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Tantra Puja parties for dummies (like me!) - Kelly N Patterson

Posted 9/19/2011 12:00:00 AM By Kelly Patterson
Kelly Patterson
Tantra Puja parties for dummies (like me!) By Kelly N Patterson

Trying to explain a Tantra puja party to someone who has never been to a puja party is like trying to explain Burning Man to your grandmother.  But I am going to TRY because more people-- even Dick and Jane (scratch that—especially Dick and Jane)--you know, your neighbors who drive an SUV with a “my kid is an honor roll student at blah, blah middle school” and TIVO television shows like “Weeds”-- should know about these overtly spiritual, profoundly connecting and well, to be honest, erotically fun events happening across the country, possibly in a Suburbia near you!

Why should we let “mainstream” people in on our little secret?  Well, I have a theory (and it is just a theory, so don’t get all worked up over NO-THING, Tantra snobs!) but my theory is…the deeper, better the relationships between parents (emotionally as well as physically/sexually), the better the relationship of the parents to their children.  And the better the relationship between the parents and the children, the better the relationships with the children to the world, and so on…you get it.  Of course, this is all very unscientific Doppler Effect-based speculation; however, I am confident this will be a thoroughly fun, stimulating, and rewarding experiment (spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and of course, physically) worth undertaking for both couples and singles alike.  In other words, why not?!

Understand that each Tantra puja party is going to be unique in its costume/decor, languages (terms used—even though the word “yoni” seems pretty universal), and rituals (selected group activities and games) but essentially the ceremony of a puja is all about offering and receiving adoration for every attendee, who is deemed a “special guest.”  In other words, there is no VIP section at these parties, no cliques, everyone gets the opportunity to be “worshipped” and “revered”, as well as “honor” others—and that means everyone.  The whole puja concept comes from the Hindu ritual of giving a gift or offering to a deity, or important person, and receiving their blessing.  If you want all the history, look it up on Wikipedia!

In an attempt to give you an idea as to what a Tantra puja party might look like in your neighborhood, I will use a recent “God and Goddesses” puja I attended in the Bay Area. (NOTE: I will not use names to protect those that had a damn good time.)    In this case, we were asked to wear all white, to go with the whole God and Goddesses theme—however, the best I could come up with was what most of my snarky friends refer to as my “Miami House-Wife Look”—which is mostly white.

We started our puja, like all pujas, with basic “rules” to ensure personal safety--first and foremost—and clear communication; meaning how to identify our own personal boundaries (from “don’t touch me there!” to “YES, please!”  “More!”); recognize other people’s boundaries (even if THEY are not aware of them); and then how to state and enforce our boundaries clearly, but gently, to another person, both verbally and using body language-- without experiencing or causing any negative feelings like rejection, peer pressure or guilt.   The whole 20 minute “rules” part of every Tantra puja is worth 4 years in couples’ therapy. 

After the “safety speech”, most guides, or facilitators, will open up the ceremony with introductory games and individual, partner and/or group exercises to relax everyone and help everyone get to know one another’s name. Our guide led us all through group deep breathing exercises and some basic Qi-gong moves to get our Qi flowing.  It is common to begin pujas with collective breathing exercises, chakra-movement, partner yoga, or some other kind of spiritual exercise just to ground the idea that this event is indeed a sacred event, and not just some kinky house party, or worse, a well decorated swingers’ club. 

Women and men were asked to form co-centric circles, with the women sitting back-to-back facing out, and the men serving as the outer circle, facing in.  After each “exercise”, the men would move one person over (the women stayed seated)—ensuring that every single person spent quality time, experiencing each activity, with every single person at the party.   This kind of formation is common at Tantra puja parties but there may be variations, depending on how many people are attending a particular party.

