The Tantric Relationship of Shakti and Shiva

Love Shakti – many meanings

All great Goddesses and even all woman goddesses are manifestations of One Goddess. In tantra this One Mother of all Goddesses is Shakti. She has many kinds of meaning. The first meaning is that She is the Creator of all other goddesses and all of life. Nothing exists without having emerged from Her Creative Womb and also passing through Her Divine Yoni - the great Passage between the absolute Divine and this world of manifestation {or world of relativity}. And because everyone and everything has come from Her Womb, everyone carries in them some of her Juice Essence.

The other meaning of Shakti as Mother is that all goddesses, and all of life as well, are representative {and manifested} aspects of Her Divine Complexity. Each goddess and each living soul has some of Her Essence - but is also a unique representation of at least one of her aspects {or Qualities}. So in this second kind of meaning, all of the goddesses and all beings are various aspects of Shakti or different combinations of Her Qualities. Each is a reflection of Shakti, yet never a complete or absolute reflection, though we can all approach closer to this.

Note that a number of key words are used in this description, all of them intrinsically related. Moreover, none of these reflections take anything away from the One Herself. In other words, there is nothing in manifestation that depletes the Great Goddess, just as any reflected image of the Sun does not deplete the Sun, nor does a mirror image of a person take anything away from that person. Thus, She {in Herself} always remains infinitely energetic and generous.

The first meaning is most simple and true, which is that Shakti is Mother Creator of all goddesses and of everything existent, but the second meaning has more depth in it. Thus, to understand the different goddesses, we can see them as different mirror reflections of the One Goddess, though each mirror reflection of the Divine Complexity has some kind of perspective or angle to it, which is why relativity enters into existence. But also know that each goddess {and each person} has Her Divine Essence in them, so the very energy-substance of Shakti is in all of us. This Shakti energy is always moving through us, unless suppressed or blocked by something.

This brings us right into the next understanding about Shakti, that Shakti is an Energy. Well, not just an energy, but The Energy. She is the active, vibrating energy in life and through all the universe. Shakti is the fundamental Energy that is both creative and energizing to life. Shakti is the Force of Life – the vibrant life energy, the elan vital. This is also the same as prana, chi or ki. In tantra we speak about prana when wanting to be more scientific and impersonal, and without reference to the Goddess; but prana is Her Energy. This prana energy is vital to life, and it is vital to health and to healing. Free flowing Shakti through one's body is healthy and healing.

The other aspect of Shakti Energy, besides vitality or vital energy, is enjoyment or pleasure. Actually, both vitality and pleasure co-relate, since body pleasure depends on vitality. In loving, both are desired. For example, the love ritual needs a lot of vitality, which increases pleasure and enjoyment. A flowing, energetic, vital energy creates enjoyment, and all physical enjoyments have vitality in them. So, both vitality and pleasure are aspects of Shakti Energy, and both are regarded as spiritual qualities – as qualities of the Goddess.

LoveShakti in both man and woman

The quality of Shakti is sensual and sexual, and She has the dual will to both increase her enjoyment and embrace the man loving her with the greatest of pleasure and joy. The Shakti energy within a woman will be experienced either as her sexual desire, as her sexual pleasure, or as her sexual power.

Shakti is the primal, vital energy of life. She is the primal energy which moves through bodies with pleasurable flow and enjoyment. In her most pure and primal essence, Shakti is raw, pulsating, joyful energy, which is inherent in the body if there are no immediate problems or blockages of energy. So a woman's shakti is her raw, sensual, sexual energy.

This is usually kept in restraint or at times even suppressed, for social and practical reasons, and in psychology this self-control (or restraint or suppression) is managed by the personal ego. Otherwise, if a woman's Shakti energy is untamed and let loose, the woman can become a wild and almost crazy lover. In regular practical life and in casual social get togethers a woman would not want to be always letting her shakti energies loose on everyone, except maybe in a tamed or more subtle manner.

Yet, when the opportunity is appropriate, and the person she is with is desired, then this is a good time to actually let herself loose and thus enjoy the experience of allowing her goddess shakti energies to freely express. Shakti is unveiled and revealed through a woman, when her sexual essence is allowed to come out in a full flow and force of expression.

But as well, the power of Shakti is also in a man. So with a man as well, the shakti energy within him will be experienced as sexual desire, or as sexual pleasure, or as sexual power. This is the Goddess Shakti within him seeking pleasure, enjoyment and delight, through the experience of a man; just as She seeks to experience this in a woman.

We are the vehicles, or the bodies, for Her enjoyment, which is our own enjoyment as well. So, Shakti Herself is enjoying the whole sexual experience, enjoying the pleasures of Her sexual energies circulating throughout Her sensuous body of woman or man. If both the man and woman realize this – that their sexual energy and enjoyment is all the same Shakti experience – then this will be a secret pathway towards realized unity {or reunion} in the love ritual.

Sexual power can come forth either overtly and assertively, or more covertly and seductively. Both man and woman can be magnetically seductive, even though we normally only think this about women. Conversely, the sexual power of both man and woman can be overt and assertive, even though we might normally only think this about men. Generally though, a man tends to express his sexual power in a more assertive {electrical} way, which can sometimes even be aggressive. And generally, a woman tends to express her sexual power in a more seductive {magnetic} way, and women tend to have a greater ability to be sexually magnetic. However, these are merely generalizations about how people tend to be. What a man or woman can be is another matter. Both kinds of sexual power are within the self-potential of both man and woman. Thus, both can express their sexual power either magnetically {seductively} or electrically {assertively}; for these are both powers of Shakti, and Shakti is in both man and woman.

The Shakti sexual energy of one person, whether a man or woman, can also evoke and bring forth the sexual energy of another person. This is the power and magic of Shakti. She wishes to flow through and be experienced in oneself, but also She seeks to bring out the same kind of flow and experience in a potential sexual partner. She is seeking to bring forth Herself in the other, in hope for an ecstatic experience of reunion with Her Self.

Man’s spiritual response to woman is to serve the empowerment and realization of the Shakti within and through her, which is also to serve her realization and actualization of her goddess powers. In tantra, the man serves the woman and the woman serves the man. Both give to and receive from the other, in the realization of their mutual need and spiritual value to each other. Each can understand themselves better from knowing and loving the other.

The potential powers or qualities of each lover, in both man and woman, are brought forth and realized in the loving ritual and in the ways that these various qualities blend and complement one another. How this all occurs can only be suggested as possibilities, because everyone is somewhat unique and thus each love relationship is unique. Moreover, we each have to learn from actual personal experience, with an attitude of exploration and discovery, and a willingness to get fully into each experience, its energies and the qualities.

LoveConsumed in the fire of Kali

An additional goddess of love to understand and a very important Goddess, who is also a form of Shakti (the Supreme Goddess), is the Goddess Kali. Kali is Shakti in her most powerfully untamed and unrestricted intensity. Her experienced presence in the love ritual only happens in the most intensity of heat and self-abandonment. Kali is rarely seen or experienced until these moments, which is why she is not one of the four love goddesses commonly expressed through love partners, and yet Kali is latent within each, latent like the fire of Kundalini coiled and awaiting in the unconscious core of each person.

If Kali were expressed through a woman in regular life, her energy and behavior would be far too wild and primal for others to handle. Perhaps in an unrestricted and unconstrained freedom of dance might a woman {or man} experience Kali dancing through her or him. So we only find Kali emerging in the love ritual, and not even there most of the time, but only if the lovers reach a necessary intensity and abandonment in order to invoke her. Kali can enter into one's meditation, but this very rare occurrence would be very intense, so there are few ready for it.

