The Essence of Tantra
A Universal Science
Pirate Tantra is firmly rooted on ancient Indian tantra; but it also draws from the tantra of Aleister Crowley and his Thelema school, the tantra of the modern Neotantric movement and any other tantra we can get our hands on.
When you discover the essence of tantra, you may find it all over the place: In enchanting Hopi poetry about the chakra; in Egyptian sculpture, displaying concepts identical to Shiva and Shakti; or in symbolic expressions from Scandinavia to Australia, which explore the great archetypes approached by Indian tantra. As Swami Satyananda wrote: „The essence of Tantra is universal.“
It seems natural: If there is one Reality, the sciences dealing with this Reality must express the same truths, even when dressed in different garments.
The Pirate Takes a Wide View…
So, the Pirate Tantric has an open mind about tantra, keeping her eyes peeled for insight that may come in a different language or symbol system than the profound Indian wisdom. This makes us receptive, and saves us from the dogmatism that often follows the great discoveries in life.
… Anchored in a Time-Tested Tradition
Having said that, we recognize in Indian tantra one of the best-preserved and most thoroughly documented spiritual technologies existing today. It has an incredibly vast scope, encompassing every aspect of life; and approaches the human system through all its layers: physical, psychic, mental, and spiritual.
We live Indian tantra as one of the most vibrant, fearless and comprehensive spiritual systems available. One that doesn’t ask you to be anything at all, other than what you already are. A method that works with the conditions and realities of your daily life, right now.
We write from the perspective of this remarkable tradition, and particularly from our personal experience of it.
Insight through Experience
Indian tantra is fundamentally practical and scientifically precise. Although it is supported by a highly sophisticated philosophy, tantra is grounded on your personal experience. It doesn’t ask you to believe anything, just to try certain things and see what happens. The tantra we’ve learned is largely based on processes and techniques, which you practice to produce tangible results in your whole being. It’s about things you do to get certain abilities.
What is Tantra
Tantra is just a word and like most words it means different things to different people. Even to us it has several meanings. So, let us simplify by saying that
Tantra is the understanding of Reality down to its deepest levels, and the application of this understanding to empower the whole human organism.
A Deeper Reality
Tantra is the recognition of two fundamental principles of existence: The Experiencer and that which is Experienced. Consciousness and Energy. Shiva and Shakti.
It’s not so complicated and, once you consider it, rather obvious: In any situation, every instant, regardless of who’s looking or what perspective they take; there will always be The Subject, the one having the experience; and The Object, the experience being had.
The experience being had is the World, or Life. It is symbolized in most parts as the Great Mother or Nature.
The one having the experience is the I, or Conscious Awareness. It is symbolized as Spirit, or Father Sky, or as a bird.
As much as being the essential components of reality, Shiva and Shakti are also what you are.
Shakti is energy, everything that can be perceived. If you can see it, smell it, feel it or think it; it is Shakti. The car coming down the street is Shakti, your fears, your fingernails are Shakti. Your daydreams, the star that may have died a thousand years ago; all the things you can observe in the world are Shakti. Shakti is movement, ever-changing life.
Shiva is the one who experiences all that movement. In this case You. But, not your mind, with its opinions, positions and fluctuations (that’s Shakti). Shiva is the part of you that just observes, the silent witness of everything you perceive. It’s the part of you that doesn’t change, that doesn’t get swayed by experience.
What? You haven’t met that part of you? In our lineage it is symbolized by a golden egg, or a phallic object. It represents your true Self.
Once you realize the silent witness within, once you discover that you’re not your mind; you can learn to rest on this immutable Self, even in the midst of great turmoil. You develop an extraordinary ability for navigating the energies of life. Many of the tantric practices aim at cultivating this state of being.
The Universe in You
Shiva and Shakti exist as the human bubble that we are, and also as cosmic forces that we long to merge with.
„As above, so below“, declares Hermeticism, echoing tantric wisdom. Just as the universe, so is the human; and the tantric reaches to the macrocosm through the microcosm, to the infinite through the finite.
Tantric methods allow you to harness and unleash your primal energy; and to expand your individual Self into cosmic consciousness, the realization of I am That. Tantra allows you to meet the divine in yourself, and from there, discover it everywhere.
