I am a psychotherapist licensed in California as a Marriage and Family Therapist. I am also a Registered Nurse. I have been practicing psychotherapy for 28 years. I offer energy healing and hands-on bodywork under my nursing license. My therapy is poly-friendly and I have experience counseling various polyamorous relationship patterns. I am personally polyamorous, and I am active with polyamory-related organizations. I also sometimes see clients in their homes.
I offer a free minute consultation by phone if you are interested in my services. When working with clients, I use an approach that is relational and collaborative, helping clients make the best use of the strengths they bring to therapy. My work incorporates experiential, somatic, and mindfulness-based approaches, including Hakomi and EMDR. I'm a first generation, Mexican-American with Native American heritage. I integrate Western psychological methods with Eastern and Indigenous teachings and traditions, along with cutting-edge research on the mind-body connection.
My approach is direct, but warm, and rooted in perennial wisdom from many different cultures. I am young, but am told I have an old soul, and therapy with me can feel at once like deep, transformative work and a fun conversation with an old friend. I've worked with many poly couples, thruples and moresomes and am comfortable doing so. Some of what we've worked with are: communication issues, dealing with conflict, negotiating boundaries, dealing with boundary violations, opening the relationship, closing the relationship, redefining the relationship, adding kink into the relationship, dealing with sexual issues and dealing with the general life issues that impact every type of relationship.
Unsure of who you are, what you want in life, and how to take the next step? I'll help you discover yourself. Realize satisfaction in your relationships, professional development, and your personal growth. In-person, video, brief, and open-ended therapy. Sexual, gender, relational, and family diversity. Bodies of all sizes, abilities, and lived experiences. Trauma, grief, loss, abuse, and PTSD. Eclectic and syncretic spirituality ordained clergy and hospice chaplain. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist with a specialty area and human sexuality. I primarily work with adults with the range of presenting issues such as anxiety and depression.
I often work with members of the polyamorous and kink community. My theoretical orientations are existential humanistic, cognitive behavioral, and sex positive. I accept insurance as an out of network provider and also offer a sliding scale when needed. I am a licensed therapist who specializes in working with clients struggling with issues surrounding self-esteem, relationship difficulties, depression, and anxiety.
I always welcome clients who consider themselves sexual outsiders, people who are subverting the confining notions in the categories of sex and gender. I believe that paying attention to each clients unique lived experience is central to therapeutic growth and connection. I offer counseling and therapy to women, men, and gender-queer people who want to feel relief and wish to explore the possibilities for their healing.
I work with couples and polyamorous partners counseling, as well as family therapy. I have specialized training in trauma and recovery. In my practice I work with gay men, lesbians, transgender folk, queer individuals, as well as those who fit into other sexual minorities.
I am queer-affirmative and understanding of varying sexual desires and behaviors. I see clients who struggle with creating a healthy sexual identity, managing feelings of isolation and marginalization, or integrating sexuality into a fulfilling life. Another specialty is work with young adults, life transitions, and emerging adulthood. As both contemporary and professional I can offer insight into the difficulties and experiences of growing up queer in the age of Y2K, the Internet, and radically shifting gay politics, as well as navigating adulthood during unstable economies.
I understand the importance of race, ethnicity, and class--social justice and work with disenfranchised populations are key parts of my practice and philosophy. I value open communication and the power of relationships, as well as the inherent worth of all people and the right to a rich, purposeful life. I am a bit of a unicorn: kink-affirmative, queer-affirmative, poly-affirmative, but with a fancy pedigree from conservative universities I trained at UCLA and USC. I am a licensed clinical psychologist and I've been in practice for 15 years.
I specialize in depression, anxiety, relationship issues, sex therapy, and coping with medical illness. I do consultation, short-term work, and longer-term therapy as well. Phone consultations are free, and if I'm not the right professional for you, I'll help you find the person who is. This creates a space in which my clients feel both safe to be vulnerable, and challenged to grow in their mental health journey. I specialize in psychotherapy for couples and polyamorous relationships; childhood trauma and abuse; disordered eating and body image issues.
Looking for an Orange County or Los Angeles County psychologist who is a polyamory friendly psychotherapist? Searching for a Newport Beach or Beverly Hills psychologist who is experienced in providing individual therapy, couples counseling, and marriage counseling related to issues of polyamorous couples, swinging, non-monogamy, and kink? Looking for a therapist or marriage counselor who is experienced in providing psychotherapy related to issues of homosexuality, LGBT, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual issues, or any other sexual minority?
Is anxiety, stress, or worry limiting your life? Do you have difficultly relaxing? Is your anxiety taking such a toll on your life that its making you feel depressed? I can help. Hi, I am Dr. Nikolaidis and I am so excited that you are here! You do not have to go through this alone. Are you ready to begin living an extraordinary life? Call my cell. I would love to hear from you.
I work with individuals or couples of any gender or sexual orientation who seek help for sexual relationship issues. These issues are not limited to, but include arousal and orgasm issues, sexual desire issues, compulsive sexual behavior, masturbation issues, premature or delayed ejaculation, pain during sexual activity and psychological issues around monogamy, infidelity, boredom and wanting a change in one's sexual repertoire. The goal is often increased eroticism, heightened intimacy, and decreased anxiety during sex.
My aim is for you to overcome the problems that result from negative feelings and behaviors and to achieve your full sexual potential. I specialize in sex therapy and psychotherapy with an emphasis on human sexuality, evolutionary psychology, sexual and gender identities, and dealing with socially constructed gender roles. My clients are often men who have been branded by others as "sex addicts;" I also have clients who buy and sell sexual services, as well as couples who want to work with someone non-judgmental when it comes to alternative, non-monogamous lifestyles and polyamory.
Finally, I have been dedicated to helping transgender individuals during both pre and post transition for over 20 years. Taking the first stop to seek counseling is hard enough, without worrying about whether you will be judged for your lifestyle. Don't be condemned for your kink! I have more than a decade of experience working with poly and kinky individuals, couples, and polycules.
I strive to create a safe and supportive atmosphere in which we, as a team, can find a path forward. I offer a free minute consultation to help you decide if I'm a good fit for your needs. I do not accept insurance. I'm a psychotherapist practicing in Westwood, CA and a faculty member at Cal State University Fullerton, training future therapists and social workers.
I'm bilingual in English and Farsi and treat adult individuals and couples. I have expertise in treating depression, anxiety, anger, loss, relationship issues, low self-esteem and confidence, and adjustments to major life changes ex: parenting, graduation, retirement. My practice is culturally-centered and poly- and sex-friendly. As an addiction treatment counselor and a marriage and family therapist I enjoy working with clients who struggle with life changes, mal-adaptive coping mechanisms, and relationship and sexuality issues.
I am experienced working with a wide variety of orientations, gender expressions, and relationship structures. Humanist-Existentialist by nature, but eclectic in my approach. I work with adults, relationship units, and families. Sliding-scale available Open Path Collective members. I work somatically with my clients, which means that I follow the wisdom of the body for information on what's going on and how to move forward. This is invaluable. I specialize in Integrative Body Psychotherapy, Hakomi, and Gestalt Therapies, which I support with my intimate knowledge of psychodynamics.
I work with adults, couples, children, and groups in exploring issues including sexual and gender diversity and exploration, trauma, anxiety, depression, aging, neurological diversity, and racial and cultural issues. My modalities are based on humanistic, holistic and feminist values and I am dedicated to working with my clients in a gentle, respectful and collaborative manner.
I am a psychodynamically oriented therapist who specializes in work with artists. Private practice, New York, ; LA on. Navigating a range of patient concerns including trauma, addiction, and anxiety. I see children, teens, adults, couples, triads, quads etc and families with a wide variety of concerns and issues. Additionally, my practice includes a special interest in working poly clients and the unique concerns facing the poly community as well as the day to day life issues that are multiplied by being poly.
I offer a free short phone consultation. Please feel free to contact my office by phone, email or through my website. It is clear to me that people's suffering and challenges are not failures of their bodies or minds, but are responses to a culture that has damaging views on sexuality, relationships, bodies, race, and gender.
