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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Subject: Eastern Thought


A famous hand position (mudra) seen on many Tantric, Hindu, Buddhist, and even Christian statues. It is simply a hand (usually the right hand) raised to shoulder height with the palm forward and all fingers together, pointing up. While this hand position is often used in the West to mean "stop," Abhaya is a Sanskrit word meaning fearlessness, and is used on icons to represent the dispelling of fear. It source is the idea that "my hand is empty so you have nothing to fear," and is often used to indicate peace and friendship. As a symbol of fearlessness, it was traditionally the gesture made by Gautama (the Buddha) as soon as he gained enlightenment.

Action Organ

An organ that is associated with a specific chakra and through which that chakra expresses itself physically. 


(Sanskrit) literally “First” and “Sons of the Fire Mist,” an alternate name referring to the Upper Manifestal seventh plane up from the physical level.


Aghora means without fear. The term refers to a Tantric sect that engages in extreme practices. Aghoris embrace that which most of society would find intolerable. 


The name of the ancient God of fire found in spiritual traditions from India.


(Sanskrit) “Non-killing.” The Hindu doctrine of non-violence and non-injury, whether by act or word or thought. Hence, no negative Karma.


Aikido is a martial art that relies on harmonious movements and minimal muscular effort to resolve conflicts.

Unlimited power. Forehead chakra located between the eyebrows. This chakra is associated with insight, perception, and intuition and is seeded and activated during Reiki One and Two attunements, respectively.


(Sanskrit) “Command Center.” Primarily known the “Brow Chakra”.

Pronounced "ah-kash." Sanskrit word that has been adopted in the West as the name for the fifth magical element. It means aether or spirit.


(Sanskrit) See Spirit. The fifth element of Spirit or Ether, one of the five tattvas or elemental forces—the others beingAir, Fire, Water, and Earth, which are derived from Spirit. It is symbolized by an indigo egg shape, and is associated with Vishudda, the throat chakra. It manifests as sound, but is not sound. It is all-pervading Space without dimension. Compare to the alchemical “Quintessence.”

Suggested Reading: A Chakra & Kundalini Workbook, by Dr. Jonn Mumford.

The Arcane Magical Order of the Knights of Shambhala. An occult group founded in 1982 by Michael Magee (Lokanath Maharaj) by permission of HH Shri Gurudev Mahendranath (1911-1992) who was a guru (some say the last guru) of the Uttarakaula Tantric Order of northern India. AMOOKOS cleverly blended ancient Tantric and Western techniques and quickly grew all over the world, introducing people who would later become leaders in the occult community to Tantric philosophies and magickal techniques that were not widely known. As frequently happens, internal struggles led to a split in the group and today there are several groups that directly or indirectly owe a great deal to AMOOKOS.

In alchemy and sex magick, it is the magically transmuted First Matter.


Literally, that which is against death; the nectar of immortality. In classical Tantric sex rituals, commingled sexual fluids that are consumed by the practitioners. Some Neo-Tantric teachers refer to female ejaculate as "amrita."

The pure sound made without any two things striking. Heart chakra or center located at the center of the chest associated with love and compassion and is seeded and activated during Reiki One and Two attunements, respectively.


Sanskrit. "Unstruct Sound." Primarily known the Heart Chakra.

A Sanskrit term that means “divine bliss.” Frequently included in Indian names, it implies oneness with higher realms of holy peace


Commonly translated as bliss, but it can also mean happiness, joy, or sensual pleasure. 


Ppronounced ahn-yuh-lee, the famous mudra, or hand position, often given among Tantrics, Buddhists, and Hindus, indicating an honorable greeting. It is made by pressing the palms of both hands together, with the fingers pointing up. It can be positioned at chest level (with the thumbs touching the sternum), at the forehead level (with the thumbs at the location of the third eye chakra between the brows), or above and slightly in front of the head. In some traditions you greet equals or subordinates with the hands at the chest, superiors (especially spiritual leaders) with the hands at the forehead, and divinities (during worship) with the hands above the head.

The gesture first appeared on seals associated with the pre-Hindu culture in the Indus valley around 2,000 b.c.e.


(Sanskrit) “Parentless.” Alternate name for the Submanifestal, the sixth level up from the physical


"Little heaven." The bindu or dot that sometimes appears above Sanskrit letters. It indicates prolonging and nasalizing the "m" or "n" sound. It is what gives simple mantras like Om their power to alter consciousness. 


The Tattwa of elemental Water. It is symbolized by a silver crescent with the horns pointing upward as if a container.


A form of the Tantric deity that combines the male Shiva with the female Shakti in one iconic form. Visually, the deity is divided vertically, with one half showing physical male characteristics and the other half showing female characteristics. The name is Sanskrit for "The Lord who is Half Woman."


The Half Lotus Posture. In this modified version of the Lotus Posture, only one foot is placed atop the thigh when the legs are crossed. 

Arthur Avalon
Pen name of Sir John Woodroffe.

Pose or posture held comfortably. Poses for meditation and bodily control.


Sanskrit. "Seat" or "Postures. Generally referring to any the postures or exercises taught in Hatha Yoga that provide a stable base for the body so that sensations do not disturb concentration.

A Sanskrit term literally meaning "to strongly strive" or "to make strident efforts." Most people know it as a term as a noun, describing a type of school, often associated with a spiritual organization, and often set up as a live-in place of study, worship, and work. However, it can also be used as an adjective, describing a period when a person dedicates himself or herself to a spiritual life.

Ashtanga Yoga

"Eight-limbed." The eight stages of Patanjali's Yoga:

Yama: control 
Niyama: observance 
Asana: posture
Pranayama: breath control  
Pratyahara: sense withdrawal 
Dharana: concentration 
Dhyana: sustained concentration, and
Samadhi: universal consciousness with total psychological and physical integration.

Ashwini Mudra

Literally, "the gesture of the horse." Ashwini Mudra is the intentional pulsing of the anus. This practice is very important in many Tantric routines, since it is a powerful way to raise energy within the body. It is also reputed to have a wide variety of health benefits. 

A Sanskrit term for a mystical tree of knowledge. Curiously, it is shown inverted, with the branches extending down while the roots grow up. The branches represent the physical plane and the roots represent the spiritual plane, indicating the importance and value of the spiritual world.

The individual soul, the Self, the eternal principle.


(Sanskrit) The Upper Superessential level of reality and consciousness. Also the vehicle of the Second Self.

(Sanskrit) The true self. The Soul.


The Higher Self or Soul that is eternal.


(Sanskrit) The Upper Superessential level of reality and consciousness.


Sanskrit. The mental (silent) chanting of a mantra in which attention becomes so fixed that any lapse or disturbance is nearly impossible.

Alternate (and more accurate in the terms of transliteration) spelling of “om.”

A Sanskrit term for a mystic who is beyond daily physical concerns. Such a person is believed to no longer be attached to either their body or mind. They are believed to be incarnated pure consciousness.

(From the Sanskrit avalokita meaning perceived or seen and Isvara, meaning lord.) In Buddhism, a bodhisattva who, as one entity, contains all the compassion of all the Buddhas. Avalokitesvara is widely revered.


(From the Sanskrit avatara, meaning “descent”) In Tantra and other forms of Hinduism, an avatar is a physical incarnation of a higher being (a deva) or even a theophany, the physical incarnation of a god. The term implies that the entity consciously chooses to descend into a body on the physical plane. There are numerous avatars, and other spiritual traditions have adopted the word as a term to describe a deity incarnate.

In Hinduism, the God Vishnu, the preserver, is said to have ten avatars. The most famous of these is the eighth one, Krishna. The ninth avatar of Vishnu was Buddha. The tenth and final avatar of Vishnu, Kalki, will not incarnate for many thousands of years.

Sanskrit term for ignorance. It is believed there are two types of ignorance, the partial or total lack of knowledge, or incorrect or “wrong” knowledge. Avidya is one of the five traditional blockages (kleshas) to enlightenment, and some consider it to be the primary or source of these blockages.


A Sanskrit term that can mean father, grandfather, sir, or wise old man. When Moslems conquered India it was often added to the names of Hindu and Sikh ascetics. Today it is often used as a term of affection for a holy man such as a monk or teacher.

A Sanskrit term that means “lock.” In the practice of different forms of yoga, it refers to different muscular locks that can be used to direct and intensify the body’s energy.

Base Chakra

See: Muladhara


A yogic posture that helps tone up the muscles of the pelvis and lower abdomen while stretching the thighs. To achieve this posture, sit on the ground and bend the knees, allowing them to move to the sides. Put your heels together and pull them as close to the groin as comfortably possible. It is believed that this pose can also help with sexual problems.

The secret meaning of this term involves maithuna, sacred intercourse. While in the traditional yab-yum position, it is impossible for the male to thrust, limiting sexual stimulation and causing lack of tumescence. However, a female can work her internal muscles, allowing the male to stay erect. See Pompour.


Sanskrit. The Yoga of Devotion and Love in both a religious and philosophical sense. While the practice has been perverted into the deification of the Guru or teacher, the intention is the "Love of God" seen in all things. In some cases, the perversion has led to criminal abuse of the student—sexually, emotionally, physically, intellectually, and financially—while the teacher claims that clairvoyant insight has shown that these acts are for the "good of the student's soul."

Bhakti Yoga
Achieving union with the Divine (“yoga”) through extreme devotion. In the West, perhaps the best-known method of Bhakti Yoga is the repetitive singing of brief songs dedicated to the Divine. Such repetition continues until self-awareness decreases and awareness of the Divine increases. However, there are traditionally eight other ways of practicing Bhakti Yoga, including listening to stories of the Divine, worship, and surrender of the self. Each has the goal of increasing awareness of the Divine until union is achieved. One of the four major yogic paths.


Sanskrit for enjoyment. Often used by Tantrics to mean sexual pleasure.

Sanskrit term for ghost. Also a demon, goblin, imp, spirit, etc.


Sanskrit. "Seed." The root sound of a chakra that is intoned as a mantra and releases its potential. Bija sounds of the first five chakras are Lng, Vng, Rng, Yng, and Hng.

Bija Mantras
Bija is Sanskrit for “seed.” Bija mantras are simple sounds that have no meaning. However, vibrations caused by their repetition can result in activation of psychophysiological realities. For example, the bija mantras associated with the seven major chakras are as follows:

Chakra..........Bija Mantra

Because this system is quite ancient, and because transliteration from one language to another is not always represented the same way, writings may show slight differences in the above spellings. For example, some authorities use “Lum” or “Lung” for “Lam.”


A Sanskrit word meaning "dot" or "point." In some Tantric traditions it is a term for the semen. It also can mean the focal point when meditating. Traditionally, Tantric yantras have a point in the center of the image. When drawing them that point was often made with a drop of menstrual blood or semen.

(Sanskrit) Usually translated as "enlightenment," it more accurately means "to awaken." It is the state when you have quieted the mind to such an extent that only the true self is left. At this point a person can realize ultimate truth.

A spiritual hero or Enlightened Being who reaches enlightenment, then forgoes its full benefits until all sentient beings have reached enlightenment as well.

