Sequioa and Ziji

Gay Tantra in Canada and Beyond with Sequoia and Ziji of Men in Touch TPP288

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In this episode I have the great honor and pleasure of exploring the diverse and complimentary paths of two gay tantrikas in Canada, and discussing many intersections spirituality and sexuality

About Sequia:

I view life as a school for love.
My life intention is to live in the heart of union…in the eternal oneness of now.
For over 30 years I’ve been sharing with others the practices I find most helpful to get out of the overloaded, busy mind, and connect more with the heart, breath and body, where unity and love live. It’s all about High Level Wellness…in body, heart and soul.

I have a special passion for sharing with other men what I’ve been learning about the deeper dimensions of intimacy, including full-body sensual massage, many practices drawn from Yoga and Tantra, and more recently the profound “Into Me See” of eye-gazing meditation and “We Space.”

Learn more at growinghealthier.com and menintouch.org

About Ziji:

Ziji is a facilitator at Men In Touch, teaching men skills and practices to deepen intimacy and integrate spirituality and sexuality. In addition, he is a tantric bodyworker, yoga instructor (RYT), organizer of the Ignite Festival (ignite-fest.com), and amateur queer scholar. He makes a home in Coast Salish Territory, Vancouver, and spends as much time at the nude beach as possible! Find him at gaymassagevancouver.com

My Non Verbatim Show Notes:

TP: why not rainbow tantra

S: vietnam veteran, out of air force 1972, bee line to berkeley

very free very open

discovered, alternative spirituality, blossoming then TM, massage, holistic practices, hatha yoga, beginning to become known, fringey

explore sexuality, tantra, contradicted all the catholic upbringing I had

spirituality/sexuality same energy expressed in different ways

opposite of christian belief

body impediments to spirtuality

intrigued 80s, bay area, aids epidemic, helpful if gay brothers were aware of practices that didn’t involve penetration, fluid exchange, much more about subtle energy,

started workshops, 1987, 33 years

thrilling to watch men discover more layers of intimacy

Z: I’m much younger, about almost 4 decades, grew up in different context, calgary, alberta, suburban, typical suburban conservative culture

turned to spirituality, early 20s, tibetan buddhist

monastery 2 years, nova scotia

separate from sexual life

moved to vancouver, 8 years ago

exploring, alternative things

going to sequia’s workshop, men in touch workshop about massage

attended that workshop, transformative experience, all this stuff I had learned, practice, in that non sexual context of spirituality

unified it with whole other dimension of being, becoming more important to myself

starting to discover power of sexuality

met about 7 years ago, had profound connection

personal, year or so, invited to co-teach

co-facilitating, weekly classes in vancouver, retreats, rural areas, every year festival, last 3 years, annual festival ignite festival, a lot going on, a lot of fun

S: mostly what I came to experience, sexual explorations in bay area, men

level of intimacy felt shallow, getting hard, getting off, didn’t satisfy something in me, seemed like fast food

intuition, past lives, knowingness something more, keen to keep exploring tantra, one workshop, bay area 70s

berkeley guy about my age, joe kramer

same classes, m chia, multi orgasmic man

microcosmit orbit, fascinating, moving energy, both sexual and spiritual

joseph, convo, similar interests, created body electric school, life changing for many people, pioneering, presenting workshop around conscious sexuality

less sexual more meditative and sensual

met wonderful guy in sf, body work as I had been, different kinds of movement classes, yoga for gay men, dance like stuff

doug fraiser, conversation, decided to collaborate, events called light tough retreats for loving me, weekend retreats bay area, near seattle

full body sensual eroticism, more meditative than goal oriented

ziji, been collaborating, delighted where he’s been taking our work, I’m 75, ziji 34, radical direction, just dozen guys at a time, ziji, taking it virtual, planet wide

z: mostly been working with classes retreats, beautiful containers, men go deeply, came across other modality, other container, festival, different experience, more people, usually not one container, people are popping in and out of workshops, different experience, neither better than other

offering ignite festival, last 2 years, in person, vancouver, this year got cancelled, covid, decided to do it virtual

ignite festival, online, unexpectedly all over the world, joining festival,

people from every continent, really quite and amazing experience to have that

always been more local, regional, beautiful experience

inspiration came to us, do offer really truly global festival, partnered with man in berlin, singapore, each taking 1/3 of the world, 24 hour a day festival, people can join in

invite many teachers, plurality, organizing it

invite teachers from body electric, not necessarily around sacred sexuality,

emotional, embodiment practices, etc.