What can be understood can be changed and something better take its place. Please feel visit my website or find me on Instagram jamiladsextherapy or Facebook Jamila m. I am a strength-based psychotherapist, which means that I believe growth comes from building on the things that are already going well and the areas where you are already succeeding. Lets work together to help you identify the ways in which you can use those things to help you overcome the pain and challenges that you are facing! I am also gender, sexual, and relationship minority affirmative, and I believe that if you are not hurting anyone and you feel good on the inside, you are probably doing ok.
I work with persons in various open, semi-open, and closed relational groups, including single persons trying to figure out what relationships are best for them. Also, I've experience working with trans persons, persons who are HIV positive, and the additional complexities of interracial, intercultural, intergenerational relationships within BDSM dynamics as well. I work with Polyamorous Individuals, Couples, and Families.
I am a great listener, very non-judgemental, and i can help you ease you stress over the complex issues of poly situations. I have worked with Polyamorous couples and individuals in my private practice, am open-minded and accepting of the lifestyle. I specialize in Sexual Dysfunction and Couples, have a wide background of experience and interest in across the entire field of sexuality, and want to help all couples and individuals achieve their best possible sexual and intimate lives. I have 2 office locations in the Los Angeles, CA area to better serve my patients.
I offer extended hours to accommodate difficult schedules and can offer a sliding scale fee for those in need. I am a kink-poly-LGBTQ affirmative licensed Marital and Family therapist with a speciality in the lifestyle and polyamorous relationships. My therapy style utilizes my understanding of alternative sexual communities in conjunction with an emphasis on insight, emotional healing, and empowerment to provide a therapy experience that allows for a higher level of safety and comfort. The therapy focus may or may not be about navigating the clients sexual journey, but even if the focus of therapy is about something entirely different trauma, grief, or anxiety , the client will know that I will provide a non-judgmental space should such topics come up.
Privately, I have been connected to polyamorous, lifestyle and kink communities since I understand the hurdles, massive emotional growth, and amazing joy these worlds can provide. I am especially skilled at working with culturally diverse populations and issues including Polygamy, Arranged Marriage vs.
My sessions offer a unique perspective drawing from years of research and teaching that can include reflection on history, culture, biology, psychology, ritual and spirituality. I may be one of the least judgmental and most insightful professionals you will ever meet! My goal is to enable you to understand the social, cultural and family structures that have led you to seek help. Once we establish the ways the world around you has inhibited the core expression of all you can be and how you might love, we will work to reposition harmful and limiting paradigms.
Working with me can be a deep adventure in discovering "what else is possible. Special interests include work with individuals, couples and families dealing with alternative lifestyles, polyamory and sex work. Very kink aware. I specialize in helping people recover from traumatic experiences and destructive relationships. You may feel isolated, afraid, or unsure of how to move forward in your life. Maybe you know that it's time to start therapy, but you're unsure about entering into a new vulnerable space.
I value building safety and trust in therapy, so that you feel like you can truly be yourself, even if that self feels undefined or confusing at times. My role is to help you better understand yourself and support you in living a life that fits your hopes and values. I am a licensed clinical psychologist in Atwater Village, LA. I primarily see individual clients in their late teens through middle age. I don't take insurance, but I do my best to help you receive any reimbursement your insurance company provides for out-of-network mental health care.
Feel free to reach out to schedule a free phone consultation so we can talk a bit about what's bringing you to therapy, I can answer any questions you have, and we can go ahead and schedule a first appointment if we seem like a good fit. I work with individuals teens and adults and couples. Some of my specialties include Sex Therapy, Addiction, self-harm and mood disorders. I work with sexual issues and concerns by reducing anxiety and shame. My style is warm and down-to-earth.
I utilize a variety of therapeutic techniques including Psycho-dynamic and Attachment informed, Gestalt and Cognitive-behavioral therapies. My focus is sex therapy with couples and individuals and I specialize with alternative lifestyles, couples and individuals who may be exploring their options whether it be open, poly, non-monogamous or other, or just interested in getting more info. I also deal with infidelity and monogamy issues, as well as trauma, anxiety and addictions. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist who works with a variety of clients.
My specialties include depression, anxiety, ADHD, relationship issues, life changes and challenges. I work from a strength based perspective and use an eclectic style that may include cognitive behavior therapy, solution focused work and narrative therapy. My passion is helping people navigate the complexities of life and relationships. Everyone has their own unique story, and my goal is to help each client become the director of their own story by empowering them to take charge of their life.
I strive to create an atmosphere of warmth, safety, and curiosity in therapy. We will work together to help you make greater sense of your life and improve how you feel. My training and expertise includes working with adults utilizing psychodynamic, family systems, and mindfulness-based approaches, among others. I received my Ph. In addition, I have Masters degrees in clinical and general psychology from Alliant and Pepperdine University, respectively. I am being supervised by Dr. Liz Gustafson while I complete licensing requirements. I am also receiving post-graduate training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
I look forward to seeing what we can discover together. I am passionate about relationships and life fulfillment. Overcoming existential concerns, isolation and meeting our need for meaningful connection. I provide individual and relationships therapy - couples, polyamory partners and families. I work with sexuality, trust, intimacy, betrayal, diversity of cloture, sex and gender and on creating genuine connection with ourselves and others. I am experience working with trauma, abuse and mental health issues such as personality disorders, anxiety, depression, psychosis, mood and addiction.
I am fluent in both English and Hebrew. I work with adults and older adults 18 and above. My Fee is discussed on the initial call. In my practice, I focus on building insight, compassion, and acceptance of oneself and others, while challenging the dynamics and structures that pose obstacles to successful growth and healing. I strive to uphold principles and practices of cultural awareness and sensitivity, and to regard each client as the expert on their own experience. Through this framework, I am well-equipped to treat issues related to marginalized populations and non-traditional communities.
I work with individuals and couples on all aspects of relationships and issues including sexual disorders and therapy, depression, anxiety, trauma, PTSD, pain, panic, and addiction. I have been a psychotherapist and sex therapist for over 20 years and I am poly affirmative, kink affirmative and LGBT affirmative and treat most aspects of sexology. I have two offices and prefer to make appointments by telephone. Veronica Valdivia, LMFT is a non-binary, bisexual and polyamorous therapist specializing in mood disorders, substance use and relationship issues.
Veronica has many years of experience working with non-binary and transgender folks of all ages and sexual orientations. Veronica specializes in LGBTQ-affirmative individual and family therapy and has been a therapist for over a decade. Veronica does not accept insurance and is an out-of-network provider. All services provided in English only. As one of LAs first out-of-the-closet kinky shrinks and pro-poly crusaders, I have been in the trenches for decades.
Straight, gay, bi, innie, outie, it is all good with me. Have found that I work really well with inter-ethnic constellations, boundary breaches and settings, infidelity, creating protocol, and existential issues. So give me a call if you want, and we will see if we are a match. He specializes in sex therapy with individuals and couples, relational dynamics, and marital therapy. Further, Dr. He addresses issues of discordant desire, infidelity in couples, sexual dysfunctions, gender and orientation confusion, and sexual compulsivity.
My specialty is brief, focused, problem-solving counseling. I offer counseling for individual, couples, polycules, and groups. My emphasis is on resilience and relationship wellness rather than pathology. In terms of clinical style, clients experience my patience and compassion but also know that I'll persistently challenge them to create and capitalize on opportunities for growth. We make use of insights from interactions between us to explore how you might stay stuck in relational or behavioral patterns that hold you back. Our working relationship is grounded in collaboration with a dynamic that's neither passive listening nor super-structured.
My style is personable within professional boundaries and not overly 'clinical' or rigid. Free consultation to decide if I'd be a good fit. I am a kink and poly aware therapist. I believe that working with a therapist who is both open and understanding of the different ways love can be expressed through poly and the unique issues it can present is imperative to success in therapy.
