By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
"One of the ideas we hold strongly is that people don't have to have a lot of esoteric knowledge to have big energy experiences in their bodies," says Brown. "We don't tell people it's 'tantra.' We use ritual to connect to the sacred, however one thinks of that connection."
Some of the people in New York who do use the term tantra do so in questionable ways. "Certainly the concept of sacred prostitution is not antithetical to the tantric approach," says Michaels, careful to make the point that no one has the authority to sanction a legitimate use of the term. "But the problem in this society is that a lot of people say they're doing tantra as a way of marketing prostitution." In Manhattan, an establishment known as White Lotus East offers the services of three different "Goddesses," pictured nude in various poses on its website, for rose-petal baths and genital massage, described in well-lubricated detail with plenty of references to chakras, lingams, and yonis (the last two are terms for penis and vagina from the Kama Sutra).
Tantra also translates as "tool for expansion." Those who choose, by whatever means, to bind together their searches for sensual delight, true love, and spiritual truth may fall prey to disappointment in all three areas. But, those who share in the practice agree, their circle of possibilities is certain to widen.
PATRICIA JOHNSON AND MARK MICHAELS 914-962-7328, email@example.com, tantrapm.com "Introduction to Tantra for Couples" will be held January 6 from 7:30 to 9. "Tantra and Dating," an event for spiritually minded singles, will be held January 7 in New York City, sponsored by Metro Event Planners. For more information or to register, call 1.888.89.EVENT
ONGOING TANTRA INTERACTIVE GROUPthe third Wednesday of every month in Soho.
BODY ELECTRIC bodyelectric.org
TANTRA.COM a good introductory site
SHIVASHAKTI.COM a comprehensive site with information on the basic tantra traditions
TANTRA MAGAZINE tantramagazine.com