Glossary of Tantra Terms
Abstinence -To refrain from having sex.
Acharya – Guide, guru or teacher who has attained great spiritual heights.
Advaita – Nonduality. Everything in the universe is one substance. Quantum Physics is converging with this concept today.
Aghora – A form or ‘school of Tantra from India. The lineage is of Aghoreshwar Bhagwan Ramji. The aghori, in true Tantric fashion, believes in the purity and divinity of everything including the most terrible to the most sublime.
Agura - This is the most common cross-legged position used to sit on the floor in the West. It is not the half or full lotus position.
AH - Mantra seed syllable (bija) symbolizing great emptiness from which all forms arise, the speech of all the buddhas, or the "Vajra Speech of the Buddhas." Associated with the throat chakra.
Ahamkara – Ego. The sense of duality and separateness from others and everything.
Ahimsa – Non-violence, harmlessness
AIDS - Acronym for acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
Ajna - 6th Chakra, near the center of the eyebrows and commonly called the third eye. It is associated with spiritual sight or self-awareness on the cosmic plane.
Amrita – The nectar of immortality. The visualized flow of divine bliss which streams down from the sahasrara chakra when one enters very deep states of meditation The essence or ‘nectar’ of the Goddess. Physically, it is produced by the increased glandular production of various hormonal activities throughout the body during Kundalini arousal; alchemically it is considered a fountain of youth because of the numerous energetic and health benefits. Amrita is also known as the spiritual essence of ‘chi’ contained in the female ejaculate.
Anus - The opening of the rectum.
Anal intercourse – A sexual behavior in which a man's penis is inserted into another person’s anus.
Ananda - Sanskrit for ‘Divine Bliss’. An ecstatic state of complete inward devotion, oneness with higher, spiritual realms of peace, love and ecstasy.
Anahata - 4th Chakra, near the heart region of the body, is associated with transcendental love or the physical experience of connectedness and non-duality to all of life and all beings.
Aphrodisiac - A substance that is alleged to increase sexual desire.
Asana - A yogic posture or pose of the physical body. It can be practiced in conjunction with specific breathing techniques (Pranayama).
Atman – The soul; the breath and principle of life but not the body, emotions, mind or personality.
Bhaga – Luck, wealth, secret place, yoni
Bhakti – Devotion and surrender as a way to the divine through love.
Bhakti yoga– The yoga of devotion, prayer, surrender, chanting and singing to awaken love in the heart.
Bhandas - Muscular locks, usually of the pelvis region, used to intensify and direct Kundalini energy.
Bija – Seed sound or syllable used in Mantras and to communicate and transmute energy. Corresponding to the charkas starting from the base: LAM, VAM, RAM, YAM, HAM (AH), SHAM & OM (the crown).
Bliss – Non-dual feelings of clarity, no-thought, oneness, harmony.
Bodhi – Awakened, enlightened.
Bodhisattva – Enlightened being.
Brahma – Creator god; one of the three gods of Hinduism along with Shiva and Visnu.
Chakra/s - ‘Wheel’ or spinning vortex. Located in the energy body, these nerve plexus centers tie together the secondary meridians of the body along the spine. They roughly correspond to Abraham Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs concept. They are located at the base of spine, genital region, stomach area, heart/lung area, throat, forehead (third eye) and top of the head.
1. muladhara (base of spine): memory, time and space, food, shelter, creature comforts
2. svadhishthana (below navel): reason, creativity, sexuality
3. manipura (solar plexus): willpower, gut feelings
4. anahata (heart center): direct cognition, love, agape
5. vishuddha (throat): divine love, speaking truth, voice
6. ajna (third eye): divine sight, insight
7. sahasrara (crown of head): illumination, divinity
Chi – Subtle energy or life force.
Clitoris - A small, highly sensitive sexual organ in the female, located above and in front of the vaginal entrance.
Coitus - Sexual intercourse.
Condom - A sheath that is placed over the erect penis to protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Conscious Loving – Consciousness in loving including intimacy, honesty and mutual support. Conscious loving goes beyond mutual attraction into being there for each other - physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Crura - The internal branches of the clitoral or penile shaft.