My goal as a therapist is to assist my clients in discovering solutions so that they may be happier and healthier as individuals and in their relationships. I am open and experienced with working a variety of gender and sexual identities. I have been a therapist for over 15 years and work with a myriad of issues, including relationship issues, divorce recovery, anxiety and depression. As a solutions-focused therapist, I am strengths based and utilize the tenants of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Our organization, Sex Positive Sacramento is a very poly-friendly resource. I am a sex positive therapist and I have a lot of experience working with poly individuals and couples. In general I practice from an attachment perspective which focuses on important relationships in our lives and the innate human need to feel loved, supported, and connected. I work with individuals, couples, and families who are struggling to thrive. I deliver services in English and provide service on a sliding-scale fee schedule.
I service clients in-person in the greater Sacramento area, and anywhere in California via confidential videoconferencing. Licensed therapist providing sex-positive therapy to those in unique relationships. I welcome all genders, orientations and relationship configurations into my practice. I especially enjoy working with members of sexual minority communities surrounding issues of relationship dynamics, self-discovery, identifying social support, establishing community and enjoy working with dynamics that can sometimes be unique to the polycule and family.
I remain professionally connected via membership and training with a number of organizations dedicated to providing quality, affordable care to gender and sexually variant communities. She has been working with individual adults, partners, teens and families since , including those in alternative relationship and family formats. At LoveWorks, we support you to create relationships that call you to rise! We teach a radical and profound new paradigm for relating that allows you to create an exciting upward spiral of love in relationship.
We believe relationships are meant to be loving, nurturing, fun and passionately intimate - co-creative adventures where you and those you love get to be your best self possible! And we teach you how to do just that! Thousands of singles and couples have been deeply impacted by our unique message of how to create deeply intimate, passionate, meaningful and inspiring relationships. We take lofty ideals and make them practically accessible in day to day living.
We teach you how to finally, and actually, create the experience of love you have always longed for in relationship. Come learn a whole new way to be in relationship! We offer workshops, online courses and customized coaching sessions by phone. Sign up to receive our free weekly videos and monthly LoveZine with relationship tips.
Learn a new way of relating! Remember, LoveWorks! I am a poly-friendly licensed therapist. I offer an open, safe, confidential space for individuals, relationships, and families. I serve adults in Sacramento in my office, and any clients living in California via video therapy. Please call me today if you'd like a free consultation to see if I'd be a good fit for you. I primarily work with people over 12 years old although I am happy to support a family supporting their child of transgender experience in their journey.
I do and will provide letters to people to help them transition medically in California. I am kink-friendly, fat friendly, and poly-affirming and my offices are wheelchair accessible. My pronouns are she, her, hers. In my practice I work with children, adolescents, and adults, and offer individual, family and couples therapy.
I specialize in sexual health and well being and am passionate about the power of connection between mind, body and spirit. I work with individuals and couples on understanding themselves as sexual beings, whether this relates to their individual journey or within their relationships.
I do this through helping you explore your sexual identity, expression and behaviors, as they relate to your goals. I value being present in the moment, having self-compassion and acceptance for oneself before working on relationships with others. I practice through a holistic lens and a mindful perspective, teaching clients some of the same techniques that I myself practice regularly to cope with the complex challenges life often brings. In my clinical practice, I hold the belief that my client is the expert of their own life and I am here to help you identify your own personal goals and support you on your journey to achieve them.
I am a licensed marriage and family therapist in central San Diego providing solution-focused and strengths-based therapy to address anxiety and mood disorders, as well as communication and defining healthy relationships. I work using elements from cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness, while keeping multicultural and intergenerational systems, and social justice issues in mind.
I also have a special interest in maternal mental health and family adjustment to chronic illness. I see primarily adults and elders in this practice, and currently do not take insurance. Are you nervous about the process of couples or individual therapy? Have you heard that therapy is hard or painful?
Maybe it makes you uncomfortable to let a stranger into your world because you fear you will be judged or branded as the person who has caused all of the problems in the relationship. Let me assure you that I am a genuine person, and I want our time together to feel like you are having a conversation with a trusted confidant. My job is to make you feel comfortable, supported and safe so we can figure out together how to make your relationship better.
I have no agenda or desire to figure who is wrong in the relationship. Blame doesn't create good outcomes, so we won't even go there. My style of therapy is very much like my personality: down to earth, humble, funny, slightly sarcastic, direct, and blunt in a loving way. I have a sense of humor about myself, and I encourage my clients to adopt the same attitude.
I hope you come away with the feeling I am really invested in you. Telling me your thoughts and feeling won't scare me, surprise me or make me judge you. My office is a place to find support, empathy, and outside-of-the-box ways of thinking about problems. I also love working with couples and individuals who struggle with being people pleasers and find it difficult to ask for their needs in relationships. I am incredibly enthusiastic and tend to be an overachiever working with clients who are motivated and open to change. I've invested in the highest level of training because I truly want your relationship to be a success.
I have some great tools I can share with you to get your conversations moving in a new direction. Gottman level 3 trained, domestic violence trainer, substance abuse, addictions, and trauma. CV on website if needed.
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My primary goal is to help people be happier in their lives and relationships. I am caring, non-judgmental, and empathetic and my approach to therapy is collaborative - my role is to be a catalyst for the change you desire. This type of therapy is geared toward the importance of attachment bonds, recognizing the cycles where you may feel stuck, and learning how to change the way you and your partner relate to each other in a meaningful way.
I also have a background in Sexology and am comfortable and willing to discuss topics about sexuality in a non-judgmental and frank manner. These topics may include issues or concerns with sexual health, healing from infidelity, increasing intimacy, re-igniting passion, sexual compatibility, and improving mutual sexual satisfaction. I help people from a variety of relationship dynamics, and I am very familiar with the diversity of lifestyle and relationships found today.
Whether you are single, in a primary relationship, triad, quad, V, non-hierarchical, or any other love constellation, I provide a safe space to discuss delicate topics and I strive to make each of my clients feel comfortable and understood. So if you also attend local community events, we may know many of the same people. If this is an issue, please let me know upfront and I will do my best to provide with a more appropriate referral for you. As a couple and family therapist, I have a strong conviction in the healing power of healthy relationships. Connecting to your authentic self and fostering wellness in all relationships in your life is a primary focus of my work.
I provide individual, couple and family psychotherapy for youth and adults of all family and relationship constellations. My mission is to help you create your full personal and relational potential. In my practice, I honor the spectrum of human and relationship diversity. I create a supportive and sex positive space in which to explore gender, sexuality, sexual expression and relationship styles.
I am an EMDR clinician. I have been providing service to poly, kink, and transgendered clients for over 25 years. My speciality is Relationships, although I also work with individuals. I have presented many workshops on poly and kink issues in both professional and community settings. I have experience working with gender, relational, and sexually diverse individuals and am knowledgeable about sexual health and wellness topics. I work with individuals, couples, and consenting non-monogamy-poly relationships.
I have a background in working with adolescents and primarily work with adults. I believe in starting wherever the client, couple, or family unit is and enjoy working with the overlapping identities and orientations we carry into the different parts of our lives. I work from an open and non-judgemental framework where I have an understanding of the challenges and unique aspects that come with being a part of these communities.
I often use cognitive behavior therapy and psychodynamic therapy to improve mood and increase happiness by instilling awareness and identifying unwanted thoughts and behaviors, as well as, mindfulness practices, motivational interviewing along with Emotionally Focused Therapy EFT to eliminate relational and intimate distress. Overall, I can address a broad range of topics from depression and anxiety to relational and intimacy challenges.
Wherever you are on your journey, I would be honored to be your guide to a healthier, happier you. On June 8th, , my first book comes out: "The Gay Man's Guide to Open and Monogamous Marriage", for more info, please go to my website or you can order the book through Amazon. I am a licensed psychotherapist with two decades of personal and professional experience with non-monogamy.
I work with both individuals and couples and have helped many couples successfully move through the early stages of opening their relationship, as well as couples who have been open for some time and want to repair or re-evaluate their relationship. I offer a variety of tools, ideas and techniques for couples who are new to open relationships.
