ON FIRE + WATER +quot;Fire and water.which, as they kiss, consume. The sweetest honey is l

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ON FIRE & WATER "Fire and water...which, as they kiss, consume. The sweetest honey is loathesome in its own deliciousness. And the taste confirm the appetite. Therefore, love moderately." --William Shakespeare Shakespeare was obviously no Tantrist. And there's no reason to put the above quote in, other than it keeps running through my head when I think fire and water!! Tantric yogis and Yoginis know more about solar and lunar energies, so that hopefully as they kiss, thume. Anyway: WATER. According to the GARUDA PURANA (*Literal meaning of the Puranas is the "Antiquities; Garuda = Eagle is Sanskrit), "Water nourishes and sustains the spirit as well as the body. Water is high among the elements, as it purifies and uplifts the individual from the mundane to the transcendental. Mountain water, spring water, and rainwater collected are highly beneficial and considered noble by the wise." Tantric traditions on drinking water conform neatly with modern medical recommendations. Drink pure water; thus those of us on the Holy Coast are unfortunately left with the option of buying or collecting our own, as the tap water here in So-Cal has the consistency and color of toxic waste :( ~! As the physical body is primarily made up of water, practicing the Matsyasana (fish posture) and meditating upon becoming one with the water assists in gaining control over the watery elements of the body. In Tantric tradition, water is linked to the sense of taste. On this, I'll say no more, since as a triple Scorpio water is the last thing I need more of!! ;) Water, though, has powers of purification, for mind as well as body. Many traditions, eastern and western, use water for ceremonies and rituals, such as baptisms, ritual purification, healing (i.e., Ganges, Lourdes, etc.) and such. Water, used in bathing, has spiritual and erotic as well as simply hygienic qualities. Not to sound like a broken record, but again, the intent and will involved in the practice are all-important in its ultimate meaning. Absolutely nothing wrong, from a Tantric point of view, with simply jumping in the shower every morning--in fact, I would highly recommend daily showers, or one is unlikely to be welcome at any higher forms of Tantric practice (the Yogini has been hit with goofy stick this morning, apologies, Namaste). One should *always* bathe before practicing Hatha Yoga, before Pranayama, before meditation, and most especially before Tantric sexual union--however, that is an art all its own. If one is perform ing a ritual cleansing, one should start with the head, working down to the feet. Always maintain the same order when bathing ritually. Mild, natural soaps and loofas are recommended to cleanse the body. Maintain control and order, recognize within yourself that you are purifying as well as washing. I have a close friend who spent several years in prison. He tells me that, for months after his release, he took baths instead of showers, relishing the privacy and unrestricted time; for him the simple act of bathing was automatically transformed into an act of great joy and expression of freedom. Those who have been in the military or prison will understand. The restriction of privacy and time have an effect on the psyche. I will accept no bad jokes about soap-dropping at this point: this is quite serious. Those of us not in the military or inside the walls take our simplest freedoms for granted. Don't. Give yourself time and privacy, and recognize them for the luxuries and the gifts that they are. For *Freedom* is the key word here. Time and privacy are sacramental in and of themselves. Cold baths or showers produce a sudden charge of negative ions, which invigorate the body, and produce a psychic regeneration. Hot baths or showers relax, and cause the physical and Subtle Body to expand. Physically, hot water also opens the skin's pores, allowing toxins to escape, purifying the internal physical body. The washing of hands and feet is a part of many cultures. In the Christian New Testament, Mary Magdalene washed the feet of Jesus with her tears and dried them with her hair; thus adding a beautifully personal touch to the custom of the times: showing respect to an honored guest by the washing of the feet. In India, it is still customary to wash both hands and feet before entering the inner part of a home. In most eastern traditions, washing the hands and feet before prayer is not only customary, but obligatory. Prior to lovemaking, ritual bathing will purify the physical and Subtle bodies, leaving the rest of the world behind, so to speak, not only cleansing the vehicle (the body), but sloughing off any tensions or disturbances that arise during the day, with the conscious action of refusing to allow intrusion on the sexual act by any other concerns or bothers. In the Hindu tradition, Visnu is Lord of the