"Slowly I began to understand. We don't need any religion - we require ecstasy. Only through this am I able to comprehend the sacredness of nature. Only through this am I able to understand myself as a meaningful piece of the universe. Ecstasy serves not only the healing of the sick; it helps every person to deepen their understanding of themselves and nature as well. It offers us perspectives that we previously had no idea existed. Bum Shankara - many thanks, Shiva! I will carry this lesson in my heart."
- From Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayas, Christian Ratsch, Inner Traditions 2002.
Ecstasy is what we are longing for, what we desire, what we search for. It is especially true today. We live in a stressed-out society that is rushed and juggling too many balls. We work for large, autonomous corporations and we feel a loss of a deep connection with the essence of life. We have few paths to ecstasy these days. Mind altering sacraments, consciousness, and sacred sexuality provide keys back to the magic kingdom.
Throughout the ages, transformation of the psyche has had only a few venues from which to grab its un-knowing victims - orgasm, drugs, meditation, trance dance, yoga, and religious experience. That's basically it. Those are our openings to ecstasy. Though, our points of entry are few, the combination of certain substances, orgasm and sexuality, and consciousness practices can combine to create a gateway so open and receptive it can propel a participant to unprecedented heights of ecstasy. That's what the sadhus and sages of India knew. That is what Tantric rites participants knew, too.
The moment of orgasm, though usually a short "blip," has been recognized as a spiritual and cosmic bindu point or center of the cosmos. In the prepared person the possibility that the moment holds can be expanded beyond imagination to carry oneself and one's partner into the ecstatic state of non-duality - that state in which the two travelers go beyond themselves into union with the divine. The point of entrance to this divine state can be potentiated by a build-up of sexual energy with the added "kicker" of any number of wonderful substances.
Aphrodisiacs, as additives to sex, have been popular throughout history. Some of the well-publicized aphrodisiacs in ancient times were rhinoceros horn, elk antler, and powdered sea horse. Asiatic people have used these substances for thousands of years to produce heightened sexual response. There is little evidence that these substances actually work, however, and serious damage is being done to the environment today because of these ancient beliefs.
Things that mimic the shape of the phallus or the vulva have always been considered aphrodisiacs. Cucumbers, eggplants, orchids, bananas, oysters - these all have a reputation. Spanish fly, soma, from the ancient Asiatic cultures, and many Amazonian plants have had long reputations for their erotic powers.
The Kama Sutra even outlines recipes for everything from making a lover desire you, to increasing stamina, tightening the vagina, and increasing the size of the penis:
"Anoint your penis, before lovemaking, with honey into which you have powdered black pepper, long pepper and datura - you will completely satisfy your woman."
-Part 7, Chapter 1, Sutra 25.
"Take shuka hairs - the shuka is an insect that lives in trees - mix with oil and rub on the penis for ten nights, take it off then put it on again. When a swelling appears sleep face downwards on a wooden bed, letting one's sex hang through a hole."
-Part 7, Chapter 2, Sutra 25.
And to make a lover desire you:
"If you crush milky chunks of cactus with sulphur and realgar, dry the mixture seven times, powder it, add honey, and apply it to your penis, you'll satisfy the most demanding lover."
-Part 7, Chapter 1, Sutra 28.
"And if, to these powerful ingredients, you add monkey's dung, grind them together and sprinkle the powder on your unsuspecting lover's head, she will be your devoted slave for life."
-Part 7, Chapter 1, Sutra 30.
Marijuana is known by shamans, and users, the world over to be a happiness inducer. It is also a well-known libido enhancer. Good sex leads to more happiness, and happiness leads to more sex.
I've had one spectacular kundalini experience in my life, thus far. It contained every ingredient on the list above. It began one beautiful day on the island of Maui. My partner and I were there for a week of Tantric conferences, workshops, and outings like swimming with dolphins and sharks. That morning we had gone to see some illustrious Western Tantra teachers we had studied with and knew and had gotten stoned on some very potent ganja.
We didn't stay long because we were aware of a very strong sexual energy between us and we had to do something about it. We went back to our retreat center overlooking the cliffs on the road to Hana. There we proceeded to light a candle and make the most profound love we had ever had. We took our time, paid deep attention to every caress, movement, and subtlety. I had multiple orgasms and my lover did too though he didn't ejaculate once. We were higher than kites.
After about an hour we decided to swim and then shower to get ready for the evenings festivities. There was going to be a 50th birthday celebration for another very famous Tantra teacher, a meditation circle, a puja, and dancing. We lovingly washed each other paying detailed attention to every erogenous zone we could fondle and then we went back to our hide-away to make love some more.
We soon discovered that we were slightly late for the gathering so dressing quickly, hardly able to let go of each other, we rushed over to the large group room were the meditation had started a few minutes earlier. My partner went to sit next to a woman he was enamored by and I went to sit next to Penny Slinger, (see the interview with Penny in this issue) whom I had just spent two weeks with on an island in the Caribbean and who openly received my hand to invite me into the circle.
The particular meditation that the group was engaged in was one were you sit in lotus position holding the hands of the people on either side of you and you pass energy, as you breathe. You receive through your left, hand take the love energy through your heart, and send it out your right hand to give it away. Penny was on my left so I was receiving from her.