Cunnilingus - Oral stimulation of the female genitals for sexual purposes.
Dakini or Daka – Skydancers (See below). In Western Tantra a woman (Dakini) or a man (Daka) who guides and supports students to become ready to experience their highest sexual/spiritual potential. The Daka/Dakini profession requires a real commitment to a personal journey toward enlightenment and a sense of service to help others in their sensual and spiritual development.
Daka – Skydancer. Male wisdom holder who gives birth to the full range of potential in the universe. In Western Tantra a daka is a healer who embodies Shiva and serves Shakti unconditionally.
Dakini - Skydancer. Female wisdom holder who gives birth to the full range of potential in the universe. Tantrika, yogini, or priestess. An attendant or servant to the Goddess who holds the intention to embody her highest essence.
Dana – Giving generously, benevolence, charity.
Darshana - Inner visioning. Seeing a divine or holy individual.
Deva – Shinning one. Deity or divine cosmic power.
Devi - Feminine deity or a divine creative power.
Dharma - Buddhist and Hindu concept; duty, taking the highest spiritual path to live in accordance's with one's own true nature or Buddha-nature. Following the teachings of experience to enlightenment. A virtuous path including ritual, sacrifice, ethical conduct, caste rules, and living within the prescribed social and individual laws or rules of the society.
Dhyana – Concentration, no distraction in the mind as in mediation.
Dorje – Vajra, male symbol. Ritual instrument used with the female ghanta or bell. A synonym for both vajra and dorje is mani (Skt., jewel), and these terms are often used as a code for the lingam, still carrying the associations of fertility, power, hardness, and great worth. Mani therefore appears with Padma (Skt. "lotus"; i.e. yoni) in the famous chant "Om Mani Padme Hum", a celebration of the primordial union of form and emptiness.
Dosha – The three bodily constitutions within the ayurvedic system. These are Kappa, Vata and Pitta.
Durga - Warrior Goddess - warrior aspect of the Divine Goddess, invincible. She defeated a demon god who unleashed a reign of terror on earth, her weapons where given to her by the gods. She is depicted as shiny and radiant with three lotus-like eyes, a quarter moon on her forehead, jewels and thick beautiful hair. She has ten arms and rides a tiger or sometimes a lion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durga
Ecstasy - An emotion and state of rapture associated with mystical, beyond rational loss of self-control. The state is ego loss into timeless bliss that can be obtained during sex, mystical union, meditation, breathing practices and other esoteric methodologies.
Ejaculation - The expulsion of seminal fluid from the penis, usually during orgasm.
Erectile dysfunction - A sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability to have or maintain an erection despite adequate stimulation and interest. Often referred commonly as impotence.
Erogenous zone - Any area of the body that is especially sensitive to sexual stimulation and touching.
Eros – The God of Love in Greek mythology.
estrogens - The principal female hormone, secreted by the ovaries, testes, and placenta.
fellatio - Oral stimulation of the male genitals.
foreplay - A term used to refer to sexual activities other than intercourse. The term comes from the view that some individuals hold that all activities of a sexual nature are merely designed to lead up to intercourse.
foreskin - The sheath of skin covering the tip of the penis; often removed during circumcision.
Frenulum - A highly sensitive area of skin on the underside of the penis, where the glans meets the body of the penis.
G-spot - Abbreviation for Grafenberg spot. Grafenberg spot - A sexually sensitive area on the upper wall of the vagina approximately two inches from the opening. Also known as the G spot.
Genitals - The reproductive and sexual organs of males and females. Also sometimes known as genitalia.
Ghanta – A handbell used in ritual and ceremony symbolizing emptiness. It is the female part of the Tantric polarity symbolizing openness and space. It’s polar opposite is the dorje or vajra, the scepter that is the male part of the polarity symbolizing action and compassion.
