Holy Sh*t, Sacred Irreverence, and Artistic Tantrikas


Maxine Kumin wrote an ode to excrement. She was not being cute. This farmer-poet is among many artists who challenge conventional notions of what is beautiful, superior, and sacred.

Tag or perceive something as “sacred” and its apparent opposite as profane, and you risk forming an unchecked, dualistic prejudice. In the history of Yoga, Tantrikas have flipped notions of what’s sacred on their proverbial heads. I have written elsewhere [http://yogamodern.com/categories/writing/hatha-yogis-in-the-counter-current-by-jeff-davis-2/] of how classical Yoga maintains that the body is an “ill-smelling… conglomerate of bone, skin, sinew, muscle, marrow, flesh, semen, blood.” So-called “left-handed” Tantrikas have developed practices that involve physical intercourse and eating meat, challenges to purist notions that demarcate the sacred from the profane. Historically, several Tantrikas and Hatha Yogis also allowed women and people of varied classes to become practitioners, a challenge to Brahmin notions of who is and who is not a candidate for sacredness.

Some Western poets and painters, especially but not only during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, are artistic Tantrikas.

In response to YogaModern.com’s December call to write about “the sacred,” I take up this topic in more detail. Drop in, and leave some comments. Click here to join in.

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See you in the woods,


Where’s Jeffrey?
Fiction Editor, Tiferet Journal: A Journal of Spiritual Literature

Tracking Wonder Blog at PsychologyToday
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Get Out of the Way Blog at Tiferet Journal

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