On the third breath my body began to warm up. It started filling up with a flood of warmth, energy and light. I tingled. I was frozen in my lotus position and had to decide what to do. I knew what was happening and I knew that if I didn't enjoy the ride and give myself over completely to the experience, I might not get the highest journey possible. Penny looked over at me at just that moment, questioned me with her eyes, because she could tell something was happening, and knowingly signaled me that it was all going to be OK just as my eyes began to roll back in my head. As my body filled up, a pillar of light shot from my head and stayed there, for me to witness in awe. Time passed. No one else knew but Penny and me. What a ride and all brought on by conscious focus, very "high" sex, and Shiva's gift: ganja. In other times and places, sacraments like marijuana were often not only accepted, they were revered and held sacred.
How humans got Ganja:
In the Hindu tradition, the supreme god and goddess, Shiva and Parvati are said to have brought cannabis to the human race. Parvati bemoaned Shiva always wandering away from home, having extra-marital sex with other goddesses and leaving her to her own entertainment. She was tired of it. One day she spied a beautiful, flowering plant at the base of the Himalayas, picked some flowers and when Shiva got home she presented it to him to smoke. He became very excited and pleased. His third eye opened and he beheld Parvati for the goddess she was. He vowed not to leave her side again and they spent their days blissfully smoking ganja and engaged in transcendental sex.
Sex and drugs bring us back to our senses. The Kama Sutra extols: "Kama is the enjoyment of objects with the help of the five senses - of hearing, of speech, of sight, of taste, and of smell. Kama is that special pleasure experienced when the sense of touch operates, and when it is in contact with the object that generates the pleasure." Westerners have gotten out of touch with their senses. We need to be brought back.
Sexuality involves every one of our senses. You see the voluptuousness of your partner. You smell their warm skin and taste their salty-sweet lips. You feel the velvet smoothness of their skin and yours. You hear the luscious murmurs, moans, and sighs – sex not only brings us back to our senses, it heightens our senses, often taking us to peak experiences, if we allow ourselves to go.
Sacramental or ritual use of substances that alter our perspective and open up the doors of perception can be potentiated by great sex. The mind has the capability of recreating experiences that may have been originally created by the use of a mind-expanding sacrament. Prolonged, intense sex can bring back the state of body, mind, and soul of that original experience.
Trying new positions is one of the best ways to get more deeply involved in a sexual journey of growth and fun. For the most part, we've lost our original innocence. We forget to play, even when we're stoned. Sex is a good way to bring more playfulness and laughter into your life. It can be pretty hilarious to try some of the more esoteric sexual positions. Beyond the fun, though, lies a deeper possibility.
Many great philosophers who have been against the use of mind-altering drugs have said that any trance state induced by drugs can be brought about by other means that are not chemically-induced. Yogis and shamans know this, but what isn't apparent here are that the techniques of breath, meditation, yoga, orgasm, and even giving birth all cause chemicals to be pumped into our brains and bodies. If we don't ingest it we produce our own. We have always, as a species, found ways to get ourselves high.
Our brains are chemical-making machines. We have our own capacity to make opiates, endorphins, oxytocin, pheromones, and many more. Drugs of all sorts wouldn't affect us if we didn't have the receptors to receive the message. To at least some degree, humans developed evolutionarily in conjunction with plants, in particular plants that might have helped us.
Great sex produces copious amounts of pheromones, opiates, endorphins, and oxytocin. Pheromones, the desire attractants, are most easily passed between two people when they are in very close proximity. Positions like the Tantric Yab/Yum, were the woman sits upright upon the man's lap, make eye gazing, kissing, conjoined breathing, and body movement easy to achieve. This is a good position for the woman because the angle of penetration gives excellent access to the G-spot. The possibility of multiple orgasms gives rise to increasing amounts of oxytocin, the substance that produces bonding.
Prolonged sexual activity can mean getting into some strange, wonderful positions. That's where endorphins and opiates come into play. You certainly don't want anything to hurt and great sex has the ability to mask any short-term discomfort that might arise from trying the ?wheelbarrow? position!
Cannabis can affect you in different ways depending on your current state of mind. As with cannabis, the intention determines the effect in sacred sexuality. The longer you stay connected and deeply engaged in the sex act, the higher you can go. It becomes paramount for men to be able to last a long time.
Women are a little slower on the excitement build, generally, but once they get there they can sustain the orgasmic level for long periods of time. Men need to learn some of the easily-mastered techniques that will not only lead them to being multi-orgasmic but will allow them to expand the experience so much they'll find it a new way to get "high." You can learn more about the G-spot and ejaculation mastery on Tanta.com.
We get letters and comments at Tantra.com from people who easily recognize the high that they have gotten from sacraments and the similarities of some of the techniques that can be mastered from neo-tantra and Taoism. Stanislov Grof found the closest possible alternative to using LSD for research when he discovered and perfected transformational and ecstatic breathing techniques. There are many people today who, by connecting their orgasmic capacity with breathing techniques can now have orgasms through simply breathing the way they might during sexual activity – no stimulation needed!
Imagine what they can do when they add sexual stimulation. These intrepid travelers recognize the limitless features when the two are combined. When you add the softening, deepening affects of ganja, the possibilities seem endless.
The shamans of Tibet say that marijuana alleviates forgetfulness, yet we often say the opposite. They actually use it to remember complex sacred texts including the Vedas. It's used for meditation and the reciting of mantras, too. It aids in focused attention.
During sexual activity, ganja aids in focus also. Ganja is addressed in the feminine form. So is sexuality. In both sex and our relationship with mind transforming substances, the desire for union with the goddess and universal oneness is apparent. Divine union into the realms of cosmic bliss – ecstasy - is what our hearts desire.