Gateways to Love
Rituals for Romance, Reconnection and Revelry
When Spring is in the air so is love! Eleven thousand years of “civilization” still haven’t stopped us from noticing and responding to the change of the seasons. It is an inbred response. Usually, we float along, taking in and being in awe of how our bodies are waking up. Rarely do we focus these awakening energies, channeling them in specific ways. As we are multi-dimensional beings, we experience these changes and flows in many ways on many levels. Our bodies may come alive for love and fertility (like our friend the Easter Bunny – a remnant of the pagan fertility celebrations of the Spring equinox) our hearts might crave romance, and our souls might search for a deepening union with our beloved, with ourselves, and with the world.
We are so fortunate to be surrounded and hooked into an amazing network of healers, practitioners, and Tantric masters who can help us channel these powerful energies in a variety of fun and deep ways. I think there’s just about something for everyone here, and something for everyone in their various Spring moods. Alone or with a partner we bring our bodies together to pass through the doorway of Spring into the bliss of becoming, of going deeper, channeling this Tantric, sexual, life-giving energy into all areas of our being. If you carry with you any negative feelings or fear towards this type of energy, I sincerely invite you to especially give yourself the gift of returning the energy to its rightful place inside your most divine self guided by what feels right with the following offerings.
Being Like Teenagers:
Tantric Spring Ritual for Couples
By Niyaso Carter
Winter is almost over and we’re heading into spring. As the earth prepares itself for life’s renewal it’s also a great time in a relationship to do something that increases your intimacy, enhances your sex life and ignites more love between you; something a little more then a romantic dinner, chocolates, a movie date or red roses. To celebrate the arrival of spring, here is a tantric ritual for you.
In my profession as a Tantra teacher I often get asked questions that give me the impression that people think Tantra and Taoism teach some sort of high-tech version of sex. But this is not quite true. In reality all the practices of Tantra and Taoism are meant to refine the natural senses, to come closer to nature, to become so attuned to our bodies innate wisdom, that love and ecstasy just bubble up naturally.
The ritual that follows is one way to accomplish this attuning to our bodies’ innate wisdom more deeply. It’s called “Be like Teenagers” and it goes like this:
First, create a comfortable setting, light a candle, play nice music, get extra pillows. Then, have a fantasy date, imagine that you both are teenagers. Imagine you possess all the most positive aspects a teenager can have: innocence, adventurousness, curiosity, playfulness, being daring, being humble, being excited to learn, and most importantly, having no preconceived ideas. Even if this was not your experience as a teen, use your imagination!
From this frame of mind take turns touching each other. Both of you, pretend you’ve never touched before or been touched, be innocent like virgins. Then start touching. One is the giver, the other the receiver. As he or she is touching, the giver repeatedly asks the following question: Is there anything I can do that would feel even better? The receiver answers with total honesty, yet with kindness and humbleness and either says: “No this is wonderful!” or describes in as much graphic detail as possible what other touch he or she would like or how the current touch could be even better.
The giver attempts to implement the desired touch exactly as it is described and then checks if it’s ok. After a while the giver asks the same question again and so on. To make this work, when you’re the giver, you must agree not to ask: “Why have you never showed me this before?” or “Why did you never ask for this before?” Remember you are teenagers starting out fresh.
No matter how long you’ve been together, if you can do this with total innocence, you will learn new ways to give and receive pleasure and enjoy a lovemaking that is a mutual surrender to something higher then yourselves.
Niyaso Carter is a Tantra Coach and Sacred Sex Educator based on Maui, Hawaii. This little ritual is an excerpt from Niyaso Carter’s upcoming audio workshop “Sex for the Soul”. To find our more about Niyaso’s work and her audio and video products go to www.sacredloving.net.
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The Scent of Love & Passion:
Discovering Natural Fragrance
By Marcia Elston
When it comes to physical attraction, smell is everything, some experts say. It’s no secret that when something smells good, it provokes a positive reaction - a freshly bathed infant, the salty mist from the ocean, a bouquet of fine roses, and, of course, our favorite perfumes. These scents can evoke deep personal and emotional reactions. Certain familiar scents can take you immediately to a time or event in the past and remind you of a favorite person. How many of you smell the scent of lavender or rose geranium and remember your grandmother’s warm, loving presence?
Since the beginning of recorded history, many have written about the exquisite scent of the rose, the Queen of flowers, extolling the ethereal, sometimes illusive, virtues of its scent and affect on the human psyche. Descriptions of the depth of feeling and emotion can be found in timeless prose and poetry. According to Goethe, the most evolved plants go through a transformation from the primitive germ to the exuberance of the flower in a natural movement toward spirituality where the flower, in its impermanence and openness, represents an instant of rapture and jubilation. No other floral fragrance compares to that of the precious rose, often inspiration for poetry and tales of love and sorrow. The natural fragrance extracted from the rose has become the cornerstone for many signature perfumes and roses are the most purchased gift on Valentine’s Day when we honor heartfelt feelings of love and passion.
