Four Love Goddesses of Shakti



Major Goddesses

Goddess qualities relevant to sexual love

Intro to four Love Goddesses

Different kinds of beauty


Many goddesses within One Goddess

Extremes and Archetypes

Man's relation to the Goddesses

Love and sex





Imagination and playfulness

Moving towards synthesis and balance

Goddess attitudes and approaches in man

The Great Circle

Divine Unity-in-polarity

Self-polarity in the Circle of oneself

Our conscious and unconscious halves

Four perspectives in the Circle

Let's Love Introduction

The Great Goddess, of which woman is potentially a reflection, can manifest in love relations in four fundamental ways. All of these are divine expressions of Shakti – the Great Goddess. They are different faces, or facets, of the One Goddess. In tantra there is one ultimate Goddess, Shakti, who manifests or expresses as different goddesses – her different ways of being or different forms of expression.

The goddess expressions of Parvati, Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati are the four powers, attitudes and approaches of Shakti love power. The Great Goddess can manifest in many more ways, so these are not the only kinds of goddess expression, yet these are the four primary goddesses found in sexual love relations. Each have their own distinct quality and power in love relations. In addition, each of these four are complementing to one another. Each stands at one of the four directions of a Great Circle, so each of the goddesses is a polar but complementing opposite to one of the others.

Another divine Goddess, Radha, is also mentioned in these teachings. Radha is the favorite love goddess of Krishna. She is not one of our four love goddesses, but instead she is regarded as a balance of the other four goddesses. Also, Radha and Krishna are especially revered as the exemplary love couple, based on their deep heart love and dedicated care for one another, as well as their intense enjoyment of each other. Another goddess of love will also be considered, which is Kali, but she only emerges into the love ritual when the energies are most intense and the lovers most absorbed. Kali leads all lovers, all goddesses and all gods, back to union with Shakti Herself, back to complete Divine Union.

Major Goddesses

In the most common world understanding of goddesses, there are two major goddesses. These are the Mother Goddess and the Love Goddess. The Mother and the Lover are profoundly important in all cultures, and anyone can easily understand woman as being an expression of either Mother or Lover, or both. In tantra, both of these are Shakti goddesses, as all goddesses are, but each is a different way of expression for Shakti – or a different kind of Shakti power. Both are revered and adored.

Shakti, as the Mother Goddess, is the Mother of all life. She is the universal, primal, creative energy. She is the vital life energy of nature. And as well, Shakti Mother {Maha-Shakti} is the Mothering Power of all mothers. But in the tantra teachings involving sexual love, the Love Goddess is our obvious goddess of interest. The Mother Goddess is a lover as well, of course, but more in a caring and comforting way, rather than sexual. The Mother goddess is revered in the tantra, but she is not relevant to our present topic of sexual-love relations. However, there are qualities of the Mother Goddess which are relevant.

Besides the Mother Goddess and the Love Goddess, other universal Goddess types can also be added into our understanding. One of these is the Achieving Goddess. It would be quite demeaning to woman to assume that she could only be a mother, or only a sexual lover, or a just a beautiful body. Woman can be a great Achiever as well. This could be in business or in professions, in sports or in the arts, or in any field in which a woman wishes to achieve. Another universal goddess type is the Wisdom Goddess. She can express in a number of ways; sometimes as the mature wise woman, sometimes as the healer, sometimes as the seer, sometimes as a religious mystic, or sometimes as just being intelligent and practical. All of these kinds of wisdom involve an essential aspect of all wisdom, which is love. One more universal goddess to mention is the Goddess of Arts, or the Artistic Goddess. She brings to woman or to man the essential talents of an artist, musician, poet, etc. But as well, this goddess brings the qualities of an artist, the essential qualities of an artistic person.

Now in considering the goddesses of Achievement, Wisdom, and the Arts; all of these goddesses can be inspirational powers for both women and men. So even though the goddesses might seem to be related to women more than men, all of the goddesses are most fundamentally universal rather than 'gender restricted'. This would be most obvious in regards to the divine powers of Achievement, Wisdom, and Artistry; since men and women can equally express these powers. Yet in addition, even a man can express Motherly kinds of qualities in relation to caring for others. And of course men can be Lovers just as equally as women. Men can even express the power of sexiness or the power of sexual attraction. Therefore, men, as well as women, can express these universal powers or qualities, and thus also relate to the goddesses in a self-identifying way, rather than merely seeing these goddesses in women.

Let's LoveGoddess qualities most relevant to sexual love

But how are these many goddesses, or goddess powers, related to sexual love relationships and specifically to the love ritual itself? This is our main focus.

Each of these fundamental Goddesses bring unique Qualities into a love ritual, and in this tantric study we are most interested in just these Qualities. In other words, we are not interested in all of the many powers and skills that a woman might bring into expression. We are just interested in what pertains to love relationships and the love ritual. Obviously, the Mother, the Achiever and also the Artist are not always involved with love-sexual relations. A woman's whole life (or a man's) is not just centered on having sex or finding enjoyment in mutual loving. Love-sex is not the main context for the Mother goddess, the Achieving goddess, nor the Wisdom and Artist goddess. It is only the Love-Sex goddess who's orientation is mainly sexual love. Yet, all of the goddesses have qualities that provide a unique attitude and enhancement in sexual love.

We can admire and hold in reverence the Mother Goddess, and we can admire the mothering qualities of every mother; but here we are not interested in a woman as mother, simply because it's irrelevant to our topic. Yet we are interested in any unique qualities that the mother goddess might bring to the love ritual. So what we want to consider are the unique qualities, as found within each of the great goddesses types, which can be relevant and expressive in the love ritual.

The Mother Goddess is best known for her mothering and especially for taking care of her children. But if we consider the essential qualities involved in mothering, we can see that many of these qualities can be relevant and applicable to the dynamics of a sexual love relationship. For example; compassion, concern, caring, and givingness are all qualities of the Mother Goddess, but these same qualities can be very significant and pleasing in the love ritual, especially her qualities of unselfish giving and sincere concern about her lover's enjoyment and experience of being loved. This does not mean that a man sees his mother whenever his lover expresses these caring and giving qualities. It just means that certain essential qualities inherent in the mother goddess can also be expressed in love-making and sexual ritual, rather than being only applicable to mothering. So in our present study we need to focus on what goddess qualities are most relevant to our particular theme of love-sex relations and the love ritual.

In regards to the Achieving Goddess, she will mainly express in the wider world, but she can also apply her achieving skills in the love-sex dynamics. This does not mean that she'll have a notebook and appointment calendar handy while making love; hopefully not. Yet nonetheless, she'll tend to bring her practical-minded qualities into use, meaning that she might even be a kind of planner about when and how the love will be. She might even have definite steps in mind about how she will achieve a successful love experience. She might even want to make a certain schedule or routine for a love time. Most essentially, she will bring into the love ritual her achieving assertiveness, or 'make things happen' kind of attitude, which she has already found to be a key to being successful in other aspects of life. So as long as all of her achievement-oriented traits do not get too far extreme in the love-sex dynamic, this goddess can do pretty well in sex and also be an enjoyment to the man.

Next, in regards to the Wisdom Goddesses, she will mainly express in the world without being particularly sexy about it, and her main expressive contexts will not primarily revolve around the love-sex dynamic. Yet, her many qualities of wisdom can enter into a love and sex relationship. This doesn't mean, necessarily, that the goddess of wisdom will be acting like a wise teacher for the man, explaining or showing him her vast knowledge of how to make love. There is nothing wrong with sharing one's wisdom and experience, nor is there anything wrong with a woman being teacher to a man in the art of love, but this is not mainly what the wisdom love goddess is all about. Rather, she brings into the love ritual her ability to be fully present and receptively open to who the man is; for these are the qualities of wisdom that are most important to love relations and rituals. Being a wise teacher or sharing one's knowledge is not as important; and generally speaking, neither lover should be verbalizing all their 'wisdom' while in the better parts of the love ritual, for that would be quite annoying.

In regards to the Artistic Goddess, she has many qualities which can enhance any love or sexual relationship. She can bring artistic passion and creativity into the love ritual. These are possible qualities of the artistic goddess which are particularly significant to the love ritual. A woman or a man might be a talented musician or visionary artist, but their specific artistic talents are not really relevant in the love ritual. Playing music might be seductive in the earlier stages of a love ritual and any spontaneous love poetry can enhance the love experience, but after the courtship or seduction phase, we are not so interested in our partner's specific talents in the arts. Rather, this is the time for more fundamental artistic qualities to emerge. For example, she can bring her creative imagination into the love ritual and her openness to explore the realms of possibility.

Now, in regards to the Love Goddess, it is quite obvious that she is involved with love sexual relations. But it is important to make clear that each of the four goddesses of our study must be regarded as love-sex goddesses, rather than just one in particular, because this is the special aspect of each goddess type that we are most interested in.

In summary, we can admire all of the goddesses for all the many powers and qualities they bring to so many different aspects of life; but for our study here we are only interested in the sexual-love qualities of whatever goddess we are considering. So it is irrelevant to our present study how well an Achieving Goddess achieves or succeeds in the economic world; we are only relevantly interested in how she achieves in love. Same is true for the Artistic-Wisdom Goddess; we are now only interested in how her qualities express and in the love relation and ritual. And as already discussed, this tantric study will no longer discuss the Mother Goddess, except in how love goddesses bring care, compassion, and self-givingness into the love ritual.

Let's LoveIntro to the four Love Goddesses

All of the four goddesses in our study are love and sex goddesses, because each brings forth a uniquely different quality, attitude, approach, and style into their love and sex.

In terms of love and sex, the subjects of our interest here, the love-sex qualities of the Mother Goddess are expressed in Parvati as the caring and comforting woman, who is a selfless giver of enjoyment to her partner.

In terms of love and sex, the Achieving Goddess is represented in Durga, who is an assertive/achieving type of love partner, always heading towards what she wants and how she wants it. In common understanding Durga is a warrior goddess who fights injustices to human rights, or she is sometimes understood as a huntress. But as a love and sex goddess, her special quality of power is to achieve what she wishes by her assertiveness. She is the very opposite of passivity and indifference.

In regards to the Wisdom and Artistic Goddesses, these are combined into one Wisdom-Artistic goddess, known as Saraswati. Wisdom and artistic qualities are intimately related, for there is wisdom in the artistic attitude and way of seeing life, and also in the creativity of an artist. In regards to love relations, wisdom brings insight into the relationship – an ability to see deeper into reality and realize what is most important. Without wisdom a person does not see what's really going on and often gets caught up in their own illusions about what's real. And without wisdom a person fails to realize what's most important and tends to get caught up in less important stuff, rather than see the more essential goals in love – such as the quality and enjoyment of it.

Each of the three goddesses just mentioned are beautiful in their own unique way, and each can be sexy in their own way. Yet Lakshmi is particularly sexy and beautiful, in the sense of being the most outwardly enchanting of all goddesses. She enchants and turns on a man with her beauty and sexual attraction. Sometimes her beauty is most enchanting, while at other times her sexiness is most enchanting, and sometimes both. So Lakshmi is the love-sex goddess in the most classical sense, as being a love-sex enchantress by the seductive power of her beauty and sexual attraction. Yet beauty can come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. So there is no set standard for what this beauty is, and in many respects, it depends on the eye of the beholder, or eye of the lover.

Let's LoveDifferent kinds of beauty

In these teachings the quality of beauty is being attributed primarily to Lakshmi, but as already said, there is a kind of beauty in all of the goddesses. It is important in tantra that all goddesses and all women are recognized for their unique beauty.

Moreover, beauty has a much larger comprehensive meaning than just physical good looks. So there is a larger meaning of beauty, as well as a more specific concept of beauty as being aesthetically and physically attractive. This physical meaning of beauty is the beauty that is lovely to look upon, as found in the beauty of a body or a face. This physical beauty attracts and draws a man (or a woman) to kiss or be close to. This can also include the aesthetic beauty of clothes, the beauty of movement or dance, or any perceptual kind of beauty.

Yet beauty can mean more than this; or in other words, beauty can be found in other ways. There is the beauty in a way of being, such as the beauty of kindness, caring, and devotion. For example, picture a radiantly smiling woman with wonderfully beautiful facial features. Then picture the very same woman with great concern and care in her face for her child in need. These are two kinds of beauty. The former kind is the classical physical beauty of a woman (though could also be of a man) which, in both ancient and modern stories, enchants a man and draws his desire towards her. This is the Lakshmi kind of physical, sensual beauty. Yet the latter kind is the beauty of caring and concerned love, which can also be perceived but it is more essentially a quality to do with an activity or attitude or a way of being. We can call this the beauty of concerned love, and added in to this would also be the virtue qualities of selfless givingness, generosity, and service. These qualities are attributed to the goddess Parvati, and these beautiful qualities can be just as attractive to a man as the physical kind of beauty. Though Parvati can possess physical attractive beauty as well.

Another kind of beauty is the beauty of talent and skill, as can be seen, for example, in an artist, musician, or fine sports athlete. This is the beauty of a fine performance, or the skill shown in a musician, or the appreciated beauty of an artist. But of course, we can all be artists in our own way, such as anytime we bring forth our inner talents, developed skills, or our efforts to create beauty in a home or garden, etc. It can also be the beauty of someone working hard to build something or even repair something; whether this be a house or a relationship. We can call this the beauty of creativity, or creative talent, or creative work. This general quality of artistic talent is attributed to the goddess Saraswati, who is also attributed with wisdom.

There is also the beauty of intelligence and wisdom, so this is an additional kind of beauty. Intelligence and knowledge, also including practical know-how, are beautiful qualities found in both man and woman. One could even call this the beauty of a mind. And this kind of beauty is often even attractive to people. For example, a woman might even find the intelligence of a man to be a sexual attraction. And conversely, a man can also be sexually attracted to a woman with intelligence and knowledge. But if not sexually attractive, then at least these qualities evoke admiration from others and have their own special kind of attraction. So this too is a kind of beauty.

Let's LoveNuances

The Goddesses discussed in these teachings come from Indian traditions, in which there are pictures and mythological narratives associated with them, but these are not relevant to the teachings here. Moreover, these teachings will not reiterate the most common and usual understanding about these goddesses; in other words, this is not an anthropological or ethnological study. Fundamentally, these tantric teachings are essentially concerned with universal spiritual powers and qualities, as they enter into the love ritual, so it is in this respect that we are interested in the goddesses. Thus, the many images and stories about these goddesses are not relevant to our present discussion. And besides, these universal spiritual powers might well appear somewhat different in a different cultural setting or in a different personal experience.

Next, it could be asked, why these four goddesses, rather than others? Some people might have a favorite goddess not mentioned here, or some people might know of a more important goddess in their own tantric experience. There is a reason why these particular goddesses are experienced in tantra, but most fundamentally, it's the trans-cultural, universal powers/qualities that are important. A goddess name or goddess image, is not as important as the qualities and attitudes of its expression, so if one believes that a different goddess-name would better 'represent' the goddess-quality mentioned, then that would be just fine. Thus, if one wants to see these goddesses as angels, or as some other named goddesses, then this is not a big problem as long as one can mentally translate what is here into names and images with which one is more comfortable. So, one could replace a goddess mentioned here with one's own chosen goddess, if that feels more comfortable and useful. In fact, one could even have their one's own meditative vision of each of these four goddess powers, and whatever that is for each person is just right for them. Ultimately, each person will have to see, on their own, how to make all of this personally relevant and enriching to one's experience.

Next, in preface to more discussion about these love goddesses, these are just tendencies of a woman's approach or attitude in the love ritual. These are the four basic approaches and attitudes. Some women will have more of a tendency to be in one of these love approaches, while other women will tend to have a different approach. But in some women there may be a nuance or combination of a few of these goddesses, or one of them might be at the forefront sometimes while at other times another goddess will be manifesting. Everyone is somewhat different and unique, so in between these four primary love goddesses are various possible combinations, nuances, or subtleties. For the woman, these different attitudes and approaches are about different 'ways of being'. For the man, it is about different ways of experiencing the woman; though man can also discover these universal qualities in himself.

