Sunday, April 12, 2015

On turmoil and crisis, Existence and change....and the joy of grey hairs and ageing!

The Goddess Durga, the embodiment of all the feminine Hindu deities,
loving and powerful, who combats all evil and wrong doing.
At last I am finally able to take up sending regular Durga Tantra School and the Tantra Sacred Massagenewsletters as well as updating my websites and writing and posting here in Leandra's Journal. I apologise for the long pause in communication. Since my last newsletter many months ago, my life has been in a progressive process of change, some quite dramatic, some really subtle. Not knowing what direction my life would take, both professionally and personally, I found it impossible to write a newsletter, write articles and plan workshops and retreats. To those of you who have waited faithfully so long, as well as all the newly signed up people, I send a big thank you for waiting and I hope it will prove to be worthwhile.

The year 2014 was a year of tremendous upheaval and change for me. Looking back, I recognise it as a year of the removal of all aspects of life that were eating away my energy and preventing me from moving forward. This included people who were draining me with their behavioural patterns, as well as my own personal behavioural patterns that inhibited my real self finding form and materialising. For some time, I had been in a constant state of crisis. I thought I needed to retire from working life completely and pursue other personal interests that had been neglected in order to find serenity.

In the midst of this, in September, I was diagnosed with a mango sized tumour that needed urgent removal and as a result I had major surgery from which I ended up needing three whole months of daily nursing care to recover physically. The long recovery time gifted me with a period of rest and time feel into what my life had become. I found much that needed changing.

A further period of nearly three months was needed before a vision of which direction to take and where I wanted to go emerged. In fact it took me by surprise when it emerged, not as an idea but quite practically. Individually, a number of people arrived on my contacted me all requesting training in Tantra Sacred Massage™. Suddenly I had a small group of dedicated participants for this training and found myself busy facilitating it to my deep enjoyment.

The full emergence of the vision of where I would be going, came in the form of an exceptionally well trained and experienced facilitator, who participated in the training and joined the Durga Tantra School with the passion of the masculine in full form: the actor, writer, director, voice and drama coach - Jason Potgieter!

As I write this, over the Easter weekend in a small secluded cottage on the top of a mountain in the Swartland, we  are busy formulating the direction in which the Durga Tantra School will be mobilising very soon this year. It appears that without much of my own doing, the direction and the space for new growth has emerged and I am now committed to this going forward once again.

After the operation, I felt an inner and outer vitality that had long been missing, it however had no direction. Now, the masculine provided the inspiration and navigated the direction! The will, the desire and a deep longing to continue the work I had been doing for the past 12 years is once again strong. The dance of the masculine and feminine, when they dance well together in total support of each other is beautiful - strong and graceful at the same time. I had lost the vision I once had for Durga Tantra School over the last years and Jason knew what was needed to revive it again.

In addition to this, the participants of the Tantra Sacred Massage™ practitioner training took up their work and provided further support of directed growth. Things began looking really good again!

The removal of the tumour became a symbol for what was needed in order for something new to emerge which could enable me to move whole heartedly back into all levels of my life. Space was needed into which that which was new could grow. When the space was there, growth began.

During the months of hospitalisation and home nursing, I had to neglect my usual hairdressing visits and missed out keeping up my hairstyle and dyed red hair colour! As my hair grew and some previously hidden grey tones became visible, I became curious about my present real hair colour, something I hadn't seen for years! This curiosity was accompanied by a deeper embracing of my physical aging. Funnily enough, I had not had long hair since my late twenties and now, at 63 I found myself wearing a pony tail again...only with some lovely natural grey strands (well quite a few actually), which I found I really liked! It was as if a re-birthing had taken place. This was an embracing of a new me, not a return to who I had been before all the turmoil and the operation. Rather a new identity, not completely new, not completely formed, but one that incorporates the wisdom and clarity that perhaps only age can bring. I feel wonderful with this new me and I celebrate this with the new profile photo of how I look today.

Thus it has been all my life, in crucial transformative phases, when things feel devoid of inspiration and direction, Existence, the Divine, Father-Mother God steps in and nudges me forward, offering exactly what is needed to facilitate the necessary internal growth that has to precede external expression. This is in itself a very tantric process.

Thank you Existence for your never ending abundance and the lessons placed in my path. Since embracing the path of Tantra whole heartedly some 13 years ago, I have a way of experiencing life that takes me intensely into the depth of my very being while incorporating all of my body, my senses, emotions and spirituality.

Thank you all of you for your encouragement, your patience and continued interest in the work I do.

As always, I send all the readers much love,
Your Leandra

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Awareness of the obvious things in life - the weather!

After the Rain (Tempera),  Ma Anand Leandra 1985
I was back in my house in Pennington last month and fortunate to experience some the warmest days this spring right up to 30 degrees! Then I returned to a Cape Town burdened with immense rain, wind and a heavy cold front. What polarities!

The photo I chose for this a post is of a painting I did many years ago called "After The Rain". The inspiration for this painting was a trip to a retreat venue outside of Hamburg, Germany (where I lived at the time). It was a Friday evening and the road was very busy. In the pouring rain, the street lights reflected in the wet tar of the road, and the car lights created interesting effects distorting everything. My husband was driving and I had time to take in the reflections. Once the retreat started (it was a creative art retreat in which we were participating), we were asked to create a painting of our impressions of our journey to the retreat venue with simple wall (tempera) paints.

I still love this painting, when I look at it, it brings up a vivid memory of that road journey that Friday night.

After being back in South Africa for quite some years, I notice that, although entirely different to the weather of Germany, we have a wonderful diversity of weather and vegetation here at home!
I experience the different shades of weather that our vibrant Geographic's offer us quite intensely; on the one hand it is physically tangible through the senses, on the other hand our impression of it is emotionally induced atmospherically. What is more, I enjoy all of it alike - hot and dry, cold and wet, bleak and colourful, still and windy, quiet and thundery. I love the changes evoked within me, how I am taken to different parts of my soul, to differences experiences within my spirit.

I have always loved nature and felt a particularly close affinity with the wind and the early evenings as the day recedes. Experiencing all that the colours of the sky, the quality of the seasons, the heat and the storms, always brings me back to my spiritual nature.

In Tantra we use the senses for meditation purposes, to learn and experience absolute presence in the now, using the physical as a gateway to the spiritual.

Inner depth is not about collecting knowledge of spiritual things, it is not accessing a certain vocabulary, reading particular books or aligning one's self with a modern-day guru. It is about the individual experience of many now's. It is about being fully in your life as you live it day by day, hour by hour and even minute by minute, elevating so called mundane things to higher and higher levels of perception.

