SHADOW -DANCING TANTRA:

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Trials, Tramps, TanTrickery and Transformations

“Angel Tears” bromeliad

by Marcia Singer, MSW, CHt

PART 1

“Dakinis and Coyotes are people or situations that purposefully embody chaotic elements…throwing us off track…making us feel out of control or fooled…especially with our lovers, waking us up to the fact of something greater than ourselves at work.” -Vicki Noble, Shakti Woman

“Lovers…they’re the luckiest people in the world,” croons Streisand. Heaven is their domain. But as the philosopher Nietzsche reminds us, as a relationship branches towards celestial heights, its roots must anchor in hellish depths; such is the nature of Duality.

For 34 years, I’ve walked the twin paths of shamanic and tantric “medicine,” moving between the worlds of shadows (Yin) and light (Yang). I seek the Breath of Grace, the Beloved found at the heart of both domains, and in the dance of relationship between them. My struggles have taught me a priceless lesson: ‘True love’ cannot be attained by avoiding what’s unknown or painful about myself or another -as our culture believes. “Chasing the light” comes at a high price: injury to the wild-hearted Lover within who must trust life totally in order to love unconditionally.

Tantric shamanism gives me two especially compelling teachers: “Coyote,” the infamous Trickster of Native tribal traditions, and Dakini Woman, the ancient Tibetan Tantrika who embodies female sexual energy and its awesome powers of healing and transformation. Found in virtually every culture, these archetypal figures come in many guises. Their gifts are surprises of love and wisdom, slipping in through the backdoor. They only come to us in surrendered presence, in the play of the moment: pure Trickster/Dakini turf.

Due to their elusive nature, I don’t always recognize readily either my dilemmas or good fortunes as Coyote or Dakini enterprises. Other times I know they’re near, like now, as I endeavor to tell some of my story, share hard won lessons, and perhaps lay a couple of personal ghosts to rest in the process. While I have no idea what they may have up their sleeves, I’m learning to expect the unexpected.

TRIALS

My tale is a long, winding, androgynous Journey to redeem the wounded Lovers within me. It begins in August, 1945 on a sultry Kansas, bible-belted morning. For my natal birthing day, Venus, goddess of love and the arts, rose to a moody Cancer midheaven. Chiron, the wounded shaman-healer, stood on my Libra ascendent beside mystical Neptune, casting a shadow over my house of Lovers.

My childhood was “normal,” if steeped in repressive Judeo-Christian traditions with shameful hand-me-downs passed on from one generation to the next. Careful attention to appearances, distrusting emotions and intimacies, hiding insecurities and saving face at all costs were the norm. In our family home, naked bodies were embarrassing, while talking heads were in. Daddy was the often critical head of our house, Mommy seemed self-effacing and placating. I followed my father’s sarcastic suit, uncertain in my femininity, uneasy in my bid for a share of power. In my spare time I dreamed of rescues from fairy tale princes and being safely beautiful, while I ran tomboy races, took ballet and drawing classes and made straight A’s with a fierce, competitive spirit.

I had matured early physically − to my chagrin. My first bra (age 10), my first menses (age 11), my first date (age 14) and first intercourse and attempts at lovemaking (just shy of 20 years) were humiliating. Worse, there were sexual violations, the first by a secret, guilty male visitor to my crib. I remembered nothing until age 45, after a particularly devastating relationship breakup which brought me to the Recovery movement, awareness of my “codependent,” addictive love and sex patterns, and deep release bodywork. I now had a context to better understand my history of nightmares, suicidal depressions, rape hypervigilance, bulimia, exercise-oholism, workoholism, perfectionism, ongoing touch deprivation and failed relationships with men. I had a context for healing.

(PARTS 2 and 3 follow)

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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