The arts of sacred sexuality have always been practiced with the intent of transforming mundane thoughts, feelings, and energy into a higher, spiritualized, personal experience of oneness, or union, with all that exists. The practice of sacred sexuality dates back to an ancient culture known as the Lemurians. The Lemurians combined creativity, vibrational healing, aromatherapy, and spirituality. They lived in harmony with body and soul and honored the creative and feminine aspects of life. They were also the originators of the healing art known as Reiki, which was preserved by their descendents in Tibet and surrounding regions. All other ancient arts of sacred sexuality are remnants of those founded by this original race. The oldest arts of sacred sexuality that have been preserved in a relatively complete form are those of Tantra and the Taoist arts of sexology, estimated to be several thousand years old.
Tantra is a Sanskrit word of two parts. The prefix, tan, means “to expand, join or weave.” The latter part, tra, means “tool.” Therefore, the definition of the term Tantra has a two-fold meaning—“a tool to expand, liberate, and bring together.” What is known about Tantra is that the most common form is preserved through such writings as the Kama Sutra (probably written around the time of Christ) and the Ananga Ranga (a collection of erotic works from around 1100 A.D.) The purest form of Tantra was not passed down in writing, but only by way of initiations and personal instruction. The Kama Sutra was written by a noble man who saw life as consisting of dharma (spiritual substance), artha (financial substance), and kama (sensual substance). Kama is said to be “the enjoyment of appropriate objects by the five senses…assisted by the mind, together with the soul.” Although Tantra might appear to be an art of sexual pleasuring and the Kama Sutra a manual of sexual positions, the real goal of kama is to cultivate love and reverence for the person with whom the Tantric pleasure.
Most spiritual disciplines insist on evolving into higher states of consciousness by controlling or denying the senses and lower states of consciousness, Tantra teaches that you cannot experience complete personal and spiritual liberation while restricting a part of your being. Tantra is a profound form of active meditation that expands consciousness using the senses to take you beyond the realm of the senses. It teaches that sacred sexuality is a way of deepening intimacy and expanding consciousness, a way to achieve freedom from limitations and to join with the Divine. Observing a Tantric experience, you might assume you are simply witnessing “great sex.” But if you could see the experience clairvoyantly, you would witness an amazing dance of energy and colour, not unlike a fireworks display. Furthermore, if you could see into the hearts and souls of the participants, you would observe a consecrated joining of loving intent.
Sex has been defined by Valarie Brooks author of “Tantric Awakening” as having three distinct usages:
- Physical: total concentration on the physical pleasure in the moment.
2. Emotional: immersion in loving thoughts and worship of your partner’s divinity.
3. Spiritual: feeling yourself and your partner as a single unit that is connected to Spirit, or God.
It would seem today we focus merely on one aspect in the usage of sex. We seem only to concentrate on the physical pleasure of the moment. Here we see that, that is the least of the usages for sex. True sex is a spiritual path when practiced with an air of sacredness. Since sex should be practiced as a spiritual ceremony, as with all forms of spiritual worship, there is an acknowledging and honoring (worshiping) of a Divine Being. However, in sex, this deity is reflected and honored in your partner, rather than in an intellectual concept or vague image. Therefore, sex is not an abstract form of spiritual practice, but a practical one, wherein the experience with the Divine is brought down to the very realm of the senses. Sex should challenge lovers to see the Divine Presence of God in and through each other. In Tantric writings, a woman’s sexual and spiritual energies are often referred to as Shakti. In Hindu traditions the goddess Shakti represents the female principle or energy. Although the female force, or Shakti, exists in both women and men, women are seen as the “guardians” of the Shakti energy. According to ancient Tantric writings, the power of the Shakti is limitless. Once awakened, this spiritual, energetic, and sexual force can be channelled creatively. Upon awakening, Shakti rises up the spine to meet Shiva, her male counterpart. Together their merged energies create an alchemical fusion of bliss. Thus in Tantra, the coupling of a man and woman serves to represent this greater, universal creative process, as the intercourse between a couple simulates the creation dance of Shakti and Shiva.
Let us now travel to China the house of Taoist. Although Taoism (pronounced Dow-ism), as a philosophy or religion in China, developed later than the Hindu religion of India, both traditions embraced some form of sacred sexuality. The Chinese sexual arts were developed by the Yellow Emperor (Huang-Ti) and his “three immortal ladies” long before Taoism, which means that although Hinduism is older than Taoism, the Chinese sexual arts are still as ancient as Tantra.
Like Tantra, Taoism has many facets, sex being only one of eight “spokes to their wheel.” Royalty often consulted the wise and respected Taoist masters on issues related to philosophy, health, life, and sex. Some of these teachings were preserved and are known as “Canons of Wisdom.” The most common set of ancient writings on Taoist lovemaking is called the “pillow books.”
The primary purpose behind Taoist lovemaking is the transformation of sexual energy into healing energy and vitality, resulting in better health and potential immortality. The primary Taoist technique to achieve these healing effects is called the inward orgasm (in-jaculation), whereby the orgasmic energy rises up the spine, stimulating the endocrine glands, energy systems, nervous system, and organs. Taoists teach that an inner orgasm (in-jaculation) stimulates life and vitality, while the outer orgasm (e-jaculation) brings death or loss of health and vitality. Taoists say that the male is like fire and the woman is like water. The man’s fire (penis or lingam) boils the woman’s water (her womb or yoni). If the man is not trained in the art of lovemaking, her water will extinguish his fire. Thus, the soft and yielding (yin) can conquer the hard (yang), just as the proverbial flowing river conquers the hardest of rocks.
In one ancient text it is written: “If a man has intercourse once without spilling his seed, his vital essence is strengthened. If he does this twice, his vision and hearing are made clearer. If three times, his physical illnesses will begin to disappear. The fourth time he will begin to feel inner peace. The fifth time his blood will circulate powerfully. The sixth time his genitals will gain new prowess. By the seventh his thighs and buttock (muscles and meridians) will become firm. The eighth time his entire body will radiate good health. The ninth time his life-span will be increased.”
–Canon of Taoist Wisdom
We can see clearly that he act of sex holds much more meaning than what is ascribed to it today. The question now is, how did we stray so far away from these profound uses of sex. In our following blog, we will explore the introduction of sexual perversions.
As was put forward in the first blog of this series no freedom comes without responsibility. Here is a short tale that speaks to sexual responsibility.
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Actaeon and Diana
When Actaeon, (a respected hunter who symbolizes the physical self) happened upon the great goddess Diana, naked and washing herself, he failed to fall down and worship her. Instead, he chose to make a sexual advance. Because he failed to see and honor her divinity, she turned him into a stag (symbolizing his out-of-control horniness). Afterwards, Actaeon’s own hunting dogs devoured him. This story suggests that when our sexual desires are out of control and we fail to recognize the sacred spirit within that which we desire, our actions will inevitably destroy us.