Let's LoveMany goddesses within One Goddess

The goddess powers are real. They are real within the collective psyche of all women and also all men; or in another way to understand it, they are real in the spiritual dimension of reality which 'subjectively permeates' this physical reality. These spiritual powers and qualities are real in themselves, yet they will appear and manifest somewhat uniquely for each culture and even for each person. Thus, we all share in a common, overall dynamic of spiritual energies, including the goddesses; yet each experience of 'how this is' (whether individual or cultural) will depend on a perspective, because any personal experience will have some kind of relative perspective or point of view.

Each goddess is a unique composite of spiritual powers and qualities. One could understand a goddess as containing and also expressing certain powers and qualities; not just trivial powers and qualities, but the most fundamental of what is spiritually potential in each human being. Yet to be more precise metaphysically, the goddess is the power and is quality. The power and quality are the same; it's just that sometimes we recognize the power of a quality, while other times we recognize the quality of a power. Thus, goddess, power, and quality are all really the same.

Also to keep in mind is the special way that goddesses are, which is that each is not completely separate from the others. Our normal way of understanding people is that each is a separate being, but with goddesses (as with all spiritual powers, beings, qualities) they are somewhat intertwined and blended with one another. In fact, each goddess has some of the others in it, which makes it possible for any particular goddess to perceive any of the other goddesses as being inside her, which then also adds in a potential for synthesis, integration, and wholeness.

This spiritual principle of every goddess being within each goddess is because all of the spiritual powers (or goddesses) are various reflected aspects (or faces) of the One Supreme Goddess, who is really the One Being from whom all beings emerge. Thus, all goddesses are spiritual reflections, expressions, powers, qualities, and manifestations of the One. So because of this, any of the goddesses can discover in her own particular being all of the other goddesses and even the whole Universal Being Herself. In tantra all beings come from the Shakti, and thus carry in them Her Essence and all of her potentials, and each being is a unique particular reflection of Her.

Furthermore, some of the goddesses are more comprehensive (or 'Greater') than others. Metaphysically, this could be called the hierarchy of goddesses. In tantra it is called the Royal Court. What this means is that one goddess might contain a number of goddesses; or that a number of particular goddesses might be contained in the comprehensive Being of a 'Greater' Goddess (a 'Larger' – more comprehensive and inclusive goddess - though not actually referring to her waist or breast size).

For example, the Goddess of Wisdom contains in Her a multitude of wisdom-goddesses, each with a particularly unique aspect of Wisdom, such as the wisdom goddess of crafts, which would then include all the many wisdom goddesses of each particular craft. So there could be a lot of different wisdom goddesses, yet all would be aspects of the great Wisdom Goddess - Who is an aspect (Power/Quality/Reflection) of the Supreme Goddess Herself (The Self from which all others emerge). Thus, there is an invisible hierarchy involved. Many people do not understand this implied metaphysics when they observe a religion as having many goddesses or many deities. They falsely assume that this means polytheism. In a sense it is, but in another sense it is not since all of these multitudes of deities are within one another and ultimately within the One.

As another example, the Artistic Goddess, or Goddess of the Arts, will comprehensively include (in Her Being) a multitude of goddess aspects, each one being the particular goddess power of a particular kind of art or talent. Further to keep in mind in one's metaphysical understanding, the Artistic Goddess and the Wisdom Goddess can unite as one integrated Goddess, which results in an integrated quality and expression of 'Artistic Wisdom'. As it is, wisdom and the arts are very often interrelated, since any craft requires its own special wisdom of how to do it, as well as a developed skill. For example, the Indian goddess, Saraswati, is Goddess of both Wisdom and the Arts. She contains and expresses an integration of wisdom qualities and artistic qualities. So both spiritual powers are in her, but when one of these is more expressive or evident than the other, then we might just see the 'goddess of wisdom' but not the 'goddess of arts', or vice versa.

Another example of a comprehensive Goddess is the Love Goddess, who brings to man (or to woman) the beautiful feelings of love. She evokes in him a passionate love for whoever he sees as a reflection of Her or for whoever is manifesting this Love Power and being the evocative agent of the Love Goddess. The Love Goddess, and all of her individual expressive reflections, bring men (or women) into passionate enchantment and intense attraction for Her. What makes her special is her power of attractive beauty and sexual energy. Each of the other goddesses are beautiful also, in their own special way, and may also have a power of sexual attraction; but the love-goddess quality is predominately beauty and sexual attraction in a classical sense.

Yet the Love Goddess, in Her most comprehensive Fullness, is more than just a power of enchanting attraction. Her power of enchantment and attraction is certainly one of her Love Powers, but not all, since Love (in its most comprehensive meaning) has a great breadth of multiple qualities or aspects, which we can realize in our personal experiences of love relations. For example, a man experiences love for a woman in many ways, or we could say that a woman can be loved for many reasons. A man might see in a woman great beauty, which attracts him and perhaps even enchants him. Her beauty evokes his love for her, and this may evoke his sexual desire for her as well. But this is not the only meaning of love, nor is it the only power of love. For there are many possible reasons for a man to love a woman, (as in 'I love her for this' and that and that), which mirrors the many various powers and qualities of love.

So Love is a very Big Power and thus, the Goddess of Love, in the Full meaning of Who She is, is a very comprehensive Goddess, Who includes a whole clan of more specific goddess. This will be important in our understanding of the love-goddess types who are most relevant to our tantric discussion. For in this specific topic of tantra, we are most interested in the goddess types, or goddess powers, that most fundamentally enter into love relationships, with even more specific focus on love-sex relations and how different goddesses enter into the love-sex ritual. Therefore, all of the goddesses discussed in these teachings are love goddesses, since the specific interest-focus in these discussions will be the sexual-love quality of any Goddess.

Overall, love and sex can be distinguished, though they are both quite related. One could make a distinction between the Love Goddess and the Sex Goddess, but such a distinction would start to blur in regards to sexual-love relations and to the love-sex ritual, because love and sex so often blend together in it all.

The Love Goddess could just as well be called the Sex Goddess, because she evokes a sexual energy and desire, as much as she evokes an atmosphere of love. For example, when a man calls a woman a “love goddess” he usually means that he is sexually attracted to her or that she brings sexual enjoyment; he doesn't just mean that she is a sweet caregiver or is motherly to him. So without any potential sex implied, or without any sexual love feelings or sexual attraction involved, the very meaning of a 'Love Goddess' pretty much disappears. In other words, sexual energies are already implied in what one usually means when speaking about a Love Goddess.

But of course, the larger meaning of a Love Goddess is more than just about sex or looking sexy hot, because a true Love Goddess has the power to evoke real love and even devotion from a man's heart, not just evoke his sexual desire. Moreover, a Love Goddess does not necessarily have to dress or act 'sexy', because her power to induce love and attraction could be much more subtle. So we could make a distinction between a Sex goddess and a Love goddess, with the Love goddess implying sexual energies yet being more than just about sex, while the Sex goddess might not necessarily evoke love in one's heart. For a Sex goddess (without the love) might just be an enchanting teaser or a kind of sex-object for man, or a sexual playmate but without much heart in it. So a Love goddess would also include being a Sex goddess (of some degree), but a Sex goddess might not necessarily be a Love goddess as well.

A Love goddess is thus more complete and powerful than just a Sex goddess, and a Love goddess will be a more fulfilling sexual lover, able to bring out from the man both his heart love and his sexual desire. Yet we should not underestimate the power of a Sex goddess, for she can enchant a man to give himself to her, and she may even transform at some time into being the greater Love Goddess. So we can make some distinction between the Love and Sex goddesses; but in these love-sex teachings both will be regarded as one great Love Goddess – with sexual power and attractiveness included.

Let's LoveExtremes and Archetypes

In teaching about these four goddesses, or what might be called types, it will be necessary at times to make strong emphasis on their qualities and even describe them in their extreme expressions. There is a good reason for this, which is that the quality or type can be understood better if we know its strongest expression. Then, once we understand how it is strongly, we can better recognize it in milder forms. By analogy, if one wants to learn about a type of art, then study strong or extreme examples of it, rather than examples that have a bit of this and that in them. If one wants to teach what sweetness is, then use cake or candy, rather than something mildly sweet. And we do this with archetypes as well. There is super woman who can accomplish anything, or there is Jesus who can heal anyone; and in thinking about these we get to know a way of being.

But in regular life we probably do not meet anyone who is at the far extreme. Rather, we and the people we know are not quite all one type with nothing of the other types. In a super extreme example, no one seems to be all sweet without some sour in them, and vice versa; yet it is nonetheless useful to think about an all sweet archetype or an all sour one, in order to really get to know what that general quality is. We don't meet the extreme super woman, but sometimes we recognize someone who has some of that in them. Neither do we usually meet the absolutely selfless saint, but some people approach that archetype better than others. It's because in real human life, most people are not just the extreme, not just the arche-type itself; rather, they usually have some of this and some of that in their makeup.

So in regular human life we will seldom encounter pure archetypes, or pure goddess powers in themselves. Instead we encounter women or men who have at least some sort of mixture – mixtures of the archetypal extremes, mixtures of the spiritual qualities. Hence, each person will be somewhat unique, a unique mixture of a few spiritual qualities, rather than an extreme of just one.

However, most people will be 'playing out', as it were, an attitude and behavior which has quite a lot of one archetypal quality, more than other ones. Even if a person in their general life is well balanced with many qualities, it can be noticed that one particular quality will be most present at any one moment or period of time. When this is the case, we can say that they are closer to expressing one archetype, rather than other possible types. Or in tantric terms, they are closer to one goddess more so than the others. In other words, the person is closer to being an expression of that goddess, which could range from a strongly extreme expression to a milder and subtler expression.

So if we understand the 'extremes' of possible expression in persons, which is to understand the goddesses in their extreme emphasis of quality, then we can better recognize these goddesses (as powers/qualities) in the unique nuances of a woman or man. In other words, if we are knowledgeable of a goddess type in its more extreme and strong expression, then we are better able to recognize it in less extreme, milder expressions. One needs to keep this in mind while reading the elaborated descriptions and comparisons. When reading, imagine what the quality is in itself and see it as a power in itself. Then, in practical experience, begin noticing a particular quality or power expression through someone, or playing out in someone, which will probably not be in its strongest extreme but rather in a human diluted form. And finally, begin to notice that goddess, or that quality-attitude, in oneself.

Spiritual tantra goes beyond concepts of psychological types, for it teaches that the inspirational sources of these types are actual spiritual powers and, in fact, spiritual beings who are entering into expression through the human being. One could look at this in a negative way (for one can look at anything in a negative way) and proclaim this as possession. But really, it is inspiration. The goddesses (and the gods) are spiritual inspirations and powers moving through us. This is not a case of unfortunate spirit possession, because this is just the way life is; there is no other alternative. We are the expressions of these spiritual powers and inspirations; and every type of quality and attitude that we express is inspired from the the spiritual powers of gods and goddesses. By analogy, tantra sees that the Self, or selves in a microcosmic way, is at play in the body of Maya, playing and dancing in the ever-changing world of manifestation (this world being Maya). Later on this too will be discussed.

These teachings describe four fundamental perspectives, attitudes and approaches to love, which are also known as the four directions. Each of the four goddesses stand at one of the four directions of a great circle, the Circle of our Self. Being in one of these directions (or coming from that direction), means that one is approaching the lover and experiencing the love ritual in that particular way, or from that perspective, which is distinguishably different from the other three ways.

It is just fine in tantra to be one of the extremes for a while, which is to be closest to the archetype itself. To be at an extreme means to be fully in a particular perspective, attitude, and quality. There is nothing wrong about this; in fact, it is only when we get fully into a particular goddess archetype or perspective, and have this direct experience, that we truly understand it. Thus, there is great value in letting oneself fully experience one particular goddess or type-of-attitude. Yet there is also a pathway in tantra known as 'Moving towards the Center'. This is the possibility of developing more a balance between two or more of the goddess archetypes, and so in a sense, moving towards the center of the Circle. This is a process of coming into a finer balance between all of the spiritual qualities, thus leading towards greater wholeness of Self-realization and integrated expression. This will be discussed in another section.

So in these teachings we will study the four Powers, the four Qualities, the four Goddesses of the Circle. And in turn, we will then try to understand their potential balance. But ultimately, it is by personal experience that any of us can learn anything real. For all of this is meant to be experienced, rather than remain as just an intellectual study – which, however interesting it may be, is worthless without exploration and experience.

Let's LoveMan's relation to the Goddesses

These different goddess attitudes and approaches will be relevant to both man and woman. Yet different perspectives will be involved. The most obvious perspective is for the woman to understand herself as one of the goddesses, while the man perceives that goddess expressing through her. So from the woman's perspective (as being a goddess), she can recognize the particular goddess quality that is now expressing through her. And from the man's perspective, he will be interested in perceiving how the woman is expressing – her particular goddess attitude and approach in the love relationship or love ritual. Relevant to a man is how a woman can be in the love relationship and to recognize which goddess type this is. Relevant to women, on the other hand, is how they can potentially be or express in the love relationship, and how each is a unique way to bring enjoyment into the ritual.

But then, all of this can be reversed, as a man can perhaps see what qualities he is expressing, or what attitudes and approaches he is in. This is the possibility of man realizing these goddess powers in himself, as well as recognizing them in women. For in a larger view, all of what is described about the goddess qualities can be relevant to a man as well, and not just to a woman. In the teachings here, the goddesses are described in relation to women - the different love attitudes and love approaches of women. But these goddess qualities could also be applicable to men, because men will have these different love attitudes and approaches as well. In other words, a man could see these goddess qualities in himself, because they most fundamentally emerge through all humans, at least potentially.

It will be easier for a woman to experience herself as one of the goddesses, more so than a man, because of the obvious gender distinction. But it is nonetheless possible for a man to also experience these different types of love attitudes and approaches within his own way of being, since they are essentially universal archetypes, not just qualities of women only. However, for a man to relevantly perceive these goddess qualities in himself, he will need to mentally make some adjustment to the teachings at hand. In other words, these tantra teachings can only describe one perspective at a time, meaning that all possibilities cannot be covered here.

It may be that in the love experience, a man will more likely experience himself as expressing god qualities, rather than goddess qualities. In other words, he will see himself as being a love-god, while he sees the love-goddesses in his female lover. Reversely, a woman in the love experience will most easily experience herself as being one of the love-goddesses, while her lover man will more probably be experienced as a love-god. But as already mentioned, these teachings cannot cover every possible perspective, and the focus here is on goddesses.

Also remember that one can relevantly relate to the love approaches in two ways; either as possible attitudes and approaches in oneself, or as those of the partner (as seen in the partner). Moreover, these attitudes and approaches of love and within a love ritual can be understood as analogous to all kinds of interpersonal relationships. In other words, if one sees a larger view about all of this, one will see many relevant connections to all aspects of relationship; and thus, this is not just about sexual dynamics, even though its focus will be on just that.

Now returning to the question of how a man can relate to goddesses, besides just having sex with them, let us briefly examine the interesting question... are men also manifestations of goddesses? The answer to this is partly yes and partly no. Psychically, the goddess powers are in men, just as they are in women, though how a goddesses is understood in oneself will likely depend on if one is a man or a woman. A woman can feel and understand the goddess in herself and be inspired by this, and as well, she can self-identify with being a goddess in her outer activity. A man can also relate to his inner goddess as an inner inspiration, but he will not tend to self-identify with this in his outer personality and activity. For example, in heterosexual lovemaking a man will not usually have an experience of being a goddess, though he might feel an inward inspiration from the goddess or feel the power of goddess energy flowing through both him and the woman.

So for the man, he will more easily self-identify (in his sexual activity) as one of the powerful gods, rather than as one of the goddesses. Yet these gods are all related to the goddesses; as each god is a mirror image of a goddess, and vice versa. Each is a mirror of the other, yet one has a masculine persona, while the other has a feminine persona. Realize that all goddesses are different facets of the One Great Goddess, which in tantra is Shakti. In other words, the goddesses are personas of Shakti, but they are also real powers of Her. Symmetrically reflecting this, all gods are facets and personas of Shiva. Yet in an even larger understanding, Shakti and Shiva are the complementing polarities of the One Absolute Being, in which all beings exist and of Whom all beings are. The principles of polarity, reflection and mirroring, are essential in the teachings of tantra.

