What makes Tantra unique from most spiritual practices is that Tantra embraces the senses as a path to the Divine. It sees the body as a temple for Consciousness to play and explore the material plane. Tantra uses the senses to expand awareness. One way this is done is through the Sensory Awakening Ritual. You and your partner explore the art of giving and receiving pleasure by activating the senses. There is something profound about surrendering totally and allowing all your senses to respond and be awakened. It is a sensuous process that can be light and playful or erotically charged. This ritual is a wonderful way to begin a romantic evening or weekend with your beloved.
Create a Sacred Space
Turn your room into a temple. Begin by removing the clutter and creating an altar. Light some candles, add a vase of flowers, crystals, a photo or object that honors your relationship to the Divine. Then, gather the items that can be used to awaken all the senses during the ritual. Some possibilities might be massage tools, fur, feathers, fruits, chocolate, flowers, essential oils, music, bells, rattles, and eye covers. Bathe and dress in ritual clothes. The ritual begins by blessing the space. This can be done with sage, incense, bells, songs or calling in the directions. Put on some beautiful music.
Now, create a bubble around you and your partner. Do this by waving your arms around to define the shape of the bubble that surrounds both of you. Take turns releasing one thing at a time that might keep you from being fully present in the ritual. As you say the thing you are removing, (the past, distractions, anger, worry, etc.) make a gesture as if removing an object from your bubble. Next, state the things that will enhance your connection (love, willingness, presence, trust etc.) and gesture, as if bringing these things into your bubble.
Share Your Desires, Fears and Boundaries
Once the bubble is created, share your desires, fears and boundaries related to this practice. First, one person speaks while the other person listens without judgment or commentary. Then, you switch roles. Here is an example:
“My desire is to stay present, open and connect deeply to your soul.” “My fear is that I will get self-conscious and shut down.” “My boundary is that we both turn off our cell phones.”
Why boundaries? Boundaries are not walls, they are bridges. Bridges help to bring people together. Intimacy happens when people have healthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries allow you to feel safe, stay open and be present. Boundaries are dynamic, so it is important to check-in periodically with yourself to see if your boundaries have changed. If they have changed, update your partner so he/she can honor your new boundaries. Here are a couple of examples:
“I am getting tired. I want to end by midnight.” “I am sensitive to perfumes, so don’t use them, please.”
Once you’ve shared your desires, fears and boundaries, offer each other a blessing, such as “I want to bless your hands for all they do for others.” Then, decide who will receive first and cover his/her eyes with a blindfold. Help the receiver to lie down and get comfortable. The giver begins the ritual by stimulating the senses in whatever way feels right, as long as it honors the boundaries of the person receiving. Come from a place of devotion as you awaken and arouse your partner. Take your time. Be playful and creative.
The Power of Sight
In this ritual, we limit the vision with a blindfold to enhance the other senses and add an element of surprise. Also, the removal of the blindfold and restoration of sight at the conclusion of the exchange often lends itself to a fresh appreciation of the experience of seeing by the receiver. It’s as if the world is once again being seen through the eyes of a newborn baby.
The Power of Smell
Scent is an important component of pleasure. Your olfactory nerves pick-up chemical messages from the air you breathe and conduct them quickly to the brain. Smells are often associated with memories. A whiff of a particular food, perfume or place can immediately transport you into a moment from the past associated with that scent. Pheromones are chemical messages we send and receive. They affect who you are attracted to and are an important factor in whom you pick as a mate. Smell is a great awakener.
The Power of Touch
Touch is a basic human need. We live in a culture where many people are often touch-deprived. Touch creates connection at the most basic level. The skin is your biggest organ. It feels good to be massaged, kissed, caressed and held. The skin is sensitive to many types of sensations. Explore nibbling, biting, and pinching if you want to add more excitement. Exploring what excites and arouses you and your partner can be fun and bonding.
The Power of Sound
Sounds create a mood and affect the emotions. They can be intrusive or soothing. Pleasant sounds can help us to relax, be present and open. Stimulating sounds can enliven the body and mind. Music and song are a great gift that can heal and transform. Use music that is sensuous and arousing.
The Power of Taste
The mouth is a very sensitive sense receptor and highly developed in most people. Food is associated with survival as well as pleasure. Our taste buds detect sweet, bitter, salty and sour. Use a variety of your favorite tastes and textures-salty, crunchy, sweet, juicy, to tantalize the lips and tongue. The Sensory Awakening Ritual is a great way to open and expand your senses. It allows you to surrender into the pure joy of Consciousness celebrating in human form. It is a gift to be able to connect and experience pleasure and ecstasy with your partner. In a world where people are mesmerized by the incessant stream of thoughts flowing through their head, it is refreshing to let go of the mind and rediscover the pleasures of the body.