Monday 5 October 2020


Last week I went to the Tantra exhibition at the British Museum. Tantra is an Indian esoteric system that is not based on the Vedas, as are most orthodox forms of Hinduism, but instead goes back to pre-Aryan roots though, as is the way with all Indian religion, there are many admixtures along the way to end up with what now exists under that name.

The basis of Tantra is that the universe is made up of the interaction between male and female powers, personified as Siva and Sakti. Siva is Ultimate Reality or pure consciousness and Sakti is his dynamic aspect. She is Cosmic Energy, visualised as a goddess. Effectively, these represent spirit and matter in the system, taking spirit as being and matter as the world in all its forms, the Father and Mother of the Universe. The practitioner aims to unite these two within himself, drawing up the power in matter within his own body to the top of the head where it unites with spirit to produce enlightenment. This is just the bare bones of the philosophy, but the idea is that, rather than rejecting the material world, the follower of Tantra uses it, even embraces it, to reach spiritual insight. All life is one and nothing is to be rejected. Thus, certain practises which are regarded as profane in more conventional religious teachings, such as the consumption of alcohol and participation in sexual activity, are used in a ritualistic way to demonstrate that nothing is impure and all is part of the whole. Sex is understood as symbolic of divine unity and, though this is only taken symbolically on the so-called right-hand path, is engaged in literally on the left-hand path.

One sees a certain logic in this but there are problems. From the Christian perspective, it ignores the fact of the Fall. The material world has been corrupted and can only be redeemed in Christ. Tantra appears to have no understanding of this. Of course, motivation is crucial in any practice but even the best motivation in the world cannot turn error into truth. In fact, the attraction of Tantra for many is the same as the attraction of occultism in general. Power. Whether magical or spiritual, it is often power that the follower of these paths seeks and with such a motivation the temptation to succumb to the demons who lurk in the dark corners of these systems is always present. Demons are actually openly present in Tantra, whether disguised as deities with a wrathful aspect as in some forms of Buddhist Tantra or as the goddess Kali who is depicted as the Great Mother but is clearly demonic in origin. I am not saying that a certain mindset cannot indeed transform the images of these demons to a more spiritual state but that is going against their form, and form and function are not so clearly demarcated or differentiated as some might like to think. Ugliness is not beauty. Violence is not peace. The form of Kali very obviously goes back to a demon that was propitiated by blood, not a good image for the spiritual aspirant to focus on however much you seek to justify it by abstruse symbolism. I can appreciate the wisdom in Tantra in that it fully accepts the created world rather than denying or dismissing it but I would object that it accepts it too much. The profane and the sacred are not the same thing and seeing them as such does not make it so.

There is truth in Tantra. The idea that we need to accept the material world of creation as part of the whole and not dismiss it as illusion as certain forms of Hinduism do is correct. But we should not take it on its own terms. It should always be seen in the light of spirit. The creation should never be set on the same footing as the Creator. The two are not equal. But the created world is a true world and we are part of it and it is part of us. As Christ showed, it should be included in our understanding of spiritual reality. Nonetheless, matter must always be subordinated to spirit as the Virgin Mary offered herself up completely to the Will of God. You don't conquer matter through matter as Tantra might lead one to believe. You conquer it through spirit. Then, once conquered, the beauty within it is revealed and it serves to glorify God.

As an amusing aside, when I went to this exhibition I did not wear a mask. Everyone else was wearing one. I respected the social distancing rules because I didn't want to upset anybody but there is a profound spiritual symbolism in covering your face and I do not want to be a party to that, especially for a disease that is far less deadly for most people than we have been led to believe. I have worn a mask on a couple of occasions so as not to upset other people but both times felt a sense of shame and that I was contributing to the degradation of humanity.  You might think that an over the top reaction but such a practice, once accepted, is hard to stop. One of the other people at the exhibition complained to an attendant that I wasn't wearing a mask but was told that certain people are exempt though no one actually asked me whether I did indeed fit into that category. What I found amusing was that the whole idea of Tantra is that nothing is impure. Tantrics would meditate in graveyards and cover themselves with the ashes of dead bodies. Not wearing a mask should surely, in that sense, be perfectly in tune with the Tantric ethos!

