite dierent, reecting substantial dierences in their cultural contexts.

Guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, later known as Osho,

used his version of tantra in combination with breathing
techniques, bio-energy, yoga, and massage in some of the
groups at his ashram. He is the author of many books
on meditation, taoism, buddhism, and mysticism, and at
least six on tantra. One of them is Tantra, The Supreme


Understanding, in which he unpacks the verses of the

form... This gives would-be Tantrics the op"Song of Mahamudra", by Tilopa. In addition out of his
portunity to concoct their own idiosyncratic
discourses on the Vigyan Bhiarav (or Vijnaya-bhairava),
ceremonies and philosophies, which they can
the 112 practices for enlightenment resulted in the much
then promote as Tantra.[18]
longer The Book of Secrets.
His students continue to
develop his concepts.
Responding to criticism of modern Western Tantra, GeOne of Oshos students, Margot Anand, founded a school orey Samuel, a historian of Indian and Tibetan Tantra
called Skydancing tantra. She is the author of dozens of writes:
books including the Art of Everyday Ecstasy, and the Art
of Sexual Magic, today is of the opinion that sex is a limTantra as a modern Western sexual and
itation...awakening or enlightenment means transcend of
spiritual practice, however complex and conall which is fenomenal, temporary and transient. Another
tested its origins in Asia, was and is more than
modern tantrika is Daniel Odier who believes that desire
a fringe phenomenon of the 1960s and 1970s
can be a valid pathway to transcendence.[17] Sexologists,
counterculture. On the contrary, it took up
porn star and mother of Yoni massage Annie Sprinkle
themes of considerable depth and signicance
and Joseph Kramer (Sex educator) and father of Lingham
within Western culture, and synthesized them
massage are two examples of practitioners who teach sacreatively with borrowings from Buddhist and
cred erotic massage. Joseph Kramer is known to have
Hindu sources. Its slow but steady growth since
developed TAO EROTIC MASSAGE. Andro Andreas
the 1970s suggests that its potential has not yet
Rothe (German Zen Monk) developed Tantra Massage
been exhausted, and I would contend that to
and Tantra Erotic Massage.
dismiss it as an empty and supercial expression of the spiritual logic of late capitalism is
Erotic, which isn't necessarily sexual, refers to a massage
to miss the possibility of a development of real
that massages the primary erogenous zones of the body,
that is penis, anus, vagina, or mouth. Shakti Verah Andros direct student, and Sri Moojiji (Advaita master) direct disciple, take the view that herogenous zones are to- According to author and critic of religion and politics
tally a-sexual organs. Verah works with the body through Hugh Urban:
tantra massage and tantra erotic massage to point to the
no body. She doesn't seem to pay any attention to sexSince at least the time of Agehananda
ual energyin her words: sexuality is the highest state
Bharati, most Western scholars have been
of duality. As such, unless we transcend sex, we cannot
severely critical of these new forms of pop
rise beyond our basic ordinary human condition which is
Tantra. This California Tantra as Georg
marked by life, procreation, death. Oneness is sexless,
Feuerstein calls it, is based on a profound misgender is bodiless.
understanding of the Tantric path. Their main
In 1997 Deborah Anapol convened a national Celebraerror is to confuse Tantric bliss... with ordinary
tion of Eros, a Conference on Sacred Sexuality, bringorgasmic pleasure.[20]
ing together for the rst time, teachers from Tantric,
Taoist, Su, Buddhist, Jewish, Pagan, Hindu, Shinto, Urban says he does not consider this wrong or false,
Wiccan, Occult, Native American, and Afro-Caribbean but simply a dierent interpretation for a specic histortraditions.
ical situation.[21]


Georg Feuerstein, a German Indologist who also trained

in tantra, writes in the epilogue of his book Tantra: Path
of Ecstasy:
Many are attracted to Neo-Tantrism because it promises sexual excitement or fulllment while clothing purely genital impulses or
neurotic emotional needs in an aura of spirituality. If we knew more about the history
of Tantra in India, we would no doubt nd
a comparable situation for every generation.
He goes on to say, Today translations of several major Tantras are readily available in book

5 See also
Erotic massage
Orgasm control
Sex magic
Venus Buttery

6 References





6.2 Citations

[1] Yoga Spandakarika: The Sacred Texts at the Origins of

Tantra, Daniel Odier (2004)
[2] The Yoga of Delight, Wonder, and Astonishment, A Translation of the Vijnaya-bhairava, Jaideva Singh, Motilal Banarsidass Publisher (1991)
[3] For cult of ecstasy see: Urban (2003), pp. 204205.
[4] For Tantra as a synonym for spiritual sex or sacred
sexuality, see: Urban (2003), pp. 204205
[5] Michal Biran (15 September 2005). The Empire of the
Qara Khitai in Eurasian History: Between China and the
Islamic World. Cambridge University Press. pp. 164.
ISBN 978-0-521-84226-6.
[6] Dunnell, Ruth W. (1983). Tanguts and the Tangut State
of Ta Hsia. Princeton University., page 228

, .