So in mirror to Shakti is Shiva, and vice versa. Some say that Shiva came from Shakti; but others say that Shakti came from Shiva. In truth, they Both are complementing and mirroring sides of the One Absolute Being; in other words, they are two polar aspects of Being Itself, or Reality Itself, which could be called Spirit, or God, or Allah, or Brahman -- yet remembering that these are mere names (and what a name refers to is just what a person means by it), and also remembering that the One Absolute Being has no distinct gender - so if one says the One Being is 'God' or 'the Goddess' or Allah or Brahman, then this could not be a male vs. a female deity, since its meaning would have to be beyond gender. All gender, and thus all of the gods and goddesses, are different aspects of the One Being. The true esoteric aim of tantric ritual is to experience the One Being, whereby any distinct personal self-ness is dissolved, as the partners dissolve or explode into absolute Unity (or absolute blissful void, called samadhi or nirvana), and in this omega experience of being the One there is no more gender sense of goddess or god, and even all of them disappear.

Let's LoveLove and sex

Love can be distinguished from sex, just as being loving can be distinguished from being sexual, and yet the ideal is that both are together. The difference is that love may or may not include sex, and sex may or may not include love; yet in our tantric studies it makes most sense to speak of these together, since the love-sex ritual is a primary theme of tantric discussion. So even though this may not always be the case, we will assume here that the loving relation between the woman and the man will also include sex; and conversely, that the sexual ritual will also include love, at least some.

These teachings about the love goddesses are most evidently in regards to sexual relationships and the love ritual. The love ritual, in tantric terms, involves sexual relationship, sexual experience, sexual activity, and sexual enjoyment. This is not to suggest that all love relationships need to involve sexual enjoyment; for there can be enjoyable love-relationships without sexual energy involved. And there can also be botherly-sisterly kinds of love relationships, which do not involve sexual contact nor sexual desires. But in this particular study of love relationships, there will be an emphasis on sexual love relationships, rather than try to also include all types of non-sexual love relations. Though these teachings can correlate to the larger topic of all human relationships.

So because there will very often be a sexual reference and undertone in this teaching, some readers might think that there is too much emphasis here on sex and not enough on heart-love -- which ought to be involved in the sex. This is a valid concern. For love is of great spiritual and emotional importance in our lives. Love, as a quality, a feeling, and as an experience, is very deep in meaning. In human relationships, especially partner relationships, love has many facets, many important essences, such as caring about the other, having compassion and empathy, appreciating and respecting the other, and feeling closely connected or intertwined together.

Love in a relationship also usually implies some degree of commitment to the relationship, giving a trust to each partner that the other won't suddenly leave (even though this may painfully happen in love). Commitment also means that both partners are into building an ever deepening bond which we could most simply refer to as a deepening friendship, and both are into a longer-term process of psychological and spiritual unfoldment which is nurtured by each other and often reflected in each other. This longer-term process requires mutual caring, compassion, empathy, appreciation, respect, open-minded exploration of each other, and feelings of connectiveness.

So we can see here that love involves many aspects and qualities, including a longer feeling of time together and commitment to nurturing each other's process self-actualization and spiritual awakening. And even all of this does not seem to fully describe all of the depth of what love is.

Another facet to what would be considered as a more holistic sex-with-love relationship is a mutual interest in and appreciation of the other person's intellectual, emotional, and also soul aspects of their total being. In other words, in just-sex the partners would be in a just-physical relationship, loving each other's bodies and the physical enjoyments of sex. But in a more holistic loving relationship, both partners would also be interested in and appreciating of other aspects of their partner, besides just their body and how they are in the physical sex. These other aspects include the intellectual, emotional, and also soul dimensions of the partner.

This addresses a common question in love-sex relationships, which is something like, "You love my body, but do you also love the rest of me?" This may not necessarily be verbally or overtly asked, but the question is pertinent to anyone wondering if there is more to love than just the physical sex. The answer to this question is yes; there is more to love about the other person, than just their physical body and how it feels in sex. So to love more about the whole person, rather than just a portion of that person, is an additional possibility in the sexual ritual. The actual love-sex dynamic will be increasingly more profound and more enjoyable on deeper levels, when there is more to the love than just loving the other's body.

But we need to also look at this question realistically. First of all, there is plenty of time in a relationship for mutual intellectual discussions and appreciation of each other in this respect. So to love the whole person, the intellectual portion of each person does not need to always be present in the sexual experience. In fact, sexual experience is best when the intellect has taken a back seat. So during the time of sexual ritual, this is not the time for intellectual discussions, nor for having a great intellectual relationship. People who are more highly intellectual or who tend to be intellectually verbal will need to let all of this go and not even think about it, -- if they want a more profound sexual experience. So as far as the intellectual aspect of the partners, this is not really the time for 'appreciating or loving your mind'; except perhaps appreciating the imagination of the other and also their poetic words of love.

Next, in regards to appreciating and loving the other person's emotional facets, this can very well be a beautiful part of the sexual experience. In fact, all of the greatest emotional qualities and feelings of a human being can emerge in the sex-love ritual, and thus be appreciated and enjoyed. For examples, these involved emotions would potentially include happiness, joy, enjoyment, excitement, interest, caring, generosity, givingness, empathy, feelings of interconnection and unity with the other, and even maybe improve self-confidence and self-esteem. In addition, all negative emotions seem to disappear in the lovemaking. So without any doubt, there is already emotion in most sexual experience; though all of these would still have to be regarded as potentials within the sexual ritual, since it is still quite possible for people to have physical sex without much emotion at all, making it basically a just-physical experience.

We have to see, though, that a greater emotional component to sexual experience, with more of all those positive emotional qualities involved, requires the person to actually allow their emotions to emerge and thus bring more emotion into the sex. For some people emotional experience and expression is quite natural and easy, some other people are more reserved in their emotions, less expressive, or sometimes the emotional portion of their being is either repressed or simply underdeveloped.

Also to mention about emotions involved in sexual experience is that love, in the larger sense of what it is, must be willingly brought forth into the sexual ritual by each person. It is true that a deep love for the partner will sometimes spontaneously emerge into one's experience, which are very deep and beautiful moments. But each person also needs to take some personal responsibility in bringing forth love into the sex. This means being more conscious of the love that is in one's heart, then letting this love from the heart enter into the sexual experience, thus permeating the whole sexual atmosphere with love. This can be understood as bringing love into the experience, or bringing heart into it, or as enfolding the other person with one's love. So in this sense, the answer to having more love in one's sexual experience depends a lot on oneself -- it depends on what I bring into it from my own heart and it also depends on how much I open up to the love that may be radiating from the other.

Finally, in relation to this question of having more of the whole person in the sexual experience, we can bring in the soul portion of our self and also lovingly experience the soul of the other. What does this mean, the soul? Many people do not even believe in the soul, as the word is usually understood in a religious context. But in the most simple and easily understood meaning of soul, a person's soul is the great potential within them. These are the human potentials for creativity, love, and wisdom. These are potentials of the Whole possible person.

The soul is like a huge reservoir deep within a person, which contains all of the wonderful potentials of who they can be. This great reservoir within a person can be seen, it can be recognized and loved by the lover. This doesn't just ordinarily happen in sexual experience, but it is certainly possible. This recognition and experience of the lover's soul, as beautiful waters and as gleaming gems awaiting to emerge, is one of the aims in tantric love ritual.

Some of the person's soul will already be evident and expressive. So one can perceive parts (or gems) of the other person's beautiful soul in their actual expression or way of being. Yet a larger portion of their soul will still be 'in potential' or still awaiting the person's realization and their allowing of it to come forth.

Moving towards a more spiritual definition of soul, the soul contains all of the great spiritual goodness and spiritual love inherent in the person, and we can understand these spiritual qualities as coming from an even greater source, from God or from the Goddess.

In addition, an extended meaning of soul might also be that deep portion of the love partner which is like a reflection of one's own true being. That is, one sees in the other a reflection of one's own self. Yet this recognition has a subtle nuance. For in one respect, one is able to recognize (in the other) what is already known about oneself, and thus there is a resulting feeling of being soul-connected, soul-intertwined, or of even sharing the very same soulness. But in another respect, one is recognizing (in the other) significant qualities of one's own self which have yet to be accepted as being who one is and have yet to be expressed. This latter recognition is very subtle and is more of an intuition or perhaps a feeling, than an actual perception; because what is really happening here is that the person's own soul is recognizing its own potential qualities but the person's mind cannot yet understand nor accept this.

Therefore, taking into account the great depth and breadth of what love can mean, it can be said in truth about tantra that love is extremely important, to be cherished and nurtured. So there is no doubt that sex with love is preferred to sex just by itself - without real love in it. However, in the tantra there is no negative spiritual judgment about sex without love or sex for its own sake. In other words, in tantra there is nothing morally wrong or humanly demeaning about having sex without much love in it, (in terms of love meaning all of those many possible qualities already described). In tantra, if the partners feel that they both received enjoyment, or fulfilled some of their desires, then this is spiritually good and spiritually healthy. Mutual enjoyment is the primary value in tantra. But if there is love also added in, or a real deep love between the sexual partners, then this is regarded as even better and even more fulfilling. So go for the ideal and bring in love to the sex, but not to worry so much about if its just sex.

For with just-sex, there are still usually many moments of appreciating the other, caring about their enjoyment and what they enjoy, feeling connected with them and sharing a wonderful experience with them. As well, in any enjoyable sex there are the obvious expressions of appreciation, such as "I love how you are, love what you do, love how you feel, and I love this shared experience with you," whether or not it is said this way. So even in what might be called sex-without-love, there does appear to be a good degree of love involved anyways! Even though some qualities of love and the greater depths of love might still be missing.

So perhaps it would help in our understanding if we imagine a continuum-line with just-sex on one end and sex-with-love at the other end, with many in-between possibilities along the line; so that sex-with-love can range in possibility from being a mild degree of involved-love to being an extreme ideal degree of involved-love. Thus, it is intuitive to say that sex with love is preferred, but sex with less love isn't all that bad. So any sex that is more closely approaching the ideal of sex with lots of love in it will have a greater depth in the whole experience and also greater enjoyment for the lovers. But we can also be accepting of sex anywhere along the continuum, including sex without depths of love in it.

Again, in tantra, having sex without strong commitments of love is not judged as nonspiritual. Enjoyment is primary, so if enjoyment is present then love is present; even though any tantric initiate would agree that greater experiences are possible when greater depths of love are present.

As an example of the liberal open-mindedness about sex, in traditional times of tantra there were goddess temples where female disciples were available to have ritualistic sex, though this sex was reserved for male tantric disciples (disciples of the Goddess), rather than it being like a house of prostitution. Yet as part of the male initiating process, an initiate female would teach and lead the man in what might be viewed as sex therapy or sexual teaching, though with a spiritual foundation. In these tantric settings, the partners did not often have any long-term commitment to one another, and in many instances they were nearly strangers. However, many longer term relationships developed from these initial first encounters, and these ongoing-developing sexual-love relationships are regarded as more preferred over just the one-night stand variety of sex. This should make sense to anyone.

Lastly to mention is how sex can lead to love, just as love can lead to sex. Love, as broadly defined above, most often leads to sex, and hopefully good sex. However, even partners 'in love' can have a failed relationship if the sex isn't working. So a loving relationship (as we defined love) may not always depend on the sex, but many have left a loving partner just because the sex wasn't all they wanted it to be. But if two persons with a deep friendship, commitment and care for one another can also have great sex together, then this is certainly ideal. May great love lead to great sex.

But there can also be a reverse to this, with sex leading to love; when sexual attraction and sexual activity lead to a deepening love between the sex partners. This then is good sex leading to a greater and deepening love. As well, sex itself will often lead to emotional experiences and expressions, of which love can be included. So the love-sex relation can proceed in either way, with no judgment about which is better. Love can lead to sex, or sex can lead to love.

Let's Love Four Love Goddesses

First of all, the goddesses will have either an active attitude in the love ritual, or a receptive attitude. This is the polarization of active and receptive, whereby both are absolutely essential, yet one will be most predominate at any moment in a goddess's 'attitude and approach'. The meaning of this distinction will become more clear as the discussion proceeds. But generally speaking, an active attitude and approach is when the person tends to initiate or take the lead, as it were, or is more active in the love than passive. While a receptive attitude is when the person tends to let the other person initiate or lead. Sometimes this is simply being passive or even submissive; but one's approach could be to respond in receptivity to the other, like being the responding dance partner rather than the lead, in which case a receptively responding lover would not be just passive.

Let's Love Parvati

Parvati has a selfless serving attitude and intention. She is not primarily seeking her own pleasure, but foremost instead she is seeking to please her partner. Her attitude is all about giving to the other - what he needs or what he wants. So she is often perceived by the man as a great giver of love and sometimes as a healer. She is purely and devotionally giving. Her attitude in love is to sense, feel or listen for what the man wants, then give this to him. She is all over the man with her givingness, and serving him enjoyment is her goal and pleasure. Her love-giving is absolutely unselfish. Parvati's relational attitude to her lover is to be selflessly serving his wishes, needs, and pleasures. Parvati's attitude is to be all there for her man, while unconcerned about her own wishes and pleasures.

So in one sense, she is receptive - in that she is always receptive to the man's needs and wishes. She is always receptively listening, sensing, feeling, or seeing what he would please him. Yet in another sense, she is a goddess with an active approach, because she so often takes the initiate. In other words, she is not just passively awaiting orders from the man about what to do. That kind of obedience would be just fine with her, but she will often initiate kisses, caresses, and actively give pleasure to the man on her own steam, because she is already so determined to please him. So Parvati can also be actively assertive, but this is to please her lover while her own pleasure is not her forefront concern Her enjoyment is in her giving to the other; though she most likely enjoys the mutual pleasures of sex just as much as any other goddess.

Let's LoveDurga

The self-assertive Durga is an easily understood contrast to Parvati who is assertive in her serving, because Durga is assertive predominately for herself – being concerned about her own wishes, needs and pleasures. Her attitude towards the love relation is mostly about her. It's what you can do for me, or what can I achieve or get out of this relationship. And she is self-assertive in asking for and maneuvering towards what she wants. It might be an easy simplification to say that Durga is selfish in her attitude and approach to love, in contrast to the unselfish Parvati. But let us not be too quick to morally judge Durga or simply label her as negatively selfish. Instead, let us see her positive quality of being self-assertive and reaching for what she wants, rather than merely being passive or just giving without any regard for her own desires.

Thus, Durga is very obviously an active-approach goddess. She easily takes the initiate and the lead, is very often on top of the love situation, and she can be very active in the love-making itself and not at all passive. Yet she sometimes will be submissive, or allow the man to take charge, but only as long as the man is successful pleasing her. In other words, she is quite happy laying down submissively and being pleased, but her submissiveness is for her own pleasure, not really for the man's. As well, she might give certain pleasures to the man or also fulfill his desires, but only to the extent that this 'service' to the man will be reciprocated at least equally, if not more.

Thus, Durga and Parvati have active approaches, yet active in different ways. Durga is active in a more classical way, as being self-assertive; while Parvati is active in an unselfish self-giving way. Yet both would have a tendency to initiate. One might be like, 'let's see what I can do to please you', while the other is like, 'let's do it my way'. Yet remember that Durga still needs to 'turn on' her prey, in order to get what she wants from him.

Now at first glance, from the man's perspective, many men might very much prefer Parvati. All that devotion and selfless giving sounds pretty nice. Parvati is like a sexual care-giver or the sex-nurse that man has always wished for, or she's like a woman server in a Sultan's harem. But on the other hand, many men might find Durga to be more interesting and perhaps challenging. In addition, Durga's conquest and achievement oriented thinking is very similar to how most men work in the world. She's usually smart and successful, or at least moving towards success.