In Buddhism, the title of a person so spiritually evolved that he or she no longer needs to incarnate but who chooses to return to this world of suffering in order to teach others.

The ancient shamanic tradition of Tibet. Eventually, Buddhism supplanted Bon, but some of the Bon concepts were incorporated into it, giving Tibetan Buddhism its own unique patterns, magick, and character.

Book of Changes

See the I Ching.


Sanskrit. "Continence." The fourth discipline of the first stage of Ashtanga Yoga, calling for the moderation and self-control of sexual passions. Too often it is mis-taught as a requirement of celibacy, whereas all Yoga is life-affirming, not life-denying. "Required" celibacy, rather than being an exercise in self-control, is a deliberate practice of social control by external authority to re-direct the individual's emotional energies to the benefit of the authority figure or institution. It could be called a form of "black magic."

Brow Chakra

A term for the Ajna Chakra based upon its location. See Ajna.

Brow Chakra

Also known as Ajna in Sanskrit. The sixth psychic center, the "third eye" chakra, located at the brow. Associated with the color indigo, the Moon, the Sephiroth Chokmah & Binah. The primary means for clairvoyance and other psychic faculties.

Brow Chakra (Ajna) Correspondences

Alchemical Planet: Moon
Alchemical Element: Silver      
Animal: Owl                            
Basic Drive: transcendence
Tattva: Manas (Mind)
Tattva Sense: Mind
Tattva Form: Winged globe
Tattva Color: Half, rose with yellow; 
Chakra Color: Indigo Half, with purplish blue
Body Function: sight, consciousness      
Element: Light, Mind                        
Gemstone: Quartz, Lapis lazuli         
Gland: Pituitary                               
Goddess-form: Egyptian: Isis
                         Hindu: Hakini 2
God-form: Greek: Apollo
                  Hindu: Shiva-Shakti1
Incense: Saffron, mugwort 
Location: Brow                                
Order of chakra unfoldment: 6th     
Part of Body: Eyes                                                    
Sense: Mind, awareness                                     
Yogic Planet: Moon
Psychic Power: clairvoyance, pre-cognition, remote viewing, aura reading         
Seed Syllable/Number: AuM (0)
Psychological Attribute: Logical thinking                                        
Sense: Awareness
Spinal Joint: 32nd                                         
Spinal Location: 1st Cervical   
Tarot Key: II, High Priestess              
Tree of Life Sephirah: Chokmah & Binah                             

1 Male & female in union                                                    
2 Insight

Literally means awake. A Buddha is someone who has awakened to his true spiritual nature.

Buddha of Compassion
See Avalokitesvara.

That part of the mind that discriminates, telling truth from what is untrue or unreal.


The higher consciousness of the Second Self, sometimes called “Intuition.”

A spiritual tradition based on the teachings and beliefs attributed to Gautama Siddhartha, known as the Buddha, who is believed to have lived in the 6th century b.c.e. Although people not familiar with this philosophy believe Buddha is considered a god, this is not so. In fact, the term Buddha simply means “enlightened one.” Since Buddhism is not about a specific deity, it is debatable to claim that Buddhism is a religion unless it is considered a non-theistic religion. Buddhism was a response to the strict rules of Hinduism and has many beliefs in common with Hinduism. The goal of Buddhist practices is to avoid pain and suffering by not having attachments to things in this world. The result of this would be to eliminate the need to incarnate and no longer face suffering in the physical world. Some who achieve this level, however, choose to return and teach others. They are known as Bodhisatvas.

Buddic Plane

The fourth plane "up" from the physical, sometimes called the intuitional level.

Causal Body
An ancient Tantric concept adopted by Theosophy and brought into contemporary occult thought. There are supposedly multiple bodies or sheaths that make up a person (anciently there were 5, but the Theosophists made this 7). The causal body is the highest, most ethereal body. It is a veil for the true soul.

Causal Body

Buddhi and Manas, the incarnating self. It is the Causal Body that is what is most  identified as the “Soul,” although it is not the ultimate Spirit. 

A term meaning to bring your focus and attention back to the center of yourself. This is useful to eliminate disturbing issues that prevent you from focusing on the purpose of what you are doing: your work, your meditation, or your magick. One method of doing this is by grounding.

Chakra Puja

An expression composed of two Sanskrit words: chakra, meaning circle, and puja, meaning ritual. Thus, a Chakra Puja is a ritual practiced by a group ("circle") of people. In the West, there are public Chakra Pujas that are open to the public, and more private Chakra Pujas intended for people initated into a particular Tantric tradition.

Chandra Bindu
Literally the “point of the moon;” however, in the Tantric “twilight language,” it means “moon juice.” The moon is symbolic of the spiritualized woman. The moon juice is the lubricating fluid created by a woman in preparation for spiritual sexual intercourse with her partner (maithuna).

A Sanskrit term generally accepted to mean "student." It originally meant "servant," indicating the idea that a student is meant to serve his or her teacher in order to pay for (exchange energy for) the teacher's spiritual training.

A Sanskrit term meaning a "copy" or "shadow," it is the astral image or astral body of a person.

This energy consists of static electricity, infrasound, infrared radiation, and magnetic fields. Chi is a complex form of energy that manifests itself in your vitality, your spirit, and your life.

Vital life force often referred to as energy. A term commonly used in acupuncture referring to the energetic flow within the meridians.

Energy or life force. Also known as Ki or Prana.


The Chinese name for vital energy, comparable to the Hindu Prana.

Chinese Therapies
Also described as Oriental or Asian Medicine, Chinese Therapies is a term used to describe a wide assortment of practices for sound body, mind, and spirit. These include herbal remedies, acupuncture, acupressure and massage, energywork such as Chi Gung, and martial arts.


A Sanskrit word referring to an energy path that is tinier than the more famous paths known as nadis. Chitrinis are said to actually be inside of the nadis.

Crown Chakra
One of the power centers found in spiritual traditions with a source in the Indian subcontinent. The Crown Chakra (Sahasrara in Sanskrit) is physically associated with the central chest area. When this chakra is overcharged or undercharged with spiritual energy, it implies that you are dealing with issues of spirituality and direct communication with the Divine. When appropriately charged it is said to indicate that you have freed yourself from those attachments in life that lead to disappointment and unhappiness. When the Kundalini energy rises and fully excites this chakra, it releases (or triggers the release) of a substance known as “amrita,” a special fluid that is supposed to grant immortality. It is symbolized by a lotus flower that has twenty circular sets of fifty petals, each, totaling one thousand petals.

Crown Chakra

Also called Sahasrara. The chakra located at the crown above the head; associated with the color violet and Sephirah Kether.

Crown Chakra (Sahasrara) Correspondences

Alchemical Planet: Mercury, Uranus
Alchemical Element: Mercury          
Tattva: Bindu (a dot)
Tattva Color: Clear
Tattva Form: rose seen from above
Tattva Sense: Higher Self
Animal: None                                 
Basic Drive: Union                 
Body Function: Super-consciousness        
Chakra Color: Violet                 
Element: Thought
Gemstone: Diamond                                           
Gland: Pineal                                 
God-form: Egyptian: Nut            
                  Hindu: Brahma Vishnu1
                  Greek: Zeus                    
Goddess-form: Hindu: Maha Shakti 2
Incense: Lotus, gotu kola                
Location: Crown of Head                          
Order of chakra unfoldment: 7th    
Yogic Planet: Mercury, Uranus
Part of Body: cerebral cortex, central nervous system
Psychological state: Bliss  
Seed Syllable/Number: H(0) 
Psychic Power: astral projection, prophecy                                            
Sense: the Divine Connection
Spinal Joint: 33rd                             
Spinal Location: none
Tarot Key: I, Magician                     
Tree of Life Sephiroth: Kether 

1 Inner teacher                                                                   
2 Union                         

Suggested Reading: Dale: The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy

Although technically an abbreviation of Dakini, a Tantric Buddhist goddess of enlightened energy, it is often used by Westerners to mean a male priest, healer, or representation of Shiva.

In ancient Tibet, a Dakini was a terrifying spirit or demon that would appear to magicians during their rituals. Volatile and wrathful, they may test the magician. In India, the term is often translated as “sky walker” or “sky dancer.” Dakinis are pictured as beautiful, sensuous, and naked (indicating they have been stripped of anything that might limit their spirituality). They also represent transformation and energy. Some modern women Neo-Tantric practitioners refer to themselves as “Dakinis” (Male=“Dakas”) meaning “Tantric goddess.”

A Sanskrit term that means an inner, spiritual vision of the divine. It is often used to mean a meeting with an important spiritual person, such as a priest, a priestess, a guru, etc.

In Tibetan spirituality the central energy channel of the human body.

A Sanskrit term for “goddess.” In the tradition of Hinduism known as Shaktism, she is the supreme deity.

As part of true meditation, a state of extreme focus or concentration.


Sanskrit. "Concentration." The sixth stage of Ashtanga Yoga.

A Sanskrit term meaning "law," specifically cosmic law or order. It is supposedly a person's duty to follow his or her dharma which is in complete accord with the cosmic order. Similar to Crowley's concept of one's "True Will."

A Sanskrit term meaning contemplation to a level where everything other than what you are focusing on is ignored. The second part of true meditation; a part of true meditation that follows dharana.


Sanskrit. "Sustained Concentration." The seventh stage of Ashtanga Yoga.

Literally “clothed with the directions of space; sky-clad” That is, wears nothing other than space; naked. The name of one of the two major sects of the Jain tradition wherein the males possess no property and wear no clothes. In some Tantric traditions, devotional or magickal rituals are performed digambara. It is theorized by some that Gerald Gardner may have used the term "skyclad" for ritual nudity in Wicca as a result of his years in India where he may have witnessed this.


(Sanskrit) Initiation into a spiritual path. Traditionally, diksha could only be given by a guru to his or her chela.

Divine Feminine

A Western expression associated with the Tantric concept that, in Sanskrit, is known as Shakti, the creative, life-giving, universal force. In Western mystical traditions archetypal femininity is usually considered passive and receptive. In most Tantric systems Shakti is both the female and dynamic aspect of the Ultimate Reality.


A Hindu and Tantric holiday primarily celebrated in India and by Indian expatriots. Using the Indian calendar, it can start in late September or in October and lasts for five days ending in October or as late as early November. Also known as Divali or Deepavali, it has varying significance to people across India. However, one of the most common practices is the use of an increasing number of small lamps known as Diyas, indicating the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness. It may have been associated with the astronomical winter solstice thousands of years ago, so this practice may have indicated the concept of the return of light, giving a reason this celebration is also known as the “Festival of Lights.” Possibly a source of the Jewish Hanukkah.

Eastern Occultism

The magickal systems of Asia and Southeast Asia, including India, Tibet, China, and Japan. In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the writings of H. P. Blavatsky and other members of the Theosophical Society helped popularise Eastern Occultism in the West. The Western magickal order The Golden Dawn took one book—Nature's Finer Forces by Rama Prasad—and incorporated some of its Eastern teachings on the Tattwas into its magickal system.

