Formless Tantra

How to prepare for a magical relationship
By Christopher Michaels

All relationships are Tantric, in a sense, or at least can be. ‘Formless Tantra’ was coined by a friend to describe the way I approach facilitating the experience of Tantra using everyday relationships and life. When she came to me she expected training in various rituals, techniques and exercises pointing to sexual ecstasy and from there to spiritual bliss or vice versa. She expected various intense multi-sensory meditations, the invocation of Goddesses and Gods might be involved, setting the space, possibly various magical tools might also be used and maybe initiation into secret knowledge. And maybe sex. All of which she was already an expert at, it seemed repetitive to go over what she already knew. i wanted to take her somewhere new and towards the essence.

Instead I listened and we talked about her life, we exchanged energy and power and explored its dynamics in our relationship as we lived it in our gatherings together. That relationship came to an end some time ago but lasted eight years. For a long time I didn’t use this term or another term we played with the “Zen of Tantra” because well I thought it was a little cliché and seeking undeserved authority from going along for the ride as so many do. But recently I did a series of mini-workshops under the name Formless Tantra and it made sense.

The essence of Tantra is what I’m trying to get at. There is secret knowledge but it is that Tantra, its energy and power, are not exotic and occult, it is here and now in everyday ecstasies. It is in the simple realisations that whether we experience the spirit in everyday life is a matter of point of view. Like so many insights it is secret because it is too obvious. Tantra is how we are made up of our relationships both internally and externally. Its rituals, the breathing, spiritual and physical awareness and control are great and useful, I teach them, but it is the mindfulness shared in relationship that is the core. It is the centre in the sense that all the other games we play are given meaning by it.

The ecstatic sexual and spiritual experiences of Tantra, so many people focus on, are natural outgrowths of profound honest deep connections when you share your spiritual journey with your partners. Those partners maybe lovers, friends, mentors, gurus and even workmates.

When people teach mindfulness they usually teach it as an individual practice, not a shared one. Tantra at its core is about shared mindfulness where each partner undertakes to acknowledge the prominent role they play in each other’s life, both inner and outer. They accept and experience each other as real, not just teachers, not just reflections but real partners living both inside you and outside.

Many people will have values, often expressed in the form of emotional reactions, that decide this or that response and/or event is negative or positive. Mindfulness is a process of intentional awareness of the sensations, emotions, thoughts and feelings and their affects on your experiences and actions as an act of loving acceptance, respect and care. It is greater than tolerance because that can mean just putting up with the bits of you that are uncomfortable for you rather than truly embracing all of who you are.

All the traditions, with a few exceptions, start the great journey from the earth plane of our existence. The earth plane is the here-and-now daily life, not just the simple sensations but also the emotional connections. If you are to be trusted with a direct relationship with yours and/or other people’s spirits, their whole point of view on the world, then how you conduct yourself in the mundane ordinary world is the test, and training ground. How you love your romantic partners in everyday ordinary life points to how you love yourself internally. How you negotiate, share and create energy and power at work, with friendships and in your intimate relationships points to the way you’ll relate to the spirit, to the Goddesses and Gods, to other kinds of power.

So how do we go about this? First we explore the power of the senses, and develop awareness of our experience of the moment and our relationships with games that come from many different traditions. Though I call it “formless” we still use the Chakras as a structure because they allow us to be sure we explore all the dimensions of who we are. For example, we start by exploring the very fact that we are strangers rather than try to artificially creating trust and intimacy. This is the first chakra. How are you with strange situations and setting, with people you don’t know? We exaggerate those feelings so as to clarify and demonstrate what mindfulness is by using the real experience of the moment we are all living. We help you be aware of the way you draw your boundaries, and your changing experiences moment to moment. This helps you develop choice in the way you attract and push people away in drawing those boundaries. By the end of this very first exercise, paradoxically, you are actually really close to everyone.

We use psychodrama and ritual, shamanic dance, multi-sensory imagination, sensitivity games and experiences from yoga and esoteric (inner) martial arts, and discussion circles in an atmosphere of growing trust. As we get to know each other we track our changing feelings and the whole experience we are sharing. The aim is to have a direct experience of the transformative power of loving mindfulness. Through these we reframe your experience of your relationship with yourself and through this all your other relationships.

Just a reminder on the upcoming workshop on the 5th of February, 2011.

Ritual is all around you

Some thoughts about ritual in everyday life.

Ritual is everywhere in every part of your life. It isn’t just something you do to invoke or channel a spirit or God to do magic or talk to the other side, or change your world or yourself. Ritual is the way you set yourself up for your day, set your mood with the things you do like brushing teeth and bathing, the other things of your morning routine. Ritual is the way you enter the space of your work, swiping the security card, the way you do your work, the boundaries you have in your work relationships. The little things you do regularly with, for and to your lovers and family to express and confirm your special connection.

When you watch a TV show you are entering a mythic journey that invokes archetypes that are manifestations of gods and spirits. The show will take place in a space, it will tell about its history with a montage so you get a connection with the characters and who they are. With music it will set you up emotionally to get into the right state to share the experience not just with your family but with everyone watching the show at the same time and who have ever watched it in the past and will watch it in the future. You are participating in thought-forms.