I want to help you find the relationship structure that works for you and your partner s. I have been working with clients from the poly, kink, leather and BDSM communities for many years' now and find working with clients from this community to be very rewarding and productive for both the clients and I. I am a kink aware therapist who works with depression, anxiety and life transition.
I am a poly- and kink-friendly therapist who provides affirmative therapy to clients in the Gender, Sexual, and Relational Diversity community. I work with adolescents aged 12 and above , adults, families, couples, and other relationship constellations to improve relationships and facilitate personal growth. As your therapist, I will strive to create a warm, collaborative relationship with you.
I am interested in your experience, open-minded, and sex-positive. My goal is to create a meaningful therapeutic context in which each client feels safe, seen, and heard. Whether your concerns relate to life transitions, depression, anxiety, relationships, external stressors, or personal growth, our work will be in a non-judgmental, caring environment.
My therapeutic approach is grounded in the most current, culturally-aware, trauma-informed, and evidence-based practices, including Emotionally Focused Therapy EFT , Mindfulness, Narrative Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing. In my practice I focus on thinking and attachment patterns, and on the many personal, social, and cultural factors that contribute to resilience. Whatever your goals for therapy, I'm here to help.
Please note: Since I'm active in the local community and attend local events, it's possible that we may know some of the same people, and this is something we should discuss at the outset. If it's a concern, I'll provide you with appropriate referrals. I provide individual, relationship, and family therapy to all sexual orientations and relationships. I also provide gender therapy in San Diego County to transgender, bigendeer and genderqueer individuals and their families.
Do you and your partner want to get past an issue, need support for talking about whats most difficult or want to align your goals so you work together more harmoniously? This holistic viewpoint is an essential ingredient to understanding the sexual secrets. Yet whatever its form, Tantra has come to be defined not so much as the path of power but as the cult of ecstasy — the unique fusion of religion with sexuality, identified with diverse traditions from around the world, such as European sex magic, Wicca, and Kabba- lah.
Tantra, American Style II.
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The Omnipotent Oom: Pierre Bernard and the Tantrik Order in America In this day and age, when matters pertaining to the sexes are generally avoided, and we are taught that the sexual appetite is an animal craving that should be sub- dued… it is not surprising that the great majority of persons are blind to the vast importance of the sexual nature…[T]hey fail to realize that not only is the cause of our individual existence, but that it is the well-spring of human life and happiness. Surrounded by controversy and slander for the sexual freedom he and his largely female followers were said to enjoy, Bernard is in many ways an epitome of Tantra in its uniquely American incarnations.
Bernard would later make various claims about his travels in India and his studies in the mystic Orient, but most of his knowledge of yoga and Tantra appears to have come from a young Syr- ian Indian man named Sylvain Hamati. Spiritual Sex, f. Urban American seekers. By , Bernard had become moderately famous as a master of self-hypnosis who could use yogic technique to place himself in a state simulating death. Teaching Hatha Yoga down- stairs and offering secret Tantric initiation upstairs, the Oriental sanctum quickly became an object of scandal in the New York press. No women seem able to resist him.
See Love, The Great Oom, Tantra, American Style years later. His clinics were known for attracting the wealthiest, most afflu- ent clients — mostly professional and business men and women from New York, including members of the Vanderbilt family, composer Cyril Scott and conductor Leopold Stokowski, among others. In the marble foyer behind the wrought-iron portal… a pretty secretary handled appointments. During Tantrik ceremonies, Oom sat on his throne wearing a turban, a silken robe and baggy Turkish pants, and flourished a scepter.
While so engaged, he invariably smoked one of the long black cigars to which he was addicted… A Tantrik ceremony involved the initiation of new members. Tantra, American Style cal expression, sex was for Bernard a spiritual discipline and a means of attaining the divine within the physical body. Yet in modern Western culture, the profound mysteries of sexual love have been stupidly repressed, relegated by self-righteous prudes to the realm of immorality.
He teaches the Oriental view of love as opposed to the restrained Western idea. Love, in its physical aspects, is akin to music and poetry. It unites men and women with the infinite. But sometimes Oriental men with a yen for one another invoke them just for kicks. Urban are supposedly able to make love hour after hour without diminution of male potency and female desire.
We saw men and women in various stages of dishabille. Enjoying an affluent lifestyle, he was known for his lavish celebrations, his gener- ous patronage of professional baseball and boxing, and his investment in sporting venues and stadiums. Eventually he would assume a respectable position in Nyack society, becoming president of the State Bank of Pearl River in With a fondness for collecting fine automobiles, such as Rolls Royces, Stutzes and Lincolns, Bernard is said to have been worth over twelve million dollars at his peak.
In sum, we might say that the wonderfully colorful character of Pierre Bernard is of key importance for the history of Tantra for at least three reasons. See Love, The Great Oom, , It has not yet been tried on a larger scale, man has not yet been courageous enough to try it on a larger scale because the society does not allow it…[T]he soci- ety thinks this is absolute sin… Tantra believes in joy because joy is God. In this sense he is an example of a larger shift in Western attitudes toward sex in the latter half of the 20th century. As Weeks argues, it is too simple to assume that the late 20th century has been characterized by a radical revolution, with a complete breaking down of sexual prohibitions.
By the s it was also something you could buy, not just in the form of prostitution, but in the form of glossily marketed fantasy… Not only was sex an area that could be colonized by capitalism, it was also one that could expand ever more exotically. If Bernard was the origi- nal American Tantric master for the dawn of this century, Osho is exem- plary of Neo-Tantra at the close of the millennium. In , however, he decided he could no longer keep his enlightened knowledge to himself and so left the academic world to gather disciples and teach the spiritual life.
His rather radical teachings quickly aroused enormous controversy in the Indian community, however, as he urged his disciples to indulge their physical desires, even as he attacked national heroes such as Mahatma Gandhi whom he ridiculed as masochistic chauvinist pervert. By , they had also come under serious investigation by the US govern- ment, specifically around the issue of the interlock of the Rajneesh Church and the city of Rajneeshpuram, and its claim to tax exempt status.
Rajneesh and his disciples, meanwhile, had also come under investigation a variety of crimi- nal activities, which included counts of electronic eavesdropping, immigra- tion conspiracy, lying to federal officials, criminal conspiracy, first degree assault, attempted murder, burglary, racketeering and arson. But perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Rajneesh phenomenon lies not so much in his controversial career in America, but rather in his remarkable apotheosis and rebirth upon his return to India.
A truly global Tantric guru, Rajneesh made the journey from India to America and back to India again, now achieving even more success in his homeland, perhaps in part because of his status as an international figure who had a massive US and European following. His message, too, became increasingly univer- sal, less controversial and more palatable to both Indian and Western audi- ences, and marketed to a global new age consumer audience. India is too old, ancient, traditional. I am rebellious… I belong to no nation.
My message is universal. Remarkably, however, Osho seems to have only grown in popularity in the years since his death. Indeed, he seems to have published more books and received more acclaim as a disembodied video image than he ever did while still incarnate. Susan J. Even your disappointments are laughable. To become a Sannyasin is to enter the ultimate game…[I]t is a play… it is the ultimate game… You have played at being a husband, wife, mother, being rich, poor… This is the last game. Only you are left. He transcends both. All meta-narratives or over- arching theories are only so many fictions, imaginary creations used by those in power to dominate the masses.
True freedom can be achieved only by deconstructing all meta-narratives, liberating oneself from the confining structures of the past. One must be deprogrammed and de-hypnotized: You are programmed by family, acquaintances, institutions. Your mind is like a blackboard on which rules are written. Bhagwan writes new rules on the blackboard. He tells you one thing is true and next the opposite is true.
Urban writes and writes on the blackboard of your mind until it is a whiteboard. Then you have no programming left. Tantra is not a religion […]. Religion gives you […] a discipline. Tantra takes all disciplines away. It is one individual slipping out of the structures and slavery… The future is very hopeful. Tantra will become more and more important…2046o political revolution has proved revolutionary. All political revolutions finally turn into anti-revolutions… Rebellion means individual… It is for freedom—freedom to be.