In the common religious understanding of Kali, She is the cosmic Destroyer, and many traditional tantric followers feel a religious connection to Kali and make acts of sacrifice for her, out of respect for her tremendous power. If we understand the Creative Mother as a primary aspect of Shakti, then its polar opposite would be the Disintegrating Destroyer. This cosmic aspect of the One Goddess is Kali. This destroying aspect of Divine-Cosmic Power is also known as death. So in pictures Kali is often seen with sculls wrapped around and she doesn't look very pleasant either. So, many people find it odd that anyone would want to have her as their Goddess. Yet in the Hindu and Tantra traditions, death and destruction are viewed equally spiritual as life and creative birth. Also when people talk about worship of Kali, they probably mean 'reverent respect', rather than admiration or adoration.

More esoterically, Kali is the Power that annihilates one's personal consciousness in the yogic meditation leading towards samadhi (meaning the void-bliss of self-annihilation). This is the meaning of death and destruction, in relation to our possible spiritual experience – to lose our personal self-consciousness, as our separate-personal selfness gets annihilated in an ecstatic experience of nirvanic bliss. So this spiritual-psychological understanding of Kali is of more practical use in tantra, for here there is something possible to actually experience while being alive. And of course this relates with the sexual love ritual, or it is at least possible in it. For it is possible to lose oneself and in fact lose all personal perspective, and to be self-annihilated in a bliss of love-unity.

Kali is the consuming Love-fire of Shakti, which annihilates the separate self. She even annihilates all goddess, or any sense of being one kind of goddess rather than another. For Kali brings one into experiencing the One Great Goddess Herself {Shakti Herself}. She brings one to Union with Oneness. Kali is the transformer of separation into unity, the transformer of a man or woman to being nothing but Ecstasy Itself.

Kali is not one of the four tantric love goddesses, because Kali is beyond any kind of personal perspective, attitude or approach. She is beyond type. She is more like an explosion of fire. Moreover, no one comes into the love ritual as Kali. But, it is possible for a woman to become Kali in the course of the love ritual, expressing the Kali power or allowing it to move through and come into the shared love experience. In a larger sense, it is possible for Kali to simply blow both lovers away, to annihilate both of them in ecstatic Bliss, ...if the two can progress into a deep meditative flow together combined with a raging fire, and also be open to losing themselves in one another or in the shared experience itself. So, Kali can enter into the love energy, but only if the heat is high enough and the lovers are in flow enough, (a mixture of watery-flowingness with fiery heat).

Instead of demanding the man’s loving, as with Durga, Kali just consumes him in her fire of enjoyment and ecstasy. She powerfully draws her lover into her own excitement and sexual fire. Like Lakshmi, Kali's power is a drawing kind of power, rather than a doing kind of power. She draws him into her by the very power of her fiery presence. Lakshmi draws the man to her with her natural beauty and ready ripeness for the taking, while Kali draws the man into her by her power of sexual excitement and ecstatic bliss, a burning fire so powerful that the lover is consumed into it. Kali consumes the man with her intense fire of sexual bliss and absorbs his being within Herself, and all the man can do is to just willingly surrender or allow himself to be assimilated into Her. The man melts in Her fire, as She consumes all of him.

The power of Kali pleases and excites the man to such a frenzy that he cannot help but give all his body, heart and mind to Her, surrendering his whole being into Her magical Goddess Yoni, as he allows himself to be consumed within Her warm, loving embrace. Kali seeks to completely embrace the man with Her love, drawing him into Her body and into Her love, Her warmth and the fire of Her passion, and give him the greatest enjoyment imaginable, while he screams for Her and gives his full love to Her, as his Goddess, even sacrificing himself in worship to Her. She becomes for him the all-embracing Love Goddess, to Whom all love and worship is given.

The power of Kali is to drive the man to uncontrolled excitement and ecstasy, consuming him in her sexual fire of passion. With Kali the man is inwardly forced to surrender to Her. His passion is consumed by Her passion, Her fire. With Kali the man feels like he is being taken into her, eaten and swallowed up in the intensity of her sexual fire.

By being totally involved in Her ecstasy, the man is consumed by that ecstasy and taken away by it. Her very being is in such an ecstatic vibration that the man is consumed into this fire of ecstasy. Her ecstatic power swallows up the man into her, and the man willingly sacrifices himself into her, loosing himself, abandoning himself completely, and surrendering into her power. She is like a gravitational black hole which pulls and receives the man into her.

There is a point, though, just as Kali is emerging into the heat of love, whereby a man may have enough personal will and choice to back away enough in order to barely avoid being consumed into Kali, into the Goddess. The woman has already let herself surrender into this goddess fire, but the man now has a last moment choice to surrender or not. Yet if he does not back down, as it were, but instead lets himself surrender into this consuming fiery heat of Kali, then he will be no more as he was. He will first lose his mind and then lose all sense and feeling of being separate from the woman. In fact, even the woman will disappear - as she previously was - as a separate person. For all that will remain is just Her, just the Goddess, just this One Being.

At this point, ordinary man will lose all self-control and have an ejaculating orgasm. But if the man has acquired enough prana in earlier stages of the ritual and can maintain a continuous conscious breath, and also practice a few other principles, he may be able to pass through Kali to a total blissful love orgasm without any physical ejaculation. If he can do this, he gains special respect from Kali, and She will increase his own power of fire, as well as bring him to even greater love pleasure the next time.

So, both man and woman may experience Kali in the self-abandonment of orgasm. When the build up to orgasm has brought into the lovers enough intensity and fiery heat, there is possibility for a very high bliss of orgasmic experience. But not all orgasms are equal. When Kali is involved, this orgasm is beyond the ordinary in its intensity and self-explosive bliss. For then, when one experiences a complete letting go of personal conscious and perspective, and loses oneself in the experience itself. The experience of oneself, as well as the experience of two separate beings, all disappears in an uncontrolled explosion. Even the room disappears. Everything and everyone disappears. This is love's nirvanic bliss. Such is the self-annihilating power of Kali.

LoveKali and male orgasm

Four important points need to be made in relation to men and their orgasms. First, a man can have an intense orgasm without ejaculation. Second, this love orgasm can last much longer than ordinary ejaculation, so its not like a sudden thing and then its all over. Thirdly, in this way a man can have multiple orgasms in one love ritual, just as this is possible for a woman. And fourthly, this love orgasm is not merely physical but is a spiritual experience involving deep emotional surrender. It is a union with love itself.

Also to importantly mention is that a man does not necessarily need to have any orgasm in a love ritual, whether it be ejaculatory or not. For a man can have great pleasure in just the ritual itself and all that happens in it, but without having to consummate the whole sexual ritual with a final burst of ejaculation. So even if the man has no final orgasm, the whole sexual experience will still be incredibly enjoyable. Any man will easily admit to this; for it is not like the man had a disappointing time if he didn't finally have an ejaculating orgasm. It's more like the orgasm is a final dessert, but this dessert looms not so important if the rest of the seven course meal is fantastic. If the man does ejaculate, then may it be highly enjoyed; but there are many longer-range enjoyable benefits to not ejaculating.

The desire for physical ejaculation is, for the most, just a desire-habit of the man; in other words, it's just a desire or wish that the man has built up by habit and reinforced by a belief that he needs it. But in fact, a man does not need to ejaculate each time he has sex, and his desire for this can be replaced by a greater desire to achieve higher levels of ecstatic intensity in the love ritual – if there is no ejaculation.

