Arts, Activism, Awakening in Mind, Body, & Spirit

book review

REVIEW: Tantra: The Cult of Ecstasy


Tantra-Cult-of-Ecstasy-coverTantra: The Cult of Ecstasy is a large-sized paperback book originally published in Britain that covers some of the basics about Tantra, offering accurate information on this ancient, extensive, and often confusing topic.  The book features full-color photographs from the Tantra sutras, connecting the reader with Tantric history.  The author, Indra Sinha, focuses on the ancient paths of Tantra: the goddesses associated, sacred sites, mantras, and meditations, as well as explains the many misconceptions of Tantra as presented in the West.  Sinha was a Sanskrit scholar at Cambridge and also wrote one of the popular modern translations of the infamous Kama Sutra.

The reason I like Tantra: The Cult of Ecstasy is because it touches on so many important topics of Tantra but in manageable pieces, perfectly combined with the photos and visually-friendly layout. The photographs are taken from various primary sources – the Tantra sutras, and incorporate various symbolic aspects that the ancients readily understood but may seem shocking or just weird to the modern viewer. Some of the iconography includes blood-covered goddesses, wriggling serpents, and a plethora of yoni (vulvas) and linga (penises).  The book also features centuries-old Tantric drawings and paintings that depict maithuna (sexual union), so this book is “Not Safe For Work” and might be best for readers aged 21 or older.

This book touches on so many important topics in a thorough but easy-to-grasp manner that it makes a perfect beginner’s book to Tantra.  I heartily recommend Tantra: The Cult of Ecstasy as a primer for Tantra: The Cult of the Feminine by Andre Van Lysebeth, Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses by Dr. David Frawley, and Awakening Shakti: The Transformative Power of the Goddesses of Yoga by Sally Kempton.  As the umbrella over all the yogas, including hatha and kundalini, Tantra is a shamanic science present in all forms of yogic practice, but the majority of Tantric gnosticism regarding sex is rarely presented at the average yoga studio while being hypersexualized in most New Age Tantric books and workshops.

Another book with a similar cover is Tools for Tantra by North Indian musician and writer Harish Johari, an excellent introduction to the yogic mandalas, Sanskrit mantras, and visual yantras used in Tantra.  However, this book is a bit of a dryer read, and so Tantra: The Cult of Ecstasy is still a better opener to Tantra.

As one writer has said, a book without Tantra’s yantra is not really a book on Tantra. Therein lies the great problem with researching Tantra. It is difficult to sort through the numerous books available to ascertain which one will have the best, most reliable information.  Finding a teacher versed in real Tantra is even more difficult.  Tantra is a way of life, not an hour-long yoga session Monday-Wednesday-Friday, nor a collection of kinky sex positions. Tantra literally means a “tool for expansion” and is thought of as a “web”, a connected yet expanding consciousness, bridging the microcosm with the macrocosm and back again, cyclically.

The author, Sinha, writes on page 15, “The basis of all Tantrism is the worship of Sakti and Siva, the female and the male principles…. Without Sakti, there is no Siva, and no Siva without Sakti.” Sinha states emphatically in the previous paragraph, “Siva and Sakti cannot be separated.” (14-15) This very specific religious and spiritual foundation is probably the reason most Tantrism in the West has been secularized, stripping the “foreign” and non-Christian aspects to make Tantra and sexuality more palatable for sexually-repressed Americans.  While I personally, do not subscribe to Sanatana Dharma (“Hinduism”), I appreciate the energies anthropomorphized as the balancing principals of Shakti or Shiva.  Sinha has included the “foreign” bits and ancient spiritual practices for the Tantra newcomer.

The photographs of the ancient depictions of Tantra, her goddesses, and the sacred symbols can be jarring at first.  The modern observer may find it odd to see detached penises and flying vulvas included in sacred sexuality.  I will admit, that it does seem a bit “J. Alfred Prufrock’ed” at times.  However, like all symbols, they are meant to jog the memory of the mind, the heart, and/or the subconscious self, not to be the whole story in and of itself.

