When I suggested, months ago, the idea of writing something about Tantra, not only was I surprised with a warm and encouraging invitation to do so, I then freaked out at the thought of relating it to the Mikveh and having something to say about either or both. It suddenly became daunting…felt too large a subject for me to tackle. I answered “great!” and shied away into the corner, wondering how I would get out of this one.
But weeks into the lockdown, having had plenty of time to meditate, speak with G-d, do my own cleansing and healing work intensively, I wake up today with a refreshed sense of honesty and optimism, and a deep longing to share my experience. It makes sense to be writing these words now.
I realize now how intimately related the Mikveh and the Tantric experience are- intended to bring us closer to our wellbeing, our innate capacity for joy and bliss. I see strong connections which are geared towards feminine spiritual empowerment and healing. Here’s my take on what they have in common, from where I can see them.
There are many ways to describe Tantra. In a nutshell it can be said that Tantric healing is the alignment between our physical, energetic, and rational self through deep introspection and work with our bodies, to heighten our consciousness.
One of the basic principles of Tantra is that when something in our system is out of balance it influences everything. Healing one part has an effect on all parts. This doesn’t just go for the body and the individual, it goes for life. When one individual heals, the individuals around him/her are influenced by it as well.
Tantric practices include yoga, meditation, and healing therapy. Sexual energy is explored in Tantra as a means to awaken, to rise up, to celebrate, and while there is much to be said about it, good sex is not the goal of Tantra (although it is certainly not frowned upon!).
What I know of Tantra I did not learn in the books. I have received it from a teacher, and it is as personal and unique to me as I believe any profoundly transformative experience is. And so I cannot speak of Tantra from an academic or literate place, I can only tell you what I have learned from my own experience. What I know from the Mikveh, I heard from stories, from my mother, from movies, from a secular and very secluded standpoint, far away from the practice itself.
You, dear reader, probably know more about the Mikveh than I do. I can tell you however, what it responds to from a Tantric perspective, and I would not be surprised if it resonates. Tantric work involves the natural elements and what is commonly known in numerous Eastern practices as the chakras.
Chakra, stemming from the word “wheel” in Sanskrit, is an energetic center in the body that responds to a specific aspect of our life experience, and our need to develop and flourish within it. There are seven main chakras, all located along the spine. Each chakra is symbolized through a different natural element, color, and shape.
In essence, the Mivkeh’s sacred ritual corresponds to the healing work of the second chakra – commonly named the Sacral chakra or Svadhisthana in Sanskrit. This chakra is located at the lower belly, in the pelvic region, and it is the center of our creative power, our sexual and vital desire, our enjoyment. Its element is water, and its gender is feminine.
Entering the water to cleanse ourselves and prepare to make love with our partner is in fact a deeply Tantric practice in that we become one with nature, we connect with our femininity and our Sacral chakra through the fluidity of the water, and we elevate our consciousness prior to connecting with the other.
Prayer and meditation, as I see them, are two avenues to the same place – our reunion with G-d. Water is the manifestation of our fluidity, our emotional richness which we need to give free reign to, and the means by which we build up and attain sexual pleasure, as women. In our encounter with water (feminine energy) we align ourselves energetically and physically to give, and prepare ourselves to meet the fire (masculine energy) and receive.
The cleansing ritual, more than a means to an end, is an opportunity for introspection, insight, and joy. From this point of view, the Mikveh can be seen as a profound celebration of life, of the desire and passion to exist, connect and share, and more importantly as a profound healing ceremony of acceptance and self-love.
We as women, forget to be compassionate towards our miraculous body. I see how in every single faction of society we struggle with our lust or lack thereof, our image, our physicality, our sexuality, and the emotions that stem from it all…we fill ourselves with shame, guilt, and often unprocessed, repressed, and neglected pain.
How do you experience your time in the Mikveh? What does the physical cleansing ceremony bring out in you? Do you have any means of emotional cleansing as well? Have you taken a moment to celebrate yourself – in the Mikveh and outside of it?
I wish us all the opportunity to connect with our body and our desire from a place of light. The Mikveh is a unique gift for women to do so in preparation for a sacred act, but also as a sacred act in and of itself. I wish us all to heal and experience joy in this journey of self-exploration and growth. This is what Tantra is about. It is also what I have been taught being Jewish. It’s what I believe we have to offer from a place of love; in this case a sacred feminine perspective that we sometimes neglect to honor, and that the world has a great need for today.
It’s all about the joy!
Ella Fuksbrauner was born in Israel, grew up in Colombia, and lived in France where she obtained her BA in Performing Arts. After many years working in the arts and upon her return to Israel, she completed an MA in Conflict Resolution and began working in development and peacebuilding.
Since her return to Israel, Ella has undergone an intense healing journey which led her to the discovery and practice of Tantra. She now works as a Tantric therapist, and in environmental development and peacebuilding as well.
Ella can be reached at email@example.com or 0502504829