Tantra for Erotic Empowerment - book by Llewellyn Publications - review by Tiny

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Tantra for Erotic Empowerment

Book by Llewellyn Publications

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Tantric Show and Tell?

This book could be a good choice for those very new to embodied spiritual practice and sex-positivity. Otherwise, you may be disappointed.
Published:
Pros:
well-organized; grounded in a particular Hindu tradition of Tantra
Cons:
boring and text-heavy; less inclusive than it purports to be; sprinkled with trite social commentary
Rating by reviewer:
3
extremely useful review
Tantra for Erotic Empowerment|Tantra for Erotic Empowerment has the admirable aim of exposing readers to Tantra as something more than a pop-spiritual method for better sex. While recognizing that a more rich and expansive experience of sexuality is certainly one effect of Tantric practices, the authors demonstrate that “Tantra is a path to direct personal experience of the divine, achieved by taking an experimental and scientific approach to one’s own consciousness.” Accordingly, the book provides a holistic if somewhat superficial overview of Hindu Tantric philosophy alongside meditation exercises, sexual-energetic practices, and journal assignments.

The book’s breadth is its greatest strength. It leads the reader through 52 exercises; one focuses on cultivating an awareness of the divine in unexpected places, for example, while others explore bodily sensation and consciousness. Each chapter opens with a quote from a Hindu Tantric text. Rather than invite an analytic approach to the text, the authors encourage their audience to read the quote, then light a candle and gaze at the flame for a few minutes. As the authors explain, “This practice hones concentration, opens up deeper levels of consciousness, and integrates the reflection indelibly into your entire being.” I appreciated this emphasis on meditation as a means of opening up different layers of consciousness, and while as a reviewer I did not have time to perform this tratak (gazing) practice before beginning each chapter, I imagine one would gain a lot from doing so. In addition to the 52 exercises and textual excerpts, Tantra for Erotic Empowerment closes each chapter with a series of journal questions.

This is where the book’s weaknesses come in. I found the journal exercises unengaging. While the questions themselves are worthy (spanning subjects like desire, bliss, and taboo transgression), I found the format dull. In other words, the list of questions effectively reduced the preceding chapter’s meaningful questions to trite journal assignments. Your mileage may vary, of course, but I found this flaw endemic to the book as a whole. Rather than engaging me with in-depth Hindu Tantric philosophy or transmitting the electrifying current of embodied spirituality through sexual and energetic exercises, the book provided analysis and exercises that merely skimmed these surfaces. It’s as though the authors were hyper-aware of the pitfalls of writing about Tantra—being either too religiously pedantic on one hand or sexually sensationalistic on the other—and in trying to strike a balance, fell flat. While reading Tantra for Erotic Empowerment, I kept remembering the adage of “show, don’t tell.” For a workbook such as this, a more demonstrative approach might have been better. For that, I highly recommend Barbara Carellas’ Urban Tantra, which viscerally conveys the work of Tantra in a way accessible to people of all genders and sexualities|Gender 101—rather than just talking about doing so.
This product was provided free of charge to the reviewer. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.
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Comments
  • Dame Demi
    Dame Demi  
    I might have to check out Urban Tantra.  Thanks for the reference!
  • Viktor Vysheslav Malkin
    Viktor Vysheslav Malkin  
    Great review!

    I really love the cover picture! Big smile
  • Lady Neshamah
    Lady Neshamah  
    great review
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