no plans to be doing this kind of thing, silver linings of covid epidemic, new models, new ways of connecting

S: I would say focus of everything we do is exploring for me, many levels of intimacy, men tendency go for groin, pleasure of that so obvious in male body

ziji and I both discovered, emotional communication, meditative presence, loving kindness meditation, self, partner, group setting, level of compassion into intimacy, whole realm rarely considered

realms of intimacy, exploring

TP: great to hear,

both of you familiar with gay tantra, william shindler, one of my favorites, recommend for any seeker of tantric path how well, beyond sexual components, spiritual development components, transliterated for people not versed in hinduism, sanskrit, or yoga

get a sense of what they would be signing themselves up for

interesting point made, astute sanskrit scholar, one of foremost folks to have facts straight, promoting idea, notion, false dichotomy

paraphrase, within divine marriage, channel divine masculine, divine feminine, whatever ratio, share with partner or group

no reason people of same sex can’t feel obliged to consider themselves the complete circuit

no mention of gay in the tantras

temples sculptures, you see female bisexuality in service to men

have you explored or found interesting artwork, statues, classical tantra, guidance for people of diverse sexualities to explore these archetypes, energies in same sex context

S: tantra, oral tradition, guru to disciple, sexual aspects, less overt, less widespread, left handed path, less widely known, haven’t come across much in ancient writings, not scholar

not much written reference, studied with rudy balantime, swami rama, india, background in tantras, rudy bisexual, late 70s, tantra tradition see shiva shakti as symbolic, not literal,

man and woman can embody, so can to men, two women, inner alchemy, not matter what our plumbing, embody, all aspects of gender, express in love making, no matter gender of partner

exercises, meditations, inner marriage, inner shiva/shakti

Z: agree with everything, different dimension, concept of queer erasure in history, so often queer love is seen as counter/dangerous to narrative of normal society, to different degrees in different cultures, my own personal historical knowledge, from western tradition, prechristian cultures, also a lot of cultural differences the way we talk about relationships, queer love relationship would perhaps be quite different

spoken about quite differently , modern readers, may see or understand what is being written,

the story of achelles, partner, long stories about these too, never referred to them as fact they had sex, lovers per se, so often express their love for one another, brotherly love, comrades in arms

kind of like, from a historical perspective, how do we read history, to what degree are we imposing on history

missing from what’s been written, complicated topic

experience of tantras, not much written down, aware at least in tibetan context, guru disciple relationship, incredibly intimate, seldom written down

tibetan contenxt, patriarchal, male teacher, male student, would not be surprised, if using sexual energy as one of transmissions of teaching

homosexuality in tibetan monasteries well documented, not in ancient times, last 100 years, more exposed to the world

definitely happening, question of how do it get spoken about

TP: thank you so much, so well said, maybe somebody has been studying, great project for anybody who’s got researchto

lesbian desire in ancient and modern india, high on my book list, hope that will shed some light on good stuff

it breaks my heart when I hear people say, I want to do tantra but it’s only for straight people

curious about, what is the tantra community scene, millieu like in canada, different laws around sex work, cannabis, maybe other entheogens, a bit of a report on if anything very interesting about cultural climate, setting your in, insight into that life style there

S: started life in us vietnam vet, fell in love with vancouver in late 80s, smitten by city

