The Alchemy of Sacred Relating

I have been in a crucible of transformation which began May 7th with me co-facilitating the, Level One Spiritual Sexual Shamanic Practitioner Training, with Baba Dez Nichols. Learn more about it at: . This training is the foundational work required to bring you into a place a presence and internal ease so you can begin holding space for others in their healing process. This was my forth time of being exposed to this work and it was anchored within me in a whole new way. I am now in day 4 of the Level Two SSSPT which a process of totally integrating and coming into inner harmony no matter what things look or feel like. Very powerful work. Level 2 includes 3 powerful initiations- 1) spiritual, 2) shamanic and 3) sexual. Tonight will will be exploring Sacred Union, which begins within our own being first. The Universe, being very generous, placed this article in my inbox this morning. I hope you enjoy it as much as I am. It can be found at .

The Alchemy of Relationship by Tom Kenyon

This article was taken from the Magdalen Manuscript (ORB Communications).

Many of us do relationships the way we play poker. We do everything possible to get the upper hand. And if that fails, we bluff. We pretend to hold cards we don’t have. We cheat. We lie.

And while this is the model for many a relationship in our post modern era, it is not the model for Sacred Relationship as described in the Manuscript.

Let me be very up front here. Sacred Relationship is not for everyone. In fact, I suspect that there are far fewer persons capable or even willing to undertake it than there are those who prefer to play emotional card games.

This type of relationship demands utmost honesty both with oneself and with one’s partner. Instead of hiding our cards, we lay them all out on the table. All our hopes, all our fears, all our petty and jealous thoughts, all our conniving: all of it gets laid out in the clear light of awareness for our partner to see. And he or she must do the same. It will not work if there are back doors unlocked with mental escape in mind. It will not work if both partners are not absolutely impeccably honest with each other. And the reason for this radical type of honesty is that without it, the Alchemy of Relationship cannot take place. Now this may be a new term to many, even students of internal alchemy, since the dynamics of intimate relationship are rarely discussed in the four major alchemical streams (Egyptian, Taoist, Yoga Tantra and Buddhist Tantra).

So I think it might be good to define what I mean here, and to lay some type of foundation. Like all types of alchemy, this type of work is about changing one form into another. The form, in this case, is the inter-dynamics that have become habituated between two people. After a while, people tend to get into ruts. The liveliness that existed at the beginning of the relationship begins to fade. Both people become more or less unconscious. The harsh reality is that it takes continual vigilance and effort to keep a relationship conscious and alive.

Many relationships drop by the wayside because the partners are either unwilling or unable to make the efforts required to sustain them. Instead of experiencing the newness of each moment within the relationship, a kind of dullness seeps in over time; what used to be exciting is now boring. And worse, a kind of psychological and emotional lethargy sets in, and both partners succumb to the dulling effects of unconsciousness.

This type of unconsciousness is a death knell to psychological awareness and insight; and although it is rarely mentioned, this type of unconsciousness has a negative effect on one’s spiritual life as well. So the form that needs to be changed within a relationship is literally the form of interactions that habitually take place between the two partners.
Like all types of alchemy, there must be a container for the reactions to occur. And in this case, it is the container of safety and appreciation that provides the reservoir for transformation. If there is a lack of safety or appreciation, this type of alchemy cannot be undertaken. And if you have decided you wish to try this type of alchemy in your relationship, I suggest you do an analysis first. Honestly assess if you feel safety and appreciation in your relationship. If you don’t, you will be wasting your time trying to undertake this type of alchemy with your current partner. I suggest you focus your efforts, instead, on the solitary practices mentioned in the Manuscript. If you still want to give it a try, get your partner to talk about these feelings of danger and lack of appreciation that you are feeling. Only if and when they get resolved, should you consider taking on this type of alchemy.

So now we have two of the three elements needed for alchemy: something to be transformed (the habitual patterns of interaction) and the container (the safety net, if you will, of the relationship itself). A third element is needed; and that is, of course, energy to drive the reaction. There is usually plenty of energy in relationships in the form of neurotic patterns, hopes, fears, and desires. We’ll get to those in a moment, but for now I want to talk about steel.