One of my magic teachers thought TV was a training ground for telepathy, for the New Age. The first step to telepathy is shared emotion. When you watch a TV show you are sharing emotions with millions of people empathizing with characters who represent the vital essence of human relationships. Some are hero’s journeys, like police stories, even many comedies and family dramas also follow that structure. They are direct descendants of the great stories of the gods and archetypes we use for ritual. What we, as conscious aware magicians, witches, yogis, wiccans and pagans can do is regulate our participation in and relationship with those thought-forms and transform them. You can use them to connect with everyone else participating in them changing their affect and meaning. Think about much how psychic energy is shared in the experience of Seinfeld or Friends or SVU or CSI, or the Voice. If you could channel that, direct it to your purpose what could you do with it.

These daily rituals might all seem mundane compared to talking to gods and spirits. The reason these rituals only transform life and the world in minor ways is the result of the combination of motivation for doing them and what’s at stake in them. For most ordinary people the motivation for daily rituals is maintenance of the current state of their life. So all these daily rituals are designed to keep life as they want it now, manage their shadows, hold back the chaos, keep control. TV shows and their stories are usually apart of that function. They let them experience emotions and alternative possibilities from a safe distant, impersonally helping them cleanse and manage emotions in safe ways. They help them to maintain their sense of themselves, their world as a security blanket.

Rituals that transform lives, that change your power relationships with the worlds must have serious parts of you at stake, must involve big parts of you. This may include the whole of you, your physical, your spiritual, your intellectual and your sense of who you are to yourself and in your society. This is what happens with tribal initiations where the whole society is involved in them. Other rituals are more personal where only your sense of identity, your sense of personal power and your experience of the world are affected. Some rituals only affect your intellectual understanding like the way most educational rituals work in our society. These can have big effects on your role in society and your sense of yourself, your identity and your understanding of the world and therefore your personal power and identity. But they like all initiations they indoctrinate participants in the ways on the society providing the education.

One of the insights that comes from magic and other spiritual traditions is that power and insight come from standing in more than one world, spiritual, material and view through the different lens of different cultures and traditions. For example having more than one language enhances your experience of all the languages. Being able to use different frameworks, points of view from different traditions – witchcraft, yoga, materialist science, wicca, magick – will give you insight and power in relation to any situation you face. Having a solid deep experience of one tradition with a wide understanding of others allows you to see passed symbolism to an intuitive relationship directly with biggest most beautiful reality at the core of all.

Group Healing Ritual

An Example – A group healing-light ritual

Article Explaining the ingredients of a Ritual

An Extract From A Soon to be Released Ebook “Circle of Power”

  1. Setting the Space

    Stage one: individual – setting your internal space, your body. Doing this exercise together as a group will connect you together to hekp build focus for the ritual
    You pause for a moment to feel my hands and feet and the position of spine, your whole body. You breathe and feel the sensations intensifying, becoming aware of the internal space of my body/mind, the space you occupy. You relax by unlocking my knees (if standing) and feeling a little stretching up though my spine, up to my head so that you feel taller, comfortable and powerful. You imagine and feel that as you breathe you’re taking in the spirit, visualizing it as a fluorescent rainbow with the colours settling in the places in my body that most need balancing, healing. It feels like you can feel my body is being energized, more intensely alive, more sensual.
    Stage two: setting your space, your environment
    This ritual is a healing ritual that can be conducted anywhere. In this case focus on your surroundings taking note of the colours, sounds and smells around you. If there is anything, particularly like sounds or smells, that you feel will distract you, interfere with your experience of the ritual. Focus on it. Take in its details, be curious about it, let it be something you embrace as an object to enhance your ritual. Then set it aside and focus on your feelings of the energy in your hands and feet as you breathe.
    If you are not doing the work in a public place like you are at home in your lounge room. Take your time so as to maintain this intense awareness of your body as you move around the room cleaning, organising everything so that it feels like you are energising the room with the same feelings as developed with your body. In fact the movements you are doing and the sense of energizing the room should intensify your sensual experience of it – by concentrating on what you are looking at the colours will become clearer, if you move as if you are your aura is like water around you and you are radiating light you will feel your movements have power. Pay attention to the colours and smells, the textures of everything you touch, the sounds outside and inside the room of my movements and breathing as you work. You are taking ownership of the room.
    For other rituals like an invocation you might cover the floor with a sheet you have drawn a circle on and symbols from a recipe provided by your tradition of choice, then follow the lines in pure salt either as power or dissolved in pure water or consecrated water from a sacred place, but this is for another day.

  2. Motivation, Goal, Desire

    We usually have a variety of reasons for the things we do. Some we are centrally aware of, others we have a background awareness of and others we overlook, we don’t notice at all. How motivation works for you is unique to you. As so many say all power and wisdom starts with self-knowledge. For a ritual to work it’s not enough to only have a goal, your motivation has a big influence on the outcome. Your intentions, emotions and imagination have a profound influence on your power, on how it is expressed through your ritual and other actions.

