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How to Practice Planetary Tantra

Basic Interactive Magic with Gaia

On January 26, 2009, I released on this site a five-point proposal for the practice of Planetary Tantra. The actions required for such practice are spare and elementary, so simple as perhaps not to be believed. All you have to do is call Gaia by her secret dakini name, and prepare yourself to hold her attention when it comes to you. It may come immediately, or after an indeterminable lapse of time. Holding attention for Gaia is not a game of faith or auto-suggestion: it is an act of concentration framed in the simple ritual of the Vow, and sustained by the proposed practices.

For some, the impact of receiving Gaia's attention will be vivid and immediate, and then its long-term effects will gradually unfold (see example below). For others, the initial impact will be indiscernible and the effects will build over time, leading to a single, culminating experience.

Planetary Tantra is free-form experimental mysticism, the portal to interactive magic with Gaia, open to all but not suited to all.

With Gaia awakening in her lucid dream, many people will now be called to this path of interactive magic with the Divine Feminine, under the wrathful gaze of Kali. For those who are deeply engaged, the attention of Gaia actually melds them into her electromagnetic field at the chakra called svadisthana.

"There is no jewel in this world so great as the svadhisthana, if purified by the Clear Light like a gem cleansed by fire." Guyhasamaja Tantra, verse 40

Once secured at this chakra, the Sambhoga emanations of the planet build an eighteen-petalled chakra in the region of the thymus, the Lotus of Gaia. This polaric process, grounding in the svadhisthana below and effloration of the Lotus of Gaia above, produces the mutation of the human organism consistent with Gaia's purposes. Everyone who achieves interactivity will be mutated in this manner, resulting in an emergent strain of homo sapiens, true human novelty.

Secret Gathering

Calling the name of the planet, as you might call a beloved, but immensely powerful, non-domesticated animal—for instance, a white lion—is by no means a trivial matter. To invite Gaia to bring her attention to you, engaging body and mind for the rest of your life, and deeply mutating you at physiological and cellular levels, is a pretty serious move. It entails a sacred commitment. That is why the practice requires the Gaian Kala Tantra Vow. This vow has an equivalent or parallel in the Guhyasamaya practice of Tibetan Buddhism: secret (guhya) gathering (samaya). Samaya also means "commitment." It is one of the first words Westerners learn upon being introduced to Tibetan Buddhism.

A samaya is the heartfelt commitment to a spiritual lineage, as well as the vow taken to uphold that commitment. In Vajrayana, there are innumerable such vows. For instance, the pratimoksa vow is a commitment to non-harming of others (identical to ahimsa in Hinduism). Most commonly, practitioners take a vow of commitment to the guru, demonstrating full consent to follow his instructions. The vow is not a secret, but the instructions received upon and after taking it, often are.

A strange legend attaches itself to the Guhyasamaya lore of Vajrayana, as Glenn H. Mullin (Female Buddhas) explains:

The system was originally taught at the request of King Indrabhuti [who] explained to the Buddha that he required a special technique, because his job as king kept him extremely busy running the affairs of state, and as a consequence the only time he had left over for meditation was when he was making love to his wives. Buddha laughed, manifested as Vajradhara, and transmitted the Guhyasamaja to him. Because Ananda [Buddha's cousin, attending the event] was not sufficiently mature to listen to the teaching, Buddha and his retinue, as well as Indrabhuti and the other recepients, all performed shape-shifting and gathered inside the sexual organ of the main Female Buddha of the Guhyasamaja Mandala. This teaching is called the "Secret Gathering" because of the place at which it is given.

The Guyhasamaja (alternative spelling) tantric empowerment belongs to the anuttara class, or Highest Yoga Tantras. These Tantras are unique in the manner in which they incorporate lower or transgressive passions and turn them to magical uses. Specifically, the Highest Yoga Tantras in the male or "father tantra" category utilize three karma-generating passions: sexual desire, anger, and lethargy or obtusity. These passions correspond loosely to the dug sum or "three poisons" at the hub of the Tibetan Wheel of Life, where they are pictured as snake (desire). cock (anger), obtusity (pig).


