What is tantra massage, really?

tantra massage 2Just like the word Tantra, there are many misunderstandings and misuses of the term “tantra massage”. In many minds this conjures up instantly a massage with a “happy ending”, or in other words a sexual release. Of course there are people calling their massage “tantra massage” and doing exactly this, and so it is not entirely surprising for this wide-spread belief!!

However, the role of massage in the path of Tantra can be much deeper and more profound. A massage given for sexual pleasure could more accurately be called an “erotic massage”, leaving the term “tantra massage” to encompass another realm of experience entirely. What, then, is a tantra massage?

Tantra is itself a vast and total life path of spiritual awakening. Ancient tantric texts such as Vigyan Bhairav Tantra contain hundreds of methods of awakening, such as eating in a mindful way, meditating upon the sensation of an ant walking upon your skin, and meditative sexual union methods. This ancient text (some say it could be even as much as 5000 years old) includes the meditation of touch:

 “Sweet Princess,” (says Shiva to Shakti) “whilst being caressed, enter the caress as ever-lasting life.”

Can touch, then, be a portal to the eternal? If we enter the caress totally, can we too enter the realm of everlasting life? Can we get a glimpse of the eternal life beyond the impermanent world that we see? How is it that this transition happens?

Tantra is the union of opposites, the meeting of yin and yang. Not only the meeting, but also the divine union that takes us beyond the apparent separation. Thus Tantra invites in apparent opposites, or polarities, to dance together. Tantra massage is this invitation through the bodily form, through touch, through the senses and through flows of energy.

One of the ways in which tantra massage differs from normal massage is in the fact that both yin and yang energies are included. A standard massage, like you would get in a spa, focuses only on the yin energy- that of relaxation. A tantra massage includes both yin relaxing energies and yang stimulating energies. A masterful tantra massage weaves between relaxation and stimulation like a masterpiece of music would build up and break down. This weaving, dancing, meeting and uniting of polar energies will bring a fulfilling sense of completeness and a deep sense of peace.

Because tantra massage works with energy, it is possible to give one without even touching the sexual organs. Yin and yang energies can be stimulated and rested through the spine and through the energy body. People can even attain full body orgasmic experiences with their clothes still on! (but please note that orgasmic states are not an essential part of tantra massage).

However, if the client choses and the conditions are suitable (legal situation etc) then the genitals might be included to unify the sexual organs with the rest of the body. Too often we treat the sexual organs as separate, and then they feel energetically cut off from the rest of the body. It is extremely hard to have a full body orgasmic experience when the genitals are feeling separate from the whole.

Tantra massage facilitates the union of sexual organs with the rest of the body, and thus the union of sexual energy with all other life force energy flowing through us. Even if the receiver does not have a very orgasmic experience during the actual massage, they will find that it makes a difference to the way their energy flows in them the next time they make love. Many couples have received great benefits for their love-life through such healing.

Sexual organ massage can also help release past sexual traumas, when given by a well-trained therapist. Please note the emphasis on “well-trained”! When the therapist knows how to create a safe space, this can support the receiver’s healing process. It is not so much that the massage therapist is healing the recipient…more that they are supporting the recipient’s healing journey.

On that note, a huge part of the healing benefits of tantra massage is to surrender into a safe space. “Safe” is that the therapist is a therapist, and not a lover. The interaction with a lover is different from with a therapist. Lovers exchange energy (and in fact also engage in a complex web of karma).

A well-trained therapist, on the other hand, will simply hold clear space. They may observe the client’s flow of sexual energy, but they do not engage with it or exchange energy with them. This allows the recipient to surrender in a deeper way, and to access deep levels of vulnerability. To engage with a receiver in their vulnerable state would be a violation from the therapist, and it is wise to find a massage therapist with clear boundaries on this issue.

