Full Moon in Gemini- Awakening the Tantrika Within
Lucid is a tantrika, urban witch, and reiki master living in Brooklyn. She is a co-founder of Moon Church and spends her free time plotting ways to sexually liberate bodies the world over.
Photo by Ryan McGinley
December is a flurry of energy exchange: the abundant giving and receiving of gifts, the sensual decadence of the food, the lights, the colors, and the warmth of the hearth juxtaposed with the chill of the air outside. This particular December, we are influenced by a full moon in Gemini, which brings with it its own powerful forces of exchange. Gemini is the sign of duality, of interaction, of one force affecting another. It is the sign of interplay. In combination with the already energetic fervor of December, this moon in Gemini will be a time of increased mental and emotional stimulation. To aid with the high winds of this month's dynamism, now is a good time to call in a practice that is well known for its focus on balancing dynamic energies, as well as its ability to ground us in times of need: Tantra.
The classic definition of Tantra, when translated from its original Sanskrit, comes to mean “weaving,” implying integration and expansion, like the strands of a braid or the warp of a loom-- able to stretch while remaining intact. What we weave through Tantra, according to some interpretations, is the fabric of our enlightenment, the continual journey of deepening without the possibility of regression. Every step leads to the next on a path of self-actualization.
As you may have noticed, this definition in no way directly connotes sexuality, despite the common misconception in the West that Tantra is an inherently sexual practice. Before we begin our journey together into awakening our inner Tantrika — our inner priest or priestess of cosmic energy — it is important that we begin by casting away any previous misconceptions around what Tantra is. In the articles to come, I will introduce a variety of Tantric practices and ideologies, some of which involve sexuality, but many of which do not. To confine Tantra into the parameters of sexuality or any other one thing is to miss out on the vast expanse of what it has to offer. On this topic, a teacher of mine once said, "[Tantric sex] is like scooping up a cupful of sea water and calling it 'the ocean'."
I have studied Tantra for several years now, two of which include working as a Tantric coach for individuals and couples. In this time, I have come to develop my own experiential definition of the practice. For me Tantra is about, more than anything, the practice of tuning into energy. This tuning in, perhaps with some persistence, can produce a kind of awakening, which is called many things: “kundalini rising,” “spiritual activation,” an “ecstatic state,” and often simply “arousal.”
Whatever you want to call it, the secret is: it’s everywhere. It’s in the shiver of a winter branch, it’s in a bird’s flight in the sky, it's in the stamp of a bare foot on a concrete floor, or even, for the more open-minded among us, it’s in the clicking of a space heater or the hum of a computer fan. One woman I know found her Tantric activation through boiling a pot of eggs!
Tantra is about awakening to the infinite wonder that surrounds us, finding the beauty in all that is, and perhaps seeing life in a way we haven't seen it before. It’s about accepting even the subtlest aspects of the world as truly magnificent exchanges of cosmic energy. When we apply this practice of awareness into our everyday lives, an entire realm of purpose, fulfillment, and healing can reveal itself to us.
No two Tantric journeys look exactly alike. Every person begins their path with their own set of coded histories and challenges that they will face as their journey deepens. And this journey can (and most likely will) take a myriad of forms. I began my tantric journey with some basic self-exploration exercises such as meditation and breathwork, only to discover that, of course, even a pot of eggs might have something to teach me as well!
In closing, I will share with you an initiatory Tantric meditation crafted by one of my favorite teachers, Barbara Carrellas, as written in her book Urban Tantra. It is a meditation for the Tantric rookies and masters alike:
“Let’s look at how we want to use our minds in the practice of Tantra. The first principle is: energy follows thought. Let me show you how this works.
Close your eyes.
Put all your attention on the little finger of your right hand.
Send your breath there.
Visualize light from one hundred stars shining into this little finger.
Hear the sounds inside your finger.
Feel the blood pulse there.
Do this for a couple of minutes.
How does your little finger feel? Bigger, more aware, and more alive, right?"