A Sanskrit term meaning "one-pointedness" when mentally contemplating an object for meditation.

Feng Shui
The science and study of the effect of environmental factors on living. Includes guidelines for determining the best location and direction of your home and workplace; where the rooms in your home should be to best facilitate energy flow; and how to create a garden that will bring positive energy and good luck into your home.

Includes two major schools of thought. The Form School examines the shape of the land, the shape of your building, and even its direction in relation to the land around it.

The Compass School is based on the pa-kua, an octagonal symbol surrounding the famous yin-yang. Each side is related to one of the eight trigrams from the I Ching, and is related to certain energies. If you are planning a house, you can put a pa-kua over the plans and determine which direction your home should face and the best way to arrange the rooms.

In Theosophy, the primary cosmic energy that brings the manifested universe into being. It is closely related to the life-force or One Life.


The primary Cosmic Energy fundamental to the universe. Fohat manifests as universal physical forces: motion, gravity, electricity, magnetism, sound, heat, chemical reactions, radiation, etc. These physical forces are convertible, one into another.

To place the two palms together. The Namaste or Prayer Position in India, this symbolizes respect and also activates the ten meridians of the body.

One of the oldest and most popular Sanskrit mantras. It is based on a verse of the Rig-Veda one of the oldest books in the world. It is also a traditional musical rhythm and has many variations. The original Sanskrit words (usually preceded by om bhur, bhuvah svaha, are: Tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi, dhiyo yo nah prachodayat. Dedicated to the Goddess Savitri, is not easily and directly translated. Krishnamurthy gives: "We meditate upon the radiant Divine Light
of that adorable Sun of Spiritual Consciousness; May it awaken our intuitional consciousness."


A Western version of Chinese feng shui or Indian Vastu, geobiology explores interactions between the Earth and the heavens. It allows people to plan out what are supposedly the best places for homes, businesses, cities, etc. Geobiologists would do this work with the help of dowsers.


A hand bell used in Tantric, Hindu, and Buddhist rituals. 


Sanskrit. "Knowing." The Yoga seeking realization through Knowledge and Understanding. It is "Gnosis," the direct perception and comprehension of "Universal Truth." It is "Cosmic Oneness."

Knot. Three protective mechanisms located in the sushumna that only open once a practitioner has achieved sufficient level of purification.

Group Karma
A modern concept not related to any traditional idea of karma. Group karma is the karma that is developed by a group of people. Participation in the group is supposed to associate you with the karma of all the others in the group. However, traditional karma is based only on what you do, not what others do.

Also known as the trigunas or three gunas, these are the three essential qualities or characteristics found in all matter according to the ancient writings of India. The Sanskrit names of these qualities are rajas or activity, tamas or rest, and sattva or balance.

(Sanskrit Gu, darkness and Ru, destroyer. Hence, destroyer of darkness) Generally used to mean a teacher or the leading teacher of a particular philosophy or practice. The original concept, however, was more complex. A guru was traditionally an enlightened being and capable of being in direct contact with God. When a student (chela) first meets the guru (meeting a guru in person is called darshan), the guru was supposed to instantly know what unique training the person needed to become enlightened. The result would be a guru/chela relationship where the guru would teach the chela what he or she needed to become enlightened and voluntarily take on the chela’s karma while the chela is with him or her. The chela, in exchange, would do whatever the guru required. This could involve both the performance of spiritual exercises for the student’s training and giving personal service to the guru.

The oldest known mantra, it is the sound of the breath going in and out. It literally means “swan.” In some traditions it is reversed, being So-Aham.

Half Lotus Posture

See Ardhapadamasana.

Ham Sa

Sanskrit. "I am He." A mantra used in meditation to release a positive emotional attitudes of omniscience and omnipotence from the Unconscious. It is pronounced "Hum" as the breath is exhaled followed by "So" in inhalation.


Sanskrit. "Absolute Necessity" (to overcome the inertia of the human organism). One of the four Yogas mentioned in the Upanisads (Mantra, Raja, Laya). Symbolically, it is the "union" (Yoga) of the "Sun" (Ha) with the "Moon," (Tha) and thus dissolving the polar opposites through the interface of Mind-Body.

Hatha Yoga
The path of yoga that first pays attention to the physical body through asana, pranayama, and meditation practices that give rise to the awareness of spirit.

Heart Chakra
One of the power centers found in spiritual traditions with a source in the Indian subcontinent. The Heart Chakra (Anahata in Sanskrit) is physically associated with the central chest area. When this chakra is overcharged or undercharged with spiritual energy, it implies that you are dealing with issues of universal love or decision making. This is also the chakra that lies between the lower, physically-based chakras and the upper, spiritually-based chakras. As such, it is a link between our physical and spiritual selves. It is symbolized by a lotus flower that has twelve petals.

Heart Chakra

Also known as Anahata.The fourth psychic center. The chakra located at the heart; associated with the color green, the planet Sun or Venus, and the Sephirah Tiphareth.

Heart Chakra (Anahata) Correspondences

Alchemical Planet: Sun, Venus                 
Alchemical Element: Gold      
Tattva: Vayu (Air)
Tattvic Color: Blue
Tattva form: Hexagram
Tattvic Sense: Touch
Animal: Birds, Deer                         
Basic Drive: Love           
Body Function: Respiration             
Chakra Color: Green              
Element: Air                                   
Gemstone: Rose Quartz, Emerald     
Gland: Thymus                               
God-form—Egyptian: Maat      
                   Hindu: Ishana Rudra
                   Greek: Pan 
Goddess-form—Greek: Aphrodite       
                           Hindu: Kakani1 
Incense: Lavender, Jasmine           
Location: Over Heart                       
Order of chakra unfoldment: 2nd     
Yogic Planet: Jupiter
Part of Body: Lungs                        
Psychological Attribute: compassion, tolerance
Psychic Power: Hands-on Healing             
Sense: Touch                         
Bija Mantra: LuNG LuM (1)
Spinal Joint: 26th                                                          
Spinal Location: 8th Cervical
Tarot Key: X, Wheel of Fortune                 
Tarot Suit: Swords
Tree of Life Sephiroth: Tiphareth      
Yantra (internal): Red Hexagram     


Suggested Reading – Dale: The Subtle Body – An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy

Higher Ego

Buddi-Manas. The God within, our “Father in Heaven.”

In Tibetan spirituality the sound for the divine life force.

The nadi to the left of the sushumna with qualities akin to the moon or lunar aspects of life. Associated with intuition, the feminine, and cooling.


Hindu goddess of abundant food and of the earth, she would grant any blessings asked of her. Goddess of nurturing energy.


There were two Mountains known as Ida in ancient Greece, one in Crete and one in Phrygia (modern Turkey). Both are linked to mother goddesses.


Sanskrit. One of the three major nadis (psychic nerves). Ida runs up the left side of the spinal column (the Middle Pillar) carrying feminine, intuitive, cooling energy, exiting in the left nostril and triggering right brain hemisphere functions.

A Sanskrit term usually pronounced "ish-varuh," it means "lord." In ancient Indian tradition, it usually indicates a choice for a personal deity.

A Sanskrit term meaning an awake state of mind.


An Indian religion founded between the 6th and 9th centuries BCE. There is no creator deity in Jainism, which is similar to Hinduism and Buddhism in its beliefs in reincarnation and karma. Jains are noted for their commitment to non-violence and their expansive understanding of that term.


The repetition of a mantra or name of God as a form of devotion, honor, or to induce an altered state. Note that some people conflate the concept of a mantra with that of japa. Japa may be performed out loud, quietly, silently but with the moving of the lips, or just in the mind.


Sanskrit. Constant repetition (silently or audibly) of an affirmative mantra to drive it deeply into the subconscious mind.


A Sanskrit term meaning the control of the senses. To some Tantrics it relates to the concept of controlling the sexual act and determining when to orgasm. To others it means orgasm per se.

A Sanskrit term meaning a living being in itself. This is different from any qualities or attributes such a being may have. It equates to the Theosophical term "monad."

Jnana Yoga
Achieving union with the Divine (“yoga”) through knowledge (jnana). The techniques include learning to discriminate between what is real (anything that is eternal) and unreal (everything else), developing the ability to detach yourself from the unreal, practice of six virtues such as control of the mind, perfect concentration, faith, etc., and intense longing for freedom from rebirth (reincarnation). One of the four major yogic paths.

Tantric magick circle.

Kali Asana

A sexual position in which the person being penetrated is on top, astride and facing the person on the bottom. 

A Sanskrit term meaning "desire," although the intensity and strength of desire as a driving force often results in people relating it to lust. Although this lust is often seen as sexual, it is also the lust for life and experience. Kama is also the name of the ancient Indian deity of desire.


(Sanskrit): Emotional Consciousness.

Kama Marmas

Literally love or desire points. Marma therapy, which is used in both Ayurvedic and Tamil medicine, is akin to acupuncture or acupressure. Dr. Mumford introduced a system of building sexual arousal using these points at Gnosticon, and it is described in detail in The Essence of Tantric Sexuality

Kama Sutra

Literally meaning book, aphorisms, or rules of pleasure (especially sexual pleasure), this book—attributed to the Hindu philospher Vatsyayana and dated between 400 b.c.e. and 200 c.e.—has been considered the ultimate Hindu love manual and an important part of Tantra. In actuality, it has little to do with Tantra and not much to do with sex. It's composted of seven sections:

  1. General Remarks: Five chapters on the aims of life and personal conduct.
  2. Sex Techniques: Ten chapters with remarkably formal and structured instructions on sex leaving little lattitude for freedom, originality, or “going with the flow.” It describes sixty-four sexual acts which have been described incorrectly by some Neo-Tantrics as the "64 Tantric Arts."
  3. Wife Acquisition: Five chapters on how to obtain and keep a wife happy.
  4. Responsibilities of a Wife: Two chapters on how a wife should conduct herself.
  5. Other Men's Wives: Six chapters on how to court and have sex with the wives of other men.
  6. Courtesans: Six chapters on how to find a lover who is a courtesan.
  7. Magick: Two chapters on topics such as using magical techniques to increase virility and improve your appearance.

During later times, rich young men use the book as a rationalization for taking numerous partners. Some believe that the entire book may have been Vatsyayana's appeal to a rich ruler, much as The Prince was Machiavelli’s attempt to appeal to the Medicis in order to obtain his freedom.

The Sanskrit term for what is known in the West as the "causal body." This is based on the concept that our physical body is just one of several bodies each person has. It means the most subtle (or innermost or highest) body that veils the soul.

Depending on the culture, the concept of karma has several different interpretations. While some schools of thought use the term to mean a sort of payback for our good and bad deeds, others (notably Buddhist scholars) maintain that karma never means the effect of a good or bad deed, but the deed itself. This initial deed, they argue, sets into motion a chain of events that leads to eiher good or bad situations, depending on the nature of the original deed. Edgar Cayce, on the other hand, taught that the consequences of our actions in this life were not karma, but simply cause and effect. He said that karma was always what we bring into this life as consequences from a past life.