I understand that there is a temptation to spiritual pride in not wearing one of these face coverings. We should be alert to that. We should also respect the concerns of others and, if not wearing a mask in a space where one is now supposed to be wearing one, keep a reasonable distance from others unless that is impossible. Nevertheless, I do see the imposition of masks as an attack on individual freedom. It is of profound spiritual significance and should not be dismissed as just something to keep us safe. One lesson that can be drawn from Tantra is that God is everywhere. That doesn't mean we should abandon common sense because that can be the voice of God too. But it does mean we should learn to be free of fear and have trust in our Creator.


edwin faust said...

As one who once had a tantric guru, your comments are especially interesting. You did not talk about tantric practice, however, which is linked to kundalini awakening. The inroads that tantric thought has made in the West are largely due to the dramatic effects this awakening produces on the sensible level: sensations, automatic pranayama, asanas, bliss and much more. These observable and experienced effects tend to support a belief in the explanations provided for them and to make tantra appear more than a idea among other ideas but one that delivers a demonstrable proof of its validity. But as I observed during my years of enthrallment to tantric practice, many motivations are possible among the devotees of the shakti, some benevolent, others quite sordid (the demons lurking in the shadows, as you say). Misgivings about the nature of kundalini and scandalous behavior from the leaders of the group led me to abandon tantra. I must say, however, that tantra has not returned the favor. I still experience automatic effects (physical movements, breathing patterns, etc.) while I am meditating on say, St. John's Gospel or some spiritual idea. They creep up on me, so to speak. I suppress them immediately, not violently so, but by turning my attention away from them. Still, they're there. I don't know what to make of it all. I sometimes wonder whether the talk about the son of man being lifted up might have to do with the raising of the kundalini, i.e. Shakti rising to Shiva and the spiritual marriage of matter and spirit. There is, as you say, no accounting for the Fall in tantra. How or why did Shakti become dormant in matter and have to be awakened? But then, the Mystery of Iniquity in Christianity is also rather, well, mysterious. It all involves free will, the action of grace and other imponderables. There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, etc. But, as you point out, the one thing to be said about tantra is that it does not reject an disparage the Creation, but exults in it. There is danger in such exaltation, however, as the sex scandals in tantric cults give proof. But sex scandals are non-denominational - an equal opportunity employer.

William Wildblood said...

I did refer to kundalini obliquely when I said "The practitioner aims to unite these two within himself, drawing up the power in matter within his own body to the top of the head where it unites with spirit to produce enlightenment. " But i don't think that kundalini has much to do with real spirituality. It is more a psychic thing which can manifest on different planes, as visions on the mental plane, as heat on the etheric (prana level) and so on. It is the energy inherent in matter and can be, usually is, awoken prematurely when mind and body are not sufficiently prepared for which read purified. I think it is best left alone and your experience rather bears this out.

Adil said...

Sounds like tantra restores the connection between spirit and matter (thus equanimity between the feminine and masculine), unlike in modern abrahamism where the spirit has been exiled to the otherworld with no interior left to this world (creating an unhealthy rift between mind and body).

It seems like the goal of tantra is not to detach from the world and vanish into Nirvana but instead break the spell of reincarnation while retaining the self. I find this method compatible with the goal of Christian salvation, except that tantra itself seems to level out spirit and matter.

I think tantra beds for some heroic tasks with interesting ethical implications. The point seems to be to decondition the mind rather than avoiding dogmatic "impurity". This adds a personal element to morality. For example, vegetarianism might be a virtue for some (if they overcame a conditioned habit to eat meat), but for others eating meat might achieve the same thing. But veganism is not a virtue per se. Neither is abstaining from alcohol, as the muslims would make you believe (although such a restriction would probably be beneficial to many in our overly permissive society).

In any case, if dualistic 'abrahamism' exiles the spiritual realm and tantra collapses into strict monism, as usual Christ can balance out the equation.

