Goddess Worship in Tantra
Updated: Aug 2, 2021
‘‘Women are heaven, women are dharma (truth); women are the supreme fire of transformation. Women are Buddha; women are the sangha (community); women are the Perfection of Wisdom...”
(Candamaharosana-tantra, circa 8th century CE)
“Woman is the Creator of the Universe, the Universe is her form. Woman is the foundation of the world.... There is no prayer equal to a woman, There is not, nor has been, nor will be any yoga to compare with a woman, no mystical formula nor asceticism to match a woman” (Shakti-Sangama Tantra II.52)
To briefly summarise, one of the most important premises of Tantric philosophy is that there is nothing that is not sacred.
The Goddess is felt in Tantra both as an intrinsic piece of who we are, as well as an external transcendent being and a personification of universal forces. In worshipping the Goddess, devotees come under her care along their spiritual path. She looks out for their well-being and transformation process.
Thus even in the sexual act, the focus is on the inner experience of the unfolding of the Shakti (as the kundalini energy moves through the subtle centres of our bodies).
One of the reasons tantric sexuality is so attractive to modern men and women is because it creates a sacred container for lovemaking that is very healthy for both partners. It honors our bodies, our sensual natures and our power. It gives men and woman a way to be close without some of the typical barriers, such as shame, or fear of being known by another. Men have the chance to truly honor their women because Tanta is a spiritual practice in which the female is revered, treated like a Goddess; her pleasure is the first priority.
This kind of intimacy and devotion to sexual love comes with practice and patience. It requires a partner who wants to love you as fully and deeply as possible. It offers a way to develop deeper intimacy and sharing between couples.
The partners are, ideally, capable of emotional detachment, since the result is the experience of expanded Consciousness or Union with the Universe/Creation or the Feminine Principle of Creation the Shakti— whatever suits your vocabulary better. It is about a relationship with Goddess/the Divine, and not about a relationship with a partner.
The rituals include the worship of the women (yoginis) as Goddesses so as to awaken their Inner Goddess, called Shakti. Shakti is the power that makes the Universe go around. Her male counterpart, Shiva, is the Divine Consciousness, while she is the active power in the Universe.
The difference between, let’s say, an orgasm and the Tantric sexual act is that in the Tantric act we experience far more than sexual pleasure. The sexual pleasure is only a trigger for a much greater inner experience, while the woman’s body is a conduit for the energy of Shakti to enter the participants and explode their consciousness, momentarily taking them to an experience of the Divine Consciousness or Goddess.
In Tantra, one system for approaching the Goddess is the pantheon of the Mahavidyas : The Ten Great Wisdom Goddesses of Tantra. They are meant to encompass all aspects of the great mother, and each is considered a path to enlightenment. These Goddesses are: Kali, Tara, Tripura-Sundari, Bhuvaneshvari, Bhairavi, Chhinnamasta, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi and Kamalatmika. They range in behavior and appearance from young beauty queens, to terrifying black fanged goddesses who inhabit graveyards to gentle mothers who adore luxury and comfort. Each represents a piece of the great power of the universe, and each has her own special gifts and wisdom to convey to the devotee. Tantra accepts that the power of the universe, or Shakti, is multifaceted, and that each piece of her can be worshipped.
Taoist Goddesses that we work with were GuanYin (also KwanYin and QuanYin) - the Buddhist Bodhisattva associated with compassion. Tara appears in both Taoist and Tantric traditions, in the Tao tradition she is a Bodhisattva, considered the “Mother of Liberation”.
Main methods for worshiping the goddesses include: use of mantras or songs for the goddess, ritual worship (including pujas: the offering of the five elements to the goddess), meditations on the goddess with or without special mantras, the use of Yantras (geometrical representations of the goddesses), spiritual practices including Qigong and Yoga which activate an awareness of the goddesses and transfiguration, among other things.
Sound is the key to many Tantric practices and to purification of the body and psyche. Purification is considered essential on the spiritual path as many spiritual practices activate latent energy resources in the body. In an impure system, this would be like pouring water into a dirty river, only more dirty water is produced. In a pure system, it is adding water to a fresh stream, getting crystal clear water as an energy resource. Sound can be used in the form of Mantras to resonate at the same frequency as celestial powers such as the great goddesses. It can also be used to cleanse.
One strong practice for women is to sound what they are feeling from the ovaries, womb, vagina, etc...This works best when using freedom of sound: not making the “right sounds” or the socially acceptable sounds, but really tuning into the sound already existing in the body and allowing it to release.
Goddess worship is also a living experience, so find the ways which most deeply connect you to the feminine essence within you. One should worship the essence of Devi, the Sakti in the form of a Sakti. Doing thus, a man attains the four aims of mankind----dharma, artha, kama and moksha Goddess exist in all of her creation. She is in every one of us, and she is present everywhere at all the time. Nevertheless, how is it that every one of us do not feel Her presence? In order to feel and grasp that subtle principle we shall have to make the body, the mind and the intellect,the medium, fit to feel the light. Her sound can clean the cellular memories that govern the mind, the body via massage, yoga and diet, and the intellect has to be reprogrammed.
Purify and control of the mind through the sounds of the Goddess, and dwelling on the Divine Virtues of the Goddess. Reprogram the intellect by making it one-pointed on the Divine Principle of the Goddesses, radiant stream of love, compassion, creative power, bliss, and nurturing.
The Living Goddess Tradition is very much alive in India, and it is time to take this very way of life to the West where in the past 2,000 years, Christians, Judaism, and Muslims, and most recently the Communists, conspired to wipe out our memories clean of tens of thousands of years of Goddess spirituality, and thus females lost their sacredness. It is time for women to reclaim their sacredness, and for men to worship all women again as the Living Goddess. Mother Earth has to become the domain of the Mother Goddess, only then will peace and harmonious living prevail as it was before the monotheist religions
All women have to make authentic choices that will help to bring back peace and harmony to the world that we live in, as it used to be before monotheist religions, (the belief that there is only one God, as found in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam).
To bring back harmony in our world both men and women have to acknowledge that all women are born goddesses. All women must undertake a personal journey to reclaim their true essence, to be a true Goddess from within. Calling oneself a Goddess does not necessarily make one a Goddess. To become a Goddess one must consciously strip off the layers of shame, guilt, anger, and need, to find our naturally flowing, radiant stream of love, compassion, creative power, bliss, and nurturing within.