Tantric Healing with Dawn Cartwright
An interview with the spiritual healer
I first met Dawn Cartwright a few years ago when I was seeking out some intense healing. I instantly felt so drawn to her feminine, gentle, elegant, energy. Dawn is so incredibly knowledgable and wise on various modalities and teachings. She has studied at University Davies and many institutions in India. She is known for her work in the Tantric field but she is also a healer, writer, teacher and more.
Tantra was a spiritual movement originating in northern India in the 9th and 12th centuries. Here in the West Tantra is associated with sex, but that is just one small aspect of the wisdom of Tantra. Tantra is about taking that spark we feel in sex and channeling it into all areas of our lives. For a very thorough explanation of Tantra on Dawn’s site look here.
Recently Dawn came over and did a lovely rose blessing with me. We activated my jade egg, set intentions and talked about why hugging should be mandatory in our lives. The rose ceremony was a meditation while being bathed in the energy and power of my ally flower the Rose. It was a way to connect to my medicine which resides in this magical flower.
Dawn completely blew me away with her examination on why we are getting sick as a society, and how it relates to being so isolated. Dawn said “we need to be touched, it’s our DNA to be tribal creatures. At one time we all used to live and die in the embrace of the family hug. We lived and breathed as one, we were intertwined. Hugging and touching teaches us, nourishes us, it opens us to the galaxies. It’s how we radiate and feel the familial connection to the constellations. Now we are separated, segregated and we are starved and we are losing our sixth sense. Technology gives us a fake version of the sixth sense where we think we are connected but we aren’t. That visceral and sensual loving we need so we can feel healthy is not around. This is why inflammation is so high. It’s not always our diet that is to blame, but because we are deficient in oxytocin. We aren’t breathing together and seeing babies born like we used to in tribes. We have such a fear of death because we aren’t seeing death. If we are living and dying in a community we wont be so sacred to live and die. We are completely deficient in oxytocin and then the other neurotransmitters don’t work and our hormones begin to fail. Sex then becomes the end all and it puts a lot of pressure on us. If we are hugging and touching then sex is just an extension of that. The absence of oxytocin puts us in constant fight or flight so we can’t connect at all.”
Below is an interview with Dawn and an intro to Tantric meditation form her.
1) What makes your heart sing?
My heart sings when I’m with people who know the sweetness of the space between thoughts and live there. I call this the language we all know yet have forgotten how to speak. All of existence is having this conversation. I love meeting and spending time with people who are fully engaged with this silent conversation we’re all having all the time.
2) What does connecting to tantric energy mean to a novice?
Connecting to Tantric energy means to enter into a very present, awaken relationship with the the fire and intensity that exists for each of us in the center of desire. This connection invites us to fully embrace and inhabit the love that is waiting to awaken inside us. Breath is central to this activation, our bodies are animated through an intricate interface with all of the elements, including earth, air, fire and water.
3) Do you have a goddess you identify with?
My Ishta Devi, the goddess of my heart, is Sri Sri Sri Rajarajeswari. She is the dynamic Absolute, the wide array of beauty expressed, in eternal sexual union with her beloved, Sadha Shiva, the Shiva who is eternally present. All of existence emerges from their love. Rajarajeswari is the central deity of the Sri Vidya Tantric path.
4) What is an easy practice one can do to begin on the tantric path?
One of the most profound Tantric teachings and a perfect place to begin is to . . . see everything for the first time, every time. When we open ourselves to seeing and experiencing everything for the first time, we step immediately into a realm of intimacy that is beyond space and time. We begin to see for ourselves that love and truly nourishing connection are abundant in every moment, no matter where we are or who we’re with. Think about the last time you spent time with someone you love, did you give yourself time, without distractions, to truly be with them? To see and feel who they are today, not who you’ve known them to be everyday leading up to this? Our spirit is nourished when we are willing to be intimate in every encounter, even when the one we encounter is ourself. Our hearts open when we do, and our sensual energy flows. Suddenly, we realize all of life is an exquisite lovemaking constantly flowing through our being.
5) Do you have a beauty secret or tip?
I do! Adbhuta . . . wonder and amazement. Adbhtam is one of the nine primary rasas, or moods, within Indian culture . . .
• Śṛngāram (शृङ्गारं) Love & Attractiveness.
• Hāsyam (हास्यं) Laughter, Mirth & Comedy.
• Raudram (रौद्रं) Fury.
• Kāruṇyam (कारुण्यं) Compassion & Tragedy.
• Bībhatsam (बीभत्सं) Disgust & Aversion.
• Bhayānakam (भयानकं) Horror & Terror.
• Vīram (वीरं) Heroic.
• Adbhutam (अद्भुतं) Wonder & Amazement.
