The Oldest Lunar Calendar - Aurignacian (32,000 BCE)
Tashi Delek Losar! while this usually means 'Joyous New Year' in Tibetan, this year it also includes 'Happy Valentine's Night!!'
Most calendars associated with Tantric practices are lunar. That is, they measure time from one new moon to another, and years are composed of 13 new lunations. The relationship between lunar calendars and Tantra has to do with spiritual practices that are woven into women's fertility cycles, the energy of which is especially potent at New (tirsthi) and Full (purna) phases.
The Tibetan New Year (Losar) is celebrated on the 2nd New Moon after the Winter Solstice. This year it turns out that the Tibetan calendar starts on February 14, concurrent with Valentine's Day. This coincidence points to a quiet conjunction between the Neoplatonic idea of 'sacred union' or hierogamos, and the middle-Asian development of Tantra. There are two invitational Tantric events in Austin on that weekend, each drawing different sides of that conjunction:
- Charla Hathaway's Bodyjoy's Tantra Puja on February 13, is taking place at Galaxy Dance Studios.
- A four-day Vajrakila Sadhana, February 10-14, led by Lama Yeshe Wangmo, which will culminate in a Losar Feast Offering.
Puja and sadhana are both Sanskrit terms, broadly interchangeable -- but their meanings have been shaped by use in the West. Puja is more often associated with worship - July 6, for example is called 'Gurupuja' in India and is the day set aside for honoring your primary mentor. Puja in the West is the preferred term for rites that honor one's Tantric partner. In contrast there is Sadhana, which also has a ritual component but is an interior process, designed to change the very mechanisms of perception. Sadhana can be a daily or longer process - ritual sadhana such as the Vajrakila can go on for several days.
We have a rare opportunity to have both types of ritual in Austin for this "Valentine's Losar." Even if you are not able to attend Charla's puja or Wangmo's sadhana, there are things you can do to prepare for Valentantra's Day. Stay tuned...
In February: Austin Tantra Examiner interviews Charla Hathaway, founder of BodyJoy, author and certified Sexologist.
Mysti Easterwood, under the pen name Eleusis D, writes Tantra for Bobos! Creative Conversations on Art, Sex and Awakening.