Weather, being something central to our lives that we experience on a daily basis, is a beautiful way to tune into and connect with our senses. However, so often, we take weather for granted...or more frequently, we are irritated by it, complaining in summer that it's too hot, or in winter that it's too cold... or when it rains, wishing it would stop.

The question is: are we able to use these obvious things in life as sensory experiences that bring us into the now? I believe that if we cultivate using our senses, with regards to all of our repetitive every day life events, we learn to be authentic. The physical senses do not know how to lie, our mind so often does.

What a pity it would be, to let all this pass by unnoticed of the chance it offers us. Amidst all the problems facing our country we should never forget just how blessed we are with the vast canvas of nature and weather surrounding us at all times, throughout the year.

With love,

Thursday, August 8, 2013

ZEGG, Center for Experimental Culture Design...

The Campus at ZEGG, Bad Belzig, Germany
 “Love is the home of the divine on earth and the quality that makes us human beings. We want to create ways of living that integrate these sources in a conscious and positive way. Consciousness in Love’ is in this sense, an all-encompassing cultural work to heal these sources of our life. A peaceful culture is rooted in solidarity among men and women.”

This is how the ZEGG community introduce themselves on their website. I had the privilege of holding my first tantric weekend retreat in Germany at ZEGG last month. It was my first visit to ZEGG, a community that fascinated me from the moment I first heard about them some years ago. A number of my German friends have attended seminars there or been on their annual Summer Camp. Some had even spent time there on extended working retreats.

Situated on 15 hectares of light woodland in in the Rosa-Luxemburg-Strasse in Bad Belzig, a beautiful country town about a 2 hour drive south-west of Berlin, ZEGG - Centre for Experimental Culture Design, been going for 20 years now, so one could say that the original vision has been tried and tested. They understand themselves as an international community and conference centre whose aim it is to develop and implement practical models for a socially and ecologically sustainable way of living.

Today ZEGG is an 100 strong tantric community committed to developing new ways of harmonious living in a community. The process of finding this harmonious living in a community, necessitates the individual members being on a journey with each other. It takes dedicated individuals to make this work and am not surprised that men and women who are drawn to drawn to Tantra, who are willing to confront their conditioning about relationships, sexuality and life in general, are the ones who have the dedication it takes to do this.

“Our community is a living organism, 
constantly changing a
ccording to the needs of its members.
 Our visitors too are a part of this organism.”

Over the years, ZEGG has experimented with different ways of organisation and management, today the community is organised into independent working areas: the kitchen, conference business, children's house, garden and site crew. For financial decisions with a wider impact, there is a management circle embedded within a sociocratic structure. The management circle is made up of two representatives from each of the working areas who meet regularly to reflect on current developments and prepare for strategic decisions.

The project has been developed into a totally self-sufficient ecological system. One hectare of farmland has been dedicated to an organic garden from which almost all the food including fruit and herbs for dining room is grown. For heating and hot water needs, they have environmentally friendly wood chip- and log-fired heating plants and several co-generation (CHP) plants. Electricity is produced by a photovoltaic system on the roofs different buildings and waste water is treated in their own constructed wetland sewage treatment plant.

For me, the most interesting part is their tantric understanding of sexuality and relationships. They also experiment with and develop different ways of relating on a personal level. Thus different forms of relationships are being lived in the community, with various interest groups supporting individuals in the process.

“Many people see the issues of love and sexuality as exclusively personal affairs and try to solve them in private or within the framework of therapy. We see love as a political issue because social and cultural changes are needed for love to grow.”

Needless to say, many of the seminars held there are based on or around tantric and spiritual themes.  There is even a dedicated oil room, consisting of a very large square 60 cm high oil bath for the special hot oil ritual that certain schools offer. In fact, while I was facilitating there, I was delighted to meet the lovely Mara Fricke-Wirth of the Secret of Tantra school, who was facilitating a woman's retreat for this ritual.  
Before I tell you what my favourite discovery was, I’d like to share with you the extent of this community which is essentially a village.

The ZEGG village layout
Centrally situated is a large round paved area called the Campus, used for gatherings of all kinds as well as being the gathering place in case of a fire.  There is also a fire pond which can be swam in, a volleyball court, an almost Olympic sized swimming pool which has been turned into a huge eco pool and there are wonderful walks in the wood where there is also a stream.
The three storied guesthouse, called the Hotel, houses the dining hall and kitchen as well as accommodation for seminar participants and visitors. Further accommodation is available for campers or in two dormitories connected to a couple of the seminar rooms.

An extremely large central building called the Uni (short for university) houses a variety of seminar rooms and the Aula, a beautiful hall with a semi-circle stage for concerts and other large indoor events. The Children’s House is a separate building close by. Businesses in the ZEGG village, include an internet shop, a bicycle rental shop and a gift shop selling self-made ceramics, textiles, jewellery and other gifts. A variety of workshops and various commercial premises, a media and office centre and two art studios are also situated in various buildings.

Of course there are a variety of small and larger houses for the community members, most are in the form of collectives or communes with a number of people sharing a house.

The Village Square

One of the sweetest places is the village square with its quaint village pup, open till late, where I enjoyed a drink and a chat at the end of my working day which was usually around 11pm. Of course it being summer, I was able to sit outside sharing the space with a community of mosquitoes. Thank goodness for mosquito repellent!

Being a spiritual tantric community, there are also special outdoor places for rituals: a beautiful Place of Gratefulness with a “ceiling” of colourful ribbons tied from tree to tree, and a special space in the woods for women and another for men.

So you may now ask, is there still more? Yes, my favourite discovery, making this community really special to me, is the fact that they have three separate and individual “love houses” for the sole purpose of love-making. There is a notice on the door saying discussions need to stay outside, the space is solely for lovemaking. Sexuality is an integral part of life. That is the way it should be. And because it is sacred, it requires a dedicated space. Something I teach the couples I work with. The bedroom is for going to sleep. If you don't have the space, you need to transform your bedroom into a sacred space for your lovemaking is what I preach! It does make a difference. 

Mulched fields
The aims of these people are high. They still have many plans, for example to extend the Uni building, creating more living space for community members for example. Will they achieve it all? Probably, going by what they have achieved already. So far 3million EUROS has been put into the project. They have a very large support community from all over the world who come on working visits, helping to keep the grounds in shape, or supporting the harvesting and cooking, cleaning and other practical things.

The entry process for those wanting to become community members, is quite stringent. One has to show dedication and commitment over quite a period of time in order to be taken in as a permanent member. It starts off with working visits to get to know the community and ends with a 6-week course on community living and organisation. I have a number of friends who would consider joining, but the logistics of organising the time away from work to do all that is quite daunting. As for me, I really like having my own place and navigating my life on my own, but I can't deny that it does attract and inspire me and I certainly will go back and I hope to be able to facilitate there again. It is such a wonderful place to be.
 “Community is a lifestyle in which the healing of love can take place in a stable surrounding.”