This moment is enough. Live it! All the religions of the world except Tantra have created split personalities, have created schizophrenia… They say the good has to be achieved and the bad denied, the devil has to be denied and God accepted… Tantra says a transformation is possible….
Trans- formation comes when you accept your total being.
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The anger is absorbed, the greed is absorbed. Because the traditional Christian West has suppressed sexuality, Rajneesh argues, it is sexuality that must be liberated if modern students are to fully actualize their inner most Self: Freud… stumbled only upon the repressed sexuality. He came across repressed people. Christian repression has made many locks in man where energy as become coiled up within itself, has become stagnant, is no longer flowing. The society is against sex: it has created a block, just near the sex center.
As the strong- est power in human nature, sex also becomes the strongest spiritual force when fully integrated. A Buddha… a Jesus, they have such a magnetic force around — what is that? Sex absorbed. Urban accept our sensual, desiring nature, once we release the pent-up sexual side of ourselves, we discover that we are already divine.
We already possess truth, freedom and infinite power within ourselves. It simply has to be realized that it is there.
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Tantra offers you enlightenment right here and now—no time, no postponement. You are truth. You are love. You are free- dom…. If you can stop all doing for a single moment the energy converges and explodes… Then you become a god. Not only was Rajneesh un-opposed to the accumulation of wealth, but he even saw it as a the natural manifestation of spiritual attainment. Wealth is a perfect means which can enhance people in every way and make life rich in all ways. The materially poor can never become spiritual. Capitalism has grown out of freedom. It is natural phenomenon.
Rajneeshpuram: Rajneesh Foundation International, , 15, Tantra, American Style material wealth. How can you serve anyone else unless you have attained your inner being? Be absolutely selfish! Turner, Mike Featherstone and others argue, the late 20th century has witnessed a significant shift from an earlier mode of capitalism — based on the Protestant ethic of inner-worldly asceticism, hard work, thriftiness and accumulation — to a new form of late capitalism or postindustrial society — based on mass consumption, physical pleasure and hedonistic enjoyment.
In consumer culture the body ceases to be an unruly vessel of desire that must be disciplined and subjugated; rather, the body is the ultimate source of gratification and fulfillment. In the market-like conditions of modern life, everything tends to become a commodity that may be bought and sold, from art to politics to religion itself. Urban packaged bodies of knowledge in the supermarket of lifestyles… The tendency in modern societies is for religion to become a private leisure pursuit pur- chased in the market like any other consumer lifestyle.
You must open your- selves up to experience the new and the exotic. Not surprisingly, given the rather racy nature of the subject, interest in Tantra has skyrocketed in the past two decades in both the popular and scholarly imaginations. As Ron Inden has argued, the India of Orientalist scholarship was constructed as the quintessential Other in comparison to the West. What I hope to achieve is by no means just another anti-Orientalist critique or postcolonial deconstruction of an established category—an exercise that has become all too easy in recent years.
It is a dialectical category—similar to what Walter Benjamin has called a dialectical image —born out of the mirroring and mimesis that goes on between Western and Indian minds. Finally, I explore some possible ways to redefine and reimagine Tantra in a more useful form in contemporary discourse. As we will see in more detail, the Sanskrit word tantra has appeared since Vedic times with an enormous diversity of meanings; it has been used to denote everything from a warp or a loom e.
Tantra says yes! Making love is a galactic event! On the Starship Intercourse we greet and part with: orgasm long and prosper! It has no concepts, it is not a philosophy. It wants to look at life as it is. It is a non-attitude. The definitions of Tantra given by students of Sanskrit literature are not unlike the descriptions of an elephant given by blind men. Various scholars have offered different enumerations of such characteristics, ranging from six Jeffrey Kripal to eighteen Teun Goudriaan.
As I will argue, Tantra is a highly variable and shifting category, whose meaning may differ depending on the particular historical moment, cultural milieu, and political context. We might say that Tantra serves as a kind of Rorschach test or psychological mirror of the changing moral and sexual attitudes of the past two hundred years. The underlying idea of Tantrism is that even the most mundane occurrence can serve as a means of Introduction transcendence.
Sex is no longer feared as a spiritual trap but is employed as a gateway to heaven. Roland Barthes, Empire of Signs Z One of the most pervasive themes in contemporary literature on Tantra— in both its popular and scholarly forms—is the notion that this tradition has been ignored, marginalized, and repressed consistently by Western scholarship. In short, far from being denied and ignored in modern literature, Tantra has arguably become one of the most widely discussed, fashionable, and marketable forms of South Asian religion.
As Guenther remarked as early as So reads an article on the tantra. The Orient did not consider sex apart from. All variations of sexual postures were. Sex was given a place of honor. From its origins, discourse on Tantra has focused particularly on the role of women in Tantric practice, and above all, their alleged role in sexual rituals. Yet many recent authors, such as Miranda Shaw, have fiercely argued that the role of women in Tantra has been consistently ignored, repressed, or marginalized by the mostly male scholars in the academy.
While it is true that some authors have pointed out the exploitative use of women in Tantric ritual, the majority of modern scholars appear to have celebrated the status of women in Tantra as a much needed affirmation of femininity, motherhood, and the forces of nature. We must never lose sight of this primacy If sex is repressed, that is, condemned to prohibition. What stimulates our eagerness to speak of sex in terms of repression is doubtless this opportunity to speak out against the powers that be, to utter truths and promise bliss, to link together enlightenment, liberation and manifold pleasures.
Like religion itself, as Jonathan Z. Moreover, this does not mean Introduction that we cannot still speak of Tantric texts, Tantric people, and Tantric practices.
Thus, what I hope to do here is something a bit more subtle and nu- anced than a just another postcolonial white-male-bashing. In so doing, it tends to reduce the colonized to a mere passive materia to be reformed in the imperial gaze, a helpless victim lacking the possibility to resist, challenge, and subvert Western representations. Rather, we must examine both the ability of indigenous cultures to resist or contest and their tendency to mimic, cooperate, or collude with Western representations of the exotic Orient.
As Ahmad has powerfully argued, much of the postcolonial literature is in fact complicit with a new form of eco- Introduction nomic imperialism, as consumer capitalism now spreads to virtually every corner of the globe. On the contrary, to follow the complex course of descent is to maintain events in their dispersion; it is to identify the accidents, the minute deviations—or the complete reversals—the errors.
The imagining of Tantra, we will find, has been anything but a simple process or the result of a straightforward, linear narrative. Rather, it is the result of a tangled genealogy, as conflicted and contested as the history of encounters between India and the West over the past several hundred years.
It is to be sought at the point where the tension between the dialectical oppositions is the greatest. It is necessary to know how our ancestors had such absurd beliefs in order to understand how we have become what we are today. It is our capacity to grasp alterity, to make sense of the foreign or unknown, which takes place in all cultures and historical periods. The colonizing powers, for their part, construct a variety of imaginary representations of native peoples—as savage, primitive, feminine, emotional, or violent, rather than rational or scientific.
Colonized peoples also have their own forms of mimesis, their own ways of imaginatively representing the colonial Other. For European Orientalists and colonial authorities, the image of Kali was singled out as the most extreme example of the dangerous immorality Figure i. Illustration for Kali Cigarettes, a nationalist brand. Calcutta Art Studio In our own day.
For there is extraordinary cognitive power in. Jonathan Z. In so doing we will discover that the various discourses surrounding Tantra may not always tell us much that is terribly useful about any particular form of Asian religion, but they do tell us a great deal indeed about the concrete social, political, and moral contexts in which these discourses emerged.
Indeed, the discourses about Tantra are an integral part of larger cultural and governmental issues— the ruling of British India, the regulation of the colonial body and its sexuality, the construction of a reformed Hindu identity, the fight for In- Introduction Figure z. Kali, goddess of destruction. At the same time, I will also explore the many ways Introduction Figure 3.
