Courageous & Candid Conversation...
Naturally, this is perhaps one of the most commonly asked questions when the phrase first catches a person's attention. It would seem to be quite an innocent and easy to answer question too right?
Hmm... not really.
So much is offered under what is actually a huge umbrella term. Students of classical tantra would perhaps scoff at it, as such a "service" could be said to not even exist from their perspective. It could feasibly be argued that by using the term, we are doing what humans have such a propensity for; misappropriating a name from an ancient high-brow and little understood sacred teaching, and turning it into a marketing ploy for profits. I speak of this openly, even though I myself use the term and it helps to create my main source of income, as there is truth behind the accusation.
With such a truth in mind, I am commanded (by my inner power) to do my best to stay in integrity by doing what I can to weave into my work, the essence of tantric teachings. I do this whilst knowing that they are being reshaped in order to meet the needs and level of understanding of those of us who are not born into the culture or circumstance of the origins, ancient scriptures and truly tantric ways of being.
BUT! I suspect none of the above comes close to satisfy those who ask the question "what is tantra massage?"
"No, I mean, What Do You DO?"
You are the Temple
In truth, the real difference is made as much by you as by me (or the one offering the experience). There are many others who offer services and name them "tantra massage" whose answers will be wildly different to mine. I can therefore only speak into what makes the sessions that I offer different (although some other sacred-sexuality practitioners may well agree with what I share).
Your session will emerge out of your unique set of desires, needs, boundaries and the over-arching motivation you had in seeking out tantra in the first place.
One person could look upon an erotic image and call it art, whilst another sees the same image and names it pornography. The only difference is the eye/mind of the one looking.
Similarly, the difference between seeing/touching another person's body and using that experience to jack-up the sex-response for self-gratification (objectification); and seeing/touching another person's body and agreeing to co-create an experience that serves both (connection), is simply the difference in attitude and intention.
And so it is with tantra massage.
The part I play in holding space for your experience is that I will do my best to invite you into the following tantric ways (which from MY perspective, ensures my gaze/attitude is trained to tantra regardless of where your gaze/attitude is fixed)...
I could go on and on and on some more about what makes tantra massage tantric, I am aware that even in all I have mentioned, I am only just brushing the edges of what is possible. I'm also aware, that there is enough here to stimulate a little more contemplation. And as you contemplate I offer a question of my own to you...
How will YOU make your experience of tantra massage, tantric? What will it take? Do you need to remove the filter of pornography and switch to that of the Renaissance Masters? Or simply allow a tiny "click" in cognisance for a whole new world to open before you?
Whatever it takes, I wish it for you. I wish it for you because I know the realm of healing, transformation and expansion into a more enlivened life awaits you, and that a well received tantra massage is one of the most magical gifts you can offer yourself.
Note to Reader. The opinions/experiences shared below offer a supremely simplified explanation for concepts that are beyond complex. They are not intended to offend scholars or disregard sacred scripts or in depth studies; they are simply a means of creating a way in for the lay person (such as I). My encouragement to all is to let go of mental argument and soften into embodied experience. In such a way we stand a chance, at least, to discover the wisdom we currently have access to within the cells of our body and revealed to us through felt sense.
I was recently asked a question which in brief was “What the heck is Kundalini?” And after answering… “How does that differ to Eros?” I don’t claim to be an expert in esoteric principles, but have touched upon micro-experiences (and some WOWzer experiences) that I believe have provided me with some decent enough clues.
I love this passage about Kundalini, as it demonstrates the absolute saturation of the whole of existence with this force:
"The Kundalini creates the universe out of Her own being, and it is She Herself who becomes this universe. She becomes all the elements of the universe and enters into all the different forms that we see around us. She becomes the sun, the moon, the stars and fire to illuminate the cosmos which She creates. She becomes the prana, the vital force, to keep all creatures, including humans and birds, alive; it is She who, to quench our thirst, becomes water. To satisfy our hunger, She becomes food. Whatever we see or don't see, whatever exists, right from the earth to the sky is nothing but Kundalini. It is that supreme energy which moves and animates all creatures, from the elephant to the tiniest ant. She enters each and every creature and thing that She creates, yet never loses Her identity or Her immaculate purity." Swami Muktananda, Kundalini: The Secret of Life.
So What Of Eros?
Eros is, in my understanding, inseparable from Kundalini. On the esoteric level it is the Muse that creates the desire for Kundalini to come into manifest form. As a lived experience it is the state of arousal - not necessarily sexual but can include sexual sensation. To be aroused is to be turned onto life, to feel the heart expand in response to a sunset, to be moved to tears at the witnessing of suffering, to feel drawn into engagement with others, to receive the sensual gifts of the five senses and pour them into creating even more arousal/Eros.
What of Sexual energy...
is that to be denied in favour of Eros/Love?
"Eros is the transformative force of life, love is the unifying force and sexuality is the creative force, the expression of our physical nature. Love is the expression of a conscious will to evolve toward a unified being. Eros, sexuality and love present the possibility of unifying the masculine and feminine within us." John C. Pierrakos M.D.
The possibility could therefore be pondered upon, that Kundalini is the “Mother” power, or the ultimate force that is more than the sum of the "lesser" vibrations of Eros, Love and Sex. And of course, this could also be considered to be nothing more than head mash, something to entertain the intellect whilst the liquid light carries on just doing it’s thing!
The Ultimate Answer?
However we choose to answer the questions around Kundalini, Eros, Sexual Energy, Love; the only answers that have great value to the individual, are those that arise out of a lived experience. If we imagine ourselves as conduits for all of these forces, the more we turn our awareness to our felt senses, the more we may sense how each vibration feels to us. All of these forces will change shape/expression in response to the unique imprint created by whatever filters we have formed. Such filters include our beliefs, experiences, health-states, personality, behavioural patterns, mental flexibility/rigidity, identity and so on.
So only you can discern for yourself what any of these terms mean to you. Only you can feel within you your unique relationship to the forces of life. And only you can choose in which ways, and in which combination you desire to explore these forces.
Listen to the track below whilst indulging in some lovely Sufi Grinds, tuning into your Felt Sense, and contemplating all of the above.
The track is around 5min30sec So I recommend taking a few seconds to tune into your body, 2.5mins in one direction, 2.5mins in the opposite direction, then a few seconds to feel what is most alive in your experience.
You could repeat a few times, or use longer tracks or silence to enjoy a longer practice. Just be sure to give the same amount of time to each direction.
Carolyn Cowan gives a very detailed description of the Sufi Grind, I suggest listening to her to get the most out of this apparently simple movement. Once you have it down though, let go of all thoughts of correctness of form so you can receive the full experience. In other words, let go and let your body take your mind on a journey.
Join me for a cheeky bite into contemplations on the nuances and riches of life as a messy yet magnificent human (and more than).