Maria de Naglowska was a Russian occultist and author who was the founder of the Brotherhood of the Golden Arrow in Paris. In this occult society she lectured and taught about the rituals of Sex Magic and how orgasmic power can be harnessed for spiritually transformative purposes. She led her group from 1932-1935 and immediately became the darling of the French Surrealist movement. “The Brotherhood” included likes of Man Ray, André Breton and many other notable artists of that time. During these years she published a newsletter called “La Flèche (The Arrow) that featured contributions from herself and other occultists. Her writings were considered so revolutionary that it earned her the name of: “La Sophiale de Montparnasse” (The Wise Woman of Montparnasse).
For someone who was so ahead of her time, Maria’s origins are decidedly bourgeois: She was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1883 and after being orphaned at age 12 she was raised by her aristocratic relatives who expected her to become just another pretty face in St. Petersburg society. But Maria was having none of that; she eloped with someone outside of her social economic sphere and ran away to Geneva, Switzerland. As fate would have it, her jerk of a husband abandoned her and she was forced to go to work as a school teacher. In order to supplement her income, Maria also began working as a journalist and it was around this time that she discovered the works of an obscure American writer named Paschal Beverly Randolph, who was the founder of the American Rosicrucian Order and a practitioner of Sex Magic. As a result of his teachings, Maria began to advocate the power of Sex Magic in her writings and it caused so much controversy in stuffy Geneva that she wound up being imprisoned and eventually deported from Switzerland, as if such a thing were possible!
After her deportation, she continued working as a journalist first in Rome and then finally in Paris where her practice finally took off. She compiled and translated the writings of Randolph and had them published in book form. If it wasn’t for her proselytizing of his works, the world may have never heard of him, or Sex Magic. But again, the powers that be were out to get Maria and she found herself once again running afoul of the law. Fortunately the French were a bit more open minded than the Swiss and she was able to overturn her conviction for “outrage to public decency” in a court of law.
However she was not without controversy even within the parameters of her group. She was criticized for embellishing many of her rituals with satanism and the unsafe practice of autoerotic asphyxiation. Her explanation being that the latter helped the subject focus on their orgasm through sensory deprivation. I guess there are somethings which are too “out there” even for the French Surrealists. But I must say in her defense that there was an element of truth to her claim; Let me get one thing straight before going any further: I do not approve of the practice of autoerotic asphyxiation. It is too risky and we have lost many people as a result of this. (Can you hear me in the afterlife Messrs Bourdain & Carradine?) There is a safer way to practice sensory deprivation called the “Yoni Face Mudra” which allows the person to be in control of the sensory deprivation while preventing any unfortunate “accidents”.
Inspite of the prurient reputation surrounding her, Maria was a well travelled, cultured individual. She studied with many masters throughout the world, in Alexandria, Egypt she connected with followers of Madame Blavatsky and rumor had it that she became part of Rasputins inner circle when she was growing up in St. Petersburg. Maria was fluent in ten languages and in addition to publishing “La Flèche” she also authored over six books on the subject of Sex Magicand worked as a journalist/translator. Click here to be directed to her Simon & Schuster Official Publisher Page.
Towards the end of her life, Maria became the muse of the Swiss architect, Le Corbusier. He was a serious occultist himself and found inspiration in her teachings and how they matched his own interpretation of sacred architecture. But Maria was not meant to be attached to her mortal coil for very long and in 1936 she a premonition of her own death in a dream. She decided to return to Switzerland where she died a year later. Leaving behind this little known, but very powerful legacy.
If I had a dollar for every time some one asked: “What exactly IS Tantra Massage?”, I would achieve a type of financial nirvana that would even make the Sultan of Brunei blush. But alas, it appears that the fickle finger of fate is too busy picking its nose. So I must instead lift the veil of mystery surrounding this often time misunderstood practice.
A stand alone massage without the additional bells and whistles of Tantra can reap innumerable benefits: relaxation, stress reduction, lowers blood pressure, relaxes tense muscles, improves circulation, improves posture and strengthen the body’s immune system. One could go on and on singing it’s praises.
Now, couple this with the benefits of Tantra: balancing energies, more stamina & endurance, clarity of thought, deepening of relationships, emotional healing, spiritual awakening, releasing past trauma, etc. Now you are in whole other dimension. One that combines both physical and emotional wholeness.
