I have been recently reading too much about how many so called healers have used the trust that they have gained from their clients/students. Many schools that have long standing reputations (Charles Muir’s Source Tantra School, Agama in Thailand are two that you should research for accusations against them if you are thinking of taking associated courses) are being called to close due to powerful accusations from students. This coincides with what many call as the rise of the Goddess power movement in the American “#metoo” movement. ( associated with Kali, by some in the Tantra lineage, the maternal destroyer goddess of egos that she wears around her neck as she slays) is the powerful deity that we call upon when we our trauma or immutable awareness is at its strongest apex. This coincides also with the waking of the rage of the Volcano Goddess Pele in the Hawaiian islands reminding us all that she wasn’t ever asleep. I am a sexual assault survivor of many many different incidents of sexual violence and can speak personally on how trauma permanently changes everything that you once were and rocks your world for many many painful years and sometimes decades to follow. Tantra can be a spiritual sexual energy awakening for many, but because of the powerful combination of energy, authority, trust and sexuality which can easily be abused in the same ways that other forms of sexual abuse occur (preying on the trust of vulnerable young or lost individuals seeking guidance). I have recently come across another perpetrator expose on Huffington Post who sexually abused young women for decades in his so called “sexual healing ceremonies” which involved clearing their throat chakras with his penis in the name of culturally appropriated Aboriginal culture. Much of legitamate Neo-Tantra has some of the same vocabulary (healing, triggers, chakra clearing etc) and its practitioners have often had to defend themselves against cultural appropriation critics and it is such a shame when a word like “healing” is used to disguise rape and spiritual abuse. I have been trained in a practice called “Somatic Sensual Healing” which seeks to address spiritual abuse survivors by giving them total control of their sessions with the practitioner and through the giving back of this control allow them to understand or process the times in which control or consent was never fully given to them. In this training, I worked on a volunteer who told me that she did not react well to words like “ocean” “goddess” or “love” to which I would have to adjust my session routine to be conscious of the guidance the practice client was giving me. I have worked with a person who felt suffocated or ill whenever he had the potential to engage in intimacy. Actions like touching his heart or gazing into his eyes were just not things that he could consent to, which are things that are often elements in my sessions. The most known spiritual abuses to most people have probably involved the Catholic priests and altar boys but there are unfortunately many other forms which come closer to work that I am currently doing now by using similar language. Is consent given or discussed? If work on sexual trauma or involvement with sexual issues part of the client’s or practitioner’s request? Is there a power dynamic that can too easily lead into an abuse of power? Is it possible to get the same outcome WITHOUT direct involvement of genitals or genital orgasm? Are both or either parties even aware of such alternatives? I think this last part is key to a lot of the work that I do, that while Tantra is not entirely ABOUT sex, it does not shy away from sex and the body like yoga or other spiritual practices. It is about the union of the masculine and feminine energies but there are many many ways that this can in fact take place and my intention is to show you that FIRST. I would automatically have suspicion of a practitioner if they could not work with me at my pace and offer alternatives to activities that were confrontational or triggering to me. The man who mentored me into beginning my Tantra career coached me pro bono and never once tried to date or sleep with me during this process. I have told him numerous times that it was purely because of this that I gained his trust and actually listened to what he was teaching me, for because of my history with sexual violence I desperately needed a divine masculine figure to show me the light without showing me his wand of light. Physical sex and genital orgasm actual cloud your thinking and flood your body with a surge of endorphins, creates intoxication that is different than that you can reach energetically through breathing exercises, yoga, meditation and other “white (pure)” Tantra practices. Then there is what many people call energy orgasm, endorphins from intimacy exercises and pink (a mix of white and red energy) Tantra activities (which is usually the level that my work stays at). I encourage my clients to be open to using tools and methods that they haven’t already tried, to be open to different outcomes instead of trying for the same target. Red Tantra activities include everything from physical intercourse, group sex, using drugs and cannabis for enlightenment and should not be seen as the only offering Tantra provides by any means even though it is what holds the current reputation and I’d like to say that the power of choice should be first with the client/student and then with the agreement of the facilitator to take them on that journey responsibly. There is a lot of debate about what Tantra should or should not include and I want to spend an entire blog on that in the future, so stay tuned.