 

Sadly this field of massage is generally not very well-regulated. When you book a tantra massage, you never know what you will get! Here are some general guidelines to help you find a suitable practitioner:

 

  • Ask the therapist if they have their own tantric practice. They may practice tantric yoga, qigong or tantric meditations. Any of these practices will enhance their ability to give a true tantric transmission.
  • You can ask the therapist what is the aim with the sexual energy in the massage. If they say “to have an orgasm” or “to be pleasured until release”, then this is an erotic massage. If they say something like “to help you to relax around sexual energy and let it flow around the whole body” or “to feel relaxed and natural in the whole body”, then this is more likely a tantric massage.
  • Check what their boundaries are: “Do you engage in a sexual intimate way with your clients?” Look for a therapist with clear and professional boundaries. Trust is essential for surrender to happen.
  • Remember: as a woman you can receive tantra massage from another woman. If you have past trust issues with men, then this can be good at least for your initial treatments.
  • If you want to receive tantric massage but cannot find a therapist you want to work with, another option if to go with a lover or close friend of the opposite sex to a workshop on tantra massage. There are workshops designed just for the participants to learn to give and receive tantra massage. In this way you can receive the healing benefits.

 

 

tantra massage 3A huge thanks to Mahasatvaa Ma Ananda Sarita and Shantam Nisarga for their 12-day “Mystic Massage” training program in Greece (tantra-essence.com), and to John Hawken for his 3-day training in “Tantra Massage” in the UK (thepathsoftransformation.com). Two excellent teachers whom I would heartily recommend!

Train in Tao Tantric Arts with Shashi Solluna, Minke de Vos, Dhyan Niten and David Gyurkovics in Thailand. Mixed trainings and women-only retreats. www.taotantricarts.com

 

 

 

Sexual Healing

How can sexual energy be used to break old habits and patterns?

 

sexual healing“I want Sexual Healing

Sexual Healing, oh baby 

Makes me feel so fine”

 

Marvin Gaye coined the term, and many of us have sang along in the car…but have you ever stopped to think about how sex can actually heal you?

 

In Tao Tantra sexual energy is said to hold a lot of our ancestral chi. What this means is that there are codes in our DNA that create our patterns and habits, many of which keep us stuck in unhealthy behaviours. In classical tantra this is described in terms of karma. You are born with certain patterns that come from ancestral lines and possibly also past lives (up to you how much you can digest that concept) and in order to evolve your journey of healing lies in releasing these patterns.

Easier said than done!

The trouble is, these ancestral patterns are sticky! How many times have you heard the story of the woman raised with a violent dad who then attracts a violent husband? Or the guy who’s mother put him down who then marries the woman who does exactly that! These are examples of our karma, or patterns that we carry which really do not serve us.

Now it’s not enough to just see our patterns (although this is a huge step and helps them become more conscious). How many times have you seen a problem behaviour and yet still found yourself repeating it? That’s because the behaviour is the tip of an iceberg, and the whole iceberg has to be melted to really change things on a permanent basis.

Tao Tantra sees sexual energy as a very heavy sticky energy at the base level. This corresponds with the lower chakras, energy centres that are associated with survival and instincts. These ancient systems say that the sexual energy actually holds the unconscious patterns that drive us (sexual energy is the energy you feel when you get turned on and that fuels your sexual behaviours). Have you ever noticed that you tend to get sexually attracted to people who trigger your deepest issues?!!!! Well Tao Tantric theory says that is not an accident! We are drawn to certain partners because there is the potential of sexual healing.

However, note the word POTENTIAL. It is not enough to follow our sexual urge wherever it carries us! Because Tao Tantric theory also says that in order to actually release yourself from attachment to these patterns, you have to raise the energy to a higher vibration. This is where Tao Tantric Lovemaking comes in.

Practitioners of these arts learn to cultivate the energy and raise it upwards. As the energy moves up through different pumps, or chakras, it refines. Rather like in an oil refinery where the crude oil is converted to refined oil through a series of processes. Taoists understood the spine as carrying a series of pumps; Tantrics saw this process energetically through wheel-like chakras. It boils down to the same thing: through full-body orgasmic techniques the dense sexual energy can transform into a lighter more refined energy in a process of purification that releases old unhealthy habits.

Another way of looking at this is that some of our patterns of behaviour are of a lower vibration than others. As we raise our base energy up through our body, the vibration raises. We can “lift our spirits”, as they say. Tao Tantric practitioners often report that they can lift heavier emotions, such as depression, through their practices.

Now it all sounds like good news. But the flip side of this is that if you are not raising the energy, when you engage in sex you may stir up all the karmic “mud” and just experience lots of crap with your sexual partner!! Have you ever noticed how relating with a sexually intimate partner goes into muddy areas that non-sexual relationships rarely ever touch? Some people prefer to keep away from sexual relating altogether to avoid stirring up the silt from the bottom of the riverbed!

lotus-mudHowever, Tao Tantra comes back time and time again to the metaphor of the lotus that grows out of the mud. If you learn how to raise sexual energy, you can use sexuality for healing and transformation, rather than as a catalyst for emotional dramas! And what a great way to heal!

