Tantra and the variety of things that share the name – disambiguation




Tantra is …

… a spiritual path noted for its speed but also its degree of difficulty. It requires greater courage, persistence of intent, personal capacity for all areas of life and discernment than other approaches to spiritual truths. What can be understood about it from text and videos is barely the surface. Many students of tantra find there are lessons sufficient for years of deep attention.


Tantra has been reaching the West as its embers die in the East for over a century now.
There are a few distinctly different expressions which some seekers have found rather confusing.
To clarify, here is an attempt at disambiguation:

Museum-TantraEmpowerment-TantraTherapy-TantraEntertainment TantraTantra

Some of the writings, practices, rituals, and philosophical systems taught by the tantric greats of the past have, very fortunately been preserved and translated.

Some lineages, most notably in Tibet, did a particularly thorough job of preservation, often keeping the taste of the truths they preserved fresh enough for appreciation in modern times.

We have huge gratitude for the masters of the past and the access we have to their teachings. Study of tantra in history is particularly helpful for understanding the forces and pressures one exposes oneself to depending one's archetype as a student or teacher.

The few teachings called (or which came to be called) "tantra" that reached the West during the last century were more or less like someone who has read a book on Christianity taking the name "St. Pope", describing himself as The Christ and offering an "Authentic Black Mass" as his central (only) teaching. Sorry to come across rude … but that is how it still is in most places in 2015.

Recommended links for Museum-Tantra:

A great telling of the story of Milarepa and his Master, Marpa by Tsem Rinpoche.

Wikipedia's Tantra page pretty much only describes museum-tantra.

Museum-tantra teacher in the West.




If your dream of the good life includes a mercedes in your garage and a tantrika in your bedroom, this is the ©Tantra™ for you!

Empowerment-tantra teaches sexual, financial and spiritual success by mixing the horrible misunderstandings of movies like The Secret with Crowelyean ideas on sexual magic. The result is a very powerful medicine for the standard cultural sexual repression.

"Everyone starts tantra for all the wrong reasons." This is true, and is not a bad thing. There is no way to start tantra with the motivations you will develop in the course of your learning - you haven't developed them yet! Neither can you start tantra with the appropriate intent for the deepest work of tantra because it takes probably three to five years to develop the emotional capacity for those depths. You have to start from where you currently are … and the great thing is that you can. All these forms of tantra are a useful beginning.

Being a bit commercial, even outright commercial, is not a bad thing. These schools have probably brought more useful awareness to the West than museum-tantra. The best of them are also adept at therapy-tantra, sometimes mixed with a little entertainment tantra.

Some claim museum-tantra credentials and some are protective of their trademarks. Some have bad politics with other areas of tantra, as in this example of an empowerment-tantra teacher supporting police in their persecution of a therapy/entertainment-tantra practitioner.

Probably the current biggest and best is ISTA, who's Temple in Arizona was closed after it was targeted in the infamous "Operation Goddess Temple" persecutions of 2011. They used to host a large international conference of related teachings, and continue to arrange conferences and trainings worldwide. We became friendly with them at conferences here in 2009-11. One of their key teachers visits often, as do others of other schools. Their South African events are announced at our FaceBook group.



Healing relationship problems and what the medical profession calls the sexual dysfunctions PE - Premature Ejaculation and ED - Erectile Dysfunction, is the core territory of therapy-tantra.

Techniques, often derived from Osho's or Mantak Chia's therapies, use touch and breath to release the tensions that cause most problems.

The Dakas and Yogini-Adepts of this school work with these and similar techniques with slightly different intent, described in this video at youtube.

Many of the best practitioners are well practiced in several healing arts and have a large base of techniques from which to draw, as guided by their intuition.


If you want to be served in a ritual manner by a certified (no kidding) goddess who regularly twitter-posts free nude pics of practitioners - look no further than Dr. Corynna Clarke's twitter feed.

On the same feed, you will also see many posts which are not very entertaining, about therapy-tantra.

The advertising of therapy-tantra and entertainment-tantra often look very similar indeed. This can be confusing. Fortunately, it does not matter, especially at the beginning of the journey. Their techniques are very similar, are similarly powerful, and the healing happens even if the business model looks more like sex-work (pimps and girls) than psychotherapy (independent professionals).

Entertainment-tantra is a traditional and ancient response to patriarchal culture. In many ancient schools, the feminine was regarded as being in service to the masculine. A Yogini-Adept used her skills on whoever met her temple's price as her own spiritual discipline, gaining the lessons of self-in-service.

It might be entertaining. It might advertise itself in the language of the latest fashions in sex-work (currently bondage themed rituals and girlfriend-experience encounters) – nonetheless, it is a valuable spiritual learning for the practitioners. It is also a socially valuable practice because it heals the cultural sexual retardation more effectively and in far greater numbers than any other tantra.

Entertainment-tantra has and surely will continue to produce some of the deepest and most useful of tantra teachers. Although many (generally men) who go to them do not have much potential for tantra, those that do make a great start. Their rituals also make some advanced meditations of tantra possible, for those men who are well advanced on their path.


Tantra may look fragmented, but, even if you are not near a school with much range, the parts can be found and assembled. Learning from what is available in the world, much of the ancient roots can be studied and understood, power sufficient to the demands of the path can be developed, deep psychological healing and maturation can be had, as can freedom from the culture's sexual retardation.




Tantra worth calling Tantra is a deep mystery which cannot be approached, never mind explored, before one has recovered one's naturalness in sex.

Few students, even in this school, achieve that capacity.

Tantra at this level is secret, not so much because people don't talk about it, but because it is an extremely personal journey and no description could convey a worthwhile hint of such attainment.

The work of this school is to produce and nurture teachers who are capable of guiding others on this pathless path of Tantra.






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