In my previous article I discussed triadic hygiene and the physical body as part of the sacred space.
Naturally, a man’s body and his Tāntric Lover’s physicality are the most important components of the sacred space, but a number of other components contribute to the beauty and transformative experience.
The physical sacred space and its furnishings are almost as important as the personal presences of the ritual.
The ambiance and furnishings of a sacred space will inevitably have an effect on all three manifestations: the physical, emotional/mental, and spiritual state of the Tāntrika-s occupying that space.
The Sacred Space
The basic rule is to keep your space simple, uncluttered, and as non-distracting as possible. Your yoga mat, your cushions, pillows, oils, incense holders, candles, lamps, towels, etc. should be minimal and not pose a distraction, or hazard of tipping or spilling.
While a practitioner may not have much space to dedicate to his practices, I do recommend setting aside as much space as possible — a cozy corner or even an entire room — in your home exclusively for your spiritual practices.
If you use an altar table, keep it minimal.
The altar table is a convenience and serves only to carry the essentials. During the practices, rituals, and meditations, you will be either focused or centered on yourself and your own body, or your Tantric Lover and his body, and the Spirit.
The space and its furnishings will vanish into the background and disappear altogether if you are focusing correctly.
Lighting affects the properties of vision and gaze. Light in Homoerotic Tantra ℠ is an important metaphysical and physical energy, and key to sight, vision, and gaze.
Too bright is annoying and over-stimulating; too dim and you’ll want to go to sleep. Neither condition is tāntric.
Lighting should be at a pleasant level and enhance relaxing. It should not be so bright that you are aware of the light with your eyes closed.
I recommend indirect light or the gentle light of oil lamps or candles for tāntric practices, rituals, and meditation practices.
After the sādhana exercise or the ritual, you and your Tantric Lover can allow yourselves to be ravished by the warm rays of your devotion to each other, or dance in the gentle illumination of Divine Union.
Sound vs noise
We all know that there’s a big difference between sound and noise; but our subjective interpretations differ.
One man’s music is another man’s earache! We don’t have that problem in Homoerotic Tantra:Mascul-IN-Touch℠ because the audio accompaniment is traditional and meaningful.
Sensory value of sound
When I mention sound, I mean aural stimulation in the form of sacred tāntric sounds or meditation music, or māntra. I include here also natural sounds we use in tāntric practices such as water sounds, weather sounds, nature sounds, or shamanic drumming, humming, etc. that are pleasurable and function as erotosensory stimulation.
Noise, on the other hand, is any sound that is distraction because of its source, quality, volume, or other characteristic.
Noise is distracting, not stimulating or pacifying. You should ensure that noise in the area of your ritual space is kept to a minimum, if not eliminated entirely, and that only sounds enhancing and conducive to your practice are present.
The difference between noise and music is their vibration qualities: Noise vibrates at an unbeneficial frequency; music operates at a beneficial vibrational frequency.
Ambient temperature is a key comfort item. The Homoerotic Yogic Tantra ℠ practices, whether in solo-cultivation or in dual-cultivation, are celebrated naked, and a naked body needs to be in a comfortably climate controlled area.
I recommend a temperature of about 80 °F (26 °C); cooler and you might feel a distracting chill; warmer and you might perspire excessively, interfering with the work of the oils and touching during the tāntric bodywork.
Uncomfortable drafts and air currents should be avoided. The sacred space should be well ventilated, even open to the outside.
In built-up areas this may not be completely possible but do ensure that you have plenty of fresh clean air entering your ritual space.
Ideally, you would be doing these practices in the open, or in wooded or natural surroundings, or in a mountainous area near a beautiful view or on a lake.
That’s not always possible and you’d also have to be assured of privacy. But keep in mind that breathing requires air, and healthy breathing requires clean, pure, healthy air.
Privacy is important
Whether you are practicing solo-cultivation or dual-cultivation, these are extraordinarily intimate and focused practices.
Non-practitioners should not have access to the space when you or you and your Tantric Lover are present and practicing.
The ritual space is your space and should be kept private, and others should respect that privacy. When you are in that sacred space, provisions should be made to ensure that there are no interruptions from any source, and no distractions from the outside.
Ritual Space and Furnishings
The immediate area of the sādhana exercise or ritual space is to be considered dedicated and holy.
It will often also be a consecrated space. Imagine that the space is enclosed in a magic, protective circle, isolating it from worldly distractions.
The ritual space and its furnishings are the immediate physical surroundings of the Tāntrika or the Tantric Lovers. These include the physical and the personal components of the ritual space.
Personal Components: The Tāntrika or the Tantric Lover(s).
Physical Components: The furnishings and ritual items used in the sādhana exercise or the ritual.
As I mentioned above, you and your Tantric Lover are physical components of the sacred ritual space as well as emotional and spiritual components.
Your physical, emotional, and spiritual characteristics are all energies that charge the space you occupy, and affect those sentient beings and the space around you.
That’s why it’s so important that you awaken and develop the important faculties of self-knowledge and self-awareness, so that you will be conscious of how you affect others around you.
In Homoerotic Yogic Tantra ℠, you will learn a number of yogic principles and how to apply them to day-to-day life and interactions. But as a component of the physical sādhana exercise and ritual space, you have to ensure that you are in sync and harmony with the rest of the space.
I have covered several of the items you should manage and, as we progress, you’ll learn more. For now, it would be opportune if you were to take a few moments of time to do one or more of the self-assessments I provide on the Homoerotic Tantra ℠ website.