Intriguing to some and perhaps shocking to others, Tantra: The Cult of Ecstasy helps diminish the hypersexualized celebrity of Tantra and add fact where fiction has reigned in the popular consciousness.  Sinha perfectly synthesizes centuries of teachings into a helpful, 154-page book, including an impressive 9-page bibliography and index, that informs but does not overwhelm the senses.  Anyone looking to dip her or his toe into the expansive waters of Tantra would do well to start with Sinha’s Tantra: The Cult of Ecstasy.

trish

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‘Confessions of an Aroused Woman ~ Chapter 6′ Is on Amazon’s Kindle!


Click to go to Amazon.

I am so excited to announce that my first foray into writing erotica is now available via Amazon’s Kindle!

I have published an excerpt, Confessions of an Aroused Woman – Chapter 6, from my upcoming book of erotica.  Confessions of an Aroused Woman is comprised of experiences based on my personal journal into being a fully orgasmic woman. For those of you who have known me a while or followed my blog posts, you’ll know that this is a new-ish area for me (thanks to religious oppression and a bad marriage).  But I’m SO glad to be here! :)

This excerpt, Chapter 6, is only available on Kindle for right now, and it is free for Amazon Prime Members.  So Prime Members, feel free to “check it out” of the Kindle library.

I hope to have the audiobook of Chapter 6 available by the end of June.  So stay tuned for more info on that!

I’m actually very excited!  All of my writing has to do with human rights of one kind or another — especially women’s rights and women’s right to equality in being sexual (which is natural and normal!!!).  But all my previous writing has been for the stage as a musical, opera, or play.  This is my first time being “published.”

And it’s a bit of an experiment with Amazon, so please let me know how it works.  And PLEASE leave a review Confessions of an Aroused Woman – Chapter 6 — but only if you LIKE it.  :D

YAY!!!

trish

For more of my personal orgasm journey, read Trish’s Daily OJ.
Visit the AW site: Aroused Woman


Back to Work & Activism for Women’s Rights


So after a 10-day hiatus due to my daughter’s Spring Break, I’m back at work, writing, creating, and generally trying to get my steam back after being so darn lazy.

My daughter and I spent every day together swimming in the pool, biking around town, and walking to our favorite shops. All of this was a welcome breather from the usual schedule of alarms, deadlines, and having to be up way too early every morning to get her on the school bus.

During this time, I wasn’t able to have my usual orgasmic pursuits which I generally enjoy in the early afternoons.  Interestingly, I tried out a new technique with outstanding results that I’ll write up tomorrow or the next day. Also, this time gave me a chance to do hands-only O’s, getting me back in touch with my innermost recesses and their individual responses to different kinds of touch and stimulation. Sometimes jarring, sometimes nuanced, but always enlightening and delicious.

I’ve also been switching my blog to here on WordPress.  So make sure you update your RSS feed and/or sign up to follow my posts via email (use the Follow option on the right side of this page) .  WP is much easier for me to use and share my posts, and I think you’ll like it better as well.  So be sure to make the switch so you can follow my updates as well as my (almost) DailyOJ (Orgasm Journal) which will have brand NEW posts about NEW experiences.

The current political climate has (finally) put the spotlight on women’s healthcare, women’s right to choice over their bodies, LGBT issues, and the Republicans’ #WarOnWomen.   I’ll be super busy relaying News pieces on the fight for Women’s Rights in America and around the world, as well as nifty tidbits on my journey promoting Women’s Sexuality. I will also get caught up on all my book reviews, music CD reviews, product reviews, and film/video reviews that I’ve been meaning to get posted.

I’m also starting a new radio show, branched off from my Activists’ Voice show, that I’m now devoting solely to Aroused Woman Radio. Lots to come — now that I’m no longer on vacation (sigh). Yes, I have indeed been lazy (and it’s been wonderful!). But the world doesn’t get better by staying bed… well, some things get better by staying in bed. :)

Take care!

Aroused and back to work,
trish

For more of my personal orgasm journey, read Trish’s Daily O.J.
Visit the AW site: Aroused Woman


REVIEW: Female Ejaculation: Unleash the Ultimate G-Spot Orgasm


A result of specific stimulation of the female prostate, female ejaculation is a sexual phenomenon that was praised in ancient texts of yore, yet remains a source of fascination and controversy in the 21st century.  Real life couple Somraj Pokras and Jeffre Talltrees, Ph.D., have written their definitive guide on how to coax the juiciest orgasms from your female partner.