On paper things sound so much easier that they really are. I do not doubt for a minute that this takes very hard on the part of the individuals that make up this community. It requires a huge portion of willingness to be on such an intensive journey with each other. It takes dedicated individuals to carry through such a vision. I don’t wonder for one moment that this would be the result of people on the path of Tantra.

Zen garden at the Uni
I was only there for not quite three days and really busy facilitating my Tantric Fire Couple’s Retreat, however the special atmosphere and energy of the place is impossible to avoid. Just spending time
in the atmosphere of these people who have worked so hard at creating a sustainable version of their collective and individual dreams, is rewarding…and healing. It just goes to show what we
humans are capable of when we try, when we give our best trying to create something new and different.

I will be writing more about  my time and the facilitating I did last month in Berlin. I met such interesting people and had wonderful experiences with some of the fabulous tantric community there. Watch this space.

I close this article with one of the most beautiful pieces of text I found on the ZEGG website. Take it to heart, it is true, it does work exactly like that. This is how I transformed after being initiated into Tantra. I underline every word below...and add to that: 

Not only will we have more to give, we will also have more joy to experience and share.

"If communication about love is cultivated, love can
become free of the fear of abandonment, lies and pretence.
The bigger the social and mental/spiritual context for love is,
the more
we are able to handle difficulties in a playful and unattached way,
the less we depend on this one moment of fulfilment,
the less we tend to accusations,
the more truth we will risk, and
the more power and love we have to give to the world.”

ZEGG Website: (English & German)
Secret of Tantra  - School of Integral Tantra: (German only)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Letting go

Letting go - what exactly does that mean? When do we need to let go? What happens when we don't? How do I let go?

There are many things in life that we need to learn to let go of. It is a never ending process throughout our lives - needing to let go of situations, memories, things and people. Sometimes we even need to let go of ourselves, let go of who we planned to be, or who we think we are, in order to accommodate change and inner growth. We all seem to experience quite a bit of this in our lives and know how hard it sometimes can be. 

Letting go in its self implies that we are holding onto something. We are holding on, it's not holding us, not sticking to us, not glued to us. Letting go IS the solution, we’d be rid of whatever uncomfortable feelings we’re experiencing... yet we linger longer in the "holding onto".  Why?

Holding onto something already known appears safer. At least I know it already; at least this horrible feeling I am having is nothing new, I know it. The known, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable, offers a safety net, whereas letting idea where that will take me. What happens then, when I’ve let go? The space left over is empty; there is nothing there automatically filling it when the letting go has taken place. This seems to be extremely threatening to us.

Empty space. Free energy. Spare time. This should excite us, but it seldom does. It implies becoming active, it is I who needs to fill it. And so, I feel, we have the crux of the matter. The fear is to be active, creatively forming who and where we are in our lives. It boils down to have the “creator power”, the realisation that we are both created and creator, at the same time. What we create is what we experience.

It’s a lot easier to just leave it all up to circumstances, bad luck, out of my power. In that we hold no responsibility. To become active is also to take responsibility. And thus by learning to let go, we learn to be responsible for filling all the gaps, all the open spaces, all the undirected energy. It means we become creator of what is.

How to let go? This is difficult to describe. What works for one person, does not necessarily work for another. I personally may go through a tense period of almost letting go but still holding on, walking on the edge so to say. It is excruciating, a horrible space to be in. I feel like I sway from one side to the other; from letting go to holding on; from open expectation of something unknown to the trustful known; from insecurity to security.

This in itself is a very tantric process. Experiencing the polarities of your inner experience and swaying from one side to the other in full awareness of exactly where you are energetically. For me it is like the swaying becomes faster and faster as my awareness reduces the distance between the two opposite poles, faster and faster until it is a simple vibration. Zizzzzzzzzz....and then that nothing; the space appears to simply be there. Looking back to what I was holding onto now appears weird perhaps. I was holding on to THAT? Strange, it feels so different now. And life continues. If our awareness was totally spot on, we will now fill the space with something else, with creativeness, with the energy of who we really are.

Unfortunately, many of us don’t go through this process. We end up imagining we’ve let go when all we’ve done is immediately picked up something else to hold on to it inexactly the same way. It takes courage to move across the edge, to take sides with the openness, with the space. I encourage you all, who are holding on to something you know you need to let go of, to take that step. And then, start creating in the void, in the space that has been left. Become the creator of the created. It is actually wonderful!

Julia Butterfly Hill puts it beautifully:
“As I started to picture the trees in the storm, the answer began to dawn on me. The trees in the storm don't try to stand up straight and tall and erect. They allow themselves to bend and be blown with the wind. They understand the power of letting go. Those trees and those branches that try too hard to stand up strong and straight are the ones that break.”

And in the words of Anaïs Nin:
“And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

I wish all of us a blossoming of self, an opening and blooming of many buds in our lives. I wish us all the courage to become what we are, what we have been all the time. As a result of holding on so tight, we have not noticed that it is all already there! Our fear is unwarranted. Whatever it is we need to let go of, the new is already there. All we need is the space to feel it, to experience it, to become it.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Ups & downs, back & forth, to & fro!

Heinbuche in the Snow - Ma Anand Leandra
(taken in Germany many years ago)
There has been a lot of upheaval in the last months but also a great deal of development. While this was on the go, I did not really know how to write, or what to write about. I was so full of dealing with the events being catapulted into my professional life, that I felt totally uninspired to put word to paper.

For me, writing is a process that orders the mind, putting thoughts into meaningful place more so than verbalising thoughts can. Writing only happens when I am ready to put it all together, when I am ready to structure a jungle of thoughts, feelings and ideas into a few sentences. In fact, for me writing can happen when some form of order is already there. I have learnt, that if I wait it out, allowing my thoughts free reign to come and go, back and forth, to and fro, the clarity begins to emerge. This is, of course, greatly helped by a friends listening to chaos in my head for hours on end. Thank you friends!

Structures I had put in place to accommodate new practitioners seemed to be crumbling after only a few wonderful  months of running smoothly. As these structures crumbled, new doors were opening wide and I was not sure how to respond. I went into a kind of spiritual incubator, a warm waiting, an evolving space within me, at the same time trying to keep outwardly warm as the wet, windy winter hit Cape Town. I was re-thinking the structures that had at first seemed so good. Existence appeared to be telling me: "the way things are simply has no substance".
As process intensified, Hari pointed out it was exactly the 9 days of Navariti, a Hindu religious festival devoted to the Divine Mother Durga in all her 9 forms. Durga represents the furious powers of all the male gods and is the ferocious protector of the righteous and the destroyer of all evil. Durga is the great Mother, the epitome of the Divine Feminine and it felt very relevant that which was not good, was being destroyed.