Rewards for past deeds, whether positive or negative. Karma is an objective, impersonal balancing mechanism existing in the universal spirit.

Action or deed. The cause and effect law of the Universe in which each thought, word and action have a result. Seeds of yesterday or past life karmas bear fruit today or in future lives.


 In general, the force generated by a person’s actions.

Karma Yoga
Achieving union with the Divine (“yoga”) through selfless service to all of humanity. The technique is simply to be kind and generous to others to the best of your ability, and consecrating your actions to the Divine. “Karma” means “action, so a person who practices karma yoga should be focused on the action and not on the outcome of the action. It is believed that if you are thus focused, the lessons of karma will be learned and you will be less likely to need to reincarnate. One of the four basic yogic paths.

Karma Yoga

The Yoga of detachment by consciously cutting the emotional and energetic tie between action and reaction. No reaction, no karma, no pain.

Karmic Debt
The emotional service you owe to the universe in this life to compensate for your emotional selfishness in a previous one. The areas of life represented by your natal Neptune house.

Kashmir Shaivism

A form of Tantra. The most significant scriptures were written between the sixth and twelfth centuries. Abhinavagupta is the most celebrated author of Kashmir Shaivite texts. The tradition has all but disappeared, due in part to the violence in Kashmir over the last thirty years. Swami Lakshmanjoo was among the last great gurus of the tradition, and some of his disciples have carried the teachings forward. Daniel Odier also teaches a form of Kashmir Shaivite Tantra. 


Sanskrit meaning "family," "group," or "self-contained unit." This refers to the group orientation of a set of Tantric traditions, the most famous of which are focused in South India. The Kaulas were noted for flaunting taboos as a means of achieving liberation. They are usually considered left-handed sects of Tantra, meaning that they followed Tantric traditions literally rather than symbolically. Rituals of some Kaula sects include the practice of maithuna, ritual sexual intercourse.

Kechari Mudra

A Tantric and Yogic practice in which the tongue is placed behind the uvula, inside the nasopharynx (the space where the mouth and nasal passages meet.) 

A Sanskrit term that technically means "Ether-goer," but is popularly translates as "sky walker." It means the ability to project the consciousness at will.

Khechari Mudra
Position to lock in energy by folding the tongue back and pressing the soft palate of the mouth behind the teeth.

The Japanese spelling of the Chinese “qi” or “chi,” the universal life force.

Universal energy. Also known as Chi or Prana.


Sanskrit for "sheath" or "body," it usually refers to the five bodies of the human: physical, vital, mental, intellectual, and blissful.

Sanskrit term for a wide variety of techniques, however it most often relates to physical practices used to manifest kundalini energy.

Kriya Yoga

Kriya means action, and Kriya Yoga practices generally combine subtle head movements, breathing techniques, mantra and visualization to lead the practitioner into a meditative state. Paramahansa Yogananda was Kriya Yoga’s best-known exponent in the West, but there are a number of other lineages. For a more in-depth discussion of Kriya Yoga and the term Kriya, see Chapter Three of The Essence of Tantric Sexuality


See Kaula.

Kundalini Yoga
The practices, meditations, and techniques used to activate the powerful potential of spiritual energy.

Kundalini Yoga
Allegedly a method of exciting the Kundalini energy at the base of the spine and causing it to rise up to the head, bringing enlightenment.

A term used by Theosophists and said to have been used in ancient Asian spiritual orders. It means, "disciple."

Laya Yoga
Pronounced “Lie,” it uses breath and visualization to recreate the changes that the physical and spiritual bodies go through during sexual activity. This is usually presented as an allegory of causing the Kundalini energy to rise. It is the source idea for Kundalini Yoga.

Laya Yoga

The Yoga of the arousal, release, and control of Kundalini and latent nerve energies "sleeping" within the human nervous system as the result of stress, resistance, and denial.

In Tibetan spirituality the name of the alien race that evolved into humanity.


Sanskrit. Male Sex Organ, Penis. (See also Shiva Lingam.) While represented by the erect penis as an object of religious veneration, the reality is as a symbol of Male Positive Sexual Force operative at the Etheric (and above) level.

Ancient Sanskrit term for the astral body.

A Sanskrit term that literally means a “sign” or a “mark,” it is generally used as a term among modern Tantrics to mean a man’s phallus. The lingam of the deity Shiva is often a representative of that deity and receives worship and adoration from His followers.


Literally mark or sign, implying the mark or sign of the male deity. Thus, it also means penis. As a symbol, the lingam is associated with Shiva. 

In the ancient Indian Vedas, these are protector spirits who guard the world.


Usually refers to a beautiful flowering plant, the nelumbo nucifera. It's seeds can remain viable for long periods, the longest on record being 1,300 years. The seeds are planted or become embedded in the soil of a lake bed or river, its stem extends to the top (as much as five or six feet) and its leaves and large flowers float on the surface.

Mystically, the lotus has several meanings. The circular flowers are seen as representative of the chakras. The long stem can represent the energy path or nadi that connects the major chakras. The flower is also said to represent transcendence as it shows how the muck at the bottom of the lake can rise to become a beautiful flower. It is also used by Tantric as a term for the yoni, or female genitalia.

Lung Gom
A magical power described in Tibetan mystical literature. It is the ability to travel vast distances across the land easily and without rest.

Sanskrit word meaning “great” or “mighty one.” Often used as a prefix to magnify the meaning of a title or term.


A Sanskrit word literally meaning the great (maha) seal (mudra). A Tantric yoga position that begins with the practitioner sitting with his or her left heel pressed against the perineum (the midpoint between the anus and genitals). Then the nine orifices of the body are closed (2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 nostrils, mouth, anus, and genitals) for the control of the physical and spiritual breath. According to some Tantric traditions Mahamudra refers to ritualized Tantric sexual union. 

Great Tantra. An orgasmic experience that results in an altered state of consciousness commonly known as enlightenment.

Sanskrit for a "Great soul." Mahatmas are considered to be perfected beings, teachers, sages, etc. The Indian leader Gandhi was often given this title. Some mistake it for his first name; however, Gandhi's first name was Mohandas.


In traditional Tantra, the Ten Great Wisdom goddesses, the mahavidyas or dasa mahavidyas (Sanskrit dasa=ten; maha=great; vidyas=wisdoms). When Shiva and his consort, Shakti, in the form of Parvati, got into an argument (over a game of dice), he threatened to leave. She manifested ten forms of herself, ten goddesses, to guard the directions (east, west, north, south, southeast, southwest, north east, northwest, above, below). Each one brought some form of fascinating wisdom to keep Shiva occupied. They are:

  1. Kali 
  2. Tara 
  3. Tripura Sundari 
  4. Bhuvaneshvari 
  5. Chhinamasta 
  6. Bhairavi
  7. Dhumavati 
  8. Bagalamukhi 
  9. Matangi 
  10. Kamala

Some sources give slightly different lists or orders.

In traditional Tantra, a term indicating ritual spiritualized sexual intercourse.


Sanskrit. Sexually Paired Couple, Male & Female.


(Sanskrit) The Higher Mind or thinking function. The action of mind which produces or modifies the manifestation of objects. The incarnating ego.

A Sanskrit word that means “circle.” Mandalas are designs that are usually circular and are constructed around a central point. In Buddhism and Hinduism, mandalas are frequently used for spiritual and meditation purposes, but they can also be used to gain access to your subconscious mind.

Circle. A symbolic representation of the universe which is visualized to enhance spiritual practices.

City of gems. The chakra located at the solar plexus and concerned with will power, setting boundaries, fire, and mental energy.


Chakra located at the solar plexus below the navel, color yellow, associated planet Mars, associated Sephirah: none suggested.

The Solar Plexus (Manipura) Correspondences

  • Alchemical Planet: Jupiter
  • Alchemical Element: Tin
  • Gemstone: Amber, topaz
  • Animal: Ram
  • Basic Drive: Pleasure
  • Body Function: Digestion
  • Element: Fire
  • Tattva: Tejas (Fire)
  • Tattva color: Blue
  • Tattva form: Crescent
  • Tattvic Sense: Taste
  • Chakra Color: Yellow
  • Order of chakra unfoldment: 4th
  • Location: Over navel
  • Part of Body: Solar Plexus, Navel
  • Yantra (internal): Green inverse triangle
  • Gland: Adrenals
  • Yogic Planet: Sun
  • Bija Mantra: RuNG, RuM  
  • Goddess-form, Egyptian: Tefnut; Hindu: Lakini (Authority)
  • God-form, Greek: Apollo, Athena; Hindu: Braddha-Rudra
  • Incense: Carnation, cinnamon
  • Psychological attribute: Power, passion, energy
  • Psychic Power: empathy, psychic diagnosis
  • Spinal Location: 1st Lumbar
  • Spinal Joint: 7th
  • Sense: Sight
  • Tarot Key: XVI, Tower
  • Tarot Suit: Wands
  • Tree of Life Sephiroth: Hod, Netzach

Source: Slate, J. & Weschcke, C.: The Llewellyn Complete Book of Psychic Empowerment, 2011, Llewellyn


Sanskrit. Also known as the Solar Plexus Chakra. The Third Psychic Center known in Sanskrit as Nabhi located at the solar plexus below the navel. Associated with the color yellow and the planet Mars. No associated Sephirah suggested.

The term “mantra” has entered modern vocabulary and is popularly used to mean “a repeated phrase.” People with a bit more study recognize that its source is from Sanskrit and is used in many Hindu, Buddhist, and other traditions. Some who have done more study understand that many of the words used in mantras embody different aspects of divinity and are magically and spiritually powerful. The true meanings of the term go even deeper.

The word “mantra” comes from two Sanskrit words. “Manas,” Sanskrit for “mind,” gives us the first syllable. “Trai,” which means “to make free from” or “to protect” gives us the second. So the real meaning of the term is “To free from the mind.” Thus, the use of a mantra can result the experience of Samadhi, enlightenment, which is usually acquired through meditation. They can also be used for healing, spiritual, and magical purposes.

All words have content and power. Most words have little power and a lot of content. For example, the word “peach” generally has content or meaning (a fruit) but not much power. Other words, due to the vibratory nature and order of their consonants and vowels, can have almost unbelievable power. Real mantras may or may not have an obvious meaning. Some have a disguised meaning. But if they are real, the power of their sound can change the universe totally independent of their meaning.

A common literal translation of the Sanskrit word mantra is “the liberating thought.” Another definition is: “instrument or vehicle of thought.” Although similar to it, a mantra cannot be totally equated with the Western concept of prayer. A prayer is usually a supplication, a request made by the supplicant. The mantra is regarded at once an invocation, a benediction, an affirmation and a promise.

A mantra can be changed out loud or sung silently within the mind. The main object of mantric intonation is to carry the consciousness into an elevated state beyond the mere material. Some Indian yogis even produce the desired effect by simply writing out certain mantras repetitively, like a schoolchild writing out lines. This is known as Likhita Japa and aids in the development of a wonderful concentration. Although many people think that “mantra” means the repetition of a word or phrase, that is incorrect. Mantra is the name of the word or phrase while Japa is the name for the repetition of any mantra or Name of God.