By practicing the time tested Tantric techniques of Kriya Asanas followed by Pranic Breathing, the individual opens the energetic channels of the body known as Ida and Pingala. The aforementioned techniques work with both the physical and subtle aspects of the bodies to create what is known as the Shushumna Channel. According to Dr. Harish Johari in his book “Tools for Tantra”, in order to create this Middle Pillar channel, both Ida and Pingala must be balanced.
At this point the physical body is ready to receive the benefits of the massage and will reap these benefits more effectively since the balanced energy is flowing unencumbered though the body. Tapping along the Ida & Pingala channels helps to continue moving the energy and the recipient may experience some tingling throughout the body. This can also be enhanced with sound and/or aromatherapy to to help clear the Chakras and to enhance that feeling of blissful relaxation. Oh yes, and let’s not forget massaging the Sacred Spot! As one very happy client said to me at the conclusion of his session: “I feel both energized and relaxed!”
Learn how to share the sensual secrets of Tantra Massage with my popular ebook: “Tantra Massage for Lovers”, available through my web store:
What do Lord Byron, Christopher Reeves and John Dillinger have in common?
A man is born with an erection and dies with an erection and in between those two events he will average about 15 to 25 erections a day during the course of his life.
Angel Lust is also referred to as a “Death Erection”, an involuntary response that occurs at the time of death, particularly if that death was a violent one, although it’s not always the case. Some men who have died with this condition were: Lord Byron, Christopher Reeves and John Dillinger.There was also a reference to this in the book/film “The World According to Garp”, when T.S. Garp finds out from his mother that his father was a comatose man with a terminal erection who was mounted by his mother. After she had her way with him, his last dying words according to her were: ‘good’. Then he died!
So what is the symbolism here? Our Life Force Energy, or Shakti Energy is also our sex energy. And in particular in the case of men can manifest in an erection during challenging or traumatic life experiences. That is because our sex energy is not always an erotic reaction but a survival instinct. Which is a reason why rapes occur during wartime and in prison. The rapist isn’t especially in a romantic mood; instead they feel threatened in some way and so must act on it by subjugating another.
But let’s switch from this depressing subject to one that is more enlightening. That being Death. WHAT?! You say? Dear Reader, before you get your panties in a knot or worse still, unsubscribe from this blog. Just hear me out. Read this with no judgement.
The French call ejaculation ‘Le Petit Mort’, ‘The Little Death’. That’s because every time a man ejaculates in the conventional manner they do experience a form of Death 2.0. The erection represents a desire to spread their seed before exiting this plane of existence permanently and at the moment of ejaculation, all functions stop for a plot second. A bit like a sneeze. Just like flowers will increase their pollen production before withering away, we want to make sure that we leave a lasting imprint on this earth.
Women also experience a similar phenomenon at the time of death such as expulsion of blood or fluids form the vagina. But let’s face it, a dead guy with a giant boner is defiantly more spectacular and attention grabbing.
Understanding the cause and effect of this function can also help us to raise consciousness and awareness as it relates to the relation between our Mind, Body and Spirit. If we understand that our energies are cyclical, that they ebb and flow as a result of a multitude of variables. Then it’s easier for us to harness and re-harvest this energy in a safe and efficient manner.
Through the practice of Tantra it’s possible to allow this energy to flow unencumbered while at the same time giving the person better clarity of thought and more stamina. That’s because these techniques not only work with the endocrine system of your body, but also your Mind and Spirit. After all, the are all interconnected!
This Wholeness will help to unite and balance our polarities, allowing us to experience a healthy detachment that make us the observer in this journey through life’s transitions and preparing us for the inevitability of the final transition of life.
Would you like to learn more about the techniques covered in this post? Please contact me personally by email: Looking forward to hearing from you!
Or so go the lyrics from “Station to Station”. David Bowie was more that a musician, he was an artist and a mystic whose talents transcended those of mere mortals into an esoteric sphere most of us lacked the capacity to comprehend. But he somehow made it palatable for the masses, bringing those arcane realities down to a level that made it enjoyable for us lesser mortals to swallow.
The “David Bowie Is” exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum did not disappoint in terms of showing us not only Bowie the Artist, but Bowie the Magus; The Man who not only Sold the World, but travelled between several of them.
