#9 Tantric god and goddesses gathering

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The Tantric god and goddess gathering held at 4025 Studio in the Northside of Richmond was certainly an event I won’t soon forget. I arrived right on time at 7pm just as the other 13 Tantriks were finding their way into the circle. We surrounded an alter consisting of an Indian tribal blanket, a Catholic candle of Jesus, burning incense, and a grouping of several different "healing" stones. I picked up my meditation pillow and found a space right next to another Tantrik who courteously moved over to welcome me in.

Dakini Martha, a self proclaimed healer, lightworker and Tantric goddess began the service by asking if anyone would volunteer to purify the space by wafting burning sage. A young gentleman who was apparently familiar with this ritual agreed to be of service to the group and lit the sage on fire as he walked around the circle and waved the plants smoke above each of our heads. I actually welcomed the plants scent. Sage comes from the Latin word "to heal" and Martha later explained to us that sage is burned during gatherings in an attempt to rid the room of all negative energy and heal the space.

After fiddling around with her ipod, Dakini Martha gave a brief explanation of the history of Tantra and its roots in India. She discussed her own personal history with the practice and how she was introduced to it while attending a Methodist church almost 10 years. Martha said she always struggled with the traditional church’s representation of God because God seemed so far outside oneself. She appreciated the Holy Spirit as opposed to a "God-like" entity that she couldn’t experience with her senses. Martha went on to explain to us her struggles with educating people in the Richmond area due to what she called "the perceived taboo nature of Tantra". She said, "traditional Richmond didn’t seem ready to embrace the wonderful spiritual discipline of Tantra". She had almost succumb to the fact that our area was not the place for her type of healing practice until she had met a spiritual guide that encouraged her to pursue her love of tantra locally. It was at this time that she gave us a forewarning about what we were to expect in the next hour and a half. Honestly, after her explanation of a God outside herself and the Holy Spirit, I knew that Tantra was going to be a topic that intrigued me. I didn’t need to be forewarned! I thought to myself, "yeah, I get how energy and Spirit are so important to some one’s spiritual journey. Let’s meditate, let’s do some yoga! I’m ready for whatever!"

Then, Dakini Martha presented an entirely new concept to me that I hadn’t stumbled across in my research. She said, "Just so every one’s clear. There are 2 paths of Tantra. There’s the Right-hand path that involves gurus, mind-body-spirit connection and denying the flesh, then there’s Left-handed Tantra that’s all about indulgence and sex. I teach sacred sex. We’re left-handers. Just so we’re clear if anyone wants to leave." The girl next to me let out a bellowing laugh as she presumptuously spoke for the entire group "Yes! Sex! That’s why we’re all here." Without a moments notice, my flight response kicked into over-drive. In a complete panic I thought, "I could go to the bathroom and then just not come back. I could be brave and get up and say, "no! I’m a right-hander! Now show me the door!" Instead, I decided to silently pray, "God, I pray I learn something about you today in this room. Even if it’s to exercise my understanding. Keep me close though, okay?"

We then started our journey with a stretching exercise. With eyes closed, and tantric music playing quietly in the background, we were instructed to just stretch our bodies however we wanted to. "Don’t hold back!" Martha insisted. "Just let your body move to it’s beat." I tried to not judge my own movements or worry about who might see me stretching in odd ways and instead just heed her advice. I bent over backwards, raised my arms behind me, crawled in front of me, and reached toward the sky. I just let my body move to it’s beat like she suggested. It felt glorious to stretch! I felt like a creative child. I silently did my yoga with my eyes shut and it was an extraordinary meditative experience.

Once we were done, she went into a 15 meditation much like the Zen one I was introduced to a few weeks back. This time, I really got into the zone. Martha led us in a visualization exercise. She said, "breath in slooooowly deeeep through your nose. Hold that breath for a few moments... and with no rush...with no goal.... slooooooowly out through your nose. Feel the energy of the earth coming up from your root chakra. You feel connected to the earth. Ahhhhh....and out throw your nose and release that energy. You are completely safe. Completely secure." Oh man, and was I ever. I felt connected. I felt completely tranquil and at peace. I never wanted it to end. "This is what meditation is!" I thought. I was relieved to know that left-hand Tantra was apparently just about relaxing and feeling comfortable in your own skin and that’s how it related to sex. Not that we were going to be recreating that image of the old hippie orgies I’d associated with Tantra in the first place. We then slowly opened our eyes and "re-entered" the physical space. It was time for our next activity.

"Okay, guys. It’s time to have some fun. Let’s break into pairs." Most people were already there with a partner. I was sitting next to this sweet girl who came alone and since she welcomed me in the circle and we made chit-chat early on as we were sanctifying the space with sage, it only made sense that she’d be who I partnered up with. I turned to her, ready to engage, until I realized.....

Martha looked in my direction and said, "okay, Jess. You’re here alone. You go ahead and get with Henry." I looked across the circle where she was directing her attention and there he was. Henry was probably about 60 years old, full gray beard, he was wearing faded jeans, a white undershirt and had exposed bare feet. "Great!" I said with a smile. I walked over to Henry who coincidentally looked a lot like an old hippie. "Hi Henry! Glad to meet you." I waited nervously but optimistic that this would just be another meditation exercise. "I am an extrovert," I thought. "I can meditate with someone I don’t know. No problem. Don’t judge, Jessica. Just allow. Don’t judge this! This person is a part of God. Love!!" I then reminded God of his promise to stay close.

Martha began to lead the exercise by directing our attention to the couple next to her, "I’ll have Mr. and Mrs. Smith demonstrate what I want you all to do. Mr. Smith, I want you to sit on the floor, facing your wife with your legs extended out and back completely straight. Mrs. Smith, now you straddle Mr. Smith and..."

