Tuesday 30 December 2008


I am off to India for a three month visit! Yippee! It is a sort of pilgrimage. Like all pilgrimages it is an outer journey which is a reflection of an inner journey.  The inner journey is towards deeper self-knowledge and connection with the Self an inward journey to a Divine core; a central tantric insight, actually that of all mystical traditions, that the way to the Divine is within. 

In particular it is a journey to discover a better understanding of the deep masculine; Shiva at my core.  In the West we have had such a distorted conception of the masculine for so long, partly from two
 world wars last century and then the reactions against them, that so many men and women have no idea of what a man is.  After; being told that we are all potential rapists, then just used as sperm and then cash donors, then given role models such as professional footballers who are permanently juvenile and now portrayed in almost every TV sitcom for the last twenty years as emotionally teenage; men are pretty confused. Much tantra in Britain seems to be based on the idea that tantra is workship of the divine feminine and that men should just get on with that. This is a long way from most classical conceptions of the relationship of Shiva and Shakti. I shall be in Varanasi, the city of Shiva and the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, for Mahashivaratri, the great festival of Shiva at the end of February and also studying and practicing from the Kashmir Shavite tantric tradtion there.

I am also going to further my study and practice of mantras for healing. Particularlymantras that are chanted on to the body to release the trauma and blocks in the body.  To begin, I will be in Tamil Nadu. The people of South India are desecended from the Dravidian people who lived in India before the Aryans took over several thousand years ago. The Shiva temples of the South are ancient and full of power.  I will visit the five Shiva temples in the South which are connected to the five elements; earth water, fire, air and space. Whilst there, I will be doing a tantric meditation of seeing the whole of the world; every sense-aspect, every phenomena, as the opposite gender. This is easier in India which has a lot of feminine energy. So for me, everything is Shakti, to be honoured, worshiped and connected to with passion, presence and awareness.

I may write more on this blog as I travel; but right now, I am not sure.  Writing can serve to distract from being immersed in the experience. Shiva, consciousness is very much about awakening to what is; not writing commentaries on it.  Either way, I am back by Easter.

Monday 22 December 2008

Winter Solstice

Yesterday was the Winter Solstice, the sun at the lowest point in the sky; the night longest and the day shortest. In our ritual, we chanted "Om Namah Shiva" 108 times to Shiva the God of light - his lingham is often translated as "wand of light". We dropped yellow rose petals on to the giant lingham outside and they were carried down on the waters outside our temple, symbolising light returning.

Ancient peoples, at Stonehenge and elswhere, marked the mid-winter solstice with rituals to persuade the sun to return so that fertility would continue; there would be a Spring, plants would grow again, animals would reproduce again and life could continue. This is part of the link between tantra and paganism; the deep spiritual link between sex, reproduction and the fertility of nature.  The shadow of the heel tone would penetrate the womb of the circle of stones marking the commitment of the sky god to fertilise the earth. It was then, and still is, a great Mystery. Reverance for Life is not an option; it is the basis for all spirituality