Tantra Blog

Monday, June 21, 2010

San Francisco to Oregon

I am traveling north on the West Coast of America with three musketeers: Simon, South African daka on his way to go learn alchemy and Chinese, Natasha, Russian rawfoodist and lovely tantrika, and Dez, American Tantric networker extroadinaire. We are on the big road out of San Fancisco to Ashland, Oregon. I spent the last few days living in a loft in an semi-industrial area, looking out over the bay. Aemonn, my host, is an Irish-American lawyer who also happens to be a superb astrologer. America, he says, is the land of opportunity. Just print the business card, and that's what you'll be. I can see that. Tantrikas grow like poppy flowers here - a weekend course and some imagination is enough to get you going in your practice.

Having said that, things work really well here. The household appliances and finishings are just exquisite in their design and efficiency. You can get wi-fi almost anywhere if you are stable for a while, even just to grab a coffee. San Francisco is a classy city. Combine a spirit of everything-goes freedom with large dollops of creativity and big vision, and you have this city. I love the curves of the road, and the massive Gaugin-like wall paintings. Food is really good in any restaurant here, and the wholefood shops are out of this world in their choices.

The Tantra and polyamory culture in California is fascinating. You can find both categories of people on any block. People take initiative and create intriguing enterprizes. Zeerak Kahn, whom we meet in the hotel where she is staying, is completing a book on how she integrated the teachings of India's main Advaita and Tantra teachers with some of the funkiest teachings from the West. One that I find particularly intriguing, is her application of Wilhelm Reich's work. She puts students on massive vibrator pads and puts vibrators up their anuses while taking them through breath and yoga routines that shake them out of any remaining thought patterns they may be stuck in. Pull out the big guns, little lady!

Zeerak is a minute Indian beauty with a huge spirit. We are on our way to meet her long-time gay friend Juju, and she is dressing up in a snake skin dress and high high heels. "Juju is as much of a queen as I am", she explains - "I have to look the part!" Tomorrow, she will be posing as Lakshmi for Penny Slinger, author of Sexual Secrets. She shows me the jewellery that will be draped over her naked skin - exquisite.

We go to meet Juju at the reteat center which he helped to dream up and create. The drive up is though the redwood forests - My awe increases with the size of these trees. And then we turn into Stillheart, the retreat center (stillheart.org). In my life, i have never seen a retreat centre of this scale. It is enormously spacious, and all just with the finest design. There is a spring floor yoga room, an art room, a huge heated pool, sauna and jacuzzi, and an outrageously spacious workshop lounge.

The artwork is out of this world. There is an almost life size white jade quan yin statue in a corner, a massive lit up crystal in the entrance room, a painting of buddha's life that took some monks five years to paint, and then the highlight: two massive chandeliers from hand blown glass in the form of thick, voluptious, ocean-like flowers.

Accommodation is provided in tree houses. When you step out the houses, you get captured by the spirit of the massive redwood trees. It is hard to describe the scale of these trees. Their silent presence tower up overhead, green and timelessly joyous. We meet Juju, whose artwork is all over the centre. He is a lovely man, a deep spirit, with a delightful aversion to all things flakey. Having dreamt up and manifested this beauty, he wonders what will come next for him.

Triambika arrives to take Zeerak to Santa Cruz. She has a large head of curly hair, and a beautiful, solid gaze. Soon, she will be starting to teach her dakini mentorship programme. I hope to get to spend a bit more time with her in future. Then Dez arrives with Uta from London. Uta has just landed at San Francisco to attend a clinical sexology course. It is lovely to see this new dear friend again after my visit with her in London a week or so ago. Uta is organizing the European Sexuality and Consciousness conference, of which I am arranging the African counterpart. We talk business, ideas and networking while basking in tree-speckled sun.

Ah, and then, a walk through those awesome trees. There are strategically parked benches, each with a brush tied to them so you can wipe off the leaves. All attention to detail. We get to a waterfall watched over by a buddha statue. Simon and I, the wild Africans, cannot resist: We rip off our clothes and get in under the icy water. Then a proper, delicious mud bath-rub for me. I am landed on American soil.

America impresses. This is a place where anything seems to be possible. There are just so many people here, and the mind boggles at the amount of disposable cash. In a culture that is mostly middle class, people can afford to pay $3000 for a weekend retreat. it is lovely to be in a place where people value consciousness and will pay for teaching.

I do my first session in America in San Francisco. I feel the rightness of me being here right now. This session was needed, and was able to provide the guidance that was required.

Now, off to Ashland. We are on the fast track: Three cities in three days, and every night a talk and a workshop.

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