The Deepest Reality
The greatest wonder that tantra unveils is that, ultimately, Shakti and Shiva are one and the same. In the highest states of awareness, once the necessary illusions of human perception are transcended, the World is discovered to be the creation of the Self. The whole of experienced reality is seen to spring from Shiva, and then individuated by Shakti, the power of manifestation.
Tantra is the journey of riding the waves of life back to the source, of sailing the oceans of experience to merge with the cosmic Self. It is the path of living fully in duality, in order to transcend it; coming into the perfect union of Shakti and Shiva.
The Tantric Method
One understanding of the word TANTRA joins the roots from TANoti, to expand, and TRAyate, to liberate. Tantra is the method of expanding consciousness and liberating energy. And, as proclaimed by our teachers, it uses „any means that are suitable and available“ for this. So, Indian tantra has traditionally drawn from many different schools and systems, including Samkhya, Vedanta and the four Yogas.
The tantric science has gathered together a great system of ritual, yoga, pranayama, meditation, kriya, and other arcane techniques for mastering duality and approaching That, which lies beyond it.
Mantra and Yantra
Prominent among these arcane techniques are the use of Mantra and Yantra, fundamental energy patterns in auditory and visual form. You meditate upon these instruments to access deeper aspects of your mind, or use them in the practice of magic rituals. They are like mystical keys that unlock treasure at different layers of the human being.
An Oral Tradition
There is a canon of ancient tantric texts; and their purpose is mainly to remind, expand and elucidate the knowledge that would have already been communicated by your own teacher. Tantra is usually passed directly from teacher to student. In our lineage, for example, this human chain has remained unbroken since the Middle Ages.
One has to study with a spiritual teacher to realize the huge difference between books and a true living master. The teacher ensures that the student learns the practices properly, maintaining the purity of the knowledge. They inspire, guide, and make the students aware of when they loose themselves in illusion. The teacher is like the lighthouse that guides you back through the darkest sea.
While some tantrics are loners, hermits or even antisocials; the tantric may also seek a community, a Kula. Tantra is known as Kaula-dharma, the way of the family; and tantrics often band together in fellowship. The community presents you with the human mirrors of a varied group of travelers who follow the same path. They help each other to stay present, and their collective vibration nourishes and helps each individual.
The concept of Sadhana is very important in tantra. It means your personal practice. The actual time you spend cultivating the tantric powers; doing the exercises. It reflects tantra’s emphasis on personal experience. Reading doesn’t give you experience, nor talking or thinking about it… Sadhana gives you experience, which brings true knowledge.
A Treasure Trove of Tools
The tradition is fantastically rich. It has techniques for every temperament and stage of awareness; for every life situation. Exercises for cleansing your physical body, and exercises to make it strong; techniques to refine your awareness, making you more sensitive to subtle energies; and techniques to toughen your energy field, making you more resilient to the energies around you. Methods to make you the boss of your mind, and methods to blow your mind.
All is Fuel for the Journey
Tantra takes advantage of any available and effective tools to empower you; and also of every aspect and energy of your life. It aims to use your everyday experience as a vehicle for higher awareness. Including sex, work, play, feeling, thinking and communal living. This way tantra consecrates the mundane.
The tantric raises herself by that which would make her fall, says our tradition. Meaning that whatever brings you down can also be used to expand your mind: Pain, unpleasant emotions, bad habits. Whatever you meet, can bring you closer to your Self.
Balance and Harmony
Through tantra you get the power to be fully the Actor of your life —the ability to act effectively; as well as the clarity to be the detached Audience of the film —the ability to perceive directly. You learn to balance the Doing (inner and outer doing) with the Being (the state of resting in your Self). Eventually you transcend both Actor and Audience, to become the Director; the one making things happen.
The journey is longer than anyone can imagine, for it doesn’t really end. But each single step is worthwhile. The old classical tantra will bring you as far as you want to go. And, along the way, you receive incredible gifts and develop a more satisfying relationship with yourself and the world.
The Pirate Tantrics meet regularly to practice the ancient tantric techniques in their pure, undiluted form. Check our schedule for details.
To the mind that is still,
the whole universe surrenders.