“Here are we, one magical movement from Kether to Malkuth
There are you, you drive like a demon from Station to Station”
So what are ‘Kether and Malkuth’ and what is the Tantric equivalency?
Kether and Malkuth are Are Sephoroth (spheres) on the Tree of Life in the tradition of the Kabbalah and they represent emanations/attributes similar to the Chakra Tree of Life in Tantra. According to Aleister Crowley in his book ‘777’, which contains multiple Tables of Correspondents referencing equivalencies form traditions to traditions, Kether would correspond to Sahasrara (The Crown) while Malkuth corresponds to Muladhara (The Root). So in essence, Bowie’s song lyrics represent the quest to achieve that Alchemical Wholeness that many of us strive to achieve yet seldom maintain. The “Stations” refer these spheres through which he alchemicaly transmutes. So you see, in the end it all comes together and David is the glue.
David’s early life was fraught with fractionalization and conflict. These traumas were best expressed in his painting and I was particularly struck by one particular painting that looks like a collage with many occult symbols that translated into his future opera. There was one detail showing a man in a pierrot costume comforting a little boy who is obviously disturbed. I immediately saw the early of his Pierrot/Major Tom persona from the ‘Ashes to Ashes’ video.
Then there’s the little boy: Is that David or could it be someone else? Terry Jones was David’s half brother, who suffered from severe schizophrenia resulting from early childhood emotional abuse. He was a tragic figure who was in and out of mental institutions most of his life. David tried his best to be ‘his brother’s keeper’ but it was to no avail: Terry died by suicide in 1986. The fear of mental illness and a sort of survivors guilt was something that haunted David throughout his life and was the subject of many of his songs.
David was an accomplished painter and he used this medium to help him overcome his drug addiction during his “Berlin Era”. As has been documented elsewhere, towards the end of the 70’s he felt washed up and had run out of ideas. He was addicted to cocaine and his marriage to Angela was on the rocks. Bowie’s idea of rehab was to move to Berlin and to bring along his friend Iggy Pop. Seems like an extremely counter indicative approach to getting the monkey off your back but it worked for Bowie; He cleaned up his act and produced some of the most innovative music of his career. He even managed to elevate Iggy Pop to a new level of respectability.
The exhibit showcased many of his paintings and two that really caught my eye were the portraits of the Japanese Nobel laureate Yukio Mishima and the portrait of his friend, Iggy Pop. The solarized colors used in these paintings seem to bring out the demons that possessed these two very different men. Mishima was a controversial figure during his lifetime and rather than getting into details about his life, I will refer you to this link here to read more about him. Iggy’s portrait, like Mishima’s, looks like David was trying to draw out the inner demons that possessed both men in their lifetimes.
David Bowie Is showcased a lot of his iconic costumes too. Some of which are pictured here. According to designer Kansai Yamamoto, the man who collaborated with Bowie on the creation of the “Ziggy Stardust” character, costumes where David’s favorite medium for expressing his music. And it was evident in the wide range of styles and characters.
So in conclusion, the exhibit was a culmination of David’s quest for Alchemical Wholeness that I think came to a full circle towards the end of his life with his revisiting of the Major Tom character in his final album “Black Star” and his opera “Lazarus”. Come to think of it, almost all of Bowie’s albums seemed to have an operatic narrative anyone of his albums would work well as a stage adaptation.
Here is an early interpretation of his quest for wholeness in an early song from the 60’s called “Karma Man”. Click on the image below to have a listen:
The Brooklyn Museum, which hosted the David Bowie Is exhibition, is also the permanent home of a permanent installation honoring the Divine Feminine. “The Dinner Party” by Judy Chicago showcases a virtual dinner party in which the guests are influential women who were overlooked by history.The artist chose to highlight skills which traditionally been derided as “woman’s work” skills such as sewing, weaving, embroidery, pottery making, cooking. By including these media within the parameters of the installation, she brought them into the realm of “Fine Art”.
Each place setting offers a unique vulvic plate and like all vulvas, each one is unique. The fabric embellishments echo a them related to the dinner guest. This exhibit is so overwhelmingly feminine that one “art critic” crudely referred to it as “vaginas on a plate”. But to walk into the installation has a very moving effect on the observer, its as if one where to walk into the Sistine Chapel or the Taj Mahal. Please enjoy these images and the provenance behind them.