As far as the immediate space, that is, the space that you and your Tantric Lover will occupy and celebrate the ritual, is concerned, it will have the following characteristics in addition to those I mention in the section on Physical Environment, above:
The ritual space should be a dedicated, if possible permanent space large enough to comfortably accommodate both you and your Tantric Lover, and ritual items such as:
- an altar table for the image or statue of Lord Shiva or a Shivalinga, incense burner, oil lamps or candles, offerings (flowers, crystals, etc.)
- water for sipping, drinking, purification
- a tray to hold essential oils and other items
- a container for items used in the sensory stimulation exercises
- a warmer, either electric or gas fueled, for keeping water warm for washing and warming oils
- a shamanic drum, a singing bowl, a temple bell, or a small gong
- a sheer light length of fabric and several large feathers
- a yoga mat
- several cushions or pillows
- live plants
- a sound system such as a tablet, computer, smart phone with Bluetooth speaker(s)
- water soluble or botanical-based lubricant
- finger cots, condoms.
- hand sanitizer
- glass cups or goblets
- fresh fruit, veggies, sweets
- fresh flowers and flower petals
- sandalwood paste for tilaka (तिलक).
clean towels, neatly folded or rolled, small and large
Depending on the sādhana exercise or the ritual, you may need other items but they will be listed in the ritual description, if necessary.
For the basic ritual space, the items recommended above will cover the basic requirements.
A brief word about furnishings for the sacred space: There are many sources for the furnishings and accessories we will use in Homoerotic Yogic Tantra ℠.
Some of the vendors are over-the-top with what they charge for the “real thing,” and many trainers and instructors may recommend one type or brand over another.
When selecting products, be very careful when you visit yoga or tantra sites that offer services for a fee, and are focused not on the complete man but on his genitals and wallet; many of those trainers and instructors have made deals with suppliers to send them customers for compensation.
To be very frank and honest, you don’t need a zafu meditation cushion imported from Japan for sale to the gullible in the US or in Europe. A Japanese Zen zafu is no better than a good quality cushion or pillow purchased from a local vendor.
Same applies to meditation mats, yoga mats, and other furnishings. In fact, I personally use a small 3×5 carpet runner with a non-slip backing as a yoga/ritual mat. It gets covered with a sheet or a towel anyway.
The same applies to your altar table. You can purchase one for $100 and more if you wish but I would ask Why? Your prayers, devotions, venerations come from within you not what’s on an overpriced altar table.
You can make your own altar table either from scratch or by adapting a small end or coffee table after you get some design ideas online.
A local Asian market or grocery store will usually be able to provide you with incense holders, oil lamps, turmeric or other powder for tilaka, and other ritual items.
Visit one locally and tell them what you need. They will either have it in stock, or they will be able to get it for you. If that’s too difficult, you can order online.
Daka Aside: In Homoerotic Tantra and before each sādhana exercise and every homoerotic ritual we apply a tilak using the tip of the ring finger at the center of our forehead.
We do this because the area between the two eyebrows is considered to be a major neural node and the location of the Ajna cakra.
Applying tilak in the Ajna of the forehead reminds us of our intention, it is said to retain energy in the body, and supports focus and concentration.
That’s my two cents on the physical furnishings and ritual items. You don’t have to bust the bank to get what you need for a proper ritual space.
When it comes to massage and essential oils, however, there is no quality shortcut. The oils we use in our ritual bodywork and exercises are used on our bodies, which we have to treat like the sacred vessels that they are.
Most areas have a local health food store or a shopping mall with a bath and beauty products vendor, or even a specialist vendor of herbs and oils.
Don’t skimp and don’t accept second best for your oils. Almond, olive, avocado, grape seed, sesame, natural vegetable oils are best.
I prefer botanicals to mineral oils or silicon lubes, which can dry out sensitive areas. You can even have a reputable vendor create a blend of natural fragrant bodywork oils for you.
The essential oils are another item you won’t want to short cut. The essential oils I use in Homoerotic Yogic Tantra ℠ are very specific and are chosen for the particular psychosensory and erotosensory effects they produce.
Some will be specific for a particular cakra; others will be used for a particular physical or sensory effect.
While there are many, many essential oils, our Homoerotic Yogic Tantra ℠ practice and rituals use no more than perhaps 10 different ones, and your personal practices may be narrowed down to two or three only.
When starting out find a vendor you can trust and stick with him; a reputable vendor will have training and even certification as a herbalist or herbologist or you may be fortunate enough to have an Ayurvedic practitioner in your area, he would be ideal not only for helping to select the right bodywork blends but also in selecting the right essential oils for you and for your Tantric partner(s).
Homoerotic Tantra:Mascul-IN-Touch℠ and Mascul-IN-Timacy℠ is very serious stuff and should not be taken lightly or practiced carelessly.
Tantra is not for everyone and is not a one-shot sex massage or sex-worker visit. Practicing Tantra or Yoga without proper respect for their power can cause you a lot of grief.
Think about what you are doing and once you decide to go with it, stick with it, and give it your all.
I have published a module on What you’ll Need for your homoerotic yogic Tantra practices and rituals. I’ll be happy to provide you with a copy. Email me your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As in all sādhana exercises and practices, practice mindfulness at every step. This will help you to avoid losing sight of your spiritual intention, and lapsing into meaningless animal paśu (पशु) gratification.
At the conclusion of the sādhana exercise you should spend some time in self-reflection and meditate on what you have accomplished, and how you felt. You should journal the experience.
Very importantly, you should describe the sensations, the emotions you elicited throughout the sādhana exercise and their quality (familiar, unfamiliar, pleasant, and unpleasant, etc.).
If you are practicing the sādhana exercise in dual-cultivation, discuss what you and your Tāntric Lover experienced during the sādhana exercise.
If you are receiving personal guidance from me, we will discuss the sādhana exercise and some of your notes at our next session, before we begin the next sādhana exercise.