90, still in love with city as years ago

somewhat more permissive culture

cannabis, tacitly accepted,

laws about sexuality, less enforced

hasn’t been kind of religious fervor that often occurs in us around laws around sexual behavior

erotic massage, began in berekley, felt safe, here feel even safer

appreciate that aspect of our culture here

Z: I would say, also in terms of sex work laws in canada, we’re currently scandanavian model, not illegal to sell sex work, somewhat illegal to market, buy, anything beyond selling is considered illegal

vancouver pd, statements, don’t enforce bilays pertaining to sex work, definitely see it quite differently,

not an idea system, decriminalization, main ideal target, overall

generally find, I feel much more comfortable being here than in america

more pacific northwest, more people from seattle, portland from anywhere in eastern canada, even alberta

can’t speak for rest of canada, some folks doing gay tantra in toronto,

a little bit happening in montreal as well too, it’s happening, it feels like most of the gay tantra work is still happening in other parts of the world

men in touch, also on forefront, canada as whole, doesn’t yet feel like a bastian, so speak of gay tantra

S: moved up from california, quite a bit less advanced around alternate spirituality, new map, tantra, has really changed in last 10 years,

going through facebook, social media,

part of whole west coast culture

southern california

vancouver very much part of that

put down, all the fruits and nuts roll west,

west coast much more progressive, in canada as well as us

TP: good to know

people up there already make some use of that intel, hoping that canada will lead north america in full legalization of sex work, know of efforts to keep rocking that boat,

I was a little bit more excited than I should have been, fine print, not friendly to both sides of transaction, consumer buyer, sex buyer, consumer of erotic services

lobbying, grass roots stuff, ?

S: in general we have to really hand it to the women, women in sex work, activist, most vocal, done the most to even get us this far, continues, women are most severely impacted by sex work laws, urgent crisis and need, safety livelihoods

Z: pushback, people are pushing the govt

if it’s every gonna happen in canada, be with more progressive govt

sex work law is always kinda not most important, not on minds of middle class, most people, base of these parties, unfortunately gets shelved

S: people hassled by police, walking the streets, neighbors call

other than that, when sex work is not in peoples faces who don’t want to see it, police not being proactive to go out and enforce it, different from us, entrapment

TP: fosta/cesta, tantrikas doing body work, whole spectrum everybody posting ads, backpage, craigslist, shut down, witch hunt, the internet policing of marketing on line, light touch, don’t bother you, hang shingle on line, not creating public nuisance, out of side out of mind

Z: have my own website, private practice, gaymassagevancouver.com

pretty obvious what it is I’m offering, not that cloaked, don’t feel afraid about that, more the effect is in, there’s still stigma, in our society around it, for example, would not want my neighbors knowing about the work I do, not illegal, but people can still make life very difficult

tread carefully around, not being public nuisance, not legal perspective, neighbors, land lords, have a lot of power over me as a renter

how much canada can have an effect on us

previous prime minister

decriminalized homosexuality, 1969

test lab for us, more progressive policies, us politicians, hmm looks like it’s working, maybe we’ll try it down here

TP: thanks for sharing, chills, wow, what an epic and brave, want to book up on history of that moment, rare, goes back, that was the magical year, a lot of good stuff happened

curious to what extent, language, tool kit, together, separately, neo tantra, extrapolating from modern gurus lineages, dance with translating teachings to offerings in modern world

adapt, relanguage, gay tantric perspective, notion of helping facilitate kundalini activation, initiation, riding the snake, wild ride of energy

why and how it erupts, orthodoxy around straight, tantric practices, not short cut but juicier way than sitting with hands folded, by yourself

how would you approach it, romance with kundalini shakti vibe

S: close to my heart, introduced to kundalini, Baba Muktananda, guru traveled world several times 70s and 80s

activating people’s kundalini, directly through shaktipat

had taste in that experience about kundalini awakening,

own that this is very phallocentric, perspective, like to view, with other gay men, entire energy body as phallus, penis, let energy build up from pelvis to crown

ejaculation out the crown of the head, fountain flow, energy thighs, genitals, through chakras, caress energy, up the middle, up and out

partners, massage table use that format, take people into new consciousness, kundalini as useful metaphor probably is that be definitely energy does shift, working with that intention, instead of conventional ejaculation