G-spot - Literally known today as the Female Prostatic Gland. It consists of spongy tissue located inside of the vagina or yoni a short distance beyond the entrance on the upper vaginal wall. It is highly erogenous, especially when aroused, in most women. Dr. Grafenburg first named it though it has been known for millennia. The G-spot is known for the strong, multiple orgasmic power it has. Once awakened it enables a woman to experience multiple, extended orgasms that have the potential to open doorways to expanded orgasm and out-of-body or Kundalini experiences.
Guru - A guide or spiritual teacher who opens doors, often edgy and risky doors, and follows a spiritual seekers progress to enlightenment. Gurus come in many shapes and sizes. It can be tricky to find one or have one find you that is truthful and trustworthy. They can be known as tricksters too.
Hatha - Literally the "Sun joins the Moon" symbolically translates to the soul's connection with the body.
Heart Connection - You know you have a heart connection when whatever you are feeling or thinking is softened by the heart. Between lovers, a heart connection exists when you have tender feelings for each other and you want the best for each other. The sensual full-body orgasm helps open the heart even more.
Heterosexual - A person who is sexually attracted primarily to members of the other gender.
Homosexual - A person who is sexually attracted primarily to members of her or his own gender.
Hina – Small, personal, individual. Hinayama – The little vehicle or purely personal journey of liberation.
Hormone - The chemical messengers of the body, secreted by the endocrine glands, which regulate several functions including sexual development.
Impotence - Out of vogue, but still commonly used, term for erectile dysfunction.
Indra’s Web – The idea that anything reflects everything. Indra is the king of the gods in the Hindu pantheon. He created the world with interconnectedness in everything. Thus at every point that the web is connected at a cross-point (remember that Tantra translates as weaving or loom, thus a web), that cross-point represents the connection of everything within the web. When drops of water adhere to each crossing point on a spider’s web, every resulting ‘jewel’ of water reflects the same picture, thus illustrating the point that All is All and interconnected within the web.
Inhibited orgasm - Persistent difficulty in having orgasm or inability to have orgasm; in males, also called ejaculatory incompetence or retarded ejaculation.
Intention - Deliberate focusing a thought or vision with energy. Setting goals and using deliberate energy to accomplish those goals. In Tantra one would harness the sexual energy towards a vision, goal or concept. This process stimulates the brain by engaging the frontal lobes that oversee executive functioning and then builds new neural connections as the goals become practiced and more set in the mind/body.
Intercourse - Sexual activity in which the penis is inserted into an orifice such as the vagina or anus; the term is often modified accordingly (e.g. anal intercourse).
Intimacy - Open vulnerable 'being'. Allowing another to see you fully with all the warts and flaws. Truth telling about one’s self; open transparency. Eye gazing is a way to open the heart to be more available and intimate.
Initiation - A ceremony of induction into a specific spiritual lineage or tradition of knowledge, religion and practice; often thought to ‘confer’ spiritual energy at the time of ceremony to directly empower the individual in their pursuit of that path.
Japa – Reciting of mantras, sometimes long repetitions using mala beads to count repetitions.
Kali - The Tantric and Hindu Goddess of Enlightenment; Destroyer of Illusion; Consort of Shiva.
Karma - The result of our conscious or unconscious actions, particularly in the cycle of death and rebirth in Hinduism and Buddhism. Good actions weigh against the bad resulting in one’s ability to reincarnate ‘higher’ rather than to a ‘lower’ life form.
Karuna – Compassion. The wish that all beings be released from physical and mental sufferings.
Karma-mudra - A Tantric consort in the sexual practices of highest Tantric yoga.
Kegel exercises - A set of exercises designed to strengthen and give voluntary control over the muscles surrounding the genitals (known as the pubococcygeus muscles) and thereby increase sexual pleasure and awareness.
Kriya - System of internal purification or cleansing process. Also can be the involuntary bodily movements (felt as multiple ‘shivers’ that seems difficult to control) during a revelation in mind or body (Kundalini) that is sometimes difficult to integrate.