The timing was perfect: the structures I had so believed in were crashing, this and my subsequent process reflected exactly what the festival is about. Out of the rubble at my feet, newness would emerge, and it would be clearer than before.
I cannot say that the process has been completed, but it has evolved enough for me to be able to write about it. What I have learnt is that I need to put more emphasis on the quality of the training of Tantra Sacred Massage practitioners in order to get the quality of work I am wanting for the practice. Simply put: the training was too short. I had compromised my better knowledge of what it takes to do this work in order to accommodate what I called "South African circumstances", namely that many individuals who wanted to come into Tantra Sacred Massage practice did not appear have the money to pay for a lengthy training, nor the time to take off work. While these circumstances have not changed, a slightly different way of facilitating the training is emerging. It will certainly entail a longer and more detailed mentoring period than in the past.
So while a number of practitioners left the affiliate program, some new tantra practitioners walked into the space left behind, bringing fresh energy and new ideas. You will hear more about this in the next few months as it all emerges.
This is what I can say now:
  • Tantra Sacred Massage(TM) has become a registered trademark. Only certified practitioners will be able to use the name and offer our massages, which those of you who have been for sessions will know, are very specific and authentic Ayurveda based tantric massages, making our work quite unique, not only here in South Africa, but from what I hear from visiting clients/students, world wide. More info: Tantra Sacred Massage Website...
  • We have now formally started the gay branch of tantric work and have joined forces with Tantra4GayMen UK, an established school of Tantra run by Jason. Hari and Leon will be the force behind Tantra4GayMen SA and have great ideas of what they want to do. It will take time to emerge and during the next few months you'll hear more. For the time being, for those who wish to know more, please join our Facebook group: Tantra4GayMen SA
There is more being conceived at the moment but I'm not ready to birth the new plans yet - they will come into being next year and include bringing out international facilitators with some really interesting trainings.

I have written about my process because this is what happens to all of us. Life brings ups and downs all the time. I get asked what has changed since becoming tantric? The ups and downs have not changed - they certainly continue. I have changed, that is what is different. I understand drawbacks, failure, difficulties as opportunities to grow. I understand that Existence pushes you to see things you have not yet seen and the circumstances created force you to understand it all in a different, positive way. I am  not afraid of self-criticism, I want to recognise where I have gone wrong and have no desire to uphold a construct of who I am in order not to feel disappointment and pain. I now like to take the hint and change my ways again and again. Nothing has to be perfect or final, and indeed it cannot. There is no finality to the process of living our lives. While our humanity dictates a beginning and an end, it is just the beginning and end to a particular journey. And what a journey it is, as difficult as it seems at times, it's enthralling, wondrous and vibrant!
Much love to you all,

If you would like regular info of events etc., please join our newsletter: Tantra Sacred Massage/Durga Tantra School Newsletter....

And visit: the Durga Tantra School website....

Saturday, February 9, 2013

What role does sexuality play in Tantra?


Have you noticed the Easter products in the shops already? We are hardly over the festive season and our drive to consummate products is being fueled by the marketing strategies of stores getting us to buy, buy and buy.

Celebrations are no longer season driven rituals filled with meaningfulness and the question is: how do we bring Spirit-filled meaningfulness back into our lives? There are certainly many ways to approach this, however Tantra is the most holistic path I know of. It is a path filled with rituals that not only fit into, but become part of our daily lives. It includes everything, right down to the most fundamental ritual of human life - sexuality.

Unfortunately, in a similar way that life's celebrations are marketed to become something they were not orininally meant to be, the ritual of personal sexual expression is marketed for a community whose new word is "pro-sexual". On the background of a repressed sexuality, this is meant to be positive. The yearning for a sexuality free of shame and guilt however, has resulted in an on-going sexualisation not only of Tantra but of most aspects of human life. Tantra is thus reduced to only one aspect of what it is actually meant to be.

So what role does sexuality then really play in authentic Tantra? It plays an important role - but no more important than anything else that plays an important role in Tantra!

I was fortunate to participate in one of Daniel Odier's* seminars while I was in Europe earlier this year. He spoke of 4 practices of Tantra, and interestingly, sex was not one of them! So what is Tantra really?

Tantra is the Yoga of Presence - of being in the moment, the "now" of whatever is in any given moment. If the "now" happens to be during sexual expression, then it is about presence in that - and this applies to all of the further practices.

Tantra is the Yoga of Creativity - of being aware of our ability to create actively in all aspects of our life, giving us power to never have to be a victim or have someone to blame.

Tantra is the Yoga of Breath - of recognising breath as the life giving substance that feeds not only our bodies but also souls, leading us to cultivate a practice of breath work on a daily basis.

Tantra is the Yoga of Touch - of touching all of Existence deeply and profoundly, of being in conscious contact with all things, "without mental commotion" as Odier puts it.

Put these 4 practices together and you have the most holistic practice available to us today. It is also one of  the oldest practices, recorded in the most ancient of holy books; a practice that has come through time and religion to us today. Giving us the full potential of our sexuality, bringing back sacredness to our personal sexual expression, is only one aspect of what the path of Tantra gives us. Far more, Tantra gives us our full potential - period.

In this sense, we continue our work with gratitude and in awe of the process within not only our clients, but also within ourselves.

Ma Anand Leandra

(A slightly shorter version of this article was written for my February 2013 newsletter Tantra Talk. If you would like to register for the newsletter, go to one of my websites to register:;

* Daniel Odier is the author of Tantric Quest: An Encounter with Absolute Love, Desire, the Tantric Path to Awakening, Yoga Spandakarika

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Emergence of Tantra in the West - Historical Background Part I: Freud, Reich & Sex

Masculine-Feminine (original title: Pods)1989
Aquarelle on paper, Ma Anand Leandra
Many forms of Tantra have developed since the sixties and seventies when an eastern mystic, Bhagwan Shree Rashneesh, later known as Osho made Tantra accessible to the west. Osho taught from the ancient holy books, the Vedas, and particularly from the Bhagavat Gita, which is a part of the ancient Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, (also known as the play of creation). He explained the scripts in a new way and emphasised a witnessing awareness in daily life, including in sexuality, as a means to enlightenment.

Today we see a watered-down version of Tantra taking the world by storm, a Tantra that appears to be no more than about great orgasms and a free sexuality, polyamory instead of monogamy, and yes even BDSM. Whereas authentic Tantra raises the level of sexual energy, ultimately to a transcendental level, much of modern day Tantra seems to be focusing on sex alone, and appears to get stuck on a very physical, sexual drive orientated level. This development is not something I particularly like. I find that far to often Tantra seems to be used as a label to hide the one or other form of sexual addiction and if not that, then at least a stagnation in the physical - a far fetched scenario from my understanding of Osho's teachings.