How to become a Tao Tantric Lover

Well, it’s not an overnight-job, but there are ancient systems of Taoism and Classical Tantra that can guide you towards raising sexual energy…and you don’t even need a partner to learn!

It’s actually though Tantric Yoga, Taoist Qigong, meditations and breathwork that we can make this shift. Tantric Massage is also an excellent way to evolve…though it is important to search for a practitioner who has their own daily practice and know what Tantra is, as many people use this term for nothing more than an erotic massage. So look around and ask for a teacher who can guide this transition.

Please note: there is absolutely no need to engage sexually with a teacher to learn! Solo practices performed on a yoga mat, fully-clothed, can take you into the realm of tantric lovemaking. And besides: remember that it is those whom you are naturally attracted to and fall in love with who are often the strongest catalysts for your healing!

So, who knows whether Marvin Gaye was a secret Tao Tantric practitioner or not! But the good news is, we all have the potential to learn!


Learn the tools: TaoTantricArts.com

Find the up-coming movie: SexToSpirit.com

Connect to the Online platform: LiveTantra.com

Tantra for Teenagers

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Teen Love

I am no authority on teenagers…there are very few in my life. But I was one once, so certainly I have that under my belt. And as I sit on a plane to Greece, I am surrounded by groups of young people off on their two weeks of binge drinking and stranger shagging. Meanwhile I have my head in a Tantra book. As I catch morsels of overheard conversations, I am tempted to turn to them and begin to preach the Gospel of Tantra! Don’t do it kids! Don’t separate your consciousness from your sexuality and begin to condition yourselves to a lifetime of sexual experiences in which you are not present!

But hey, most of us did at some point. Perhaps you have to fall in order to pick yourself up. It was only after three years of excessive drinking that I gave up alcohol once and for all and headed to India to find something else of life aged 18 (yes I gave up drinking once I became the legal age to drink!)

But what would it be like if, when those hormones firsts start pumping, someone came to talk to us about Tantra? What if, instead of the conflicting message of “sex is a biological method of reproduction” versus the Hollywood messages of “everyone has flawless bodies and is having a lot of great sex all the time”, we were given some sort of sharing about how sex is related to love, and that it can create very strong experiences. What if the word “sacred” were even mentioned in the same sentence as the word “sex”. What then?

And how about, as those surges of energy come through the young teenage body, someone explained sexual energy? Imagine that concept helping our youth to understand the overwhelming forces at play within, and perhaps even learning a few basic tools to help deal with all of that energy…a little breathwork to support them through moments of intense energy surge. Imagine if we were teaching our young people to understand their own sexual energy before they connect to the energy of another, and then when they do connect they know a little about energies playing together.

How about explaining polarity to children as suddenly they gain a sense of being different from the other sex. How about marking that shift, from child to young adult, with a rite of passage. Returning to nature, as our distant ancestors once did, with our peers and our elders, to find out what it is to become a man/woman. What if, instead of MTV icons of male- and female-ness, teenagers learned about age-old archtypes, and about masculine and feminine energies in nature and the universe. Perhaps we could teach them about our own unique make-up of energies, of masculine and feminine traits and tendencies…and how to be at ease with ourselves just as we are.

What if teenagers were shown how to respect the other sex? Taught how to honour qualities that they may not themselves embody. How to share the delights of our differences…not to try to steal something from the other, or to dominate or gain power over the other.

And how about if teenagers were shown sex beyond the pornographic hard, edgy, loveless sex? What if they were exposed to sensuous and loving union? What if they saw two human beings in real and deep connection, with open eyes seeing one another and open hearts feeling one another. What if they actually glimpsed what it looks like when lovers are seeing the divine in one another …

And how would it be to show our young people the connections between sexuality and nature…to show that sex is natural; that it mirrors the gushing rivers and burning fires; the animal instinct. That some beautiful energies can flow between two bodies, an experience of deep aliveness…what if we let them know that?