    The most obvious reason for wanting to heal is to be of service or to fix something that’s a really problem to you. These are the desires you are centrally aware of. But there are other emotions, desires and motivations that will influence the effectiveness of the ritual which you may not be centrally aware of. You may feel powerless and helping others may help you feel empowered, it may also help you avoid your own problems. You may feel depressed or undervalued, so it could help you feel valued and special. You maybe avoiding those feelings with positive thinking and other self-management habits that blind you to some of the ways you are blocking your powers. These secondary motivations may not affect your ability to heal, in fact they may help you do good work but they may open you to side effects like feeling drained, or attacked by the weakness in others you are seeking to heal.

    For the ritual to work not only do your aims need to be clear but your reasons for choosing this path need to be clear. Being clear about the reasons you want to do the ritual means you are aware of them and have addressed them in a way that means you aren’t being sabotaged by them. This is why we call it the path of “wisdom and power”, both are necessary. There are internal rituals you can use that help in working with the various ways we sabotage ourselves. During the process of setting the space and thinking about the ritual in the lead up to conducting it, you should focus on the strongest feelings you are motivated by. If it is desperation then so be it. The ritual will be more powerful if you are honest and really connect with the feelings you have rather than try to force yourself to be positive overriding your real feelings. The ritual will change your feelings. It’s part of the point.

  3. Resources, form, structure, plan

    For a healing light ritual all you need is yourself with good intention, though some people may want to use some tools for protection. Candles can be perfumed, an incense or oils that are particularly rich and strongly symbolic. Sandalwood is very protective. Wearing a medallion that has symbols on it for healing goddesses, gods and/or shamanic animals or trees are powerful protectors, healers or guides can be very useful. You might choose some tarot cards as a way helping explore the reasons for ill-health and the path to be free of it. You might go to Eastern Emporium, or a Tibetan op-shop, or Buddhist or other esoteric or New Age bookshop where you can get various pieces of jewellery with power symbols inscribed on them or in the shape of them. You soak them in saltwater and meditate on them, visualising the full colour three dimensional version of them. You can go to sleep with the symbol so you can clear them on the astral. Channelling light into them and from them can also be useful.
    Structure/Plan For Our Healing Circle
    We’ll sit in a circle. We will go through the process of setting the space mentioned above. We will then do some energy/aura sensitising exercises individually, in couples and as a group. Then anyone who feels they could use a healing will get to be at the centre of the circle. Next we will do some absent healing for people we are connected to who are not physically present. Finally we’ll send our energy for the harmony and balance of the whole of the universe. After this we will talk about the theory, practice and structure of what we have done. And answer questions.

  4. Action, doing it, passion, expression, doing it

    We will carry out the plan in the form mentioned above. For it to work, to be as powerful as possible we want to feel it, give it the kind of focus that intense passion calls us to – curiosity, love, fear, hate even anger can give us the alignment of our circles of power or light (Chakras in India or Sephiroth in the Kabbalah) to bring the force of magic(k) to you actions an goals. When you practice promise-keeping (to yourself and others) them your word develops the power of ritual action. Different people feel different ways about what makes to actions of ritual powerful. Some think spontaneous action based on the feelings you are creating. Others feel that actions precisely rehearsed will allow you to focus your energy to express your power fully. Both of these are valid. It depends on what works for you which you choose.

  5. Receptiveness, listening, responsiveness in the moment

    You don’t always feel the power working but you do have to be aware of its effects. The point of a ritual is to bring about change. For that change, happening moment to moment, to be most effective we need to be aware of it and ready to respond because it may not go quite as expected, it may go better.

  6. Meanings, Broader effects, consequences to your story of yourself and your context/culture, myth

    The deepest most powerful changes change our view of ourselves, the stories we have for our past and our future these also influence the symbols we use in the rituals. These symbols come from the myths we feel are most powerfully, we are most excited by. If a healing ritual works in a deep and significant way it will empower us to change our myth of ourselves changing the way we experience the world. It will change our psychology and physiology. This can be small incremental changes or a profound turn, a quantum leap to a new way of being in the world.

  7. Unexpected, limitations, humility, spirit

    Most people seek healing when they are confronted by their limitations. We are most confronted by our limitations when something unexpected or unpredictable happens. This humility causes us to look beyond the ordinary options to more mysterious solutions and this is where the spirit comes in its own. Rituals for healing will be participated in by people who are aware of the limitations of mainstream medical approaches. Mainstream medicine still use symbols from magic like the crossed “R” at pharmacies that represents Jupiter. Though there are laws of spirit, as mentioned above they can be influenced by many things that we are not always aware of, so the results an and often are unpredictable and unexpected. Ritual can however be mundane. You can use the principles here and in the accompanying article for analysing a visit to a mainstream doctor. They accidentally do invocations of spirit because of the habits they develop out of their traditions going back to medieval times and before when healing ritual was mainstream medicine. It is a thread of Western science and medicine has been to limit the unpredictability in our experience of life and the universe.

Article Explaining the ingredients of a Ritual

how to create a ritual

Circle of Power

This is an extract from the introduction to a soon to be released Ebook

How to do Rituals for Daily Life and Special Moments

Every tradition has its own images, Goddesses, Gods, spirits and cosmology for its practices. Ritual is both an internal and external practice. It is a way of structured actions to bring mind, emotions, body and spirit together with other dimensions of being in order to achieve something for yourself, your loved ones and to affect your world. Ritual is neither good nor evil but can be used for both. It seems to be a natural part of human communication and organisation, whether you are talking to other humans or the spirit world. It can be unpredictable because the universe has a sense humour (some say), but mostly it’s because of collisions between our conscious, unconscious and subconscious and limits on our knowledge and perceptions leading to impulses and thoughts that derail our ritual.