And in love-making, Durga is not timid, nor passive. Durga can be very sexually demanding. She often will not even ask but just take charge in the loving, doing it her way and getting what she wants. She takes the man for herself and for her enjoyment, and she wants the man to serve her. When Durga asks and what Durga wants, the man feels compelled to obey and please her. So she could be a real sexual turn on for many men. Her assertiveness to get what she wants can also be pleasurable for the man, especially in sex since a woman getting what she wants will also mean a lot of sexual activity and pleasure for the man. Durga is a sexually aggressive lover. This may not be what a man always wants, but it is what a man sometimes wants.

Also, with Durga the man at least knows with higher certainty that Durga is really enjoying the love and getting what she wants, since she's always looking out for her own pleasure and usually achieving it; while with Parvati the man might be unsure as to if Parvati herself is actually enjoying the love, since she is always so giving, undemanding, and even uncaring about her own pleasure. So for a man concerned about how the woman herself is enjoying love and being pleased, he might tend to worry about Parvati's unconcern for her own pleasure, such that the man doesn't then know if she is really getting much out of it all. Some men might be not be concerned about this, if they are predominately concerned just about their own pleasure and what a woman can do for them. Some men might not care at all if the woman is pleased herself, for what matters is one's own pleasure. However, many men do care about how it all is for the woman, and in fact, the pleasure of a woman can be a great turn-on. And with Durga, her own pleasure is much more out in the open and evident.

In addition to these positives of Durga, there could be a very powerful love-making if both partners are self-assertive, as long as they both don't butt heads about it. Mutual self-serving attitudes can turn into a powerful time of synergy, and even a sexual struggle for dominance can turn into an exciting sexual frenzy of sexual wills. On the other hand, in defense of Parvati's attitude and approach, if both partners are mutually selflessly-giving, then the love-making could also be very synergistic, powerful, and successful, with the mutually given enjoyment increasing infinitely. Imagine the sweetness and enjoyment of love, if both partners had a raging desire to please the other and they were in an attitude of absolute giving to the other. This attitude and approach of mutual 'self-giving' from both love partners would be quite different from the other approach of mutual self-serving or mutual self-getting. The experiences would be different.

Also in this comparison, Parvati more evidently seems to be the spiritual one, since she is selfless and serving, which are regarded as spiritual qualities, religious or even saintly qualities. In fact, all the major religions regard selfless service as a pinnacle of spiritual attainment. Whereas Durga appears to be a selfish and self-centered person. Yet from the perspective of normal psychology and especially feminist psychology, Durga is a healthy ego and will tend to be more successful in the world, with her assertive attitude and go-for what I want spirit. And from the feminist and psychological perspective, Parvati is either: terribly neurotic and without any self-integrity or will of her own, or she is a poor soul who has been culturally conditioned to believe that woman are meant to serve men, or she has allowed herself to be a sex-slave. Parvati thinks that Durga is an uncaring, unspiritual, self-centered bitch. While Durga thinks that Parvati is simply an idiot. But ironically, each can be enjoyable for a man, both in courtship and in a love ritual.

In tantra though, both kinds of lover, Parvati and Durga, are considered equally spiritual. Tantra does not make spiritual judgments about selfless devotees being spiritually better or more advanced than those seeking their own self-enjoyment. Each has its place in a larger view of life. Neither does the tantra believe that religious kind of people are spiritually superior to earthy worldly people. And neither does tantra make a value distinction between spirit and body; for both are considered Spiritual.

So in describing Durga as self-assertive in her self-interest, the tantra makes no judgment that she is spiritually inferior to Parvati. Parvati gets her enjoyment, but her approach is different. Durga knows what she wants and asserts herself in getting it, but in making love this way she too gives the man great enjoyment, for man enjoys being taken by woman and serving her pleasure, as much as he enjoys taking the woman or being served by her. So what begins as self-serving action can turn into other-serving, just as selfless serving can turn into a self-enjoyment. Love-making is mysterious, in that it will often rhythm and circulate back and forth and around itself.

Let's LoveLakshmi

Lakshmi can be regarded as a receptive goddess. She demands nothing and is not an active initiator in loving. Instead, she receptively waits for the man to have her, and she receptively receives his love. Yet, she still wields tremendous power by her unique approach, and by this receptive approach she does get what she wants. For she wants a man to adore her, cherish her, be enthralled by her, be seduced by her beauty, and even perhaps become obsessed by her. She wants, most essentially, to be adored and worshiped as a love goddess, or as a sexy goddess, or as a goddess of beauty.

Lakshmi is the enchantress, the seducer by beauty. Her sexiness and beauty has an enchanting power to excite the man and make him desirous to please her and come into union with Her. As with Durga, the man will feel compelled to serve and please Her, but Lakshmi doesn’t actually demand nor ask. Instead, She gives the man so much enjoyment by Her sensuality and beauty that he naturally adores Her and feels compelled to ravish Her with all his love.

Lakshmi is open to the man taking her, allowing of him to worship her beauty and love her body. She seduces by her readiness, her readiness to be taken and her readiness to respond. She has the power of a deliciously ripe peach waiting to be plucked and eaten. For this is her love approach, her way to be loved and gain love, and finally to be pleased by the man. Her way is to present herself as a delicious fruit, just waiting to be taken and eaten with delight. She presents her sensuous body to the man as gift of beauty and delight. And she waits receptively, even perhaps passively, for the man to be enchanted by her and want her, such that finally he is propelled (almost beyond his will) to have her and delight in her, and to also please her. And she is pleased by his advances, and pleasured by his adoring kisses and caressing hands on her sensuous body. She allows it all to happen so naturally, without any willful effort by either partner.

Lakshmi's receptive attitude is to wait for the other to make moves on her and actively love her. She presents her beauty and charm, like bait, then waits for the man's desire for her to increase and swell, such that he has to have her. So this is how Lakshmi captures her man; she first captures his fancy, then his sexual energy, and then his complete devotion.

Lakshmi draws the man to her by her look, her her beauty, her sexual feeling. She is what most men think of as the sex goddess. She just has to look at the man and her eyes draw him to her, she licks her lips and the man’s own mouth gets juicy. She seduces the man without needing to lay a finger on him, and he goes crazy over her, wants her madly, and is drawn uncontrollably to her. That’s how powerful she is.

Her beauty and sensuality, but also her absolute receptiveness, creates this magical power of enchantment and seduction. So Lakshmi has this seductive kind of power. She plays a man with her seductive eyes and magnetic body. Her attitude is take me, have me, do what you will with me, but you must adore me, and it is in your absolute desire for me that I find my most pleasure. But of course you are welcome to please me in you advances, your kisses and your thrust. Thus, Lakshmi is the enchanting goddess, the seductive goddess, and she powerfully draws the man to her like a magnet. She has sexual magnetism. This is her power. This is her way.

Yet, Lakshmi is not always passive. She is waiting and she will not initiate any actual physical advance, except for her seductive kind of advances. These advances are more like, here I am, so beautiful and delicious, and ready for you. So this is a receptive-waiting kind of advance, because her advances will be a presentation-for viewing combined with passive waiting - for she wants the man to make the actual leap towards her. She wants him to actively thrust himself towards her, and she will not thrust herself onto him.

Lakshmi's seduction can actually range between being highly extrovertive to being simply passive, yet both can be effective. For example, a Lakshmi woman might be very outgoing and extrovertive in her seductive dance. She might be regarded by other women as flaunting herself or showing off. She might have developed quite a skill in the seductive dance of very gradually and teasingly exposing more and more of her sexual beauty and ready-receptive attitude for being taken with pleasure by the man. Yet on the other extreme, Lakshmi might manifest more passively and not so extrovertively. She might be mostly quiet, even reserved, and might even show herself as being indifferent to any man's attention, and she is certainly not flaunting herself. However, her power of seductive beauty and sexiness will nonetheless show through and attract many men to her. She is simply much more in a waiting mode, yet nonetheless her seductive power is great.

Lakshmi also has an active aspect, in that she is ready to actively respond to the man’s attraction and advances towards her. She is ready to respond to the man's love advances, and she will usually mirror back to the man whatever he gives to her first. For example, when he tenderly touches her face, she responds with her own tender touch. When he kisses her, she kisses back. But again, some Lakshmi women are more quickly to respond, while others play harder to get and thus might make a man do more of a devotional dance for her before she will respond in turn back to him.

In general, Lakshmi has a predominately receptive attitude, waiting for the other to make moves on her and actively love her. She will actively respond with love to that person, but only if they show love to her first, or show her adoration, or make active loving advances towards her. Lakshmi can also be active in her seductive dance and actively express a lot with her eyes and gestures, but she remains receptively waiting for the man to be captured by her charm and assertively make a forward advance towards her. She is not going to physical jump on the man, though she may flaunt her beauty and sexiness all around him. Essentially, she presents herself and radiates her charm, then she waits, but with a readiness to enjoy the man's assertiveness towards her. Yet he must come to her, for she will not come come to him first.

This kind of attitude can be contrasted with Parvati and Durga; in that Parvati will actively initiate moves towards the man to actively physically love him and please him. She might well ask what he wants and he tells her, which does involve a receptive listening, but her main attitude is to initiate love and pleasure for the man. Durga also has an active attitude and approach, but her attitude is to initiate moves and work towards an aim of being pleased herself by the man. Like Parvati, Durga might steam in and make things happen, but her foremost aim is to fulfill her own desires and pleasures, whereas Parvati's foremost aim in is for the other's pleasure. And of course, any of this can occur at any time during the love-making, not just at the beginning.

With Durga and Lakshmi, the man feels compelled to eat her up and ravish Her with all of his body, his hands and mouth, and penetrate her with the love she needs. Their goddess power is to compel the man to give all the love he’s got. And as he does, his pleasure and enjoyment increases, which drives him to further ravish Her. So She has the power to excite and give him pleasure, as he gives love and pleasure to Her.

But Durga demands the love and makes the man her sex slave, while Lakshmi seduces love from the man. With Lakshmi the man feels that he is taking pleasure from her. From the man's perspective, Lakshmi seems to be giving pleasure to him by her beauty and her sensuous body. She seems to radiate pleasure, enjoyment and delight to the man -- which is Her power. So as the man makes an approach to Lakshmi, he feels that he is doing this for his own enjoyment. He is not doing this as an act of loving service, nor as being a slave to her wishes; rather, he feels that he is approaching her to take her for himself, to eat her and penetrate her for his own pleasure. Whereas with Durga, the man is serving her wishes (but also enjoying it). He is eating her and penetrating her for the sake of Her pleasure, wanting to give her what she wants.

Lakshmi ends up getting the adoration and enjoyment she wants, yet by a more subtle means, drawing the man to her with the power of her magnetism. She is covertly getting what she wants. Whereas Durga is overtly assertive and takes charge of the relationship and the love-making, leading the man directly towards her pleasure. Durga assertively seduces the man to have her and please her. Yet all of this is Shakti’s desire to increase Her pleasure of the body, or to compel the man to bring out more of Her inherent sexual excitement.

Within woman and inspiring her sexuality is the power of Shakti within her. This will feel in the woman as a sexual desire, a sexual pleasure, or as a sexual power. Sometimes a woman feels her own sexual desire or power, as it rises from the depths within her, below her belly. She will then seek to fulfill her desire or to express her power in some way, and there are many possible ways.

Using this power, she might become more assertive in having sexual experience with a man. Her energy might then come forth assertively and overtly. This is the power of Durga, which is regarded as an electrical power, direct and to the point. Or, the woman's sexual power may come forth seductively, as a magnetic power which draws a lover towards her. The woman emits a sweet sensuous-sexual energy, which is magnetic. This is the power of Lakshmi, who can evoke sexual desire in a man and draw the man to her. The power of Lakshmi pulls a man to her, but without any overt force; instead, her power is to magically make the man come to her and have her. In contrast, the electrical power of Durga will overtly take the man directly. By analogy though not to necessarily take literally, Durga jumps on the man and actively takes charge of what shall be; while Lakshmi seduces the man to jump on her. Lakshmi pulls the man to her, but not overtly nor aggressively.

Durga is similar with Lakshmi, in that both would love it if the man ravishes them, adores them, and powerfully takes them. But Lakshmi seduces this from the man by her sexual magic, while Durga isn't going to wait around for the man to be magically seduced -- instead, she takes the initiative, she 'grabs hold' of the opportunity and makes her desire manifest. So Lakshmi wants and needs to be loved, just as much as Durga, but she’ll wait for the man to come to her, because her foremost desire is to be adored and worshiped, not merely to get pleasure from the man.

So, unlike Parvati who actively takes initiative to serve and please her man, and unlike Durga who assertively takes the man as she wants him, Lakshmi seduces and draws the man to love her and take her. She loves to be taken, adored, and loved passionately, yet she does not just lay there passively when loved but responds with enjoyment from being passionately loved. She responds by meeting the man’s lips, kissing him passionately back, and meeting the man’s thrusts with her own enjoyed thrusting. So she is not passive in her response to love, but is allowingly passive to the advances and actions of love made by the man, to which she naturally responds. Thus, she can be active in the love making -- but in response to the other, rather than as an initiator.

Lakshmi does not initiate the loving because she wants to be taken. But once the man makes moves towards loving her, she meets him with an equally passionate response. She is often like a mirror to his initiating love and attraction, or a dancer who gracefully mirrors the partner. Later, after being heated up in the loving, the Lakshmi woman may transform into one of the other goddesses. She might change into an assertive Durga, or if she really gets heated up and lost in the loving, she might even transform into a wild and self-abandoned Kali.

Lakshmi has a power of beauty and sexy magnetic attraction. But this power of Lakshmi is not just confined to the elite of sexy beautiful babes. Most woman will not think they are a sex goddess and many woman doubt their own beauty. The tendency of the modern western culture is to compare oneself with certain ideal models and judge oneself accordingly. Woman tend to be particularly concerned about their beauty or looks, and they tend to be unfairly critical of themselves.

What women need to know is how easy it really is to be beautiful and sexy in the eyes of a man, or another woman if you like. A certain amount of practical care towards being beautiful and sexy is usually needed, but beauty and sexiness can be achieved by most women, even if the woman is not the classical model of Aphrodite. Virtually any woman can be Aphrodite or Lakshmi, with the power of this sexy love goddess. Having an enchanting look of beauty and sexiness is more to do with how the woman is, her style of attitude and being, rather than having a particular look or style as presented in movies or in fashion magazines. Lakshmi has a style of sexiness and beauty that is more to do with her attitude and being, which men instinctually recognize and are attracted to. Also, self-confidence and self-belief is a great part of Lakshmi’s power. As well, there is power in the radiance of her self-feeling about wanting to be loved and taken sexually, and her readiness and openness for it.

Let's LoveSaraswati

Saraswati is the Goddess of Wisdom and the Arts, which we combine together by calling her the Artistic-Wisdom goddess. She has qualities of being a creative, artistic and imaginative person, as well as having a natural spiritual wisdom.

Wisdom includes intelligence but is more than this. It is also more than just know-how or having a lot of knowledge about whatever. Wisdom, as defined in these teachings, is an ability to be receptively present to the truth - as it emerges in any moment or through any person. Then, by way of this receptive presence, one can continually learn. In addition, another essential aspect of wisdom is love. This can also be understood as having heart in one's presentness or in one's receptive presence, or as coming from the heart. So wisdom is not just a mind thing or intelligence thing, and it is certainly not just having a lot of 'knowledge' to teach.

Wisdom is intelligence combined with love, and insight combined with compassion. Wisdom, as well, is having the right attitude to learning. As it is said in Zen teachings, the wise man is not a man full of beliefs, but rather the man who is empty enough to learn in every moment. Saraswati's foremost interest and attitude is to learn. She is always interested in learning - learning about the man she is with, learning about her own self and feelings, and always wanting to learn more about love and life and the bigger purpose of it all. This is what makes her the Goddess of Wisdom.

Saraswati's desire to always learn and understand more makes her receptive to the man she is with and receptive to life in general; because to learn and understand requires a receptive attitude. In order to learn, one has to be receptive to the environment and the people present. One has to have this kind of attitude. So more so than the other goddesses, Saraswati is able to learn more about her lover, and she is also quicker to learn about love dynamics. This is all because she is receptively open to learning and also has the ability to stay present in the moment – which is really where any learning happens.