Rose oil or otto has been long considered as an oil of emotional feeling, love and transformation, and is a precious ingredient in the finest floral perfumes. The early Romans scattered rose petals on the marriage bed. Couples in these early times were crowned with roses as are the images of Venus and Cupid in art and sculpture. When Cleopatra invited Mark Antony to her palace, she had her chamber floor covered knee-deep with rose petals because of her fervent belief in the romantic power of the rose’s scent. In ancient Greece, the rose was sacred to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty and fertility. Cultures around the globe have made “rose” beads (i.e., rosary) from rose petals since antiquity to portray and express the greatest love of all, the love of God. The sales of roses and rose products are at their peak for the celebration of Valentine’s Day today, as people continue to seek fragrant ways to honor and adorn their loved ones. Today, true Bulgarian rose otto is one of the most precious natural perfume ingredients and is used to express the joy of romantic love, honor an accomplishment or transition, and to help ease the grief of a loved one’s passing. It is also a highly regarded addition to skincare products and contains many healing properties suited to all skin types.
Tiring of the overpowering and pervasive odor (and having allergic reactions) of synthetic fragrance, many of us have turned to natural ingredients for perfumes, skincare and relaxation products. The emerging study of aromatherapy and natural perfumery is exploding across the United States and the use of natural essential oils for stress relief and simple health problems is now commonplace, both at home and in the clinic or hospital. The Home Spa is now seen as not only desirable, but necessary.
Rediscovering how to cultivate and process aromatic plant extracts from the garden is now emerging as an exciting hobby for those who garden. The revival of the interest in personal hands-on preparation of perfumes and natural scented products has created an emergence of plant extraction and distillation training for the aficionado and professional, alike. People are seeking ways to re-connect with the plants and flowers of the Earth to make their lives more meaningful and to seek answers to the deeper questions of purpose.
You can find a wide range of ingredients and natural fragrance materials to make thoughtful perfumes or naturally-fragranced bath and skincare products with a click of your mouse. If you are creatively adventurous, you might try your hand at simple natural scented products for gifts this season. Some of them may offer additional health benefits to surprise and delight the recipient. Here are some simple ideas to try.
2 C. distilled water
1/2 C. vodka
10 drops rose essential oil
1 C. fresh, deep-red rose petals
Measure the distilled water into a thoroughly cleaned mason jar. Add the vodka slowly to prevent cloudiness. Gently mix in the rose petals until they are completely wet. Add the rose oil and mix well. Let the mixture stand in a covered bottle in a cool, dark place for one week to allow the scent to age. Strain mixture and pour into decorative perfume bottles.
(You can substitute other desired flowers such as lavender flowers,
and lavender essential oil)
Scented Bath Salts
2 C. coarse Dead Sea Salt
5-12 drops of a combination of essential oils of Rose otto,
Lavender, Lemon and Sandalwood
Place Sea salt in glass jar and add, drop by drop, the essential oils. Tightly cover and let sit for several days, shaking periodically. Decant salts into plastic jar or container suitable for use in the bath. Present in a lovely organza gift bag with instructions to use within 2-3 weeks to maintain strength.
Marcia Elston is credentialed as an herbalist/aromatherapist/natural perfumist and owns and operates Samara Botane Aromatic Apothecary in Snohomish, Washington. www.wingedseed.com
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Yoga for the Heart: Enhancing Love for Self and Others Through Yoga
By Jeanne Dillion and Marlene Gast, Ph.D
Yoga is a state of being in which the body, the breath, the feelings, the mind, and a sense of access to inner wisdom are all integrated. The word “yoga” stems from the Sanskrit root “yug,” which means to yoke together, and thus describes this integrated state of being.
The practices that help one reach this state of being are said to be between 2,000 and 6,000 years old, and are based on ancient texts from the Vedic tradition and philosophy of India. About 200 B.C. the sage Patanjali codified these techniques in the Yoga Sutra.
The practice of yoga includes much more than the physical postures (asana) that are so popular in the United States today. In fact, only a few sutras in Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutra mention asana.
The eight-limbed tree of yoga found in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 2.29 includes:
1. Yama, attitudes toward our environment.
2. Niyama, attitudes toward ourselves.
3. Asana, practice of physical postures.
4. Pranayama, practice of breathing exercises.
5. Pratyahara, withdrawal of the senses.
6. Dharana, ability to direct our minds/concentration.
7. Dhyana, meditation.
8. Samadhi, absorption of the individual sense of self into a sense of universal being.
Yoga practice is one of the most effective ways to access and open one’s heart to life and love. These practices lead us to a reconnection with the true self, which is pure love. We learn to love ourselves and that helps us more fully love others and receive love.