~ All Roads Lead to Bowie~
So this New York Trip was not without its Synchronicities. It seemed that everywhere I turned the roads led back to Bowie or to a particular aspect of my past.
Case in point was stumbling upon “Nikola Tesla Corner” in Manhattan. Bowie’s last film role was playing Tesla in “The Prestige”. David was one of those actors who totally disappeared into his role and this was no exception. Witnessing this coincidence also reminded me of an older Blog post “Tesla and Tantra”.“If you want to understand the secrets of the Universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”
A couple of days later, there were some further synchronicities when I visited the World Trade Center Memorial. What an event. As many of you may already know, I lost some friends, during the attacks. I blogged about in in “The Transcendental Delegate”, but going to the memorial and seeing their names inscribed in the walls of the fountains had a profound impact. Perhaps this New York visit served as a bit of a closure for me as well.
Linda Loves Bingo!
But I don’t want this post to be a complete downer. My visit ended on a high note with my reunion with a dear friend from college, who is now the Doyenne of the New York Drag Scene!
I’m speaking of course about Linda Simpson whom I have known for almost 35 years. I think that I would like to take a little bit of credit for giving her some make up tips early in his career, but her achievements are all her own. Congratulations Dear!
I have always been a great admirer of Drag Queens because of their originality of style and their openness. This fits in very well with the concept of duality in nature and the unification of opposites. I feel that DQ’s are one of the fortunate few who have managed to reconcile these polarities and what emerges is a beautiful rainbow of infinite possibilities. Reminding me of that other Tantric Deity: Ardhanarishwara. The God/Dess who is both an ultimate man and an ultimate woman.
But back to Linda, we met up for dinner shortly after I arrived in town, then she invited me to her Saturday night show “Linda Loves Bingo” at Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village. Of course I could have always gone to see an overpriced Broadway Show like any other tourist. But how often can you see NYC’s #1 Drag Queen Bingo Show?
So in closing, I think that my return to my beloved New York served as a kind of Self Realization and a raising of consciousness that can only be achieved in an environment where so many diverse points of views can come together as a cohesive whole. This was something I observed when I would visit the corner deli in the Central Park West neighborhood where I was staying with friends. As I watched the Palestinian employee in the Jewish deli prepare a lox with shmeer bagel for an African American customer and her Asian American friend, I said to myself: This is the real America, not the “Make America Great Again” bullshit barfed up by the knuckle draggers in the flyover states. The real America is this diverse group of humans living together on this tiny island Manhattan. Each person is unique and different from the other but they manage to make it work and live in harmony.
This is the beauty of the Real America. Somewhere between Kether and Malkuth.
by Robert Venosa, oil on canvas, 1975, 35 x 70 cm / 14” x 26”
(link is embedded in image)
Pranic Breathing is a technique that helps to awaken and balance the Mind, Body and Spirit. I will often begin my workshops and private sessions alike with a series of breathing techniques that fall under this category such as Nadi Sodhana and Hong Sau Breath Mantra. The classic Prana Breath is the most commonly known and has also been referred to as the 6-3-6-3 Cycle.
The approach is easy to learn and reaps a multitude of benefits:
* Place the tip of your tongue at the roof of the mouth behind your teeth. This is known as the forward Kechari Mudra and it helps to quiet the mind.
* Now, inhale through your nose for 6 counts
* Then hold your breath for 3 counts.
* Now exhale through your nose for 6 counts
* Finally, hold your breath for 3 counts.
* Repeat the 6-3-6-3 cycle until your mind is completely relaxed. Usually about 12 cycles will suffice.
It’s important to inhale deeply and exhale completely as you perform these breaths. Feel the 3 lobes of your lungs filling incrementally: First the top third, then middle and finally the bottom third. Pump the air out of your lungs in a similar fashion as you exhale. Inhaling and exhaling deeply and completely.
This breathing technique can be practiced during meditation to keep the mind focused and it can also the practiced prior to performing your Kriya Asanas. Of course, it’s important that as you perform Pranic Breath, to also hold your fingers in the Prana Mudra Gesture.
