What do I mean by “Tantra”?

Tantra.  It’s a word that gets tossed around a lot these days, and everyone seems to have their own meaning for it (that, in itself, is very Tantric…but since this is just a brief overview, I’ll skip the tangent for now).

When I use the word Tantra I am talking about a paradigm; a mystical tradition; a way of life…an art form, if you will.  It is a set of practices and principles that have been practiced by the ancients in India for thousands of years, and have been dynamically evolving while staying rooted in tradition for all those years.

The word “Tantra” has a number of ways it can be translated.  Some of my favorites are “to weave” and “to expand”.  I like to think of Tantra as a tapestry of philosophy and practice that is constantly expanding by weaving in new threads of experience and ideas.  The word itself, when broken down, supports this idea – “tan” can be translated as “weaving” and “tra” can be understood to mean “the instrument upon which weaving is done”.

The branch of Tantra that I study was brought to the west by Swami Rama, who was the head of the Himalayan Institute in Pennsylvania for many years, and spent 20 years teaching Rudy Ballentine.  Rudy is the one who codified the seven principles of Tantra that my lineage practices and teaches today.  One of his students, Vyana Bergen, is my teacher.

If your interest is piqued and you’d like to learn more, you can check out any of Rudy’s books, especially Kali Rising: Foundational Principles of Tantra for a Transforming Planet, which is an excellent and easy-to-grasp explanation of this particular paradigm.  If you prefer to learn through story, my memoir detailing my exploration of Tantra and the healing it engendered in my life is also available.  It’s called Metanoia: Reweaving Psyche in a Tantric Web of Story.  (Both of the above links are affiliate links; if you purchase one of these books after clicking on the link I will receive a payment from amazon; this helps cover the cost of maintaining my website, and you are under no pressure to purchase anything to enjoy the content on this site.  Thanks.)