Print this post Print this post

Taunton on Tantra:
A Guide for the Perplexed Westerner

548 words

Gwendolyn Taunton
Tantric Traditions: Gods, Rituals, & Esoteric Teachings in the Kali Yuga
Manticore Press, 2018

Mention “tantra” and almost any Westerner, no matter how sophisticated, thinks of weekend seminars on how to improve your sex life, with endorsements from the likes of Sting. In this book, Gwendolyn Taunton — a widely-published and well-regarded esoteric writer and publisher — brings real scholarship, and a hint of secret knowledge, to the task of rescuing Tantra from the misunderstandings and misappropriations of the West.

Since the modern Westerner values sex and rebellion above all, it’s not surprising that only the most superficial aspects of Tantra have been appropriated. Through a close study of the original texts, Taunton shows that Tantra, far from being antinomian and anti-Traditional, is actually firmly rooted in the very oldest strata of the Vedas; indeed, a chapter devoted to the study of the Hindu doctrine of cyclical time shows that the Tradition itself implies that the last Age, our own Kali Yuga, must develop its own methods of working with, rather than against, darkness, inertia, and materialism, precisely in order to preserve Order (dharma) and keep the path to liberation open.

For example, Tantra does not invalidate the caste system, but recognizes the mixing of castes and proposes its own fifth caste which combines the others; in this way, Tradition is honored while decadence is acknowledged and contained (rather than promoted or celebrated, as the Westerner does in his obsession with being “transgressive”). Taunton demonstrates throughout that Tantra’s transgressions are all committed from within Tradition and done so to preserve sacred Order.

The chapter on cyclical time alone is worth the price of admission; especially as it also includes a discussion of how the Traditionalists (Daniélou, Evola, and Guénon) have made it central to their own doctrines and thereby injected it into the wider Western consciousness. The most influential of these is Evola, and Taunton closely studies his adaptation of Tantra for the West, which is authentic yet idiosyncratic. Taunton also puts Evola’s relations with Fascism in perspective; like Tantra itself, Evola was simply using the available material to construct a bulwark for Order and Tradition in the degenerating modern world.

Other chapters deal with the various gods and goddesses associated with Tantra, showing how their multitudinous and contradictory forms are the sign of their reconciliation of mundane opposites into a higher unity.

Taunton also explicates lesser-known aspects of Tantra, such as the role of sacred places (“Topographical Religiosity”), and the very important and well-developed Hindu doctrines of sight and sound (“Lexicographical Gnoseology”), ritual elements to which the West has paid scant attention in its own traditions. In all cases, Taunton resolves their apparently wild and outré Tantric manifestations into well-grounded, conservatively-intended extensions (the meaning of the word Tantra) of the Vedic traditions.

The typically impatient Western reader who perseveres to the end will be rewarded with a chapter on Tantric spells and rituals for gaining power in the world of the Kali Yuga, complete with Appendices of mantras and alchemical correspondences; the material may be startling, but again, the discussion is sober and non-sensationalistic, with no more emphasis than given by the Tantric texts and traditions themselves.

I respectfully disagree with an earlier reviewer on Amazon: rather than being “not for non-specialists,” this book is just what they need!

One Comment

  1. Posted April 4, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Despite having been re-investigated by Traditionalist school and adopted among many currents within historical and contemporary Right, Tantra, when understood on a truly operative level, is still beyond the comfort zone of a typical Rightist. Especially so when one needs to internalize instructions that pertain to control of one’s passions, inclinations and prejudices, since after all, one must be able to leave behind hatred, aversion, opposition and other stimuli that belong to the “flux”.

    This might be difficult to reconcile with the position of conflict in which The Right is frequently found. So, careful investigation on a purely impersonal level is advised prior to any enthusiastic adoption of Tantra merely due to it being “prescribed’ by this or that Right wing figure. I see that author of this book also notes that such thinkers have known to occasionally make idiosyncratic portrayals, but truth be told, even such expositions of Tantric practices that belong to a more “New Age” angle, are indeed perfectly compatible with The Right on an exoteric plane, since I believe more pessimistically oriented Rightists, with a greater degree of resoluteness to remain detached from the paradigm of today, have better predispositions to utilize it in the way that does not betray the goal of such practices.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.
Comments are moderated. If you don't see your comment, please be patient. If approved, it will appear here soon. Do not post your comment a second time.
Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Our Titles

    White Identity Politics

    The World in Flames

    The White Nationalist Manifesto

    From Plato to Postmodernism

    The Gizmo

    Return of the Son of Trevor Lynch's CENSORED Guide to the Movies

    Toward a New Nationalism

    The Smut Book

    The Alternative Right

    My Nationalist Pony

    Dark Right: Batman Viewed From the Right

    The Philatelist

    Novel Folklore

    Confessions of an Anti-Feminist

    East and West

    Though We Be Dead, Yet Our Day Will Come

    White Like You

    The Homo and the Negro, Second Edition

    Numinous Machines

    Venus and Her Thugs


    North American New Right, vol. 2

    You Asked For It

    More Artists of the Right

    Extremists: Studies in Metapolitics


    The Importance of James Bond

    In Defense of Prejudice

    Confessions of a Reluctant Hater (2nd ed.)

    The Hypocrisies of Heaven

    Waking Up from the American Dream

    Green Nazis in Space!

    Truth, Justice, and a Nice White Country

    Heidegger in Chicago

    The End of an Era

    Sexual Utopia in Power

    What is a Rune? & Other Essays

    Son of Trevor Lynch's White Nationalist Guide to the Movies

    The Lightning & the Sun

    The Eldritch Evola

    Western Civilization Bites Back

    New Right vs. Old Right

    Lost Violent Souls

    Journey Late at Night: Poems and Translations

    The Non-Hindu Indians & Indian Unity

    Baader Meinhof ceramic pistol, Charles Kraaft 2013

    Jonathan Bowden as Dirty Harry

    The Lost Philosopher, Second Expanded Edition

    Trevor Lynch's A White Nationalist Guide to the Movies

    And Time Rolls On

    The Homo & the Negro

    Artists of the Right

    North American New Right, Vol. 1

    Some Thoughts on Hitler

    Tikkun Olam and Other Poems

    Under the Nihil

    Summoning the Gods

    Hold Back This Day

    The Columbine Pilgrim

    Confessions of a Reluctant Hater

    Taking Our Own Side

    Toward the White Republic

    Distributed Titles


    The Node

    The New Austerities

    Morning Crafts

    The Passing of a Profit & Other Forgotten Stories

    Gold in the Furnace