Neo-tantra or Modern Western Tantra

The expression Neo-tantra was coined by Georg Feuerstein.


Here are some quotes from his book Tantra-The Path of Ecstasy:

”With the arrival of Tantra in the Western hemisphere, this ancient tradition is experiencing new challenges..

Many are attracted to Neo-Tantra because it promises sexual excitement or fulfillment while clothing purely genital impulses or neurotic emotional needs in an aura of spirituality.

Yet the real substance of’ the Tantric teachings is as hidden as ever and is disclosed only to those who have received proper initiation from a qualified guru.

This is why genuine adepts continue to be vitally important on the spiritual path. Without initiation and oral transmission the teachings will not come alive.

Today, translations of several major Tantras are readily available in book form. This gives would-be Tantrics the opportunity to concoct their own idiosyncratic ceremonies and philosophies, which they can then promote as Tantra ..

The most common distortion is to present Tantra Yoga as ritualised or sacred sex…

Neo-Tantra is based on a profound misunderstanding of the Tantric path.

Their main error is to confuse Tantric bliss (ananda) with … orgasmic pleasure…

These (neo-tantric publications) may conceivably be helpful to people looking for a more fulfilling or entertaining sex life, but they are in most cases far removed from the true spirit of Tantra….

One well-known Tibetan lama once jokingly referred to them as ‘California Tantra’.”


‘ Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses’  by David Frawley

is another excellent book for those who are interested in deepening their understanding of this subject.  The author describes the misconceptions surrounding modern tantra and  clearly defines the different tantric paths,  left handed and right handed tantra, and the different levels of tantric teaching.


Lately, Tantra and Tantric Massage have become buzz words.

If you search on the internet you will find countless photos of lovely semi-naked masseuses, calling themselves ‘goddesses’ and promising all kinds of heavenly pleasures. As with many teachings from the east, the western world has been very creative in its understanding and practical interpretation of Tantra.

New Age tantra or neo-tantra, has blended the ancient teachings and wisdom of the east, with a mixture of pop-spirituality, bodywork and western psychology.

This is largely a result of the sexual revolution of the sixties, the human potential movement which followed, and  the  teachings of an Indian guru called Rajneesh, who later changed his name to Osho. He became popular in the West, stressing how religion had made people feel guilty about sex and introducing the concept of ‘sacred sexuality’

Workshops on releasing sexual inhibitions, different massage, yoga and bodywork techniques, communication and transpersonal psychology became popular and even fashionable.

When translated into our day to day experience, it has all come to be understood as a way of living more consciously, with more harmony and love in our life.

We have a sense of inner fulfilment, our soul is nourished – we become more open hearted, spontaneous, inwardly peaceful and content and more able to nourish and empower others as well as ourself and to relate in a more honest, intimate and authentic way.

We learn to to let go, to just be, to allow the masculine and feminine energies within us to harmonise.

As we become more relaxed and open, in body, mind and spirit, we experience heightened and more fulfilling love and ecstasy within – we deepen our capacity for intimacy and our ability to identify and merge with the other in the transcendent experience of blissful oneness.

Neo-tantra has also evolved over the years and various courses have been created, to include concepts of sexual therapy and sexological bodywork.

For a better  understanding of Tantric Massage as it is offered nowadays, please see my blog article on the Origin of Tantric Massage.