This is Saraswati's receptive attitude – a receptivity to learning about the other and also about herself (receptively learning about her own honest feelings and of what is most important for her). She is also inquisitive about life and the purpose of life. In addition, she is coming from love, because she is coming from her heart. Parvati is giving of love, Durga is assertively working on getting love, Lakshmi is expecting love, but Saraswati is simply wishing to be true in her heart about what is love and if love is really there.

The love approach of Saraswati is the most subtle. Like Lakshmi, Saraswati has a power of enchantment and charm, but her quality of charm is more subtle and less perceptible than the outward beauty or sexiness of Lakshmi. She will often fascinate a man, but the man often cannot say why. She might fascinate a man with her artistic qualities and the inner talent that resides in her, or she might fascinate him with her wisdom qualities – her intelligence, her ability to be receptively present, and her overall attitude to be always learning. These wisdom qualities of Saraswati give her a special ability to deeply connect with her man, both mentally and in heart, which makes him feel that she really understands him deeply, and this itself is an attraction for the man's love and also his sexual desire.

It is too often assumed, mistakenly, that only a Lakshmi kind of goddess woman can evoke sexual desire from a man, through the seductive power of her physical beauty and/or outward sexiness. But a man's sexual desire will also be aroused by a woman's ability to really understand him. For a man wants to be understood, just as much as a woman wants to be understood. Thus, understanding by the other arouses the other's heart love and even their sexual desire.

Related to this is Saraswati's ability to be present – to be present in the moment and present to the one she is with. This presentness, which is also related to having 'presence', is even more of an attraction. Presentness brings both people consciously together in this moment and connects the energies of both people. Thus, being present 'brings together', which can be a kind of energetic sexual interaction yet without any necessary physical contact. It can get the sexual energies moving, and it has its own special magnetic attractive effect.

Therefore, understanding, presentness, and wisdom are sexy too, not just beauty or striptease. But so many people miss this simple truth. The heart can arouse sexual desires. An awakening of one's heart, evoked by the sincere understanding of one's love partner, or also by their being sincerely present, arouses sexual attraction and desires.

So, similar to Lakshmi, Saraswati has kind of charm which tends to magnetically attract a man. But her charm is more subtle than Lakshmi's outer sexy beauty, so only a very perceptible man will notice Sara's special qualities and thus be attracted to her. Sara does not try to intentionally use her charm as does Lakshmi; and in fact, Sara is usually unaware of her own particular kind of charm. Her charm is not a conscious part of her attitude and approach; but she does have the magnetically attractive charm of her wisdom and artistic qualities, which are her unique powers to enchant and draw a man to her.

Sara's power of attraction is different than Lakshmi's beauty and sexy gestures. It is the charm of her love presence and the wisdom revealed from her heart. She might still be as beautiful or even as sexy as Lakshmi, but those are not her foremost intentional and expressive qualities. Or in other words, she is not using, nor is she relying on her beauty and sexiness, to be loved or to induce desire from the man.

Instead, her foremost expressive qualities are the presence of love coming from her heart, the openness coming from her mind, and her creative artistic imagination. This is her spiritual presence, even if she would not use those terms. But her love is not just fancy or attraction or desire, which are the basis of most ordinary love. Instead, her love is just love. It's just the way she is - open-hearted, compassionate and understanding. She has a presence that is interested in really knowing you, in learning about you and discovering you. The Goddess Saraswati has an ability to deeply connect with her man, both mentally and in heart, and he feels that she really understands him deeply.

So this is how Sara is receptive; she has an open heart and open mind to really know you, or get to know you. This her foremost attitude. She's not necessarily out to unconditionally please you, she's not out to get something from you, and she's not out to seduce you with her charm. And so she doesn't have the same kinds of agenda as the other three goddess types. She might well have a lot of charm, but to charm you is not her game; it's not her attitude of approach. Instead, her approach is to just be there with you with heart and a receptivity to understand you as a person.

This is why Saraswati is the Goddess of Wisdom; it's because she has an open heart and open mind and is ready to discover who you are. And, she may well discover you, even more than you have yet discovered yourself; because she has Insight. She can see into you, which is gained from being in an attitude of receptivity, being wakefully open to the deepest quality of who you are.

Sara is not, like Durga, predominately concerned about her own pleasure. Neither is she, like Parvati, predominately concerned about the man's pleasure or of giving the man whatever he wants. And neither is she, like Lakshmi, predominately concerned about her seductive power and of being adored for her beauty or her sexiness, and of being taken by the man. The peculiar quality of Saraswati is that she doesn't really care about any of this.

Instead, Sara is all about just being open to the moment, learning about the man, and exploring her feelings about him. She is predominantly concerned about learning and understanding -- which will then involve exploring, and having an open mind of discovery. She rejects any fixed or fanatical beliefs about what is the right or best way. She is not too interested in the usual, but much more interested in the unusual and the unique.

There is also a fundamental attitude difference between Lakshmi and Saraswati. Lakshmi's attitude is -- Here I am. Look at me. See how beautiful I am. Desire me. Want me. Take me. I am your fruit to be eaten. Ravish me with worshiping kisses and desiring thrusts. Lakshmi relies on her power of attraction and hopes to encapsulate the lover in her attractive spell. She wants self-surrender from the man and undying devotion. Durga would like all of this as well, but she relies on her power of assertiveness, rather than on a power of attraction; and she attempts to more outwardly manipulate the situation, rather than use her magnetic magic. And then there is Parvati who is just into serving and giving, who doesn't have any care about personal power anyways.

Saraswati' attitude is not just like Parvati's attitude of unconditional givingness, but like Parvati she doesn't really care about what personal power she has, nor about wielding power to get something from others, whether it be enjoyment or worship. She's not interested in power. Instead she wants truth. She wants honesty and self-disclosure -- to be honest in herself and wanting the honesty of her lover.

She is not desperately seeking love from outside her, because she already knows that love resides in herself. She is just fine with love coming from a man and of being ravished with pleasure, but this is not her main desire and she is not so needy for this as is Lakshmi. Her main desire is to explore the truth of both her and her partner, and to also explore the potentials of each situation. This knowing of love inside, combined with her inquisitiveness for the truth, is what makes the wisdom. For wisdom is about love and learning what is important in life; it's not simply about knowing a lot of facts.

So one of the essences of Saraswati is her wisdom of knowing that love is already within her, and thus she might express an attitude quality of desire-indifference or non-expectation. She does not overtly show sex as her need. She is not trying to pull the man to her, nor is she pushing herself on the man. Some men will perceive this and think then that she is unattracted to them or uncaring about any sexual relationship, but this is not necessarily so. It's just that she seems different than the other goddesses and seemingly less concerned about the sex, since she is not putting any energy out about that. Yet some men may be fascinated with her as an unusual enigmatic mystery. Then some other men will really see who she is and they will start to attractively fall in love with her quality of being.

At the same time, she is a woman, and all woman love sexual enjoyment and love connections. So yes, she will love sex and she'll love the kisses and worship, just as much as Lakshmi, but Sara won't expect it, she won't demand it, and she won't use any power to get it. Therefore, the man has to take Saraswati. He has to show her he is real, not a fake, that he is honest and not just a sales-pitch. A man will be attracted to her, attracted to her love-wisdom and to her artistic imagination, and he will love her. But her power of attraction will not be intentional, nor seeking to seduce the man. Rather, Saraswati's power of attraction is just from who she is, from her self-truthfulness, her inner knowing of love, and the wisdom of her exploring and inquisitive mind.

A man will be attracted to a Saraswati woman – if they are able to actually recognize her (since her qualities are more subtle). Sara does not overtly seek out recognition (as Lakshmi), but nonetheless she needs recognition. Her heart needs it, even if her mind doesn't think it's important. Because with recognition, with being really seen, Sara will blossom out like a rose bud opening to the sunlight. Then, Sara will shine forth with goddess brilliance - because her inner treasures, her inner beauty, and her deepest love essence will emerge. So if man can recognize the heart and soul of this woman, then she will increasingly emerge from this recognition, and man will be in love with her.

The other main quality of Saraswati is her artistic genius and ability. She has a natural artistic talent, and she has a quality of being an artist. This quality involves the attitudes of open-mindedness, exploration, imagination and playfulness. In terms of receptivity, the artistic imagination is ''receptively open' to possibilities. Any artistic or creative person will understand that it's just as much to do with a receptive kind of approach, as it is to do with being an active creator of something. Some people have these qualities of 'being an artist' while others don't. Though remember that this is a potential in everyone. The artist is latent in everyone, so never count anyone out, especially your own self. If the artistic qualities of imagination and play are not present, then let them out of the closet!

So at heart Saraswati is an artist, who is interested in seeing each scene and each moment differently, or from a new perspective. And as an artist, she is imaginative, and playful in her imagination. Essentially, Sara wants to play. She wants to explore and play, the moment and the man, and have new experiences. But sometimes, in some woman, all of this is present and they know it is true about them, but they are shy to actually express it, or they lack in self-assertiveness and self-confidence. So inwardly, the Saraswati woman is ready to be wild, imaginative, and playful. She even knows its in her. Yet outwardly she might present herself as reserved - because she is not extrovertive or assertive enough.

Another factor in her possibly being reserved and un-revealing of herself is that she will not let herself loose and open for just any usual man; she will first have to test the man to see if he is worthy of her revealing her inner secrets - the hidden secrets of her love-sexual imagination, her potential playfulness and spontaneity. So before this kind of woman reveals all of her love-artistic self, she needs a very special man, one who can both recognize her inner essences and also show that he too has the artistic wisdom qualities.

This artistic quality in Sara will be attractive to a man, if he can see her. She fascinates him and may even seem mysteriously undefinable, an enigma. He may also see in her a special quality of being, or a way of being - which is the artistic wisdom quality of Saraswati. But if she can reveal more of her inner being, then more will be seen.

The quality that may first be seen in her is her imagination. The true artist, or creator of art, in whatever artistic field they are in, has the divine gift of imagination. Not just silly imagination; but profound creative imagination - an imagination of what could be, or a vision of the possible - which is then brought into actualization by the power and talent of the artist. An artist can be anyone who is into doing this - who can actually manifest something using their creative imagination and power of vision.

So Saraswati has the charm and magic of imagination -- which can be a real plus in lovemaking. For imagination adds possibilities to the love, which were not yet thought of. Imagination adds playfulness and exploration to the love ritual. Thus, playful imagination can be combined with the seriousness of enjoyment seeking. This doesn't necessarily mean silliness or bursting laughter in the love making. Rather, playfulness adds in a more relaxed and easy attitude. Playfulness also means that we are open to trying new movements, new positions, new ways to touch and be touched. And we can use our imagination in our playfulness and in our exploration of new adventures.

Let's LoveImagination and playfulness

Playfulness unfolds when our imagination is set free and allowed to dance. It's like letting our lost or imprisoned child free, the child who we really are, and allowing our child-like innocence to dance and play and enjoy. Let the imagination play! This is our true artistic spirit. Also, when there is playful exploration and imaginative expression, and trying new things, then we can actually learn new things, new beautiful ways and new beautiful enjoyments - discovering new facets of enjoyments and thus learning more about what more can be appreciated and enjoyed.

An attitude of exploration and discovery is sweetly important in any love ritual and it adds continual interest to each moment. This is an attitude where the partners are continuous exploring the moment, to be in the everchanging present moment, and to be accepting of how the moment happens to be. The lover can accept and enjoy each moment, no matter how it happens to be, because of being in this attitude of exploration.

For the attitude of exploration is like being a tourist in new place, or a hiker in a new unexplored area -- whereby the explorer kind of person is open to going this way or that way, doing this or that, and exploring different possible paths -- rather than getting mentally stuck in a fixed idea about what to do or how to do it, or being stuck in a pre-supposed plan or expectation about it all. So the love-explorer can fully be in the present moment and accepting in the present moment, rather than get disappointed if there are moments or times in the love making when it's not exactly how we usually have it or prefer it, according to our fixed ideas about what we like or what is the best way, etc.

Love-making is best when both partners have this attitude of exploration, exploring what is being presented in the other, what is being revealed in the other, but without any expectations or preconceived ideas about the other. Because when one is in this exploring and wakeful attitude, during the everchanging present moment, then there will be surprising unexpected moments of really seeing more of who this lover is. More of the other's realness will suddenly and unexpectedly be revealed. It's like another layer of the person being revealed. But this deeper layer was probably already there before we awoke to it; this was already present in the person and expressing from the person, but it wasn't yet noticed.

This is how it is with people. We notice so very little about the person we are with, compared to all that is really there. We just see a portion of the person, while the rest of the person goes unrecognized. And this can go on for many love encounters and even years, because our automatic tendency is to 'think' we know all about this person, when in fact we have only scratched their surface - we have only peeped through our very small hole of open-minded perception to see just a small portion of who they are, or perhaps we are so self-concerned and self-centered that we seldom even bother to look very closely. We have a few fixed beliefs about this person (like maybe we know their 'sign'), so then we presume that we really know them; when in fact, we only know them through the filter of our own beliefs.

So the only way to really know someone, or to embark on a gradual journey to know them, is to have an attitude of exploration and discovery (rather than settle in our cozy cottage of fixed beliefs) - which is to truly have an open awareness (and open heart) and sincere interest to know them, and to be open to those surprising moments when an as-yet-unseen part of them suddenly is revealed. Like aha, here is more of who you are, and I got to see it - I now see it. It's like an important an interesting part of the other person has suddenly come out from the dark and into the light, into the light of my experience. Something from the other person has finally escaped from the closed walls that I unfortunately made; so now, more is seen.

In addition, with the attitude of exploration and discovery, we are more open to understanding further about our own self. We can self-discover - we can discover about our feelings and energies in each moment. But to do this, we also need to let go of our preconceived beliefs about our self, and let go of our expectations and attachments, so that we can truly accept who we happen to be in the everchanging present moment, accepting our true feelings, our desires, and enjoying the moment of whatever. The most important elements in tantric love are self-sincerity and enjoying everything and every moment.

Related to the attitude of exploration and discovery is the attitude of flowing with the moment - which is to be in the love-flow and flow with it. Just be in the natural flow and flow with it. Trust in the natural flow. Trust that the love flow will take you and your lover on a sweet journey, a love deepening journey.

This is essential to any artistic person, and it is one of the essential wisdoms. Not to stop the flow with thoughts about "what should I do next to please him/her?" nor thoughts about "what next in my agenda for my pleasure?" nor thoughts about "is he really enjoying me?" or "does he truly love and adore me?" These thoughts might just arise from our mind, but we need to let them go and just be in the flow of the moment. If we do this consistently, then those flow-stopping thoughts will eventually arise no more. This ability to flow with the love-flow is a quality of Saraswati, but it is potentially in everyone, for all potentials are within us.

So the love partners do not have to pre-conceive how it all should go, but rather, be open to exploring the unknown, the mystery of where the love flow will lead them. This is the trust, but it needs the attitude of exploration and openness to continuous moments of discovery. Let the love-flow take you on this journey. In essence the love-flow is a dynamic energy which both partners are in. In the beginning stages of ritual, there will be less of this flow, so the partners need to gradually allow themselves to relax into whatever stream of flow there is; then as both partners do this, the flow will gradually build in intensity.

The real love-flow is a unified energy enfolding both lovers, which at first is fragile but can build up into a great power or wave that then takes the lovers on a beautiful journey to greater and greater ecstasy. It's not merely my flow or your flow; it's not about individual energy flows. Rather the real love-flow is the enfolding flow of both lovers together in it. So each lover needs to get into it. Some will jump right in, while others will timidly sit beside the stream and just dip their feet in once in awhile. Of course it does take some trust to get fully in it, because one is essentially losing oneself into the flow.

But the secret to gradually being in the flow is to gradually flow with the other. Essential for increasing the love-flow is the ability of each lover to flow with the other. If both lovers can do this, then the enfolding love-flow increases and each lover is more and more losing themselves in it. This love-flow then becomes the great transporting energy of the tantric love ritual, transporting the lovers into the ecstatic experience of supreme union. In tantra this is known as surrendering into the Great Goddess of absolute Love.