Instrument of thought. Series of sacred sounds or syllables which, through the repetition and reflection of them, can bring powerful spiritual insights.


A word or phrase, usually in Sanskrit, Hebrew or Latin, [that may be] repeated or chanted repeatedly as a way to still the mind in meditation, and/or to instill a particular feeling or to invoke a special state of consciousness. Mantras are usually associated with particular images which may be visualized during meditation and chanting for increased effect. Some mantras are "God Names" and the associated images are of the deities. 


Mind tool, from manas (mind) and trayati (tool). Mantras are words or sounds that serve to focus the mind or direct energy. Mantras can also function as incantations. They range from single syllable Bija or seed mantras to being quite complex and multisyllabic. Mantras can be repeated mentally, under the breath or as chants. Each method has its own unique impact on the mind of the practitioner and the physical environment. In his younger days, Dr. Mumford was renowned for his ability to induce trance and imperviousness to pain in others by chanting a mantra, a technique he calls "Mantra Anesthesia."

Mantra Anesthesia

An expression created by Dr. Jonn Mumford describing the methods of using certain mantras to achieve a state of trance and anesthesia.

Mantra Yoga

Sanskrit. "Man" (mind, to think) and "tra" (a tool or instrument), so literally, a "mind tool" for manipulating consciousness. The systematic use of sound vibrations (usually monosyllables) to bring about physical, psychic, and psychological changes. See also Mantra, involving the use of associated images visualized during meditation and chanting.


Sanskrit. The sixteen vital body areas that are concentrated upon in certain exercises of Raja and Hatha Yoga. The location varies in different traditions.

Martial Arts

A particular training of the whole person, and not just the physical body, uniting physical and psychic actions. See also "Tao."

Suggested Reading: Carnie: Chi Gung: Chinese Healing, Energy and Natural Magick

Sanskrit for “illusion.” In spiritual traditions it is sometimes mistakenly used to mean that the physical world is an illusion. Traditionally, however, it simply means that since everything we know about the world comes through our senses, we can misinterpret reality. Therefore, it is only our interpretation of the world that is an illusion. For example, both ancient mysticism and modern science acknowledge that everything is made of vibration. However, we see the physical world as solid and not vibration. Because we can become enveloped and entangled in the illusion of reality, we can be led away from the true, inner reality of the universe. Sometimes, this process is described as the goddess Maya who casts her spell of illusion upon us.


A mythical mountain in ancient Indian lore. Since it's claimed to be about 672,000 miles high, it's obviously not real! There are many stories about it in ancient Indian lore. It's considered to be the abode of the gods and demi-gods. Mount Meru is known as Shiva's mountain, superficially representing the entire body. Mystically, however, it represents the spiritual mountain of the major chakras with the energy paths, or nadis, that connect them.

Million Dollar Point

See Perineum.

A Sanskrit word (pronounced "mohk-sha" with a long "o") that means "release." It is the concept of being free from needing to reincarnate as all spiritual lessons have been learned.


Sanskrit. "Dead pose." The relaxation posture also known as Shavasana.

Seal. Used with Hatha Yoga postures as a way to seal energy into the body, known as a bhanda; also hand gestures which can affect the energy channels of the body.


A gesture, most often of the hand, that has symbolic significance and that can bring about physiological or psychic changes in the practitioner. Also, a kind of parched grain that is used in the traditional Tantric sex ritual. 


Sanskrit term that literally means mouth (mukha) union (maithuna) and therefore stands for oral sexual practices. Specifically, it is used to mean spiritualized mutual oral sex. When the position of a couple is this way, they can mutually orally worship the lingam and yoni and their bodies are said to form a symbolic image, or yantra

Root lock. The contraction of the perineum is used to seal in energy and bring up the vital life force more strongly into the body and aura.


Literally root lock. In Tantra and Yoga, the practice of tightening and holding the anal sphincter. 

Foundation. The chakra located in the base of the spine, just inside the perineum in men and below the cervix in women. This chakra contains qualities of survival, fear, and grounding. This chakra is used in Reiki Warrior to connect with the earth and ground the student.


Sanskrit. "Root Chakra." The first psychic center physically represented by the testes or ovaries and the sacral, or pelvic, plexus. The Earth center; also called the Base Chakra, suggesting grounding and matter (Latin "Mater," meaning "Mother") from which our being evolves as a seed sprouts.

In Tantra and Hinduism, an inanimate object such as a small (or sometimes, large) statue or idol into which deity is invoked. The object is then considered fit for worship as it now is the deity. This idolatry, although contrary to biblical injunctions, is based on the concept that deity is everywhere, so it could certainly fill a statue, drawing, etc.

Yogic nerve. Energy channel in the aura; same as meridian.


Sanskrit. "Motion." An astral nerve tube involving the polarization and depolarization waves of activity in the nervous system. Yoga teaches that 72,000 such nadis exist in the psychic counterpart of the gross body.


Sanskrit. The purification of the nadis through conjoined breathing and mental exercises.


A traditional Indian salutation used similar to the Hebrew Shalom or Hawaiian Aloha. There is no universally accepted translation, however it generally means "that which is of the gods in me recognizes and honors that which is of the gods in you."

It is often accompanied by the gesture known as the Anjali Mudra. This gesture is made by bringing together both palms with the fingertips of the both hands pointing up while giving a slight bow. Hold the before the heart with an equal, at the third eye for someone you highly respect such as a teacher, parent, doctor, etc., and at the top of the forehead to recognize a spiritual leader.

Navel Chakra
One of the power centers found in spiritual traditions with a source in the Indian subcontinent. The Navel Chakra (Manipura in Sanskrit) or Solar Plexus Chakra is physically associated with the navel area, although some say it is a bit lower to match the Japanese concept of the Hara or Chinese idea of the Tan Tien. When this chakra is overcharged or undercharged with spiritual energy, it implies that you are dealing with issues concerning personal power and energy. It is symbolized by a lotus flower that has ten petals, representing ten qualities of spiritual ignorance.


A term first used by Sir John Woodroffe and others in his circle in the context of their early-twentieth-century efforts to revive and reclaim the Tantric tradition. It is more commonly attributed to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho) who used it to describe his system, which incorporated ideas and methods from a variety of sources, including other spiritual traditions and human potential movement psychology. Neo-Tantra is now used more generally, and sometimes disparagingly, to refer to Western forms of Tantra, particularly those that emphasize sacred sexuality and little or nothing else. 

In Tibetan spirituality a state achieved when an individual resolves all dualities and ceases to incarnate.

An archaic Sanskrit term that generally means "power." Therefore, it is sometimes used to indicate the energy of virility or the ability to reproduce.

Also AUM; the Universal sound of Creation that manifests in all things.

In Hinduism, the sound that is the source of all. It has its own symbol in Sanskrit. It is traditionally pronounced Ah-oo-mm, starting in the back of the throat, moving to the center of the mouth and ending with closed lips, metaphorically representing all sounds. Also pronounced in other ways (such as “ohm”) depending upon purpose, dialect, etc. It is used as a start to most Hindu mantras.


A symbol that predates written language. Om is often described as being the primordial sound; it is also called the primordial or liberation mantra. Chanting it, even just for a few minutes, can produce changes in consciousness.

One-Pointed Concentration

Ekagrata in Sanskrit. The capacity to focus intently on a single thing, without distraction. 

Oom the Magnificent

See Pierre Bernard.


A Sanskrit term meaning lotus flower. In Tantra, a word often used to mean the Yoni.


Sanskrit. "Lotus." An alternate name for the psychic centers. Padma refers to their potential growth and development, just as a lotus (flower) bulb is capable of development into a lotus in full bloom. The lotus root is embedded in mud (the unconsciousness, inertia, blind instinct, darkness, and ignorance), with the stem immersed in water (emotions, subconsciousness, sentient awareness through feeling), and the bloom floating above the water in the full sunlight, i.e. the "Light" of "self-real-ization."


Sanskrit. "Lotus pose." An advanced foot lock (easily maintained yoga posture) suitable for meditation. It is a symmetrical arrangement of the legs produced by placing the right foot on the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh (Buddhists reverse the position with the right foot on top) said to resemble a lotus flower. The pose produces a total solid base with a low center of gravity, while conserving blood for the torso and head.

A Sanskrit term that means "an uninterrupted line or succession." In ancient Indian traditions, it relates to the concept of initiated teachers or gurus. A person who is authorized to carry on the teaching of a tradition or group is said to "hold parampara."


The author of Yoga Sutras who lived sometime around 200 BC. He divided Yoga into the eight distinct branches, or stages, we know today. This outline of Yoga is known as Ashtanga.

Pierre Bernard
(Neé Peter Coon or Perry Baker, 1875–1955) Using the name “Oom the Omnipotent,” Bernard introduced hatha yoga and Tantric sexuality to the US during the early 1900s. He formed the Tantrik Order in America using the name “Shastri,” opened the New York Sanskrit College, taught hatha yoga, produced one issue of a journal, and was popular among the elite of the East Coast including two of the Vanderbilts. He purchased the Nyack, New Jersey estate of Joseph Hilton and built the Clarkstown Country Club. The library there drew scholars from great distances.

The nadi to the right side of the sushumna whose qualities are akin to the sun or solar energy. Associated with active, fiery, logical and masculine.


Sanskrit. One of the three major psychic nerves, or nadis. Pingala is visualized as running up the right side of the spinal column conveying masculine, heating, rational energy. It exits in the right nostril and is a trigger for left-hemisphere functions.


An alleged technique supposedly performed by women who have performed kegel exercises until their inner, vaginal muscles are very strong. Thus, during Tantric intercourse, a woman can caress a man and stimulate him without any outwardly visible motions. Mythically, some woman who are masters of this technique are able to hold on to a man so strongly they can drag him across a room.

A Sanskrit word meaning “lord.” Although applied to many Hindu deities, it usually is a title of Brahma, the creator deity of Hinduism.

A Sanskrit word that literally means “bringing forth” or “originating.” It represents the concept of there being a pure, undifferentiated, and original state of anything. It differentiates into qualities or tendencies known as the gunas: rajas, tamas, and sattva.

In some forms of Hinduism, prakriti is equated to the goddess Shakti, the source of energy and power.

A Sanskrit word meaning “liquefy” or “dissolve.” It is used, spiritually, to describe the melting away of maya, our misunderstanding of the true nature of reality. When this occurs, the three gunas or qualities, are perfectly balanced.

The science of breath control used in Hatha Yoga.


Sanskrit. Breath control. The control of life force (prana) through the regulation of the respiratory process, coupled with visualization. "Pra" means "first or before," and "ana" means "breath"—literally, the first essence underlying the breath.


Control or regulation of the breath, usually applied to various Tantric and Yogic breathing techniques. Since prana also refers to energy, another way to think about controlling the breath is to understand it as directing energy.


Sanskrit. The first element, Earth, symbolized by a yellow square or a cube. The Tattwa of Muladhara with cohesion and solidarity as principle characteristics.