William Wildblood said...

It's the absence of Christ that is the fly in the ointment of all these esoteric systems, profound as they might be on their own terms. There are all sorts of inner spiritual experiences and states of consciousness that they can bestow on their practitioners but ultimately, I do believe that "no man comes to the Father except through me."

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - What is the ultimate end-point goal of Tantra?

William Wildblood said...

As I understand it, Bruce, it would be similar to all forms of Eastern mysticism which is liberation or enlightenment. But here this does not mean just being reabsorbed into the All. The Supreme Goal is described as the attainment of one's divine nature which means that the individual soul knows itself to be a manifestation of Siva or God and recognises the whole universe to be the self-expression of the deity. So, Creation is not denied or downplayed. Rather, it is recognised as God's outer glory. In this sense it is different to orthodox Buddhism or Advaita Vedanta.

edwin faust said...

"Swatantrya" is a key word in tantric texts and it is usually translated as freedom, although it carries with a the notion of the power to create. What inhibits this power is our conditioning from past lives, which collects itself in certain plexuses in the subtle body called chakras. The aim of tantra is to awaken the kundalini so that it moves through the chakras and breaks up the conditioning, thus releasing us from mechanically repeating patterns of behavior and enabling us to express our true selves freely and fully. So runs the theory. If you, William, are correct and kundalini is merely "psychic" and not spiritual, then tantra would seem to be a useless thing, or worse, a potentially major distraction from life's real purpose. But implicit in this is a distinction of the psychic from the spiritual which would make the former somehow dispensable or separable, or so it would appear. Perhaps you might define what you mean by "psychic" as opposed to spiritual.

William Wildblood said...

Psychic = relating to subtle planes of matter

Spiritual = relating to spirit and God either as Creator or as the transcendent principle

So the psychic is not dispensable but we should try to work from above downwards rather than below upwards. This is the error with working on kundalini. I think it should be left to happen naturally when the chakras have been purified by correct spiritual practise which is basically purifying the soul and awakening love of God. Also, such things as discrimination, detachment etc, all the usual spiritual suspects!

Anonymous said...

Your remarks on Kali are interesting - have you read Lewis' Till We Have Faces ?
It explores something similar, whereby prefiguring or premonitions of Christianity stir in the ancient, pagan world, at a time when participation with the spiritual world (from Barfield - in the encounter with the god Eros) was both disappearing generally but could still occur, honed to a point suggestive of a greater spiritual revelation that was imminent (the Incarnation).

(You have identified something profoundly true about the wearing of masks, by the way. Something similar, albeit at the secular level, has been published in a study by German scientists concerning psychological harm to society from the practice.
And, incidentally, there does seem to be a growing pushback from qualified scientists and doctors against 'lockdowns' more generally - the letter published in Great Barrington earlier this week: .
It seems to be prompting a backlash from opposing factions in the media. Let's hope & pray that even though these things are very much of the world, that there is also a higher prompting, perhaps associated with the feast of St. Michael, which has stirred these individuals to act - and at great potential risk to their careers: )

William Wildblood said...

I have read Till We Have Faces but a long time ago and I can't really remember much about it. It's based on the myth of Psyche, isn't it?

I certainly hope that more and more people resist the current psychological, indeed spiritual, war that is being waged on humanity. At the moment, we seem to be being pushed into the darkness with hardly anyone protesting.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's mostly abput the Psyche myth, but there's a series of portrayals of aspects of gods & goddesses in other modes and types of encounters too. Your description of Kali recalled the goddess Ungit in the story.

Adil said...

"At the moment, we seem to be being pushed into the darkness with hardly anyone protesting."

Well, in the public eye, there is nothing to protest against. It's even convenient for many, as society seems to become more safe and anonymous. Lack of spiritual awareness means the spectacle is driven by unconscious forces, cemented by instincts of social conformism. This "unconsciousness" is of course ruled by fully conscious demons, rather than any conspiratorial superpowers. By this stage the lockdown has reached such inertia and momentum that there is no "going back" to normal. I fear it is out of control - a self enforcing process of incremental darkness. The solar eclipse of Ahriman. I already get nostalgic thinking about how things "used to be". It's that odd feeling when just a year ago reminds more of the 20th century than it resembles today. Time has really accelerated this millennia. And it's going fast.