When we live in a state of Adbhtuam, our eyes sparkle, we glow with an inner radiance. Rather than experience life from a fixed or expectant place, we are in a state of wonder and amazement, no matter what appears. Stress is reduced, a sense of curiosity and openness exudes. We feel we are a part of the creativity we see in nature. (Wonder and amazement is often how we feel in nature.) This rasa is my best kept beauty secret of all.
6) It seems we are all awakening to these ancient teachings, do you see a shift in consciousness right now?
I’ve never seen anything quite like the state of consciousness that is present in the world today. We are, at long last, listening to the wisdom of the body – living from a place of inner sovereignty. A collective self-confidence is emerging and the world is changing rapidly in its wake. Listen and you’ll hear it, even our world leaders speak of love and the importance of the heart. A complete shift from the power dynamics of the past. It’s a very exciting time to be alive.
7) In your practice do you see as many men as women?
I do. The workshops and classes are very evenly balanced, men and women, couples and singles, all ages. Lots of diversity and one common thread, a thirst for depth and intimacy – a curiosity for what is possible for us a men, women and lovers.
8) Are you a mermaid or forest fairy?
I’m a forest fairy. I spend a great deal of time each year in Ireland, land of forest fairies. I’m happiest when I’m deep in the forest, sitting quietly, letting myself be drawn into that mystical place only fairies know.
9) Tell us of your future ventures?
I’ve just begun offering my women’s Red Tent events again. I love the sacred sensual vibe we women seem to find so easily with one another. I’m developing a Tantric Aging Secrets program too and writing 3 books. Also traveling to India once each year to deepen my classical Tantra training – and diving deeper than ever into teaching my yearly Tantra Teacher Certification Program. My dream is to create a Tantric spa resort.
10) What are some benefits of opening our tantra energy?
I feel that opening to our sexual energy in a way that encompasses every aspect of who we are grounds us, makes us more human, more accessible, brighter and more connected. Tantra teaches us that our sexual energy is a part of nature, that we are alive, vibrant expressions of the divine. When we learn ways of being in dynamic relationship with our sexual energy we are empowered and powerful, there is an organic attunement to everyone and everything around us. We feel safe, loved and loving. We are free and we are united. Sexual energy contains within it the seeds of compassion, a revolutionary way to experience our sexual selves. Our relationships go deeper. Our bodies become stronger. We experience the beauty and fulfilment that is possible through sexual maturity. We live the fullest capacity of our lives in a real and grounded way.
It appears at the edge of sleep. In moments of intense feeling. In the breathless space when you let go. It is the life hidden in this one; a secret life of astonishing beauty that also experiences us. And responds. A love affair of cosmic proportions.
The Tantric path, complex and varied, opens the space for the experience of this hidden life in everything we do. According to scholar, Robert Brown, “The idealogical aspect of the Tantric vision is the cosmos as permeated by power, a vision wherein energy is both cosmic and human and where microcosm and macrocosm correspond and interact.” It’s an approach, an attitude that encompasses beautiful, joyful and delightful guidance and steps to tap into a joyful field of experience within all aspects of your life.
HOW TO TANTRA – THE PRACTICE
1. Begin right now, where ever you may be. While there are many Tantric meditations and practices that require you to sit silently in a quiet place, Tantra, in its essence, is about engaging with life just as it is. Therefore, you, as you are, wherever you are, is already the perfect place to be.
2. Even 3-10 seconds works. While it’s helpful to have an hour or more to dedicate to your practice, finding time can be the biggest stumbling block to starting. Daniel Odier, Ph.D., a renowned Tantric Master, encourages his students to engage in short, 3-15 second, practice sessions to get over the time hurdle. Some find these “micro-practice” sessions done frequently are even more effective than one long session.
3. Scan your body. Give yourself a few minutes to mentally scan your body and notice how you feel. Where do you feel relaxed? Where do you feel tension? Take your time. Meet your body and how it feels with acceptance and compassion, every sensation is a jumping off point for exploring the life hidden in this life – no exceptions.
4. Choose one sensation and focus. While scanning your body, you probably noticed a sensation that was interesting to you in some way. Focus your attention there. Get closer, feel more. Imagine climbing inside the sensation to get even closer.
5. Go deeper. You may be holding tension you weren’t even aware of – allow yourself to relax. Steadily soften the muscles around the sensation, until your whole body is relaxed.
6. Notice. What do you notice about the sensation now that tension has been released? How does your body feel? How do you feel in general? Scan your body again. What do you notice?
7. Start again. The Tantric practice is often a spiral of concentric circles, plunging deeper and deeper as more and more is revealed. Now that you are more in contact with the sensation that first captured your attention – get even closer. What happens when you feel within the feeling now? When you release deeper layers of tension in your body and mind?
8. Deeply receive. When you feel complete, take a few minutes to absorb what you have discovered in your practice. Let go, sink into your body and the support underneath you. Savor the life hidden in this one.