Also spelled “pooja,” it is a Sanskrit term for a spiritual or religious ritual. It is sometimes used to describe a circle or group of people that assembles for spiritual or magickal work.

One of the sets of sacred Hindu writings, it consists of many books usually attributed to, or considered collected by, the poet Vyasa. They cover five general topics: cosmogenesis or the creation of the universe, secondary creations, the geneology of the deities, the creation of humanity, and the history of the patriarchs.

The Hindu concept of an ideal, heavenly, or archetypal human. It is similar to the Kabalistic concept of Adam Qadmon. It sometimes is taken to mean the higher or spiritual aspect of the individual that is eternal. It can also be equated with Brahma, the Hindu creator deity.

The modern spelling of the Chinese word pronounced “chee” and formerly spelled “chi.” It is the name of the universal life force.


Chinese breathing exercise while meditating.


Sanskrit. "The Royal Path." A system of meditation to control the constantly moving "mind stuff" and thus producing a union of the conscious and subconscious minds leading to a third state called the superconscious mind ruling over the many facets of our being. It is the "realization of Self."

Raja Yoga
Achieving union with the Divine (“yoga”) through meditation. The name means that this is the royal (“Raja”) form of yoga. The method is very precise and begins with the practice of the positions in hatha yoga. Then breathing techniques are followed. Next, attention is turned inward, withdrawing the senses from their experience of the world. This is followed by concentration on something such as the tip of the nose, becoming one with the object of concentration, and then finally, leading to a type of cosmic consciousness. One of the four major yogic paths.

In the mystical tradition of India, one of the three gunas or “tendencies” that shape matter and energy. Rajas relates to the qualities of passion and action.

A technique of breathwork found in yogic disciplines. Traditionally, the index finger of the right hand is placed above the nose between the eyebrows. The practitioner exhales while using either the thumb or middle finger to close one of the nostrils. This is then repeated with the other nostril. This breathing through alternate nostrils, it is claimed, can be very powerful, although some people suggest it should not be practiced unless you are under the observation of a skilled teacher.

A seer or sage.

Root Chakra
One of the power centers found in spiritual traditions with a source in the Indian subcontinent. The Root Chakra (Muladhara in Sanskrit) or Base Chakra is physically associated with the coccyx, although some say it is associated with the area between the genitals and the anus. When this chakra is overcharged or undercharged with spiritual energy, it implies that you are dealing with issues concerning security, survival, and potential. It is said that the kundalini energy begins here, and is symbolized by a lotus flower that has four petals.

Root Chakra

Also called Muladhara, it is the chakra located at the base of spine—color red, associated planet Saturn, associated with the Sephirah Malkuth. It is home to Kundalini and sexual energy.

For each of the seven major chakras there are established correspondences (associated energies and symbols) that expand our understanding of the chakra.

Root, or Base Chakra (Muladhara) Correspondences

Alchemical Planet: Saturn               
Alchemical Element: Lead      
Tattva: Prithivi (Earth)
Tattva Color: Yellow
Tattva Form: Square
Tattva Sense: Smell
Animal: Bull, elephant, ox                
Basic Drive: Security                              
Body Function: Elimination             
Chakra Color: Red                  
Element: Earth                               
Gemstone: Ruby, garnet, lodestone 
Gland: Adrenals                             
God-form—Egyptian: Geb                 
                   Hindu: Bala Brahma 1
                   Greek: Gaia, Demeter               
Goddess-form—Hindu: Dakini 2
Incense: Cedar                       
Location: Base of spine                           
Order of chakra unfoldment: 1st            
Yogic Planet: Saturn
Part of Body: Between anus & genitals     
Psychological attribute: Solidarity    
Bija Mantra: LuNG, LuM (3)   
Psychic Power: pain control, psychometry, dowsing, telekinesis               
Sense: Smell        
Spinal Joint: 1st, 2nd, 3rd                   
Spinal Location: 4th Sacral
Tarot Key: XXI, World                      
Tarot Suit: Pentacles
Tree of Life Sephiroth: Malkuth        
Yantra (internal): Blue Square

1 Child-God
2 Security 

Root Lock

See Mulabandha.

A Sanskrit word that translates as “form” or “image." Mystically, it refers to the appearance that something has, especially the color or shape it presents to the physical world.

Sacral Chakra

Also called Svadhisthana. The sacral chakra located at the genital area, color orange, associated planet Jupiter or Moon, associated Sephirah Yesod.

The Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana) Correspondences

Alchemical Planet: Mars, Pluto                 
Alchemical Element: Iron                
Tattva: Apas (water)
Tattva color: White
Tattva form: Crescent
Tattva form: Crescent
Tattvic Sense: Taste
Animal: Crocodile                  
Basic Drive: Pleasure              
Body Function: Sexuality, Pleasure  
Chakra Color: Orange            
Element: Water                              
Gemstone: Coral                    
Gland: Pancreas                            
Goddess-form—Egyptian: Tefnut       
                           Hindu: Rakini 2                           Roman: Diana
Hindu: Vishnu 1
                   Greek: Pan, Diana           
Incense: orris, gardenia, damiana 
Location: Over the spleen               
Order of chakra unfoldment: 3rd      
Yogic Planet: Sun         
Part of Body: genitals, kidney, bladder, circulatory system         
Psychological attribute: Flexibility, equanimity          
Psychic Power: empathy, psychic diagnosis
Sense: Taste                        
Bija Mantra: VuNG, VuM (4)
Spinal Joint: 7th                                                              
Spinal Location: 1st Lumbar
Tarot Key: XIX, Sun                         
Tarot Suite: Cups
Tree of Life Sephiroth: Yesod  
Yantra (internal): Black Crescent

1 Preserver
2 Sexuality

Suggested Reading – Dale: The Subtle Body – An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy


Spiritual Practice.


A Sanskrit term for ascetic, someone who renounces the physical world for a spiritual life. A renunciate.


Sanskrit. "With form." Concentration upon a definite form or that which is of a very concrete nature. The search for the "Absolute Essence" behind reality.


An exercise used by women to strengthen control of the Yoni and PC Muscles through contraction. Spiritually, it is the focus of the mind on the chakra at that location.


The Sahajoli Mudra literally [means] the spontaneous gesture. In some traditions it is synonymous with Vajroli Mudra; in others, it refers to the female version thereof. In either case, it involves the pulsation of the muscles around the urethra.

Thousand petals. The crown chakra located at the top of the head, which has the potential for a thousand nadis to run energy through it. This is the union point for the kundalini energy from the muladhara that, in enlightenment, ascends and unites with the sahasrara.


Sanskrit. "Thousand-petaled." Primarily known as the Crown Chakra. The seventh psychic center is physically indicated by the pineal gland and the cerebral cortex (containing billions of cells or "petals" beyond count). Sahasrara is said to be the dwelling-place of Shiva, the destroyer of ignorance (Maya). This is an esoteric statement conveying the ability of humans to destroy ignorance (Maya) by the use of enlightened consciousness (Shiva), which results from the awakening of Sahasrara chakra. The brain can be thought of as the largest of the body's endocrine glands, with brain chemistry primarily responsible for mood alterations and changes of consciousness

Ecstactic trance state. In Tibetan spirituality it is believed to be a prelude to nirvana.


Sanskrit, "With God." The merging of the individual consciousness with universal consciousness. The ultimate personal realization of the "Collective Unconscious." Samadhi is the final stage of Ashtanga Yoga and the goal of all Yoga. It is the "at-one-ment" of the meditator with the universe.


Also spelled Sankalpa, it's a Sanskrit word meaning "resolve" or "intention," as in the intention to achieve the desired goal. A person practices Samkalpa when they vow to perform a particular practice for a specific length of time, at a specific time of day, in a specific place, etc. Although this initially referred to a spiritual practice, some people have extended this to any such vow that requires a regular practice, such as a vow to regularly exercise.


Sanskrit, "With control." The three higher phases of Ashtanga Yoga. These are Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi.

Sanatana Dharma
A Sanskrit expression meaning “eternal law,” it is also known as Hinduism.


See Samkalpa.

A Sanskrit term describing a person who renounces the physical world and lives a life of poverty as a means to avoid attachments (to people and things). This is believed to show devotion to the Divine and a spiritual path.

Ancient Indian language of written texts including the Upanishads, Vedas, and Bhagavad Gita. The alphabet, composed of fifty letters, is considered to be sacred sounds and each sound corresponds to a petal of the chakra mandalas.


The ancient language of India. Many Tantric texts were written in Sanskrit, although some were written in regional languages. Sanskrit is still the language of Hindu ritual, although it is no longer living as a conversational tongue. 


See Saraswati.


A Sanskrit compound word meaning existance or truth (sat), consciousness (chit) and blisss (ananda). Taken together they mean the state in which is found a fully liberated human, a true yogi.

One of the three qualities, or characteristics, of all nature found in ancient Tantric, Hindu, and Buddhist belief. Sattva is the quality of balance, truth, reality, etc.


In hatha yoga, this is a resting position and is often the final pose of a yoga set. In Sanskrit it means "corpse pose." In many versions of the goddess ,a href="http://www.llewellyn.com/encyclopedia/term/kali">Kali, she is shown standing or copulating on the corpse of Shiva (or course, Shiva is a god and isn't actually dead, just in trance). In some Tantric traditions, savasana is the name of a sexual position, or asana, that mimics the union of Shiva and Kali. The male lies on his back, still and like a corpse. His partner unites with him from above. Usually, both partners will focus on mentally moving the sexual energy (kundalini), so there may be very little physical motion during this act of sacred sexuality.

Secret Language

Pulsing the pubococcygeal muscles back and forth during penetrative intercourse.

Sensory Avenue

The sense that is associated with a particular chakra.

Serpent Power
Term popularized by Sir John Woodroffe (A.K.A. Arthur Avalon) as a synonym for kundalini.

Power, energy, female Goddess, female power. The energy that rests around muladhara in the base of the spine waiting to achieve union with Shiva, the presiding principle of sahasrara or crown chakra.


Sanskrit, "Sacred Force." The feminine form of Divine energy responsible for the Creation of the Universe, and continuing to express the "Motherhood of God" in contrast to the Christian "Fatherhood of God," i.e. the forms of Spirituality & Compassion vs. Materialism & Passion. It is the active fertilizing , a manifestation of the Feminine creative energy. She is "The Great Divine Mother" in Hinduism, and the active agent of all change. She is Kundalini Shakti, the mysterious psycho spiritual force of liberation. In Shaktism, Shakti is worshiped as the Supreme Being . In Shaivism, She embodies the active feminine energy called Prakriti, Vishnu's female counterpart. She is also seen as the female half of Shiva.


Goddess, particularly the Goddess in the form of energy. It also refers to a goddess in her role as consort to a male deity and hence to a female participant in Tantric sex rituals. 

The transmission of spiritual energy (from a guru or directly from a deity) or the experience of that energy. Often experienced as shaking or “jerks.”

The Sanskrit term for a Hindu tradition that has the female principle—known as Shakti or Devi—as the supreme being. One of the oldest forms of worship dating back to the pre-Hindu Harrapan or Indus Valley civilization.