Bruce Charlton said...

Good comment from Eric! I found "Lack of spiritual awareness means the spectacle is driven by unconscious forces, cemented by instincts of social conformism. This "unconsciousness" is of course ruled by fully conscious demons, rather than any conspiratorial superpowers." to be a persepctive new to me, but which immediately struck true.

I would, however, disagree with the idea that it is getting 'out of control' - because I think that this is intended.

It seems very obvious to me that most people will simply despair and give-up on life if/ when they are confined to their houses for weeks/ months/ forever and prevented from meeting and touching other humans; yet that is being proposed as A Good Thing, as Necessary.

It is indeed Necessary for damnation, but for nothing else.

Yet, I would have thought equally-obviously, even if the birdemic was 100X more dangerous than it really is (which is what surveys suggest people believe - i.e. people apparently think it kills about 5% of people, instead of the reality of 0.05%).

And even if it was possible to contain a respiratory virus by lockdownsocialdistinacingmasking (which it is not), then it would be worth risking death rather than to 'live' in solitary confinement and isolation - indeed it would be psychologically necessary.

William Wildblood said...

"it would be psychologically necessary." Yes, absolutely. There seems little point in having life on any terms even by worldly standards unless one is a totally cowed and subservient slave. Is that why these demons wish to make us?

John Fitzgerald said...

Yes, Eric, great comment. That's it exactly. Re the Barrington Declaration mentioned by 'anonymous', I signed that petition the other day and retweteed it in Twitter (to all 97 of my followers!) And yes, maybe there is something in the air connected to St. Michael's feast day which might have prompted this bit of pushback.

I'm racking my brains at the moment thinking of the best way to protest against all this. Because as we all know here there's something deeply Satanic going on. But I have to think very carefully and make my protest as targeted and effective as possible. I know what I'm like - I can very too be dragged down into brawls and shouting matches and basically I'm worried I'll just end up handing myself over to the enemy, as it were.

I've got to be canny about it - so some strategic, long-term thinking on my part for once. Some kind of writing, I think. But not on my blog. No point preaching to the choir. I want to find a way, aside from my creative work, of undermining and subverting the establishment. It's not been my style so far, but maybe even anonymously or pseudo-anonymously. I don't know. I'm trying to trust in God, as Bruce says in his latest post.

I apologise, William, for commandeering your comments space in this way. It was only meant to be a quick comment but I've ended up doing a lot of thinking aloud.

I also think there's room for a more collective response to. I had a strange idea a couple days ago that we could form some kind of 'government in exile' - for Albion, I mean. An alternative power structure of some sort. I'm afraid I'm a bit short on details for the moment though. Just the grand vision! You can probably tell I've been reading a biography of General de Gaulle!

A great piece William. Just one quick question. What would you have said if someone had challenged you about not wearing a mask? Would you have said you were exempt?

I tested this out in town this morning but like you no-one asked me!

Anonymous said...

Just on Bruce's point - I agree entirely with the exaggeration that the virus presents (and even more so that the dangers of economic, social, psychological and spiritual atrophy caused by the responsive measures being pushed are far worse), but I don't believe that compliance with or acceptance of these latter are as widespread as we're led to believe, nothwithstanding the polls (which are engineered towards a desired result).
There is widespread opposition, and as per the Gt.Barrington declaration I mentioned above, it increasingly looks like the dominant position among the scientific and medical community (at least those without the weight of vested interests upon them) is againt lockdowns.

William Wildblood said...

I'm always happy when the comments section prompts discussion, John, so definitely no need to apologise!

Like you, I have to resist a tendency to get emotional sometimes. I thought about what I would say if challenged. I could just say I was exempt (I do have sinusitis) but that seems a bit of a feeble excuse because you are claiming that the reason for not complying is physical when it's really moral/spiritual. Obviously, you can't talk about Satanic conspiracies so I came up with this line of argument. To be said in as friendly a manner as possible.

