What is Tantra? A (incomplete) journey through 1001 definitions

For the yogis it´s easy! There are clear directions, lessons, practice sequences and the right guru for everyone. The followers of the different directions therefore coexist peacefully with each other.

What I have learned so far from leading the biggest german-speaking Facebook Group for Tantra:

In Tantra, everything is just called Tantra and everyone has to become their own Guru – or can only achieve true liberation through a Guru … Uhm … Exactly …

Followers of the different directions are often battling with phrases like: “My Tantra is better / more genuine / more enlightened / … than yours!” Uhm … Yes …

Tantra is either not real, if it costs money (also with this the yogis have it easier, if they offer yoga classes) or born out to commercial thinking (especially tantric massage, where a lot of people claim, unlike other massages and therapies, should cost nothing because that destroys the value) and therefore only valuable and serious, if it costs money.

For the newcomer, this all can all be a little confusing.

My mission with this blog is, among other things, to free tantra from the mental red light district and make it accessible to “normal people”.

That’s why I’d like to take you on a journey through the jungle of definitions.

It gets fun and less dry than definitions are otherwise – promised! 🙂

Because one thing is very clear and equally accepted by all definitionants:

Tantra is more than just sex –  even more than just sex with incense sticks!

A first rough subdivision

Modern Tantra


Tantra massage

The attempt to experience the effects of tantric exercises (unity experience, moving sexual energy, contact with ones higher being) in a massage.

In contrast to the erotic massage, it is not about satisfaction in the classical sense by discharging energy through an ejaculatory orgasm. The pleasure is raised and then spread into the whole body, in order to make the powerful, sexual life energy fully tangible (own definition).


“(…) The Neo-Tantra could be regarded as an update for our time. It is interwoven with our modern science and psychology and has (depending on the institute and orientation) first and foremost therapeutic significance (…) “(www.spiritual-tantra.de/curriculum)

The vast majority of what you will find today under the term Tantra falls into this category. Also tantric massage.

Traditional tantra


Buddhist Tantra:

“The path of Buddhist Tantra has been consolidated and canonized through a long tradition. It is a gradual path of clarity. It is about the realization of emptiness and concomitant bliss, the indwelling Buddha-nature, which only seems to us veiled (…) “(www.tantra.-tradition.de/11)

Vajrayana or Diamond Way is the name of the Buddhist Tantra. The most well-known representative is the Dalai Lama himself. (Note from me)


Hindu Tantra:

“Traditional Indian-Hindu Tantrism goes back to the Tantras or Agamas. These are post-vedic scriptures, dating back to the 6th century AD. Hindu tantra is often associated with the Shaktism, the worship of the female. (…) “(http://www.herzrauschen.de/index.php/methoden/tantra/hinduistisches-tantra-methoden)

Hindu tantra includes the story of Shakti and Shiva, the teachings of chakras, and the worship of yoni and lingam (female and male sexual organ) – these elements heavily influence Western modern neo-tantra (note from me).

Anyone who works with CHAKRAS uses an element of Tantric Hindu tradition – who would have thought that …?


Tantra Yoga


White Tantra:

Includes non-sexual practices for purifying the astral body and awakening the Kundalini without selfish motives, and is therefore also called Kundalini Yoga. (…) (https://wiki.yoga-vidya.de/Tantra)


Red Tantra:

Describes a tantra yoga involving sexual practices such as the Maithuna (Unification Ritual) for the purpose of merging the dual aspects of male and female, noting that all humans carry both aspects within themselves!


Black Tantra:

Describes magical to black magic tantric rituals and is not taught in public.

(Depending on the narrowness of the definition, the use of sexual energy to energize one’s own desires may fall into the field of black tantra – I personally see black tantra given when the effect on other beings is manipulative to defective – comparable to, for example, a love spell in witchcraft. )


My own definition


I am quite clearly working in the Neotantra field myself, but I study the original Hindu path as well for myself  …

If anyone asks me, what is Tantra, I usually answer something in the direction of:

Tantra is the rebellious alternative to enlightenment through asceticism.

You know that at that time the yogis negated the world of outer forms, including their own bodies, in order to find enlightenment. Living in the cave, fasting, meditating, leaving desire behind.

Tantra is the rebellion against this asceticism – Spiritual Rock ‘n’ Roll, Baby!

Yeah! Somehow no wonder I ended up here … 🙂

I also like to use this definition for me:

Tantra is the spirituality of the senses

or like I put it in the xtatic manifesto part 1:

Tantra is the art of falling in love with life itself

So we remember:

Tantra = sensual, loving, rebellious Rock’n’Roll of life!

Sounds sensible and true to me! 🙂


The most beautiful sentences from different definitions


The highly respected Neotantra goddess Margot Anand says in her book, “The Art of Everyday Ecstasy” – in itself a good definition for Tantra – the following:

“The tantric path teaches us to embrace and unify the ordinary, the erotic and the sacred dimensions of life, which have their roots in spirit”

It can be left that way! Wonderfully said by Margot!

Surya Tantra

The Sanskrit term Tantra means tissue / context, extension. As a result, in tantra, all the phenomena of the world are seen as one and nothing is excluded or rejected. Tantra does not say, withdraw from the world to know yourself, but live with this body, with your yearnings, with all your feelings and in all the situations that life offers you, and you will experience your true self


Sahaya Tantra

The word derived from the Indian scholarly language Sanskrit consists of two syllables: “Tan” (from “tanoti” = to expand) and “Tra” (from “trayati” = free). So you could translate “Tantra” as “liberation by extension”. But what does “expansion” actually mean? Well, it means that a tantric gradually expands his awareness into every aspect of his life. A tantriker practices step by step to regard everything in life as something sacred. Nothing is rejected, everything is included, so that the Tantriker finally reaches an all-embracing love. (Http://www.sahaja-tantra.de/was-ist-tantra.html)

Aruna Tantra

The reality of the world, say Tantric teachers since time immemorial, must be touched in their entirety and sensually experienced in order to achieve a complete openness of the heart. For a student on the tantric path, the profane and the spiritual are not separated: each experience offers him the chance to wake up as long as he remains attentive and aware. No aspect of human experience, not even sexuality, remains, as with other spiritual paths, excluded.


Spiritual Tantric Lounge

Tantra is meditation. Tantra is life right now, just being. Tantra strives for the highest consciousness = meditation.

(http://www.spiritual-tantra.de/curriculum – highly recommended to read on!)



Also with a quote I would like to conclude this trip for now

Tantra as a unified concept does not exist
It would be like talking about a car. Many directions and schools have evolved that have different approaches. You can imagine it like a tree spreading into countless branches to the top. To enumerate all this at this point would go beyond the scope.





Getting into action:

I’m looking forward to reading tons of your own Tantra definitions here in the comments! Come on – you can not go wrong.

Tantra is what you are!

YOU are Tantra!


By | 2017-12-31T15:53:33+00:00 December 31st, 2017|Allgemein|0 Comments

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