Our psychological selves are much like swords made from steel alloys. They have been forged in the hot searing foundry of our childhood, in the formative pressures of our early experiences. It is this early period of life that bonds the elements of our psyches together. And like steel, this was done under immense heat and pressure. Some of us were abused by overbearing or downright hostile or even destructive parents. Some of us were left to our own devices without any kind of support or guidance. And every kind of parental/child relationship falls in between these two polarities. The possibilities of childhood pressures are virtually endless, and so too are the psychological alloys that result from these types of experiences.

There is a lot of talk about the child within in many personal growth groups, and while there is certainly value in making contact with this younger self, it is not always pretty. Our cultural myth is that childhood is a time of innocence, a time in which everything is right with the world. For some children this is true; for many it is definitely not.

I remember being at a fellow therapist’s house for a party quite a few years ago. Most of the adults were practicing therapists, psychologists or psychiatrists. I had plopped myself in a big oversized sofa, and, sipping my Pepsi, I noticed a remarkable event. One of the therapists had brought his son and his son’s best friend to the party. It was clear that the two boys were buds. They were playing some kind of card game and respectfully giving each other a turn. There were no attempts at cheating, and they seemed to be in a bubble of camaraderie.

Then the boy’s father came into the room and asked both kids if they needed anything. They both looked up with cherub faces and smiled. No they said, in the cutest little boy voices. The father patted his son on the back, and as he walked off, he nonchalantly patted his son’s friend on the back as well. For a moment, his son looked at the incident in abject horror. You could see that he could not believe his eyes. And then as his father turned the corner into the other room, his son pulled back and hit his best friend in the face! This was not childhood innocence. This was childhood rage. He was not willing to share affections from his father, not even with his best friend. This type of jealousy is typical of higher mammals, and we are, for all our self-righteous self-congratulatory delusions, still mammals. No matter how high we get spiritually, we will, for as long as we live, share traits with our mammalian brothers and sisters.

The inner life of a child is often far different than those around him or her imagine it to be. Surrounded by both dangers and opportunities, the psychological life of a child is directly shaped by how he or she chooses to deal with them. Whether it is something as life threatening as a deranged parent or a child molester, or seemingly innocuous as whom to go to the prom with, does not in some ways matter. While the impact of fighting for one’s life may very well imprint a child’s behavior well into adulthood, the little decisions of life, like who to socialize with or not, also have impact. All these major and minor decisions create internal psychological heat and pressure. The alloys of one’s personality get bonded together or burned away. The sword has been tempered by the time we reach adulthood, and the alloy of our personalities has been set. Some of us emerge from this childhood foundry with rock hard edges; others of us are blunt. Some of us hold our edges, and some of us can never seem to hold anything.

The thing about steel is that it tends to remain in its original form once it leaves the foundry. And one of the few things that can ever re-configure the alloy is if the steel gets as hot as it did when it was first formed. In the alchemical work of Sacred Relationship, we voluntarily put ourselves back in the foundry. The heat that arises between two people when their neuroses rub against each other can get quite intense. If both people can find the courage to be radically honest with themselves and with each other in these searing moments, the psychological alloys can be altered. A new type of aliveness then enters the relationship fueled by the energy of psychological truth.

The thing is–most of us will do almost anything to avoid psychological heat. When we get uncomfortable, many of us get the hell out of Dodge. Now for some of us this means literally packing up and getting out of town, or at least out of sight. For some of us it means that we are physically present, but no longer emotionally present. We numb up. We become automatons. We move and talk, almost like normal, but we have retreated far, far inside. Others of us numb ourselves with alcohol or drugs. And some of us do it with television. We humans are, after all, quite clever and creative. We can find all sorts of ways to avoid facing ourselves. In fact, they are far too numerous for me to list here. But I suspect you get the idea. I guess the real question here is this–what do you do when things get psychologically too hot for your taste? What do you do when you are on the verge of feeling something that you don’t want to feel?
For those in Sacred Relationship such feelings are a call to presence. It is a time to be radically honest, and for both partners to express their true feelings no matter how embarrassing or scary they might be. By speaking their truths to each other, an enlivening element enters the dynamic. Psychological honesty results in psychological insight. And with insight there is hope for awareness, and with awareness there can be change. This chapter is hardly a manual for the Alchemy of Relationship. It’s mainly, I think, a warning. Magdalen alluded to this in the Manuscript. She called it obscurations to flight. That sounds wonderfully exotic doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t very exotic when the obscuration is clearly in your face. And it isn’t very exotic feeling when the foundry of the relationship gets so hot that you feel you are dissolving (psychologically that is). It takes courage and fortitude to stay in the foundry when the heat begins to weaken the stability of one’s self-perceived image. Few of us care to look foolish, scared, petty or jealous. And we will often go through elaborate means to hide these feelings from ourselves or others.