Ritual has many purposes ranging from the very ordinary to the profound. Celebrating birthdays, naming ceremonies, weddings, initiations and empowerments are profound life changing moments. Whilst your routine to prepare yourself for your day, brushing teeth, cleansing, dressing and entering your workplace or home building using a key or security pass are ordinary things that we do in habitual ways that have the effect of ritual and could benefit from the conscious awareness and empowerment that ritual brings to them.

This article presents one version of the essential ingredients of ritual with an application of them. It seeks to analyse what is taught in various traditions so you can apply them to any tradition and help understand why ritual can be a powerful part of your approach to life. These ingredients are very practical you could write a business plan using them, or plan a holiday or any event, because as the old magical saying goes “as above, so below” meaning that which applies to the highest most powerful knowledge should work in the simplest most ordinary situations.
These ingredients divide the indivisible. Ingredient five’ doing it’ includes the whole process from start to finish. Ingredient two the goal you want to achieve and the feelings that are motivating you need also to be kept in mind throughout. Ingredient six is the product of the whole process but is also centrally influential on the shape of your ritual as your plan it. This is also true of ingredients seven and one. Even though this mix up is true the order here is a logical procedure to follow.

The seven principles of ritual:

  1. Background, space, history, boundaries
  2. Desire, goal, motivation
  3. Resources, form, structure, plan
  4. Action, doing it, passion, expression, doing it
  5. Receptiveness, listening, responsiveness in the moment
  6. Meanings, Broader effects, consequences to your story of yourself and your context/culture, myth
  7. Unexpected, limitations, humility, spirit
  1. Background, space, history, boundaries. In the immediate physical level this refers to the room, the space or the temple you are going to conduct your ritual in. “Setting the Space” is to make the place sacred by arranging it to suit the ritual. Setting the space is also the internal process of getting your body/mind into the right state so as to set the physical place into a place of power. It is concentrating the spirit in that place. You also draw a boundary around it to make it special. You even conduct a ritual to enter it when it is being used for ritual. This sets your inner space, state of mind for the work you are about to do. It becomes a place of power so that even before you have done anything your psychic and group resources are all focussed and ready for the work you are about to do. In NLP they would say you are anchoring your emotions and energy so that you will immediately be “in state” or in a power state when you enter the space with the ritual of entry. The space should bring all your senses into play – colours (vision), objects for texture (touch) and symbolism (emotionally powerful for you), music or sounds (hearing), smells, the feel and shape of the space (proprioception) and of course food for taste. It is also the personal background you bring to the work, your emotional and cultural history, which will define your interests, roles, and the traditions you will use/participate with for the ritual.
  2. Desire, goal, motivation. Why are you doing the ritual? What are your motivations? What do want from it, your goals? Some of these are obvious up in front of your consciousness, like money, love, rain, celebration, worship, contacting the other side, invocation or evocation. You could just want to consolidate a group for a non-esoteric purpose, like doing a fitness work out together or a work meeting to improve performance or make a plan to make something happen. But the more important motivations (especially when doing esoteric or magick rituals) are those hidden from you, subconscious desires, attitudes which drive the surface ones. For example, why would you want to use magick ritual to do something that you can do in more practical ways? For example – Why do you want to use a short cut to manifesting wealth using esoteric ritual rather getting money by participating in value-exchange relationships like working and saving or going into business after doing business courses? You could use these principles of ritual for non-magical goals as a ground for communication and doing business, designing a dance party or birthday gathering all worthy goals. This doesn’t mean you can’t use magic(k) ritual for all kinds of practical goals (like money) it’s just that you need to be clear about your motivations and get your conscious and subconscious desires and motivations aligned so all your power is behind them. It’s also important to realise that if something is a goal then to your unconscious being it is not here and now. It is over there away from you and out of your reach. This needs to be addressed in the construction and actions, the mental disciplines of your ritual. You’ve got to experience your goal in all your senses as if it has already been achieved. One of the powerful forms of ritual is to use it to overcome any feeling or realities that might block you from achieving your goals. So those blockages are made conscious. One such form is the ritual journey based on the hero of a myth.
  3. Resources, form, structure, plan. What will be the structure of your ritual? What will you use as tools, instruments, weapons for it? Who will participate? What actions, symbols, thought-forms will be involved? There are material representations of the symbols and there are the astral or spiritual or magical meanings of them. On a material level you’ll need to buy candles and special paper if they are what you are going to use. You may need a partner if it is going to be a sex magick ritual (though that’s not necessary). Will you be sky-clad (naked)? Will you evoke the spirits you are going to invoke by using costumes? Will you need to make them, better than buying them? Buying anything you are going to use in ritual CAN (meaning they don’t have to) be a problem. This is where the Astral/Spiritual/Magical meaning and existence of the symbols you are using comes in.