Let's LoveMoving towards synthesis and balance

Now let us consider the possibility of combining and merging some of these goddess qualities to create a better balance in one's attitude and approach. Note that this applies to both women and men. Each person right now is expressing either one the powers or a few together in some kind of creative synthesis. Combining them, in whatever degree is possible, can create more balance. But this is not always so easy; for it requires more consciousness of the other approaches as possible potentials for one's own self-expression, and it requires a creative process of gradually exploring the other ways of being, the other attitudes and approaches of love. So this potential for combining and creating more balance will require some self-expressive exploration.

This is not to imply that something is wrong with mainly expressing just one of the four goddesses mentioned. In fact, during a love-making time, one is most likely in just one of the attitude-approaches, which is like having one particular perspective regarding oneself and the other in the intercoursing relationship. Each of the four goddesses are also perspectives, from one of the four main directions: north, west, south, and east. Each goddess attitude and approach comes from one of these directions, similar to the Native American medicine wheel with the four powers (or qualities) of each direction. Durga stands at the north, Parvati sits in the south, Lakshmi shines in the west, and Saraswati rises from the east.

Each of the goddesses is therefore significant in the whole complete wheel of life, and each is important to our whole process of becoming whole. So it is best to begin from where you already are, or who you are, right now, and be accepting of this. But at the same time as being self-accepting (and non-judgmental) of what kind of person we are right now and the kind of desires we now have, it will also be important to not be attached to the particular pattern of how we are right now; because attachment to any single self-identification will of course hold one back from exploring any of the other goddess powers and will certainly prevent one from experiencing a creative synthesis.

The possibility of goddess combination and synthesis is actually not all that difficult; the difficulty is really in our ability to be conscious of how we we are right now and in understanding what is possible, and next it is more about our choice.

The first step, then, is to be conscious of who we are right now - and of what attitude and approach we are now in. And note that, when we are in a dynamic relationship or in a dynamic love ritual, we really are in some kind of attitude and approach. You probably just don't see what it is - because you are not used to noticing it. Because it has become so automatic and part of our self-identity of who we are, it goes unnoticed.

Each attitude/approach has its distinct perspective, which is the way one is seeing the relationship dynamic and seeing one's role in it. For example, if one is playing the role of Parvati, then one will see oneself in a different way than if one were in the attitude and approach of Durga or as Lakshmi. As well, Parvati will see the actual relationship dynamic in a different way than the other goddesses. This is the meaning of 'playing a role' – but usually neither partner is even aware of playing a role because they are so seriously into it (into this perspective or role) and it has become such an automatic personality pattern.

Keep in mind that in the greater cosmology of tantra, Shiva (the Conscious Self) is playing in Maya - the great Goddess of all Existence. He is playing and dancing inside Her. Note though that this Cosmic Dynamic of Love Play is true for both woman and man, though it will also play out reflectively in the love-making of man and woman.

So to return from this digression (and many digressions there have been!), the first step is to notice, in any moment of the love dynamic, which goddess attitude or perspective one is now in. This can apply to the man as well as the woman; but seeing this as a goddess power will be much more natural for the woman. Thus, the man could see this as a god-power within, rather than as goddess within, or else he could find some other way to make all of this relevant for him. In this teaching we are presenting the goddesses, and it is hoped that men can make it all real for themselves, as much as women.

Next, once in a realistic understanding about oneself, we can then start to explore one of the other ways of seeing the other and one's own 'role' in the love dynamic. The best way to explore is to just jump right into it; just give it try; you know, like try on a different attitude. You can always come back later to the other one you know best. Remember that in order to switch 'directions', or switch 'positions', as it were, we cannot hold on to where we are now and remain in our self-identifying attachment. So let go of the persona you are now playing, and jump right into the other way, even if it almost seems opposite. Get right into it - right into this new role, this new position.

For example, if you are now in an attitude of giving to the other's enjoyment; then switch to being in an attitude/perspective of getting what you want, or of receptively enjoying what is being given by the other. On the other hand, if you are now in an attitude of receiving from the other or of getting pleasure from the other, then switch over to being in an attitude/perspective of giving to the other, giving all that the other enjoys.

Then, stay in this new attitude, perspective, or position, for as long as you can; in order to fully have this new perspective of experience long enough to really get to know it. Then it becomes more of who you are and adds to your wholeness. These roles can then switch back and forth during the love ritual. This exploration of the opposite perspective is especially helpful towards our self-balance and self wholeness.

For example, Parvati's focus on giving will help to balance Durga's focus on getting. Parvati's desire to serve her lover and make sure he gets all the love he needs will help to balance Durga's predominant desire to serve herself and make sure that she gets all the enjoyment she wants. This does not mean that Parvati will simply replace Durga. It just means that Durga will realize and unfold some of the Parvati within her. So overall, she will still have a good deal of concern for her own enjoyment and getting what she wants. But with Parvati now emerging through her as well, her self-concern will start to be balanced by a desire to serve her love partner and make sure he gets a whole lot of love and satisfaction. What happens, then, is that Durga moves gradually towards fairness (or justice). Note that balance and fairness/justice are related ideas.

So Durga is moving towards being more selflessly giving, but she will not want to go 'all the way' to Parvati's attitude, but rather can find a middle area of balance and fairness. We might even imagine Durga saying, "I'm willing to serve and give him all he wants, but he better serve me and give to me as well, because otherwise the love dynamic would not be fair and balanced. So Durga can progressively inch her way towards Parvati's 'position' (in the south), but she would not want to go all the way to this other end of the full circle. Rather, she heads that way but does not just get stuck on the other end of balancing wheel.

This is an example of moving towards self-balance by exploring the opposite perspective, opposite attitude, opposite approach, or opposite 'position' (which in tantra has both a psychological and physical meaning). Durga is positioned in the north of the great Circle of Wholeness, while Parvati is in the south.

So for Parvati, her balancing opposite is Durga, because Durga brings in her attitude of 'seeking to get what I need', which helps to balance Parvati's tendency to sacrifice her own desires or wishes, for the sake of her partner's desires and wishes. Parvati's self-sacrificing and selfless giving may be a reason to grant her sainthood, but it is not at all fair and balanced in the overall love-relationship dynamic. It's lop-sided. Her saintly self-sacrificing and selfless-giving attitude is as lop-sided as is Durga's me-first self-getting attitude. So Parvati needs to gradually inch towards Durga's position, Durga's attitude; but not go so far as to merely become Durga rather than Parvati. Instead, she will need to find a middle place of being, a balance between the two extremes. And so, in Parvati's process of 'realizing her whole self' (which is the spiritual journey), she may well end up pretty close with Durga - if Durga also makes a journey towards balance. For after awhile, in their respective process of Self-discovery, they might both find themselves closer to the middle of the great Full Circle.

Durga can also be balancing for Lakshmi. Both Durga and Lakshmi capture what they want, but in different ways. Lakshmi has a skill for capturing what she wants, but it is done indirectly. Durga, instead, goes directly for what she wants. She might not get what she wants, and it would be smart to not have over-expectations, but at least she is willing to try. Many men will enjoy this approach. Many men will enjoy her even when she is aggressive. But most men will enjoy her direct approach better if it is tempered with gentleness and givingness as well. This balance will be very delightful to men.

Durga is the assertive and perhaps somewhat aggressive potential of femininity. But not aggressive in the sense of being harmful to her lover, nor out to forcibly rape him. Some men might have a tendency to be aggressive to the point of being forcibly manipulative of the woman, or even having pleasure from being harmful to her, but this is actually a mental-emotional sickness. On the contrary, Durga's aggressiveness is more like the huntress - using her skill, her courage, her self-assuredness, and her assertive will, in order to move towards what she wants. She captures what she wants, but not with any violence to the other.

A Lakshmi type will indirectly ask for love by way of her behavior or how she presents herself, but she won't be too direct about it and especially will not be aggressive about it, because she wants the man to make his own initiate towards her as a result of her seductive power. She wants the loving but also wants to know that her magnetic power brings this about. So she can be assertive but not in a direct way.

What happens, unfortunately, for Lakshmi and for many women in general, is that they tend to get disappointed in a man for not being seduced by her indirect approach or else disappointed in the actual love-sex experience when the man does not do all that she would like; but this is of course a consequence of her not actually asking or being assertive, but instead remain passively waiting for the man to "just know" what she wants or how she wants him. So from the viewpoint of the assertive Durga, this passive waiting kind of approach, and hoping that the man picks up on her vibe about what to do, is just plain silly or else it evidently lacks confidence and courage.

Many woman fear to express what they actually want, or they are shy about it. They fear being viewed or judged as being unfeminine or as being pushy - which is not how women should be (according to their belief). As well, many women are not assertive in regards to sex and also prefer to not actively take charge or take a lead in the lovemaking itself.

One possible reason for this is in how they think a woman should be; for many women believe that a receptive mode, or even passive mode, is more natural to who woman is - the quality of being feminine, or also that a good woman or a spiritual woman is one who has no concern for her pleasures but is meant to be in service to the man. But there is no real natural basis for these beliefs about who a woman really is, nor about this belief of what is right for a woman or what a woman should be. These beliefs seem to be just false presumptions that are simply based on an invented cultural or religious norm, which was then socially conditioned into woman's personality.

In tantra, there is nothing inherently wrong nor stupid about a woman being as either Lakshmi or Parvati. These are regarded as beautiful ways of being, but these should not be falsely assumed as being how all real feminine woman are nor how they all ought to be. Each woman is the way she is, at present, and this way will be respected and appreciated for how it is, but Durga teaches us that any woman can recreate herself, and any woman can add in more self-assertiveness to her love personality, (by bringing forth the Durga within her soul), but ultimately the choice is with each woman. Be how you want to be; Yet know that you have choice in this and can set along a different path at any time. Know that this is the truth.

Thus, Lakshmi (in the west) can also be balanced by Durga (in the north). These are not directly opposite positions, but in the great Circle each of the directions balance all of the other ones, thus bringing each more towards the center or more towards complete holistic balance.

For Lakshmi, positioned in the west of the Circle of Wholeness, her directly opposite balance will be Saraswati (in the east). Lakshmi's power of magnetism, which draws a man to her, can be balanced with Saraswati's power of wisdom and artistic imagination. Lakshmi's magnetism is still good to keep, for there is nothing wrong about her desire to enchant, to be adored and to be worshiped for her beauty. But if Saraswati can gradually emerge from within her, then Lakshmi becomes even more of a love goddess to adore and worship.

First of all, both Saraswati and Lakshmi have a power of radiance, which is recognizable to a man and also has a power of attraction. But Saraswati's radiance and magnetic attraction is more subtle than Lakshmi's. For it is based on the attractive power of her wisdom and artistic way of being. Many men will have a great attraction for this kind of woman, while other men are more attracted to the more overtly perceived beauty and sexiness of Lakshmi. So Saraswati's attraction of wisdom and artistry is often overlooked or unseen, while Lakshmi's attraction of beauty and sexiness is much more perceptible. But if Saraswati can bring out more of her own inherent beauty and sexiness, or at least bring out more into the open her inner wisdom and artistic imagination, then her special radiant quality will be better seen and recognized; thus adding to her attractive power.

In fact, each of the goddesses can add into their own quality of expression the Lakshmi power of magnetic seduction - experiencing oneself as continually drawing the love partner towards oneself - and also experiencing the Lakshmi perspective of being adored. For make note that both man and woman can feel adored and even worshiped in the love ritual. This is not to be dismissed, but instead it is one of the goals of tantra - for each partner to be actually adored and worshiped in the love dynamic. So let it be.

An additional kind of balance, between Lakshmi and Saraswati, is the balance of beauty and wisdom. Some woman focus on their beauty, which can become an attractive power, as well as their outer sexiness. Yet other woman may focus on developing an inner wisdom and also their creative talents. Then some women might do both, which is the obvious direction of balance. For why not have both, or be both?

Thus, if a woman is more on the beauty-attractive side, then she can work more on developing wisdom and her creative talents; and vice versa. Each can be developed because both goddesses are within one another and all of the potentials are within us. Yet there is a tendency for the one type of goddess to think that being the other type is simply too far away or too difficult to become.

But just imagine the greater possibility of beauty having wisdom as well. Then this would result in beautiful wisdom, or a wisdom of beauty. Or imagine sexiness having artistic creativity as well. This would then result in artful, creative, imaginative sexiness, or sexiness with an artistic style. Or also imagine someone with artistic wisdom having expressed beauty and sexual power as well. A woman with both artistic power and sexy power can be quite a powerful attraction; just as a woman of wisdom and beauty combined creates a compelling magnetism. What Lakshmi also offers to Saraswati is her outwardness and even her 'hey look at me' attitude. Saraswati might not be comfortable turning into an outright Lakshmi, but some of Lakshmi's quality and power could make Saraswati into a beautiful and magnetic artist of love.

Outward beauty and sexiness are certainly not tend-all goals of woman; yet there is nothing that need stop the artistic or intelligent woman from being beautiful and sexy as well. And remember that beauty and sexiness can come in many forms and many ways, so as such it is open to artistic creativity. Also imagine beauty and sexiness combined with the qualities of exploration, imagination and playfulness -- those qualities of the wise and artistic.

So, Lakshmi can balance Saraswati with her power of outer sexual attraction. Saraswati just needs to take one little step forward -- to become a love attraction and have a man ravish her like Lakshmi, and also be a giving enjoyment to the dynamic of lovemaking.

Saraswati needs to realize her own special beauty, her unique artistic beauty, then let her beauty radiate out. Let the light shine. Let the wisdom shine, and let the artist shine. Let the imagination shine. And let the artistic playfulness come out. Saraswati, come out in the open and play. Let loose your inner beauty. Let loose your imagination. Let loose your exploratory spirit and your inner wildness. Be like Lakshmi, with her outer radiance of beauty. Show and reveal the beauty who you are! So the lesson of Lakshmi, for Saraswati, is to show oneself. You don't have to have a self-centered or egotistic attitude about it, but show yourself, show who you are, the beauty who you are. It doesn't have to be an extreme attitude of "look at me, how beautiful I am." But you at least have to move in the direction of allowing yourself to be seen and recognized. It's like any art; one needs to show the art and share the art, for otherwise the art remains in hiding and unseen.

The attitudes of both Parvati and Durga can also be balancing for Saraswati, leading her more towards the center of it all and to greater wholeness. Each of these four goddesses can be balanced by each of the other three. The positive balancing quality of Durga is in her self-assertiveness and in her intention to get what she wants. Also, any of the other goddesses will benefit from her will towards achievement and success. In fact, if Durga's self-assertiveness is combined with Saraswati's wisdom and with Parvati's concern for the other, then Durga becomes a goddess working for fairness and justice in the world. And if she gains Lakshmi's power of charm, then she becomes a very powerful spiritual transformer in the world. But in regards to Saraswati specifically, the added power of Durga means that the wisdom and artist woman is moving ever closer to success in actually manifesting her wisdom and artistic talent.

Next, by unfolding the Parvati in her, Saraswati learns more about how to just give her love freely. She learns to be an unconditional giver and unconditionally care about others. This also brings her out of her occasional aloofness, her occasional spaciness and being off into her own personal imaginative world. In other words, a Parvati balance can bring Saraswati out from her innerness into an attitude and intention to serve the person she is with -- with her inherent wisdom and artistic power.

So generally speaking, each of the goddesses can self-evolve by bringing forth the other goddesses from their innermost supreme Goddess potential; and thus, a finer balance and wholeness of being can be attained, which is the meaning of spiritual realization and actualization. This is called fulfilling the Great Circle.

The imaginative artist comes from Saraswati and is expressed by her, yet all of the goddesses actually have artistic imagination within them, but they just don't usually realize it and express it as much as Saraswati. So the quality of imagination can emerge in any of the goddesses and in any of the goddess ways.

For example, Parvati can be imaginatively creative (thus artistic) in how she gives to the man, in what she does and in how she does it. Durga can be more imaginative in how she gets what she wants. And Lakshmi can of course be artistically imaginative in her seductive dance, and in the way she dresses, looks, and acts.