Tantra, The Supreme Understanding, Bhagwan

Shree Rajneesh (1975)
The Art of Sexual Magic, Margot Anand (1996)
Kama Sutra: A Modern Guide to the Ancient Art of
Sex, Nitya Lacroix (2003)
Tantra: The Art of Conscious Loving, Charles and
Caroline Muir, Mercury House Publishers (1990)
The Tantra Experience: Discourses on the Royal
Song of Saraha, Osho (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh),
Osho International Foundation (1978)
Red Hot Tantra: Erotic Secrets of Red Tantra for
Intimate, Soul-to-Soul Sex and Ecstatic, Enlightened
Orgasms, David Ramsdale and Cynthia W. Gentry,
Quiver Publishing (2004)
Kundalini Tantra, Swami Satyananda Saraswati,
Yoga Publishing Trust (2001)

[8] T.M.P. Mahadevan, foreword to; Arthur Avalon, Garland

of Letters, Ganesh and Company Madras, 6th ed. 1974 p

Anand, Margot (2003). The New Art of Sexual Ecstasy. New York: HarperCollins.

[9] Sir John Woodroe. The Serets of Tantric and Shaktic

Yoga. Dover Publications NY 1974. p 313

Avinasha, B. (2003). The Ipsalu Formula A

Method for Tantra Bliss. Valley Village, Los Angeles, California.: Ipsalu Publishing.

[10] Urban
[11] Stirling 2006, pg. 7
[12] Sacred Orgasms, Kenneth Ray Stubbs (1992)
[13] Kundalini: Evolution and Enlightenment, Edited by John
White, Paragon House (1979), Page 27-47
[14] Tantric Yoga: The Royal Path to Raising Kundalini Power,
Gavin and Yvonne Frost, Samuel Weiser Publishing
[15] Jewel in the Lotus: The Sexual Path to Higher Consciousness, Sunyata Saraswati and Bodhi Avinasha, Kriya Jyoti
Tantra Society (1987), Pages 77-90
[16] Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (1998)
[17] Desire: The Tantric Path To Awakening, Daniel Odier, Inner Tradition Publishing (2001)
[18] Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, Georg Feuerstein, Shambala
Press (1998), Page 271
[19] Samuel, Georey; Tantric Revisionings, New Understandings of Tibetan Buddhism and Indian Religion, p.
[20] Quotation from Urban (2003), pp. 204205.
[21] Urban (2003), pp. 204205

Batchelor, S. (ed., 1987). The Jewel in the Lotus: A

Guide to the Buddhist Traditions of Tibet. London,
UK: Wisdom Publications.
Bharati, A. (1993). Tantric Traditions. Delhi, India:
Hindustan Publishing Company.
Douglas, N. (1997). Spiritual Sex: Secrets of Tantra
from the Ice Age to the New Millennium. New York:
Simon & Schuster.
Douglas, N. and Slinger, P. (1979). Sexual Secrets:
The Alchemy of Ecstasy. New York: Destiny Books,
ISBN 0892810106
Eden, D., Feinstein, D., & Myss, C. (1999). Energy
Medicine. New York: Tarcher/Putnam.
Feuerstein, G. (1998). Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy.
Boston: Shambhala.
Gerber, R. (2001).
Vibrational Medicine.
Rochester, Vermont: Bear & Company.
Goodchild, V. (2001). Eros and Chaos: The Sacred Mysteries and the Dark Shadows of Love. York
Beach, Maine: Nicolas Hays.
Laue, T. (2012). Tantra im Westen. Eine religionswissenschaftliche Studie ber Weies Tantra Yoga,
Kundalini Yoga und Sikh Dharma in Yogi Bhajans Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization (3HO)

unter besonderer Bercksichtigung der 3H Organisation Deutschland e. V., Mnster: LIT, 2012,
zugl.: Tbingen, Univ., Diss., 2011, ISBN 978-3643-11447-1
Odier, D. (2001). Desire: The Tantric Path to Awakening. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions, 2001.
Osho Rajneesh, B. S.. (1976). Meditation: The Art
of Ecstasy. New York: Harper and Row, 1976.
Osho [Rajneesh, B. S.]. (1976). The Tantra Experience: Discourses on the Royal Song of Saraha
(2 volumes). Cologne, Germany: Rebel Publishing
Saraswati, S. S. (2003). Kundalini Tantra. Munger,
India: Yoga Publications Trust.
Sarita, M. A., & Geho, S. A. (2001). Tantric Love.
New York: Simon & Schuster.
Stubbs, K. R. (1999). The Essential Tantra: A
Modern Guide to Sacred Sexuality. New York:
White, D. G. (ed., 2000). Tantra in Practice.
Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Yeshe, L. (2001). Introduction to Tantra. Boston:


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