    A “thought-form” is an Astral or spiritual existence (depending on who you listen to). It is a thought that is given form and life through action, emotion (trust/faith/belief but others as well) collective imagination, energy and attachment. Thought-forms are affected by the emotions and thoughts of those participating in them. It is the reason some traditions use secrecy so they can control the quality of the energy, emotions, spirit input to their thought-forms. Thought-forms can become attached to objects which are used as symbols. An everyday example of a thought-form is a corporation. The symbols and name of the corporation and the group of people they represent are given a life of their own beyond any individual or that group. In the ritual system that is the law of the land the symbols are given person-hood with many of the same rights as we have as embodied people. Most people in the west, in fact around world, treat these symbols and names as if they are real entities. They pay our wages and take responsibility for our lives. They move mountains if they mining companies and build bridges if they are engineering companies, though they only exist as symbols in the collectives minds of our society. When you buy symbols for ritual you won’t know who has touched them and what they were feeling and what energy they put into it with their emotions and how these will affect your ritual. There are a few ways of deal with the unpredictability of other people touching, thinking about, feeling attached to the objects and thought-forms you are going to use in your rituals. You can use a ritual of cleansing to make bought costumes and objects useable. You can accept energy is energy and it’s all good and helpful because their involvement makes the thought-form all the more real. It depends on your cosmology as to what works for you.

  4. Action, doing it, passion, power/love expressed. Carrying out the ritual, the working, whatever form it takes with all the intense focussed passion you can pull from you or push you to. It is said that intensity of experience comes when there are high stakes, when your life and love are on the line. Ritual is most powerful and effective if this is the case. It can mean that your body is at stake because you are in real danger as in many tribal initiations. Alternatively, it can mean that your identity is at stake like doing something that redefines how you will experience yourself. You can symbolically act out an intense situation where through the suspension-of-disbelief (which is where movies get their power) you can feel the danger as an emotional rather than as a physical reality. Having your identity endangered on the other hand can come from all sorts of more gentle situations like changing habits, like falling in love and having to rethink reorganise your life around a new person, like changing your job or changing spiritual traditions. Ritual can be used to transmute these situations by empowering you to feel choice and some sort of control of the change process.
  5. Receptiveness, listening, responsiveness in the moment. As you do anything you need to have focussed awareness in the moment of the sensual and emotions experiences you are having. In ritual this is heightened and intensified. For example, during the process of a simple ritual with a limited time frame and clearly prescribed set of actions and goals, your awareness is for the emotional and physical effects and the aftermath/consequence of the ritual in the moments you are doing it. In the case of a longer term working of ritual where you may need to adjust and adapt the ritual as you go to respond to the changing circumstances created by it then sensual in-the-moment mindfulness will be important to the achievement of your goals. Some rituals, such as invocations and channelling, are communication processes that need to be flexible and responsive to the events of the ritual. Focussed awareness is extremely important in order to succeed.
  6. Meanings, Broader effects. Consequences to your story of yourself and your context/culture, Myth. Meaning comes from the larger context and consequences of the ritual, of any activity and thought, feeling. On one level this is the mythic archetypes that evoke and invoke power for you as the symbols that will empower you. On another level it is the meaning in your life and culture of the ritual. How will it change your life, your sense of yourself, your relationships – personal, political and professional? How will it affect your environment – psychic, material, intimate, cultural?
  7. Unexpected, limitations, humility, Spirit. You always have to allow for the unexpected, the improbable, worst case and best case as opposed to the wished for and/or most likely scenarios. You need to allow for your limitations which are where the unpredictable and unexpected come from: limitations in knowledge, limitations in talent, limitations in strength, just the simple fact that you are in a skin means you have limitations on your point of view. Most call on spirit and other higher powers when they are faced with these limitations, when they feel overwhelmed, when faced with death and loss (even small losses like the car keys). This involves keeping a reserve of energy, of resources, being balanced and moderate in your approach to things. This is where the cycle of life comes in because when you are faced with these aspects of your life and ritual it usual inspires further ritual and so you go back to the beginning.

An Example – A group healing-light ritual


Has anyone noticed that the last few days the sunrise has been 07:02am and the sunset has been 07:01pm (daylight saving time)? Literally 12 hours day and night which is what equinox is all about. I have known about equinox for my whole adult life and some. It has always been an important time for me. Some of the most important changes in my life have happened around one or other of them – March and September. This being said I haven’t actually noticed this simply observation on the news before. I think it is fascinating. Most people I talk to thinkrightly that it is trivial. ‘Rightly’, because it doesn’t have any effect on us as city-dwellers. What fascinates me is precisely that, we aren’t interested. In the past it was life and death knowing when these “solar festivals” should be, so they would know when the crops should be planted or harvested. It is the perceptual differences and how they are shaped by values and knowledge that interests me.What amazes me is that almost all people living in temperate climates, where these festivals are important, had them measured. They did this without clocks, accurate or otherwise. They allow some leeway for such things as the variability in the dates, so Christmas is the 25th because the (northern) winter Solstice takesabout 3 days to complete its turn around. The March Equinox, we are celebratingnow, was the New Year for most of Europe until relatively recently. The British were, as usual, laggards changing it to winter Solstice as late the 1750’s.