Waters; his consort or Sakthi, Laksmi, is called Eternal Mistress of Prosperity. Bathing in streams, the ocean, natural sources of water, are said to be particularly condusive to evoking Visnu and Laksmi; but even if it is a private tub or pool, the mantra EH-VANG, recited, calls upon the waters to carry the spirit back to Visnu, its source, for replenishment. EH-VANG also relates to the male/female principle, or fire/water in merger. Remember, the four waves of Bliss, or the four stages of the Yogini's climax, belong to Visnu and Laksmi, who rule the watery/somatic/lunar/female/yin, even as Lord Siva rules the fiery/transcendental/solar/male/yang sentiments. Many Yogis share an idea with Swedish sauna users: remaining in a tub of hot water, or even a hot tub (traditional Japanese and Chinese devices for both bathing and sex; despite many peoples' belief that hot tubs or Jacuzzi's are modern inventions), the Yogi dives into or pours upon himself extremely cold water. Thus, his senses are relaxed and then awakened, expanded and contracted, bringing his physical body into harmony and sharpening his mind for concentration. As for bathing after lovemaking, Tantric texts advise the couple to wait at least an hour before so doing: this allows the sexual secretions, charged saliva, and even perspiration produced to be absorbed, and/or exchanged and absorbed. As our bodies are composed mainly of water; and as the human body can survive only an extremely brief time without water, as opposed to food, which can be done without for extended periods, and as the earth itself is mainly water broken up here and there by continents, this element is worthy or honor for its symbolic and spiritual, as well as its physical qualities. "One should bathe the body with running water; then apply perfumes and ointments. This type of bathing should be combined with breath control. The effect is to destroy both inner and outer dirt and make a person fit for spirituality." --Laksmi Tantra. FIRE: Fire has been afforded spiritual or occult qualities since pre-historical times, and most myths and traditions, both eastern and western, recognize some element of the sacred in fire. The myth of Prometheus, stealing it to human beings (Greek tradition), is well-known: the Greeks equated the gift of fire with the gift of culture. The discovery and use of fire is charted, whether literally or metaphorically, on the walls of many caves by prehistoric humans. As the ability to control fire elevated these primitive ancestors above the animals, it was endowed with sacred qualities. One of the earliest Hindu deities, Agni, dates from the Vedic period. He is the fire-god, and Hindu-Vedic traditionalists still perform dail y Agni-Puja, or worship to Agni to this day. As the son of Dyaus (*heaven*) and Prthivi (*earth*), he is accorded the place of the *first* god. Agni is older brother to Indra, ruler of this realm, and guardian of the earth. Surya, the Sun, is also equated with fire, particularly the fire of solar energy. He personifies fire in a threefold way: as the Sun itself, as the flash of lightning, and the sacrificial flame. The inner fire is Surya in the power chakra, and he is related to the mundane digestive fire (note, tho, without this 'mundane' act human beings would not survive) and the sense of physical sight. Surya's wife, Ushas, the Dawn, drives away the dark, symbolic of ignorance, and unites herself with the fire of Surya. Mitra, called 'the solar friend' represents to Hindus the exalted quality of brotherhood, honor, and friendship born of loyalty which is beyond this realm and absolutely sacred. Siva, in his androgynous Rudra form, is the ord of Celestial fire. Siva, in all his forms, being the Destroyer/Transcender is specially related to fire, which has the power to level all creation and allow for new forms of creation to begin. Fire is associated with erotic love and sexual desire in many ancient traditions of both east and west. Tantric texts call fire the origin and the end of all phenomena. Modern cosmologists have theorized about 'fire' as the main element at the moment of the creation and the destruction of every star. With the advent of Christianity, many ancient traditions of sacred fire were suppressed; with the advent of modern science, fire became replaced by electric energy. People who are lucky enough to have homes with fireplaces perhaps recall, on a Jungian archetypal level, the holiness of fire--lovers often curl up in front of an open fire; everyone enjoys being warmed by the heat and light of a fireplace or campfire. Fire has long been a source of inspiration for Yogis, Yoginis, artists, poets, lovers, and mystics of all stripes. A particularly potent combination for lovemaking is a fire built on the beach; symbolizing the union of the fiery and watery elements. Unfortunately, in modern times, the Beach Patrol is all too likely to have other ideas. :( Eastern traditions hold that there are two fires: inner