It's all about the attitude one has. One person can be very playful, exploratory, imaginative, inventive, and open to ever new and unexpected experiences; while another person might be very serious about it all - being set in their beliefs about what is the right way or the best way, or set on a fixed course of this, then that, then that, and always wanting to do things the same way without being open to anything different or of learning anything new.

It's all about what attitude we choose. But most people never think to chose their attitude; instead they are imprisoned by whatever attitude they now have, and they are convinced that this is just the way they are. But no one has to be this way or that way. A change of attitude can change a whole lot, and this change of attitude is under our own choice - if we actually make the choice. So anyone can be anything, at least in the realm of goddess types. All of this applies to both man and woman. The real creative artist continually creates and re-creates who they are and how they are.

But in regards to woman, each woman enters into sexual rituals with some kind of goddess attitude and approach, and the reasons for one goddess vs. another being more dominant is a complicated mixture of many factors, just as is any personality. Yet, no matter what goddess is manifesting, the person has a choice of change, or one can allow in a different goddess energy to balance what is already most prevalent, or to make one's love approach more rich and holistic.

So there should not be a false idea that each person is merely possessed by a particular goddess. A particular goddess is now dominating the present personality and the present moment, but each person has a potential power of choice to switch the present goddess approach to another one, or perhaps add in another one to help enrich the whole experience of being. This is all possible because all of the goddesses are in each person's potential. It's sort of like artistic talent; we each have artistic potentials, but some people put energy and choice into developing one or a few of these, while others don't.

Let's LoveGoddess attitudes and approaches in man

A man can also relate or self-identify with any of these goddesses; but as already stated, this will not be so natural as it is with women, and so a man may need to translate (in his mind) the names of these goddesses into god-names. Traditional tantra does not provide any suggestions for this. But perhaps the man does not actually need to understand the energy-quality as a name, since he could just recognize the particular goddess power as a character quality in himself. Women can do this as well, if these goddess names feel to be uncomfortably unfamiliar. For remember that the 'name' of a divine power is not as essential as the power itself; just as a particular image or picture of a goddess is not as essential as the divine quality she expresses.

So in terms of a man, he too expresses these various qualities, these love attitudes and approaches. The goddesses possess and express through men as well. For example, a man can also be unselfishly giving to the woman, or in more extreme language, he can be a love servant to the woman. In fact, this attitude of the man is essential to one kind of tantric ritual, but even in any love ritual the man can at times move into this attitude or position, really get into to experience it completely, and then move into another position but with natural ease and flow. For we all can flow into one kind of love-approach, or one position, then natural flow into another after fully assimilating the former experience. Again, this is with an attitude of exploration and discovery.

In western cultural thinking, the Parvati love approach is mostly thought of as a way of woman. In the extreme of a male-dominated cultural norm, a woman is relegated and caged into this prescription of 'she should be' a love servant to man and especially a sex-servant for man. Nice living fantasy men, but not really respecting the greater fullness and potentials of women. But in the tantra, the Goddess is actually supreme and meant to be absolutely respected if not worshiped. And since each woman is a manifestation of the divine Goddess, the tantric attitude of a man is to actually worship and serve her. Thus, in most tantric rituals the man enters into this attitude of serving the woman, to bring her love and enjoyment, rather than going into it with an attitude of 'what I can get out of this.' This is a beautiful attitude for man to have, and he will very much enjoy being in this love approach and moving inside her with this intention. This pleases the great supreme Goddess as well.

In tantra one of the needed spiritual approaches for the man is a devoted service to the woman, which will then be realized as a complete giving of himself in sacrificial service to the Goddess Herself. This attitude of devotion and service to the woman is man's connection with Parvati, the Goddess of Loving Devotion and Service.

This connection with Parvati can also be a spiritual aim of women as well, but this is not advisable for women who have a personality tendency to not look out for their own best interests and needs, or who tend to give up too much of their own self for the mere selfish pleasures of a man. Some women have too much tendency to love and give, but without enough reasoning and caution, so they end up sacrificing themselves to none other than a man's self-centered and selfish desires.

Women have a greater natural tendency to give and to serve others, than do men - who are very often self-centered and self-seeking. This might be because women have an inherent mothering disposition, even if they never have had children or do not have children at the moment; whereas man's animal disposition is to go out and screw the next women in order to, as they say, sow his own seeds. So, woman have an inherent disposition to be mothering, caring, and often self-sacrificing; whereas men have an animal disposition to screw around, fight with others, and generally behave egotistically. If it wasn't for woman's quality of unconditional love, they might not have any reason to love men at all. But alas, these are generalizations, albeit fairly true, so every man deserves a chance, since not all men are such egoistical idiots.

So because women, in general, already have a natural tendency to emotionally care about others and unselfishly serve others, and also to love with a great devotion and commitment, they need to be cautious about any spiritual or religious teaching telling them to just serve, or specifically to serve the man. This needs to be made clear, because traditional tantra teaches that a woman needs to serve enjoyment to the man, and so do many other religious teachings say that women need to serve and sacrifice themselves. But the difference in tantra is that this teaching also says that a man needs to serve enjoyment to the woman and give her all of his love. The tantra is very much about balance and fairness. So the ideal is that both love partners give freely, unreserved, and generously to the other. It's really about getting fully into the other person and giving them everything one has to give. Let the love fly. Let it loose. Let it flow. Go absolutely wild with givingness, to bring love to the other person, showing them that they are really loved.

So because of this difference in tendency between most men and women, women might need the balance of caring about their own needs, rather than simply be focused on what the man wants. Whereas men might best need the opposite kind of balance -- of working more on caring about the woman and her love needs, rather than simply focus in a usual way on what "I" want. Man can also come into this attitude of serving the other by his devotion to Durga. Man can surrender to Durga's wishes to be served and be given pleasure. The best balancing attitude and approach for a man or a woman will depend on what usual tendencies each uniquely has.

So we should not just simply dismiss Durga as also important for a man; for She too is one of the essential goddesses. In this kind of attitude and approach, a man can feel that he is getting what he desires. In each moment of movement in the love ritual, he can feel himself as being pleased by her and that he is receiving enjoyment. He can also be receptive to feeling her love energy and being loved by her. So here is a reversal of the other position, as it were, the other attitude and perspective. Both positions, both perspectives, both kinds of experience are divine. Sometimes he feels that he is pleasing her and giving love to her, unconditionally and selflessly. Then in other moments he feels that he is receiving the love and the pleasure, that he is getting the enjoyment himself, and that his love desires are being fulfilled.

The attitude of Durga will be most evident in a man's initial approach to the woman, the initial way that he is experiencing and approaching the hoped for love ritual. As said already, the more tantric kind of attitude for a man, in general, is actually to be in service to the woman who represents the goddess. But there is nothing inherently wrong with a man starting from an attitude more like a Durga approach of desiring for his own pleasure and assertively taking the woman with this intention. For this can be very exciting and enjoyable for a woman, as long as it proceeds with a good deal of respect for the woman (rather than treating her as just an object); because a part of every woman wants to be taken, ravished, enjoyed, and finally worshiped. And this will very often happen, as the love ritual proceeds, even if the man begins it all with a self-centered, self-concerned, self-serving intention. For he might begin and initiate his love approach with this self-serving attitude, yet as the love energy unfolds and as the woman's own magic unfolds, this same man will often get swept up into the love magic and awaken from being so limited in his love attitude and experience. He will hopefully see the woman as being such a wonderful gift to him that he starts to really love her with his heart and want to give to her with his full self, and thus his experience of the lovemaking reverses and he enters into the Parvati experience. This can all happen, but its not at all guaranteed in ordinary lovemaking. It helps if the man and also the woman know all of this, or at least begin to notice these dynamics in personal experience.

Now when it comes to Lakshmi, many will think that a man would not have this quality or this approach. But on the contrary, any man can be like a Lakshmi - being self-identified as (or thinking of oneself as) beautiful and/or sexy, and having a power of magnetic sexual attraction (being able to magnetically attract women), and having the power to seduce women by their charm or their looks or their sexy magnetism. And many women will admit that this is true - both that they have personally seen such men and also that they have often been attracted to certain men because of their sexual magnetic charm or because of how beautiful they look. So there should be no doubt that some men can be like this.

But also from the man's view, many men will know about this feeling and attitude in their self, and they will know that they sometimes make moves on a woman with this kind of self-prideful attitude and feeling of their own seductive power. Yet even with those men who do not have this image of themselves or this kind of attitude, they can come into this perspective and have this kind of experience while in the love ritual, at least for certain times.

Remember also that the deeper essence of Lakshmi is to be recognized for her beauty and attractiveness, and in the more extreme it is a desire to be revered and adored as a divine being. For a woman, she will want to be recognized and adored for of her delicious beautifulness, her soft, sensual and juice body, and of course also of her love. But for a man, he will want to be recognized and revered for his strength, his power, and his endurance in the love ritual. He will want to be recognized as a god of power. And he will want to experience the woman as really enjoying all of his firm power, his strong ability to thrust, and his passionate love. For this is how he will be adored and loved. So the man wants to experience from woman this kind of adoration and even worship of him, and he wants her to surrender to him. Thus, he is Lakshmi, but with a male body. In larger terms of tantra, the man of power is Shiva with His strong firm lingam and his ableness to bring enjoyment for Shakti.

It is not too difficult for some men to self-identify with the qualities of Saraswati. Not all men but at least some men have these qualities of love-wisdom, being receptive and present in the moment, and the artistic qualities of imagination, inventiveness, exploration, playfulness, and a freedom from conformity which results in a self-uniqueness. This kind of man need not know anything about Saraswati, nor would he need to know anything about tantra. It doesn't matter. He is who he is. But the very same teachings will apply to this type of man as with this type of woman; though a man may have to reverse a few key words as he reads it described for women. In general, a man should find pretty much the same relevance in these teachings as a woman.

Now in considering a man's relation to the goddess Saraswati, there is certainly a lot he can relate with; for after all, wisdom and artistic qualities do not just abide in women. Thus, a man can relate well to a Saraswati goddess, if he can recognize similar qualities in himself; and a man will quite often be sexually attracted to such a goddess. There are many 'dynamics of psychology' involved in this.

The man first wants to meet with her love-wisdom and artistic being. He then wants to enter into it and receive from it. He then wants to merge into her wisdom and artistry, to become one with Her. This is because of his inner knowing that her wisdom and artistic imagination is potentially within him as well. So he sees in her, in her qualities of being, his own potential being. He sees what is missing in himself, of what is really in his own very soul but not yet discovered. So in her he sees who he can be; he sees the missing part of himself. And so he is attracted to her. He loves her and he wants her. He wants to enter deep inside her, to merge with her and become one with her.

This is the psychological phenomena of being attracted to what is yet to be discovered or realized in oneself, and the consequential longing for relationship and eventual union with this 'other'. Our psyche, our total self including what is usually unconscious to us, contains much more potential than is usually realized and expressed. All of this inner potential is our soul. But those parts of our inner self (and who we can be), that are not yet consciously realized and not yet getting outwardly expressed, have a desire and longing to be known and expressed. Also, all this yet-to-be-realized hidden part of our self, no matter what exactly it all is, is the hidden half of our whole self, and there is an unconscious attractive energy between this hidden half and our outwardly expressed half. So then, when we see a person who is revealing and expressing some of this unconscious-hidden other half of our soul, we are naturally and psychically attracted to that person, especially someone of the opposite sex since the opposite gender psychically correlates with this opposite half of our whole self.

For example, if we were to name this hidden other half of man as 'anima' (meaning his hidden soul or unrealized self-potentials), then when the man sees someone who represents or seems similar to his inner anima, he has a natural attraction for this person and longs to merge with her, probably with an an unconscious hope that his anima is revealed in this unity with the other. Or perhaps his hidden half is seeking to see its own reflection in the other. For the woman, her hidden half is the 'animus', according to Carl Jung. Yet the same principle applies to her as well.

Let's LoveThe Great Circle

The Great Wholeness of Being is known in tantra as a the Great Circle. When spoken about in terms of the Source, it is called the Mother's Womb, because all Power and Qualities come from the Mother's Womb – the Creative Power of the Great Goddess. This Great Circle can be understood as the whole circle of our Self-Potential. It is similar to the Medicine Wheel of Native Americans. There are four directions, and at each direction is one of the four complementing goddesses of tantra, each in her purest Quality and thus also in her most extreme potential of expression.

The four goddesses also have a relationship with the four elements. Durga in the north, with her strong will, is related to the element of fire, Parvati in the south is related to the element of earth, with her earthy quality of caring about the well-being of everyone. Saraswati in the east is related to the element of air, because of her imaginative, visionary and wisdom mind. And finally, Lakshmi in the west is related to the element of water, with her watery sensuousness and flowing quality of beauty.

The Great Circle includes the fullness of all our spiritual potentials. It includes all of the spiritual qualities of the One Supreme Goddess Herself (or understood as the One Divine Being - Who includes both feminine and masculine qualities). The Supreme Goddess is all-comprehensive and thus includes all quality polarities. The Supreme Goddess includes all goddesses, since all goddesses and all potential self-qualities are really aspects of Her Supreme Being. It's not just important that there is a Supreme Being; its also important to realize that we are in and of this Supreme Being.

Also, the Supreme Goddess is always more than any of Her known potentials; even more than any of Her known goddess expressions. So whatever we know about the goddesses, and whatever we know about our own self, is always limited in some way compared with what is possible to discover. Therefore, always be open to discovering what has yet to be discovered, and don't forget the hidden goddesses – the goddesses still undiscovered within – those goddesses still in the Secret of Being.

There is also a pathway in tantra known as 'Moving towards the Center'. This is the possibility of developing more a balance between two or more of the goddess archetypes. The pathway goes like this. After recognizing the direction from which one is 'coming from', or experiencing from; it is then possible to flip to the opposite side, or what could be called the opposite view. Then one remains in this position for a good amount of time - in order to richly experience its essential quality, or what it's like. Soon though, one will tend to return back to the other position – of which one is more familiar with and identified with. But this occasional allowing of oneself to switch directions, switch positions, or switch to the goddess power at the other end of the Circle, will gradually result in a balancing between the two. The same kind of principle is true for balancing the other directions, except that they will not be directly opposite in position but instead along the side.

This path towards greater balance and wholeness is also known as the Path to the Great Goddess. For the Great Goddess is actually who we are, in essence; ...while the many goddesses, or goddess power/qualities, are Her facets, Her qualities, Her faces. And She is desiring a Full Recognition of Her Unity. She, the Great Goddess, is at the heart of one's aspiration to realize the very completeness of oneself, the wholeness of one's self potentials, which is to both Know and Express this Wholeness. She is the Great Wholeness of Being; and each person (woman or man) is this in potential.

Let's LoveDivine Unity-in-polarity

The Great Circle, in tantra, is most often seen as a Unity-in-polarity. This polarity is represented by man and woman, man in one half of the Circle and woman in the other. We can actually picture this as a Circle with a man and woman in it. However, these polarities in the Circle are not absolutely separated. In other words, there is no solid line dividing the Circle, no solid boundary dividing the two from one another. Moreover in fact, the two polarities are actually embracing one another, or in more graphic form, they are together in intercourse, and perhaps even wrapped in and around one another in passionate love. So the polarities are embraced and intertwined together, rather than sitting separate, opposed, or with boundary. As is said in tantra, if a boundary is found, then destroy it. If a wall is found, then bring it down. If opposition is found, then resolve it by embracing the 'other'.

Thus, there is interconnection and relationship between two polarities, and complementation as well. In addition, there is dynamism in the Circle, in this relationship. It is not merely static, but rather dynamic and energetic. For remember that Shakti, Who is in both man and woman, is dynamic energy, or energy in motion, or circulating enjoyment. Thus, the Circle is full of dynamic and enjoyable energy, which is most represented by sexual intercourse.

Tantra is of course infamous for its sexually suggestive pictures, though these are images of gods and goddesses. For example, Shiva will be embraced with Shakti or with one of her goddess forms, or Krishna will be in love with Radha. Interesting to note is that when there is deep love in the love ritual between the man and woman, as well as the intensity of sexual energy and desire, then the woman is experienced as Radha while the man is expressing Krishna. This is known as the Krishna-Radha experience, which can be known both in the love ritual and outside of it.