Hi folks, I’ve just changed the time for the get together on Thursday. We will exploring the nature of initiation this week. Initiation means beginning but by implication also endings. Most people I guess focus on the achievements involved in being initiated into a Magic(k) group. Being a mirror of tribal initiation that take you into adulthood from childhood. This is a layered experience because you enter formally into training in order to gain the skills and experiences needed to participate in power, transformation, trust and intimacy. An example is marriage. It is a type of Tantric initiation, there are a few others but this one is the most common experience many will share. It transforms the personal experience love, intimacy and lust into a public declaration of commitment to those feelings calling on the rituals of the culture to acknowledge the love shared and the power it can offer the participants.

One of the mistake made in the modern era about marriage reflects the way those into magic and spirituality often think/feel that initiation is an ending rather than a beginning. People believe they can relax into marriage because the commitment to each other is enough. They feel the journey is done now and they are no longer two single people travelling side by side with ‘we’ an incidental grammatical form. It becomes a formal statement of a new identity in which your participation is based on an attempt at a life time commitment to a new reality, one shared.

This lifetime commitment wasn’t a rare and unusual experience in the past. When you committed to any group or activity in the past it was for a life time. Now-a-days we are lucky to commit to anything for a week, if you stay in a job for longer than three years without moving on you are considered lacking in ambition and drive, un-capitalist. The truth is that all activities, feelings are going to effect your life, some more noticeably than others. The obvious experience many of us will have is that one moment of pleasure, the moment being different lengths, can result in a child that will change your life. Other moments get lost in patterns of living and behaviour where the individual event goes unnoticed but the pattern is a statement of who you feel yourself to be.

Other initiations are the finishing of high school, entering an apprenticeship, finishing university, taking a new job, even a divorce can be one. These are more less formal, marked by rituals. Others are less formal adolescence was a marker in the past of the which was celebrated through ritual as the transition into adulthood. These days it is not really formally mark by ritual, though there are remnants like the process of high school which focusses on intellect and some practical skills but doesn’t address the emotional, psychological or spiritual social transition in an integrated way. There is no single event that says I’m a grown up to yourself and the whole of our society.

In our society spiritual initiation these days is rarely formal. Those that do offer initiation like the Reiki levels, Scientology, various pagan traditions and some Tantric traditions are sometimes looked at as dangerous cults depending on their transparency and simplicity. Transparency is important because in the modern era we don’t trust secrecy. Simplicity because we also think of democratised (made up word???) knowledge as important and so worry if the rituals and knowledge offered seem complex and difficult, testing. It seems legitimate knowledge if it is simple enough that anyone can grasp it, it caters to the lowest common denominator. So that the line between Initiate, that is someone who has joined the group formally is only mark by participation in the ritual, rather than the line between member and non-member being more deeply drawn by shared skills, knowledge and personal qualities and values.

An everyday example of the difference between how things were and now is the way the RSL has changed over the years. After the two world wars to be a member of the RSL you had to be a war veteran, a very serious shared experience. Now anyone can walk in sign their name and hand of a small token of value, $5 or something and you are in. When you do the first levels of Reiki you do a workshop and you’ve got it. There isn’t really a test of your skills and knowledge. There is a concept of transmission which is conceived as an effortless way of achieving spiritual knowledge but in the past transmission of spiritual knowledge was based on living with and training with a master who tested your qualities as a person to see if you were worthy of inheriting and further transmitting his experience onto others. This was different than simply passing on knowledge and skills, even if they are skills with energy, prana, chi or ki (depending on the tradition) it was much deeper.

Free Meetup… subject Initiation

We are getting together on Thursday 17/05/12 8pm at Well Connected Cafe in Glebe, Sydney, Australia. The subject will be initiation. ALso CHeck out and join our group on facebook “Esoteric Tantra

“Hi folks, I’ve just changed the time for the get together on Thursday. We will be exploring the nature of initiation this week. Initiation means beginning but by implication also endings. Most people I guess focus on the achievements involved in being initiatied into a Magic(k) group, for example. Being a mirror of tribal initiations that take you into adulthood from childhood. This is a layered experience because you enter formally into training in order to gain the skills and experiences needed to participate in power, transformation, trust and intimacy. An example is marriage. It is a type of Tantric initiation, there are a few others but this one is the most common experience many will share. It transforms the personal experience of love, intimacy and lust into a public declaration of commitment to those feelings calling on the rituals of the culture to acknowledge the love shared and the power it can offer the participants…. it continues here…

my Myers Briggs Type

Over the years I have played with different systems for categorising people. I’ve always found them unsatisfying. Not because they are inaccurate but because of what they do in my mind to the people who I meet. I’ve even played at creating my own, based on the Chakras. Seven types based on seven dimensions of being with a seven leveled measurement scales. By temperament and interest the categorising systems I went for were Astrology with 12 types, Numerology with 9 or 10 types (depending on how you count) and Tarot – Major Arcana with 21 types, even the Kabala with 10 types. Each of these have the possibilities for great complexity to try and cope with human realities.