As I looked for an answer as to why this is happening globally, my research took me away from the eastern origin of Tantra and into the western origin of what may be considered pre-occupation with the sexual.

The times in which Osho appeared on the scene as a spiritual teacher were ideal for the western ear to receive his message and the west did indeed flock to hear him speak and take in his teachings. The question is, what was it that made Osho's teaching so desirable at the time?

Setting the scene for the sexual revolution - Sigmund Freud

On the background of the fact that all world religions had suppressed sexuality, resulting in a rigid patriarchal form of relating to the world and each other, an emerging sexual liberation had begun well before the end of the 19th century in Europe. Sigmund Freud had made his mark on the world by discovering that suppressed sexual desires created emotional, mental and even physical illness. He not only changed the way we understand outselves, his legacy included a possible “cure”  (or perhaps I should rather say healing modality) in the form of psychoanalysis - bringing the supressed into the open.

Leading up to his discovery of the libido theory, during the time he worked as a lecturer in neurology at the University of Vienna, he travelled to Paris to study under Jean-Martin Charcot, the director of the Salpêtrière Hospital, an asylum known as the "mecca for neurologists" in Europe. Charcot later became known as the founder of modern neurology. Freud spent nearly 5 months there, accompanying the famous director on his rounds through the wards, and apart from becoming acquainted with hypnotism as a treatment method, Freud also encountered another interesting form of treatment that today would be unheard of.

Healing aspects of orgasm

One of the treatments for female patients suffering from Hysteria was to induce orgasm manually. In fact, inducing orgasm of female patients was an ancient cure that went back to the classical Greeks who thought that an orgasm might reposition a wandering womb, which physicians thought was the reason for Hysteria and other ailments. The term Hysteria takes its name from this thinking. At the time Freud started working, Hysteria was the mental illness of the day, thought to be caused by a congested womb and affecting mainly females, and occasionally males.

In the 1998 book, "The Technology of Orgasm: Hysteria, the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction", the historian Rachel Maines writes about this. "Massage to orgasm of female patients was a staple of medical practice among some (but certainly not all) Western physicians from the time of Hippocrates until the 1920s". The physical manipulation of the clitoris was first done by a medical practitioner manually, and from 1878, an electro-mechanical vibrator was used as this was considered "safer". This was all done at the very hospital that Freud was visiting.

After his return to Vienna, he set up his private practice and began developing his theories. While it is not known if Freud himself ever operated as a "gynaecological masseur" coming into contact with this treatment would have influenced him. In fact, in his "Studies on Hysteria", Freud mentions a patient who a had an orgasm when he "pressed or pinched" her legs to test her response to pain!

Free sexuality

The fact that at he time, a number of physicians believed that female orgasm would bring release to the energy bound up in neurosis is historically interesting. Much of the work I and my affiliates do today in our Tantra Sacred Massage practice here in South Africa, deals with frustrating experiences with orgasm - lack of orgasm, or orgasm that comes to quickly for example. And while orgasm is never a goal in Tantra, in our work it often has to be as we guide both men and women into the full power of this energetic release, which has far more meaning and health benifits than one generally imagines. Obviously we take it further than those physicans could have done back then. The fact is, orgasm was not only considered healthy but also a cure.

As early as 1893, Freud entertained ideas about a free sexuality that reminds one of an era that almost burst into life over six decades later. In a letter to his mentor and friend, Wilhelm Fliess, Freud wondered if the cure for neuroses could be "free sexual intercourse between young men and women. Otherwise the alternatives are masturbation, neurasthenia...". Freud speculated that the the absence of such a solution to free sexuality would doom society to "fall victim to incurable neuroses".

Slowly a number of physicians who were also intellectual thinkers gathered around Freud, many of whom began as his students or analysands, and they became the early practitioners of psychoanalysis. Amongst them were Karl Jung, Erich Fromm, Fritz Perls, Alfred Adler, Melanie Klein, Bruno Bettelheim and of course Wilhelm Reich. As these progressive thinkers emerged, and many of them discovered their own diversions to the original teaching, they took Freud’s discovery to new levels of understanding human nature, levels from which the world would never again depart. 

With Freud and his peers, the birth of psychotherapy took place. Although many would deny this, Freud is defacto the father not only of psychoanalysis but also of what became known generally as "talk therapy". His students, followers and dissadents alike, developed the basis for most forms of psychotherapy that are in use today including Person Centered Psychotherapy, Gestalt, Jungian Therapy etc.

Freud himself moved away from his original belief that neuroses were caused by "enforced abstinence and coitus interruptus" or by suppressed desires, for example as seen with the Oedipus Complex. By 1920 he had published "Beyond the Pleasure Principle" and had set the "death drive" against the "sex drive", claiming that "the drive for gratification, love and life is always overshadowed by a self-destructive urge toward aggression and death". 

Although Freud moved away from his original theories, the influence of these had far reaching effects on German speaking society. There was already a more general growing movement towards understanding the negative impact of sexual repression on individuals and on society in general. Thomas Mann's 1924 Bildingsroman ("novel of education"), "The Magic Mountain" (Der Zauberberg), one of the most influential works of 20th century German literature, emphasised the negative effects of sexual repression on individuals and society in general. In the book, the fictional clinician, Dr Krokowski, warns of the dangers of sexual repression: "Suppressed love was not dead, it continued to live on in the dark, secret depths, straining for fulfillment and broke the bands of chastity and reappears through transmuted unrecognizable the form of illness".

Wilhelm Reich

As Freud moved away from his original understanding, a number of Freud's colleagues, amongst them Wilhelm Reich who seems to have led the way, stayed with the original sex drive theory, and promoted amongst other things, a free love society. Reich however was not to find lasting recognition in Europe and he would eventually be ostracised by his peers for his radical thinking and for equating political freedom with sexual freedom and vice versa. For Reich, the one could impossibly not exist without the other.

Psychoanalysis and Reich

William Reich was a difficult person, very loud and forward with his ideas, certainly not discrete, and Freud and his psychoanalyst peers eventually threw him out of the professional bodies of the psychoanalytic movement. They saw his loud communist and anti-Hitler views as an attempt to politicise the psychoanalytical movement. Reich however, saw no difference between political freedom and sexual freedom. He clung to Freud's libido theory so strongly and continued to give orgasm a huge role in healing neuroses, that it became embarrassing to the faithful die-hard followers of Freud.

