Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pseudo-Hipster Expose: Tantric Sex

Lots of loose talk these days, loose, bragging, condescending talk, about Tantric Sex. Mostly from pretentious, aging rock stars. What is it that they think they’re doing?

//according David Gordon White, author of Kiss of the Yogini: "Tantric Sex" in Its South Asian Contexts, what passes for Tantric sexuality in the West has almost no connection with its original inspiration in medieval India.//

The real beliefs of Tantrics are frightening, and not just a little bit, and have nothing to do with ecstasy.

//early Tantric texts make no reference to pleasure, bliss, or ecstasy: the sexual intercourse involved in the rites was not an end in itself so much as a means of generating the sexual fluids whose consumption lay at the heart of these wild Tantric rituals.//

Somewhere along the line, someone got the bright idea that salvation may be available in doing everything exactly wrong.

//caste Hindus believed that purity and good living were safeguarded by avoiding meat and alcohol, by keeping away from unclean places like cremation grounds and avoiding polluting substances such as bodily fluids, Tantrics believed that one path to salvation lies in inverting these strictures.//

Remember “Gunga Din?” staring Cary Grant as Indiana Jones?

//Tantric devotees took their lead in these matters from the great Tantric goddesses Kali, Tara, and Bhairavi, dark-skinned, untamable, and hag-like divinities who are adorned with garlands of human skulls and attended by jackals, furies, and ghosts. These are fierce and willfully heterodox goddesses who cut off their own heads, who are offered blood sacrifices by their devotees, and who have sex with corpses while pulling the tongue of a demon or straddling the dead as they sit on a burning cremation pyre. Such goddesses—embodying all that would normally be considered outrageous or even repulsive—are anti-models that challenge ideas about how the world should be ordered and violate approved social values and customs—//

Wowsers, Sting, how does that translate into real-world practice?

//emphasis "toward a type of erotico-mystical practice" involving congress with the Yoginis, a group of powerful and predatory female divinities "located at a shifting threshold between the divine and the demonic." Yoginis, we are told, demanded that they be worshiped and fed with offerings of sexual emissions, as well as human and animal sacrifice//

There are some people still around practicing Tantrics in something akin to the original spirit.

//modern form among the Bauls of Bengal who still practice similar rites—they involve elaborate, ritualized sex, sometimes with menstruating women, combined with the ingestion of a drink compounded of semen, blood, and bodily fluids, so flouting and subverting a whole range of established orthodoxies and taboos.//

Hey now! Are we having hippie-dipshit fun yet?

//This original, demon-propitiating Tantric sex clearly stands at an unimaginable distance from the cozy modern world of Western Tantra fads, with their celebration of aromatherapy and coitus reservatus, described by the French writer Michel Houellebecq as "a combination of bumping and grinding, fuzzy spirituality, and extreme egotism."//

The Twenty-First Century in a nutshell.

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