There is an incredibly deep, complex history to Tantra (and Yoga), which can take years to learn. For an in-depth explanation of tantra, we refer to the key article Tantra explained. Here you’ll find some basic information about different types of tantra.
There are four types:
- White tantra
- Red tantra
- Pink tantra
- Black tantra
- Gray tantra
White tantra is a form of tantra oriented towards spiritual growth. It is basically an individual path: the path of the right hand or Dakshini Marga. White tantra is about transcending the ego through disciplined mental and physical practice. Mostly under the guidance of a teacher. White tantra resembles a bit to mindfulness and some yoga styles, e.g. Kundalini yoga. The tantric yoga practices are aimed at purification of the body and mind. White tantra uses rituals to liberate the soul. You can think of the use of mantras, mudras, yantras and visualizations.
White Tantra is used to describe a spiritual path of tantra which incorporates meditation, breath work, sounds, and postures. Although all of the major chakras or energy centers are recognized in this practice, it is the upper two chakras; the third eye and the crown chakra that are the most important.
White Tantra has nothing to do with sexual expression. However, the white path does recognize the importance of the body and its energies. Physical touch and sexual practices are not necessary in order to advance on this path. White tantra isn’t really focused on the physical act of sex at all!
Key elements white tantra
- Path of the right-hand.
- Mostly an individual practice – which can however also be practiced in a group (=trend).
- Discipline and perseverance are needed. Starts with consciousness (breathing) and bodywork.
- Aimed at the purification of the mind and the body. Spiritual path to transcend the ego.
- Meditations and rituals based on breathing practice, mantras, mudras, yantras, visualization.
- (Kundalini) Awakening, transforming and connecting energy to the 3e eye & crown.
- Mastery can be reached. Taught by a Tantric – master.
- Focus on awareness, revitalization, healing.
Red tantra is a form of tantra oriented towards the ecstatic experience of sexual union: the divine union of the male and female principle. It is basically a path that you practice with a partner. It’s referred to as the path of the left-hand (“impure”) or Vama Marga. Red tantric practice historically is a bit rebellious. It involves the ritual use of substances that were traditionally prohibited to Brahmin priests – meat, wine, fish, parched grains, and sexual union.
Red Tantra is a path of tantra best known for bringing us Tantric Sex. So red tantra is primarily a practice that you do with (your / a) partner. Red tantra is focused on sensuality and sexuality (lower chakras). However, all of the chakras are involved in the sex act, leading to orgasmic being and connection. There is a tendency that red tantra also includes a lot of lovemaking not only with the own partner but also with other group members (free sex).
Key elements red tantra
- Path of the left-hand.
- Duo practice – which can also be practiced in a group.
- Courage and self-acceptance are needed. Starts with facing sexual conditioning and judgment (limits, shame & fear).
- Aimed at sexual union – Merging of male and female energies in orgasmic oneness.
- Meditations and Rituals are highly sexual and provocative. Pushing limits.
- Awakening sensuality and sexual energy are key, however, all chakras participate.
- Mastery can be reached. Being fully energized and multi-orgasmic seems to be the goal.
- Focus on pleasurable sensations (senses) – sensuality – sexuality (orgasm).
- Best known for tantric sex and sexual indulgence.
Pink tantra is the middle path of both white and red tantra. It’s individual because there are a lot of meditation and exercises you can do on your own. It’s duo because there are plenty of meditations that are designed to do with a partner. Sexual energy is part of this practice, but there’s no sex act. The heart seems to be the prime focus, integrating both the lower and the higher chakras.
Pink tantra is about opening the heart chakra and healing. Growing in love and consciousness are central themes in this practice. Pink tantra teaches us body awareness. To cultivate love without attachment, ownership or expectation. With pink tantra sex becomes lovemaking. Sexual energy is transformed and added to the stream of love/life energy. It is a merging of embodied souls, for both pleasure and enlightenment. Connection is not only self-love or melting with a partner but also making a connection with existence.
Key elements pink tantra
- Path of both hands (!).
- Individual and duo practice – which can also be practiced in a group.
- Love and consciousness are needed. Starts with breathing, awareness of conditioning. Lovingly embracing everything that is there. Nothing has to be fixed.
- Aimed at loving connection – The opposite sex is unmasked as the prime object for projection and a source of learning and expanding. Union is still the aim, polarity the means, unity with your inner men/women the result.
- Meditations and Rituals are heart-oriented. Highly intimate and energetic. Expanding.
- Awakening lust/love/life energy is key, all chakras participate. Balancing energies.
- There’s no mastery to attain. It’s a growth path in love and consciousness.
- Focus on love/life energy. Integration and transformation of emotional and sexual energy.
- Best known for loving duo meditations and ecstatic (evening) rituals.
Black tantra is a form of tantra oriented towards exercising certain magical powers (siddhis) in order to manifest in the 3rd Dimension. The human body can be powerful. The human mind can be powerful. Combined magic can occur. Sex magic uses sexual energy to envision certain desires during orgasm which then come true – manifest- in real life. It’s the power of body and mind. Power releases also dark forces. Using tantra techniques to project alternative realities (levitation) and/or to overpower other people. This has more to do with manipulation and control. Black tantra, however, is poorly understood because it’s mostly practiced in secrecy.(1)
Gray tantra is oriented towards exercising certain magical powers (siddhis) for spiritual development. Cultivating your kundalini energy for improving your spiritual skills is a distinct practice. Sex magic uses sexual energy to envision certain desires during orgasm which then are realizedin one’s spiritual life. It’s the power of body, heart, soul and mind. Explore Gray Tantra to cultivate your sexual energy for the purpose of spiritual development, using all the chakras with a partner.
[Source: (1) Online Tantra]