Kundalini - Latent energy located at the base of the spine or "as a coiled sleeping serpent" which Tantric exercises aim to awaken in order to help reach enlightenment. Physically it is acts like an electrochemical bio-feedback component to the nervous system which through stimulation causes rapid changes in body-mind neurochemistry that result in altered states of conscious awareness. In these states, you can become aware of knowledge beyond the ego state and see the interconnection with All that Exists. The goal of Tantra is to develop the physical, emotional and spiritual mastery necessary to safely free the power of Kundulini. This leads to the sacred union of Shiva and Shakti (or Yin and Yang) that opens the practitioner to experience enlightenment.
Kundalini Yoga - The path of yoga activating the spiritual cosmic energy that lies dormant at the base of the spine. Tantric exercises open the space for Kundulini to rise up through the Chakra system reaching the crown. The exercises that help awaken this sleeping giant include techniques of breathing, muscle locks and postures.
Lakshmi - Goddess of abundance, wealth, happiness and prosperity. The consort of Lord Vishnu
Libido - Term used by Freud to refer to sexual energy; the driving force in humans according to him.
Lingam - The name for the phallus. Worshiped throughout India as the sacred symbol of the male and the god Shiva. In Sanskrit it means Wand of Light.
Lubricant - The slippery fluid secreted from the walls of the vagina during sexual arousal; also available in synthetic form to supplement or replace the natural version. The synthetic version is also used for activites that require lubrication such as anal intercourse.
Maha - Great, mighty one – the All, everything and everyone.
Mahayana – The greater path – An individual works to become enlightened but doesn’t leave the cycle of death and rebirth until All attain enlightenment.
Mahavidyas (ten of them) - the charismatic goddesses of Hindu pantheon are manifestations of cosmic female energy and are rather late entrants into the ritual, cultural stream of Indian thought and theology. As a group these divinities having bizarre forms and exotic character and have strange magical powers. These goddesses make their debut at the earliest in around the eleventh and twelfth centuries, though it is in the fourteenth century Shakta texts that their emergence is more decisive and it is here that they are identified as Mahavidyas.
Masturbation - Self-stimulation of the genitals for sexual pleasure.
Maithuna - Elaborate Tantric ritual with many parts, usually culminating in some form of sacred sexual union.
Mala – A string of beads for counting prayers, usually of 108 pieces.
Mandala – Circle, sacred space. A mystical, symmetrical drawing that holds power and and energy.
Mantra – Thinking tool. Sanskrit words that embody the primordial power of a deity and impart that power to the person reciting the mantra.
Menarche - The onset of menstruation; the first menstrual period.
Menopause - The cessation of menstruation at the end of a woman's reproductive capacity usually during late middle age.
Menstruation - The more-or-less monthly sloughing of the uterine lining which results in a bloody discharge from the vaginal opening.
Monogamy - The mating of one person with another individual with neither engaging in sexual activity with anyone else.
Moksha – Liberation.
Mudra – Esoteric, sacred hand gestures that express energies and powers. When used they add energy to a meditation or yoga practice. There are very specific ones for specific outcomes.
Muladhara - 1st Chakra, commonly called ‘The Root Center’, located near the base of the spine between anus and perineum.
Mula Bandha -The muscular lock or tightening of specific pelvic floor muscles that intensifies, locks in and re-directs energy at Muladhara Chakra, the base chakra.
Multiple orgasms - Having several orgasms in a short period of time with no refractory period in between.
Nadis – Nerve fibers or energy channels that are a conduit of the subtle body. It is said that there are 72,00 nadis in the body.
Namaste – Greeting or salutation for hello or goodbye and meaning something like ‘The god/goddess in me greets the god/goddess in you’.
Nirvana - Ultimate spiritual peace, a place that transcends birth and death and absolute freedom from attachment is achieved.
Ojas – Vigor, fluid of life, subtle vital life force within the body that is connected to health, immunity and reproductive functions. (Like prana or chi)
Om – Seed symbol or bija. Used in mantras and represents divine energy and universal creativity.
Orgasm - An intense sensation that occurs at the climax of sexual excitement that is accompanied by rhythmic muscle contractions and intense pleasure, followed by release of sexual tensions. In men, orgasm is usually accompanied by ejaculation.
Orgasmic Waves - A wave that the body naturally experiences to spread orgasmic energy up the charkas and throughout the body. Certain practices can harness and move this energy more efficiently.
