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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: tantra


Tantra: While sexual activities are most commonly practiced for pleasure and procreation, there has been a secret knowledge held among various groups that that the energy raised during sexual activity, as well as the mental state that occurs during prolonged sexual activity, can be united to create remarkable changes in our spiritual selves and physical environment. The techniques to do this are commonly called Sex Magick.

Many thousands of years ago, the philosophy and techniques that would become known as Tantra developed in northern India. Over the centuries, it developed into a complete spiritual system, involving worship of deities, rituals, magick, healing, and virtually every aspect of life. This includes an in-depth study of the non-physical aspects of the body (such as the aura, chakras, and energy paths) and sexuality, especially the use of sex in a way that can lead to spiritual enlightenment. In the West, the Tantric sexual techniques (often confused with the complete spiritual system that is Tantra) have been popularized and described by numerous writers and authors.

Over the past century, there has been an increasing link between Western Sex Magic and Tantric sexual techniques such that some people equate them.Donald Michael Kraig


Sanskrit for "System" or "Doctrine." Tantra is a very sophisticated and extensive system of ancient Indian Occultism, possibly developed from the traditional Dravidian inhabitants, and from which many Eastern and Western practices are derived. It may also have been developed by the Aryan Warrior Class in reaction to Brahmanical control. It is also proclaimed to be the "revealed teaching" for this (the Kali Yuga) Age. Three distinct types of Tantra exist: Hindu Tantra, Buddhist Tantra, and Jain Tantra. Hindu Tantra also subdivides into North Indian and South Indian.

Tantra has become most identified with:

1) the Chakra system,
2) Kundalini, and
3) Sexual practices involving
    a) extended intercourse,
    b) complex positions and practices once considered "deviant," such as anal intercourse, oral intercourse, and the
        consumption of an ‘elixir’ compounded of the masculine and feminine fluids sucked from the vagina after
        intercourse and shared by the two lovers, and 
4) Worship of the partners, particularly the female, as the embodiment of Goddess and God.

Other occult principles and practices taken from Tantra include:

1) The Tattvas (the five basic elements and the twenty-five compounds visualized in meditation for psychic effects),
2) Yantras (complex geometric diagrams of energy circuitry visualized in meditation for psychic effects),
3) Mantras (chanting of sacred words and names in meditation for psychic effects),
4) Yoga Nidra (visualizations of psychic energy movements within the body during meditation), and
5) Other esoteric practices.

Suggested Reading:

Mumford: A Chakra & Kundalini Workbook: Psycho-Spiritual Techniques for Health, Rejuvenation, Psychic Powers & Spiritual Realization

Mumford: Yoga Nidra Meditation: Chakra Theory & Visualization (audio CD with instruction booklet)

Carl Llewellyn Weschcke


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