How useful would it be to understand a little of creating safe space? Of boundaries…ever-shifting yet hugely important. Of “yes’s” and “no’s” and even options such as “can we just stop and hold each other?” And imagine if young people were taught to find their inner truth, their inner knowing…and learn to trust that. So they are no longer susceptible to the suggestion of every Tom, Dick and Harry, but able instead to look within and find what is right for them in each fresh new moment. Imagine if someone showed them that!

Because then even the adults could relax a bit. Instead of trying desperately to shield their young from sexuality, working against a natural explosion of hormones, parents could rest a little knowing that their children were actually equipped to enter the world of sexuality with the empowerment they need to begin such an epic journey. Not only that, but they might actually have some of the  communication skills to discuss it with their parents. The right education would also create the open-minded atmosphere in which teenagers sexual experiences are not all secretive and hidden from fear of being caught.

Many people seek out tantra in their thirties and forties. But why wait? Imagine what a difference it could make if teenagers were initiated into Tantra. Then perhaps I’d be sat on a plane with a load of youthful beings off to seek connection to nature, learn to open their hearts and discover the joys of being a sexual and alive being.

Paradise Calls

What stops you from walking back into Eden?

I, woman, am Paradise.  The cicadas’ call is my heart beat; the sun shine radiates through my skin; the waves emerge out of my womb; the moon shines in my soul.

What stops you from entering and laying in my garden?

You have been raised in a world where they taught you that you do not deserve Paradise for you were born with original sin, separated from God. Thus pain is the flavour of your existence, and pleasure something you must steal in the shadows of night.

Whilst you are busy stealing, I stand here with arms full of overflowing gifts, but you cannot see. How can you see the plenty, when you still believe in lack?

The tiny pleasures you grasp as your hand reaches out to snatch them bring you no lasting joy, for when the morning light appears you retaliate in shame. You shudder in self-loathing, and crawl back into your hole, dealing out the self-punishment…for after all you are not a man that deserves Paradise…or so they told you.

There is a True Pleasure beyond all that are stolen. If your pleasure cannot be drank in the bright light of consciousness, then it will never bring you Bliss.

Paradise calls. What do you need to do in order to remember that Bliss is your birthright and paradise your home?

She is standing there, calling you, waiting for you to return. But to enter the garden, you must shake off the chains, the beliefs that you are wrapped in. Realize that though you never chose to take them, you can choose to let them go.

She is lying there, waiting open-armed, for you to return and lay in her soft grass and undulating hills. Yet still you scrabble around on the floor of a darkened alleyway searching for scraps.

Step out of the shadows and fall into my arms, My breasts are full of love, like juicy fruit. My yoni an ever-flowing waterfall. Steal from me, and my waters dry up, my fruits wither and die.

Remember Paradise,

Remember your true nature,

Remember how to receive,

…Paradise calls.

Culture has entrapped us. Only Nature can bring us home.

The Pitfalls of Tantra

In most traditional paths of Tantra and Taoist Sexual Practices you often hear of the importance to “purify” before cultivating sexual energy. The Taoists teach that because sexual energy is immensely creative, it will enhance and grow everything. Thus if one has a lot of un-purified anger, raising sexual energy will make you even more angry. If you have a lot of fear, it can produce anxiety attacks. Preparation practices are used to clear the energetic blocks that manifest these negative emotions before cultivating sexual chi. In the path of Tibetan Tantra, a practitioner would complete many years of non-tantric spiritual practice before starting any tantric practices. Tantra Yoga provides a wide range of techniques to prepare body and mind for the sexual practices of tantra.

But what exactly is it that we are purifying and why? What happens if someone embarks on a path of sexual practices without this preparation?

One way to view this is in terms of the ego, or the sense of false self or false identity.

As we are raised in a typical upbringing we are conditioned towards a sense of self and identity. This becomes our reality, gives us a strong sense of “I”, which may have qualities of self-importance and qualities of self-destruction also. Because we believe this is who we are, this sense of self becomes quite dense. It is manifested physically through our body and health, energetically through our emotions and mental through our beliefs. This can be called one’s ego. It is only when one embarks on a spiritual path that one begins to look towards any other reality.

Different spiritual paths offer different methods and practices that can facilitate this process. In Tantric pathways such methods may be called “purification”. The intention is to give less energy to the false aspects of self, and thus they become less dense. Some aspects of self we are more attached to than others and these may be harder to drop. Often practices of fire are used to “burn the karmic fire” and bring enough heat or energy to purify stubborn attachments.