Now, it is true that a man will need to physically ejaculate occasionally because of physical necessity, but this necessity could be more like once every two to four weeks rather than each time of sex. Each man is uniquely different, but in general, man's usual belief in this 'need' (and woman's buy-in to this belief) is certainly overblown. With some basic practice any man could be practicing a sane birth control method of simply not ejaculating in the woman or not even ejaculating at all, which will then increase his ecstatic pleasure in the next round of ritual, and then even further into the next, and so on; as each time the shakti energy will build further because of his self-restraint.

Knowing this can be of great practical for all men, because rather than the man assuming or expecting that he will finalize the love ritual with his own bursting semen, or rather than the man even wishing for this or thinking that he 'needs' it; he could simply decide to not have to do this at all, and yet know that he will still, nonetheless, have just as much enjoyment (or in fact, even more) in all the rest of what can happen. And, by not having to finalize it all with his ejaculation he can then enjoy a prolonged ritual – prolonged because of his self-control and his abandoned desire and expectation to ejaculate.

In fact, this abandonment of the expectation and the belief that he has to ejaculate, as well as the abandonment of his wish to do so, are two of the keys to how to accomplish this. Having a decided intention to not ejaculate is also a key. Moreover, an additional motivation for the man deciding to not ejaculate, and to practice this, is knowing that this path can lead to an even greater love sexual experience with ever greater enjoyment, and as well can possibly lead to an intense non-ejaculating love-orgasm that continues for much longer than the ordinary orgasm and can even occur multiple times in the whole ritual. This is all possible; however, a man may not believe this until he actually experiences it, and he will not experience it until he actually makes a decision to try it out.

A non-ejaculating love orgasm can be just as pleasurable and intense, even more so, than any ordinary orgasm. This love orgasm is special though, and it requires some practice involving mind, intention, attitude, and conscious breath. It involves both conscious breath and conscious surrender. This is discussed more in volume 3 of the tantra teachings, but the basic idea is for the man to continually find a good balance between letting go with relaxed abandonment, while also having just enough self-control to hold back from physically exploding.

The man gradually climbs the mountain of shakti ecstasy, which he easily does without any effort by just following in the flow and allowing his pleasure to build, while simultaneously maintaining his body-energy awareness in order to notice if the intensity is too much for him. If the intensity seems too much, he needs to immediately refocus in his breath, then relax his breath and his energy, and in effect, take a momentary pause from the mountain climb of ecstasy. In addition he may need to slow the rhythm or change the movement, depending on what most relaxes him, and his lover will need to cooperate with this, rather than struggle against his needed moment of rest or subdued movement. Then, once the man feels able again to return to the building fire of Kali intensity, he resumes his surrendering self-abandonment to the whole climbing passion of Kali-Shakti ecstasy. The more prana energy that the man has, as gained through conscious breathing, the more he will be able to withstand the intensely building fire of Kali. Yet this in itself is not the love orgasm; it's just the way leading to it.

The non-ejaculating love orgasm involves a steady but relaxed building of sexual pleasure, along with a power to avoid uncontrolled ejaculation. The man has to actually let go and surrender completely, then pass through the full raging fire of Kali ecstasy. This might ordinarily lead to an uncontrollable ejaculating orgasm, but the tantric yogi avoids this because he has already built up enough prana and can maintain conscious breath along full body sensation; so his body does not momentarily click out of consciousness which is a cause of ejaculation. So he can surrender into the orgasm with consciousness while also abandoning self-control. The key is that he needs to surrender his self-control or actually surrender his whole being – to either the woman or the Goddess, though at this point both are the same to him.

His breath is given to Kali, as it were, yet he maintains consciousness throughout this surrender, but without any personal control over it. Through all of this though, he is surrendering into the body of his lover and allowing her sexual shakti to blow through him away like wind, while he relaxes into the watery but fiery flow, and all the time allowing Her fire to consume him. In this way, the Goddess Kali takes the lovers on Her Journey into the infinite and unboundaried depths of Love Ecstasy. Kali first emerges through the woman, but then Kali consumes the whole experience, whereby finally the whole energy of the love experience is just Kali and no other.

LoveKali and female orgasm

Much of this also applies to a woman, in relation to her possible love orgasm, yet she obviously does not have to control or restrain ejaculation as does a man. She too has an ejaculating liquid, but her ejaculations do not suddenly end the sexual intercourse, as with men, so there is no practical concern to restrain herself. In fact, for a woman, restraint is the very opposite of what is needed. What she needs is to let it loose and swim freely in the energies of pleasure. She can just go for the mountain of ecstasy, without any restraint or self-control. Yet it is in her nature to climb the mountain slowly, so it is best for woman to follow her own nature, allowing her body to climb the mountain slowly and with ease, enjoying each moment and level along the way, without trying to rush it.

Some women worry about reaching a good orgasm, so they try to force it to make it happen, instead of enjoying a relaxed and natural building up the pleasure. This is not usually because she is impatient; rather, it is because many of the men in her experience are too quick to reach orgasm, such that the woman never catches up and often misses out. Some women have some difficulty reaching the orgasm, so they try to work more at at. Many women have just given up on it all. But the two main difficulties in it all is that: first, women tend to naturally take more time in building up to their peak, much more than men; and second, men tend to naturally build up quite quickly. So what we have here is a classic problem; that women tend to take longer to peak, while men tend to peak early. Obviously then, the man needs to slow down - with self-control, while the woman needs to speed up - by unleashing. Yet, if man can get the control down better, then both the man and the woman can take their natural sweet time to finally explode with one another.

Yet if a woman tries too hard or makes a too much of an effort out of it, then she will not reach the most enjoyable orgasm that is possible for her. All good orgasms, in fact all good sex, is best when one relaxes into the enjoyment and follows the natural flow of its rising intensity. If the build up of intensity involves too much self-imposed methods or too much self-effort, then there will be more selfness built up, and less surrender into the flow. Nonetheless, a woman may benefit from following certain self-active and assertive principles in her climb up the mountain towards a beautiful orgasm. But any assertive approach will need to be balanced by her allowing nature which will keep her moving in the flow.

Most women probably know how to achieve a physical orgasm, so in sex the woman could help her man learn what gets her there. But ordinary physical orgasm is not the same as a spiritual-physical orgasm – which can only be reached when a woman {and man} follow the natural flow. In order to be in the natural love flow, one has to get right into the flow and surrender consciously into it. One has to find the love flow, then jump right into it. One has to let go of all self-effort and just allow the flow to take one on a love journey up the mountain.

So now, once a woman knows the balance of her allowing nature and knows how to find the love flow, she can make use of some active approaches. The first active approach for a woman to have is more awareness right in her own body. Body awareness, or awareness in body, increases energy sensitivity. So the woman needs to increase her in-body awareness, especially focusing on her sexual energy awareness. For the more one is aware of, and even focused on, one's sexual energies, the more one will be sensitive in those places and sexually sensitive. If one is more body aware, then one will know those places, so there is no point in discussing those details. The principle here is to do an increase in body and energy awareness, or attention or focus; rather than merely being passively aware, or passively semi-asleep, or vague in one's awareness.

The second active approach, which builds upon the first, is to get right into enjoying any particular pleasures being felt and let the energies circulate all through one's body. In other words, now that one is more sensitively aware in the body and even focused on those areas where pleasure may occurring, the second stage is to get right into enjoying the pleasure, which means to let oneself be filled up with it, and let the pleasure circulate through the whole body. This is what it means to really get into the enjoyment; it is to allow pleasures to circulate so that the whole body comes into enjoyment. The main guidance here is to enjoy and let enjoyment fill the whole body.