A modern Kali. Courtesy of the artist. Here I will explore the rich confluence of Orientalist constructions, colonial paranoia, and poetic license that fed into the literary portrayals, both Eastern and Introduction Western, of the seedy Indian underworld in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In chapter 4 ,1 will examine the various attempts, on the part of both Western and Indian authors, to deodorize, sanitize, or reform Tantra.
The most famous of these is the eccentric Supreme Court judge and secret tantrika practitioner of Tantra , Sir John Woodroffe, who is regarded as the founding father of Tantric studies. For what does Tantra mean? A secular writing may be called Tantra. Instead, I will try to retrace the complex genealogy of the term tantra itself, in order to show the diverse and heterogeneous body of concepts and traditions this term has been used to designate.
Since the time of Woodroffe, many defenders of the Tantras have argued that they are not only in continuity with Brahmanical Vedic traditions, but that they are in fact the very essence and inner core of Vedic teachings. Yet its meaning is by no means either simple or fixed.
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Derived from this seminal root tan, the noun tantra is thus first used in the Vedic hymns to denote a kind of weaving machine, a loom or, specifically, the warp and woof RV However, as J. The Man stretches the warp and draws the weft; the Man has spread it out upon this dome of the sky. RV Thus, later authors like the great philosopher Sankara use tantra simply to refer to any system of thought e. The vaidika or the mixed one is laid down for brahmanas and others.
Padma dkar-po trans. Guenther, The Tantric View of Life As for the smile, the gaze, the embrace, and the union, even by the tantras the secret language of these four is not mentioned. Hevajra Tantra HT There is of course a vast body of texts called tantras, as well as related texts called ydmalas, dgamas, nigamas, and samhitas, which spread throughout the Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist communities over the past twelve hundred years.
The Tibetan canon, for example, preserves almost five hundred such texts, along with over two thousand commentaries and interpretive works. Buddhist tantras would eventually spread not only throughout India, but also to Nepal, Tibet, China, Japan, and parts of Southeast Asia. In fact, we cannot find any concrete reference to Hindu texts called tantras until the ninth century, at the earliest; the tantras are nowhere mentioned in the Mahabharata, which claims that there is nothing in the world that is not contained within it; nor do any of the early Chinese pilgrims to India make any reference to the tantras.
According to an inscription of Sdok kakThom in Cambodia, at the beginning of the ninth century ? Of these texts, named as the Sirascheda, Nayottara, Sammohana, and Vindsikha Tantras, only the last survives. The older of these, the Guhyasamaja, has been dated anywhere from the third to the eighth century.
Nature [prakrti], and Inviolability [asamharya]. Yet it seems clear that in both the Guhyasamaja and in the Hevajra, tantra is not used to refer to a unique religious movement or overarching category; it simply refers to a kind of text, and thus to one of the many elements that comprise the path to liberation, neither more nor less important than the other meditations, rites, or initiations. Yet even these are by no means easily defined terms. In fact, Vajrayana cannot be defined; for it incorporated so many heterogeneous elements that any attempt at strict definition would be futile.
However, as Tucci points out, this well- known fourfold division of the dGe lug school was by no means the only way of carving up the vast body of Vajrayana literature; rather, there were a variety of fourfold, fivefold, sixfold, and other divisions common in different schools. Whereas royal consecration is based on Vedic injunctions, the esoteric consecration of truer know- ers is concealed in the tantras.
In several places we find a hierarchy of schools, ascending from the Vedic, to the Vaisnava, to the Saiva, to the highest path of Kaula: Vedic worship is greater than all others. But greater than that is Vaisnava worship; and greater than that is Saiva worship; and greater than that is Daksinacara. Greater than Daksinacara is Vamacara; and greater than Vama is Siddhanta; greater than Siddhanta is Kaula—and there is none superior to Kaula. NUT 1. Many later works would eventually attempt to construct some sort of classificatory schema in order to organize all of the various literature proliferating under the titles of dgama, nigama, tantra, yamala, and so on.
However, probably the most common way of carving up the vast territory covered by these various traditions is the threefold division into samhitd, dgama, and tantra. Thus the samhitas of the Pancaratra school are traditionally said to be in number, the dgamas of the Saivas said to be 28, and the usual number for the tantras is held to be 64 VST 9. Yet there is significant disagreement as to precisely which texts belong among these tantras.
Abhinavagupta and the Kashmir School Just as stars, remaining in the clouds, do not shine in the sunlight, so too the tantras of the siddhantas do not shine in the kula agama [siddhantatantrani na vibhanti kulagame], Jayaratha TAV i. Foremost among these are the works of the monumental Kashmiri philosopher and aesthetician Abhinavagupta ca. In his classic works, the Tantrdloka Light on the tantras and Tantrasara Essence of the tantras , Abhinava sought to create a grand synthesis and hierarchical ordering of all the known schools of Saivism, ultimately placing his own school of the Trika Triad at the summit, as their culminating goal.
In fact, he suggests that the kula is actually a higher path than the tantra see TAV 1. It remains for his students to make their own conclusion. But this, too, does not give us insight into the bases of the Tantric way of thinking.
They were taught because of the curses of Daksa, Brghu, and Dadhica. Devibhdgavata Parana 7. Let us make texts of delusion to protect and delude the evil ones beyond the Vedas. Siva descended to earth. Finally, as we will see in more detail in chapter 3, there are also many Introduction 37 lively and often quite hilarious descriptions of these non-Vedic sects in Sanskrit drama and fiction.
For example, the Mattavilasa, a comic farce attributed to the Pallava ruler Mahendra-varman ruled c. Wear fancy clothes from every nation. Not being refined, he did whatever he pleased. While they clearly conceive of Kapalikas, Pasupatas, and other extreme groups as distinct traditions, they do not identify them as tdntrika even though, as we have seen, the Puranas and other texts do identify other non-Vedic forms of worship as tdntrika -, nor does there appear to be any concept of Tantrism as a singular tradition in the early Indian imagination.
Black Magic and Fulfillment of All Desires: Tantra in the Indian Popular Imagination With the help of the mantras and yantras written in this book, you can perform many un-do-able deeds. Not only will you turn your hard times into good times, but you will attain the sight of hidden wealth, prosperity in business, victory in litigation It is also clear.
By the late nineteenth century, the Kartabhajas had become a kind of laughingstock throughout Calcutta society, attacked as a degenerate Tantric sect and widely satirized for their fraud, trickery, and licentiousness. Religion is mixed up with all irreligion; they turn every deed into the enjoyment of sensual pleasure. In all their teachings there is deception and fraud. During a recent trip through north India, I happened to pick up a colorful Hindi book at a roadside stall, entitled Sahara Tantra Mantra Sastra, whose cover shows a black-robed figure holding a flaming skull.
Seeing the book in my hands, a curious Introduction 39 Figure 4. Billboard for Shaitan Tantrik, directed by A. Photo by the author Cuttack, Orissa, January zooo. Saitan indrajal! Sexual union is the libation; the sacred precept is the shedding of semen. The pleasure derived from sexual union is of the nature of the Supreme Bliss. The short answer to this question is: yes, of course they do. In the Hindu tantras, the union of the male and female is commonly used as the supreme symbol of the eternal union of Siva and Sakti, the primordial masculine and feminine, passive and active principles that lie at the foundation of all reality see TA In some cases, at least, this union is to be performed physically, through actual intercourse between male and female practitioners in a ritual context.
As David Gordon White observes, sexual rituals clearly play an important role in many Tantric traditions from an early date; yet the interpretation of these rites has often been grossly misunderstood by Western authors, scholarly and popular alike. Moreover, there is tremendous difference of opinion within the tantras themselves as to precisely how such practices are to be performed and how they are to be interpreted.
Within both the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, here has been a long and tangled debate over the question of whether sexual imagery in the tantras should be taken literally—as actual physical intercourse between males and females— or purely symbolically—as an internalized, spiritual union between the male and female principles of creation. Or should it be sublimated and withdrawn upward into the male body?
Or is it the very essence of the act, as the manifestation of the supreme bliss of divine Consciousness? Are they to be manipulated physically and consumed by the practitioners as a sacramental meal? Or are they to be internalized and transformed into some nonphysical essence? Is she a necessary partner, who also achieves spiritual power from the union? Or is she a mere tool to be used by the male and then cast aside?