There is a wide range of purification methods found in Tantric and Taoist lineages. They are usually on every level: physical, emotional, energetical and mental, to purify all levels. For example, there may be physical yoga posture or qigong exercises, dietary methods, emotional release, energy practices, and meditation for the mind.

As we embark on purification, the false sense of self becomes less dense, less real, and we become more aware of an inner light, divine presence, pure consciousness as the reality of who we really are. This is sometimes called our True Nature or Ultimate Reality. Instead of living from the desires seeded in ego-self, we live through the desires of Truth. The desire of Truth is almost a misnomer, because the desire is so transparent; so this desire-momentum is more of an “effortless unfolding”, as the Taoists call it.

At what point along the path of purification does one begin sexual practices?

Should one wait until completely purified, and what does that mean? Does one have to completely dissolve the ego-self and become a being of pure light before engaging in sexual practice?

This is not expected, and so there is another method used along with purification. It is the path of bhakti or devotion. This is simply the act of devoting one’s sexual practice to the Divine, and can be done even before one has recognised one’s true nature. There are different forms of this.

One method of devotion is quite simply to devote ones practice to Consciousness. In Taoism this is called itself The Tao or wu wei, sometimes translated as the Source, and may be found my meditating one one’s stillpoint/center (“dantien”). In Tantra it may be called consecration, and is simply the act of devoting one’s practice or sexual act to Consciousness or to The Divine.

Another form of devotion is through divine duality. In Taoism one may connect to Heaven and Earth, the “True Masculine” and “True Feminine” (using qigong or meditation). These are seen as the divine aspects of the fire and water of human masculinity and femininity. In Tantra the equivalent is Shiva and Shakti, the divine masculine and the divine feminine. In the technique of transfiguration we see our beloved as Shiva or Shakti, as well as transfiguring ourselves by meditating on our divine being.

What happens if we proceed with sexual practice without purification and devotion?

Sexual energy is extremely powerful, and thus use of sexual cultivation methods can make someone very powerful. Power is itself is neutral. However, the application of power may be widely differing, as we see from the good king/bad king archetypes. If power is attached to ego, then we tend to have the power to create more karma for ourself, i.e. to create trouble!

This is not just a non-tangible spiritual concept, but a solid reality. We can see it at play in the corporate world. We see companies motivated by greed and other ego-centric sources, and a lot of ripples are created, such as violation of human rights, animal rights and environmental damage. Often such companies produce products that fuel people’s unconscious desire patterns. On the other hand we are starting to see the emergence of ethical companies, motivated by higher values such as care for the environment and fair trade values. The products or services created by such companies are more likely to support the customer’s spiritual evolution and well-being.

Those who start to generate and cultivate a lot of sexual energy without purification and devotion run the risk of mis-using their power. The classic case would be the corrupt tantric guru, who takes advantage of seekers’ desires to evolve by using them sexually for his own pleasure and the cultivation of yet more power. There are also cases of “sexual healers” using techniques to better their fame, glory and bank balance, leaving their clients often feeling violated and confused (or the clients develop their own patterns of mis-use of power). Just as with the ego-centric company, all that is created from some actions will take one farther from spiritual evolution and awakening rather than closer to.

How do we know when we are dealing with an unhealthy power dynamic?

How, on a path when we are vulnerable through lack of experience, can we recognise mis-use of power? We cannot rely on what people say because words can be used to convey truth and mis-truth. Instead we must learn to recognise the presence of ego. This is done not by judging the ego of others’, but always looking within to one’s own ego.

On our own path, this is where we are really responsible. It is up to us to monitor if we are using our practices to cultivate ego or True Nature. One way is to follow our desires back to the seed, or source within.  Desire is what fuels all action, so when you desire to do something check in with yourself and ask “what part of me would benefit from this?” Then see: does that part feel like ego or higher self?

For example, you desire to act as a sexual healer and offer a sexual massage to another person. Before acting upon this desire, stop and meditate into a state of clear mind. Then contemplate the desire itself and look to the source of the desire. What part of you would benefit from the act? If you find that you would like to be seen as a great tantric healer, you would like people to think of you as some great sexual expert…then this has the scent of ego about it! If however, as you contemplate the desire you feel the presence of the Divine, or you feel a strong field of consciousness, then this desire is more likely to be in harmony with spiritual evolution, both for you and the recipient.