Again, the exercises and activities at Tantra puja parties will vary depending on the facilitators, but at this particular party some of the exercises included partner-flow (where you take turns trying to “follow” a person’s movements with your eyes closed AND without speaking!)  Another common exercise is making deep eye contact, without speaking—left eye to left eye—and asked to send thoughts of love, or requested to just really SEE the person in front of you, or deep eye contact used with various mantras.  *One of our mantras was “You love me”—I sat next to a man who sounded like Cookie Monster when he said, “You love me” over and over, which sent me immediately to the Giggle Floor, which quickly spread to the whole group;)

What is thrilling about this deep eye contact exercise is that you quickly discover, without words or even body language, you can “see” or sense a person’s personality; there appears to be some truth in Cicero’s poetry that “the eyes are the windows to a person’s soul.”  Some of the men I encountered took me immediately to the Giggle Floor (without a word or movement!), whereas others radiated “warm-fuzzy, safe, comfort” and others were intense (Later conversation: “Are you a Scorpio?”  “Yes, how did you know?”) 

Another surprising aspect of this deep eye contact exercise is that no matter what a person’s physical appearance or “perceived” personality, you discovered (quite to your surprise) how much you liked him (or her) and how deeply intimate you felt with them (even if you could not recall their name!)  The lesson:  You cannot make long, extended deep eye contact with another person without feeling warm-fuzzy about him or her.  This exercise alone could revolutionize dating and relationships as we know it (NOTE: So next time I am out on a “date”, I am going to try the deep eye contact exercise—preferably at Gracias Madre in the Mission!)

Another very common activity at a Tantra puja party is to have one person sensually touch another (with clear communication about boundaries!)—however, the person being touched is not allowed to return the touch.  This not only feels good, but creates and sustains a very tangible erotic energy, which is traditionally the spark of most sexual encounters.  However, there is no sex involved in this exercise.   It simply allows people to practice, experience and fully enjoy conscious, sensual touch—an aspect missing from most marriages or long-term relationships.

At our particular puja party, the men were asked to erotic dance for the women, and then vice versa…at first, I found it challenging not to giggle at some of the men trying to dance, but quickly, when their dance authentically turned into adoration for me (and the other goddesses), I found it not only endearing but highly pleasurable.  Note to self:  Have partner dance for me more often. 

We also played a dice game, much like you did when you were in college and under the influence of Jägermeister, with playful dice that read “kiss” and “below the waist” and such.  This game fit perfectly with our group intention for a “playful” puja, even though you will find more “serious” pujas.  Our group had a lot of giggly fun with the game and well, at some point, the dice were lost.

But no one seemed to care about the missing dice because we all started creating our own games with one another.  Some people coupled off (who knows what they were doing?!!!); some people just held one another; most people practiced sensual play (with and without clothes on)—like kisses, nibbles, sensual massage, etc.; and then, for those that had reached the tipping point (pun totally intended), there was a special room allocated for full-on sexual encounters.   

However, not all Tantra puja parties develop into sex. This is not about “sex”; it is all about creating, playing, experimenting with your own sexual energy (with or without actual sex) as well as learning how to profoundly connect with people who were strangers an hour ago, on ways that you may have never connected with others. 

I solidly believe the tools you learn at a Tantra puja party—from deep eye contact to building up sexual anticipation through energy work and sensual touch is worth several years of couples’ therapy.  The best part is that pujas are all about adoring you; serving you; making you feel beautiful, wanted, attractive, and appreciated in a highly enlightened way—all the languages of love (words of affirmation, gifts of service, touch, gifts, and quality time) are offered and received to everyone present, in just a couple of hours.  I highly recommend Tantra puja parties for couples and singles alike, but don’t take my word for it—as the Chinese say: “Don’t listen to what they say—go see for yourself.”







Sky Smith
Sky Smith
Tantra and puja are religious terms. It seems ignorant at best and perhaps disrespectful at worse, to use the sacred to describe or label a variation of sensual, sexual, social intimacy, or orgy, "party" whatever you want to call it.

Most Americans and most Westerners do not really understand what Tantra or Puja "really" mean.

These terms, with proper understanding and practice lead to full enlightenment, the highest potential, the divine within all and everything. A complete lack of suffering.

When used with such a lack of knowledge they only promote going backwards, a lack of progression at best. These terms being spread with incorrect meaning is actually perpetuating suffering. Perpetuating lack of wisdom in our culture.

Find a teacher, a real teacher-who can point you to the teacher within, to what you already know, but have forgotten. This is urgent.
9/19/2011 7:07:51 PM
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