1. Seven Chakras Beat Fifty Shades
The higher purpose of sex is to connect us with Spirit, a truth known by all practitioners of authentic tantra. The highest purpose of erotica may well be to describe the realms of Spirit experienced in sexual acts. This aim has been rarely fulfilled, given its esoteric nature. The most notable premodern work was the Hindu devotional poetry of the last centuries of the first millennium CE, before the Muslims invaded and purged it as immoral. The dawn of the modern age in Europe witnessed a magnificent renaissance of the theme in visual art, with nakedly sensual women, men, and angels portrayed in ecstatic worship of the heavenly glory. Literature lagged behind, producing only pornography in clandestine editions. It wasn’t until World War I cracked open the moral consensus (for better or worse) that a spiritually experienced author, D.H. Lawrence, artfully opened the gates of heaven and showed how the glory pours down through the bodies of men and women in the erotic embrace.
In the 1960s the potent alchemy of sex and psychedelics turned the deepest mystery of eros into an open secret, as legions of lovers discovered that you can climb the stairway to heaven via acts of passion. The main artistic expressions were in rock music and underground comix, until the revolutionary fervor settled down and the message got channeled into the more sedate but multifarious media of the New Age subculture. This and other relevant fields rapidly grew too large for a comprehensive survey with the advent of print-on-demand and ebook self-publishing. There may well be some soul-stirring examples of spiritual erotica out there, but for the nonce we’ll have to let them lie hidden amidst the innumerable microniches of the internet. However, if anyone knows of such pearls in the swine-fodder, feel free to pass them along.
In searching current erotic fiction for instances of exalted states, I read Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (Erika Mitchell), mostly because it happened to be popular and I felt an affinity for some of the themes as told in the reviews. I was wildly disappointed on most counts, perhaps because there’s no accounting for taste, or perhaps because the tale is really not up to snuff. Reviews by hardcore BDSM people agreed with my conclusion, on the grounds that in the realm of kinkery it was strictly an amateur work by a softcore wannabe. This thesis perfectly accounts for its popularity, since the mass of people in any genre (including real life) are softcore.
The conventional aspect of the sex in the book is hardcore, just because the two protagonists engage in explicitly described intercourse and related action. But the word itself has suffered a deflation; what was once grist for the black market and criminal prosecution can now be plucked with impunity from supermarket shelves by horny housewives and bored teens. And of course freely viewed on YouTube.
After 270 pages of tedious potboiler foreplay, Christian (Fifty Shades of) Grey finally gets all the way into Anastasia Steele (whose surname is a quick tipoff that she’s a flaming fake as a female submissive). The outcome for her is “an intense body-shattering orgasm”, of which her comment in the aftermath is simply “I survived”. A couple of chapters later they reach another climax (or perhaps climacteric) which this time promises to verge into the real glory, the kind of spiritual experience that can be generated by eros. Anastasia says: “I come gloriously… I dissolve in his embrace”. Dissolution is a key feature of spiritual ecstasy, but we need more evidence. Instead we just hear that “I’m mewling and whimpering as the aftershocks of my orgasm consume me.” There’s still a chance, though, as they pump into a second orgasm in the same round, in which: “I lose all sense of self.” Aha, now we’re getting somewhere! So tell us, Anastasia, what happened after you lost your sense of self? But she doesn’t ~ that’s the last word from her at this critical doorway to the highest realms of Spirit.
The theme gets another twist in a later orgasm: “I become all body and spiraling sensation and sweet, sweet release, and then completely and utterly mindless.” Becoming “all body” is a big clue that the promise will be broken and the sex will not transcend the physical vehicle. Becoming “utterly mindless” could get us there, but once again that’s the last word for Anastasia. Evidently there’s nothing in her body but self and mind, because when they blink out there’s nothing left to go to heaven.
But it’s an article of faith that every human being has a soul, for which Anastasia (and Erika) provide one last piece of evidence: “I touch the sun and burn… falling down, back to a breathless, bright summit on Earth. Wow, that was unexpected.” This qualifies as a brief first-stage spiritual experience, affirmed when she describes the aftermath as “coming down from my high”. Keeping this account in mind, let’s now turn to a fictional rendering of one of the most advanced stages of spiritual attainment in an erotic act. Such events are veritable übergasms.
From Ram Arising, Part III, chapters 2 &4:
[Prelude to the scene: Gavin and Jennifer have just met, and they’re about to get into his SUV.]
He gestured toward the passenger seat, but suddenly seemed to be taken aback. Something new flamed in his eyes. She didn’t recognize what it was until he looked her up and down, slowly and intently.
She felt abashed and ravished, naked and exposed; she felt as if a blush had gone down her entire body along the path of his glance. And for the first time in her life, she reflexively tried to cover herself from a man’s gaze. In the tangled uprush flooding her mind, one absurd thought rose to the surface: My God, how did I suddenly get so modest?
He was looking at her with endearment, with luscious invitation, but evidently he wanted her to take the first step, to come into his arms of her own accord. Of my own free will, she thought almost ruefully. She felt herself on the edge of a precipice: despite the intensity of her own desire, she had the power to say no, to step back, to decline. But in the pith of her marrow she knew with absolute certainty that once she had entered his embrace, there would be no turning back.
Gavin stood before Jennifer with open arms, barely a step away. She discovered in herself an unwavering will to take that step, and did. She felt it to be a footfall onto the far turf of a different world, and another absurd thought crossed her mind: One small step for a woman, one giant leap for womankind. And then she was in his arms.