The Prana Mudra Gesture helps to quiet and center our energetic channels. It can be a ‘stand alone’ exercise that can be done at any time when some grounding is needed. Whether you are getting ready to speak in public or board an airplane, the Prana Mudra Gesture can help to stave off a panic/anxiety attack.
Practicing these techniques on a regular basis will help to impart a positive shift in your life.
Questions about Workshops:
I have been getting a lot of inquiries as to when my workshop schedule will resume: At the moment I find myself involved in a lot of other projects, so for the time being workshops will be on a sponsorship basis only. If you are interested in having me lead a workshop for your group please contact me directly for more details:
Martina Hoffmann and Robert Venosa exhibit at the HR Giger Museum!
It is my distinct honor to share the news of this upcoming exhibit at the HR Giger Museum in Gruyere, Switzerland by my dear friend and mentor Martina Hoffmann and her late husband Robert Venosa. H R Giger, was best known as the creator of the ‘Alien’ monster from the film of the same name and for which he was awarded an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects. The theme of the exhibit is ‘Transmutations’ and I think it is only fitting to include this with the theme of the newsletter. I hope that my friends reading this who live in Geneva and its environs will be able to attend this most auspicious event. Please click on the imageto be directed to the Giger Museum Website.
For more information about the artists please visit their websites:
The Hindu Festival of Holi happened about a week ago, but I think that its message should resonate all through the year. Although Holi is primarily celebrated in India, it has grown in popularity all over the world and depending on the region in which it’s observed, it can be a festival celebrating the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring, the love story of Krsna and Radha, the victory of Vishnu over evil and so on. The participants celebrate the holiday by throwing bright colored powder or water at each other and for that reason it’s referred to as the ‘Festival of Colors’. One could say that it’s a combination of Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, New Year and Easter all rolled up into one great big beautiful multi colored ball.
But one of the most significant meanings of Holi is that it is also known as a “Festival of New Beginnings”. It is customary to forgive transgressions, forgive or repay debts and to make new friends. What could be better than that? If only we could carry this attitude of a fresh start throughout the year instead of waiting for one particular day to express these thoughts and deeds. It’s said that life is a gift and every morning that we wake up that gift is given to us all over again. So why not see every day as a fresh start? Each new day is an opportunity to shed what no longer serves us and to move forward into our future.
Putting this into a Western perspective, the Kabbalah mentions that there is a negative aspect to the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life and it’s known as the ‘Qiploth’ or ‘Kingdom of Shells’ referring to the shell or skin that an animal sheds when it no longer serves them. I think that this serves as a good metaphor for Holi. And so in the spirit of this festival why not begin the day by casting off those unnecessary shells to renew and move forward.
Here is a simple exercise that one could perform to cast off unwanted energy:
Naulis are belly rolls that help to clear the Third (Manipura) and Fourth (Anahata) Chakras respectively. These two chakras work in tandem to either brighten your day or sour your day since they possess a symbiotic elemental correspondents of wood and fire. So it’s important to keep these two energetic centers in a state of balance.
Begin by taking a deep inhalation through the nose, followed by a complete exhalation through the mouth. Be sure that your lungs are completely devoid of air and when they are, begin to roll your belly as if you were drawing a circle with your navel. Up, down, out, in. As you roll your belly say these words to yourself: ‘Forgive, forget, let go.’ See whatever memory or emotion that vexes you disappear with each roll. Keep rolling your belly until you need more air then stop rolling; inhale deeply and exhale completely then begin rolling again. Repeat this sequence over and over again until you are exhausted and your stomach muscles can no longer roll.
This exercise helps to simultaneously massage the organs and glands of Manipura and Anahata allowing for the production of hormones that promote positive thoughts and general well being. One of my students who happens to also be an endocrinologist told me once that most of the serotonin in out body is produced in our stomach so it’s important to maintain a healthy diet and practice this exercise for a healthier outlook on life.
Practicing Naulis also helps to strengthen the Uddiyana Banda which is an important energetic lock found in the solar plexus and is responsible for assisting safely awakening Kundalini flow through the Subtle Body. The other two locks being Mulabanda (root lock) and Jalandhara Banda (throat lock). Below is a link to a very good video demonstrating Nauli rolls. The Yogi also shows variations on the roll that can suit a persons personal ability.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this blog and encourage all to visit my website: universaltantra.org for more information about my practice. Namaste!