The same process can be done from the recipient’s point of view. If you feel a desire to go to a sexual healer for a session, again sit in meditation until the mind becomes clear and then examine the desire. What part of you would benefit? You may discover you are trying to get something from the healer “if I have a session from this healer I will get some of their energy/power.” This is therefore an ego-desire. However, if contemplating the desire brings you into a state of higher consciousness, then it is more likely the desire is divine guidance rather than ego. It is not about the actions we take, but the source of those actions.

The more power involved, the more accentuated the karmic results will be. In this example, the healer is in the position of greater power (as is any teacher, guru or initiator) and therefore it is even more important that they maintain their integrity. If someone holding a lot of power performs an abusive action, it has a much stronger effect than an action of someone with less power. In this way, tantric teachers, healers and initiators have a heavier karmic responsibility. Though they may appear to cause harm to others, ultimately the greatest harm is to themselves. (If we really follow along lines of karmic responsibility we can see that the participants in the acts have also chosen to join in from an ego-based desire, and thus have their own karmic story going on).

This process of the evaluation of desire can be undertaken periodically as one moves along a tantric path, in order to keep oneself in spiritual evolution, and to avoid the pitfalls of the mis-use of power. Often there are a mixture of seed intentions. Part of us desires the fame and glory and part of us desires union with the divine. If we can find both within, we can then put our energy behind the latter and make a conscious choice.

What would this actually look like?

If one propagates ego-based desires, one creates more suffering and illusion. If one follows pure desires, one moves along a path of awakening. Simple!

If you tantric practices appear to be developing a huge sense of ego within you, this is a sign to stop and consider purification and devotion. If you are practicing multi-orgasmic practices for example, and you start feeling like “wow, I am so orgasmic” and you start to publicize the Shashi Solluna Multiorgasmic Method™, then perhaps there is some ego attachment going on. If however, as this sexual energy cascades within you, you feel that you are dissolving into the Absolute, and it brings you into a space of devotion to Spirit or awe of the Mystery; then there is less YOU, and the practices are working in a transcendental way.

It only take regular reflection and ruthless honesty with oneself to discern.

Some schools of Tantra recommend regular, if not daily, devotion of all practices to God/Spirit/Consciousness as a way to help prevent the pitfall of growing ego. Life tends to slap us round the face when we have fallen off the path, so paying attention and not blaming others if this happens, can also help.

Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own integrity, and we are not here to point out other peoples’ egoic ways. Can we trust karmic law to take care and keep the universal balance that we do not need to be the one to fix everyone else’s mistakes or prevent their pitfalls. After all, perhaps we all need to fall in a pit from time to time in order to feel the bump, see what happened and choose a new pathway next time!

 

copyright © Shashi Solluna 2011. all rights reserved.

To Bleed or not to Bleed?

To Bleed or not to Bleed? That is the question…

Documentation of many lineages of Tantra and Tao mention the deliberate cessation of the menstruation for women as a way to conserve energy. It is often compared to the loss of energy that a man experiences after ejaculation, and thus a woman is encouraged to strive to end her bleeding, just as a man learns to prevent ejaculation. In the Tao lineage this practice is referred to “slaying the red dragon”.

On the other hand, many goddess-based lineages focus deeply on the menstruation, referring to it as a woman’s moon time. Stories of women gathering together at this time in a “red tent” to enter the mysteries of the feminine invoke images of a time in which to bleed was to enter a time of wisdom and intuition.

Ekhart Tolle, modern day enlightened speaker and author, speaks of how women have an opportunity once a month to awaken, through entering the collective female pain body that is accessible to them prior to and during their bleeding days.

Some shamanic paths suggest that women have an opportunity men do not have, to enter the mysteries of the underworld each month as they bleed. Men, they suggests, can only access these realms by partaking of the poison path, herbs and plants that induce deep altered states. A woman does not require such substances if she knows how to use her moon time wisely.

So, with such contrasting points of view, how is a woman to view her moon time?

One aspect of the moon time that all of the above opinions appear to agree upon is that this time is a time in which increased pain may be experienced. It is well-known that many women experience physical pain, and there is also increasing evidence of emotional pain and increased psychotic episodes. Is pain, however, a valid reason to dismiss and attempt to overcome the period? Or is there perhaps another way to approach the pain itself?