"You seem to believe that the disease is more deadly than the data says it is, that masks are more effective than numerous studies have shown them to be and that the psychological effect of covering your face is of no significance".

Anonymous said...

Just in response to John's 'thinking out loud' - I've been asking myself the same questions, and discussing it with older family members (who when asked have said that whatever the consequences they do not want to live a life where they cannot freely travel in their own land, see their grandchildren and friends or attend their church).
The conclusion reached was that they will firmly and calmly state their rejection of lockdown/covid mania and associated non-logical measures (accepting that there is a serious illness there all the same and that one should be sensible and take precautions where one see fot - but that these are in the domain of personal sovereignty and not the business of the state, or citizen-deputies, etc.)
The key thing, I think, is calmness - as reactive passions pull one into the control of the same forces that are causing this, an urge that has destruction as its end.
Practically, if challenged by an public individual or official, it is of course more difficult. I'd make no criticism of anyone who feels the threat overwhelming and keeps their opposition silent and internal. Don't put yourself in any danger - there are real risks involved from people and institutions which are quite literally possessed. (Just taking the mask issue alone, legally, 'exempt' has a broad remit, for those who'd prefer to sidestep direct provocations).
But I believe that these are one of the real occasions where we can call on aid - we have spiritual protectors with us, sometimes even just to ask for help in a quick prayer gives us access to a well of stillness & strength, and I've seen antagonists waver when met by a steadfastness they cannot comprehend.

William Wildblood said...

You are quite right that calmness is essential. Give way to emotion or aggression or excitement of any kind and you have immediately lost the argument, however correct you may be. Now, I must just follow my own advice!

Adil said...


Thanks gentlemen! I'm glad you affirm my observation.

Bruce Charlton said...

I have given thought to this matter of 'what would I say if...?'; but really it's a waste of time because anyone who asked would not want to hear a real answer (nor would they devote sufficient time and attention to consider any answer).

This was a problem I had when I was working at university, and (for the last 20 years or so) refusing to do the new bureaucratic/ surveillance/ dishonest-dumbing-down/ enabling-cheating exercises. I began by constructing reasoned cases and publishing essays in (eg) the Times Higher Education Supplement, The Independent and the Oxford Magazine. I would then hand copies of my articles to my Heads of Department etc when challenged.

But this was futile and burned up a lot of emotional energy; in the end I used to say simply that I would not do X unless I was compelled to do so; and I never was until the last two years, when it became clear that I was soon going to be sacked - but this was pre-empted by declining health and early retirement.

When asked 'why' I would not comnply; I would say that I was happy to explain, but that it would require about ten minutes for me to explain properly - and nobody ever wanted to hear this.

I would also have said that I had 'religious reasons' for - for example - not lying/ misleading/ spinning and hyping on official forms - but I was never challenged on this.

(Note: From 2010 - when I was sacked from editing Medical Hypotheses - I made a kind-of vow to myself that I would be strictly honest at work, or say nothing at all - which is not acceptable for most administrative purposes. More difficult was that when I became a Christian, 2009, I determined not to assist the Satanic agenda with my words, efforts, or silence. But this has become almost impossibly difficult over the past decade; and one can only repent and repent.)

Sean Fowler said...

“ Effectively, these represent spirit and matter in the system, taking spirit as being and matter as the world in all its forms, the Father and Mother of the Universe. The practitioner aims to unite these two within himself, drawing up the power in matter within his own body to the top of the head where it unites with spirit to produce enlightenment.“
Not sure about the rest of it, but they are most definitely on to something there. No doubt about it.

Could you William or any of my fellow readers recommend any solid literature on the subject?

William Wildblood said...

Do you mean a book on Tantra, Sean? There is a book called The Philosophy of Sadhana by Deba Brata SenSharma which is about the form of Tantra known as Kashmir Shaivism. He also wrote one called Aspects of Tantra Yoga. They are both quite abstruse and technical though!