But in Sacred Relationship these things invariably float to the surface like mud that has been stirred up from the bottom of a barrel. The thing is to realize that this does not mean you are doing it (Sacred Relationship) wrong; it means that you are probably doing it right. As Magdalen said in the Manuscript, the power of the alchemy extrudes, or pushes out, the dross. This can be fascinating when the dross is being pushed out of your partner, but it is truly horrific when it extrudes out of you.

What makes Sacred Relationship sacred is that it is truly a holy way of being. The root of the word holy actually means to make whole. So… when we do something that creates wholeness (in this case psychological wholeness), we are engaged in a sacred or holy act.

In the crucible of mutual safety, honesty and appreciation, it is possible to forge a new kind of self. This new self is psychologically more honest, more aware and freer than its counterpart before entering the foundry of relationship. And like the phoenix that arises from its own ashes, this self has wings. It can fly places that it could only imagine before.

There are mysteries here, and treasures that await those who have the courage to enter the depths of themselves and their partners. It is not, as I said, for everyone. You will probably know if you are a likely candidate because you will feel it in your soul, your heart.

If you enter this path, know that there are no manuals. There is precious little guidance out there. The path to spirituality has traditionally been one of solitude. And while times of solitude may be necessary for those in Sacred Relationship, something has turned. They agree to walk the path to godhood together, side by side, through both heaven and hell, through the brilliant summits where all things are suddenly crystal clear, and through the dark valley of psychological death where it is hard to even see one’s foot in front of the other. And yet through the darkness of not knowing, a deep primordial force begins to rise up. It requires an unusual type of holy trinity – three things for it to do its most holy task- mutual safety, psychological honesty and appreciation of the Beloved.
Have a good journey!

© 2012 Tom Kenyon. All rights reserved.
You may make copies of this message and distribute it in any media as long as you change nothing, do not charge for it, credit the author, and include this complete copyright notice and web address.

Tantra – A Spiritual Path for Planetary Awakening

I recently discovered this article on my friend Jivana’s website and it is reprinted with her permission. This article does a wonderful job of explaiing that tantra is about much more than sex, it is about the transformation of global consciousness. I hope you enjoy it! I would love to hear your comments.


If you’re like many people I know, the word Tantra conjures images of generously endowed gods and goddesses in lusty cement poses, circling ancient temples in the Far East. At a glance, it may generate thoughts of a hedonistic culture that fell to it’s demise through over indulgence in the physical senses. When you hear it in a modern context does it cause discomfort for reasons not fully understood by the conscious mind?

Please allow me to attempt to demystify the ancient spiritual path of tantra, and try to reveal how it may relate to a great healing of our planet and Her people. I use the pronoun ‘Her’ because in Her fertility and Her ability to recreate life, the earth may be seen as a ‘she’….and in that sense she requires the male principle to spark and protect her generativity so that she may continue her cycles of replenishment. The yin and the yang that make up the whole. No higher or lower is implied here. Both are vital to the creation of balance and wholeness.

The ultimate goal or essential experience of the ancient tantrika was union with God. Oneness with all life. Sometimes called nirvana, or samadhi, or enlightenment. The ancient tantrikas had awakened to the reality that in the depths of sexual union, partners became gods and goddesses, illuminated by the uninhibited flow of source energy. Thus the union of the lovers became an energetic prayer that blessed the relationship, the family, the community and the world. These ancients were a matriarchal culture honoring the abundant capacity of the feminine principle to open, energize and shine light, beauty, and replenishment upon all within her energyfield. They understood that all sentient beings emerge from the union of male and female and to honor this aspect of life was to bring honor to the forces of nature, and nurture their divinity.

But to think that tantra was all about sex is akin to thinking the tail is the elephant. The tantric path was about bringing awareness and balance to every aspect of life. And thus the use of meditation to quiet the mind, bring attention into the body and into the present moment was one of the vital disciplines of the tantric initiate. They saw themselves as a part of a much greater interconnected whole and dedicated their union responsibly to the balance and upliftment of the whole. Does that make you wonder what kind of world we might be living in now if that path had flourished? It does me.