The third active approach is with breath. Breathe shakti vital energy into the main sexual centre. Energize the sexual centre with breath – on the in-breath, breathe vitalizing energy into the sexual centre, using the mind to direct the energy by seeing and guiding the energy there. This focused breath energizing the sexual centre, combined with an increased sensitivity in that area due to greater body sensitive awareness, and combined with an attitude of really getting into the enjoyment and letting it circulate all through the body, will greatly increase sexual enjoyment and enhance the build up to an orgasm.

The fourth approach is more straight-forward. The woman simply tells or guides the man to what pleases her. In effect, she teaches her man how to especially please her. And she can do this without hurting the man's delicate ego by first telling him how much he is already pleasing her but then suggest for him (or lead him to) places, touches or movements that she especially enjoys. So the man learns how to especially please her and build up her sexual energy. The woman could even touch and please herself, right in midst of the sexual ritual, but it is always more enjoyed if one is treated and pleased by the lover.

Thus, a woman will benefit from using all of these four active approaches. Yet, at the same time, she needs to balance these active approaches with a complementing allowing approach. First, allow and follow the Natural Flow. Allow and follow the flow of the spontaneous dance. This natural spontaneous dance, involving both persons, will potentially lead both to spiritual experience. If the love ritual has a fixed plan or an intentional routine with preconceived expectations, then this may lead to an ego-planned fulfillment but it won't lead to a spiritual fulfillment.

Following the Natural Flow involves allowing oneself to flow freely, while also allowing the lover to flow naturally. Then, once each lover is fully allowing of their own natural flow, then both need to continually resonate with the flow of one another and to continually move towards harmonization, so that what unfolds is just One Flow.

For a woman, not all orgasms are equally intense, nor is a woman's ordinary orgasm necessarily a spiritual experience; most often it is just a physical kind of relaxing release. But her orgasm can be much more profound and also intense – in both its physical and spiritual/emotional experience. In order to reach a spiritual/emotional orgasm, the woman needs to get right into the love of it all, which includes opening up emotionally and being able to surrender to her lover. The more a woman's heart is open and she is allowing her emotional body to get into it all, the greater will be the possibility for her to have a more intense love orgasm. But similar to the man, she too will need to surrender herself, both to the man and to the experience itself.

She will need to completely let go of any self-control and any self-restraint. She will need to completely allow her shakti sexual energies and emotions to flow freely through her body and allow her whole being to be inflamed with love and enjoyment. Then, she will need to let herself merge with the man so much that his and her energies are without any separation. Simultaneously, she looses herself in her lover man and also in her own body raging energy, as the man's body and her body become one embracing, vibrating, unity of love energy.

Then finally, she must surrender to Kali – which means to surrender into the whole intensity of the consuming sexual fire and ecstasy. Then, with complete self-abandoment, she let's herself fall and dissolve into the pleasure itself. In this, she looses herself into Kali, and thereby enters into spiritual unity with Shakti. For Kali brings her into unity with Shakti, or unity with being the Goddess Herself. This deeper experience of Oneness and Wholeness will include the man as well. This is not just an ordinary orgasm but rather a physical-spiritual orgasm; which is not only an ecstatic pleasure of the body but also a spiritual experience of Union – with the man, herself, and the One Goddess all combined in one Unity of experience.

LoveThe Divine Yoni

The Goddess Shakti is also referred to as the Divine Yoni. In practical tantra the yoni is the love passage in a woman, and also of course the birth passage. Yet cosmically or metaphysically, there is more to what this means. For like all parts in tantra, this can be understood both metaphysically in its Macrocosmic sense but also sexually in its microcosmic sense. The Divine Yoni can be understood either as the Yoni of Shakti, or as an aspect of Shakti, or even as Shakti herself. Each of these interpretations are true in their own sense.

Yoni is the Divine Receptacle {of Shakti}, while Shiva's Lingam is Divine Penetrating Light. Divine Light enters into Body {to be embodied} through the Yoni – the receptacle of Light. Lingam is also the Divine Intention towards love, joy and delight – all to be found in Shakti through Her Yoni.

The Shakti-Yoni is the Passageway between the Divine Potential and the manifest world. Deep within the Yoni is the Creative Womb of Divine Mother. This is the Great Lake of Divine Potential which feeds the many individual and unique streams of manifest expression. So within the Goddess Yoni are all Divine Potentials, all potentials of creativeness and of enjoyment, and all potentials of our self.

The Divine Passageway includes both directions – both from the Divine Source then back to the Divine Source. So, one way is from Divine Potential {the Womb of Potential} to Divine Expression {Divine Birth}. This is the direction that is going from the Inner to the Outer. This is also the direction from the One Source {Unity} to the plurality {and individuality} of creative expressions. Then, the other direction goes from the Outer back to the Inner. By analogy, this is when we take a retreat from our outer life and return to our inner being.

Out from Universal Oneness comes individuality; then individuality returns again to Universal Oneness. So this is another meaning of the Great Passageway, in which the Divine Self goes through in one direction {from Oneness to individuality}, then back through in the other direction {from individuality to Oneness}. Moreover, in the direction to individuality there is no loss of the Divine Self. In other words, each individual is still the Divine Self yet now in its mode of individuality. Furthermore, each individual contains all of the Divine Self, yet not all is realized or expressed in any single individual. Therefore, most of the Divine Self remains as Potential within each individual. So the Divine Self entering into individual manifestation is an ongoing and continuous Birthing Process of Divine Potential coming out into Expression {through individuality}. This is the ongoing Divine Birth, which can only occur through our individuality.

Yet this spiritual birth will not easily come to be, unless we {as the divine child} help it along with conscious realization and an allowing of the Divine to move through us into expression. The process of Divine Expression is the Birthing Process, which goes from Inner to Outer, from the inner Womb of Potential to the outer world of actualization, all of which is in the direction of outwardness in the Great Passageway.

The process of Divine Realization is towards the other direction in the Passageway. For this is when our consciousness turns from outwardness to inwardness, in order to go back into the Depth of who we are and realize our inner Divine Being and the many Potentials inherent in us. So the inward direction of the Yoni Passage is the individual making a conscious journey back into the Divine Essence {within}, to realize the Divine Self once again, and to perhaps even realize Divine Unity {the Unity-of-Being}. Thus, the individual consciousness journeys back to Unity consciousness.

This is the Divine Reunion, when Shiva reconnects with Shakti and re-enters through her Divine Yoni to become at One with Her again. The Cosmic movements of Shiva going out of Shakti, then back into Her, then out again and in again, continuously, through the Divine Yoni, is the Divine Cycle, the Divine Interplay, the Divine Dance. It is the Divine Love Play.

Another way of understanding the Divine Passageway and its two directions is that in one direction the Divine Consciousness {or Divine Self} is transforming from Oneness to Polarity {or Duality}, then returning in the other direction back to Oneness. This is the Divine Dance between Unity Consciousness and Polarity Consciousness, which is symbolized in the Love Play of Shiva and Shakti, in how they each vibrate between experiencing their polarized selfness and experiencing their Union, within the Love Ritual.

Even more specifically, Shiva goes in and out of a Unity experience with Shakti. That is, He alternates between going into Unity with Shakti and coming out from Her - which brings them both back to Polarity experience {the experience of being distinctly Two rather than One}. Even more specifically picturesque is in how Shiva Lingam comes into Unity through Shakti Yoni's complete embrace, but then the Lingam withdraws some from this Unity with Yoni, yet then returns again to Her. This is the Love Dance between Lingam and Yoni, or between Shiva and Shakti. Though it can consummate, at least for a time, when Shiva finally surrenders totally to Shakti and does not come out from Her, but remains inside Her in His surrender back to Unity with Her; thus consummating the Divine Union.