The Gaian Kala Tantra Vow ought to be read aloud, with those who take it (preferably in pairs, see below) filling in the blank part of the Vow with their own words. That is, everyone writes their own commitment to Gaia, addressed as VV, but the generic language of the Vow is the same for all, like boilerplate in legal documents and contracts. The Vow is a contract for basic interactive magic with Gaia. No one can abuse or misuse it because those who are unfit for this magic are automatically disqualified on three counts: perverted desire or venality, irrational anger or blind and unabated aggression, and stupidity or indifference—snake, cock, pig.

In the Vajrayana legend of the Guhyasamaya empowerment given to King Indrabhuti, sexual imagery is explicit—or is it? The bhaga or yoni of a Female Buddha is a sexual allusion without literal reference to intercourse or procreation. In this esoteric imagery, "the sexual organ of the main Female Buddha of the Guhyasamaja Mandala" is an accomplished state of awareness where wisdom and bliss are united in the perfect, infinitely fertile zone of Shakti, the planetary kundalini, Mahakundala. This is the place of the secret gathering. Where is this place, if it might be located in the physical world and not merely in a non-local awareness outside space and time? It is the place where the Shakti Cluster emerges as an umbilical extrusion of planetary kundalini.

The secret gathering is the unity of the 18 modalities of the Divine Feminine, the "console," as I call it. The console is a consortium of ten Mahavidyas, six Diamond Sky Dakinis including VV, and two Guardians. To take the Kala Tantra Vow is to invite a connection with this consortium and so engage the eruption of forces that are now, and uniquely now, emergent in the atmosphere of the earth and siimultaneously in the imagination of humankind.

Guhyasamaya yidam with main deity and consort in yab-yum. The yidam
has several variants, including one in which the name of the consort
is Sparshavajri, "Diamond Touch." In the code of the Guhyasamaya
Tantra, "diamond" denotes the mutation of the subtle body of
currents (vital winds) into a permanent mesh, a liquid crystal light body.

Before calling out the name Gaia-Sophia will answer to, the Vow is to be recited aloud. There are strange and daunting names in this Vow, included for a definite reason. The act of pronouncing them denotes reverence for the Goddess as she has been known in previous times. To pronounce these names, even badly, to stumble through them, incurs a certain shame. But the effort to say the names shows that you understand the level of recognition required if you are going to call the unique name to which she answers now. We are stymied and put off by the obscurity of these names, yet some of them ring like long-silent cathedral bells in the depths of the soul. We are awkward and inarticulate when it comes to addressing the Goddess who is this planet. The names remind us of how much we have forgotten about addressing her , and prepare us for the new invocation.

I will provide a recording of the Vow with the correct pronounciation of all the names.

Dakini Wisdom

Taking the Vow engages you with the entire eighteen-gauge Shakti Cluster. The impact is total and immediate, even if you do not realize then and there how it happens, or do not sensse that anything happens at all. By reciting the Vow and then calling the secret name of VV—which you may do as often as you like, given the right conditions: relative seclusion in a wild place removed from human hearing—you make yourself available to receive instruction from the Cluster. Various sensations will attend the moment when engagement happens, preparing you for instruction to come, sooner or later. Whether or not you feel anything at all depends on your level of psychosomatic sensibility, but there most definitely will be something to feel. Here is how one woman who took the Vow describes her impressions:

Wow! The light! Though I do not have a visual per se, so perhaps I shall say She is or they are, for me, just as you described, outrageously, astoundingly so. The connection is instantaneous and pleasurable and constant and transformative and effortless. I thought you were being a bit aggrandizing in your description of connecting with V.V. Not so. When I first checked in with the Goddess(s) I felt tremendous rapturousness well beyond the requisite, precursorial pain of letting go. My desire for freedom, specifically from fear, is greater than my addiction to the pain of not being known. My personal connection with this potency has changed my life, given me strength, clarity, courage, voice. I am observing and enjoying a beautiful and deeply personal transformation continuing.