Emerging out of the awareness of the physical empowerment and spiritual enlightenment that became available in the union of two, came the path of yoga, which also means union with the divine, and seeks to harness the power of source energy through awareness of breath, postures and disciplines, and create a meditative awareness in the yogi and yogini. Tantra yoga is the aspect of yoga and one of a very few spiritual paths on our planet that uses the most vital force of nature to create more consciousness of the god that dwells within and animates physical form.

Well then, where did we go wrong? I suppose if we look at our current planetary predicament from a place of non-duality then everything is at this moment, perfect as it is. All is just grist for the evolutionary mill. But a quick look at some of the historical elements (and forgive me here… I am a very simple historian), may evoke a spark of a ha..

The postulation that Christ and Magdalene were adepts in the Egyptian mystery schools, married and tantric lovers is not the exclusive idea of Dan Brown in the Da Vinci Code. Many contemporary religious and secular writers believe this, and I have heard it said that Christ evoked the power of their sacred union to endure the crucifixion. Then as the Christian religions were forming, and men were exerting their dominance and control, Magdalene became a whore and sex became a sin, except in situations deemed virtuous by the all powerful patriarchal church. And humanity as a whole, began to fear and mistrust its own basic nature. I ask you, what might the world look like if Christ were not the celibate son of a virgin mother, and Magdalene was not cast as a prostitute? The implication that sex is bad is buried deep in our collective psyche.. The contemporary theologian Matthew Fox calls the church’s attitude towards sex the mortal sin of religion. And the Indian Tantric master Osho claimed that sex was the elemental pathway to the flowering of love and consciousness.To repress a society is to be able to control it, and limits growth, awareness and spiritual development.

In my practice for the past 16 years I see daily the fallout of this. People starving for touch and intimacy, who are as though traversing a foreign territory. We have all the tools to dangerously overpopulate the earth, but have we yet harnessed the love to sustain it?

We need to reclaim and honor the wholesomeness of our natural humanity, forgive each other for our past blindness, and emerge a victorious people moving purposefully into a new age of love, peace, sensuality and enlightenment. This then frees us to replenish our beautiful planet with our love, and the ecstatic recognition of our intrinsic and eternal Oneness..

Tantra Tip of the Day-Desire and Choice

Desires create choices and these choices accumulate and create the life you are living today. Notice what desires arise today. Are your desires serving the Truth of who you are? What is the deeper desire? Is this True? Repeat these questions a few times and see what you discover.

Tantra Tip of the Day – Fresh Eyes

Let go of what you know, with fresh eyes see the Truth that is always here. Breathe it into your heart and expand into emptiness. It is the simplest things that make us joyful.

Tantra and Transformation

This past weekend I taught, Awakening the Ecstatic Body, Level One: Opening the Pathways of Bliss. I know that this workshop offers powerful SkyDancing Tantra tools for awakening. Still, I am surprised by how deeply people are effected by these processes. It is a gift for me to see, how much people can heal and be transformed in only a couple of days.

This workshop was equally attended by students new to SkyDancing Tantra and experienced students, who had taken several of my workshops before. I enjoyed the chemistry of this mix of students, as they offered each other different perspectives on the weekend’s events. New students see things fresh, while repeating students often drop into new levels of wisdom. I also enjoy the process of keeping the workshop fresh, by changing the contents, in such a way that there are surprises, even to those who have done it more than once.

Much of this workshop was focused on opening our hearts and speaking our truth. Giving voice to truth is a powerful tool for transformation. Each person took an issue that they needed clarity on and then allowed three different chakras to speak to them and offer their wisdom on the issue. This life changing process helps you find resolution problems that you are unable to resolve with the thinking mind.

Saturday evening was delightful. We created a sensory awakening ritual to open our pleasure-body. Activating touch, taste, smell and hearing while being blind-folded. Our senses are a doorway to expanding awareness, as we become more present, we open up to a greater awareness of our connection to all-that-is.

It is a joy to teach this path and I feel so blesssed to be sharing this with my students. I always learn so much myself in the process. One thing I learned about was the power of a really good demo….