LoveUnity in Polarity

This is one of the essential cosmic insights of tantra – that the Divine Being is continuously transforming from Oneness {Unity Consciousness} to Polarity {or duality consciousness}, then returning back again to Oneness. But the Oneness is never really lost! It is just not experienced in our usual polarity consciousness, which tends to be more of a dualistic view. So the Oneness is still here, even if not experienced when we are in the polarity {or duality} consciousness. And it is because of the prevailing eternal Oneness that any duality consciousness will eventual realize the interrelated Polarity and thus realize that this is the 'Polarity of Oneness'. For the polarity is really the One Being, Who is experiencing the Unity of polarity-in-relationship. The important realization for each side of the polarity, or for each individual playing that side, is that the whole interacting polarity relationship is the One Divine Being and that it is all actually in Unity. This is the Divine Unity {the One Divine Self} in Polarity Play, having a playful and dancing experience of being polarized beings in interactive relationship.

So now, maybe we can better understand the relationship between Shakti and Shiva. Each one in their own self is the One Self, because within each is the Whole Unity and within each are both sides of the Polarity. Each side of Polarity contains the other side as well, but this other side is their as-yet unrealized other half of the Whole. Thus, both Shiva and Shakti are, in their very own Being, the Divine Unity. This is why some traditions can say that Shiva is the One Self, while some other teaching say that Shakti is the One Self. Each tradition is right, because when each is just in their own Being, there is no two-ness anymore but only the One Self. Yet, when the Unity-of-Being divides into a Polarity-of-Being; then, both Shiva and Shakti need one another, because now they are polar opposites to one another, so now their relationship matters.

When Shiva and Shakti are in relationship, then the Polarity begins. Or, it could be said that when Polarity begins, then Shiva and Shakti are thrust into relationship. Or in other words, when the One Self polarizes, Shiva and Shakti then appear. And immediately they begin to interact, relate, and make play. They play in this polarity relationship for however long, with many dramas and even arguments. Then, because of the inherent Unity that is connecting each, which is a magnetic force bringing both together, they eventually enter into a love sexual ritual that is motivated by their polarity attraction, which will bring them closer to one another, merging experiences together, loosing their duality experience, to finally explosively fuse together back into the Unity.

With polarity, the Divine Being has a lot more going, than merely being One. Polarity opens up a whole range of possible experiences of inter-relational interactions. For the Divine Being, this is the enjoyable Dance of polarity relationship. So for the Divine Being {in Conscious Unity}, the Unity is never lost, because Unity remains right within the world of polarity and in the experience of polarity; even though each 'side' of the polarity will often be caught up in their particular perspective {their side of the polarity}, and thus not be conscious of the Unity involved in it all. This doesn't have to happen, but often it does, because each polarity side has its own individual consciousness {its polarity consciousness}, which has autonomy from the Unity Consciousness that gave birth to it. So in effect, each polarity consciousness does not usually realize the Divine Unity at play in the whole polarity relationship drama; yet the Divine Being is, nonetheless, always experiencing its Own Unity.

LoveDivine Intercourse of Consciousness and Body

Divine Being in its Oneness polarizes into Consciousness and Body. This is the main polarization in the cosmos and also in our individual being. Divine Consciousness, as the Conscious Self, is Shiva. Our individual consciousness {or conscious self} is a microcosmic reflection of this One Divine Light, Consciousness, or Self. Divine Embodiment is Shakti and all of her multiple energies. Our individual body {and the energies of it} is a microcosmic embodiment of the Divine Self. Shiva {Divine Consciousness or Conscious Self} is playing in and out of Shakti {Divine Embodiment}. This is the Great Dance, which is also the Divine enjoyment.

Shiva is Light. Shakti is Life. Shiva is related to mind. Shakti is related to body. Shiva is the cosmic power of Consciousness, while Shakti is the earthly power of vital, creative energies. She is also the embodiment of Consciousness {or Spirit}. Both in relationship is Love. This is the basic principle of the tantra. It is all about relationship, the relation between two Cosmic lovers, or between two aspects Divine Reality, or the relation between two complementing aspects of our own being. The primary aspects of existence, Consciousness and Body, are brought together in an embracing relationship and merged together into a complete Unity. This is the inner meaning of Shiva embracing and loving Shakti, and vice versa.

Consciousness {Shiva} is continually seeking to be connected in Body {Shakti} or to Embody. This is the natural-cosmic Desire of Consciousness/Spirit – to embody, to have body, to manifest, and to experience being in the body and thus also in the energies of life, and to enjoy these interacting energies of life. So, Shiva is seeking to be in Shakti, as Consciousness is seeking to be in Body {or to embody}.

Through this body or this embodiment, Consciousness is able to experience enjoyment and delight; for otherwise, Consciousness/Spirit would have nothing tangible to experience. In turn, because Body now has consciousness in Her, her vital and sexual energies are awakened from their latent sleep, like a princess awakened by her prince. So, consciousness {Shiva} awakens the body and even excites her, because consciousness is like the light of the sun awakening the earth and catalyzing its potential energy excitement. Simultaneously, the body {Shakti} provides earth {place and home} for consciousness to experience sensuousness, beauty, and enjoyment.

In the actual love ritual, consciousness {Shiva} is continually going in and out of embodiment, moving in and out from being wrapped up and involved to being free in itself. This can be noticed when our consciousness is sometimes intensely involved-in the dynamic sexual activity or right in the body. But at other times our consciousness seems to drift out from the body and be somewhat transcendental to the body; almost as though needing to take a moment of not being so engrossed, wrapped up and involved in the intensity of the body energies and having a momentary break from it all, in order to reflect just a moment within the freedom of oneself not being simply in it all. These moments can be quite quick or else longer in duration. Yet all of this – this continual play between the freedom of consciousness and the involved embodiment of consciousness – is the microcosmic reflection of Shiva moving in and out of Shakti.

LoveShiva as Transcendence

Besides the metaphysical meaning of Shiva as Consciousness and of Shakti as Body, Shiva is also the Divine Transcendence, while Shakti is the Divine Immanence. Transcendence is Divinity beyond the confines of this world, remaining free of the world drama and independent in its Own Power. While Immanence is the Divinity of this world, or it can also mean Divine Embodiment. These metaphysical meanings are all intrinsically related. Consciousness is related to Transcendence; while Immanence is related to Body {or to Earth or to Life}.

Transcendence has three important related aspects. First, it is Being in just itself, without any content or form. By analogy in our own possible experience, this is when one is just-being, just being present, just being conscious, just being with what is; without any thoughts about it all, without any thinking about it, and without trying to do anything or make anything especially happen. Just being in the consciousness of Being itself – which is the transcendental Being of Shiva.

This then is related to the other two important aspects of Transcendence, one of which is Independence. Shiva has the capacity to remain independent of this world, independent of the many dramas and forces of life, and even independent from Shakti. While the nature of Shakti is to be involved. Her nature is embrace everything and involve Herself in it all. Woman has a natural tendency to embrace life and others with enfolding love and to be caringly involved with the many aspects of creative life. This tendency comes from Shakti. Man can, of course, also embrace with love and be involved. Yet man has an additional tendency to sometimes detach himself from involvement and embrace, or to sometimes seek independence and freedom from involvement. This comes from the nature of Shiva. A general tendency of man is to acquire Shiva qualities, while a woman acquires Shakti qualities, but both man and woman can potentially acquire qualities from both Shiva and Shakti.

The tantra recognizes both general qualities as spiritual and useful. As for example, we can see the spiritual value of woman or mother being caringly and emotionally involved with her family and friends. We can see the spiritual value of man and woman being closely involved in love and in the love ritual. Yet, we might also see the spiritual value of qualities such as detachment, independence, and freedom; all of which are needed to sometimes counter-balance a human tendency to get overly wrapped up in stuff or emotionally entangled in the energies of others. So a capacity for detachment, independence and freedom can also be appreciated.