What Reich stood for went way beyond what Freud had discovered. Reich promoted a free culture of nudity and sexuality, masturbation as well as free peer child and adolescent sexual activity. His own children went to schools that practiced this literally - the children were allowed to follow their drives as they pleased. Many years later Reich's daughter would write about how uncomfortable it was that there was no potty training and that the children walked around nude, some of them leaving little brown packages behind themselves! The fact that such schools existed in Berlin at the time, and later the infamous Summerhill in the United Kingdom, shows just how much this thinking had caught the hearts of large parts of society.

The communist party and Reich

Initially, Reich was welcome into the communist party. He was welcome because of his radical alternative views which attracted the youth. His equating freeing sexuality from conditioning with freeing society from fascism fitted party lines well. He taught that in order for society to be healthy, society needed freedom from repression of all kinds including from a repressed sexuality. After initially being a huge draw card for attracting the youth into the movement, he was later thrown out of the communist party because of the same radical views about sexuality. It appears to have gotten too much for them and in addition, he was attracting a strong following of youth and this threatened the party.


Finally Reich had to leave Germany, the result of being a Jewish, a communist and such a loud propagator of free sex, made him perfect prey for the Nazis. 

But Reich was to subsequently became a kind of "superstar" in the freedom movement (free love, free sex and free drugs) of the 1950s and 1960s. The term "sexual revolution" was in fact coined by Reich.

After much coming and going between Germany (he returned a couple of times incognito to collect belongings or visit his children), Denmark, Sweden and France, in what proved to be an extremely painful period for him, he finally ended up in the USA. Most of his friends rejected him and only a few stood by him as he struggled to find a country that would take him into exile. Both Denmark and Sweden refused. He was in good company in the United States, many of Europe's top Jewish thinkers ended up there.

He already arrived as a very welcome guest. Freud's 1909 visit to the United States at the invitation of Clark University where he held a number of lectures, paved the way for Reich and a few others who believed in Reich's brilliance. On arrival they were met at the docks by peers who could hardly wait to have him on American soil.

Reich's fame for being a misfit traveled before him. In America it seemed, one could be a misfit - at least for a while. There was a growing community of men and women who thought and lived differently to the status quo.

Reich and the United States of America

Thus it was in the United States that Reich finally, not only found recognition for his theories, but in certain circles was almost worshiped as the messenger of sexual freedom and non-conformist politics. Again it was the youth that he appealed to. He was in the right place at the right time - America's youth were ready for his theories about orgasm and free sexuality. The fact that he equated sexual freedom to political freedom and vice versa, put him on the map for all times to come.

He rose to fame as one of the leaders of the hippie free love movement that had already begun to sweep through the country in the 1940s through to the late 1960s and early 1970s, taking also the United Kingdom and Europe by storm and reaching significant world wide following. Reich 
fitted in perfectly with the Zeitgeist of the time and became a kind of superstar.


The Zeitgeist prevalent in the United States and into which Reich arrived, had built up over a number of years owing to a number of important events and developments at the time. Some of which are:

  • the pill had been discovered in the fifties which allowed for a sexual freedom unknown before, particularly with regards to women, releasing them from the fear of pregnancy and allowing them to experiment with their sexuality as men had been doing all along;
  • rock and roll and Elvis Presley paved the way for a huge surge of breaking away from norms of the day by the youth;
  • the Vietnam war grasped the hearts of the USA's youth, who no longer felt patriarchal about their country in view of the damage caused, resulting in a politicising of everything dear to a generation, including their music;
  • the hippie movement of the sixties followed with the idea of free love, and sexual exploration as well as the exploration of natural and chemical substances to promote altered mental states which were claimed to further personal development; 
  • finally, the downfall of that very movement. The Vietnam war was over and the experimental use of LSD (which was initially legally available), Marijuana, Magic Mushrooms etc., led to an excessive use of drugs and drug addiction. The anarchical, communities and communal way of life of the hippies finally had to give way to the fact that individuals needed to finance themselves and the families they had produced. This resulted in more middle of the road lifestyles;
  • throughout all this, growing criticism of main stream religious systems led to disillusionment in the western religious beliefs and ethics;
  • led by George Harrison, the Beatles had very publicly visited India to the eastern mystic Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (founder of Transcendental Meditation) at his ashram in Rakish, India. This resulted in a surge of interest in the west in interest in eastern mystic teachings, mediation and yoga.
  • the hippy movement finally ran out of momentum, Many were disillusioned but found themselves unable to return to main-stream thinking and society. Or if they did, it was because a living had to be made in order to finance the upbringing of children. Left with a void and looking for meaning, there seems to have been a general turning to eastern mystic practices and teachings in an attempt to find answers and look for meaning, 
It was on this background that, when a long bearded mystic called Bhagwan Shree Raschneesh appeared on the scene in India, the west was more than ready for his teachings - and so they flocked to him.


Just like Reich, Osho was in the right place at the right time. Embracing humanity as the vehicle to the spiritual, his teaching caught the spirit of what a generation of individuals were now seeking. Nothing need be avoided, everything could be included - so also desire and sexuality. Osho was also politically outspoken, criticising socialism, Gandhi, religion and just about everything about anything status quo. He emphasised the importance of meditation and awareness and love but also of celebrating life, love and sexuality, of creativity, courage and humor. He told those who listened not to take things too seriously, and instead to be and feel light and okay with whoever they were and to be joyous.

His idea was that freedom became negated, even suppressed by adherence to an un-free society, by obedience to politics that one did not believe in, by religious indoctrination and the conditioning of upbringing, education and society in general. The path to happiness, to freedom was to free oneself from all that inhibited a full expression of a joy and almost lust for life itself and an appreciation and love of everything physical. Spirituality was attained, and indeed consciousness through almost any human activity. At last, a generation of young adults felt understood.

When one looks at both Osho and Reich, their thinking is astoundingly similar. Each one of them in their own way caught the Zeitgeist of a generation and made their mark on whatever was to come. If Freud paved the way for Reich, so did Reich pave the way for Osho. People were now ready in large numbers for any teaching about freeing up sexuality and particularly when this teaching was also politically critical.

I welcome comments...
Ma Anand Leandra.

To be continued next month..."Osho's tantric teachings and Neo-Tantra"

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Uniting Western Science With Eastern Mysticism

This is the first time I am recommending a book here in my journal. Although it’s not about Tantra, it explains tantric philosophy from a non-tantric but spiritual perspective. For those of you who do not yet know the author Gregg Braden, his book "The Divine Matrix" is a good way to get to know his writing.

