The term neotantra (also navatantra in Sanskrit नव, nava "newer") describes a direction of tantra that has been widespread in Europe and the USA since the late 1970s and is mostly offered and disseminated by commercial tantra schools, but also practiced in the private sector becomes.
Origin and ideas
The Indian philosopher Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (called "Osho") propagated a connection between spirituality and sexuality as a contemporary form of Tantra under the term Neo- Tantra. This teaching says that through meditation the sexual energy of the pelvic area can be awakened and transformed into a "cosmic consciousness" . Further theories and methods, in particular on sexuality and psychotherapy , are taken from the teachings of Wilhelm Reich . In addition, there are meditative ideas of yoga and body therapy .
Tantra schools have been founded in Germany since the late 1970s and increasingly in the 1990s. The initiators were mostly students of Osho ( Neo-Sannyas ) and made Neotantra known in the esoteric milieu; in the West, Margot Anand and Andreas Rothe (Andro) are particularly worthy of mention with their books and seminars.
At least since the 1990s, there has been talk in Germany of a well-networked tantra scene that has developed around the tantra schools. In this room there are around 15 to 20 providers who conduct a variety of different workshops.
The tantra scene is historically in the tradition of esotericism . A classification in the New Age culture of the new social movements is also permissible. In a broader sense, a closeness to the alternative scene , to the polyamory subculture and far from the ZEGG (Center for Experimental Society) would come into question: Tantra, however, remains apolitical. Although erotic to sexual rituals in neotantra play a role that can hardly be overestimated (see below), there is little overlap with the swinger scene . Compared to this, the tantra scene is smaller.
The exact topics of the seminars are difficult to grasp for outsiders. Many tantra institutes formulate a therapeutic claim. The seminars promise to help in particular with partnership and sexual problems and to be able to alleviate trauma and even the effects of sexual abuse . Above all, however, space should be given to a more natural experience of sensuality and processes of awareness. The teachings of traditional tantra, but also the basics of neotantra itself, are not made a theoretical teaching topic in the seminars, but are taught in various practical exercises.
Offers and process of the groups
The focus of the seminars, which often take place in spa or wellness hotels with appropriate group rooms, is often the group experience. The events are attended by singles as well as couples together, whereby the organizers usually pay attention to a balanced gender ratio. But there are also seminars for couples, singles, men or women and events especially for beginners and advanced learners. The offer ranges from evening groups to individual weekends, multi-day events, annual training courses, vacation trips and training to become a tantra teacher. Annual training courses are events that last several days several times a year and whose participants usually form a self-contained group. Tantra seminars are not recognized as therapy by the health insurances and must therefore be financed privately.
The course of the seminar days is mainly determined by meditations (especially chakra meditations), encounter exercises, body work and partner exercises. A single exercise can last several hours. A seminar often culminates in an erotic partner ritual that two people perform naked with each other. There is also Tantra for same-sex oriented people ( gays and lesbians ). Sexual union is not instructed - at least in beginner groups. Nevertheless, it can be stated that the erotic encounter between the participants is the main theme of many seminars.
Notes and ratings
Sexual motivations are often an important motivation for participants. In addition, there are longings for spirituality, community experiences and security . The action differs significantly from that of a swingers club . The allegedly easy access to the opposite sex and the casual approach to nudity , eroticism and sexuality is, however, a significant incentive - especially for men who have never attended a Tantra seminar. A Tantra seminar is primarily about meditation, awareness, inner connection of both sexual and spiritual energy, breathing exercises, developing compassion, spiritual union. Experience has shown that sexual union is only taught in a very protected setting in advanced groups.
Proponents of the seminars say that Tantra can provide seminar participants with ideas for a more intense experience of meditation, awareness and sexuality. Tantra also makes a positive contribution to personality development, satisfaction and balance. The relaxed, easy-going and sociable atmosphere of the seminars may also serve to reduce stress .
Critics note that the therapeutic concerns are often just a pretext that obscures the exercise of sexual needs in the seminars. In addition, the methods used and their justification, with recourse to Osho and Wilhelm Reich, for example, are pseudoscience . A particular problem is that many of the offers are questionable or, for example, now obsolete "therapeutic" concepts from the perspective of trauma therapy . In any case, the therapeutic effect of neotantra seminars has not yet been proven. The qualification and therapeutic suitability of the seminar leader are therefore questionable. This is particularly critical, as it is not uncommon for participants to experience strong emotional fluctuations and psychological stress in the seminars. In addition, the seminar participants could become dependent on the expensive seminars or on the leaders.
A specialty in connection with neotantra are the so-called tantra massages , as they have been called since the 1990s. On the one hand they were created in the context of the scene and were practiced as part of seminars of the tantra schools, on the other hand they are offered as a commercial service. The aim of the massage was originally a spiritual experience, but healing is now also promised. Tantra massages usually also include massage of the female ( yoni ) or male ( lingam ) genital organs , for which the terms yoni massage and lingam massage are used, as well as massage of the anal area and the prostate. There is no direct connection to traditional tantra. The content of the term is not generally valid; Suggestions come from Joseph Kramer and Annie Sprinkle as well as the Berlin tantra teacher Andreas Rothe (“Andro”). The Förderverein Tantraassage Schweiz and the Tantraassage-Verband Deutschland (TMV) advocate the social acceptance of tantric massages and an overarching professional ethics of professional tantric massage providers and in this context define the scope of professional tantric massages. According to the definition of the two organizations, these include neither sexual nor oral intercourse. The roles of the giving active person and the receiving passive person are clearly separated.
- Thorsten Laue: Tantra in the West. A religious studies study on "White Tantra Yoga", "Kundalini Yoga" and "Sikh Dharma" in Yogi Bhajan's "Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization" (3HO) with special consideration of the "3H Organization Deutschland e. V. “ (= Religions in the Pluralen Welt , Volume 11), Lit, Münster 2012, ISBN 978-3-643-11447-1 (Dissertation University of Tübingen 2012, 287 pages).
- Osho: Tantra, Spirituality & Sex. Edition Innenwelt, Cologne 2004, ISBN 978-3-936360-75-2
- Osho: The Tantric Vision. Wisdom, love, spontaneity and sex. Edition Innenwelt, Cologne 2006, ISBN 978-3-936360-97-4
- Osho: From sex to cosmic awareness. 1983, 2nd edition: Osho-Verlag, Cologne 1995, ISBN 3-925205-76-4 (the book was published in 1969 in Hindi under the title Sambhog se samadhi ki aor and in 1979 in English under the title From Sex to Superconsciousness ).
- Julio Lambing: The Importance of Some Sexual Rituals in Tantra and Neo-Tantra
- Hugh B. Urban: The Omnipotent OOM Tantra and Its Impact on Modern Western Esotericism (English)
- Osho: From Sex to Cosmic Consciousness. 2nd edition, Osho-Verlag, Cologne 1995, ISBN 3-925205-76-4
- Joseph Kramer: Fire on the Mountain. An Intimate Guide To Male Genital Massage. 1992.
- Joseph Kramer and Annie Sprinkle: Fire In The Valley. An Intimate Guide To Female Genital Massage. 1999.
- Andro: Touch me ... suggestions for erotic massages. Verlag Gesundheit, Berlin 1993, ISBN 3-333-00716-9 .