He embraced her, and she felt like she was being enfolded by God or Leviathan, a man of steel with a delicate touch, an iron vise nicely padded with feather-down. Her own arms closed around him of their own accord, and traveled up and down his torso, worming their way under his shirt and gliding around to his chest. She tried to kiss his lips but he turned them away, so she sucked on his cheeks and neck and earlobes like a baby at the breast, drinking a mysterious substance that thrilled her like nectar or amaranth.
She felt his hands stroking her back like a harpsichord, each new touch eliciting distinct notes of delight. With his left hand he took hold of her hair at the nape of her neck and pulled her head back slightly, forcing her to look up into his eyes. With his right hand he grabbed hold of a mound of her left nether cheek, gripping it firmly through the thin designer denim. With both arms he held her tight against him; she felt seamlessly bound like a bug wrapped by a spider in its webbing, utterly helpless, at his mercy.
She felt a finger press turgidly upon the base of her spine, and now at last he brought his lips to hers. The first flickering kisses were exquisite, like a butterfly stroking her rose petals. Then his tongue penetrated her mouth like a plug into a socket, sending currents of ecstasy rippling into her and cascading down through her body. Her own tongue played with his, twining around and snuggling together, generating incredible pleasure.
She was so deeply in bliss that some barely-conscious part of her mind marveled that all this was merely a hug and a kiss ~ it was better than even the best acts of intercourse she had had in the past. And then something happened that was totally beyond anything she had ever experienced. A pulse radiated from the finger at the base of her spine, curled around her bottom, came up the front of her body, and reached her vagina, where a photon of bliss exploded, driving her wild. If she hadn’t been restrained in the adamant bonds of his body-lock, she would’ve reflexively flailed about and probably fallen over. She had barely recovered from the burst when the pulse moved on up her frontal axis, producing another convulsive charge at each chakra, with a flavor of energy according to its nature. It rose until it connected with his tongue in her mouth, expanded for a luscious moment to fill her head, then traveled down her spine, again triggering each energy-center like a firecracker. When it completed the circuit with his finger at her base chakra, Heaven and Earth erupted, time and space turned inside out, the Sun exploded, and she was gone.
A heartbeat later, incredibly, she was back ~ but she was no longer Jennifer. She was a radiant latticework of pure energy, encompassing the circuit of force which continued to pulse around and around from her north to her nether pole, a grand celestial orbit in the microcosm of her own body. The ineluctable pulse began to emit a white light which grew in brilliance until everything vanished in its glow. In this way the being that had once been Jennifer attained the ultimate illumination, becoming one with its own non-being. Now even the ecstasy paled and faded into a sphere of limitless magnitude, a consciousness with a Godlike indifference to all and everything. Then this, too, passed away, and nothing was left but a vestige of an echo of a lost chord that sounded something like OM.
Commentary: The attainment of supreme enlightenment by means of an Übergasm is the ultimate goal of tantra. In real life the few who attain it are usually couples who have been at it for years and have built up an exquisite harmony between themselves in their coital praxis. By contrast, Gavin is able to deliver the experience to Jennifer on short notice with merely a hug and a kiss because he is an Avatar, an incarnation of deity with all the psychic and spiritual überpowers possessed by such a being. He is also, of course, an alpha male, which enables him to utilize these powers sexually, unlike some past Avatars like Jesus and Buddha. Krishna, however, is an historical example of a fully fleshed-out alpha-erotic avatar, so there is a precedent for our fictional scenario.
The microcosmic orbit is a praxis that was developed by tantric masters after the discipline migrated into Taoism, where it was called by different names; the best generic term for it might be sex alchemy, for it overlapped heavily with the medieval art of alchemy that flourished across the whole Eurasian ecumene from Western Europe to China. All such esoteric arts died out in the West (at least publicly) with the triumph of Faust and his false “Enlightenment” of materialism, but they were all reimported back from the East when the modern age pottered along into postmodern times. One of the foremost gurus of sex alchemy was Mantak Chia, whose first book, Taoist Secrets of Love, circulated far beyond the New Age niche market and is now a neoclassic in the field. The core of the whole system is the microcosmic orbit, an elegantly Westernized term created by Chia’s coauthor Michael Winn. The above illustration traces its pathway in female anatomy. Again it usually takes years of patient application, which Gavin overrode in his instantaneous transmission of it to Jennifer.
Traditionally the major stages of enlightenment are attained with the sequential opening of each chakra, from the base of the spine (number one) to the crown of the head (number seven), often over a lifetime of praxis. Years are condensed into seconds for Jennifer, and when all seven are activated she reaps the cataclysm. Note that she does not merely touch the Sun, as in Anastasia’s piddling neophyte experience, but that the Sun explodes. This is a frequently-reported phenomenon in high-calibre übergasms; a variation is the blast of a hydrogen bomb, which in terms of physics is the same thing. In the wake of this climax Jennifer doesn’t come down like Anastsia ~ she keeps going up and on and out, like a rocket disappearing into the sky after blasting off. The concluding sentences are not just poetic language or metaphor, but a literal description of the ultimate stages of enlightenment, which actually go beyond even the crown chakra.
It compares well with the lucid account in The Man Who Became What Is, an easy-to-read rendering of the spiritual unfoldment of Franklin Merrell-Wolff. For instance, chapter 3 explains “why Nirvana seems like nothingness even though its ecstasy is the supremely desirable goal of human striving”. Further along we learn that when “Merrell-Wolff attained the ultimate illumination, he became the Absolute All-Encompassing Everything/Nothing beyond space, time, and causality”. The final chapter is titled The High Indifference, which concludes with a quote from the man himself: “On that Highest Peak I could know no more; the deeps of Darkness and manifold sheathes of Silence rolled over me, and self-consciousness was blown out. But over this I sensed the faintest shadow of a breath of consciousness from out of a still vaster BEYOND.”