When the term ‘Tantra’, is used, there is often a lot of confusion about what is actually meant. A quick search on the internet for a definition of the term, ‘Tantra’, will not yield any real clarity, indeed in most cases it will just create more confusion. The reality is that the ancient practice of Tantra seems to mean and encompass many different things to many different people. The key to understanding Tantra is to grasp the fact that the term Tantra doesn’t refer to just one thing, in fact there are four different types of Tantra that are represented by four different colours: white, pink, red and black.
There is often a lot of drama surrounding Tantra being linked to sex and Tantric sex cults, indeed ever since tales of Tantric sex reached the West, many people have attempted to understand Tantra and have continually misunderstood it.
From Sting’s claims of eight hour sex sessions in the name of Tantra to lusty gurus and all night orgies, the racy reputation of Tantra is down to misinterpretation and a lack of reliable information. The reality is that Tantra has a very deep and complex history and is about spiritual growth and is a life long, spiritual path.
Tantra as a way of life
Tantra embraces all elements of daily life and this includes sex, sexuality and sensuality; this allows many followers liberation as unlike other modalities all aspects of daily life are embraced as everything is perceived as Divine. Though, it must be made clear that this does not mean that Tantra is all about sex.
Whilst many people think tantra is all about sex; learning different positions; getting better orgasms and receiving more sexual gratification; real Tantra is an altogether deeper and more life enhancing path.
For those who want to experience richer relationships, deeper intimacy and more authentic connection with others, Tantra is a wonderful path to embark on. Whilst, sex and the harnessing of sexual energy is part of this, it is about releasing fear, letting go of negative emotions and feeling at ease in your body, learning how to communicate your boundaries and allowing yourself to let go, be vulnerable and open.
So, here is the reality: Tantra is about sex, but its not just about sex. In Tantra sex is seen as a form of deep meditation and worship – it’s a way of merging with the divine. Everything in the universe is seen as being created by the divine and is therefore worthy of celebration; so is worthy of inclusion and embracement within Tantra. In Tantra it is believed that everything within the universe was once harmoniously united and this is symbolised by the endless and joyous intercourse of the god Shiva and the goddess Shakti. Then the universe split and creation became divided; hence the Tantric intent to create the divine union.
As already explained though, Tantra is not just about sex, and the belief set of Tantra is that everything in life can help your spiritual development. So, for example drinking a cup of tea can become an orgasmic experience when you bring Tantra into your life. Everything in life becomes a source of pleasure and you learn the art of gratitude for life’s small and infinite gifts, seeing and embracing the divine in all aspects of life.
Tantra embraces so many elements and one of these is the transformation of desire. It’s about a way of life, about approaching the world with an open heart, letting go of judgment and negativity and adopting a willingness to embrace desire as an essential component of existence. This could be a desire for anything. So whereas, other spiritual paths consider desires for worldly goods or carnal pleasure as wrong, Tantra embraces all desires and this could be anything from a person, a cup of tea, the achievement of worldly wealth or a better career.
Self care and self love are also part of Tantra. Eating healthily and being kind to yourself and to others are essential Tantric practices and in many respects a lot of practices connected to mindfulness are also incorporated into Tantra, albeit white Tantra practices. This leads us nicely on to discussing the colours within Tantra. When talking about Tantra, people often refer to White, Red, and Black Tantra, and also left- or right-handed paths and it can all become a little confusing especially when planning to begin a Tantric path. Questions may buzz around your head such as, ‘ what colour Tantra should I be following?’ Or ‘What about Tantric Yoga?’ All of these questions are valid and perfectly understandable, so below is a simple guide to the colours of Tantra and the main thing to remember is you must start where you feel comfortable.
Types of tantra
Red Tantra is the practice followed in Tantric Journey. Red Tantra focuses upon the harnessing of sexual energy. The reference within Red Tantra can be literal or symbolic as sexual union is considered a means of attaining liberation by expanding awareness and dissolving the boundaries created by the mind. The focus is not on mere physical pleasure physical pleasure and emotional intimacy with a partner, but instead on clearing blocks from the sex chakras and using sexual energy to revitalize the whole system.
White Tantra is the most commonly practiced and most publicized form of Tantra. White Tantra incorporates Tantric yoga, meditation and mindfulness tantric practices. It is often considered a ‘pure’ practice and is concerned with self improvement, soul liberation and spiritual enlightenment. White Tantra practices can include (mudras), mantras, postures (asanas), and breathing practices (pranayama) and the purpose of White Tantric is to clear physical and emotional blocks in the subconscious mind and physical body so that practitioners can live their lives with awareness and work towards greater enlightenment.
Pink Tantra – as you might expect is the bridge between white and red Tantra. Pink Tantra is very popular with women as it focuses upon the heart chakra. Pink Tantra embraces both transcendence and sexual Life-force energy as beautiful and pure and unites them both in the nature of joy and pure love in the heart. It is easy to see the appeal of Pink Tantra because it is the Tantra of Love, Pure Being, Creativity, Creative development and Freedom and returning to our natural being. Red Tantra incorporates all of these elements, but is the next step in the Tantric Journey and a natural progression from mastering pink Tantra; harnessing the creative nature of our bodies and the great energy potential it holds with a union with the Divine by moving through ecstatic energy into Divine Love and Presence.
Black Tantra is probably the least understood and talked about of the Tantric colours. In order to practice black Tantra your energy gateways must be completed open and it can take years to accomplish this. The subject of Black Tantra is a deep and complex one, but essentially it is a branch of Tantra where sexual energy, orgasm and ejaculation are harnessed to awaken consciousness. Black tantra is about altering mental reality through a series of advanced rituals and these rituals are not well documented. Many people fear ‘black Tantra’ considering it a type of dark force or magic. Because it is little practiced in comparison to white, pink or red Tantra it is largely misunderstood or else demonized by stories of mind manipulation, depraved sexual acts and malevolent magic. The misinformation and fear surrounding black Tantra is an example of the wide-spread ignorance surrounding ancient Tantric practices, resulting in the general rejection of this deeply healing and transformative art as dangerous and corrupt.
One of the benefits of Tantra is that it can bring a lot of clarity and positivity to an individual and their daily life, resulting in things getting progressively clear and easier. Through Tantric practices there is a higher potential to enjoy life and experience more bliss, release negativity and experience better relationships and to begin achieving our full potential. So, whatever colour of Tantra you decide to embrace and whatever Tantric practices you decide to follow you will find that Tantra is so much more than just sex and has the potential to transform your life abundantly.