Tantric Philosophy is founded on the Interconnection and Unity of the Universe. The human being does not exist in isolation, but is part of the One and is connected to all other matter in the universe. The human body in Tantra is seen as a microcosm of the universe and all that exists in the universe, exists also in the human body. The path to “enlightenment”, to conscious awareness, is through recognising our connection to the dynamic unity of reality. Through the intimate connection of body and universe in Tantric thought, we can understand how sex and orgasm can be seen as a cosmic and divine experience.

Many ideas of Tantric Philosophy can be found in other branches of philosophical thought and scientific study throughout the ages. It has however been relatively recent discoveries of the properties of space and the wave structure of matter that provide a scientific and logical explanation of the ancient Indian philosophy of Tantra, allowing humans to understand, for the first time, how they exist in space and are interconnected with other matter in the space around them.

I would like to suggest a book that explains all this beautifully. As it states on the back cover:“With easy to understand science and real-life stories, Gregg Braden show us that we’re limited only by our beliefs, and what we once believed is about to change!”

Although it offers an easy to understand and fascinating history of modern science and new physics, this book is much more than a book about science. It allows us to see and understand everyday life in new way and gives us tools, based on scientific knowledge, which empower us to change to take charge of and change our experience.


The Divine Matrix – Bridging Time, Space, Miracles, And Belief by Gregg Braden.
A Hayhouse publication:
Gregg Braden's website:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Relationship Business

I work with a lot of couples wanting to enhance their experience of intimacy and sexuality. For some, the children are out of the house and they wish to renew their relationship after completing the offspring raising phase. For others, the aim is to start off “right” by setting standards for their love life from the outset of their relationship. For many couples however, it is the fact that they are experiencing sexual difficulties of some sort and their intention is to find a way of getting beyond these difficulties.

The difficulties can be very varied and no matter what they are, these difficulties impact the emotional and spiritual aspects of the relationship severely. More often than we like to accept, the problem is that one partner wants more sex than the other, usually the male with the female being less interested. Sometimes it is the other way around. I have had wives sending their husbands to me with the request to do something about their libido. and more and more I am seeing male clients whose Urologists, after all the medical options have been tried out without the hoped for results, have suggested they see me.
Whatever the case, I would like to share with you three simple suggestions that I give all these couples. Often, when put into practice, these simple ideas work wonders and intimacy begins to flow anew in the relationship.

The principal is very simple: the practical side of living relationships is completely different to the original love affair. So here are my suggestions:
- hold weekly Relationship Business board meetings
- create a sacred space for intimacy and bonding (I like to call this Relationship Yoga)
- hold weekly Relationship Yoga practice meetings

Weekly Relationship Business Board Meetings
All relationships require decision making. In most marriages and long relationships, important decisions are taken at all times of the day when couples are together: at the dinner table, in the bathroom, the kitchen and even in bed. Arguments often arise or one partner getting into a bad mood. Often one partner is not ready to discuss whether or not to visit the parents for Christmas or to buy a house or where to go on holiday. No business is run like this; there are agendas and meetings that take place for this purpose. One of the reasons for friction in long term relationships is that we run our relationship totally disorganised and pretty chaotic!

See the running of your relationship as a business and have a weekly board meeting to discuss subjects on which important decisions are to be made. If your decisions include the children, they too can be invited to a board meeting. This way you clear up the space and relationship energy for living, enjoying etc instead of using it up for planning and organizing.

My suggestion is to set a regular time every week for your Relationship Business Board Meeting and stick to that time. You can have a counter book in the kitchen for jotting down themes and topics for discussion and you start your meeting by setting an agenda. If you can’t agree on a topic, listen to the arguments and take the decision over to the next meeting. This will give you time to ponder over it. If you require extra meetings, they can be set up but arrange an extra meeting together with your partner. If you are experiencing a lot of organizational and decisional difficulties, have two or even three board meetings a week for a while. But take the discussing out of the time when you are supposed to be enjoying each other’s company or when you are spending time with the children.

If you stick to this, you will find that a lot of daily tension is avoided and you also don’t draw the children into the business energy of your relationship.

Create a sacred space for intimacy and bonding
Many tanrikers do not use their bed time in the evenings as a time for making love. The bedroom is a place for going to sleeping; the energy, the atmosphere of the bedroom, is often not conducive to intimacy as it holds every day accessories. And usually one is tired by the time you go to bed. Creating a sacred space gives you a space for sharing intimacy apart from the bedroom. If possible, this should be a separate room which is especially decorated as a room for Relationship Yoga as I like to call it, a room for tantric bonding and intimacy rituals giving sexuality the special place it should have in our lives.

This room is sometimes called the Tantra Temple and sometimes simply, the Sacred Room. Ideally, the room should have a double or queen size futon mattress on the floor or on a low wooden frame. Futons are great as they have the hardness required in order to move around without wobbling or bouncing too much. It should be in the middle of the room so that you are able to move on and off it all around. Many tantric rituals begin with sitting opposite each other. There is some lovely rituals to be done sitting at the head or the feet of your partner (foot washing ceremony or foot and head massages for example).
You can have a cushion at the foot end as well as the head end for this purpose.

Choose linen that you really like. I prefer white but you may like a color. If you are going to use oils, please see that you have a waterproof sheet on the mattress to protect it. You can create an eastern look if you like this, or use any other deco that will enhance your intimacy. Soft lighting and gentle music should also be available.

If you do not have an extra room you can turn your bedroom into a Sacred Place. Take some time before your intimacy and bonding rituals to change your bedroom into this space. You can have a box of goodies which you open up and arrange in the room after taking away all the everyday items. The bedroom should be free of clutter and you arrange a few drapes and set up your altar. Let the daily stuff can disappear into the box after you have taken out your special deco items for creating the sacred space in your bedroom.

Soft drapes, a candle, incense or another form of aroma (I find the small humidifiers that are not available in health shops really lovely for this and they purify the air as well as giving it a aroma of your choice). Have a couple of objects that have meaning to you and create a small altar with these. Perhaps some fresh flowers…whatever it is that you like.

It is not so much about creating a sexy atmosphere, but much more about creating a sacred atmosphere. This is a room for connecting with your deepest self, with each other and for worship. You worship each other, you worship the Universe, Existence, the Divine, God when you bond and make love with love, awe and reverence in your hearts. Create a space that supports you in this.

Weekly Relationship Yoga meetings
As mentioned earlier, going to bed time is time is not the best time for intimacy and bonding. We seem to think that sex is supposed to happen all the time. Three times a week is not enough for many of us – yet, what about the quality of that sex? Nothing wrong with delightful quickies but when sex and intimacy get reduced to bed time all the time, it is no longer what it was when we were falling in love - long afternoons or mornings of being in each other’s company, bonding, holding, chatting, touching, loving and sharing sexuality.