Like most people, I read the reviews of products left by other customers, and in looking over the no-nonsense titled tome, Female Ejaculation: Unleash the Ultimate G-Spot Orgasm, a number of customers felt they’d been left high and dry.

Some readers complained the authors repeat themselves, talk too much about setting the scene rather than getting right to it, were “too emotional,” and basically, wax poetic about the whole deeper relationship aspect rather than just giving a few fingering techniques for the ultimate hand job.  I agree with all of this. And these are the very reasons that I love this book!

I also noticed that the reviewers leaving the negative, snarky, impatient comments were male.  Clearly, some men don’t want to invest any time in this pursuit — they just want the 5-second side-show spectacle.

One man wrote:
“Any moderately intelligent and moderately considerate guy already knows most of what is in here.”  (Yeah.  Right.)

Another (obviously young, immature male) reader (with little knowledge of grammar or how to use the spell-check feature) explained why he bought the book:

“… to teach me how to make something I can do every once in a while (all with different women) more frequently, but sadly it spend [sic] have [sic] the time talking about ‘energy, Chakra and Chi’ the other half is filled with stuff that ever [sic] man already knows how to do… if you’re looking for a read about how to give the chick you hooked up with at the bar the best sex of her life you will do better (and save a lot of time) looking up “G-Spot Stimulation” on the internet.”

(Well, well, well…. and you wonder why I started this blog?!)

If you’ll recall from my previous post, “How I Like My Sex… Bare…”, I am not a fan of too much fanfare.  So how can I love what the authors have to say about preparation in this book?  Because the focus is on the connection of the partners, not acting out assumed roles.  They also emphasize the preparation of the space where the session will take place.  A couple should have a space that is reserved just for them and their intimate time together.  (I would call this space the “bedroom,” but television and computers have invaded the once sacred sanctuary of the bedchamber.)

Pokras and Talltrees provide a recommended series of steps to follow to get ready for a female ejaculation session with your female partner, and I really love the idea of this protocol.  I find great value in having a specific ritual to follow as it allows time and space to transition mentally from everyday-stressed-out-me to relaxed-orgasmic-me.  This ritual aspect also reinforces the sacred aspect of being so intimate with another human being.

They offer scenarios for partners as well as solo exploration, each one beginning with a list of items to do and have at the ready.  Getting set up is actually pretty easy once you’re familiar with the steps and have collected the items (such as towels, lots of lubricant, etc.), and you can leave almost everything out and pre-set from one encounter to another.  (See?!  I didn’t contradict myself!)  Having all the goodies already set out means everything you need is within your space, and you won’t have to stop the prostate play to jump up and grab what you forgot.  (However, if all goes according to plan, you will have a load of laundry to do afterward!  Can we say, “Cleanup, Aisle 12!”)

Again, the focus of their protocol is the attention to detail on the woman, her body, her response to the stimulation, and the endearing connection formed by the intimacy, not the paraphernalia or “stuff” surrounding your sexual playground.  And I’m assuming the man will also find pleasure in watching his female partner become aroused to the point of creating an orgasmic gush of erotic juices.  I’ll also assume that a woman performing these techniques on another woman will revel in a distinct enjoyment of awareness, knowing what each and every maneuver feels like from personal experience.

As educators, Pokras and Talltrees are insistent on knowing the female anatomy, hygiene, and safe-sex practices.  All excellent points, in my opinion.

I had a brief time of experiencing ejaculation in the Fall, so I can attest to how cool (and satisfying!) it is.  Life and stress have affected my practice, hence the reason I got this book.  My orgasms are great, but I want ‘em wet!  With this information (and my new glass toy that reaches further in than my fingers can), I will report here when I’ve reached geyser status.

Until then, I hope you get Female Ejaculation: Unleash the Ultimate G-Spot Orgasm, and leave a comment below on how it’s helped you or your female partner in her journey to female ejaculation!