While for some, sex in its most literal sense lies at the heart of the tantras, for others, it is something that is only symbolic, secondary to the true essence of Tan- tra, which is philosophical, spiritual, and nonphysical. Atharva Veda AV Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations What we have found in our brief genealogy of the term tantra in Indian literature is by no means the consistent linear narrative of the evolution of a coherent religious movement.
Should we abandon the term altogether and substitute some other term or perhaps a series of terms e. I will save a more complete statement of my own suggestions for a reimagining of Tantra in contemporary discourse for the conclusion of this book. The worship assumes wild, extravagant forms, generally obscene, sometimes bloody. It is divided into two schools—that of the right and that of the left. The former runs into mysticism and magic in complicated observances, and the latter into the most appalling licentiousness.
We cannot go further into detail. It is saddening to think that such abominations are committed; it is still more saddening that they are performed as part of divine worship. Conscience, however, is so far alive that these detestable rites are practiced only in secret. Murray Mitchell and Sir William Muir, Two Old Faiths Now look at the trickery of these stupid popes that whatever is considered to be highly sinful and opposed to the Veda is regarded as virtuous.
The use of meat, wine. As Bernard Cohn suggests, the detailed study and categorization of Indian society was a critical part of the colonizing project. This Orientalist imagining of India, however, was neither monolithic nor static; rather, as Thomas Trautmann argues, the Orientalist vision of India underwent several important transformations. During the period from , however, the British government began to turn from its original hands-off attitude.
Under the influence of Evangelical and Utilitarian ideals in England, the British began active efforts at reform, at once religious, moral, and legal. It is true that as early as the eleventh century, Muslim travelers like Alberuni, and later European explorers like Marco Polo, had described various groups of yogis ciugi, as Marco Polo calls them , as well as the alchemical art of rasayana, which aims at the goals of longevity and immortality.
The earliest Western references to a body of texts called tantras come from the great Orientalist and pioneer in the study of Indian language Sir William Jones. The ceremony takes place at night with more or less secrecy. In one particularly vivid account. These shastrus direct that the person must, in the night, choose a woman as the object of worship To this succeeds the worship of the. The learned brahmun who opened to me these abominations made several efforts—paused again, began again. The refuse is eaten by the persons present, however different their castes.
The priest then. Wilson Tantrism is Hinduism arrived at its last and worst stage of medieval development. Farquhar or W. Moreland, and in popular works like D. On these nights everything is permissible; Untouchables jostle Kshatriyas, Brahmans dig knives into the remains of the cow, women come from the from the Zenana and discard their veils. Stretched on the grass with her sari thrown off lies a young girl. The culminating act of this abominable orgy is the slaughter of a young man or woman who, while still alive is torn to pieces by frenzied Shaktas. Here the idolatrous cult of female energies was grafted upon the theistic Mahayana.
Donald S. Lopez, Jr. Running throughout the early discourse on Buddhism, the dominant metaphor is that of a disease or parasite, which somehow infected the Buddhist organism in India. As the widely read Tibetologist L. Austine Waddell recounts this narrative, About the end of the sixth century, Tantrism or Shivaic mysticism with its worship of female energies.
Consorts were allotted to Celestial Bodhisatts. Such was the distorted form of Buddhism introduced into Tibet about , and during the succeeding centuries Buddhism became still more debased. Behind its icy barriers its priests guard its passes jealously against foreigners. So it will be a happy day indeed for Tibet when its sturdy over-credulous people are freed from the intolerable tyranny of the Lamas and delivered from the evils whose ferocity and exacting worship weigh like a nightmare upon all. Isaac Taylor, The Origin of the Aryans By the early twentieth century, Tantra thus had become a key part of the larger Orientalist narrative of South Asian history.
It expresses the gulf which separates the Male from the Female principle and explains the superiority. The higher civilization and superior physique of the northern invaders ultimately prevailed. And this, in turn, naturally justified rule by a living and still virile civilization of good Aryan stock, namely, the British. Classifying the Pathology ofTantrism: Sex, Secrecy, and Scandal in the Victorian Imagination In matters of sexuality, we are, all of us, the healthy as much as the sick, hypocrites nowadays. Let us consider the strategems by which we were induced to apply all our skills to discovering its secrets.
Sex began to be managed. Sexuality proliferated as power over it was extended. They came increasingly to regard only one form of sexual relation to be proper and healthy—namely, heterosexual marriage. In his study of the mystics of India, J. The classification and categorization of sexual practices, particularly the most dangerous, antisocial forms, was a crucial part of the larger imperial project of knowing and thereby better controlling those under rule.
At the same time, by diagnosing this demoralizing disease of Tantra, which had spread throughout the Indian social body, colonial The Golden Age of the Vedas 59 authors also justified the need for a more rational, healthy foreign rule in the subcontinent—the prudent, moral administration of the British. There has been a serious attempt, on the part of the orthodox, to destroy, drive underground or deny the worst features of Left-hand Saktism. Bengal resounded with opprobrious criticisms of the Tantras. No one among the educated in Bengal could praise them.
The educated Bengali of the age was bewitched by the Christian culture, and. Panchkori Bandyopadhyay, Sahitya The construction of Tantra in the nineteenth century was by no means a simple, one-way process, a mere projection of European fantasies onto the mirror of the exotic Other. As David Kopf argues, the work of early scholars like Jones and Colebrooke, together with the college founded in Calcutta, provided a major intellectual stimulus to the leaders of the so- called Hindu Renaissance.
The more virulent defenders of traditional Hinduism, such as the founder of the Arya Samaj, Swam! In these Tantras I found that incest was permitted even with mothers, daughters, sisters and low born maids. They recommend worship of gods in a perfectly nude state, spirituous liquors, fish, and all kinds of animal foods are allowed for all. By reading. The object of these pages is to hold up to light the most filthy, infernal and obscene superstitions Born to a Brahman family, Ram- mohun was a well-educated and ambitious entrepreneur—a successful businessman and real-estate agent, as well as a scholar who mastered Persian, Arabic, and English.
Influenced by Orientalist scholars like Jones and Colebrooke, Rammohun adopted the ideal of the Vedic Golden Age and its progressive decline, which he then adapted to the traditional Indian notion of the descending cycles of time. Hindu tradition. His own mother had in fact been a Sakta and a devotee of Kali, the Tantric goddess par excellence. Nigam and other Tantras may satisfy every reader of the horrible tenets of the worshippers of [Kali]. Pranatosini, Tantrasara, etc. Then the Mahanirvana Tantra did not have so great influence.
Considering the form into which, as a result 64 The Golden Age of the Vedas of English education, the mind The Mahanirvana Tantra alone is fit for the country at the present time.
The Kabbala of Love
Bandyopadhyay, Sahitya Among all the strange, esoteric, and often seemingly incomprehensible works we call the Hindu tantras, there are few more curious than the Mahanirvana Tantra. Comprised of 2, verses, the text unfolds as a dialogue between Lord Siva and Parvatl on Mount Kailasa. The Vedic rites. That which is changeless, existent only and beyond both mind and speech, which shines as the truth amidst the illusion of the three worlds is Brahman according to its real nature.
Duncan M. It is only within the strictly controlled environs of the Tantric circle that caste restrictions can be suspended; once the secret cakra is dissolved, normal social relations must be restored. Derrett has argued convincingly that at least part of the text—namely, the large portions dealing with caste, domestic order, and property rights—can be explained by changes made in the British India legal system between and Elp until In , however, the English Parliament set up a new system that created the Supreme Court.
At this time, it appeared that British law would govern all Hindus in all aspects of life; and among the two most controversial issues were marriage and inheritance—precisely the two most unusual and idiosyncratic elements in the Mahanirvana. But by , the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court was curbed and Hindu law was restored in matters of marriage and inheritance. For these reasons, Derrett concludes that the Mahanirvana was written some time in this eight-year period, most probably in The English would welcome a book. Surely a more orthodox, less controversial sort of sdstra would have been a more appropriate vehicle?