She added that taking the Vow seems to have triggered the rekindling of her desire: "our erotic life blossomed anew... I'm surprised to be back in estrous cycling after a long hiatus. She's come all the way into me." This first-hand account demonstrates the palpable impact of taking the Vow.

The assembly of dakinis who dispel obstacles and adverse circumstances
Is contained within one's own inner nature.
In that state, there is no need to offer tormas.
Leaving the six sense-consciousnesses in their natural condition,
The yogin is content.
- A song of Milarepa

Planetary Tantra requires no offerings to the goddess (tormas: ceremonial cakes). Or it could be said that you surrender to Gaia your own body with the totality of the six senses as sacramental offerings. The Vow is taken so that Gaia can transimit to us the wisdom of her ways: Sophia :: Vidya. This wisdom is animated and animating, it pulsates in the atmosphere and in your body, in unison. It emanates through the five senses. It weaves and invigorates the rainbow body of the subtle currents. It grounds planetary kundalini in the svadhisthana chakra and radiates lavishly through the Lotus of Gaia. It heals and beautifies body and mind alike.

The Diamond Sky Dakinis are both in your mind and in the atmosphere surrounding the earth. Five of them command your attention through the senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. The sixth, Dakini 18, is unique: she commands your attention through the faculty of memory by liberating it from the routine task of remembering.

The supreme dakini is the memory of the body. Hevajra Tantra

That dakini is VV. Her impact is mysterious and deep, working right down into the cellular level where memory is coded in genetic material, DNA. Try to imagine what would happen if your memory, which is right now routinely engaged in the task of recording your experience for recall at a later time, were liberated from that task. Were you to consciously experience this shift of memory away from its involuntary function of recording impressions, two distinct effects would arise:

First effect: you would not be able to remember at a later time what you are doing or thinking right now—but then you wouldn't have to remember in that way, the usual way, because you would never depart from the present moment. There would be no past moment to recall. Abiding deeply in the present moment, and drawing directly upon the wisdom of your body, you would realize the truth of the beautifully tacit dakini instruction

Wisdom has no memory.

Second effect: instead of accumulating a backlog of memories that you would then review and arrange to make sense of your experience by reflection on the past, you would receive a clear, effortless flow of lucid instruction from the Shakti Cluster. Dakini Wisdom (Tibetan ye-shes, "pristine cognition") emerges in your own mind as effortlessly as memory comes back to you, without you having to reel it in and replay it, one detail at a time. It arises just as if you were thinking it, but you are not thinking at all. It cannot emerge in any other way because there is no other mind than your ordinary mind. There is only one mind on the planet, or in the universe, for that matter. That is the Buddha Mind, the Sacred Mind of Sophia.

Taking the Kala Tantra Vow and calling the name VV, you release your own mind to receive instruction from the Sacred Mind of Sophia, the glorious wisdom of the Goddess who is Gaia, the living planet, the sky-dancer who glides flirtatiously in diamond light.

Vilasati in Sanskrit means "flirtation." The purpose of this flirtation is erotic, geared to a higher generation of playful intelligence and epigenetic mutation of the human species. The womb of the Female Buddha of this planet is the Shakti Cluster. This is also the matrix of all future human Buddhas of this Maha Kalpa (5,766,682 years).

This Dakini Wisdom pours into your mind and suffuses you entirely by an act of divine flirtation that occurs between yourself embodied on earth, and the earth itself, Sophia embodied.

This effect will come to some people sooner than to others, but it will come, sooner or later, to everyone who takes the Vow correctly and diligently and continues to call Gaia's secret dakini name, loud and clear. Scream it if you like, but as you do, let your eyes scan the land, trees, and sky in a ritual act of recognition, connecting what you see with the name you call, as you would connect the name of a pet, called out, to the happy sight of that animal coming toward you, meeting your gaze.