Padma – Lotus. The sacred lotus flower stands for the renunciation of the entanglements of samsara.
Penis - The primary male sexual and reproductive organ through which both urine and semen pass.
Perineum - A strip of sensitive tissue that runs between the genitals and the anus
Pheromone - A sexually arousing chemical substance that is secreted into the air by many kinds of animals, including, possibly, humans.
Polarity – Two opposite attributes. Yab/Yum, male/female, right/wrong, etc. Polarity can be used in positive ways to combine and revitalize energy.
Pratyahara - The withdrawal of the mind's focus of attention from external objects, directing it toward internal points of focus.
Prana - Energy, vital air, breath, life force; received by the body from pure food, nurturing, healing and self transformation.
Pranayama - Yogic breath control techniques; conscious control of breathing patterns to quiet the mind and balance the body's natural energies.
P-spot – The male prostate gland. It sits at the base of the lingam, buried inside the male body and is highly pleasurable when stimulated. Putting pressure on this area, both from the outside of the body near the perineum and from the inside, accessed through the anus, can facilitate male pleasure and ejaculation mastery.
Premature ejaculation - A sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability to control or delay ejaculation as long as desired.
Prostate gland - A muscular gland encircling the urethra in the male that produces much of the seminal fluid.
Pubococcygeus - A muscular sling stretching from the pubic bone in front to the tailbone in back; Sometimes known as the PC muscle, it controls urine flow and contracts during orgasm. See Kegel exercises.
Puja – Worship, adoration, ceremony. A specific ritual, or sacred circle and ceremony of worship to the deities.
Raga – Desire. Also a form of Indian music.
Reiki - Japanese energy work involving a type of "laying on of hands" and psychic meditation which employs Universal Healing Energy.
Rejuvenation - The ability of the body to restore itself. It is more proper to call it "slowed aging for maximum health and vitality."
Sacred Sex - Sex that unites lovers spiritually as well as sexually, bringing them to the high pleasure that deepens their connections and imbibes spiritual connections within.
Sahasrara - 7th Chakra, commonly called "The Crown Center," located at the top of the head, associated with Supreme Inner Realization of Godhead.
Samadhi – Deep meditation. Profound mental absorption to the degree that the meditator and the object of meditation are one.
Samsara – Going around in circles. The perpetual cycle of birth, death and rebirth that humans are destined to accomplish until they reach moksha.
Sannyasin – One who has renounced the worldly and who is often a monk or a much older person who has devoted the rest of their life to quiet contemplation.
Sarasvati – Hindu goddess of knowledge, learning, music, sound and literature. She is credited as the source of the Sanskrit language.
Scrotum – The sack that hold the man’s testicles.
Semen - The alkaline fluid expelled from the penis during ejaculation, containing fluids combined from several glands as well as sperm.
Sexual arousal disorder - Failure to obtain or maintain erection or vaginal lubrication, despite adequate interest and stimulation.
Sexual dysfunction - A difficulty with sexual responding that causes a person subjective distress (e.g. anorgasmia).
Sexual enhancement - Improvement or enrichment of sexual relationships among otherwise healthy, well-functioning individuals.
Sexual Response Pattern – The pattern of response that both men and women go through during a sexual encounter that leads to orgasm.
Seva – Karmic service without any thought to being rewarded. An important part of the spiritual path.
Sexual Healing - The healing of sexual blocks or wounds that have been stored in the body, often in the G-spot area of women. A neo-tantric massage or healing session can activate the healing to free the body to have more ease with sex and become comfortable with higher states of pleasure.
Shakti – Goddess, female energy, Shiva’s consort and wife.
Shaktipat - A transmission of spiritual energy usually given by a Guru. In neo-tantra it is often referred to as the energy that a woman has to give when she is particularly ‘juicy’.
Shanti – Peace.
Shastra – A treatise on a sutra or group of sutras.
Shiva – One of the main Hindu gods in the trilogy with Brahma and Vishnu. Shiva is usually worshipped in the abstract form of the Shiva lingam. His consort is Shakti. Shaivism is a very popular sect of Hinduism in India.