  • Astrology has 12 signs, 12 houses, 12 moving celestrial bodies all interracting and professing the absolute objectiveness of the heavens.
  • Numerology has 9 numbers and one place marker, the zero. You can add up the numbers from you birthday and name to break them down to one of the nine resulting types and a destiny. Or you can map subtleties by applying the typing system to different dimensions of the person by not breaking down the numbers into the types mentioned by adding them together.
  • Each tarot card represents a person type allow you 21 types or 78 types if you want/need something more complex and enigmatic. Each of the 21 are also a role in society, a stage or moment of life.
  • The Kabala has 10 centres of light and 21 connecting paths. Each centre of light, like the Chakras, represents states of mind and being, and can therefore represent types of people who experience the world predominantly through that state. The connecting paths and the centres themselves let you measure the way these states interact to make the person. The cool thing about this system is that you can bring in numerology and the tarot deck./li>

These all work to help give a feeling of insight and security when faced by the complexity humans and their relationships. The system I spent most time with was Astrology in my teens and early twenties and through my marriage with a professional Astrologer who gave it great store (obviously). In these times and as I watched my ex-wife and others interact with Astrology and the other systems I noticed the system and its legitimacy seemed more important than the people I/they were meeting. That cliche was true about the first or second question asked when meeting someone was what was their sign. I used to be pretty good at guessing peoples signs before I started to get in depth with the system. When I started doing charts and studying the great complexity of the system allowes people.

In case you want to draw that box around me I was born 0235am 08/06/1958 in Sydney Australia. Most people will think my moon is in Pisces (as I did for while) but it actually in Aquarius. feel free to figure me out. Contact me if you think I’m your soulmate, I might just be who knows.

I have been tested for jobs using some of the modern categorising systems but rarely remembered much about them. They seemed superficial in comparison to the depths of history and human imagination and society that the systems have I mentioned above. Recently someone asked me what my Mires Briggs type was. I’d forgotten what they were at first, then remembered. I didn’t know until did some research that it was based on Jung’s work so I thought it might have some interest. I liked that it was based on questions about your experience of everyday life and your relationships with it.

But I still have the same worries about the validity and the limitations it places on how I might be percieved. I don’t remember what my IQ is for instance, though I have done some abilities testing at different times. The problems with its cultural relativity make it invalid to my desire for some kind of deeper understanding human nature. At least that’s my emotional response but I do realise that the test could help when you are wanting to get people who are successful within a cultural context.

Anyway here’s a box you can put me in. Just remember that it is a moveable feast because I think these modern systems a more effected by the moods of the tested person. Though hopefully someone, a true believer, will argue with me on this point.

I like that if I’m going to be unbalanced then it is towards the intuitive, so maybe that’s why my result is what it is. It does seem very unbalanced though, to me, and I do like balance.

According to this site –

This is My Myers-Briggs TYPE:
Extraverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving
Strength of the preferences %
11 75 12 11

ENFP type description by J. Butt and M.M. Heiss
ENFP Identify Your Career with Jung Career Indicator™ ENFP Famous Personalities

ENFP type description by D.Keirsey

Qualitative analysis of your type formula

You are:
• slightly expressed extravert
• distinctively expressed intuitive personality
• slightly expressed feeling personality
• slightly expressed perceiving personality

Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving
by Marina Margaret Heiss
Profile: ENFP
Revision: 4.0
Date of Revision: 28 Feb 2011
[The following comes partially from the archetype, but mostly from my own dealings with ENFPs.]
ENFPs are both “idea”-people and “people”-people, who see everyone and everything as part of a cosmic whole. They want to both help and to be liked and admired by other people, on both an individual and a humanitarian level. This is rarely a problem for the ENFP, as they are outgoing and warm, and genuinely like people. Some ENFPs have a great deal of zany charm, which can ingratiate them to more stodgy types in spite of their unconventionality.
ENFPs often have strong, if sometimes surprising, values and viewpoints. They tend to try to use their social skills and contacts to persuade others gently (though enthusiastically) of the rightness of these views; this sometimes results in the ENFP neglecting their nearest and dearest while caught up their efforts to change the world.
ENFPs can be the warmest, kindest, and most sympathetic of mates; affectionate, demonstrative, and spontaneous. Many in relationships with an ENFP literally say, “They light up my life.” But there is usually a trade-off: the partner must be willing to deal with the practical and financial aspects of the relationship, and the ENFP must be allowed the freedom to follow their latest path, whatever that entails.
For some ENFPs, relationships can be seriously tested by their short attention spans and emotional needs. They are easily intrigued and distracted by new friends and acquaintances, forgetting their older and more familiar emotional ties for long stretches at a time. And the less mature ENFP may need to feel they’re the constant center of attention, to confirm their image of themselves as a wonderful and fascinating person.
In the workplace, ENFPs are pleasant and friendly, and interact in a positive and creative manner with both their co-workers and the public. ENFPs are also a major asset in brainstorming sessions; follow-through on projects can be a problem, however. ENFPs do get distracted, especially if another interesting issue comes along. They also tend towards procrastination, and dislike performing small, uninteresting tasks. ENFPs are most productive when working in a group with a few Js to handle the details and the deadlines.

