As I read an excellent and thorough account of Tantric history in a book on my Kindle, it crosses my mind that we are currently in the midst of a new history writing itself. A new history, you ask? What I mean is that what is unfolding now will one day become history to others, and thus we are in the creation of history writing itself.
Sometimes the scholars of Tantra dismiss modern practices and Neo-Tantra as not being Tantric. Modern-day tantrics may dance around to techno to awaken their kundalini-shakti, or practice conscious communication to heal relationship issues. This is far from what must have been practiced in ancient temples by the Kaulas or Saiddhantikas, and other early Tantric sects.
Yet surely it has validity in its mere existence? After all, what makes a spiritual path is indeed its followers. It is the feet that tread through the undergrowth that mark out a path. Though texts may be written for each path: these texts are merely the maps that draw out the paths. The paths were walked by those who sought truth and awakening. The paths are made by the followers. Yes there may have been a leader with great insight who shouted “this way!” but if they had not been followed there would be no path to speak of.
Therefore, the fact that many people around the globe are choosing to follow a modern-day Tantra stands for something. The fact that certain practices propagate, that a special language is shared amongst followers, and that certain energetic vibrations are awakened show that there is an alive Tantra spirit regardless of whether or not the scholars would validate it. In another thousand years, scholars will be studying neo-tantra, digging out old blogs and youtube videos to support their dissertations.
As I travel around the world teaching Tantra, I meet many teachers and students. The growing worldwide scene of Tantra Festivals is a great stomping ground to discover what memes are active in the modern Tantric world. What is astonishing is that there are more similarities than differences in the teachings that appear to come from widespread lineages and sources. There is a unifying vibration that emerges through all tantric paths.
A phenomenon that is hard to describe in words is that Tantra appears to teach itself…there are mysterious revelations that emerge out of the tantric path, regardless of the specific practices or teachers chosen. I see again and again a general tantric awakening. There is an energy that emerges through those that follow tantra. There is an aliveness. There is a reverence for the Ultimate Truth, though often non-conceptual. People connect to Highest Consciousness, even if they have no name for that. In other words, there is a Tantra essence that emerges from many different streams of Tantra, which can be recognised as Tantra itself living through its followers.
The scene is colourful and alive. There are the highly sexual paths, the dark paths that dwell on shadow work, the light paths that dwell on divine nature, the playful paths of creativity, the energy paths of activating the energy body. There are yogic paths, qigong paths (the Taoist stream), meditation paths, dance paths, massage paths and sex paths. There are therapeutic paths and spiritual paths. There are paths of catharsis, and paths of contemplation. There are paths for the individual, paths for couples and paths for the polyamorous. There are paths sitting chanting mantras in front of yantras; there are paths of play-parties and conscious orgies.
Yet there is a strand that runs through all. It is this strand that allows so many to use the name “Tantra” and own it. It is not that they steal this term to justify themselves…it is that they resonate with the essence of Tantra, and thus they choose to use this name.
So though many scholars might argue that some practitioners may not call themselves “Tantrikas”, the trend is larger and stronger than the scholarly opinion. Tantra is seeing a reawakening and its spirit is alive and strong. I read of the many ancient Tantric sects with their differing philosophies and practices, and as I look around myself I see a resurgence of this. This time around it is much vaster than the Indian subcontinent…this is a worldwide resurgence of Tantra.
We are in the midst of a historical moment, whether we recognise that presently or not. The sleeping serpent has raised her head and is uncoiling, swirling life force into places in life that had become stagnant and reawakening them. People all over the planet are resonating with this resurgence, and calling themselves “Tantric”, often without reading a single ancient text. We could spend our time negating this resurgence, or we can open our eyes and observe a tremendous worldwide movement and marvel at the power of Tantra as she rises once more.
Shashi Solluna is a passionate Tantrika, known for her fiery energy and ability to make things happen! She specialises in the aspect of energy in Tantra…cultivating sexual energy and raising it through the body, as well as sharing that energy with your beloved. She applies ancient tantric principles to modern life and relationships, teaching Tantra as a life path as well as a spiritual path.