Focusing on and connecting with the breath leads us inward to the blissful quality of our true nature. By using the breath to initiate and envelope movement, we open the body, releasing tensions that impede the flow of that blissful life energy. The restored body, in turn, heals the mind.
Here’s a simple practice that can open the heart and reconnect us with the love that is always there deep inside us all. Remember to focus on the breath. On inhalation bring awareness to the expansion of the chest and upper back. Contract the muscles of the lower abdomen on exhalation.
1. Sitting comfortably on the floor or in a chair, place the palms of the hands together with the thumbs touching the upper chest (prayer position/anjali mudra). Without forcing the breath in any way, begin to focus on the flow of your breath inviting it to be smooth and even. (See Figure 1.)
Inhaling, open your arms wide to slightly lower than your shoulders and pause briefly. (See Figure 2.)
Exhaling, bring the hands back together returning to anjali mudra and be aware of your heart center. Again a brief pause at the end of the exhale. (See Figure 1.)
Repeat this breath and movement four to six times. Let your breath guide you.
2. Begin in the same position as in Number 1 above. Inhaling, reach your arms toward the sky lifting the chest and gazing upward. Pause briefly. (See Figure 3.)
Exhaling, return to beginning position and pause briefly. (See Figure 1.)
Repeat four to six times.
3. Begin standing on your knees or sitting in a chair with hands in anjali mudra. Legs slightly apart. (See Figure 4 or Figure 6.) Inhaling, reach arms upward. (See Figure 7.)
Exhaling, bend forward (staying within a comfortable range of motion) bring the arms to the back with the hands resting on the small of the back palms open. (See Figure 5.)
Repeat four to six times.
4. Sit now, for three to ten minutes, and reflect on self love.
May you know the bliss of your own true nature! May you carry that bliss out into the world, to others in your life and beyond.
Jeanne Dillion is the owner of Yoga for Wellness and is a Certified Yoga Therapist . Marlene Gast, Ph.D., Certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher. See www.yogaforwellnesspro.com.
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Tantra Nova: Heart-to-Heart Connecting Practice for Partners
By Dr. Elsbeth Meuth and Mr. Freddy Weaver
This practice of “Heart-to-Heart Connection” is designed to assist you and your partner in connecting in an effortless and deep way. The practice will revitalize your body and soul and attune your energies for resonating in harmony with each other. You can do this together in the morning to get ready for the day, in the middle of the day to rejuvenate or in the evening before you retire. The practice is also superb for preparing yourselves for love making and will greatly enhance your synchronicity in dancing lovingly together.
Set aside 5 to 10 minutes each day to connect in this way and you will gain deeper peace within yourself as well as with your partner. It will support you both in generating calm, ease and compassion in facing the challenges that might arise in the relationship and in your lives.
Here is how the practice works: It can be done in two different positions -- choose the one that is most comfortable to both of you:
Position 1) – Sitting on chairs
• Face each other sitting side-by-side with your right thigh touching your partner’s right thigh.
Position 2) – Sitting on the floor in a cross-legged position (use meditation chairs if you have them)
• Face each other sitting side-by-side with your right thigh touching your partner’s right thigh.
• Put your right hand on your partner’s heart chakra (the sternum / chest) while your left hand rests in your lap.
• Look into each other’s left eye -- this engages the sensing and feeling connection within you and with your partner.
• Together breathe in deeply through the nose and then breathe out slowly through the nose. Keep breathing together in that fashion while gazing into each other’s left eye for a couple of minutes. We call this way of breathing “synchronized breathing”.
• Maintain the positioning of your right hand on your partner’s heart chakra.
• Now one of you will breathe in while the other one breathes out. We call this way of breathing “alternate breathing”. When you breathe in visualize receiving your partner’s energy / breath being sent from your partner’s hand into your heart chakra. When you breathe out visualize sending your loving heart energy from your heart chakra out your right arm and hand into your partner’s heart chakra. On the next inhalation receive your partner’s loving heart energy coming through your partner’s right arm and hand into your heart chakra.
• Keep gazing into each other’s left eye and stay with the circulating of your love energy for another 3 to 4 minutes.
• Take your right hand and return it into your lap.
• Continue to sit facing each other and share and listen to each other about what you are feeling within yourself and for each other.
Dr. Elsbeth Meuth and Mr. Freddy Weaver are the founders and directors of the TantraNova Institute, headquartered in Chicago. They offer seminars and private sessions to couples and individuals to assist them in rediscovering their passion and renewing intimacy within themselves and their relationships. They may be contacted at 312-787-764 or firstname.lastname@example.org or via www.tantranova.com.
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