At times it is important that we have some self-capacity, or self-power, to withdraw from the outer world and from the bustling energies of life, even at times withdrawing from social interaction in order to have quiet and meditative time alone. This might even include a retreat time from our very own patterns of repeating thought, desires and doing. So there is a spiritual reason and purpose for withdrawal, detachment, and dis-involvement. One does not need to be always on the go, doing or planning the next thing to do, even though this kind of personality is so often considered to be practical and successful. Nor does one need to always be social or involved with a partner, sharing every moment together or sharing every feeling or though one happens to have. There is a good purpose for retreat and solitude.

So if we can see involvement-in-life {or involvement with a lover} on one end of a string, and self-independence or detachment on the other end of the string, both ends have good reasons and spiritual purpose. Thus, both can be accepted and respected in our own self and in others. Once again, some sense of balance might be obtained and a mutual cooperation between the two. And again, this is all part of the cosmic dance of Shiva and Shakti.

We might also notice that Shiva has two sides to him, which has always been perplexing for many people. On the one hand, Shiva is known to be quite the lingam, so to speak. His lingam is all over the place. This god is making it with a whole assortment of Goddesses. His divine seed is all over the world; in fact, it's in everything. So he is most definitely getting out there in the world and enjoying it all as well. Most definitely, Shiva enjoys all of the Goddesses and all the pleasures involved. This Divine God is a lover! And yet, on the other hand, Shiva is known as the great ascetic yogi, who can withdraw from the world and from the body for long periods of time. So Shiva is also not attached to the world, nor to any goddess, nor to sexual enjoyment. It seems he can take it or leave it; but when he does take it, he takes it good. He enjoys life and his Goddess totally. Yet he also can enjoy being alone, quiet, uninvolved, and in a conscious meditation of just Being.

The third important aspect of Transcendence is Consciousness, which is another meaning of Shiva. Consciousness is, in its pure essence, independent of mental or emotional content and can even be independent of the body. Some might call this Spirit, which can be independent of the body, yet not necessarily so; that is, it can be either independent or involved {embodied}.

In tantra the spiritual ideal is not for our spirit or consciousness to transcend the body and world, to leave or to renunciate the body and world, which is often the case with some other eastern philosophies. Yet nor is the spiritual ideal of tantra to simply engross oneself in all or any dramas of world and embodiment. The ideal is not to merely be fixated in whatever. Yet the tantra does not make spiritual judgments about either of these paths, the path of renunciated consciousness nor the path of engrossed involvement. All experiences and even all extremes are seen to have some kind of spiritual value.

However, since both of these oppositely directed paths are spiritually embraced, it makes sense to have the capacity for both and to also learn how to balance these in life. So we can learn and develop how to free our consciousness from a tendency to sometimes get overly engrossed and lost in various dramas of life or get fixated on particular beliefs and expectations. At the same time, we can learn and develop a capacity to absolutely let our self be totally involved in an experience. As for example, letting oneself get completely into the love experience, however it unfolds, which includes being totally conscious in the body, being right in the body and experiencing all of one's dynamic energies.

LoveLight awakens Her enjoyment

Transcendence {Shiva} can remain independent from the world and others, which is Shiva remaining ascetic and uninvolved, just as consciousness can remain independent of the body. Yet Transcendental Being connects with Immanence {manifestation or body} and enters in her. Divine Transcendence penetrates into Immanence and seeds Immanence with its pure Being-Consciousness - which contains in it all Self-Potentials, the Potentials of Divine Being. Transcendence {Shiva} offers Itself to Immanence {Shakti}, while the Immanence lovingly accepts and receives Transcendence.

Also, what brings Divine Transcendental Consciousness {Shiva} out from the Peace of Pure Being, Solitude and Silence... and into the energetic and sensuous world of Shakti is a fascination with Her world of energies and form. Shiva Consciousness becomes interested in and fascinated with the energetic and sensuous forms of Shakti. He then wishes to experience Her {this world} directly and consciously. (He wishes to experience the forms that She has manifested from His transcendental potential). Then through this conscious experience, (through Shiva's transcendental Consciousness interpenetrating Shakti manifestation), the God experiences the enjoyment. God {and Goddess too} enjoys through our enjoyment. Thus, we give enjoyment to the Divine through our enjoyment.

The very nature of Shakti Immanence is to receive from Transcendence the Seeds of Divine Potentials, and then to be actively creative with this. For the very desire of Immanence is to creatively manifest a diversity of offspring from her beloved Transcendence, bringing into manifestation a whole great diversity of Divine reflections {of Her Beloved}.

So the Shakti Immanence has two essential aspects, to Receive and to Create, which are Her polarity aspects of receptivity and activity. Shakti is receptive to Transcendence, yet she is the active energy of manifestation. Her active energy is her Response to Shiva's Transcendental Consciousness entering into manifestation – into Her Yoni. Shiva gets Shakti's energies and juices going, by bringing to her the Power of Consciousness. Then, to the extent that She can receive this Consciousness, Her body vibrates with Shiva's energy which is her Response to Shiva Consciousness. This vibrating response then becomes Her own vibrating energy, the vibrating energy of manifestation. Of course though, most essentially there is only One Being, Who is both Transcendence and Immanence, Consciousness and Embodiment.

The transcendental Shiva Power enters into Shakti {into manifestation} as Divine Light. Perceivable light is Shiva in its objective aspect, while the experiencing-consciousness is its subjective aspect. Shiva, as Consciousness, is reflected into manifestation as individual consciousness. So own consciousness is a reflected light of Shiva-Divine Consciousness. Thus, we can experience Shiva as the essence of Light that is within us, the Light of our own consciousness. The more Light within us, the more consciousness we have or the more conscious we are.

Hence, the Lingam brings Light into the Yoni – enlightening Her with Consciousness. Yoni then sparkles and delights when penetrated with the Light-Consciousness of Lingam. The Lingam, in turn, now gets to feel and enjoy the Yoni {and Body} sparkling and delighting. For remember that Shiva (as our transcendental consciousness) can only experience the actualized, vibrating energies of sparkles and delight by way of actual life itself or by way of the Yoni or Sacred Temple of life.

An interesting side note is that in esoteric tantric Buddhism the Lingam is called the Vajra, which means 'diamond of light' or 'thunderbolt' (irresistible force), and it is even represented in a lingam-like looking object that can also be used as a weapon in martial arts. Though in the spiritual teachings, Vajra refers to the spiritual power of light within us.

The pleasure energy of Shakti-Yoni is fired up (or brought into actuality from potential) by the penetrating Lingam, the Consciousness of Shiva. In other words, Shiva Consciousness {or Lingam} awakens the Shakti energy-pleasure {of Yoni}. Shiva {being Consciousness} gets it going, gets this Shakti pleasure-energy excited and flowing; which is why Shakti-Yoni loves Shiva-Lingam so much. He excites her and fires her up with his penetrating Vajra Consciousness.

For Shiva, the Yoni is the Passageway of Enjoyment. For it is here, or through here, that Shiva experiences the pleasure and enjoyment of Shakti. Shiva receives the pleasure energy from Shakti, as this enjoyment {which is Her energy} fills all around him, vibrating and flowing all through him; while He simultaneously fills her with his Power of penetrating Light, His Consciousness, which awakens more and more of Her body pleasure energy. And so it goes, Shakti giving to Shiva her enfolding vibrancy and pleasure energy, while Shiva gives to Shakti his awakening power of consciousness. Each enhances and inflames the other; so as this continues, there is an increasing ecstasy and finally an explosive fusion of Shakti and Shiva, whereby they merge back together as One Being.