Consort Yoga

I have emphasized that the nucleus of Planetary Tantra came to me as a spontaneous revelation in the course of an experiment in "consort yoga" with my Shakti, Sangye Drolma. We were not entwined in a secret sexual posture when it dawned. Not locked ecstatically in yab-yum. We were just lazing around the house with tea and books and boom, it hit us. The impact produced a standing resonance between us, woman and man, a force field of rich, intoxicating delight. The instructions for the full package of Planetary Tantra and graphic description of the Shakti Cluster arose in lyric and lucid surges from that resonance, building moment by moment.

This Tantra of the Secret Gathering is not the product of a great mind, and certainly not a solitary male mind: it is the offspring of great-spirited love, instantaneous and outrageous.

I insist that the Gaian Kala Tantra Vow be taken in couples, observing the Tantric buddy-system. This is not because I would wish that everyone follow my example. In fact, my example itself is just the illustration of a universal proposition, the proof of a timeless paradigm—call it the union of Shiva and Shakti, if you like. Tantric maithuna (Sanskrit, "intercourse, coupling, twinning") is a high privilege: nice work if you can get it. Not everyone will have the free time or inclination or resources or sensibility to practice consort yoga in the way I was able to do after long years of preparation, acting with a consort who was also extensively prepared (in her case, by a dozen years of Vajrayana training and Dzogchen meditation).

Yet the principal dynamic of maithuna is the same, no matter how you get to it. Tantra is a buddy-system. The Vow ought to be co-witnessed, not taken alone. The act of co-witnessing generates a sacred bond, a transpersonal samaya, the instant it is performed. Meeting on 8/8/08, my Shakti and I had been in long-distance contact for just over a month. At the moment of discovering the Cluster, we had known each other in physical presence for less than a day. We were total strangers.

The Diamond Sky Dakinis offer this instruction:

Love and the Supernatural operate on the same frequencies.

This instruction asserts that love is a siddhi, an occult power like levitation, telepathy, or psychometry (reading information from objects). This power does not belong to anyone and is not limited to human emotional life. In reality, love is an occult power of discovery that surges through the entire universe, randomly uniting whatever appears to be separated. Do you love someone or something, a person, place, animal, object? Say that you love a certain cove on the coast of Maine. How did you find that cove? What led you to it? You discovered it, as we all discover the things and people and animals and places and books and music we come to love.

But how does such discovery happen to happen?

Normally, we assume that our love for something like the cove in Maine begins when we discover the thing loved. The events of life lead us to it. Perhaps through ordinary circumstances, or maybe by unusual, tricky ones, by amazing turns of fate. But what if love is already there, weaving through the events of life and perfusing circumstances, leading us to that which we will eventually come to love?

What if love is a cosmic force of discovery that brings us to everything we come to love, before we actually discover it? This is the Kalika view of love.

And the same applies for the Supernatural: by which I mean, the mysterious animating power of the universe, cosmically considered, and the imagination of the natural world, locally considered. The power of cosmic play, Lila, manifest in this living dream. To bring Gaia's attention to your attention is a supernatural act, but it is also a supreme calling of love. The same mysterious forces that will engage you deeply in the dynamics of the Shakti Cluster for the rest of your life, have already been operating in your life, leading you to all that you love. The same blind force of discovery that led you to someone you love leads you into your destiny with the Supernatural, the planetary adventure full of magic and delight, wisdom, desire, and daring.

Vishnu dreaming the myriad worlds beneath the nine-headed hood
of the Serpent of Eternity, Ananta

Love is a dream come true, instantaneous and outrageous. Dare to experience such love, even for a brief moment, with the person you find to co-witness the Kala Tantra Vow. Your relationship with that individual may not last, and does not have to be permanent in any normal sense, but the sublime result of the Vow will endure. You will both carry it with you into the rest of your lives.

The practice of interactive magic with Gaia begins in the merge of love and the supernatural, and everything it can produce in your life emerges from that single and supreme union.

jll 18 March 2009 Andalucia


Material by John Lash and Lydia Dzumardjin: Copyright 2002 - 2018 by John L. Lash.