One who enters an altered state of consciousness to acquire knowledge and power for divination and healing.

Also spelled Sambhala, Schambhala, etc. this is a Sanskrit name of an ancient, mythic city with a highly-advanced (spiritually, ethically, scientifically, etc.) civilization. In some traditions the ultimate spiritual leader will come from this city. Metaphorically, Shambhala is your higher self. When you choose to dwell there (that is, let all your actions and choices come from your higher self) you can become your own avatar.

Shanka Nadi

Literally "conch channel." In occult, Tantric anatomy, a psychic nerve that is said to run from the philtrum to the clitoris. While the mechanism for this function appears to be unknown to western science, our own experience and observations suggest that many people will feel a mild genital response when the philtrum is stimulated, and this is true regardless of gender.


A Sanskrit word meaning tranquility, bliss, or peace. It is frequently used at the end of prayers and is repeated three times for inner, outer, and world peace; spiritual, mental, and physical bliss; etc.


Corpse. It is said that Shiva (Consciousness) is a corpse without Shakti (Energy.)


Sanskrit, "Corpse Pose." The technique of consciously relaxing the body, section by section. An exercise of immense value for fatigue, exhaustion, auto-immune diseases, insomnia, and certain types of high blood pressure. It is the deep dreamless, Delta wave sleep we should die into each night, and are reborn from each morning upon awakening.

Shiva Lingam

Sanskrit, "Phallus of the God Shiva." It is a central object of veneration in a Hindu Temple, even as the focus of "adoration" by female worshippers in a magical invoking of the God Force to achieve pregnancy. Note, however, there is no suggestion here that the child will be other than human. A particular note should be made: the Lingam is represented as rising out of a Yonic base. Thus, the Lingam (male sex organ) does not penetrate the Yoni (the Female sex organ) but emerges from the Yoni as from a matrix. Thus, the Yoni gives birth to the Lingam as the Great Goddess is mother to all life.


Perfected ones. A term for Tantric practitioners. Mostly commonly used to refer to the South Indian, Tamil Siddha tradition. 


Magickal powers that naturally develop during the development of spirituality following Eastern practices. In standard Hinduism, Siddhis are considered a hindrance to spiritual development. In India today, the development of Siddhis is usually attributed to Tantric practices. Siddhi powers include clairvoyance, levitation, bilocation, shrinking to the size of an atom, the ability to remember past lives, and the ability to cause desired objects to materialize.


Sanskrit, from sidh, meaning "to succeed, accomplish." Siddhis are the potential "psychic" powers that are experienced and thus developed along the path of Yoga and other techniques of Psychic Empowerment. They are the undeveloped abilities of ESP, which most people are unaware of possessing.


A follower of an Indian religion founded by Guru Nanak in 15th-century Punjab. Sikhism is monotheistic but shares many philosophical precepts with Hinduism and Buddhism. The gurus of the Sikh tradition appear to have been influenced by Sufism and Bhakti (devotional) Hinduism. 

Sir John Woodroffe
British jurist (1865–1936) who spent a great deal of his life serving in India. Writing as “Arthur Avalon,” he translated and commented upon numerous Tantric books, introducing many concepts, such as kundalini, to the West. Some of his famous books include Tantra of the Great Liberation, Shakti and Shakta, Principles of Tantra, and Hymns to the Goddess and Hymn to Kali.

An alternate English spelling for Shiva, the Hindu deity of transformation.

Sky Dancing
A poetic version of the Tibetan term khandroma (itself a version of the Sanskrit dakini) that refers to a woman (or female spirit) who embodies enlightened energy. Some neo-Tantrics have redefined this expression to describe sexual relations as spiritual dance that allows the participants to transcend the physical world.

Solar Plexus Chakra

Also known as Manipura. The Third Psychic Center, located at the solar plexus below the navel, also called "Gem City." Associated with the color yellow and the planet Mars. No associated Sephirah suggested.

The Solar Plexus (Manipura) Correspondences

Alchemical Planet: Jupiter, Sun                
Alchemical Element: Tin         
Tattva: Tejas (Fire)
Tattva Color: Blue
Tattva Form: Crescent
Tattvic Sense: Taste
Animal: Ram                                  
Basic Drive: Pleasure              
Body Function: Digestion                        
Chakra Color: Yellow               
Element: Fire                                  
Gemstone: Amber, topaz                  
Gland: Adrenals                             
Goddess-form—Egyptian: Tefnut       
                          Hindu: Lakini1
God-form—Hindu: Braddha-Rudra
                             Greek: Apollo, Athena               
Incense: Carnation, cinnamon         
Location: Over navel                       
Order of chakra unfoldment: 4th      
Yogic Planet: Sun         
Part of Body: Solar Plexus, Navel                       
Psychological attribute: Power, passion, energy    
Psychic Power: empathy, psychic diagnosis Sense: Sight                        
Bija Mantra: RuNG, RuM (4)
Spinal Joint: 7th                                                              
Spinal Location: 1st Lumbar
Tarot Key: XVI, Tower                      
Tarot Suit: Wands
Tree of Life Sephiroth: Hod, Netzach
Yantra (internal): Green inverse triangle


Sufi teachings center on the social and psychological relevance of certain human ideas. Practitioners of Sufism bring their experiences into operation with the culture, the country, the climate in which they are living. Sufism is concerned with leading by example and not preaching.

called tasawwuf in Arabic, it is a mystical, psycho-spiritual aspect of Islam. There are many different sects or orders of Sufism with varying practices.


Sanskrit, "Easy pose." A simple cross-legged position for meditation. It is also known as the "Tailor's Pose," from the days when European tailors sat cross-legged.

The central nadi that runs through the spinal cord. Upon awakening the Kundalini energy, the Shakti rises up through the sushumna to unite with the crown chakra.


Sanskrit. The major central nadi corresponding to the spinal cord, the channel through which Kundalini (spiritual fire) ascends to unite in the Crown Chakra, Sahasrara.

A Sanskrit term that literally means a thread that is used to hold things together. It is commonly and metaphorically used to refer to a brief spiritual axiom or a collection of such lessons.

Dwelling place of the self. The second chakra located just above the pubic bone, in the sacrum and is associated with sexuality, sensuality, creativity and the balance of masculine and feminine.


(Sanskrit; pronounced s'vek-cha-kar-uh) An ancient Tantric term that means, "The path of doing one's own Will." Some readers will see the similarity between this ancient Sanskrit word and Aleister Crowley's Thelemic concept, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." However, there is a different. The Thelemic concept is to discover what your True Will is. Your True Will is your direction in life and will be in complete harmony with the universe and the "will" of the Divine. In some ways, it's actually limiting as it is added in Crowley's The Book of the Law (I:42), "thou hast no right but to do thy will." Svecchachara, however, means that you are free to do whatever you want, but you are responsible for whatever you do. There are no limitations, but as per the law of karma, the universe will respond to what you do, positively if you do things that are positive, negatively if you do things that are negative. This is a combination of ultimate freedom combined with ultimate personal responsibility.

Sanskrit name of the second chakra related to the sexual center and located at the genitals
. Associated with higher forms of love and the deeper emotions such as compassion, faith, loyalty, and devotion. Also linked with friendship, partnerships, meditation, spirituality, healing wounds, restoring growth, childbirth and children, the home, receptivity, family, ancestors, medicine, hospitals, compassion, doctors and nursing, and clairvoyance.


Sanskrit, "One's own place." Primarily known as the Sacral Chakra, Svadhisthana (or Swadhisthana—spellings differ) is the second psychic center above Muladhara, the way water is cradled by earth. Physically indicated by the adrenal glands and the hypogastric plexus. Sometimes called Chandra (Moon) chakra, as Swadhisthana is the control center for the fluid tides of the body.


A Hindu holy man; literally, one’s own master, a reference to being released from conventional social obligations. Traditionally Swamis were celibate and either resided in monasteries or would wander and teach and depend on alms for their sustenance. Some modern reformers have modified the requirements and have initiated women and married people as Swamis. From our perspective, a Swami is a person who has dedicated his or her life to the spiritual well being of others. 

Swara Yoga

Sometimes called the ancient Tantric science of "Brain Breathing." It is a concept of controlling the breath to balance the male and female energies in the body.


One of the three qualities, or characteristics, of all nature found in ancient Tantric, Hindu, and Buddhist belief. Tamas is the quality of rest, inertia, darkness, illusion, ignorance, etc.

A Pali word used by Buddhists meaning a desire or “thirst” for a physical life. It is this thirst that drives a spirit to reincarnate.

Tantric Sex
Although sometimes confused with the spiritual system of Tantra per se, it is actually just one aspect of this ancient, pre-Hindu system. Tantric sexuality involves both the physical and the spiritual realms, as well as the conjunction of the two. Physically, it includes techniques for extending periods of sexual activity for a long time, even hours. This has attracted the attention of many who wish to explore various forms of sexual enjoyment, something that can’t be achieved if sexual activity lasts a short time.

Spiritually, the goal of Tantric sexuality is to achieve “yoga,” union with the Godhead. Many practitioners of Tantric sexuality believe that extended periods of sexual activity, accompanied by breathwork, repetition of words or phrases of power, and visualization, can lead directly to this union.

Many practitioners also believe in a psychophysiological human structure that may be complex or relatively simple. The best-known parts of this structure are the three primary nadis (paths of energy) and the chakras (vortexes in those paths). Using visualization and breathwork combined with sexual activity results in motion of the body’s energy through the chakras and nadis, eventually resulting in the experience of enlightenment.


A practitioner of Tantra. Refers to both genders.


A Tantric practitioner. In some contemporary circles, the term has become associated with practitioners of "Tantric massage."

A spiritual philosophy that began in China based on the writings attributed to Lao-tzu (who flourished in the 6th century b.c.e.). Its primary book is the Tao Te Ching. As a philosophy, Taoism stresses contemplation, a mystical with nature, wisdom and learning, a simple life, and the concept of wu-wei or non-action and allowing things to take the course that they will. Religious aspects of Taoism developed around the 3rd century c.e., and incorporated some Buddhist concepts as well as a system of monasteries. One of the monasteries, the Sil Lum monastery (also known as the Shaolin monastery) is considered the home of the martial art of kung fu and the many other arts derived from it.


A Chinese spiritual tradition that shares some common elements with Tantra, including the recognition of sexuality's sacred dimension. As a general rule, however, Taoist sexual practices focus more on health and longevity than on attaining mystical states. In the Taoist system, there is frequently an emphasis on non-ejaculatory sex for men, based on the belief that the semen contains vital energy that must not be depleted.


A Sanskrit term (also spelled “Tattwas”) for symbols representing the elements. The Tattva symbols are very basic: Earth is a square, water a crescent, fire a triangle, air a circle, and ether (AKA spirit or Akasha) an oval. These five can be mixed. For example the fire triangle can appear inside the earth square, making “Fire of Earth.”

The energies represented by the symbols flow through the universe, alternating at different times. These are known as the “Tattvic Tides.” These can be used to determine the appropriate time to do a ritual.