Of course, all of this can be understood in human experience as well. Our individual consciousness is a penetrating energy that triggers {or excites} the body energies. When there is no consciousness, as when we are asleep, the body remains in an unexcited state; and when we are less conscious in life or in the love ritual, then our body is less excited and less energetic. This fact becomes important in the love ritual, since some women tend to drift away from consciousness and into a half-conscious dreamy state, yet this decreases their pleasure intensity. The more consciousness there is in the body experience, the more intense is the body energy and its pleasure. Notice too that the key here is consciousness in the body, rather than a kind of out-of-body consciousness or body-transcending consciousness.

Consciousness {Shiva} is the power in us to actually experience and enjoy the dynamic energies of Body {Shakti}. Without consciousness, we would have no conscious experience of ourselves and our energies in action. This would be like Shakti all alone in darkness, still active in vibration, but no one to experience Her. Shakti not being experienced is like a woman not being recognized. It's like Yoni being all so lonely in Her unpenetrated darkness and undiscovered sweetness. For without Lingam {Consciousness} to awaken Her, to discover Her, to move through Her, and to love Her, She will have to sit lonely in her dark room, waiting for her divinity to be recognized and to be loved. Likewise, without Consciousness, the Body is unable to experience Herself.

Shakti is also known as the Earth goddess, while Shiva is the Sun god. So the Light of Shiva enters the Goddess Earth {or one's Body} to bring Consciousness. Consciousness-Light radiates and penetrates into the Body-Earth, while the Earth Goddess enjoyable receives this. The Light then increases the abundance of Life-Joy within the Body-Earth. The Light catalyzes and energizes the Body-Earth, increasing and intensifying Her energies, which then further increases the enjoyment of Shiva Consciousness.

 Man's hymn to the Love Goddess

Oh my Goddess,
you are moist with nectar,
beautiful and powerful
as lightening in the night sky.
May you open your lotus
to the fiery light of Shiva.

Your mouth wets,
your breasts excite,
your flower blossoms,
your whole body vibrates,
from the heat of your enjoyment.

Oh my Goddess,
I worship you in my heart,
I give you my body and mind.
Accept me as your Beloved Shiva
and take me into your journey of Love.

LoveMaya – the indefinable and everchanging Goddess

Maya is the cosmic aspect of Shakti as Form or Manifestation. So when we consider all Form or Manifestation, or Manifest Existence, this is all regarded as Maya. Of course, in essence it is all Shakti as is everything; but the specific goddess name for Manifest Form, or also for the world, is Maya. And as with all goddesses, woman is Maya. Though in a more general sense, man too is Maya.

The meaning of Maya is most often translated as Illusion, but there is no belief in tantra that this whole world, nor our body, is 'just an illusion' or 'but a dream'. That is the connotation in some Hindu and Buddhist teachings, but the tantra would not see it this way. For in tantra there is a complete acceptance and even reverence for all manifestation, all of the world and all of the body. All of our world and all lives and bodies in it is the Body of the Goddess, the Body of the Divine. All of this is Maya; but what this means in tantra is that it's all in perpetual change. Form, Body, Manifestation, Expression are always in trans-formation – (always changing formation or changing form). This is true in a physical sense, which can be verified in natural science. Everything is in some kind of change, though most often unnoticed because the change is usually very gradual.

Yet the meaning of Maya is really more to do with changes in our psyche, in our perceptions and in our experience. So Maya is really more about what is happening in our self-experience and in our experience of others. The “illusion” in Maya is that Her appearance has no definiteness. There is no definite or absolute 'truth' about the reality of Maya – about who she really is, what she really looks like, or how she always expresses. So to have a definite picture in mind about Maya, or about who this Goddess is, is the illusion. Remember also that Maya is the Goddess. She is Shakti, She is the One Goddess; yet when referring to the everchanging expressions and appearances of the Goddess, we call her Maya.

Whatever form is presently appearing is Maya, but this is not a definitive 'who she is', as though one could now say, 'ah, so this is who you are'. It is true that the particular form or quality of the goddess being expressed in this moment is The Goddess, but it would be a mistake to think that one now knows who She is, because this is just one particular form or appearance of who She is. So if a man gets stuck in thinking that he knows who she is because of how she is now appearing, then this thinking or this belief is the illusion (it is his illusion). For Maya has no limitation on her form or way of being, and she can change in any moment.

This is true for each woman, for every woman is Maya, the Goddess of many appearances, of many possibilities of expression and being. She can be anyone at any time. She can suddenly change her goddess appearance or her expression from being one kind of goddess to being another. And of course this not merely about changing her outfit, her hair style, or makeup. It's about her goddess quality of being, and it's about her feelings and also desires, which can change at any moment.

So the man should not get stuck in his thinking about her, or in his beliefs about her, that he definitely knows who she is or that any singular way of her being is just the way she is. In other words, the man should not get stuck in any fixed beliefs about this woman, nor about woman in general, nor about who or what a goddess is. For that would be his illusion, and he would be stuck in it.

The Goddess in woman is not limited and cannot be pinned down. Rather, She {Maya} has the power to change at any moment, or to trans-form from one goddess type to another. For example, She can suddenly change from being Lakshmi to being Parvati, or from Parvati to Durga, and there are even infinite possibilities between the four love goddess archetypes. So, Maya has this awesome power to transform into any kind of goddess expression, and She Herself cannot be pinned down as being just one of these.

This is one of the more profound meanings of Maya as illusion; because whatever appearance or expression one discovers about Maya is not really who she is, like “oh, this is Maya. This is how she looks. This is how she is.” Anyone's understanding of Maya, their picture of Maya, or their belief about Maya, or about who the Woman really is, or about who any particular woman is, will be a Maya illusion; because Maya {Woman} is an everchanging multidimensional Being with vast possibilities of expression, rather than just one way of being.

This is significant in looking at any particular woman, because man's mistake would be to set firm his belief about this woman and thus get stuck in his own thought-form about her, his own limited thinking about her; which can then, unfortunately, hold the woman down as though being pinned down by the man's fixed beliefs about her and who she can be.

Yet the woman too can get trapped or stuck in her own illusionary, limited thinking about herself. These limited beliefs about herself could have been suggested upon her by the man, but this could be the woman pinning down and trapping herself by her own self-beliefs. Our self-beliefs are also illusions, thinking that 'I am' this way or that, or pinning down a definite belief about 'who I am'. Yet in reality, each woman is the full Goddess Maya – Who can be anyone, who has many ways of being, and many possible goddess appearances.

Thus, Maya Illusion does not mean that the world and our bodies are unreal or insignificant. Rather, it means that the world is like many mirrors {of the Self} with many possible appearances and many possible perspectives on what is True and Real. Maya, as being the Reality we are in, is not one singular appearance, nor one singular Truth, nor can be pinned down by any one belief. The Illusion, then, is that what we are seeing at any moment and in any context is just one kind of appearance. We are seeing into the Mirror from just one perspective (our own), but She looks different from different views. Thus, Maya is an Illusion (or is Illusory) because all that we ever see of Her is just one of Her many possible Reflections, and this 'reality' can change at any moment, such that She will then appear different, or in another form, or in another way of expressing Herself.

LoveShiva plays in Maya

Moving on now to a few other profound meanings of Maya, it is said that Shiva is playing in Maya, which is usually interpreted as the Self (or as Consciousness) playing in the World of Illusion. Another related meaning of Illusion is the illusion of permanence, and also the tendency of our consciouses to get lost in our desires and in the dynamic energies of the world and of the body. The relationship between consciousness and body, between consciousness and sexual enjoyment, and also between non-attachment and involvement, are all themes represented by Shiva playing in Maya, in the very Body of Maya – playing and dancing in the everchanging world of manifestation {this world being Maya}.