Pain. Most of us try to avoid it, suppress it, or run from it. But once we enter the path of healing and awakening, we begin to see that to cast off pain and run to pleasure is to increase suffering. Pain is not the same as suffering. Suffering is a result of the reaction to pain, not a direct consequence of pain itself. By changing the way we react to pain we can actually end suffering. We cannot end pain, it is part of life. But we can end suffering.

Suffering is a quality of the mind…it is not a physical phenomenon. Think of a time you were ill and suffered. The suffering was in the mind…it may have been resistance “Oh no I can’t be ill…I have so much to do!” Or perhaps fear “Oh my god, what’s wrong with me? Perhaps I’m going to die!”…but look closely…it is a reaction to the illness, not a quality of the illness itself.

It is this kind of reaction and resistance that uses up a lot of energy. It is literally exhausting as the mind fights reality; fights what is.

So pain, any kind of pain, brings us a wonderful opportunity…the opportunity to surrender the mind to what is. So you have a little fever and a headache. Are you going to be angry that you are missing the party you wanted to go to, or fearful that you may have a life-threatening disease? Or can you simply observe what is, calmly do whatever you may need to support yourself (usually water and sleep are required for most situations) and stay present to your situation?

One could define healing as when pain is met with consciousness.
Think of a time when you poured out your troubles to someone who listened with pure consciousness…you feel better immediately. Or maybe a time when you took physical pain to a healer who stayed present with your pain, maybe guided you to breathe into it and to be present with it also. Something amazing happens in such simplicity…healing.

To put this in Ekhart Tolle’s language, pain bodies are just patterns of pain that are needing to be met by conscious awareness. So long as they are not, they will be passed on from generation to generation.

So, back to menstruation, rather than seeing this as a time of great pain and suffering to be overcome, we could consider it an opportunity for women to bring conscious awareness to pain they may be carrying. Tolle says that at this time of the month a woman access the collective female pain body…what does that mean? He is referring to the carrying of pain that is larger than one’s personal pain…the pain of all women, of all generations.

That sounds heavy…why would one want to meet that? Because if we do not meet it with consciousness then it is not healed, and we continue to carry it, often unconscously.

Many women are completely cut off from this pain…taking the contraceptive pill appears to cut women from this, as does taking pain killers over the menstrual time. By denying pain using chemicals, though a woman does not feel the pain, she cuts herself off from her depth and from connection to “the goddess”…earth as the root of all femininity. It creates the Barbie-doll effect: superficial women.

Other women feel pain, but wallow in the victim role. They get caught up in the stream of sensation, identifying completely with pain and with experience. This leads to a mantra of “poor me” and endless suffering and complaining. No wonder many men suggest women take pain killers or other invasive methods!

So denial is one approach, creating Barbie dolls; over-identification is another approach, creating victims. But to transcend these two approaches is to meet pain together with conscious awareness, or witness.

The sensations are moon time can be overwhelming for some women. Therefore it begins to make sense to take oneself away from the world, certainly away from men, and to retreat to one’s red tent. Here one can stay present to witness what arises during this time. To completely retreat at moon time means no interactions, no computer or phone, no TV or movies…just being present to the arising sensations.

Certainly such an approach is a whole different ball game to the other two options. Once one has surrendered to the experience, many different things can happen. Some women experience a sense of suction into the black hole of the universe, the source of all creation seems to be folding everything back inside itself. It can feel like a total self-annihilation…one’s entire sense of self being deconstructed. There can be an edge of chaos, and to surrender feels to be falling down an endless hole, like Alice in Wonderland.
And perhaps this is why Tolle says there is an opportunity every month for a woman’s enlightenment. For to experience one’s own death in this way, to feel one’s self falling apart completely, is to find out who one really is…what is one’s true nature.

It can be like returning to the source. In Tao terminology this would be to fall into the Yin. Sometimes a woman’s body at her moon time feels as if it is pulling her down to the earth…she feels heavy, and the best posture is to squat with the yoni close to the earth. She wants to lie down in darkness and stillness…all qualities of the Yin.