So set aside one time per week which will become your Relationship Yoga time. Relationship Yoga is bonding, sharing intimacy, sharing physical, emotional and spiritual pleasure. If you have children, organize for them to be cared for. You need at least 2 hours undisturbed, 3 – 4 hours is better. Ideally this should be the same time each week, very much in the same way as you would go to a yoga class in a yoga studio. Stick to it, it is worth it.

When it is time for your Relationship Yoga class, enter your sacred room and begin the process with a series of rituals. I teach a variety of these rituals in my private Couple’s Workshops and on weekend retreats. Welcome each other, bless each other, thank each other - not just generally, specifically. Then take turns to pleasure each other. This way the one who is relaxing can simply enjoy and is not responsible for anything. The other one is active and does not receive or expect anything in return. You let your sexual energy arise if it does, become a witness to it, as opposed to having to act on it or to satisfy it. You can take turns on the same occasion to be in the active role, I however prefer to rather have the change-over on different occasions. This way you can go totally into either the active giving role, or the passive receiving role.

I hope I have inspired you to take up this simple program. If you do, I’d love to hear from you. Let me know how it worked for you. If you’d like to learn more, contact me for a private Couple’s Workshop. Singles can book a Tantra Sacred Massage session.

My warmest greetings to you all,

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Neo Tantra and Post-Neo Tantra

Osho coined the term "Neo Tantra" for a good portion of his teaching. There is much confusion as to what this actually means. Many of today's teachers of Tantra claim that this is the physical or sexual aspect of Tantra, or that Neo Tantra implies a focus on teaching tantric sexuality as opposed to teaching the spiritual or transformational meaning of what Tantra is. This is, in my opinion, totally incorrect and really not comprehensible as to why this is being done. When one reads Osho's writings about what he meant, what he taught, one gets a very clear picture that Neo Tantra is being misinterpreted.

Neo Tantra is also often referred to as "western tantra" or "modern tantra" as an expression of our modern times being pre-occupied with sexual matters. I understand Osho’s tantric teachings to actually pick us up where we are - with the human preoccupation with sexuality.

The sexual revolution was essentially about women becoming more open to sexual exploration. The discovery of the birth control pill in the fifties revolutionised sexuality by reducing fear of pregnancy which resulted in women beginning to feel more free about exploring their sexuality. The sixties and the hippy movement with it's "free love” philosophy, opened the doors for sexual exploration even more. As a woman, it was no longer necessary to be shameful about sexual escapades. Since then, it has been a slow movement towards what we have today, the signalisation of almost everything in life. The question is whether this serves us or not.

Tantra does not sexualise us, it picks us up where we are and that is with a huge preoccupation of sexuality that has not ended in spite of a deep shift into more esoteric and spiritual understandings of life that have emerged since then. And indeed, it cannot end because of its very nature and importance to our humanity and lives. So we need to take our pre-occupation with sex into account when our intention is to live more spiritually. Not doing so results in, for most of us, a separation of spirituality and sexuality and this, in end effect, inhibits our spiritual growth, let alone our physical pleasure.

How can we live a spiritual lifestyle and in the bedroom resort to animal nature and a testosterone driven, goal orientated sexuality? Spirituality that includes the body, our senses actually changes our experience of sexuality and gives it back the sacredness it was meant to have.

It was natural that after Osho made Tantra accessible to the West in the sixties and seventies by re-visiting the ancient texts and teaching them for a free-love inspired public, the emphasis would be on experiencing sexuality in all manner or ways, all the while getting rid of inhibitions, as well as guilt. A lot of the tantric work that began in the eighties and nineties focused on sexuality.

In latter years, a new tantric teaching is emerging out of the Neo-Tantra era. Tantra in the west is is no longer "just" about sexuality and although sexuality plays a large role, the emphasis is more on the spiritual aspects of our sexual energy. This Post-Neo Tantra is closer to what Osho actually taught - the transcendence from physical to spiritual and more about transcending sexuality. I personally think that the phase of an almost "free for all" in sexuality where anything goes is done. It is well done and now is the time to go further, but not back into suppression, which is sometimes the case. Having had enough of the sexualisation of Tantra, some schools feel the need to once again reject the sexual aspects of the work. This is unfortunate, it is a step backwards. What is needed is the integration of the polarities that Tantra places us in. Only when this integration has taken place, do we find the complete picture. Only then will we realise fully what it was that Osho actually gave us.

I share the following Osho quotes with you in an attempt to make clear what Osho meant and how the term Neo Tantra should be understood if used correctly. The quotes will also give the reader a good idea of what the path of Tantra in our day and age and in all cultures really is.

Osho quotes

"The first part has to be sex. The second part has to be love. The third part has to be prayer, and the fourth has to be transcendence. So from the gross to the subtle you move. And in the fourth, sex has to completely disappear, love too, prayer too. Make it absolutely silent, peaceful, meditative... not even a trace is left. These are the four stages of Neo-Tantra..."

"Sex is just the beginning, not the end But if you miss the beginning, You will miss the end also."

"If you remain aware you will come to know that sex is not just sex. Sex is the outermost layer, deep inside is the love, and even deeper is prayer, and deepest is God himself. Sex can become a cosmic experience. Then it is Tantra."

"This is tantra's proposition, that mind is nothing but subtle matter; it can be changed. And once you have a different mind you have a different world, because you look through the mind. The world you are seeing, you are seeing because of a particular mind."

"The moment you enter love, you enter a different person. And when you come out you will not be able to recognize your old face; it will not belong to you. A discontinuity will have happened. Now there is a gap, the old man is dead and the new man has come. That is what is known as rebirth - being twice-born."

"Tantra's contribution is the greatest, because it give you keys to transform the lowest into the highest. It gives you keys to transform mud into lotuses."

From the Prologue to Osho's book Sex Matters in answer to the question: "Why does the topic of sex make people so uncomfortable? Why is it such a taboo?"

"The simple reason is that people have been for centuries living a repressed sex life. They have been told by all the religious prophets and the messiahs and the saviors that sex it sin. To my understanding, sex is your only energy, it is life energy. What you do with it depends on you. It can become sin, and it can become also your highest peak of consciousness. It all depends on you how you use the energy. There was a day when we had no idea how to use electricity. Electricity was available always - as lightning - and was killing people, but now it is your servant. It is doing everything that you want. Sex is bio- electricity. The question is how to use it. And the first principle is not to condemn it. The moment you condemn anything, you cannot use it. Sex should be accepted as a normal, natural thing in life - just as sleep, as hunger, as everything else. Furthermore, sex can be joined with meditation, and once sex can be joined with meditation its whole quality changes. Sex without meditation can only reproduce children. Sex with meditation can give you a new birth, can make you a new human being."