SHADOW -DANCING TANTRA

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Trials, Tramps, Tan-Trickery and Transformations -PART 2

by Marcia Singer, MSW, Cht

Man seeking Woman…

TRICKS

The late 80s and early 90s came, bringing continual changes. I embraced my body, the earth, goddess-based spiritual traditions, new age metaphysics, channeling and fetish art making. I faced anger work, fire walked and quit a fifteen-year career as an international night club entertainer, reluctantly packing in the provocative costumes along with a bid for Hollywood stardom. I found a new calling doing massage and hypnotherapy and found a use for my master’s in clinical social work from U.C. Berkeley. I discovered a penchant for inducing altared states and past lives, reliving scores of my own, alongside those of my clients. The Archetypal stories of EveryWoman and EveryMan became my own. Hindsight would show that I’d passed successfully through my first tantric-shamanic initiation, and “dark night of the soul.” I was a survivor.

My grief-relief work had opened me simultaneously into the twin paths of sacred sexuality and earthy shamanism. Goddess had revealed Herself at last, promising resurrection for my wounded Aphrodite, and union with the God in me as well. I was a new tantrika: Volts of shakti kundalini cascaded through my body in uneven rushes, bringing ecstasy, rapture and bliss in its wake, along with past life memories of sexual priestess roles in Roman and Grecian temples. Mystical visions, visits from power animals, angels and ancestors were frequent. I was imbued with a sense of destiny, even as I teeter-tottered between my usual high and low “ego” states, between inferiority and superiority.

Still, I had my work cut out for me. Coyote and Dakini suggested I call this work, “Shadow Dancing Tantra.” Although I had lived in between light and shadows from birth, I now was conscious of it. Its role in my joyfulfillment was dawning on me. To prompt me along, my Mentors gave me a difficult gift from their bags of tricks: the enmeshment of my new healing practice and tantric awakening with my sexual wounding, my distrust of males, and ongoing challenge to open wide my heart. To up the tricky ante, I got to do it in L.A., in the heart of the high-paid sex industry, magical fantasies of transcendence, and maya.

TRAMPS and TANTRICKS

“Because sex sells… most (western) tantric teachers accent this portion of the tantric lifestyle…” -Swami Nostradmus Virato

“The original whore was a priestess, the conduit to the divine.” -Deena Metzger

An historical perspective helped me re-context my growth trials. Women offering sexual favors to men in exchange for love, money, food or shelter, protection from bodily harm, work, position and power, comforts, trinkets and other pleasures is an ancient, cross cultural, worldwide phenomenon. Through it, men seek love, potency, vitality, nurture and “release” from all manner of ills. In its bare essence, “prostitution” is barter, but in patriarchal societies like our own that still devalue women, cycles of abuse and disempowerment are fueled. Where the norm is shame-based feminine and masculine identities, tantrikas are not immune. To successfully bridge the gaps between secular and sacred, conscious and unconscious lover relations, it’s imperative to disentangle tantra from sexual and sensual baggage, and healing practices from subtle shame and guilt patterns. Could I free myself to value being who I am, imperfection’ and all, in order to transform myself -and represent that path honestly to my clients? In a society that demands magic and instant results? With my sexual and relationships history?

An article by Deena Metzger in 1985 was helpful: our ancient spiritual heritage revealed that exchanges of sexual congress for reunion with Deity were once sanctioned. Servants of the Goddess, veiled temple priestesses received into their embrace male warriors ravaged by combat, in need of restoration. A sacred prostitute or Quedishtu (“the undefiled one”) offered her body as ritual prayer; pleasures were secondary. When later male- dominated religious factions interceded, prayer was pronounced sacrilege assuring that the body-mind splits, the denigration of the body, alienation of the core Feminine and harm to our Earthly home would prevail.

L.A.’s (and now national) formal tantric family was birthed from both traditions. Before us lay the promise of ecstatic enlightenment tangled up with countless injuries to the Feminine and Masculine psyches, and untellable heartaches: our own and those of our clients. Erectile dysfunctions, frigidity, touch hunger, intuitive and instinctual disconnection, fear of intimacy and commitment, poor body image, fear of aging, eating disorders, unnecessary breast and penile enlargements, cancers and other physical ills, performance anxiety, shyness, isolation, sex/love addictions, shot gun marriages, serial divorce, S&M, rape, “flashing” and other forms of sexual and/or power abuse reflect deep wounding to gender based identity.

(PART 3 follows)

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Marcia Singer, LoveArts Foundation

Seven decades of exploring the Inner Life, writing down the bones. Careers: singer-entertainer, tantric-shamanic healing artist; mindfulness/shakti educator