Guest Post

Why Tantra Festivals Are Growing in Popularity Globally

Tantra festivals celebrate the ever-rising wave of human consciousness from a place that recognizes wholeness rather than separation (photos by Steven Roland)

Tantra festivals are on the rise globally because we all need to heal our relationships with ourselves, each other, and the Earth. When we heal, we come into sacred communion with all aspects of ourselves and our world, allowing ourselves to rise out of separation and start living and creating blissful wholeness in all moments.

People who are drawn to these festivals come from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and life experiences. And the age range (usually 18 to 70) is vast. The one thing that Tantra festival attendees have in common is that they resonate with learning from actual experiences and have a shared desire to become more present, aware and connected to their bodies and spirits, as well as deepening consciousness and intimacy in their relationships.

“The energy of Tantra Festivals is infectious! They cultivate this incredible culture of curiosity and openness that allows people to drop their façade and start to feel more of their authentic selves. It’s incredible to watch people’s faces transform as they slowly drop their guards and expectations and remember that there is bountiful beauty in every moment and in every connection,” says Jovana, producer of the Toronto Tantra Festival.

Why Tantra Festivals Are on the Rise

The intention of Tantra festivals is to bring humans together in union – to heal, learn, feel safe to have new experiences and rekindle their purpose, joy, love, relationships and connection. The pathways to self-discovery are plenty and the journey of personal transformation doesn’t need to be taken alone.

A 35-year-old who has been on the tantric path for a couple of years shared this: “I’ve spent the better part of my life being ashamed of myself… This journey provides you with the mindset, tools, and community to really allow you to learn, live and grow to understand how to connect more deeply, and have fun while doing it!”

Tantra festivals celebrate exploration, which means every person in attendance is often asked at the beginning to check in with themselves and their needs — personal sovereignty, boundaries, consent and choice are often the building blocks of well-organized, thoughtful festivals. This enables people to come together and explore aspects of themselves and their relationships with others, safely and at their pace.

Something that is commonly explored and perhaps redefined for a lot of people at these festivals is the notion of what is masculine and feminine within them. This does not occur from a place of gender separation, but rather from an understanding of the masculine-feminine aspects within each human being, regardless of their physical form.

Tantra is about working with these aspects and exploring the full spectrum of expression. A lot of spiritual festivals focus on bringing the ‘like-minded’ together. One of the incredible opportunities at Tantra festivals is that it is more about ceremonies and practices that resonate from the heart, and not just the head.

“There have been some very positive changes in my life due to my newfound connection with the conscious community and now with Tantra,” said a 66 year-old attendee at last year’s Toronto Tantra Festival.

Expanding Human Consciousness

After more than two years of social distancing and being masked, the world is trying to recover from entrenched practices of disconnection. Many people are still feeling the effects of disconnection, isolation and exhaustion in all aspects of their lives. Our closest relationships sometimes take the worst hit.

This can be heartbreaking and difficult, but it is also an opportunity to reconnect and reclaim consciousness, awareness, love, respect, and kindness in all relationships – with the self, our human family, our Earth and all there is.

There are many ways to work towards consciousness. But it doesn’t always have to be work. Tantra festivals celebrate the ever-rising wave of human consciousness from a place that recognizes wholeness rather than separation. Whatever images or ideas you may have in your head about Tantra and Neo-Tantra, the full essence of it is far more.

What is Tantra anyway?

Tantra is not a philosophy that deals exclusively with sex and sexuality in isolation. It is a spiritual journey of the body and soul, which includes sexuality, because it is a part of the whole human experience.

Mainstream religious and spiritual practices, historically, ignore and repress sexuality. As such, many of us inherit an unhealthy relationship to sexuality, love, belonging and relationships. There is often shame, blame, discomfort, confusion, trauma and lack of safety and belonging associated with this.

Most Tantra and Neo-Tantra practices are about deepening and enriching the journey to conscious empowerment and ecstatic liberation of the body and soul.

It is believed that Tantra emerged around the 6th century in India. Since then Tantra has had waves of popularity in history and culture, often after the fall of great ruling empires. It rose as a somewhat unorthodox and revolutionary mechanism against the more disciplinarian expression of spirituality. Practices were often made popular by women and those who were marginalized by the previously reigning dynasty.

In Sanskrit, one of Tantra’s translations is: weaving together the spiritual and physical, all the time, as a state of Being.

Culturally, this could mean bringing balance and wholeness to a people, a nation, and in our own lives and relationships. Wholeness, in this sense is inclusive of what we scorn as bad, less than, unideal or shameful. By learning to accept the opposite within ourselves, we can truly accept diversity in our world, our relationships and our interactions.

Learning how to relate from wholeness is not something we can sit by ourselves and meditate on, though that certainly is a part of it. What it actually requires is mingling, gathering, learning, talking, discovering by experience what lives in us and each other. This is one of the reasons Tantra and Tantra festivals are gaining popularity today.

If you are interested in deepening your awareness and consciousness around love, expression and relating that authentically guides you to heart-centered, embodied living, then find an upcoming Tantra festival near you!

Coming event:  The Toronto Tantra Festival, coming up on September 5 to 8 near Bancroft, Ont., is a 4-day immersive festival exploring and celebrating love, spirituality, Eros, creativity, and community. Consent, healthy boundaries, and conscious communication are the cornerstones of the festival. Canadian and international facilitators create a sacred, safe(r), sex-positive, and inclusive environment for all experience levels and intensities. LEARN. EXPERIENCE. TRANSFORM.

www.torontotantrafestival.com

 

A

Aarti Aria Mathur is Toronto-based writer, woman-in-tech and spiritual alchemist.

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