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Posts tagged ‘metahistory’

  1. Tantra’s Metahistory III: The Left-hand Path – II

    The Tantrists do not seem to go higher than the six visible and known plexuses, with each of which they connect the tattvas; and the great stress they place on the chief of these, the Muladhara Chakra (the sacral plexus) shows the material and selfish bent of their efforts towards the acquisition of powers.The Mahatma Letters (Letter CXIV, p480)

    In the last post I reviewed how the notion of the “left-hand path” and much of the themes which relate to it emerged out of nineteenth century Indology. I will now turn to how the concept of the left-hand path” was used by Madame Blavatsky and other early Theosophists. Continue reading »

  2. Tantra’s Metahistory III: The Left-hand Path – I

    In popular occult discourse, the concept of the “Left-hand Path” is often stated as originating within the tantric traditions, and sometimes, its popularisation within western occultism is laid at the door of Madame Blavatsky and other popular Theosophical pundits of the late nineteenth century – to the extent that the conceptualisation of the idea of the LHP in wholly negative terms (as can be seen in the writings of successive western occultists – Dion Fortune for example) is something that begins with Madame Blavatsky. However, although she may have been one of the first occultists to write extensively about the Left Hand Path, its identification with moral (and spiritual) degeneracy certainly did not begin with Blavatsky. Continue reading »

  3. Tantra’s Metahistory II: The religion question

    Is Tantra a religion? Sometimes asking what would appear to be a relatively simple question can open a wholly unexpected can of worms. Continue reading »

  4. Tantra’s metahistory -I

    One of the many ways in which Tantra fascinates me is the way that it is represented, be it by practitioners, scholars, historians, occultists or any combination thereof – and how those representations change over time. It was my interest in how tantra (and other forms of South Asian religious practice) is represented in popular occult discourse which led me to become interested in both Orientalism and the influence on contemporary occultism of the Theosophical Society. So with a nod in the direction of Hayden White, this is the first of a series of posts examining the way in which Tantra’s history has been, and continues to be represented, particularly in occult texts. This opening shot is concerned with origin theories of Tantra which relate to the so-called Aryan Invasion Theory. Continue reading »