On Tantra, Paganism, Appropriation, and Erasure

Michon Neal
5 min readJan 11, 2016

Oh yeah. I’m going there.

You might be able to tell there’s a lot out there that sets off my bullshit meter, and when it comes to spiritual practices divorced from major religions, I find an equally ridiculous amount.

If you’ve read my previous work or my books you should be able to tell I’m an atheist. And for the most part, I don’t even bother discussing religion.

But one thing I can do is criticize some rather obnoxious behavior-as I do for the non-monogamous communities in general.

And today I’m putting the lens up to the Tantra and pagan practitioners within non-monogamy.

The spiritualism surrounding these practices is bound up inextricably with heteronormativity. The language, spells, and rituals require keeping the male and female aspects in balance.

Not all pagan religions subscribe to this, but I’ve noticed there is a huge subset that does within polyamory. Everything is viewed through this lens of gendered dichotomy, serving only to reinforce the opposition of two of the sexes, rather than the complement they are supposed to represent.

A lot of the supposed practices of Tantra have been co-opted by white people who think it’s trendy. Let’s be honest, there’s a lot that gets co-opted by white people and things like Tantra and indigenous paganism are just a few. And there’s your appropriation. Like yoga, the actual history has been obfuscated and repurposed for the…

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Michon Neal

Writer. Lover of the cosmos, books, nature, and anime. Deals with disabilities of the physical kind. Creates ways of healing and learning.