Is this gravitational pull losing energy? It may look like it from a first glance…she is lying down, she looks tired. But actually could it be just the body’s wise way to recharge her from the source of all lifeforce energy? If a woman surrenders to this gravitational pull then she will emerge post-moon time completely refreshed. We could see this sinking to the earth similar to a coil that is being squeezed…it fills with potential energy ready to spring back. Likewise if a woman takes at least one day of her moon time to rest in this way, she can recharge herself for the rest of the month.

Something similar happens before childbirth…in shiatsu it is known as the water phase (the most yin element). The woman’s legs may become heavy and her lower back aches as it is pulled down towards earth. She can only relieve it by squatting…which is an energetically ideal position at this time. The earth chi fills her body and when there is sufficient chi inside her she moves into the wood phase and begins the contractions.

So next time you feel an achy lower back before your moon time, instead of reaching for a pain killer, go out into nature and squat down. Spiral your tailbone over the earth; anti-clockwise to draw earth chi up and clockwise to empty out. Let your sacrum breathe the earth chi up into it. Notice what feels good…find out for yourself.

Some Tantric anti-menstrual arguments would say that the moon blood contains many vital nutrients. The questions is, to we need to cling to our nutrients? Mother earth gives us freely of her vegetables, grains and fruits. She does not hold them fast to her trees and refuse to let them go, even though they contain vital nutrients.

By using a moon-cup to catch your blood, you can pour it back into the earth, giving thanks to Nature who has fed you, and giving some of your body back to her in exchange. You can even pour the blood under a fruit tree or other source of nourishment and contemplate how your vital nutrients return to the cycle of life and nature. Just as when we die if we were buried in the earth, we would decay and become nourishment for the soil, so too with our blood. Consciously taking part in this recycling helps to remind us that we are part of a bigger system, more than just the individual. So do not be mean with your energy, clinging to it as if you are fighting to survive. Giving back to the earth once a month is a beautiful offering to make.

A more radical option is to drink one’s own moon blood to recycle the nutritients and ojas/jing (vitality energy) into the body.

Ultimately Tantra and Tao ancient texts talk about the complete cessation of the moon blood as the ultimate attainment for a woman. This attainment is very mysterious and cannot necessary be understood by the new comer to these arts. There are women who have experienced extreme orgasmic states when “pulling up” their moon blood using special tantric sublimation techniques. Other report that the blood naturally ceases during periods of retreat, silence or meditation. Of course the ultimate aim may have been utilized by Taoist nuns and Tantric priestesses, who could live under very special conditions.

 

Thus it could be wise to consider the ultimate destination, and yet also stay present to the journey itself. Before slaying the red dragon, the first step may be to reclaim the red dragon. First bring healing and consciousness to this time of the month, let it lead you into a deeper awareness of your own sexuality and femininity. Then you will find that when the time is right you will begin to feel more inclined to sublimate the blood. Many women experience that on the journey of healing, their blood becomes lighter and the bleeding times shorter anyway, so sublimation can start happening as a natural result of purification. Keep in balance the journey and the destination, so that you do not start fighting against your moon-time or subconsciously making it wrong. Accept it, know it, purify it, and if and when the time is right you can sublimate it. Ride the red dragon all the way up into the Heavens!

 

 

copyright © Shashi Solluna 2011. all rights reserved.

Invitation from Shakti to Shiva

O Divine Masculine

I love you and I love your desire to open me

I truly want to receive your gift

Your divine penetration

But I ask for one thing:

In order for my true shakti to come and play for you

For my magical yin energy to dance with you

I ask first for your presence

Please hold me

Hold me in your presence

Hold me in your arms

Hold me with your body

And wait…

Drop all goal, drop all needing to do

And wait…

Simply observe and be, for she (this magical energy of Shakti)

will in time, in her own time,

Begin to awaken

Once she feels the steadiness

The unwavering quality of your being

She will feel safe

And she will begin to emerge from her deep hiding place

She will begin to dance for you

And O beloved Shiva

I promise you, you have never seen a dance so sweet!

And she will open to you

And O Shiva, you have never seen an opening so magical!

She will draw you in

O Shiva you have never felt an invitation so divine!

Then, and only then, my beloved,

I invite your penetration

Your instinct, your awesome instinct

To make love to me

Let your Shiva dance with my Shakti!

We are only the observers

Surrendered to our own bodies

Surrendered to this incredible energy

Watching the divine dance

And dying into the bliss

Of such totality.

This is my invitation to you

Your beloved Shakti