Kadeisha and Tantra
(why we don’t call our work ‘tantra’)
The workshops that offer training and insight into Conscious Sexuality are often referred to by new students and others, as the ‘Tantra’ workshops. They are properly called the Kadeisha workshops.
This is because the work that we do is not ‘Tantra’ in the formal and transcendent sense. We do incorporate some of the principles and practical methods of Tantric teaching proper. And we respect and greatly value these teachings. We also differentiate in our teachings between the Hindu Tantras and the Buddhist Tantric Scriptures. While these two traditions, the Hindu and the Buddhist, are similar in many general respects, there are some significant differences.
Further, our teaching of Sacred Sexuality also includes philosophical insights and practical techniques from the Chinese Taoist tradition. Metaphysically, morally and practically, the Taoist teachings are very different from the processes, practices and desired goals of the Vedic and Buddhist Tantras.
We also incorporate numerous teachings and erotic practices learned from the Kabbalistic traditions and from the Dionysian Mystery Schools.
While drawing respectfully from the great streams of Tantric and Taoist learning mentioned above, we teach an approach that differs in significant ways from these traditions. We believe and promote a view that a dedicated, personal and intimate relationship with one other person is valuable and is even necessary for soul-based self-realisation. Both Taoism and Tantra, in the manifest applications of their original source material at least, leave relationships in the transpersonal realm.
In addition to that, almost everything that is called ‘Tantra’ in modern Western society is little more than enhanced sexual techniques, coupled with bits of positive self-affirmation, perhaps to compensate for centuries of Western sex-negative culture. These practices, initially useful, soon only serve to further reinforce the Ego’s dominant view. These modern practices have very little or nothing at all to do with the very clearly stated spiritual and philosophic intentions of the Tantras.
While a few modern practitioners of Taoist sexual teachings do promote personal and dedicated relationships, this is not part of traditional Taoism, which offers no illusions about the impersonal nature of the work. The paradoxically rigid approach towards ‘limitless freedom’ and expressly stated idealism of the contemporary teachings allow us to question whether the modern approach is any different to the traditional paths in their unsoiled transcendence and abstraction.
It might be a surprise for some who champion modern Tantra and Taoist sexual teachings, to realise that, by eventually mistrusting the chthonic aspects of the manifest Feminine, these paths are all ultimately misogynist.
It is also worth considering that the majority of people exploring these ideas and practices have been influenced by the modern narrative of learning. Both Carl Jung and James Hillman emphasise the problems of Western-educated people idealistically adopting or assuming a link with the different and complex cultural traditions of the Far East. On the one side, it reveals a spiritually naïve, dependant and almost childish way of thinking. On the other side, it reinforces an already self-deprecating attitude, one of ‘needing something from outside’ to feel whole. Chogyam Trungpa refers to this Western disposition as ‘spiritual materialism’.
For all these reasons, ‘Kadeisha’, seems a more appropriate term to describe the work that we do.