In order to understand this text and its role in colonial Bengal, we need to examine its strange connections with Rammohun Roy and the Brahmo Samaj. It is clear that Rammohun not only knew the Mahanirvana well, but used it explicitly to support his own social and religious ideals. Rammohun owned a copy of the text and had studied various tantras under Hariharananda; some suspect that he may have received Tantric initiation during his stay in Varanasi in Second, both place central emphasis on the doctrine of the degeneration of time: the Golden Age of Hinduism lies in the distant past, while the present modern age is filled with corruption, idolatry, and licentiousness.
On the other hand, they both admit that the caste system should be observed in daily affairs. It may never be known who the actual author s of the Mahanirvdna were. Despite their close connection with the text, it seems unlikely that either Rammohun or Hariharananda penned it. David Haberman has examined an analogous phenomenon in the changing attitude toward Vaisnava bhakti during the nineteenth century. The neo-Vedantine religion of the reformers Hindu theology must be in line with British morality, which is.
Not only does it attempt to reinterpret certain aspects of Indian culture according to the model of the tantras, but it also attempts to relegitimize the Tantric tradition in light of a reformed, modernized Hinduism. For like other tantras, the Mahdnirvana claims to be an ancient, revealed source of authority, but one that has been kept secret, hidden throughout the ages, revealed only now for this most decadent and dangerous modern age.
In sum, it seems unfair to dismiss the Mahdnirvana, as many have, as a modern fabrication or fraud. Among the Hindus we find the most The Golden Age of the Vedas 7 1 beautiful poetry, but always with an element of utter irrationality: we are attracted by its grace, but The result was the destruction of Buddhism and the occupation of the country by the Muhammadans. For the British in India, the classification of Tantra and its pathologies was never a simple matter of intellectual curiosity about an exotic Eastern environment.
For a majority of Orientalist authors, Tantra represented everything that was most dangerous about the land they hoped to rule. As we will see in the following chapters, however, the discourse on Tantra would soon be played out, not just in the abstract realm of scholarly discourse, but in the concrete realms of social struggle and political action.
Invoke the Mother Kali. The Mother asks for sacrificial offerings. What does the Mother want? A fowl or sheep or buffalo? She wants many white Asuras. The Mother is thirsting after the blood of the Feringhees. Kali rises in the East. And it reached its peak in the tumultuous years of the early twentieth century, in the face of a growing, often violent nationalist movement whose struggle for independence was sometimes bloody.
In the colonial mode of production of reality. Many Indian authors, such as the young Aurobindo Ghose, would appropriate and exploit the terrifying image of Tantra, and particularly the violent goddess Kali, as the most powerful embodiment of their political cause. I will then examine the ways in which some Indian authors in turn appropriated the images of Kali and Tantra as revolutionary weapons, exploiting their terrifying power in the colonial imagination.
Sir George MacMunn, The Underworld of India Based in large part on the descriptions of Orientalist scholarship, British government officials and colonial administrators also began to take an interest in the tantras and to contribute a new element to the imagining of Tantra. As we see in the cases of the Mau Mau in Kenya or in various native uprisings in South America, political rebellion was often believed to be associated with immorality, sexual transgression, and the violation of social taboos.
Above all, India was imagined as a land where political activism and religious fervor were often wedded in the most dangerous form. She drinks the blood of her victims. She lives in an orgy of horrors. Osborn Martin, The Gods of India To know the Hindoo idolatry as it is, a person must wade through the filth of the thirty-six pooranus. Kali has been a powerful presence in the Hindu religious imagination since at least the early centuries of the common era.
Vickers, With her horrific violence and rampant sexuality, Kali is the most explicit embodiment of this ghastly perversion that passes under the name of religion: The dark image of this goddess is a truly horrid figure. Maha Kali. She exhibits the appearance of drunken frantic fury. Yet this is the goddess.
The supreme delight of this divinity. He recognized Thuggee as instruments of the ultimate evil in their day, of that which as an end in itself takes human life indiscriminately. He was inspired by the belief that Thuggee must be destroyed. While appearing to be a good citizen and loyal subject of British law, the Thug was in fact a murderous criminal of the most sinister type: The most astounding fact about the Thug is that It was essential to the safety of their criminal operations that they should pass as peaceful citizens.
Not only had they left no trace behind of their foul deed, but they concealed their trail by every art and craft, and with ill-gotten rupees bribed officials, police and villagers, in whose territory the murders had occurred. It is not extraordinary that Thuggee remained a mystery; rather it is remarkable that it was ever brought to light. He is a deceiver who defies the all-penetrating gaze of colonial rule. Whether the Thuggee were a real or an imaginary cult, a rich lore quickly grew up around them, combining fact and fantasy into a vivid narrative.
Kali then established the cult of Thuggee, dedicated to her, which would continue the ritual art of strangulation and robbery. Initially, the story goes. Kali had agreed to devour the corpses herself; however, after one of her devotees looked back to watch her as she consumed a victim, she refused to eat the bodies any longer.
Not only were they thought to engage in rampant violence in the name of Kali, but the Thuggee were also believed to hold dark secret rituals dedicated to her. These sinister rites were described as a kind of Black Mass, consisting of blood sacrifice and sacramental consumption of wine and meat. That giant power which has held the human race in chains wherever the. Sacrificing White Goats to the Goddess 85 If the only monument to British rule in India was the suppression of Thuggee, it is doubtful whether any other nation could show a finer one. What other men of any other Western nation have deliberately imperiled their lives for years on end to protect native life only?
For many years the Department of Thuggee. Eventually it was merged in the Criminal Intelligence Department, whose annals will make the most astounding reading in the world, in which crime mingles with Shiva and Vishnu in a manner unknown elsewhere. Behind all the cruelty and sudden death of the world lies. Kali, the goddess of all horror. Not even the perverted imaginations of the Marquis de Sade could devise a more horrible nightmare than Kali. To minds such as students. Moral corruption, religious perversion, and political unrest come together around the image of Kali and her obscene devotion.
Thus Luther wore the mask of the Apostle Paul, the revolution of Utopian imagination thus cuts across the continuum of. As the basic human faculty for grasping the foreign or the unknown, mimesis is our ability to represent the Other. At the same time, of course, colonized peoples also have their own powers of mimesis and their own ways of imaginally representing the colonizing Other.
Sacrificing White Goats to the Goddess As a powerful dialectical image, the shaman was in large part the result of a complex play of mimesis between the Europeans and the colonized Indians. Sri Aurobindo, quoted in Iyengar, Sri Aurobindo We find much the same dialectical play of imagery in the role of Kali in colonial Bengal. Sri Aurobindo as a young man. Dutt or G. In the period after , the Swadeshi movement began to assume a more violent and extremist form, abandoning the earlier doctrines of passive resistance or boycott in favor of the tactics of revolutionary terrorism.
The ideal that Aurobindo came to adopt was that of swaraj, or complete autonomy for India, which could only be achieved by a radical overthrow of British power. Throughout these organizations, there were often deep connections between Sakta Tantra and revolutionary politics. The left wing extremists which organized themselves into revolutionary secret societies followed the practice of taking vows before the goddess Kali. Invoking Varuna, Agni and other deities.
Then bowing to a sword, crown of all weapons, the symbol of death, they lifted it up in the name of the Adya Shakti original Energy, conceived as the Goddess KalT. The latter openly preached revolution and subversion of British authority. Despite his violent revolutionary activities, Aurobindo considered his cause to be not merely political but also profoundly religious.
For him, nationalism was a divine a mission, and religion was the life-blood that flowed through the organic body of the Indian nation: Sacrificing White Goats to the Goddess 9 3 Nationalism is not a mere political program; Nationalism is a religion that has come from God. Nationalism is a creed which you shall have to live.
If you are to be Nationalist. It is not by any mere political programme. What is the one thing needful? The Mother Is Thirsty! Offer sacrifice to me. Give for I am thirsty.