I am often asked how I became a shamanic tantrika: here is my tale --taken from my book, IRON JANE: Tales of Awakening A Wild Heart, Vol. 1
One Summer’s Afternoon
The summer of ’91 catapulted me into deep exploration of the mysterious realm of sexual and creative life-force energies. I became alert to a connection, a relationship between the very nature of this subtle energy anatomy, and to opening up my heart to absolutely anything. The profound Guided journey told about here, also showed me a way through grief and into ecstatic states, a forerunner of practices I would later call “Tantric Shamanism.”
My story begins on a lonely afternoon late in the summer of ‘91. My current paramour Jake could not find his hard sought after “landing,” that would allow him peace of mind, a viable livelihood and a home base in Los Angeles. Maui was his “heart,” and Sweden was the place where a young actress he was writing for –and later married –lived. He had work there. He was leaving. I was grieving, again.
I lay on my bed crying. Why did relationships with men always hurt? Why couldn’t I hold onto a man? Why did I choose men who would never commit to me? All the typical questions were up for me; I was forty-six years old, and feeling the weight of all my failures.
Just a few weeks earlier, I had felt more optimistic, in part because of a vision I’d had that I associated with my passionate lover. I was in the habit of using my potent, wild imagination to conjure up love-making fantasies of Jake, while he was out of town, or otherwise unavailable. During such an episode, I saw my lover take the form of an enormous, glowing, erect penis made of etheric matter! The image was striking, stunning. Soon after I learned there was a Sanscrit word for cock, “lingam” which translates to “wand of light.” I’d hoped that the strange vision and synchronous event meant Jake and I were supposed to be a couple.
So, here I was crying again, losing another charming, handsome (and volatile) dream guy. The sorrier I felt for myself, the more I sobbed and wailed until I was nearly choking on my tears. As I lay there shaking with sorrow, a Voice – an increasingly familiar and frequent one, began to Speak to me, giving me directions that would guide me through my misery.
“Breathe,” It instructed, “Breathe…Allow your attention to come to your Heart.”
The Voice was so clear and commanding that I obeyed, placing my hands over my chest, trying to breathe easier.
“Breathe into your heart chakra and listen closely,” said my mysterious Guide, who seemed to know everything about me. “Imagine Jake is here, and you two are about to have sex…”
Since Jake was not here, I burst into tears again. But I was listening, too. I trusted this Voice.
“Imagine now that Jake is ready to enter you… but he is really angry, enraged, in pain. Imagine the fullness of his angst, his heartbreak, coming at you now…
The image was vivid: horrible. My heart froze, my body shook.
“Open your heart, completely, sparing him nothing of love, offering your entire being of compassion to this man –now,” I heard telepathically. “Let all of Jake in to you, withhold nothing, let your Love free.”
To my utter amazement, my body was instantly flooded with endorphins. But this was more than just a natural high, or a lover’s high: I felt enraptured. I was floating in the afterglow, as though life itself had made love to me, and I, to life, to Love.
But my Guide was not through with me. There was another love lesson coming.
“Now, dear one, we are going to reverse things…In your imagination, change places with Jake. He is lying here on your bed, and you are about to enter him, blasting him with your outrage, pounding him with your anguish at all the times you have been hurt, betrayed by men –“
I began to sob again. There was so much anger and hurt in me, and no doubt Jake – all my lovers –had received some of it. No doubt I had hurt them, too.
“Stay alert…” advised the Voice. “Breathe…Be present. And imagine Jake –imagine all your lovers –taking all of you into their heart of hearts…offering you total love, compassion, understanding…”
What a moment. Again, love feelings flooded me, and I felt the waves of ecstacy cascading up and down my spine, all through me, peace –bliss.
I fell asleep, awaking all new. And wanting more than ever to be able to just open my heart to it all, especially to the hurt of the brothers and sisters of Earth. And to include myself. To love all of me, all of the time, with so much compassion, trust and joyful possibilities.
The Dalai Lama has a practice called “tonglen” which teaches us to breathe in the pain and suffering of the world, expand the heart to be a vast blue sky, and breathe out love to all, transforming heartbreak itself into pure heart.
This soul journey and this summer afternoon would impact all my works to come.