A tendency of our mind, though, is to get lost in an illusion of permanence – that whatever is now, will be the same later on; or that the person we are seeing will be the same in this present moment as they were in previous moments. And in addition, there is a tendency to get lost in an attachment to certain desires and pleasures. But if we realize that nothing is permanent, then we might as well not be so fixated on any particular desire or be attached to a particular outcome. Nothing {no-thing} is ultimately permanent, which means that any absolute attachment to anything, whether it be material things, this physical body, this desire or that pleasure, or even attachment to our love partner, must ultimately be let go of.

This does not mean, though, that we need to wave goodbye to all of our desires and who we love; rather, it's a needed letting go of the attachment and the expectation. Keep the desire and even move passionately towards its fulfillment; but let go of attachment and expectation about it. So this sense of letting go of attachment doesn't mean that we now care not about anything or that one is now in an attitude of indifference whether or not one's love partner goes off with someone else.

One can still care and still have particular desires, rather than just be indifferent {or like whatever}; but one realizes a freedom and a love within oneself that is not dependent nor attached to any particular wished outcome. This is an attitude, a power, and a freedom within oneself of being able to move on from one moment to the next – without trying to hold on to the moment that just passed or without trying to go back nostalgically to what was and try to replay those moments. For what Maya teaches is that time is always moving on and so too is the reality of what is. One moment transforms into another moment

And thus, we need to have the power of shiva consciousness, which is in both man and woman; for this shiva consciousness {or shiva-self} is non-attached and free in itself. Like the great Shiva Himself, both man and woman, in their own shiva consciousness, have the power to be non-attached and free. Shiva can just walk away at any time from his love-pleasure with Maya. He has that power of self-freedom, which we all potentially have as well. This does not mean, necessarily, that one ought to just get up and leave – like walk away from love-pleasures or from one's love partner or from life. It just means that this is within our power; that it is possible for us to be so free in our own being that we are not ultimately attached to anything.

Shiva still enjoys Maya, just as Shiva enjoys everything and enjoys each moment. When Shiva is involved with Maya, and in Maya during the Love-time, Shiva is all into it. He's all over her and into her. But He is not attached to any single moment, nor to any particular form or appearance of Her. He is just 'with what is' and enjoying each moment of it, each everchanging moment of it.

And Shiva is dancing in Maya. He is dancing in and out of Her – in and out of momentary attachment, momentary engrossment – yet not permanently attached or 'lingering on' attached in any moment. Cosmically this is symbolized in Shiva's Lingam as it moves in and out of Yoni {Maya Yoni}. Shiva Lingam goes into the love-involvement to completely and deeply enjoy that moment, and really be involved in it all. Yet next, Shiva Lingam pulls away from Maya Yoni (though perhaps not all the way out of her), which is His Consciousness now withdrawing from Body-Pleasure attachment, to be now free of it all.

So this is the Dance of Shiva dancing in Maya, the dance between getting deeply-completely involved in the Body-Pleasure-Experience of Maya and moving out from this engrossed involvement towards a more detached state of freedom and independence from the Body-Pleasure. Of course, there are many more ways to also understand this Cosmic Dance in relation to the various aspects of life.

LoveOur Mother Earth

The Great Mother Goddess is revered in the tantra. It is wonderful and healing to feel the Love of the Universal Mother. Her Love is all-compassionate and all-embracing, and none are turned away. Everyone is enfolded in the Mother's Love. The tantric yogi breathes-in this Love, then breathes-out his/her appreciation and gratitude for all the love that is given. The child and devotee of Great Mother has faith in Her and prays that She protect and nurture him/her. The Great Mother is all-giving, yet we also need to give back to Her our respect – which we can do by respecting all of nature and all of life, including all parts and persons of life.

The Earth Mother Goddess is also revered. She is our planetary Mother – a planetary reflection and manifest expression of the Universal Mother. So our Goddess Earth has all of the inherited powers and qualities of the Supreme Mother Goddess. She has love, life energy vitality, and also sexual energy. We see this sexual energy of Earth working through all lives and, of course, our own as well. Creative diversity and abundance is Her Aim, yet also enjoyment.

Our Earth Mother, the Earth Goddess, is a Real Being. This is not merely symbolic talk. Let us be clear here. None of the Goddesses mentioned here are merely symbolic talk. They are Real Beings, Real Powers, Real Qualities. And in regards to the Mother Goddess Earth, we need to know that She is very definitely Real. For we are all very definitely in Her energies, and we are part of Her manifest expressive Being.

So our respect, our reverence, and our gratitude need to also be Real – really sincere and authentic. For She is our sacred Mother, right here under our very feet, of Whom we touch and in Whom we breathe. She is our Life, and She is our Beauty. May we always feel love for Her and feel Her love for us. And if we do not, then we need to make more connection with Her and touch Her more with our heart.

Our Earth Mother loves us and gives to us. She gives birth to each of us; she gives us our life. And throughout the Earth, She provides to us food, resources and beauty. Our Earth is the Mother of everyone, so we all have the same Mother, and thus we are all brothers and sisters. We are all one Family of the Mother Earth; even though so many people still do not realize this. If we did realize this, then we would have more respect and an open heart for everyone, no matter what nationality, race, religion, or gender.

The very essence of the Earth Mother is to be caring and giving. So may we feel free to receive all the love, care and healing that she offers. But let us also reciprocate Her giving with our own giving of respect and gratitude. May we respect her sacredness and beauty, and may we protect Her from those who will just take without any real respect or care for Her. Our Mother will take care of us, yet we need to also take care of Her. Otherwise the great Balance is upset, then eventually Her fury will be the result.

The Earth Goddess loves us, but She might not always be kind, as we see in natural hurricanes and other forces harmful to our loves. But are we always kind to Her? Perhaps the Earth Goddess would be much kinder to us, if humanity were generally kinder to Her. A woman disrespected will react to this, because disrespect and lack of love will bring forth from her the rage and fury of her pain.

If we realize that the Earth is our Mother, then we would be respecting and loving Her much more; rather than defiling her sacredness with our pollution, our trash, our raping of her body and destruction of her beauty. Man seems to think that he is most important, more important than the well-fare and beauty of the Earth, and that he can take and take whatever he desires, without having the respect to give anything back or to at least love the one Who is so unconditionally giving to him.

In general, man (which really includes the whole family of both women and men, but we could here mostly point to men) has been carelessly and unlovingly disrespectful of his Mother. And related to his disrespect of the Mother Goddess, man (specifically man) has been generally disrespectful of woman. There is an important correlation between man's cultural treatment of woman and his treatment of the earth.

The appreciation of Earth Mother and all that is given here is a vital part of the tantra way, for the tantra is completely grounded in the earth, though realizing cosmic truths as well. The tantra is very earthy. The tantra is also very sexual, which is often the antithesis of other religious ways and other kinds of practiced yoga. Yet the tantra certainly reveres those spiritual qualities which are not sexual in essence. And those who do not practice the sexual aspects of tantra are respected as well as those who do. To each their own particular way.

Yet what the tantra uniquely offers is a spiritual way involving sexuality; rather than suggest that sexuality and enjoyment is less-than spiritual or should be suppressed and replaced by higher spirituality. Tantra embraces the body and sexuality. In addition, it seeks to increase our enjoyment of sexuality and all aspects of our body. Then, as well, it compliments this with meditation and a path towards greater spiritual realization.