Simple Acts of Love

Simple Acts Of Love
By Christopher Michaels © 2006

Love is when two rainforests meet in all their lush luxury with differences remaining yet they merge

Sit quietly with yourself, allowing yourself to be who you are in all your shame, rage, fear, weakness, strength and beauty

Wait for the silence

Be comfortable with your silence and your voice

Leave room for the stories of others

Feel yourself part of your relationships – you are affects and affecting, you are effects and effecting

Act in ways that enlarge everyone

Resist acting to enlarge yourself at the cost of others

Touch with all of who you are, as if you’ve been in solitary confinement for most of your life

Your ambition is good if it takes your friends and enemies with you to the top


Let yourself breath with your whole body


Relax your shoulders, relax your hips, relax your legs, relax your back, relax the drive to be other than who you are… now, relax the drive to push others to be… anything

Feel tall

Feel comfortable in your skin

Leave room for them to feel comfortable in their skin

Turn off your mobile phone


Listen with your ears, listen with your eyes, listen with your body, listen with your mind and your wholeness

Listen from the silence within, the silence between and under your drive to show yourself, to prove your point

Show your Self in a way that encourages them to show themselves, let them feel your interest in finding out who they are, now, and were, then and want to be

Hug often

Enjoy the struggle to share an exposed moment free of fear

Stand in your integrity while supporting theirs

Their fears and imperfections, and their defences against them, deserve your love just as yours do

Let them feel held, allow yourself to feel held

Let them feel the absence of shame, let yourself feel its absence too

Let them know you understand their vulnerabilities by showing yours

Let them feel their strength by showing yours

Let them feel your respect by giving yours

Imagine what it would feel like to have no fear, no need for strength, to be emotionally naked

Learn to ask good questions based on an excitement about who people really are and what they really need including what scares you about them

Take charge when they need it, let them take charge when you need it

Don’t take charge, don’t help, don’t offer solutions when it is the easy way, only do it when it will enlarge all of you, including them

Help them give themselves what they need and want

Resist the temptations of feeling attacked

Resist the temptations of bringing history into the present

Resist the mask of habit with the freedom of joyous spontaneity shared

Resist the shame-filled belief you need to change, without resisting change

Resist the idea that love is simple

Tantra and Everyday life

Originally published here by me…

Tantra is an insight, a reality, a mythic metaphor and a collection of practices. Even the practices are both metaphors and emotional and physical realities. They are all based on the insight that all of reality is relationships. Right now you are reading this through eyes that are relating to light and to the whole history of a language and culture through your unique relationship with it. The mythic metaphor is the Way of the Lovers for which Sex and Love are the central practices and proof. It answers the questions: How do you love yourself and others in away that expresses the deep connections that are the reality we are often too busy and self-involved to notice.

For me it comes down to energy sensitivity practiced in everyday life and also in our most intimate relationships, sex and love. It is cooking for and massaging lovers and friends, listening to people and holding back on reflex reactions based on your history/ego in order to allow something new and spontaneous to happen. The sensitivities I use in the daily life of work, friendship and dealing with strangers helps me to bring my whole self to my lovers.It is still something I practice rather than do reflexively.

For me all relationships are part of the practice and reality of Tantra to limit it to the bedroom is to get caught in the metaphors and practices rather than focussing on the reality of the psychological insights that are at its core. This is not to say that the sexual practices of Western Tantra aren’t important, they are important to our relationship with our body and lovers. But it is to say they are deepened by understanding that their spiritual meanings are applied to everyday life. I have a different point of view than the Indian and Buddhist traditions where it is usually isolated into monasteries, forests and temples. And different to the new West traditions where it is also isolated but into the sensual rituals of bedroom as temple and sensual body within.

All of these are useful and important parts of the whole of Tantra. The part of it that is often missing is the use of what they call in India Kama, the sensual everyday world of work, family and friends, as the test and practice of your spirituality. Many say the platitude that love must start with loving yourself, but how do you do that? How do help others to do thats if you are a teacher/therapist?

You do it through your relationships, that is the dynamics underlying what is said and achieved, the quality of attention you give your partners and yourself, the way you handle internal and external conflicts about your desires and fears. Love of self is a catch-22 because we have to learn it through relationships, but you need the self-esteem filter them in order to choose partners who will help you learn. This lesson is best leant through relationships which leave us less vulnerability such as friendship and work relationships, and maybe therapists and other knowledgeable leaders like teachers who can model for us the respect and dignity we need to feel good about ourselves.

On your lonesome you challenge attitudes expressed through self talk and feelings that are reflective of your past when people close to you didn’t respect you and your choices and needs. When you feel fear of things that don’t logically deserve it like pictures of frogs for instance, I actually know someone who has this issue, or social gathering (more common) say choose to gently and lovingly build your strength. For example, lets take the frogs, spiders or sharks. Start by thinking, visualising and remembering the good feelings you have about something you really love, an activity or pet, a friend. Then keeping the good feeling in mind look at a cartoons something funny and friendly, look at the picture and simply breath whilst observing the feelings and how they change over time, then move to photos onto movies then finally go to a zoo or park where they are on display, maybe buy a pet one. You don’t have to like or love the activity and thing that used to cause the overreaction, you just have to be able to stand it. This is easy to write but hard to do. But the results are very good for your self-esteem and self-knowledge, and therefore self love.

Love is about all of who we are. It is first about feelings, but those feelings are just the beginning because they sometimes trap people in relationships that are disrespectful, that undermine your power to choose your lifestyle, your choices in general. Some people don’t do relationships based on shared power, on power exchange which brings co-creation of destinies and lives. Tantra is definitely about sexy passionate relationships with your body, yourself and your partners and it is also about mutually created destinies, deep listening and everyday moments of ecstasy and bliss from doing everyday things alone and with partners, friends, workmates and family.