I felt myself starting to perspire. Could she actually expect that I was going to mount this stranger? I mean, seriously!!!???? There’s no way that’s what she expects me to do this with someone I’ve never met. I revisited my thought about making a mad dash for the door under the guise of going to the ladies room but I resisted. She went on......"okay, mrs. smith, now that you’re on top of him, wrap your legs firmly around his back. Gently place your hands on the back of his neck with your genitals over top of his."

"RUN RUN RUN!" I silently screamed.

"Okay, Mr. Smith place your hands at the base of your wife’s back and put your forehead against hers and gaze into one another’s eyes"

"That’s it! I can’t do this!!!!" I cried to myself. Then, as everyone mounted their partners, Martha turned to me and Henry.

"This is a Tantra class" she said with a warm smile. "I know you two just met, but go ahead and embrace each other for the sake of learning. I’d like to think of it like we’re children without a care in the world. You know what? Real enlightenment is our ability to love everyone like you would your husband or wife... even strangers! So if you two were to attain ultimate enlightenment, you wouldn’t care that you were strangers, only that you had this immense love and desire to please and love one another unconditionally" She then turned to the other students as though it was now understood that Henry and I should assume position.

I turned to Henry who looked more than willing. "Henry" I said meekly. "Um, I hope that you understand".....I paused. "It’s not that you’re not *gulp* mountable but...." I had no idea how to end the sentence. Like always, I was so concerned that Henry might have his feelings hurt or think he wasn’t lovable that I proceeded cautiously. Especially since ole’ Dakini Martha made it rather clear that if I really loved Henry, I’d publicly mount him. "Henry, truth is, I would do this, but....well....I would do this... but....my husband would have my head." I blamed it on the husband. That was sure to get me out of it! A bit disappointed looking, Henry kindly replied "No problem."

Everyone then began gyrating. Henry and I sat there, bare foot to bare foot gazing into one another’s eyes like lovers but not touching one bit. I resisted the massive urge to look away. We were then asked to make a vibrational sound that signified the union and alignment of each others energy. We did a pretty good job at the mantra part, I must admit. I lowered my pitch to meet his, he increased his pitch to meet mine. Trying to make conversation and ease the tension a bit, I whispered, "Henry. This is intense" He replied in a nervous tone, "What? You think I seem tense?" I repeated myself for clarification. He nodded and smiled.

After 10 minutes of gazing into each others eyes and chanting "OMMMMMMMM" I excused myself, walked up to the alter and placed my $20 in the tray. I thanked Henry and Dakini Martha for the lesson. I smiled at everyone while I waved goodbye and made my way to the front door. I turned around one last time to make sure I was no longer in anyone’s sight. Then, I ran full speed to my car like someone was chasing me. I jumped in, and immediately locked the doors. I sat in disbelief for a brief moment. While quickly running the sequence of events through my mind, I began to laugh uncontrollably. Martha was right. There was certainly quite a bit of energy inside my body. And I could no longer contain it.

After I regained my composure, I called my husband and told him my story. He said, "okay, next Sunday back to the regular stuff." I smiled. "Okay, back to the regular stuff." I thanked God for the experience and for staying so close.

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6 Comments

  • Jenny Hughes

    Jenny Hughes April 19, 2010

    WOW, Jess… you are a trooper! I enjoyed reading every line of this!! smile

  • Jessica

    Jessica April 19, 2010

    Thanks for posting, Jenny! Whew. It was INTENSE. When I first told Pat the story he was like, “did you do it?!!!” Ha! smile

  • Janice Dial

    Janice Dial April 19, 2010

    Your something else I love your blog and you to

  • Anne Gavin

    Anne Gavin April 19, 2010

    You had me wanting to join up until you and Henry became “a couple”. What an experience!

  • Martha

    Martha July 21, 2010

    Someone recently directed me to your blog, and I remember meeting you at this event.

    I truly appreciated reading about your experience and thought processes during the meeting and exercises! Your transparency is refreshing, and your reactions are totally natural, and quite common for a beginner’s introduction to sacred sexuality.  In general, you have briefly captured the essence and spirit of the monthly gatherings, which help people perceive and try something new in a spirit of unconditional love, goodwill and humor, and recognizing the divinity in ourselves and each other. I think you may have missed the sound healing work that we did as there is no description of that.
    Helping people feel safe is a priority for me, as this allows for the most healing and learning possible, and singles can learn the Tantric path to self-realization not working with a partner. This is one reason why I also teach kundalini, white tantric yoga. In my opinion, it is the healthiest approach, as we cannot enter into healthy, holy, and happy relationship with another until we ourselves are on our own healing path. Otherwise we end up in codependent relationship (the most prevalent addiction on the planet)  whereby we long for or assume our partner will complete us or fulfill us. I never push people to go past their own comfort zone, or require a partner. Likewise, self-responsibility and maturity is key in any situation. By pushing yourself beyond a comfortable boundary, you found a safe way to engage in something new and benefit from a shift in awareness, even if includes discovering something you feel isn’t right for you.

    Peace and best wishes on your path of seeking!
    Sincerely,
    Martha

  • Jessica

    Jessica July 21, 2010

    Hi Martha,

    I am SO GLAD that you commented.  This is my most popular blog post:)  The experience was one I obviously treasured.  I did something very similar once at this seminar in northern VA and found that while incredibly uncomfortable for me, it stretched me by challenging me to not make judgements of other people and to really embrace the concept of loving my neighbor as myself.  Just spending time looking into another person’s eyes has a tremendous impact on me in terms of awareness.

    I encourage anyone to try it and there’s no doubt, you did an awesome job of making me feel as comfortable as I could in a unique situation.

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