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  1. A meditation on Lalita

    The Saundaryalahari (“Flood of Beauty”) is a key Srividya text, sometimes attributed to Sankara. Composed of 100 verses, it is usually divided into two parts – verses 1-41 and verses 42-100. The first section, sometimes called the Anandalahari (“Wave of Joy”) is concerned with the facets of Lalita sadhana – her image in external worship, but also her Yantra and mantra-modalities The verses can also be read in such a way as to relate them to the subtle mapping of chakras, nadis, etc. The Anandalahari is sometimes seen as originating directly from Siva, or Lalita Herself. Continue reading »

  2. West Midlands PF Con

    Last Saturday (26 September) I went to my first ever Pagan Federation conference, in Stourbridge town hall, of all places. Continue reading »

  3. No more astral?

    I’ve been banging on to various friends for a few years now about why I no longer set much store in the notion of the astral plane(s), but until recently, I hadn’t actually written anything substantive – until some unsuspecting correspondent got the full blast of my unbelief (memo: I must stop answering correspondence before 7am). The following was written as a way of explaining my reasoning… Continue reading »

  4. Old wine in new bottles

    Original Falcon Press will be re-issuing The Pseudonomicon, Condensed Chaos and Prime Chaos – the latter with a new introduction. Continue reading »

  5. Becoming Imperceptible – I

    “Siddhi can be looked at in a number of different ways and one key one is to explore the sources of your own feelings of wonder. Dig deep… our culture expends a lot of energy in attempting to innoculate us against siddhi. … If you can find no wonder in yourself – examine why not? Have you ever felt any? What changed, when and why? Does wonder sustain you or dope you down? Is it good or bad do you think?”
    Vishvanath, in a discussion of siddhis, 2005 Continue reading »

  6. Nyasa Bodies

    One way to understand Nyasa is that it is a methodology of intentional skinplay – interidentifying bodies with the mantras/deites; a gnostic touching. Nyasa makes bodies multipli-cities; porous to a flooding of capacities (shaktis). Continue reading »

  7. Queery-ing Western Tantra – Some Initial Thoughts

    What might a queer Western tantra look like, feel like, or be? That’s a good question. The answer is that if we want it, we will have to imagine it into being.

    Let’s start with a different question – what does tantra mean in the popular imagination of the contemporary West? Well, of course it means sex, strange and possibly “sacred”, but sex of some kind. Continue reading »

  8. An Encounter with Tibetan Buddhist Tantrism

    To Practice Tantra is to Ride the Tiger of Crazy Wisdom,
    to plummet into Wisdom-Fire, and emerge
    Wearing the Body of Visions!”

    Ngakpa Chogyam Rinpoche

    Journey
    Zanskar, Ladakh – site of the twelfth Kalachakra initiation given by the fourteenth Dalai Lama.

    After six months teaching Tibetan kids in the Kulu valley, the children of those who had come to India as refugees, I travelled north, first into Kashmir and then into Ladakh. We’d heard the Dalai Lama was giving Kalachakra, a public ritual, amongst the people there. It was 1988. Continue reading »

  9. A sidelong glance

    “His bow is made of flowers, the bowstring of bees, five are his arrows,
    Vasanta (Spring) is his adjutant, the Malaya breeze his war chariot,
    and yet, by himself, O daughter of the snow mountain, when but a bit of compassion
    he has got from a side glance of yours, the Bodiless One (Kama) conquers this world entire.”
    Saundaryalahari, 6 Continue reading »

  10. Mantra bodies

    “Then, established in the body of the mantra, he should practice the supreme concentration. The supreme mantra body is manifested in the succession of letters.”
    The Purification of the Body, Gavin Flood, Tantra in Practice, p517

    As one might expect, occasionally in my practice I encounter things I don’t quite understand. I put them aside for later and, occasionally, understanding ‘bursts’ forth at a later point. I’ve been practicing various forms of Bhuta Suddhi for some years now, and from 2004 have been working from various versions of this practice, of which the main two are the chapter by Gavin Flood in Tantra in Practice; the second in The Lakshmi Tantra. But, until recently, I’ve failed to grasp the idea of the mantra-body. It wasn’t really until I read Loriliai Biernacki’s Rewnowned Goddess of Desire: Women, Sex, and Speech in Tantra (Oxford University Press, 2007) that understanding went from a trickle to a flood – the stream joining other streams, as it were. Continue reading »