TP: really healing and sweet, people feel like they’re not gonna be missing out, or left out or excluded

heteronormative schematics

really encouraging

Z: my take on that is, just to kind of also balance that out, important to be having energetic experiences, also large portion of our work, different dimension, learning how to deepen intimacy, different quality, not usually as intensely sensory, energetic in that way, much more, other skills we’re trying to encourage, what does it mean to really be with somebody, be energetically kind of connected, recently last couple years, new concept of we space meditation, subtle states of shared consciousness, could include touch, not required

to me, my interest is more like, that feels to me like the real interesting part, one thing to have personal experience within own body, somebody’s massaging you, activating you, energetic release, beautiful experience, fruition of that, gone through kundalini awakening, has to have some sort of effect on us, when we moved the energy that way, can come into deeper states of clarity, stillness, presence,

fruition, communicates beyond just personal experience

TP: awesome, vagina monologues had pansexual tantra meed up in la, kundalini monologues, hopefully will take off some day, great time, different stories, so many, wow, lot of good stuff, definitely some horror stories too

Z: key, how do you create safe container for people to be experiencing these experiences, enough structure, to digest experience, otherwise, profoundly disorienting kind of experience

S: one of the tools learned early on in 70s, tantra workshop, same sex, all male tantra workshop, stan russell, tools used back then, eye contact, breathing together simple

80s, body electric, incorporate a bit of that, never as much as I wanted, eye gazing powerful practice in and of its self

we space meditation, promoting form of meditation

gazing into partners eyes, can be done on zoom

being with partner, holding eye contact, attempting to describe verbally, what’s going on

consciousness

quite an altered state that that leads to, ziji and I teaching

roots in tantra tradition, nothing to do overtly

connect deeply with romantic partners, total strangers

TP: beautiful thing, ancient practices techniques, occultism, cult of personality

west wants to secularize, messier, problematic, end up with more generalized, less cultural bound experience

adapted things like orgasmic meditation, may have had tantric training, indian gurus, to make it compute average multicultural western mind, strip away mythical archetypes, hindu mythological structures

we’ve salvaged in the west, western neo tantra, kundalini tradition, yoga asanas, general teaching, rarely offered, some experience, always seeking more, mudras, yantras, mantras, fundamental profound primal role, vibrations, sound, bija mantras, activating chakras, so much of that stuff, sometimes is very bound with religious dogma, archetypes, can also be more energetic, an anatomical energetic way of teaching

integrate or have reference upon mantras, mudras, in your offerings

S: tm, mantra based, Baba Muktananda kundalini awakening, om namah shivaya, so hum,

powerful, chanting of them find very transformative,

a little reluctant, people in west, wary, religiousity, hesitant to bring in too much, turn people off, almost always do oming, mantra, om

men in cirlce hug, ah sound, o, m, carry on for a while, quite wonderful, blend them, hear them unify over time

profound

Z: personal background with tantra, not in hindu, tibetan buddhist, a lot of esoteric tantric teachings within

takes quite a bit of, understanding, background structure, communicate, what this tradition is trying to say, very personally rewarding, feels like a lot of pitfalls, possible misunderstandings that can take place, generally speaking I find, my work I really informed by that, not explicitly referring specific deities, mantras, esoteric sadhanas, or whatever

S: creating sacred space, one of ingredients we invite men to join us in, letting go of ordinary chit chat, most contant non verbal, set out of busy urban life for whole weekend, movement touch, conscious breathing, nonordinary state of consciousness, I hope informs the rest of their lives, states of consciousness are available,

TP: definitely so many different schools all over the east, probably all agree on, path of integrating pleasure for spiritual development, does the work of a 1000 mantras, touch, centeredness in moment, sensate focus,

advanced yogis, alluded, quality of attention and focus is what you’re going for, the actual prescribed numbers of repetitions, grading on the curve, lowest common denominators, to make sure they get in the fold

Z: one of last few tibetan teachers, trained in pre chinese, tibet, very revered, visiting monastery, giving teachings, one nugget

two paths to liberation the path of pain and the path of pleasure, most people take the path of pain, just laughed,

we are all about exploring the path of pleasure

TP: that says it all, love that so much

so great so fun to have round table on this, invite you back anytime, more deeply, promote, things available, to broader community world wide through internet, good to promote that stuff, shout out, for website

Z: main website, menintouch.org, ignite festival, ignite-fest.com, each have own private practice, gaymassagevancouver.com, sequia, growthinghealthier.com