Furthermore, this dynamism in the Circle is always producing change and transformation. Nothing remains static or absolutely the same, at least not for very long. Continuance and regular unchanging rhythm is, of course, part of the overall Dynamism, but eventually change comes into play. The principle of continuing, unchanging rhythm is called tamas; while the principle of change or transformation is called rajas. The third principle, intrinsically related to the other two, is sattva, which is the balance or harmony of the other two. But this topic will be more discussed later.

So the Great Circle is most fundamentally a Unity-in-polarity. This polarity can be understood in a few ways, which are different layers of meaning. In tantra, symbols and goddesses all have multi-layered meanings, which adds to their richness and depth, but it can also get confusing unless one is able to understand multi-dimensionally. Besides what has already been discussed on this, one way of understanding polarity in the Circle is that the halves are the masculine and feminine archetypes, or powers. These are opposites, yet complementary; thus they are complementary opposites, or polarities. There is no sense in discussing what these qualities are. It is best to discover these on one's own.

What needs to be kept in mind, though, is a non-fixed belief about what qualities are in man, vs. what qualities are in woman. Anything said on this could only be a large generalization, with many possible exceptions and nuances, because in the soul potential of both man and woman are all of the divine qualities, including both goddess and god qualities. The only thing that we can suppose is mostly true is that most men have more of the 'masculine' qualities, while most woman have more of the 'feminine qualities. But as can be intuited, the different parts of a man as distinct from a woman will unavoidably provide its own conditions of polarity.

Now at the deepest layer of meaning or in the most cosmic sense, the polarities within the Great Circle are Shiva and Shakti. These great cosmic polarities have their own respectively different qualities and powers, which have a divine destiny to be complementary and balancing. One could view Shiva in one half and Shakti in the other, though still having a connection and relationship. Or if the polarities are closer to being in unity, then Shiva and Shakti would be intertwined together in a flow of love. The same can be said of any images or symbols of unity-in-polarity, in that the polarities could range anywhere from being politely touching and relating, to being intensely intertwined in blissful union, to pretty much dissolving any sense of separateness whatsoever.

Coming down just a notch into more practical qualities, the Circle can be viewed as Krishna and Radha, both great lovers not only in bed but also in all aspects of their relationship, and one essential reason for this is that both see the Divine in each other. Both recognize and sincerely respect each other as divine beings, each with their unique qualities and powers, yet each equally divine. Also, in a sense, they are in love as soul-mates. But this is more about recognition of the soul, than it is the unlikely luck of finding the one single person in the world who one can truly love. They are soul-mates, because they each recognizes their own innermost soul potentials in the other, and thus each can discover in the other one what is hiding and unexpressed in their own being.

Coming down just another notch, the two lovers in the Circle could be anyone of us; the man bringing his mostly masculine qualities into the Circle of love, while the woman brings her mostly feminine qualities. These two sets of qualities can then complement one another to create a harmonious flow, and perhaps the two can modestly approach the love ideal of Krishna and Radha. The polar qualities of the man and woman can also blend together in the love ritual or in the longer-term relationship. And finally, it is possible for these polar qualities to transform into an integrative unity.

Of course most of this so far is still somewhat abstract. What about the sex itself! The sex and enjoyment will be a essential component in any of the above layers, but in coming down just another notch in the layers of meaning, the lovers in the Circle could be just in it for the enjoyment, not so much concerned about the amount of soul love in it, nor concerned about being up to the love ideal of Krishna and Radha. This then just becomes a Circle of sensuous, sexual enjoyment, and nothing wrong with that. There might be some amount of spiritual love involved in this love ritual experience, which makes it very high indeed, but maybe there is not too much of this yet nonetheless a lot of sexual desire and enjoyment, which is all good.

So at the most basic layer of meaning, the Circle is all of the sex in the love ritual itself, all of the many positions and all of the enjoyment. The polarity in this basic level of sex is most simply the relationship of the male and female bodies, and especially the relationship of the lingam and yoni. In this, and in each moment of the ritual, one partner will be mostly active while the other is mostly receptive. This in itself is a harmonious polarity relationship. But of course there are many possible nuances of this.

Let's LoveSelf-polarity in the Circle of oneself

The Circle can be understood as the whole potential of oneself, and this can be understood in a number of ways. In the first way to be considered, the Circle is divided side by side. Though always remember that there is no wall or absolute separation between the two sides; there is always some interaction and interrelation between the two, and there can always be even more. So these are the two sides of our self, which are the polarities within our own psyche. This polarity can be understood as the masculine and feminine halves of our self, which fits well into the other ideas of tantra. However, this polarity of oneself could be understood in different ways, as well, and for each person it is best to realize through personal introspection the two sides of oneself, rather than merely believe any generalization about this as found in a book.

In tantra the Spiritual Universe is in essence One Being, but this One divides Itself into two. This is the divine polarity, and all things of self and of life, including sex of course, are representatives or expressions of this polarity. So these spiritual polarities are within each individual. Some will be more realized and expressed, while others remain hidden as latent self-potentials. One of the significant paths of tantra is to recognize all polarities in oneself, then work at integrating and balancing these.

The divided-yet-related Circle of self, being a cosmic polarity, is the interaction of Shiva and Shakti, which is thought of as a divine sexual interaction. Another spiritual symbol of this cosmic polarity is with Krishna on one side and Radha on the other, though both interacting with loving hands, kisses, and perhaps more. This represents the divine polarities of oneself in a loving relationship. In many ways we all have more of a polarity balance in our self already, than most would think. This is because a balance of polarities is natural to being a healthy person. Yet sometimes people get fixed in their particular self-image and self-identification as being like 'this' but not 'that', or else they dismiss the possibility of achieving a balance of polarities or they even suppress the polarity when it arises from within.

The next understanding of the Circle of oneself is when it is divided, conceptually, into an upper and a lower half. This itself can be understood in a few ways.

In many religious and spiritual teachings the upper half would be the better part of oneself, known as the higher or spiritual part of self; while the lower half would then of course be the lower or more base part of oneself. Yet the tantra teaches that all parts of oneself are spiritual and good, and thus one is not thought to be better or superior than the other. The upper and the lower function to serve different purposes, which are related to the science of seven chakras (energy centres) of the body/self – three higher chakras and three lower chakras, with one in the middle at the heart.

The lower chakras, or the lower half of oneself, function to benefit the physical body's vitality and the person's practical interactions with the world. The higher one's, or higher half of self, function to benefit meta-physical or spiritual needs; including aesthetic experience, spiritual intelligence, and one's connection with the larger divine/cosmic Reality. But since the physical body and our earth are regarded as spiritually sacred and since we need to function with practicality in the world, there really is no coherent sense in thinking of this lower half of self as inferior to the upper half. Both need to work integratively and harmoniously together as spiritual polarities.

Let's LoveOur conscious and unconscious halves

The next understanding of the Circle divided into upper and lower is to do with the two parts of one's psyche – being conscious and being unconscious. In other words, there is a conscious part of our self, yet there is also an unconscious part of oneself – which is quite a lot of our psyche. Hopefully, each of these two parts will have a relationship with one another. This is the relationship within us between – the self and identity that we are conscious of, and the large part of our self that we are not conscious of. This relationship can of course be improved, just like any relationship. It can be improved with a greater degree of communication, which begins with the conscious mind being more open and accepting to what is unconscious within.

There is a tendency in some people to suppress certain qualities that would like to come forth into consciousness to be recognized and accepted. Sometimes the conscious part of oneself is overbearing on the unconscious part, which is represented in a sometimes overdominating man while the woman is expected to remain passive, quiet, and inexpressive of her needs and wishes. This happens in the world of men and women, and men are the problem in this kind of cultural behavior. But in the world of psyche, this problem can just as much be in women as in men, because in the human psyche the conscious self of both man and woman often develops a tendency to bully and suppress the unconscious contents of self. Symbolically then, man represents the conscious part while woman represents the unconscious part, yet this is true in both men and women. So women can be just as ruthless to their other half, as men can be.

So for both man and woman, it is quite possible that this relationship inside our own psyche can always be improved, which begins with our conscious self being open to hearing or feeling the unconscious part of our self, then also giving conscious recognition, acceptance, and love to whatever emerges from within. This will help build a more harmonious and integrating relationship, leading to greater unity and wholeness.

However, the conscious self should not simply become bullied by the unconscious self, meaning that we can develop a better relationship with all of our own self with acceptance and love, but we don't necessarily need to agree or go along with everything. This is the tricky part of any relationship in the world, and it is just as much an issue in our own psyche. So to build a harmonious and non-suppressive relationship, there needs to be openness, listening and acceptance; yet without necessarily going along with every little wish of the partner, for that would just be another form of manipulation by one over the other.

Thus, somehow there needs to a creative resolution to any struggles of desire, without one side always getting what it wants while the other politely and passively agrees. The end result, or end goal, is not for one side to always win its way while the other passively cooperates, and nor is the goal a chilling suppression of so many of our natural desires. Once again, this is true of both outer relationships and our own self-relationship.

What needs to be clarified here is that our unconscious half is itself multi-layered. In us are deeply important spiritual qualities which will remain as mere self-potentials until consciously recognized and allowed into expression. In tantra these are the multitudes of goddesses and gods within us. Yet also within our unconscious psyche are many reactive patterns, worry patterns, culturally conditioned beliefs, and the list could go on and on about all the stuff that is held in the storage closet of our psyche. This storage closet is a segment of our unconscious half, but it is more often referred to as our personal subconscious, and it can be distinguished from the soul part of our unconscious.

Our subconscious closet is not necessarily all negative stuff; there are plenty of practical and reusable contents in there. But also in there are many boring old repetitive reactions, moods, and dysfunctional behaviors,which emerge quite easily and consistently from the subconscious closet and into the expression, kind of like the person who just blabbers away in their same old way without even noticing how boring or unuseful their blabber is.

So the conscious part of us needs to have some discrimination about what is useful or not, helpful or not, stupid or not, spiritual or not. Some sects of tantra have suggested that tantra means no discernment, and that it's all spiritual no matter what it is. This can be a healthy open attitude in certain safe contexts of life, being completely open and accepting of whatever; but in general, it is simply unrealistic and even stupid to acceptingly go along with any-thing that arises, either in the outer world or within our own self.

So it is not advisable to simply and indiscriminately express every little desire arising from inside us - (coming into our conscious mind from its subconscious closet), nor to allow every single mood that we briefly touch upon to rule the day. And yet, on the other hand, if we quickly and ruthlessly suppress all unwished-for psychic contents that suddenly arise to be heard, then we could be 'pushing down' important desires and energies inside us without even giving them a respectful and intelligent consideration. The secret to all self-conflicts is to keep coming back to the truest and deepest feelings in our heart, which is really the center of our own great Circle.

Thus as seen, we can also apply the polarity-in-unity Circle to our own self, in a very analogous way as it is in outer love relationships. For in tantra, every aspect of life is analogous to other aspects, just as microcosmic relations are reflective of Macrocosmic relations.

So now, let us consider a few related connections between the polarity Circle of oneself and the possible sexual relationship between man and woman. As already said, the conscious half of self is represented in man, while the unconscious half of self is represented in woman. So in this model of self, the man part is on top and the woman part on the bottom.

In a healthy self relationship, as well as a healthy outer love relationship, the man on top is an opportunity to love the woman with deep appreciation and to recognize her unique beauty. It is a time to see how lovely she is. So the man on top can feel to be the active and powerful one, taking charge to lead the love ritual; yet at the same time, he can be receptive to how she is and appreciatively enjoy the love energies within her rising up to him and embracing him. He can be strong yet gentle. He can be active yet receptive. He can be giving and receiving all at the same time. He can be controlled yet letting go. He can be mindful and feeling at the same time. So, in many ways he can experience the complementing polarities of life and of the psyche.

From the perspective of the woman below, she can be allowing of the man and receptive to him, yet still be very active in her feelings of love for him. She can allow him to take charge of her, yet be active in her responsiveness, giving back to him whatever she receives from him, and thus instigate a circular circulation. And of course, just as the man, she can be mindful and feeling at the same time. Thus, both man and woman can experience complementing polarities in the loving.

But then, this positioning can be reversed, with the woman on top and the man on the bottom. This then gives the woman an equal opportunity to recognize the man's unique beauty, and the woman now on top can experience herself as actively powerful, in control, and leading the love ritual. While the man can now experience a polarity balance as well, now being receptive to the woman's sexual power in its more active form and being openly receptive to how the woman is and what she wishes to do. He can now feel the woman embracing him from above. He will still need to remain strong in himself, but also in humbleness communicate to the woman if he needs her slow down or stop so that he does not explode from her intensity. During all of this, both the man and the woman can balance activeness with receptiveness, strength with gentleness, and self-control with letting go.

Let's LoveFour powers and perspectives in the Circle

The Great Circle can also be distinguished in four sections and by the four directions, each attributed to one of the four goddesses of love, as well as the four perspectives, attitudes, approaches. So in each quarter section is one type of goddess lover, ranging from most extreme to being closer to the Center [of balance]. This has already been discussed earlier.

But how the four is derived from the two is interesting to think about. Four comes about from a dividing of two. In other words, the Four sections are derived from dividing each of the two halves in half. And because each of the two halves are polarities, each of their divided halves will as well be polarities. This results in two of the quarter sections being polarities in one sense, while two other quarters are polarities in another sense. In fact, each quarter section will have a unique polarity relation with the other three, as well as unique similarities. So in a quarter sectioned Circle the various relationships between these sections will be a complex polarity.

Feelings of being either active or receptive

The basic polarity of love approaches is active and receptive. One lover might be active while the other is receptive, or vice versa. Or, both could be active simultaneously, or also it is possible for both to be simultaneously receptive – though this would physically mean that both are pretty much lying still together or being without movement for a time, while both partners just feel the energies, which is also part of a complete love ritual. Thus, the basic polarity of active and receptive results in four possibilities, not just two. Consider each person as like a coin. One person could be heads and the other tails, or vice versa, or both could be heads, or both could be tails. Metaphysically, this is how the Four is derived from the Two, which was derived from the One.

But now consider this. We could be speaking about how each lover is physically, as in physically being active or receptive. Yet on the other hand, we could be speaking about how each lover feels to be. This is different from how one is physically, because now we are speaking about a person's feeling of how they are – or of how this person is experiencing the love ritual at any moment. This might, of course, be the same as what they are physically doing, but it might not be exactly correlated.

For example, I could be quite active in my physical movement, yet at the same time feel quite receptive in relation to my lover. This latter sense of active and receptive, as a feeling, pertains to my mental and emotional experience of the loving, rather than just my physical-movement experience. This could even be called the subjective experiences in the love ritual, as distinct in meaning from the objective-physical experience.

So now, let us consider the possibilities of active and receptive feelings-experiences in the love ritual; meaning that a lover feels to be either active or receptive. This is the experience of each lover, from his or her own perspective. This is independent of how the other is feeling and what the other is doing; because it is all to do with each person's own experience of how they are. For example, if I am feeling to be active (or I'm experiencing myself as active), then my lover could also be feeling as active, or the other could be feeling receptive; but my feeling active is not determined by how the other is feeling – the other could still be active or receptive, no matter how I feel to be. So my feelings (of being either active or receptive) are independent of the other's feelings of either active or receptive; and as well, the other's feelings (of being active or receptive) are independent of my active or receptive feelings.

Four possibilities of love experience

1. I can be focused on what I am getting from it – focused on the pleasure I'm receiving from the other (or from the sex in general).

2. I can focused on what I am giving – having a sense of I am the giver, and that the other is being pleased by my giving.

3. I can be focused on the magical sexual power of the other – how they are cause to my sexual attraction, desire, and love response.

4. I can be focused on how the other is experiencing, empathetically feeling what they are feeling. This empathetic experiencing helps to transform separative I-experiencing. It helps dissolve separate perspective, between the two lovers, and leads to their union of experience.