and outer, and that both are sacred. The meaning behind the symbolic depiction of Agni as two-headed is that he is Lord of both inner and outer fire. His vehicle is the ram, which would seem to have astrological as well as other interesting significances. The inner fire is the vital principle that, when stimulated by Pranayama, scientific breathing techniques (*See Prana text on file here, for more info*), blazes up to consume the impurities of mind/body/ spirit. The inner fire, drawn upward from the solar plexus/power chakra, can be stored in the heart chakra, inflaming the emotions, blending erotic and transcendental love; when drawn into the forehead or third-eye chakra, it manifests as clarity and delight, and enables flashes of intuitive, non-physical 'seeing.' When drawn downward, into the root and male/female chakras, the inner fire manifests as awakened Kundalini, who flashes up the spine like lightning: liquid fire, hot and cold at once. The main place of the inner fire, of course, is the solar plexus/power chakra, from which it blazes up to unite the solar energy with the down-flowing lunar energy, travelling through the physical and Subtle bodies, empowering consciousness and transcendence. Fire is a potent meditative tool. If you do not have access to a fireplace, or it's impractical for you to build a fire on the beach or elsewhere, the flame of a candle can be used. The care and consideration in handling purely physical fire should be given to the transcendental aspect of fire as well. Meditate upon fire as an actual being, as a teacher or guru to the Self. Priests and Yogis in India to this day offer sacrifices of food to the fire, even offering part of each meal before it is tasted. Look at the fire, try to merge with it. Focus your attention on the dancing flames, their patterns. If a candle is being used, focus the eyes and the mind on its small flame, 'seeing' it grow and leap ever higher. Meditate on the power chakra, 'see' the sun within the Subtle Body burn all physical impurities and bodily problems, mental doubt and confusion, and psychic obstacles. Fill your entire body, physical and Subtle, with the sacred flame, become one with it. The seed-syllable RANG is the Mantra of fire. Repeat it aloud or silently, after watching the fire for some time. When the solar rays of the inner fire are drawn into the third-eye chakra, visions of spiritual realms are attained: one of the 'occult' powers of Siddhi. The heat of fire stimulates the Kundalini (see Kundalini text on file here, for further details). In fact, Tantric Yogis and Yoginis have traditionally sat in meditation before fire, taking it in and merging until the flames die out, leaving only glowing embers. Then, drawing close, the Tantric Yogi or Yogini exposes the genital area to the glow of the embers, achieving radiant, erotic energy therefrom. Firelight vibrates at different frequencies, according to its color. Tantric teachings say that fire is both communication device and oracle. When precise vibrations of firelight are internalized, the various powers of Siddhi result. The Gheranda Samhita relates a specific meditative technique to be used when contemplating the outer fire, in order to develop and gain control over the inner fire: "While breathing in through the right nostril, mentally repeat RANG 16 times, while contemplating the solar chakra. Retain the breath, repeating RANG 64 times, then expel the air through the left nostril, during 32 repetitions of RANG. Next, fix the gaze on the tip of the nose and see the inner crescent moon between the third-eye and Lotus-Crown as reflected there. Repeat the process in reverse (*i.e., breath intake through left nostril, repeating RANG, etc.), and see the subtle nectar flowing from the reflected moon run back through all the bodily channels, purifying and revitalizing them." Ideally, the outer temple, or sanctum, should have some means for an outer fire to be built: in modern days, this would likely have to be a fireplace, unless one is lucky enough to own a stretch of private beach, or enough land so that a fire can be built and tended and lovemaking occur before it. If this isn't possible, light many candles and sticks of incense. Allow the firelight to play over your body and that of your partner, shadowing and illuminating by turn. This is a powerful spiritual energizer, as well as stimulating on a purely physical level. Allow the inner fire of passion to transform physical desire into spiritual fulfillment. "As sparks fly upward from the blazing fire, from the depths of the Imperishable arise all things, and to the depths of the Imperishable they in turn descend. To the fire, whence one came, whence one was born." --Mundaka/Chan Dogya Upanisad. "The Kundalini lazes up at the navel center, burning up all psychic obstormed." --Chanda Maharosana Tantra. HA-THA. EH-VANG. D. Yogini Padma Ushas Suryananda, other sources as cited.

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