Siddhi – Power that comes from accomplishments of a spiritual practice. This ‘power’ can take many forms including attaining Buddhahood.
Sky Dancing - A translated Tantric term used to describe sky dancing devas who have the capacity to transmit transcendental Love. This term is used by the lineage of Margot Anand, a well-known neo-tantric teacher.
Soma – The elixir of immortality. Soma is a mysterious substance that has been referred to as a psychedelic, a neurotransmitter or possibly Cannibis.
Soul Gazing - A Tantric technique used to open up deeper intimacy. It is based on gazing into each other's eyes to see the soul beyond the personality. Tantra teaches to direct our soft gaze into each other's left eye because it connects with the right side of the brain, the more emotional and spiritual part of the brain.
Spectatoring - The process in which a person begins to observe and evaluate his or her sexual activities, rather than merely enjoying them, thereby often causing sexual dysfunctions or disorders.
Squeeze technique - A technique used by sex therapists for the treatment of premature ejaculation in which the man or his partner squeezes the erect penis below the glans when he feels the likelihood of ejaculating, thereby reducing the urge.
Start-stop - A sex therapy technique in which a man learns to control ejaculation by repeatedly ceasing stimulation prior to orgasm.
STD - Acronym for sexually transmitted disease.
Sunyata – Emptiness.
Sutra – A short saying or verse that portrays an idea that can then be expanded by a teacher or wise person.
Svadhisthana - 2nd Chakra, commonly called the sexual chakra, located near the genital region. It is associated with sexual identity, sexual expression, creativity and reasoning.
Tantra – Sanskrit, means to weave together as in a loom, among other definitions. A yogic science, which seeks to enlighten the individual through contemplating and experiencing the nature of divine bliss, in all that exists. Neo-tantra or Western Tantra sees it as the art and science of conscious living and the art of creating the highest pleasure through lovemaking. Tantra uses sexuality as a vehicle to expanded states of consciousness. Tantra focuses on the enlightened state beyond our body/mind using self-knowledge, compassion and pleasure as some of the methods to attain this state.
The Tantras - Ancient Hindu texts describing Tantric knowledge.
Tara – Goddess of compassion. The liberator and wisdom mother.
Testosterone - The major natural androgen, it is secreted by the testes and serves to maintain secondary sex characteristics, sperm production and sex drive.
Tumescence – Sexual excitement and swelling of sexual tissues, such as that caused by vaso-congestion.
Upandishads - Literally ‘secret teachings’, the last portion of the Vedas.
Vedas - Sacred Hindu scriptures, thought to be between 5000 and 7000 years old. They preceded the Tantras.
Vagina - The tube-shaped muscular organ in the female into which the penis is inserted during intercourse and through which a baby passes during birth.
Vajra – Lingam, thunderbolt, and magical weapon.
Vishnu – Third god in the trilogy of the Hindu pantheon. He is the master of the past, present and future; the creator and destroyer of all existences.
Vishuddha - 5th Chakra, the throat chakra, located at the throat and associated with speaking one’s spiritual truth. The aspects of Sound and voice are associated with this chakra.
Vulva – The female sexual parts that make up the entrance or opening to the vagina.
Yab-Yum – The unified male and female god/goddess. It originally meant father/mother. An asana, or position, in which the two lovers sit vertically facing one another with their chakras aligned. This powerful position promotes sexual energy to move up the charkas and utilizes breathing techniques and undulation. It is one of the best positions for ejaculation mastery and is often used for transformational lovemaking.
Yang - Active, quick, firm, masculine or technical energy.
Yantra - Mystic geometrical diagram used for healing meditation.
Yin - Receptive, gentle, soft sensuality, feminine or intuitive energy.
Yoga – To yoke, harness or unite. Consciousness practices that involve the mind, the body and the spirit.
Yoni – Womb, source, the female vulva or cosmic feminine energy and/or receptivity.
Yuga – Era, age. There are four ages or ‘yugas’ and the one we are currently said to be in is called the Kali Yuga. It is the darkest and includes the forces of ignorance, gross mind, war and cultural disintegration.