Aroused and juicy,
trish

For more of my personal orgasm journey, read Trish’s Daily O.J.
Visit the AW site: Aroused Woman


REVIEW: ‘Yoni Massage: Awakening Female Sexual Energy’ by Micahela Riedl


I just got this book, Yoni Massage: Awakening Female Sexual Energy, and overall I really liked the information, the layout, and the readability of Reidl’s work.  I especially liked the interviews she included.  *** For men, check out her book, Lingam Massage: Awakening Male Sexual Energy. ***

“Yoni” is the Sanskrit word for the vulva and vagina area.  Yoni puja is an ancient practice of worshiping the Yoni, usually by men, who understand that within woman lie most if not all the mysteries of life.

For the ADVANCED Yoni devotee:
I bought this book hoping to find some advanced techniques or esoteric pearls of clandestine, archaic knowledge lost to the passages of time (due to the Westernization of the world).  However, this book has a good deal of what I’ve read in other books and online, so, I didn’t learn anything new (with one caveat noted below).

Another downside to this book and similar books on the Western market, is that the author’s tone to the reader assumes that the reader is unsure about the practice or has hesitations (psychological, religious, social, et al).  And while these are legitimate reasons people might not be sure they want to try the Eastern-influenced yoni massage, I’m tired of almost all the books available having this same attitude.  For once, I’d like a book on Tantra, sex, fingering, positions — whatever! — be written FOR a reader who wholeheartedly (and whole-bodily!) embraces sexuality and the immense possibility of incredible orgasms using various techniques from multiple modalities…. (This is why I’m writing my own book :)

One thing I did learn was a name for the intense orgasm I experienced and described and that I described in hindsight after reading Yoni Massage… It is called a uterine orgasm.  And while I’ve had and heard of cervical orgasms, learning there was a name for that doubled-over, intensely emotional reaction to orgasm was a good thing… it helped me know that if I experience it again, it is normal for that kind of sex.

For the NEWBIE to Yoni worship:
Yoni Massage: Awakening Female Sexual Energy is a great book, and it is so much more than just fingering techniques. If you’re really new to this subject (Tantra-based vulva/vagina worship), this is a good book to start with at only 176 pages.

General Review:
While many books focus on the clit OR the prostate, Riedl genuinely loves the entire yoni, and that is definitely female empowering!  Rather than work the clit (which gets old and can start to hurt), Riedl presents the Tantra finger positions that explore all the zones inside the vagina, with special notes on using multiple fingers (3 and even 4) as well as a brief paragraph on fisting.

The clit is not ignored, of course, but the clit is just one part of the yoni, one part of the female sexual organ system. The clit is not the beginning nor the end of female orgasm; the clitoris is one important part in a complex of important parts, the sum of which being the yoni, female sexuality, and the expanse of orgasms that women are capable of experiencing.

REASONS to Buy This Book:

  • Great information on anatomy, even the anatomy of the egg, sperm, and fetus at various stages of development (in regard to the production of the sex organs)
  • Numerous photographs of actual finger positions (yes, “money shots”)
  • Detailed illustrations on the anatomy of the female sex organs, from resting state to aroused state (YES, the clitoris gets erect, too!)
  • Numerous interviews with women on whom Riedl does the yoni massage, and they explain what they felt physically, emotionally, and even psychologically during and after.
  • Female-Female focus and interviews, THOUGH the receivers tend to be “hetero” women looking to find out more about themselves so they can enjoy sex more with their husbands/partners… (makes you wonder why the husbands aren’t Googling “yoni massage” and learning a few things to try so the wives don’t have to get all yoni’d up by another woman?!)…
  • It’s only 176 pages

REASONS NOT to Buy This Book:

  • It’s only 176 pages…
  • You’re a yogi master in India.
  • You have a doctorate in female anatomy and its uses for orgasm.
  • You already bought it but forgot you had it…. (or I am the only one who does stuff like that?)

Though I didn’t learn much, I’m not sorry I bought it; I’ll just keep it on the shelf for reference later. If YOU are new to all this, then by all means, GET Yoni Massage: Awakening Female Sexual Energy!

Agree or disagree?  If you’ve gotten the book, please leave your opinion of it in the comment section below!

trish

Visit the Aroused Woman website!


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