See Tattvas.

Sanskrit term for the Fire element as found within the body.


Tibetan Buddhist religious paintings. 

Third Eye
Another name for the Ajna or sixth chakra. It is associated with the area between the eyebrows, and is also known as the Brow Chakra. It is associated with “vision,” including clairvoyance.

Third Eye Chakra
One of the power centers found in spiritual traditions with a source in the Indian subcontinent. The Heart Chakra (Ajna in Sanskrit), also called the “Brow Chakra,” is physically associated with the area between the eyebrows. Some people mistakenly place it in the center of the forehead. When this chakra is overcharged or undercharged with spiritual energy, it implies that you are dealing with issues or consciousness and having the ability to spiritually “see” things. It is symbolized by a lotus flower that has two petals.

Third Eye Chakra
The all-knowning eye or ajna chakra.

Throat Chakra
One of the power centers found in spiritual traditions with a source in the Indian subcontinent. The Throat Chakra (Vishuddha in Sanskrit) is physically associated with the neck area. When this chakra is overcharged or undercharged with spiritual energy, it implies that you are dealing with issues of communication, possibly with other people or between aspects of yourself. This includes the ability to choose between the ethical and unethical, right and wrong. It is symbolized by a lotus flower that has sixteen petals.

Throat Chakra

Chakra also called Vishuddha. The chakra is located at the throat, color is blue, associated planet is Mercury, associated Sephirah is Daath.

Throat Chakra (Vishuddha) Correspondences

Alchemical Planet: Venus, Jupiter             
Alchemical Element: Copper  
Tattva: Akasha (Ether, Spirit)
Tattva Color: Blue-Violet
Tattva form: Oval
Tattva Sense: Hearing
Animal: Bull, Lion, Elephant                         
Basic Drive: Creativity                     
Body Function: Speech                            
Chakra Color: Bright Blue                
Element: Spirit  (aethyr)                  
Gemstone: Turquoise              
Gland: Thyroid, Parathyroids           
God-form—Egyptian: Seshat    
                   Hindu: Pancha-Vaktra 1
                   Greek: Hermes                
Goddess-form—Hindu: Shakini 2
                           Celtic: Brigit
Incense: Frankincense                  
Location: Throat                    
Order of chakra unfoldment: 5th      
Yogic Planet: Venus
Part of Body: neck, shoulders, arms, hands
Psychological Attributes: Communication, Empathy
Psychic Power: channeling, clairaudience, telepathy                     
Bija Mantra: HuNG HuM                 
Spinal Joint: 31st                                                          
Spinal Location: 3rd Cervical   
Sense: Hearing
Tarot Key: III, Empress                    
Tree of Life Sephirah: Chesed & Geburah
Yantra (internal): white oval                            

1 5-faced Shiva     

2 Knowledge                                                                                                                   


Suggested Reading – Dale:The Subtle Body – An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy

Tibetan Buddhism

The form of Buddhism that is practiced in Tibet, although the term is often applied to Buddhism indigenous to other Himalayan countries and Mongolia. The Tibetan Buddhist tradition is, for the most part, Tantric. 

Transcendental Meditation
A meditation technique, introduced to the West in the 1960s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, that focuses on repetition of a particular word given to practitioners upon initiation into the tradition. Practice for twenty minutes, twice a day, supposedly relieves stress and increases self-awareness. Debunkers have published a list of the secret mantras, saying that giving a mantra to a person is only based upon the person’s age.


An ancient method of inducing a meditative state through gazing at a single point. Typical examples of this focal point include a black spot or a candle flame.

In Tibetan spirituality a thought form entity.

Twilight Language
A Tantric concept (Sandhya Bhasha in Sanskrit) wherein a word or expression may literally mean one thing but to an initiate it will mean something else, perhaps even the opposite of the literal meaning. This can be seen in very figurative writing (as a Western example, see the Zohar) or very brief comments that need expansion (also seen in the Sepher Yetzirah).


Sanskrit. A verbal intonation of a mantra.


Japanese term for the fifth taste, sometimes called savory. It is often described as the taste that makes people want to eat more of something. Glutamic acid is the chemical that is responsible both for the flavor and the effect. 

The Sanskrit texts which complete the Vedas, known also as Vedanta. Esoteric teachings transferred from guru to disciple in ancient India and still today.


A series of over two hundred sacred texts that have played a significant role in shaping the Hindu tradition. Some were composed more than 2,500 years ago. 

Although this is simply a Sanskrit word meaning “speech” or “word,” mystically it refers to a creative force that comes from the universe and manifests in a physical form.


A Sanskrit word that means both diamond (which can cut anything without itself being cut) and thunderbolt (meaning irresistible force). Symbolically, it represents spiritual power and the firmness of spirit. In Tantric Buddhism it is represented in ritual by a device that looks like a fist at the end of a short arm, often just two connected fists. Thus it is sometimes a term for the male sexual organ also meaning a scepter of power. It is a symbol of one of the three major branches of Buddhism.

Vajroli Mudra

An extremely complext technique often taught from childhood to young Tantric boys. As a result of this practice, the Tantric male can literally draw into him female sexual fluids as a result of her orgasm through the urethral opening of his erect penis, much like using a straw to drink fluid. Some Tantrics say that the male is only drawing in the female energy. According to the book called the Shiva Samhita, there are two aspects of this. If the male doesn't ejaculate during this process (usually considered the preferred method), it is called Sahajoli. If he does ejaculate he is expected to draw in the combined fluids or energy. This is called Amaroli.

Vajroli Mudra

The contraction of the muscles around the urethra near the base of the penis. See Sahajoli Mudra. 

Also spelled Vaastu, it is the ancient system from Indian architecture that aligns buildings with the flow of universal energy. Most temples in India have been and still are designed according to Vastu principles. This is increasingly less true for homes and businesses in modern India.

Vastu easily predates Chinese Feng Shui, and may be a precursor to that system which is currently better known in the West. The philosophical concepts behind Vastu and Feng Shui have many parallels, but differ in details such as ideal locations for rooms, materials for construction, etc. This may be due to the differences in the location and environment between India and China.


Sanskrit, "to blow." Air, the fourth element, symbolized by a blue hexagram. The Tattwa of Anahata (heart chakra). Vayu represents motion, principle of vapor, and gaseous manifestations.

The four ancient Sanskrit books that form the basis of Hinduism. They are the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda, and the Atharva Veda. It is believed that they were an oral tradition for thousands of years before they were written down.

A Sanskrit term that technically means the completion of the Vedas, today it refers to those spiritual paths based on Vedic thought with a focus on self-realization, a way to understand the nature of reality. It has many sources but is based on two concepts, that human nature is divine and that the purpose of human life is to realize that divinity.

The Sanskrit word (root: "vid" and source of the noun Veda) for “knowledge.” It is usually applied to spiritual or occult knowledge and is the opposite of avidya, ignorance. It is believed that knowledge can free us from blockages to spiritual advancement and even help us overcome karma.


Hero, the type of personality suited for Tantric sexual practice. A person of heroic temperament is energetic and active, with a courageous nature, the key element being action. 

Pure. The chakra located in the throat which is associated with higher aspects of listening and communication. This chakra, along with ajna and anahata, is seeded and activated during Reiki One and Two attunements, respectively.


Sanskrit term meaning "With purity." The fifth chakra, primarily known as the Throat Chakra, and physically represented by the thyroid gland, the parathyroid glands, and the pharyngeal plexus. Also termed Kantha (throat) chakra, Vishuddha is considered a main alchemical transmutation point in Kriya Yoga. It is said to secrete a fluid of immortality (Amrit, meaning "against death") which is burned by Solar Plexus (Manipura) chakra. When this process is reversed, decay is slowed.

Sanskrit name of the fifth chakra, the throat center, located at the throat. Associated with “white magick” (linking with the divine), bringing in spiritual energy, inspiration, intuition, self-healing, evocation (especially of various elemental spirits), and reincarnation.

One of the most famous of Tantric sexual positions in which a woman sits astride facing her partner who is also sitting. In this position the chakras are aligned. Working with simultaneous or alternate breathing patterns while in this asana can enhance the supposed effects of this position.


(Tibetan) Father—Mother. It refers to the classical Tantric lovemaking posture, in which the person on the bottom sits in the lotus position (or a modified form thereof) with a partner astride. 

Yi King
An ancient book of wisdom from China commonly called I Ching. Like the Tarot it has many spiritual purposes, but is popularly known for giving divinations.

Yin and Yang
Binding forces that hold the universe together and are present in all things. One does not exist without the other and each contains a little of the other. In order for a person to exist in wholeness, the yin and yang energies within need to be in balance.

Yoga Nidra

A mental exercise peculiar to Yoga that encourages con­scious dreamless sleep, sometimes defined as "meditation-sleep," or "the moment of postponing sleep."

Yoga Nidra

Yogic sleep. A Tantric technique first introduced to the West by Paramahansa Satyananda Saraswati in the 1960s. Yoga Nidra involves the rotation of consciousness through the body and various visualizations. It produces a deep state of relaxation, in which the mind often remains quite alert. 

A person who trains using Indian yogic techniques including relaxation, meditation, and physical exercises. As a result of this training he or she can perform amazing feats of strength or magick that are considered outside of people’s normal abilities.


An individual who has obtained that state of Yoga while living (Divan-mukta).


A male engaged in practices that may lead to Yoga.


A Sanskrit word originally meaning a female master practitioner of yoga. Today it is often used, especially among Neo-Tantrics, as a term of respect for a female teacher of Tantra.


A female engaged in practices that may lead to Yoga.

In Tibetan, Hindu, and Tantric traditions, a symbol of the creative power of the goddess, often depicted as external female genitalia. Sometimes the yoni is represented symbolically, as in a circle or vesica pisces.


Sanskrit term meaning "Lap" or "vulva."

Yoni Asana

A sexual position similar to Yab Yum, except that the person on the bottom is seated on the edge of a bed or chair, feet firmly on the floor.

Yoni Gazing

An ancient sacred Tantric practice that has become popularized by modern Neo-Tantrics. As the name implies, it is the sacred practice of meditating on the yoni. This can be done completely mentally or through actual observation and devotional activities. The Yoni is considered to be worthy of devotion and worship as it it the ultimate yantra from which all life comes. Although in more public yoni gazing rites and during training it does not involve physical stimulation or sexually explicit exchange, in private and among adepts this may occur.

Yoni Mudra

Sanskrit word meaning  "Womb gesture." A technique of neuro-muscular coordination designed to induce profound sensory withdrawal (Pratyahara) or Sensory Deprivation leading to the oceanic one­ness, with positive hallucinations or induced visions, within the "unconscious," or Brahman. 

The instant of awareness. Pointing directly to the mind. Clarity.

In the Major Arcana of the Tarot, the Fool goes on a journey. This is similar to the Hero's Journey in mythology, and some view the ups and downs of the Major Arcana as the pathway the Fool takes to wisdom. Most people take the "Fool's Journey" several times during their life. If we hold the journey up as a template against our own life, it can... read this article
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